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18 Oct 17:12

Air New Zealand partners with Zephyr Airworks on autonomous electric air taxi service

by Ryan Ghee

The following article was published by Future Travel Experience

Cora is an air taxi designed and built by Kitty Hawk. It combines electric power, self-piloting software and vertical take-off.

Cora is an air taxi designed and built by Kitty Hawk (operated by Zephyr Airworks in New Zealand). It combines electric power, self-piloting software and vertical take-off to pioneer a new way to fly. (Image: Cora/Kitty Hawk)

Air New Zealand and Zephyr Airworks have signed an agreement to work collaboratively on bringing an autonomous electric air taxi service to market in New Zealand.

The agreement between the national carrier and the operator of Cora, which claims to be the world’s first autonomous electric air taxi, signals the intention to form a long-term relationship to make autonomous, electric air travel a reality for all New Zealanders.

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon says the airline is committed to embracing new technologies that make life easier, as well as understanding the potential of cleaner energy solutions for travel.

“Zephyr Airworks is leading the way in re-defining personal mobility to make it easier for all of us to get around,” he said. “Zephyr Airworks’ innovative technology and commitment to New Zealand make them an ideal partner for advancing the future of travel in New Zealand.

“Both companies see the potential for our airspace to free people from the constraints of traffic and its associated social, economic and environmental impacts. Through the development of their autonomous electric air taxi Cora, the possibility of getting from A to B quickly and safely, and also relieving the impact of polluting emissions, is very real indeed.

“The announcement today is the start of a long-term relationship. We’ve been impressed with Zephyr Airworks’ innovative and considered approach and our core values are aligned when it comes to delivering reliable, convenient and sustainable air travel that will benefit all New Zealanders.”

Zephyr Airworks Chief Executive Fred Reid added: “Air New Zealand is one of Aotearoa’s best-known international brands. With its culture of innovation, high standards, and vision for a sustainable future, Air New Zealand is the perfect partner to help us reinvent mobility for everyday flight in New Zealand.

“One day, everyday people across the globe will be able to use Cora to bring flight into their lives. While we are not at that point yet, we are showing people what is possible. That is why we are excited to be drawing on Air New Zealand’s wealth of operational expertise in the New Zealand market.”

Working with New Zealand regulatory agencies, government, community, iwi and business, Zephyr Airworks is also connecting with local communities to make sure everyday flight becomes a reality for people around the world.

“With our aircraft Cora, we are building on eight years of research, development and leading 21st century technology. We are applying everything that revolutionised the world of communications to transport – we are showing people what is possible. There is also the long-term economic and environmental advantages that will benefit future generations,” Reid added.

 

Article originally published here:
Air New Zealand partners with Zephyr Airworks on autonomous electric air taxi service

18 Oct 16:58

Gondola Idea Linking Airport to Downtown Floated in San Diego

by Planetizen
As San Diego plans a major airport redevelopment, County Supervisor Ron Roberts is advocating an aerial cableway concept to connect the airport to downtown.
18 Oct 16:17

The toilets we hate to use

03 Oct 13:08

The plane that shrank the world

Boeing’s 747, the world’s first ‘jumbo jet’
01 Oct 13:11

Defining autonomous machine vision – A new category

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” These are the words of Buckminster Fuller, an architect, engineer and thinker who was passionate about inventing the future. Here Harel Boren, CEO of Autonomous Machine Vision specialist Inspekto, explains how Autonomous Machine Vision will invent the future of quality assurance (QA).
01 Oct 13:07

No time to lose: Equipping the future electricity grid

What will the future grid look like? What are the most promising technologies for increasing transmission capacity and flexibility? How can we integrate more energy from remote wind and solar farms? At the conference ‘Renewing the EU electricity grid: the Best Paths towards energy transition’, experts presented their research on technical solutions for efficient and powerful electricity transmission.

