1. THERE ARE MORE THAN 24 HOURS IN A DAY
You’re probably wondering what to do with all that extra time you’ll be saving when your autonomous car is doing all the driving for you. Well, Audi has framed this bonus time as “the 25th hour” and partnered with Disney on a “very specific plan” to pounce on an entirely new medium: autotainment. What will you be streaming on your morning commute?
2. OLD PEOPLE ARE NOT WAITING TO DIE
With employers currently struggling to find workers, many are turning to the most seasoned demographic in our workforce: senior citizens. As they hit retirement, seniors may be as readily available as their teenage counterparts, only they are much more experienced. Which means employers like fast food joints get way more bang for their buck hiring these low-wage, life-trained employees. With companies recruiting at places like senior centers, churches, and AARP, older Americans have become the fastest growing segment in the U.S. workforce. Could grandma do your job?
3. YOUR VOICE DOES MATTER
Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home are already doing some pretty cool things (like therapy, for example), but could they decide our next president? “The art of SEO” is the next political frontier as campaign advertisers will need to be smart on smart speakers to ensure their message is getting out (and in the way they intended).
4. WOMEN ARE NOT WAITING TO BE KISSED
When it comes to the portrayal of women, Hollywood has historically got it wrong. Shocker? No. But what is shocking is how we act like it’s dramatically improved, when it’s actually just evolved. While Hollywood portrayals may not be as carelessly misogynistic as they were in early films, too many have simply morphed into modern cartoon versions of themselves that still perpetuate an imbalanced power dynamic. Every film we watch is a course on life, so we should mindful of classes we’re taking.
5. THE INTERNET IS NOT FOREVER
The Wayback Machine, the digital archive of the internet, has helped us maintain some accountability online, knowing that our websites would be recorded forever. As of late though, Wayback’s integrity has been brought into question as the non-profit has begun to more readily respond to take-down requests, proving that our internet behavior may be forgotten (or lobbied for removal) after all. Our society maintains libraries that preserve our view of the world as it stands on paper. Should an increasingly digital society be prioritizing the archival of the world wide web? (PS. We wrote last time about digital footprints, too!)
6. SILICON VALLEY IS NOT THE INNOVATION CENTER OF THE WORLD
If you follow the money (or Venture Capital), it’s fleeing San Francisco and moving to new cities around the world. While Silicon Valley brought us household names like Apple, Google, and YouTube, silicon cities are flourishing globally and America’s dominance appears to be giving way to new tech megacenters like Beijing and Bangalore. Next time you’re wondering where the next unicorn is coming from, you may have to look further than you think.
7. E-WASTE IS NOT GARBAGE
Olympic medals are trash. Or at least they will be. The medals for Japan’s 2020 Olympics will be made entirely out of old cell phones. Our upgrade culture has led to mountains of electronic waste, or e-waste. Where some see trash, others see gold mines–literally, there are “grams of gold, palladium or other valuable metals in each device.” Urban mining, the process of salvaging e-waste, has been discussed for some years now, but the unconventional source for Olympic medals is a high impact proof of concept.
8. TOYS ARE NOT JUST FOR FUN
In this imaginative video, Chuck Hoberman (the inventor of that cool retractable science sphere thing you’ve played with a couple times) reveals the possibilities of dynamic design. A designer-turned-toymaker, Hoberman shows us how toys and origami are inspiring shapeshifting design in everything from architecture to nanotech.
TAKEAWAY: This month we’re questioning beliefs we thought we would always know to be true, proving that norms, no matter how rigid, can be unlearned. Whether it’s a matter of reframing them in a new way, disproving them though data, or completely flipping them on their head, conventions are only the norm until someone challenges them.