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Big Revolution - We're too impatient for the future

Welcome to Monday's Big Revolution. Let's dive straight in. – Martin
December 17 · Issue #295 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Monday’s Big Revolution. Let’s dive straight in.

Big things you need to know today
  • Vine and HQ Trivia co-founder Colin Kroll has died of a suspected drug overdose in New York over the weekend. Kroll served as the CEO of HQ Trivia.
  • A security vulnerability has been discovered in database software used by thousands and desktop and mobile apps. It “will haunt the app ecosystem for years to come,” ZDNet reports.
The big thought
Alphabet's Waymo has the only self-driving fleet in (extremely limited) public service. Credit: Waymo
Alphabet's Waymo has the only self-driving fleet in (extremely limited) public service. Credit: Waymo
We’re too impatient for the future
Gizmodo last week wrote about ’The Deadly Recklessness of the Self-Driving Car Industry,’ in an article looking at how companies racing to develop fully-autonomous driving systems often cut corners when it comes to safety.
Why do they do that? The clue’s in the word ‘racing.’ Having promised a future where cars drive themselves, every car manufacturer, rideshare operator and big tech company seems to have some kind of autonomous vehicle programme on the go. And they all want to get their destination first. It’s been promised, so they must deliver or they’ll be left behind the competition.
But as useful as they may end up being, we don’t need self-driving vehicles to arrive in the next five years. The world won’t end if the idea of humans driving isn’t a thing of the past within two decades. And given the huge risks to human safety these vehicles present in the short term, not to mention the shifts in employment and culture they’ll prompt around the world, surely it makes sense to go slow?
But we’ve got used to tech moving fast. For a decade or so, smartphones got markedly better every year. We got Kindles to read books, iPads for casual browsing, started tracking our fitness in the cloud, integrated the internet into every aspect of our lives, and got used to having almost unlimited entertainment on tap 24-7. A lot changed very quickly.
But not all changes can, or should, happen so fast. Now smartphones have plateaued, the promise of VR and AR doesn’t seem to be breaking that tech into the mainstream like many predicted, and for all the talk about how advanced A.I. is getting, most automated systems we deal with rely on simple, scripted interactions. All the hype about how A.I. would soon be able to think better than us was just that – over-excited hype.
There’s nothing wrong with things slowing down for a bit. If you look at the huge cultural upheaval technology is causing around the world right now, it makes sense not to wish a relentless flow of massively disruptive technology upon us all.
I’m not saying we should slow technological development down, just let’s not rush it.
One big read
Jered Threatin Jered Threatin
The BBC talks in depth with the American musician who faked success on social media to book a European tour, playing to empty venues. But how much of it was fake, and are we all “part of the illusion?”
One big tweet
How HQ Trivia last night addressed the death of its CEO…
Josh Constine
Tonight @HQTrivia tells me it will have a memorial talk at 9pm et led by Scott to honor the passing of co-founder Colin Kroll. No game or push alerts, just a moment of remembrance
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow with more. See you then.
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