01 Oct 12:23

4 Industries That Are Being Disrupted by AI

by Andrew Medal
The top 100 AI startups of 2017 have raised $11.7 billion in aggregate funding across 367 deals.
01 Oct 12:16

A Remarkably Large Portion of Businesses Are Still Reluctant to Embrace Cloud Computing

by Eyal Lifshitz
Even the smallest businesses can benefit from readily available technology, so why won't they use it?
01 Oct 11:54

Toyota to Invest 10 Bln Yen in Fund for Renewable Energy-based Power Plants

Toyota Motor Corp will participate in Sparx Group Co Ltd's fund targeted at renewable energy-based power plants as an investor.
01 Oct 11:49

NHTSA study forecasts dangerous rise in world temperatures by 2100

by Jon Fingas
The Trump administration has accepted the scientific consensus of human-made global warming. However, it's not being used to push for tougher environmental regulations -- just the opposite, in fact. In a draft NHTSA environmental impact statement fo...
01 Oct 11:35

IBM is on a mission to remove prejudice from AI

by James Holloway

IBM's toolkit aims to make the decisions that affect our everyday lives fairer for everyone

Whether it's rating your credit history, offering you a job or even granting your parole, organizations are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence to automate that decision making. But if those AI algorithms use imperfect data and flawed assumptions, they inherit the biases and prejudices of the humans behind them. With its newly-announced AI Fairness 360 toolkit, IBM is throwing down the gauntlet. The toolkit is a sort of Swiss Army knife of algorithms, available to anyone, designed to eliminate that bias.

.. Continue Reading IBM is on a mission to remove prejudice from AI

Category: Computers

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01 Oct 11:03

Engineers study hovering bats and hummingbirds in Costa Rica

Engineers carted their extremely sensitive lab equipment to the forests of Costa Rica, where they teamed up with ecologists to meticulously record over 100 different bats and hummingbirds to learn more about hovering flight.
01 Oct 11:02

Fewer biofuels, more green space: Climate action researcher calls for urgent shift

Growing and harvesting bioenergy crops -- corn for ethanol or trees to fuel power plants, for example -- is a poor use of land, which is a precious resource in the fight against climate change, says a researcher.
01 Oct 10:52

VTOL Startup Takes Scheduled-Airline Approach To Short-Haul Market

Transcend Air defines an approach to intercity air travel that combines schedule services with tiltwing VTOL aircraft.

read more

28 Sep 20:12

Revista Science critica falta de verbas para ciência no Brasil e incêndio no museu

A edição desta sexta-feira (28) da revista Science, uma das publicações de divulgação científica mais renomadas internacionalmente, dedica dois artigos ao Brasil. Leia mais (09/28/2018 - 11h13)
28 Sep 20:01

MIT Solve selects new class of innovators for 2018

by Jacqueline Rayfield | MIT Solve

A group of 60 promising social entrepreneurs from around the globe convened in New York City at the MIT Solve Challenge Finals on Sept. 23 to pitch their solutions to four global Challenges: Coastal Communities, Frontlines of Health, Teachers and Educators, and Work of the Future.

The teams unveiled ideas ranging from sea urchin-fighting robots to a platform for multilingual books to a neonatal vital sign monitor to a virtual reality job training tool. After a long day of pitches and deliberation, four judging panels (made up of Solve’s Challenge Leadership Groups) selected 33 teams to form the 2018 Solver class, including:

The finals began with an engaging opening plenary session titled “Big Bold Optimism for Progress.”

“While there’s still much to be done in the world, we’ve made great progress in the last decades,” Alex Amouyel, Solve’s executive director, said to kick off the session. “We can do much more by taking risks and investing in innovation.”

Hala Hanna, Solve’s managing director of community, and David Moinina Sengeh SM '12, PhD '16, chief innovation officer for Sierra Leone, then began the first discussion of the day. The speakers focused on Solve’s core value: that even big challenges are solvable. But how?

“It’s about redirecting the money and the resources that are there now to supporting the people who are doing, who are coding, who are Solvers,” Sengeh said.

The Atlassian Foundation and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also announced an additional $2.6 million in follow-on funding for last year’s Youth, Skills, and the Workforce of the Future Solver teams during the opening plenary.

