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No one should ever buy a car again. Here’s why.

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Thanks to the miracle of CGI, our culture has become used to imagining some pretty wild things: vast superhero battles, space armadas, planet-killing lasers. But I’m willing to bet you still have difficulty picturing a much more likely future scene: your neighborhood with zero parked cars in it.

Just imagine for a minute, how much visual clutter that would remove. No obnoxious SUVs at odd angles, half-on, half-off the sidewalk, squeezing out pedestrians. No driveways stuffed with vehicles in various states of rusting; heck, no need for driveways at all. Every so often you’d see a sleek driverless car pulling up at a neighbor’s house, or trundling along doing the speed limit. But as a constant visual reminder, cars would be gone.

In their absence, people might be more inclined to beautify their homes, expand their flowerbeds, revitalize their stoops. Maybe the concept of parklets will expand from city centers to suburbs. You’d actually get to see your neighbors when they’re not doing the re-parking dance on street-cleaning days. On the whole, the world will start to feel like it has more room to breathe in the streets.

This relatively auto-free utopia is closer than you think. Driverless cars are barreling down on us from all directions. Their business models are already clear. You’ll either subscribe to a car service or pay per use, because it makes no sense to sell you a vehicle that you don’t use 95 percent of the time when companies can make tons more money loaning the same inventory to everyone.

To be clear, consumers will still be able to buy a Tesla, but the clearing price will rise significantly, as a fully autonomous car that can function as a robotaxi is several times more valuable than a non-autonomous car

Ever-growing fleets of smart vehicles will eventually make ownership obsolete. The wait for a car to be hailed will keep going down, until it becomes almost always faster and cheaper to get a ride anywhere than to bother with parking and walking to your destination. In many city centers, that tipping point has already been reached. Even now, buying a car makes little economic or environmental sense, and it will make less sense with each passing year.

So why would you ever do it again?

The shift to autonomous vehicles does not just rely on those innovative headline-grabbing upstarts, Waymo (which already has a live robotaxi service in Chandler, Ariz.) and Tesla (Musk likes to boast that his cars are mostly autonomous, and just a few software updates away from being fully autonomous). Ford is testing driverless cars in cities like Pittsburgh, Miami, and D.C., and Volkswagen has self-driving Golfs zipping around Hamburg, Germany. General Motors is just waiting for the government’s permission to unleash a driverless Bolt.

The driverless car will change society as profoundly in the 21st century as the horseless carriage did in the 20th, in ways we’re only just starting to see. For one thing, around 1.35 million people around the world per year will not lose their lives, which in itself is a cause for celebration. (That number includes people killed in auto accidents; it doesn’t count asthma deaths caused by car pollution, which will also come down as the use of electric cars rises.)

We can look forward to the autonomous driving era as we would look forward to a ceasefire in humanity’s most destructive war. In some parts of the world, the public is already thinking that way, as shown in this new London survey:

The speed at which public sentiment is turning negative on car use in cities is mind-blowing. This is the new smoking. 3/4 now think we should reduce car use and road building. Double digits percentage points changes to most questions in only two (!) years. Cc @london_cycling

There are studies that suggest using autonomous vehicles makes us nicer and more selfless. More honest, too: We can finally spend our drivetimes legitimately gawping at our phones instead of being hypocrites who pretend that we’d never do such a thing.

As urban planners catch up with the new reality, cities will become way more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists. Lanes don’t need to be 12 feet wide when human drivers aren’t swaying all over them. We’ll only need a few strategically-placed parking lots of appropriate density, probably owned in common by the car service companies. Their vehicles can drive themselves there to charge up.

