The Week in Mobility — 23 April 2021

This is my personal take on the future, all thoughts expressed are my own and do not reflect the position or views of my employer!

2051

30 years ago the World Wide Web was born, the first colour scanner was available for a hefty $2,000 and the world watched Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore famously sculpt clay in Ghost for the very first time. Amazon was a pipe dream and HomeAlone a box office sensation. Time has a strange effect of passing simultaneously rapidly and stretching in slow motion. Projections about the next 30 years, however informed, are always fictional in the sameway anything that hasn’t happened is. 2051 is both exceptionally close and inconceivably far into the future, this is an exploration of just one possible version of an imagined future and as such is merely a thought starter and provocation. Enjoy…

The year is 2051 and for the first time ever there are an equal number of people over the age of 50 than under 50. In Europe the retirement age has been raised to 70, though many work until they’re 80. However, Norway is pioneering a different approach in which adults stop working between the ages of 40 and 50 before returning to work. There is a growing and acute awareness that many of the children born between 2045 and 2050 are unlikely to work in a traditional sense owing to the projected arrival of Artificial General Intelligence in the coming decades. As a result, this 10 year career break is encouraged as a way to spend significant time with these children to foster and develop human values and creativity.

The population is the healthiest and oldest the world has ever seen. ‘Old People’s Homes’ are enviable communities of like minded and active individuals with a plethora of activities at their disposal. Personalised medicine and human augmentation have eliminated or slowed many age related diseases for those that can afford them. However human augmentation via neuroprosthetics, bionics and digital implants hasn’t just been confined to the elderly. The Olympics Committee is debating the introduction of an augmented category, though purists question how different this really is from doping. The sports industry has had to adapt significantly over the past 10 years to accommodate the now blurred boundaries between the virtual and physical world owing to mainstream embedded devices and programmable surfaces.

The generational divides in 2051 are distinct societal fissures; those that have retired are among the last to have followed a traditional and linear career path compared to the middle aged well versed in a career of multiple chapters and directions. Meanwhile children are having to prepare for a world in which generating economically valuable outputs may only be the remit of a small percentage of humans or a very small percentage of time. If generating economic output isn’t a prerequisite to opportunity and a good quality of life, what occupies this generation’s time and how do they sit with it comfortably? What defines their character and success? Debates on the answer fall firmly into three camps — chasing extreme experiences, spending more time in the metaverse or connecting more closely to community. The sceptic would argue Artificial General Intelligence will never happen and the debate is redundant, or at least a privilege of those not negatively impacted by a growing digital divide.

Internal combustion vehicles can be seen on the roads, but increasingly rarely and they’re a nightmare to refuel. Level 4 autonomy is now pretty common, particularly for delivery vehicles. Some megacities have ridehail and delivery combined vehicles with passengers seated at the front and cargo lockers at the back. They’re the cheapest transit choice for Mobility as a Service, but rarely the most direct. Today, a commercial trip to space will set you back the equivalent of a 10 day all inclusive trip to the Maldives in 2021, but getting a space balloon is a far cheaper but less comfortable alternative.

Pick of the headlines: Formula 1 Concludes its Final Ever Season, Amanda Gormon confirms she’s running for President, Upgrade to DNA data storage today!

Elsewhere in the industry

  • Walmart invests in AV company Cruise as part of $2.75 billion funding round — CNBC
  • Ocado invests £10 million in UK AV company Oxbotica — The Guardian
  • Didi abandoned $1 billion acquisition of Aurora — The Information
  • Grab to go public via largest ever SPAC deal — The FT
  • Ferrari to release an EV by 2025 — Engadget
  • Mercedes teases the new EQT minivan — electrek
  • Audi E-tron release a video game projection concept — Core77
  • Amazon is opening a hair salon — The Amazon Blog
  • Rivian will launch its own insurance programme — TechCrunch
  • Battery recycling company Li-Cycle are opening their third factory — electrive
  • LEVC announces entry into Poland’s commercial vehicle and taxi market — LEVC
  • Volta Trucks consider a factory near Barcelona — electrive
  • Lyft launches healthcare transportation programme — The Verge
  • Hyundai partners with Uber — Hyundai
  • The US will halve its emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 — MIT Technology Review

Miscellaneous

There are 39,198 McDonald’s McFlurry machines worldwide. Despite their ubiquity and apparent poor usability, they can only be serviced by trained technicians from the food-equipment giant Taylor who lump franchisees with large maintenance fees. At any one time approximately 15% of all McFlurry machines are broken. The contents of the McFlurry machine are proprietary and top secret, or at least were until a couple devised a gadget called Kytch to perform predictive and preventative maintenance on the troublesome machines. A straightforward right-to-repair hack this may seem, but following the couple’s innovative handiwork the legal barrage from Taylor’s has been more than frosty. Get the whole scoop here.

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Fully Charged, ex-Arrival Ltd —Sustainability, Mobility, Tech, Books and anything in between

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Imogen Pierce

Imogen Pierce

Fully Charged, ex-Arrival Ltd —Sustainability, Mobility, Tech, Books and anything in between

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