In the closing plenary, “Bridging the Pioneer Gap,” a panel of Noubar Afeyan of Flagship Pioneering, Cheryl Dorsey of Echoing Green, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations spoke about their common goal to close the pioneer gap and ensure that every great idea had the chance to flourish. During the discussion, which was moderated by Leslie Picker of CNBC, the panelists said that to accomplish this, innovators need more than just funding, they also need support.

“Many of the contestants came here and said partnerships are about capacity, about ideas, about exchange, and moral support,” said Okonjo-Iweala. “You can get far more from these networks and partnerships than just money.”

After the panel, the new Solver Class was announced, and five prizes were awarded.

Among them was the General Motors Prize for Advanced Technologies, which was presented by, Ken Kelzer, General Motors’ vice president of global vehicle components and subsystems.

“The optimism, the partnership, the open innovation, the focus on human solutions, and the desire to use technology to solve the world’s most pressing problems are all values that GM shares with MIT Solve,” Kelzer said.

This prize awards $100,000 to solutions that deploy advanced technologies within the Teachers and Educators and Work of the Future challenges, with the goal of advancing innovations that provide skills and jobs in the transportation sector. Kelzer and General Motors recognized the importance of strong schools and workers for the future of their own organization and awarded the generous prize to four Solver teams: Refactored.ai, Virtual Grasp, Livox, and TalkingPoints.

Four other organizations similarly supported new Solver teams. In total, $1 million in prize funding is available for the new Solver class, with a total of over $3.5 million in funding for current and new Solver teams. A full list of prizes and their recipients is available online. A livestream of the event is also available for viewing.

The new Solver class will spend the next year working closely with Solve to grow and improve their solutions through funding, mentorship, and support from the Solve community.

28 Sep 19:53

Laser-Carrying Airplanes Uncover Massive, Sprawling Maya Cities

by Sophia Chen
Using lidar, archaeologists have mapped the previously unseen ruins of entire Maya cities, revealing new details of their complex civilizations.
28 Sep 18:10

Darpa Goes Underground for Its Most Daring Robot Extravaganza Yet

by Matt Simon
Darpa is calling it the Subterranean Challenge, but you may as well call it the Death to All Robots Challenge.
28 Sep 17:50

Seven ways digital twins will affect your life in 2028 and beyond

by FuturistSpeaker

Recently I was given a behind-the-scenes tour of Siemens Robotics Lab in Princeton, NJ where they demonstrated digital twin technology on a self-organizing manufacturing process.

For those of you new to the concept, a digital twin is a virtual representation of a real-life physical product, building, or person. It can take the form of a chair, desk, lamp, house, or even your next-door neighbor. Any item that exists in the physical world can be replicated with a digital twin.


For anyone managing a business, digital twins offer unique insights into how products or processes are operating in real time, even from a remote location.

Yes, the concept of digital twins has been around for a while, with consulting groups like Gartner hailing it as a game-changing trend, but businesses have been slow to embrace it because its rather complicated to implement.

As an example, adding enough sensors to create a digital twin of a car will require not only digitally replicating the shape of the vehicle, but also the tires, seats, engine, and even mirrors. But things get far more complicated under the hood, where the inner workings of the engine will require a real-time simulation including every spark, explosion, and movement inside the cylinder block, pistons, crankshaft, valves, and plugs, capturing every distortion, wobble, glide pattern, and even the slightest bit of of friction happening in real time.

However, this level of intricacy doesn’t happen instantly. As we step from detail and accuracy to micro-detail and micro-accuracy, these super elaborate 3D models will enable us to visualize how our physical products are performing and changing in the moment. If something breaks down, we can instantly tell what went wrong. More important, we can begin to anticipate failure and devise preventative maintenance strategies to circumvent disasters before they occur.

Near Term Applications

Whenever I bring up the topic of digital twins in conversation, I usually get blank stares and quizzical looks. At this point the concept is not well known, yet over the coming years it will increasing become part of our daily lives.

Even those with some understanding have a hard time grasping the ROI (return on investment) potential. But over the next decade, even the term “digital twin” will likely disappear as it becomes as common as GPS, Facetime, and Spotify.

1.) Smart Home Command Centers

With the Internet of Things (IoT) entering our homes in new and usual ways, having a central command center becomes a logical extension of our need to monitor and manage our lifestyles.