You’ll choose from a wide variety of rides dependent on your needs (Party bus for a boozy night out with friends? Sturdy sedan for a chauffeured and suddenly fashionable Sunday drive in the country?) as easily as you currently hail a Lyft or Uber. Freed from the constraints of drivers, cars will evolve into new and unrecognizable forms, rather like the vehicle just unveiled by GM subsidiary and brash San Francisco robotaxi company, Cruise:

With rivals like Cruise and San Francisco robot startup, Zoox, promising to eat their lunches on ever-lower fares, the ride-sharing giants are planning to ditch their human drivers as soon as possible. Lyft already has autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas (although a safety driver is still in the car). Uber’s self-driving program tentatively went back on the road nine months after a fatal crash in Arizona. With the future of the company riding on it, Uber couldn’t afford not to.

Basic economic pressures will make the shift to robotaxis, sadly for drivers. But the upside is that basic economics will also make car ownership even more unattractive than it currently is.

Why buy?

Already, the rideshare-hailing generation sees less need to own. The average monthly car payment in the U.S. is $545, and that doesn’t factor in paying for parking. It doesn’t work for you, and it doesn’t work for the automaker, which will make more money on subscriptions or per-use services.

Future generations will think us nuts for plowing so much of our paychecks into paying off five-year loans on dangerous hunks of metal that lose their value every minute. (Most vehicles already depreciate by as much as 40 percent after 5 years; as a nation’s fleet grows increasingly autonomous, the resale value of non-autonomous cars seems like it might collapse completely.)

Future generations will be right. Especially when the fuel that powers most of those hefty hunks of metal does incredible harm to the planet, what on Earth were we thinking, encouraging manufacturers to make more of them? Not all autonomous vehicles currently being tested are electric, but none are ever going to fill themselves up with gas — so, over time, it makes sense that they’ll all go electric for self-charging purposes.

In the U.S., dealerships make money on servicing your vehicle as well as selling it to you in the first place, which may help explain why the percentage of electric vehicles they sell is currently declining: There’s less incentive for salespeople to push cars with fewer parts that require less maintenance overall. Another factor is that there’s a lull in government subsidies for EVs in the U.S. right now; China is not making the same mistake.

In short, something is rotten in the state of car ownership. It is a dinosaur business that will die out in the same way that owning media on CDs and DVDs died out in the 2000s: slowly, then all at once.

So in the meantime, even in a pre-autonomous world, why participate in the system at all? That $545 average monthly payment breaks down to about $27 per weekday (again, not factoring in parking costs, or vacation time, or work from home days).

Even if you have no public transit options whatsoever, you can probably already get to the office and back in a rideshare for less than that (especially if you’re actually, y’know, sharing the ride).

And if it costs a little more…well, isn’t it worth a few bucks to avoid the hassle of driving at the crankiest hour of the morning, expending your precious caffeinated mental energy on judging which lane of slow-moving traffic is the slowest? Or the hassle of having to limit your intake at after-work drinks to a beer or two?

When it comes to car rentals for weekend trips, your options are multiplying. We’re not just talking companies like Hertz or Dollar, or their 2000s counterparts like Zipcar and Car2Go. All require you to go through the hassle of picking up your rental at a specific location.

The near-term future of car rental probably looks more like Kyte, a startup that will deliver a vehicle to your front door. For now, Kyte still needs a driver to make the delivery and make her own way home — but as with all else in the world of cars, humans will not be required for long.

No one is pretending this brave new world won’t come at a cost in terms of employment. We can only hope for a transition smooth enough to allow for the retraining of professional drivers, which governments should make a priority. But the benefits are incalculable: millions of fewer deaths, less road infrastructure, more livable cities. The future will offer us all the chance to inhabit a cleaner, greener, nicer neighborhood — no CGI (or CO2) required.

Adopted from Mashable’s Don’t @ me

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The biggest crypto scams of 2022 – according to Mashable

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We’re only six months into 2022 and billions of dollars in cryptocurrency have already been pillaged and plundered.

