U.S. Air Force offers to help test flying cars
The USAF has offered to assist the flying car and flying taxi makers test and certify their crafts in order to accelerate growth of the new category, for civilian and military use. The move is reported to be the result of the small drone business, vitally important to the U.S. military, having migrated to China, making it difficult for the U.S. military to find domestic drone partners. Wired
dis-rup-shun: The USAF’s dilemma is a new theme that will repeat many times: how to keep at least some core of new technologies from rapidly migrating to markets, such as China, that can produce faster, better and cheaper. With the majority of consumer electronics already being produced outside of the U.S., designating selected technologies to remain on-shore is an unlikely outcome. The Air Force’s move will likely create important military-emerging company partnerships earlier that may, if military funds follow, become long-term.
Sparta Science and the NFL use data to predict injuries
Sparta, a company founded by MD Phil Wagner, uses workout and movement data from NFL players, to create a player risk profile. By compiling thousands of data points from video scans of players, the technology determines points of stress in a player’s movements and predicts injuries that are likely to occur. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: The idea of science predicting when we will get injured, sick or die is creepy, but with millions of dollars being invested in pro athletes, especially NFL and NBA players, it only makes sense. Consider the possibility, however, that to purchase a life insurance policy or even health insurance, we will report to a clinic that will run a series of tests and, consequently, assign us to a risk category, to which our insurance premiums will be set.
Internet Archive stores 20,000 VHS recordings
Did you know there is an organization which preserves historical media for posterity? The Internet Archive is a non-profit online library of media of our yesteryear. It is well known for its Wayback Machine, which is a tool that can be used to locate millions of web pages that have long disappeared from the world wide web. The Internet Archive has now stored the contents of over 20,000 VHS recordings, preserving a great deal of 90s videos, commercials and TV shows. Check out the VHS Vault for a black hole of campy entertainment. The Verge
dis-rup-shun: The ability to study history firsthand is invaluable, and thanks to the Internet Archive, future historians can do just that. The downside, of course, is that governments that might wish to control resources such as the Internet Archive can, literally, re-write history. Let’s hope that these resources remain independent, redundant and well preserved.
Unions call for investigation of Amazon for anti-competitive trade practices
Big Tech, facing increasing pressure from Congress, can now add unions to its list of detractors. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Communications Workers of America, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the Service Employees International Union have petitioned the FTC to look into Amazon’s “immense and growing influence.” The unions call on the FTC to consider Amazon’s “exclusionary conduct to the detriment of workers, consumers, merchants, and competition itself.” Amazon’s reply: the company has created over 500,000 jobs and represents less than 4% of total retail. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: It’s a slippery slope that giant, fast growing corporations walk, and history shows that giants are eventually toppled by regulators. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 toppled Standard Oil, and President Roosevelt sued 45 additional companies. Not quite a hundred years later Judge Green ordered the restructuring of AT&T. Amazon is, no doubt, reshaping our economy, but can it do so without being seen as a menace? Just this weekend on television, commercials for Amazon’s Pill Pack pharmacy were aired. Amazon’s push into healthcare may provide much needed disruption, but may also draw the ire of a new set of industry regulators.