Security systems, cable TV, Wi-Fi, solar, water, sprinklers, and heating & air conditioning are typically disjointed components of a modern home. Over the coming decade most homeowners will migrate to a central command center that grows in capability over time.

Digital twin technology will become an essential ingredient for our homes as they grow into the smart living organisms that are critical for managing the demands of the future.

Siemens demonstrating the digital twin of a manufacturing process

2.) Monitoring Equipment

Every ship, airplane, tractor, or turban in a power plant has the potential for being digitally replicated.

The single biggest problem with digital twins is that one size does not fit all. In other words, a new digital twin is needed for every single product that is produced and the process that creates them. That’s because every product, no matter how precisely it’s made, operates differently. This is especially true if humans are involved in the production.

Once we’re able to produce a virtual pairing with the physical world, we suddenly have the ability to analyze data streams and monitor systems so we can head off glitches before they occur, prevent interruptions, uncover new opportunities, and even test new strategies with quickly contrived digital models.

3.) Remote Robotics

Monitoring equipment in increasing levels of detail is just the first step towards redefining our new scope of capabilities. We will quickly move from “monitoring” to “control.” Over time things like “platooning,” “remote assist,” “remote operation,” and “emergency remote command” will become common phrases in our daily lexicon.

Let’s start by using a trucking industry scenario.

  • Platooning – The first phase of remote robotics for trucking will involve platooning where human drivers control the lead vehicle, followed by 2-3 slave (driverless) vehicles. Since the driver is still in control, additional support won’t be needed until it arrives at the delivery location where either addition human operators can take the controls or remote drivers can manage vehicles for the final positioning of the truck.
  • Remote Assist – Similar to having a remote Uber driver “looking over the shoulder” of a driverless vehicle to assure it’s being operated smoothly.
  • Remote Operation – The actual operators may be working in a cube-farm in Arizona or even another country, but having a person at the controls is critical for certain situations. Drivers, pilots, and captains do far more than just drive their vehicles. They provide a contact person to talk to, a sense of security, situational awareness, and the type of oversight and responsibility that only a human can provide.
  • Emergency Remote Command – Since there is no such thing as an infallible machine, things will go wrong. When this happens, we will need a live person to manage the problem. The solution may be as simple as a system reboot, but in extreme cases, emergency rescue people will need to be involved, and having a central contact person to coordinate the response is critical.
Smart cities will soon be managed through digital twin technology

4.) Managing a Smart City

Cities will soon have their own fleets of drones, with scanning capabilities, to create digital models of their communities. As scanners, sensors, and resolutions improve, cities will begin creating increasingly functional digital twins of their streets, neighborhoods, and activity centers.

Having thousands of drones swarming over most metro areas on a daily basis may seem annoying at first, but the combination of new businesses, jobs, information, data analysis, new career paths, and revenue streams will quickly turn most naysayers into strong industry advocates.

But for cities, digital twins will go much deeper than what’s viewable from above. This will mean digital twins of every power line, substation, sewage system, water line, emergency services system, Wi-Fi network, highway, security system, traffic control network, and much more.  Done correctly, every problem will only be two clicks away from viewing on the digital twin master control center.

In short order, digital twins of cities will become treasure troves of data as the daily inflow and outflow of people, traffic, and weather become far better understood. This form of digital modeling will also give rise to search engines for the physical world.

5.) Search Engines for the Physical World

Online search technology has framed much of our thinking around our ability to find things. In general, if it’s not digital and online, it’s not findable.

In the future, drones and sensors will replace much of the work of today’s web crawlers when it comes to defining our searchable universe.

Search technology will become far more sophisticated in the future. Soon we will be able to search on attributes like smells, tastes, harmonic vibration, textures, specific gravity, levels of reflectivity, and barometric pressures.

Over time, search engines will have the capability of finding virtually anything in either the digital or physical world.

6.) Monitor and Enhance our Health & Physical Performance

How long before we can view a fully functional digital twin of our body?

We already have several tools that can create a digital map of our body, both external and internal, like 3D laser scanners, radiography, echography, MRI, and more. We also have a growing number of wearables, along with both contact and embedded sensors that can track what is going on.