While the value of cryptocurrency stolen is stunning, not everything is solely about the money. Last year, Mashable looked into the biggest crypto scams of 2021. Yes, some big bucks were being funneled via various scams and schemes included on that list. However, sometimes the audacity and uniqueness of some of these scams and hacks – perpetrated by people who only walk away with six figures worth of stolen crypto  — are worth mentioning to.

So, without any further ado, here are some of the biggest and boldest frauds, swindles, and rackets in cryptocurrency from 2022 thus far.

1. Ukraine rug pulls donors (for good reason!)

One of these scams is not like the others and it’s this one: When the government of Ukraine rug pulled its donors. However, it needs to be included because it’s honestly so great: a rare “good” scam.

In February of 2022, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Ukrainian government quickly decided to accept donations in the form of cryptocurrencies to take advantage of the big pockets in the crypto space who are always looking to pump their coins and generate good press.

While a decent number of donations came in at first, the crypto started to pour in after Ukraine announced an airdrop to those who donated via the Ethereum network. An airdrop is basically when crypto wallet holders are sent freebies, usually in the form of crypto tokens or NFTs. As Ukraine put it, they were essentially sending donors a “reward” for donating.

Enter the bad-faith actors. People started sending a slew of crypto donations to Ukraine to take advantage of the airdrop. Around 60,000 transactions were made on the Ethereum blockchain to Ukraine in less than 2 days. According to Ukrainian officials, individuals started to send minuscule sums of money just so they could register in time to receive the airdrop. Ostensibly, these individuals were looking to profit off of a country in wartime by receiving a “reward” more valuable than whatever they donated to flip the freebie for quick profits.

Ukraine decided to cancel the airdrop, just days after it was announced. Some donors who were looking for those profits cried “scam.” And, technically, this is what’s known as a rug pull. A rug pull is when a crypto developer makes promises to raise funds, then abandons the project while walking away with all the liquidity.

But, this is a truly unique situation. Ukraine was trying to fundraise, thought they’d thank donors who meant well, then pulled the plug when they realized people were trying to take advantage of the situation. The donations still went to a charitable cause though.  So, let’s call this a rug pull for good. And that’s why it’s at the top of the list.

2. Axie Infinity hacked, $615 million stolen

Would you notice if someone stole $615 million from you? Sky Mavis, the company behind the most popular crypto game Axie Infinity sure didn’t!

In March, hackers discovered an exploit on the Ronin blockchain, which is the Ethereum-based sidechain that Axie Infinity runs on. To make matters worse, the exploit was a result of what was supposed to be a temporary change initiated by Sky Mavis in December that lowered security protocols. Things weren’t reverted and the hackers were able to take advantage of the situation just months later.

How did Sky Mavis finally discover they were missing hundreds of millions of dollars? A user tried to withdraw their funds and was unable to because the liquidity was no longer there.

Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn crypto game that requires users to purchase expensive NFTs before playing. Once they acquire those NFTs, they can then earn real money in the form of crypto from playing the game. However, due to the high cost of entry, users who can’t afford the NFTs often find themselves wrapped up in exploitative “scholarships” that require them to split the profits with other users who lend out these high costs NFTs that are needed to play.

Nonetheless, in countries like the Philippines, play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity have become popular as users can earn the equivalent of an average salary in their country. Those users, unfortunately, found out that their earnings were inaccessible due to the hack.

Axie Infinity has since raised $125 million to reimburse its users for stolen funds. But, that’s a far cry from the $625 million they lost. As for that money, they’re likely never going to get that back. The U.S. government believes that the hack was carried out by a group based in North Korea.

3. Day of Defeat, red flags everywhere

Does an investment that promises a 10,000,000 x price increase sound too good to be true to you? No, my zero key did not get stuck. That’s exactly what the Day of Defeat token promised. And plenty of people bought in.

Molly White is the creator of Web3 Is Going Great, a website that tracks all of the scams and grifts in the space daily. When I reached out to her to see what crypto scams stuck out to her so far this year, she pointed me to Day of Defeat. She called it one of the projects with “some of the biggest red flags I’ve ever seen.” And she’s seen a lot.

