Way back in 2011, major American automakers were slow to realize that "companies in Silicon Valley have for some time been looking at cars just like another mobile device or app." When the disruption, hit, it hit hard, writes Nick Bilton
Teenagers salivated over the notion of turning 16, getting a driver’s license, and earning independence from their parents. By the time of my conversation with these Ford executives, the auto industry had already withstood countless threats—the rise of Japanese carmakers, the advent of new manufacturing practices, and the aforementioned financial crisis—but none were as pressing as the fact that a new, relatively inexpensive device now appeared to offer teenagers a newfound digital freedom that trumped any analog competitor. “The car used to be the signal of adulthood, of freedom,” a Ford executive told me at the time. “Now, the signal into adulthood for teenagers is the smartphone.”
Lots of other interesting tidbits in this piece.
• How Elon Musk crushed Detroit (Vanity Fair)
Images: Maurizio Pesce and Steve Jurvetson
This is NASA’s new “space fabric” in development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Founded in 1970 as Xerox’s R&D division, PARC was a dream factory that brought the world laser printing, Ethernet, the graphical user interface that led to Windows and the Macintosh, ubiquitous computing, and many other technologies that we now take for granted. Why made the place so damn special? Alan Kay, who pioneered networked computing […]
For robots to make our lives easier, they’ll need to work together. But how do we teach them teamwork? University of Southern California engineer Nora Ayanian studies how groups of robots, including flying drones, can be better collaborators and what the machines can teach humans about collaboration. Mark Frauenfelder and I interviewed Nora about robot […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]