In this context, I’m imagining a complete digital image of ourselves that can be rotated around, zoomed in for close-ups, watching blood flowing through veins and arteries, muscles flexing, heart pumping, food and water working its way through our digestive system, with increasing levels of detail possible for every gland, follicle, fat tissue, organ, and taste bud.

When we finally develop holographic displays, our ability to gain relational perspectives, as well as cause and effect relationships will only increase.

7.) Monitor and Enhance our Brain & Mental Performance

The human brain is still one of the most complex marvels of the universe, and creating a digital twin will require next-generation supercomputers and some amazing collaboration between brain researchers and computer engineers.

To this end, Hewlett Packard is working with Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne to launch the Blue Brain Project with the goal of building a digital model of the mammalian brain. Their goal is to develop a brain model that serves as the basis for an unlimited number of simulations and experiments.

Experiments like this will not only require huge amounts of computing power, but also a massive range of computational approaches to simulate the brain’s unique techniques for organizing and interacting with it’s conscious and unconscious memories as well as functional responsibilities for managing the rest of the body.

Rest assured, the creation of a “mirror brain” like this is still in the domain of science fiction, but nevertheless in the realm of next-decade possibilities.

According to Siemens, advanced digital twin simulation can even help determine the manufacturing process

Final Thoughts

To put things in perspective, the cars we drive today have been in development for over 120 years. It has taken that long to get to cars this good. With our emerging technology, we still have to work our way through the crappy stages before we get to the good stuff.

At the same time, we are building a digital infrastructure that is layered over everything physical in the world. This is another form of digital twin thinking and eventually the two will align.

Speeding this along, by 2022, 85% of all IoT platforms will include some kind of digital twin monitoring, and a few cities will take the lead in demonstrating the utility value of digital twin smart city technology.

As I watched Siemens engineers at Princeton demonstrate different types of digital twin technology, it became very apparent to me that any company that lags behind in this technology will soon find themselves on the outside looking in.

By Futurist Thomas Frey
Author of “Epiphany Z – 8 Radical Visions Transforming Your Future

28 Sep 17:50

Future of Work: The New Age of Employment

by FuturistSpeaker

For the past century, the work of every car designer has focused on one central activity – driving!

The art of creating the perfect driving experience has been extremely complicated, with humans coming in a variety of shapes and sizes and the car itself evolving into far more than just a machine.

In addition to the exterior design, their work involved the sculpting of controls, indicator lights, knobs, buttons, and gauges into the best possible dashboard to support the driver as they grasped the all-important steering wheel. The right combination of shapes, styles, sounds, and tiny nuanced details had us “oohing” and “aahing” as each new vehicle purred its way into our imaginations.

But that was then. Those kind of skills have quickly become last week’s news!

As cars start to drive themselves, designers have had to radically shift their thinking. Once the primary activity of driving disappears, designers have begun to focus on other activities happening inside a vehicle – sitting, talking, eating, sleeping, playing games, watching movies, looking out the window, and talking to the navigation system.

In what seems like a few short months, virtually everything that car designers learned over the past 120 years has been thrown into a no-longer-needed heap on the floor, and the tools and information base that has been formed around the craft-of-the-creator has had to begin again.

Once the primary task of driving has been automated out of existence, the entire profession will have to reframe it’s thinking around an entirely new set of goals, principals, and requirements.

Employment ads for next generation designers will begin to describe the skills they’re looking for in radically different ways. Luminaries of the past will quickly be relegated to the vestiges of time as the accomplishments of the future form around an entirely new vocabulary.

Logically we wonder if this signals the start of an entirely new profession or simply a variation of the skills and talents that led us to this point.

To be sure, car designers are just one example of this kind of transformation.

A quick survey of the employment landscape and we begin to see unusual new skills rising in importance in numerous industries. As task upon task becomes automated out of existence, we find ourselves asking the same question. “Does this constitute an entirely new profession, or simply a modification of the old one?”

