Three industries set to be utterly defeated by self driving cars

Reading the announcement today about Google’s self driving car prototype, I couldn’t help but think of three industries being completely disrupted.

Self Driving Car PrototypeImage Source: Google

The first one that has been discussed a bit so far is that of car insurance. With a significant reduction in car accidents, the car insurance industry is set to be out of business.

The second one, which is less obvious is how Uber and other taxi dispatch services will completely kill the current taxi industry business model. Uber is Google Ventures’ largest investment, and I can see why. We will likely find a situation where taxi drivers will be out of jobs, and effectively taxi dispatching technology providers will extend their software to self-driving cars.

Thirdly, the breathalyzer industry which is worth $55Bn in the US alone will have its own drop in business. You don’t need to check whether someone has had too much alcohol before or during driving.

I have no doubt there will be other industries that will have a similar impact including positive impact. For example imagine an app ecosystem for entertainment in the car.

Honesty is more important than being the best

Social media has implicitly changed the way we interact with people.

We socially follow lives of more people than we engage with. We use more messaging than calling. We easily curate things we find interesting for our “friends” to see.

However there is one change in how we communicate I find quite fascinating.

Cyanide and Happiness Honesty Internet Art Comic

Cyanide and Happiness Honesty Internet Art Comic

Image Source: Cyanide and Happiness

Celebrities are now able to communicate directly with their fans. This is without any filters in between. They are able to control this message, usually with honesty. Honesty also applies when a trusted friend makes a good point or shares something you agree with.

Honesty is the new black. No spin, just honest.

This now extends to businesses and the way they communicate online. Traditionally all the online content or profile building is usually geared towards how they are the “best”. But without realising, recently, there has been a bridge building towards how an organisation is “honest”. They don’t necessarily blow their own trumpet but let the work speak for itself. They don’t scream about their awards, but showcase the LinkedIn profiles of their employees.

I am not necessarily clear whether honestly still “sells” as well. I certainly believe though people are more likely to give you a go if you are honest, rather than the self-proclaimed “best”.

Android will power Nest

I read a story in Quartz today that shared that Nest will be bigger than Android.

Android KitKat logoImage Source: Google

I agree with the author that Nest will be huge for Google but I don’t think this is about Android v/s Nest. The recent announcements around Android powering cars are a strong indicator of where Android is going. It already powers Chromecast and Google Glass.

I believe we are more likely to see Android power the next generation of connected devices including the ones Nest has already built. Android will power Nest, not compete with it within the Google ecosystem.

The real question is whether you will need a Google+ account?

The changing definition of privacy

One of the biggest news stories of 2013 has been the Edward Snowden revelations. What I think is most interesting about this story is the lack of reaction from the world’s population.

No riots, no sit downs, no #occupyNSA! An online outcry, a few petitions and your standard 15-20 people gatherings summed up the non-media reaction. And yes, NSA is now getting a review – basically a slap on the wrist.

In someways this was inevitable. I am actually surprised that it took NSA about 15 years after the Internet became mainstream to monitor all Internet traffic. But on the flip side most people have generally expected companies and governments to monitor their activity online.

Usually if I am physically signing agreements I tend to read them, get a second opinion, be thorough and negotiate before I put ink to paper. In contrast, the number of times I accept terms and conditions online without reading should have resulted in some jail time for me by now. Or at least, my email address and data has probably been sold 150 times.

Before GMail when spam filters were not that good, without thinking much, I created one email address specifically for signing up with websites. I kept my email id for personal correspondence separate. Inadvertently my definition of privacy had already changed in my early years of using the Internet.

Of course, today the monitoring and tracking is at a whole new level. However, I think people see it as a trade-off.

I get to connect with people so I am happy to share my details. I want to browse fast so you can know what I search for. I need to get to a location so you can know how and when I get there.

Being aware that you need to let go of your information for an easier life, at least for the larger population is now acceptable. I suspect people, especially the ones born after 1990 who have never seen life without the Internet, don’t see an alternative.

So what does this mean for privacy? I’d say the new outlook seems to have put the onus on businesses and government to play their part. While the recent revelations don’t help, I believe people expect organisations to use the information, however to not mis-use it. There is an expectation that you will not be mis-represented. And that a user’s digital footprint will reflect what the user wants the world to see.

Also it is not about whether you want your information out there – it is now about how much. Everyone’s definition of how much of their life needs to be private is now their own hand-drawn line. As a result what you loose ends up being a result of what you are ok to loose to begin with.

This changes the rules and I think the privacy landscape will continue to change. The question is at what point do people stop caring completely?