The developers of Day of Defeat called the project a “radical social experiment” that was “mathematically designed to give holders 10,000,000X PRICE INCREASE.” On top of that, they touted a “Mystery Plan” (come on!) that would be rolled out in June of next year that would further see the price of the token increase by 1,000,000. In a FAQ on the Day of the Defeat website, they answered a question concerning their access to the pool of funds, which they said they would “promise” not to redeem. A promise!

Well, guess what? It appears that they broke that promise. In May, the project rug pulled after $1.35 million was pulled out, causing the token’s value to drop by more than 96 percent. As Molly pointed out, it’s unlikely even the people who made off with that $1.35 million did not see those crazy returns that were promised. If they did, their investment would’ve needed to be less than 14 cents.

4. BBC tricked into promoting alleged crypto scammer

Everyone loves a rags-to-riches story. Apparently, the BBC loved this one so much, that they failed to properly look into the individual in question, who traded in his rags for riches by crypto scamming.

In February, the BBC ran an article about a local Birmingham crypto investor, Hanad Hassan. The piece claimed that Hassan put £50 into crypto last year and was able to turn it into millions! That wasn’t all. The article also covered how Hassan wanted to use his newfound wealth to help people within the community.

One problem: The internet was full of people who claimed Hassan had scammed them.

In April 2021, Hassan launched a “charity token” called Orfano. In addition to being a crypto investment, it would set aside 3 percent of the funds to support charity projects. This is a common tactic in crypto rug pulls to make investors feel like they’re doing something legitimate and good with their money. Months later, Orfano abruptly shut down, taking everyone’s investments with them. There was no way for users to withdraw any of their money.

A month later, Hassan relaunched Orfano as OrfanoX and once again did the same thing to new investors in this token. And now the BBC was going to herald his “good fortunes!”

 

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How to change your camera tools setting on Instagram

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Looking to up your Instagram Story game? Camera Tools are a good place to start.

If you don’t know what Camera Tools are or if you are looking to change the position of camera tools, you’ve home to the right place. We’ve got all your questions surrounding camera tools covered.

Instagram camera tools are the toolbar options that pop up when you go to post an Instagram Story. The toolbar is made up of different functions that can help you post different types of Instagram Stories. It includes the Create mode, Boomerang, Layout, Hands-Free, Multi-Capture, and Level.

How to access Instagram camera tools:

1. Open Instagram

2. Tap on your profile picture in the upper left corner

3. Tap “Camera”

Screenshot of Instagram

Tap Camera to access Camera Tools. Credit: Screenshot / Instagram

4. The camera tools are found on the left side of the screen.

5. Tap the arrow to see the full list of Camera Tools

Screenshot of Instagram Camera Tools.

Tap the arrow to see the full list of Camera Tools. Credit: Screenshot / Instagram

When you tap the arrow the full list of Camera Tools will be revealed.

Screenshot of Instagram's Camera Tools.

The full list of Camera Tools includes Hands-Free, Multi-Capture, and Level. Credit: Screenshot / Instagram

How to change the position of Instagram camera tools:

The camera toolbar is automatically on the left hand side of your screen, but you can change it to the right hand side of the screen in settings.

1. Tap the gear in the upper right corner of the Instagram Story screen

Screenshot of Instagram's Camera Tools.

Tap the gear to access Instagram Story settings. Credit: Screenshot / Instagram

2. Locate “Camera Tools”

3. Tap the white circle next to “Right Side”

Screenshot of Instagram Story settings

Tap the white circle to change the orientation of Camera Tools. Credit: Screenshot / Instagram

The blue circle next to Right Side indicates that Camera Tools will be on that side of the screen.