Throughout history we have many examples of old school thinking that has simply faded away. As example, we no longer need to understand map legends, party lines, how to apply brakes on a horse-drawn carriage, read electrical meters, or use a toll booth. The vast majority of us will never have to learn how to shoe-a-horse, milk a cow, treat animal bites, tan a hide, shovel coal, or pasteurize milk.

In the future, very few people will know how to change channels on a three-remote television, connect to Wi-Fi, order something without talking, open a bank account, or pay with cash.

The demands of life are changing, and so are the prospects for employment.

Dr. Kurt Bettenhausen addressing the “future of work” discussion group at Siemens

The New Employer-Employee Relationship

At a recent “Future of Work” roundtable discussion hosted by the Siemens Corporation at their Princeton Robotics Plant, participants were asked what employers need to think about in the future.

Dr. Kurt Bettenhausen, Senior VP of Technology for Siemens began by discussing their lengthy interview process, 4-8 hours in most cases, and the primary characteristics he’s looking for – curiosity and the use of the word “no” (he rarely hires “yes” people).

Our litigious society has turned the hiring process into a minefield of legal requirements, and ferreting out great candidates has become a laborious process.

Looking at employment through a different lens, being a topic I’ve written about many times in the past, I focused on the shifting skillsets that will be needed in the future.

The skills that will be most in-demand in the future will be some of the hardest to train – resilience, resourcefulness, and flexibility.

In addition, having a solid understanding of how to better manage the encroaching demands of our online existence with skills such as distraction management, technology management, relationship management, opportunity management, and just staying relevant.

We are now aware of far more of what’s happening in the world than ever before, and our ability to assess, gauge, and monitor its importance and somehow act or respond in some appropriate fashion has become critical.

The Growing College Debate

Do people still need a college degree to succeed?

While there are countless reports published that show college graduates earning far more than those without degrees, I have yet to see a report that compares similar-caliber individuals who take opposing college vs. no-college career paths.

Many of our highest paying jobs in fields like computer programming, commercial pilots, cyber security, real-estate brokers, plumbers, cloud architects, crime scene detectives, and web developers typically don’t require a degree at all.

Virtually any bright student can learn a marketable skill in just a few months, and with several years of solid work experience under their belt by the time their counterparts graduate from college, non-degreed workers often have an easier time navigating the employment landscape.

Once a person has developed a marketable skill, they can begin taking control their own destiny, and building a “business of one” career path on their way to becoming an accomplished freelancer.

17% of freelancers in 2018 will earn over $100,000

Our Emerging Freelance Economy

The Internet is a very sophisticated communications tool, enabling us to align the needs of a business with the talent of individuals in a far more precise ways than ever before. So rather than hiring someone full-time, companies can create a short term contract of 2 months, 2 weeks, 2 days, or even 2 hours.

Our tools for managing this type of work relationship are getting better and will soon give us the ability to apply the precise amount of talent, as needed, whenever a new situation arises.

But while we’re getting better at the employer side of this equation we’re still faring poorly when it comes to training next generation freelancers. In order to thrive in this type of work environment, solo practitioners need a wide range of business skills ranging from creating a business entity, to writing business proposals, to negotiating contracts, marketing, accounting and much more.

Freelancer Stats

Yes, there’s a big difference between a newbie freelancer and one who’s a total rockstar, but it all begins with taking that first bold step, and that’s where controlling one’s own life journey starts making sense.

Here are a few stats to give a quick overview of the rapidly changing freelance landscape:

  • 70% of small businesses have hired a freelancer in the past
  • 81% plan to hire freelancers in the future
  • 52% of hiring managers say that the number of freelancers will increase in the next 5 years
  • 59.7 million people worked as freelancers in 2018
  • 52% of freelancer work comes from repeat customers
  • Full time freelancers average 4.5 clients a month
  • 50% of freelancers say they wouldn’t take a traditional job no matter how much they were offered
  • 17% of freelancers in 2018 will earn over $100,000
  • One-third of U.S. office workers have a second job
  • 1.3 million people drive Uber, many doing this as a fill-in for other freelance work
  • In 2027, at current growth rates, the number of freelancers will exceed the number of full time employees
As the freelance economy grows, top tier free agents will surround themselves with a network of like-minded solopreneurs

Final Thoughts

Contrary to what many people are leading us to believe, we’re entering a world of super employment. Prospective employees will have more choices than ever, and the freelance world will provide an alluring alternative to traditional employment.

