Think Cheaper: Advances in battery technology continue to drive down the cost of electric vehicles. The vehicles are not yet “cheap” by most people’s standards but the falling price suggests that they will soon be more affordable than conventional internal combustion automobiles.
Think in Questions: A new robotics startup, Figure, is attempting to create the first ever “general purpose humanoid robot.” (Think of Rosie the Robot from the Jetson’s) The article is interesting but at one point the CEO gushes that his technology will help eliminate “undesirable” jobs. My question is this: From whose perspective is a job undesirable? A CEO might find a job undesirable because he/she has to pay a worker a salary, whereas the person doing the job–be it a janitor, trucker driver or warehouse worker–might find the job quite desirable because it provides meaning and dignity to their life.
Think Different: One innovative start-up is now making ultra-strong building construction material out of grass–yes, grass! If the North Carolina-based company, Plantd, is successful it could have a major impact on CO2 emissions. This is because 8 percent of the world’s CO2 comes from the construction industry.
Think Harder: This New York Times article, The Era of Urban Supremacy is Over, offers a sobering look at the future of major U.S. cities. One possible solution is to transform office high-rises into affordable housing. Unfortunately, as this article suggests, the transition is neither easy nor cheap.
Think Visually: This chart from The Economist is an eye-opener. Before the introduction of opioids in the late 1990’s “deaths of despair” among middle-age white men was dropping. Since then, the rates have skyrocketed. Coincidence?
Afterthought: “It is idle, having planted an acorn in the morning, to expect that afternoon to sit in the shade.” –Antoine de Saint Exupery