Screenshot of Instagram Story settings

The blue circle indicates the orientation of the Camera Tools toolbar. Credit: Screenshot / Instagram

4. Select “Done” in the upper right hand corner

Screenshot of Instagram Story settings

Select Done. Credit: Screenshot / Instagram

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10 things you should never do on Twitter

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Whether you’re strictly business or getting personal on Twitter, keeping your Tweets attractive and followable requires a little attention to detail. And gaining followers isn’t as easy as losing them. Socialbakers has listed ten common Twitter mistakes you should avoid.

1. Don’t overdo it.

Excessive tweeting and self-promotion are among the many faux pas that will get you unfollowed or reported for spam. They come in three all too typical varieties:

Binge posting: There’s nothing more annoying than a column of Tweets all from the same person (or brand) posted in three minutes.

The multi-tweet: Remember this is a microblogging service. Being brief is the name of the game. If you need more than 140 characters to get your point across, then write it out in a blog and Tweet the link.

Pointless Direct Messaging (DM): There’s no need to send direct messages to new followers thanking them for their interest. Especially if you use this opportunity to direct their attention to your website or blog, you’ll see that follow quickly revoked.

2. Don’t keep the default profile photo.

On the Internet as in real life, first impressions are almost always visual, and your profile photo can set the tone for your content. So don’t stick with Twitter’s default profile image. Whether you’re Tweeting for your personal or professional brand, your profile image and cover photo should be well lit, cropped and optimized for web use.

3. Don’t abuse the hashtag.

The # symbol has had its own little renaissance thanks to Twitter. Hashtagging keywords or topics in your tweets is an effective means of tracking and participating in events, conversation and disaster recovery. But before you publish that Tweet, search your hashtags to make sure the results, if any, are consistent with your message.

And don’t add too many! A litter of hashtags will just cloud your message and make your tweet difficult to read. Lastly, avoid using the hashtag merely for #emphasis or #context#Itsdumb.

https://twitter.com/BrandTweetFails/statuses/248492979696857088

4. Don’t just auto-tweet.

If you’re on several social networks, change up your message and technique for each one, especially since they offer different formatting options. When Tweeting from another website (to share their content on your timeline) you’ll often have the Tweet written for you. Edit that Tweet and give it a bit of your own style before publishing.

5. Don’t forget your is not you’re.

Grammar and spelling mistakes significantly reduce the impact of your content. Take a minute to proof read your Tweet. It’s not just your content’s readability and attractiveness at stake, but repeated errors can get you ignored or reported for spam; not to mention being ridiculed by Twitter’s grammar police.

6. Don’t get involved in debates.

You won’t have the last word on Twitter, because there is no last word on Twitter! So don’t get involved in drawn out, heated debates. Make your point (concisely!) and disagree amicably if needed.

Tweeting your brand can be tricky when tempers flare. But one directive is to never, ever go on the offense. And never use abusive, threatening language (that should really go without saying). If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to draw up some social media guidelines for your team to follow.

7. Don’t be shy.

The more you Tweet, the more likely you’ll be Retweeted and replied to, building your audience on the social network. (Just avoid the habits discussed in point 1.) Keep your profile complete, accurate and updated. Tweeting regularly (with great content, of course) will attract more followers faster.

8. Don’t beg.

If you’re going to ask for a Retweet, do it right.

9. Don’t pretend your account has been hacked.

There have been some moderate (and debatable) success stories, like Chipotle’s fake hack. But follower backlash can generate a whirlwind of negative PR. It’s a risky move especially with today’s cyber sensitive headlines. So if you’re going to do it, at least be creative enough to give it a concept, or some clue that it’s a prank.

10. Don’t Facebook on Twitter.

Every social network has its own etiquette, terminology and sub cultures. If Facebook is one big living room, Twitter is one big cocktail party. So strive to be personable but avoid overly personal topics. Just stay on your beat and write (and Retweet) relevant and interesting content. This and the preceding don’ts should keep your followers multiplying and anticipating your next Tweet.

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