Over the coming two decades we will be witnessing an unprecedented wave of innovation and creativity driven by new tools of production. During this time we will see an explosion of over 100,000 new micro industries that will employ hundreds of millions of people.

Driven by a wide array of emerging technology, an assortment of innovative playgrounds for makers, inventors, and startup junkies will spring to life, launching micro industries that range from manufacturing products, to collecting data, designing systems, advising, coaching, monitoring, building, disassembling, and reinventing business in unique and different ways.

With the help of thousands of collaborators, micro industries will spring to life around niches far too small for existing industries to care about. But it is in these minuscule advances that great opportunities take root.

A simple coffee mug can be redesigned in thousands of different ways. The same holds true for every toothbrush, piece of clothing, ink pen, lamp, chair, and hundreds of other frequently bought consumer products.

We are entering an unusually creative period of human history. Those who embrace this kind of change will prosper, and companies that study and embrace this fluid “jobscape” will build flourishing enterprises in the years ahead.

By Futurist Thomas Frey

Author of “Epiphany Z – 8 Radical Visions for Transforming Your Future

26 Sep 20:31

Candidatos divergem sobre como aumentar recursos para a ciência

Se o leitor que se interessa por ciência parar para ler os programas dos candidatos a presidente, vai se deparar com o diagnóstico praticamente unânime de que a coisa não anda bem ?especialmente do ponto de vista financeiro. A maneira de resolver, porém, varia.  Leia mais (09/24/2018 - 02h00)
26 Sep 20:27

Study: Emissions from most diesel cars in Europe greatly exceed laboratory testing levels

by Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office

In September 2015, the German automaker Volkswagen was found to have illegally cheated federal emissions tests in the United States, by intentionally programming emissions control devices to turn on only during laboratory testing. The devices enabled more than 11 million passenger vehicles to meet U.S. emissions standards in the laboratory despite producing emissions up to 40 times higher than the legal limit in real-world driving conditions.

Now a new MIT study reports that Volkswagen is not the only auto manufacturer to make diesel cars that produce vastly more emissions on the road than in laboratory tests. The study, published this month in Atmospheric Environment, finds that in Europe, 10 major auto manufacturers produced diesel cars, sold between 2000 and 2015, that generate up to 16 times more emissions on the road than in regulatory tests — a level that exceeds European limits but does not violate any EU laws.

What’s more, the researchers predict these excess emissions will have a significant health impact, causing approximately 2,700 premature deaths per year across Europe. These health effects, they found, are “transboundary,” meaning that diesel emissions produced in one country can adversely affect populations in other countries, thousands of kilometers away.

“You might imagine that where the excess emissions occur is where people might die early,” says study author Steven Barrett, the Raymond L. Bisplinghoff Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. “But instead we find that 70 percent of the total [health] impacts are transboundary. It suggests coordination is needed not at the country, but at the continental scale, to try to solve this problem of excess emissions.”

The 10 manufacturers’ excess emissions may not be a result of unlawful violations, as was the case with Volkswagen. Instead, the team writes that “permissive testing procedures at the EU level and defective emissions control strategies” may be to blame.

The researchers report a silver lining: If all 10 auto manufacturers were to improve their emissions control technologies to perform at the same level as the best manufacturer in the group, this would prevent up to 1,900 premature deaths per year.

“That’s pretty significant in terms of the number of premature mortalities that would be avoided,” Barrett says.

Barrett’s co-authors at MIT are Guillaume Chossière, Robert Malina (now at Hasselt University), Florian Allroggen, Sebastian Eastham, and Raymond Speth.

Tuning the knobs

The study focuses on emissions of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, a type of gas that is produced in diesel exhaust. When the gas gets oxidized and reacts with ammonia in the atmosphere, it forms fine particles and can travel for long distances before settling. When these particles are inhaled, they can lodge deep in the lungs, causing respiratory disease, asthma, and other pulmonary and cardiac conditions. Additionally NOx emissions cause the formation of ozone, a pollutant long associated with adverse health outcomes.

