Weekly Roundup

Posted March 18th 2016


Connected Driving

  • Lyft and GM attract new drivers with cheap rentals: Lyft and GM, under its car-sharer brand “Maven,” will launch a short-term car rental service for Lyft drivers in Chicago. The ultimate aim of the service is to enable more people to become drivers. GM will maintain a fleet of Chevy Equinoxes for the rental program, while both companies will cover the cost of insurance together. Lyft drivers will be able to rent a vehicle based on a three-tiered pricing structure based on how many rides they complete each week. [via Fast Company
  • Google makes ridesharing an integral part of maps: Google Maps makes it easy for users to compare different ways of getting around: driving a car, taking public transportation, walking, or bicycling, for example. A few years ago, Uber integration — complete with estimates for pricing and length of ride — was added to give riders another option. Now, alongside the addition of five new ride-sharing partners across five countries, Google is giving ride-sharing its very own tab in Maps, alongside bicycling, walking, and driving. Those companies include 99Taxis in Brazil, Ola Cabs in India, Hailo in the UK and Spain, mytaxi in Germany and Spain, and Gett in the UK. [via The Verge
  • Waze knows your schedule, tells you when to leave: The new option allows you to tell the app when you need to reach your destination, and it will then alert you as to when you should leave, while taking into consideration things like expected traffic conditions, aggregated traffic history, and more. The feature can also optionally integrate with your calendar and Facebook Events, which is even more useful. [via TechCrunch
  • Ford’s new app helps you park when you get there: The premise of GoPark is simple. Using an algorithm, the app distils convoluted parking rules down to three pieces of information: Can you park here? If so, for how long? And how much will it cost? The app’s interface shows a street map with your car’s location, which is found using the phone’s GPS or an internet-connected dongle that plugs into the car’s onboard diagnostic port. A green or red overlay visually denotes if you can park in a location. [via Wired



  • GoogleHigh-tech millennial lifestyle inspires micro apartment boom: From Seattle to Portland, and from Denver to Austin, new tech hubs are prospering. Many of them are filling up with emigres from the Bay Area who simply couldn’t afford to work in tech there any longer. But it’s not just the workers themselves who are spreading their wings. The lifestyle trends pioneered by a new generation of tech millennials, and by technology itself, are also spreading from coast to coast. And that is influencing housing trends. Millennials are demanding an “on-demand lifestyle” that values location over square footage and amenities. They want to be close to the city center, close enough to walk, bike, or rely on public transportation. [via Curbed]
  • A new type of living solution for young professionals: WeWork—best known for its communal workspaces—transformed 20 floors of an office building [in NYC] into a new type of living solution for young professionals, who are flocking to cities at a higher rate than previous generations despite skyrocketing urban rent. WeLive makes it easy for tenants to commit by forgoing long-term leases, and it eases the transition by equipping every room with furniture, free Wi-Fi, and even friends. WeLive is like Dorm 2.0: It employs community managers who welcome residents and guests at the front desk; offers an app that combines features from both Facebook and a real-life bulletin board to help tenants keep track of building activities; and hosts social events. [via Fast Company
  • Is self-management just a fad?: After four years, Medium is giving up on Holacracy, the avant-garde management system it used as an alternative to the traditional office hierarchy. Medium lists a series of “challenges” it faced while using Holacracy, all of which boil down to a familiar problem: It was too complicated. Medium found it “difficult to coordinate efforts at scale,” got bogged down in the record-keeping, and had challenges overcoming the public perception of holacracy as cultish and weird. Shoe retailer Zappos, the biggest company to use holacracy, has reportedly had similar struggles. About 18 percent of the workforce has taken buyouts offered by CEO Tony Hsieh to anyone who doesn’t want to work within the management structure. [via Bloomberg


Youth Culture

  • American teens are more open-minded on issues of gender and sexuality: A new survey of young Americans aged 13- to 20-years-old (also known, in marketing-speak, as “Generation Z”) has found that they are far more open-minded and permissive than their older millennial counterparts when it comes to issues of gender and sexuality. Only 48% identify as exclusively heterosexual, compared to 65% of millennials aged 21 to 34. Over half said that they knew someone who went by gender-neutral pronouns such as “they,” “them,” or “ze.” Lastly, over a third of Gen Z respondents also strongly agreed that gender did not define a person as much as it used to. [via Vice
  • British youths are drinking less and jogging more: The number of drinkers among 16- to 24-year-olds has dropped sharply. Less than half of young people reported drinking anything in the previous week, compared with two-thirds of 45- to 64-year-olds. Various theories have been floated: changes in religion and ethnicity, changes wrought by social media, student loans, but health appears to be the most common reason given for this abstemiousness. [via The Guardian
  • Where are all the art punks? Every generation of artists has defined itself by rebellion. So where are the Generation Y revolutionaries? In the age of “hypercapitalism”, the tentacles of the corporate world extend further into our lives than ever before. Even the words that were once used to signify creative rebellion – DIY, pop-up, grassroots, punk – have been co-opted to sell coffee. But, there is now a growing movement working fluidly with both physical objects and digital platforms such as social media websites, and creating work that reappropriates and even hijacks the corporate, tech and art worlds from the inside out. [via The Guardian]


Big Data Predictions

  • Banksy identified by scientists. Maybe.: Though his profile has continued to grow as his artwork has appeared in public view around the world — and regularly sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars — his true identity has never been officially confirmed. But researchers appear to have advanced a theory first put forth in 2008 by The Daily Mail linking the artist to a man named Robin Gunningham. The scientists used a variation of a forensic technique called geographic profiling, originally developed to help law enforcement authorities track down criminals. The method involves running a set of crime locations through an algorithm to establish an area in which an offender likely lives. It doesn’t solve crimes on its own, but helps investigators narrow down lists of suspects. [via New York Times]
  • How ‘digital exhaust’ can predict gun violence: Unveiled at the SXSW technology festival, a group of data scientists and activists have demonstrated for the first time a new way to predict and study gun violence using social media. Scraping Tweets, Google searches, obituaries and local news, they’ve created a livesteam of gun-related discussion and a map of violence and geo-tagged posts. By reading this “digital exhaust” of data they hope to create “digital phenotypes” and understand how people are behaving around guns, when and why. [via The Guardian]