Are self driving cars close?

The arrival of self-driving cars

Self driving cars are late, based upon claims by executives at Waymo, Tesla and Cruise that 2019 would mark the arrival of autonomous cars. The CEO of Amazon backed, self-driving technology company Aurora says fully autonomous cars will be on the road in 5 years.  CNBC

dis-rup-shun: A key point in the arrival of self-driving vehicles, currently seen as not advanced enough to be safe enough, is that the technology will  soon be safer than 50 percent of the drivers on the road. Some industry backers claim that we have a responsibility to put autonomous cars on the road as soon as they are safer than the majority of human drivers. The problem, however, is that when an autonomous car kills someone, public outcry will state that the technology is flawed and should not be allowed. When a human driver kills someone, however, the public acknowledges that the person made a mistake, but that humans are fully capable of driving safely. Success of autonomous cars, therefore, will require strong public awareness campaigns to convince people that an imperfect technology will be safer than the status quo. That won’t be easy.

Cultural alignment problems holding back connected health technologies

Digital health technology companies have struggled for years to find market success, despite technical efficacy. One cause is the misalignment between tech entrepreneurs’ act-now-and-ask-for-forgiveness-later mentalities versus clinicians, who are rigorously trained to minimize risk. Omada Health is working to bridge the culture gap between doctors and technology developers as digital health companies are on the rise, having raised $8 billion in investments in 2018. 

dis-rup-shun: Theranos is a text book example of the clash in cultures between tech companies and clinicians  — the latter being silenced by Elizabeth Holmes. Many health tech companies have built great products, but struggled for acceptance. If health tech startups launch products that have been developed through a clinician-friendly process, with clinical data for the health care industry to study, the chances for product acceptance will increase. Omada’s process will likely be emulated and considered a new development standard if it leads to faster time to market.

A search engine not interested in your identity

DuckDuckGo is a search engine just as Google, but very unlike the behemoth in that the company does not track your identity and search history. After using DuckDuckGo for over two years, the author of this Wired article states that the lesser known search engine does just as good a job of basic search requirements such as definitions, dates and places. For highly specific searches, such as the name of a movie in which a named star takes some vague action, DuckDuckGo will be less capable of navigating the circuitous path to the specific name of a movie. Google has far more features, but the question is, do you need all of those features if you wish to search the web without being carefully tracked and sold to? DuckDuckGo has 78 employees compared to Google’s 114,096, yet is a viable search alternative. 

dis-rup-shun: Privacy concerns seem to be on the upswing, and people appear to be ready to sever ties with companies that they believe are not responsible with personal data. Apple has been watching this trend and is trying to get out in front of it by using privacy as a brand differentiator. Expect DuckDuckGo to grow exponentially as it becomes widely known and popular in the coming year, as word spreads virally that one can function on the Internet without Google — most of the time.

Pocket color sensor ideal for designers and DIYers

Nix is a startup that provides a sensor, a mini version and a professional grade version, that accurately read the color of any surface. the smaller than golf ball-sized devices are charged via USB and, with the use of one of three apps, helps one accurately determine the color value of a surface. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: If you have done any design work or any home remodeling or updating, you know that matching colors is a difficult and imprecise task. A gadget to make this simple is very useful — so useful, expect Apple to make this functionality a standard offering in a future iPhone version. Apple is always looking for value-added functions to add to the iPhone and, of course, once it does, Nix will be all but nixed. Given the fact that paint or fabric manufacturers will want to pay to be the first brand that appears in such an app, emulating Nix will have commercial appeal for Apple, in addition to bringing extra value.

Is your privacy worth paying for?

Privacy browsers catching a wave

The public is increasingly weary of sharing personal information with the tech giants. Privacy browsers generally don’t allow cookies and provide information on what data is being requested of the user. Wired suggests six privacy browsers or plug-ins to your existing desktop browser that maintain your anonymity, to varying degrees: DuckDuckGo, Ghostery, TOR Browser, Brave, Firefox, Safari.

dis-rup-shun: Thanks to Russia and to Facebook, consumer awareness of personal information sharing is at an all time high. Apple is using privacy as a differentiator, seeking to further engender audiences and shame Google and Facebook for their aggressive harvesting of personal information. The campaign appears to be working. If our society moves to reduce the amount of data we allow tech giants to collect, will we be happy when free services become limited or require payment since maintaining our privacy renders advertising to be less effective?


Willo is going to change the way you clean your mouth

Startup Willo has raised $7.5 million from Kleiner Perkins to revolutionize the way you clean your mouth, claiming that the brush is an inferior solution that only cleans 46% of dental plaque. Details are not available, but the picture offered shows a different approach to dental hygiene. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: It is likely that this toothbrush replacement will collect data on our brushing habits and offer weekly emails to rate our dental care performance, because that is what every connected device seems to do, despite the fact that most of us aren’t that interested. What will be helpful, however, is to displace the annoying task of spending an hour with a dental hygienist twice a year. That value proposition will be well received.


Samsung Fold foldable phone ship dates undetermined

TechCrunch reports that AT&T and BestBuy have cancelled early orders of Samsung’s huge, foldable, $2000 phone that was originally scheduled for release on April 26th.

dis-rup-shun: The foldable phone will be a big hit among those that are willing to pay $2000 to have something no on else has. Having a device the size of a small tablet that will fit in a pocket will be great for travel, and if Samsung is able to add its latest Galaxy photo technology, it will be an amazing way to share digital photography.


Highlights from E3 gaming conference

E3 is the biggest gaming industry conference in existence, and 2019’s event just ended. Here are some highlights:

Microsoft’s next Xbox console will launch for holiday 2020 and will feature 8K games and 120 frames per second. It will be backwards compatible with prior generations, if anyone really wanted to play yesterday’s games.

Steaming services are coming. Physical disks are going the way of the Bluray movie disk…unwanted. A large number of streaming services are vying to do for gaming what Netflix did for movie watchers.

dis-rup-shun: The big three console makers have had an effective lock on the gaming space, but that’s about to change when premium content can be streamed to any connected device. Tether a Bluetooth game controller that is not limited to a console architecture to your iPad, smartphone, PC or smart TV, and high performance gaming breaks its traditional bounds. The Verge