Car manufacturers and operators are trying to become what we call “original experience manufacturers” as the industry gets itself ready for electric (now) and autonomy (later): Toyota has invested in Uber and will make cars embedded with Uber’s self-driving capability. Uber has bought a stake in Lime scooters. Uber and rival ride-sharing co Lyft are both looking at offering transportation as a ”bundle” - so you’d use their apps to work out whether to take car, hop on an e-bike, take public transport and so on, and you’d pay for the transport without leaving the app or ever having to think about tickets or payment again. (In the UK, Whim is the closest thing to that idea.). A reminder of the book we wrote on this very subject last year.
Image of the month: self-driving cars that make 👁 👁 contact with you
Because it’s hard for a pedestrian to tell what a self-driving car is going to do next, the cars can seem unpredictable or unsafe. A self-driving car that made eye contact might reassure a pedestrian that the car had successfully recognised them. This research project by Jaguar looks jokey, but maybe it works because we’ve always seen cars as having faces. (Also: ustwo’s work with JLR.)
Working with the robots
Many of the discussions about jobs and automation are about whether the robots and algorithms will destroy jobs or create them. The answer is probably both, but certainly loads of jobs will *change*. A new report from the World Economic Forum says that 133 million new roles may emerge, and that “54% of all employees will require significant re- and up-skilling” by 2022. So maybe the word “career” will mean something that includes constant learning and constant adaptation to change. How can we work with automation/robots - so it isn’t simply humans *versus* automation? Could we imagine robots and humans as companion species, helping each other out?
A lot of grandparents will get Apple watches this holiday season. Apple launched a new watch that can take an electrocardiogram and monitor irregular heartbeats, and detects falls and slips, alerting friends or emergency services. While it’s not the first wearable device to receive FDA approval (and it doesn’t have approval in the UK yet), it has health monitoring is a clear mission that will appeal to many.
VR ready for mainstream?
Facebook announced a new VR headset that’s interesting because it can track your movement in a space, doesn’t have wires going to a PC, and is relatively affordable. One of the environmental challenges with immersive experiences is preventing you from punching your TV while you’re dealing with those dastardly space pirates on planet Zarquill, so we may see more semi-immersive content in future (ie AR-like: both the digital things and the real world visible at once).
A provocative loss-of-earnings calculator guesstimates the “total additional income you would have received over the decade if the financial crash and subsequent public spending cuts hadn’t happened”.
ustwo - finalist at Fast Company design company of the year
We don’t like to blow our own trumpet here at ustwo but we did jump for joy when we found out last week that we’d made the finalist list of Fast Co Design Companies of the Year alongside Microsoft, Wolff Olins and Space 10, to name but a few. We were also very proud to see our client Google land the overall prize.