“There are many times the number of diesel cars in Europe compared to the U.S., partly because the EU started pushing diesel for environmental reasons, as it produces less carbon dioxide emissions compared with [gasoline],” Barrett says. “It’s a case where diesel has probably been beneficial in terms of climate impacts, but it’s come at the cost of human health.”

Recently, the EU started tightening its standards for diesel exhaust to reduce NOx emissions and their associated health effects. However, independent investigations have found that most diesel cars on the road do not meet the new emissions standards in real driving conditions.  

“Initially manufacturers were able to genuinely meet regulations, but more recently it seems they’ve almost tweaked knobs to meet the regulations on paper, even if in reality that’s not reproduced on the road,” Barrett says. “And that’s not been illegal in Europe.”

Life exposure

In this study, Barrett and his colleagues quantified the health impacts in Europe of excess NOx emissions — emissions that were not accounted for in standard vehicle testing but are produced in actual driving conditions. They also estimated specific manufacturers’ contributions to the total health impacts related to the excess emissions.

The researchers considered 10 major auto manufacturers of diesel cars sold in Europe, for which lab and on-road emissions data were available: Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot-Citroën, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, BMW, Daimler, Toyota, and Hyundai. Together, these groups represent more than 90 percent of the total number of diesel cars sold between 2000 and 2015, in 28 member states of the EU, along with Norway and Switzerland.

For each manufacturer, the team calculated the total amount of excess emissions produced by that manufacturer’s diesel car models, based on available emissions data from laboratory testing and independent on-road tests. They found that overall, diesel cars produce up to 16 times more NOx emissions on the road than in lab tests.

They then calculated the excess emissions associated with each manufacturer’s diesel car, by accounting for the number of those cars that were sold between 2000 and 2015, for each country in which those cars were sold.

The team used GEOS-Chem, a chemistry transport model that simulates the circulation of chemicals and particles through the atmosphere, to track where each manufacturer’s excess NOx emissions traveled over time. They then overlaid a population map of the EU onto the atmospheric model to identify specific populations that were most at risk of exposure to the excess NOx emissions.  

Finally, the team consulted epidemiological work to relate various populations’ NOx exposure to their estimated health risk. The researchers considered four main populations in these calculations: adults with ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer.

Overall, they estimated that, each year, 2,700 people within these populations will lose at least a decade of their life due to exposure to excess NOx emissions from passenger cars. They broke this number down by manufacturer and found a wide spread of health impact contributions: Volkswagen, Renault, and General Motors produced diesel cars associated with the most yearly premature deaths, each numbering in the hundreds, while Toyota, Hyundai, and BMW were associated with fewer early deaths.

“The variation across manufacturers was more than a factor of five, which was much bigger than we expected,” Barrett says.

“There’s no safe level”

For each country, the team also compared the excess emissions that it produced itself, versus the number of premature deaths that its population incurred, and found virtually no relationship. That is, some countries, such as Poland and Switzerland, produced very little NOx emissions and yet experienced a disproportionate number of premature deaths from excess emissions originating in other countries.

Barrett says this transboundary effect may be due to the nature of NOx emissions. Unlike particulate matter spewed from smokestacks, such as soot, which mostly settles out in the local area, NOx is first emitted as a gas, which can be carried easily by the wind across thousands of kilometers, before reacting with ammonia to form particulates, a form of the chemical that can ultimately cause respiratory and cardiac problems.

“There’s almost no correlation between who drives [diesel cars] and who incurs the health disbenefits, because the impacts are so diffuse through all of Europe,” Barrett says.

The study ends with a final result: If all 10 manufacturers were to meet the on-road emissions performance of the best manufacturer in the group, this would avoid 1,900 premature deaths due to NOx exposure. But Barrett says ultimately, regulators and manufacturers will have to go even further to prevent emissions-associated mortalities.

“The solution is to eliminate NOx altogether,” Barrett says. “We know there are human health impacts right down to pre-industrial levels, so there’s no safe level. At this point in time, it’s not that we have to go back to [gasoline]. It’s more that electricification is the answer, and ultimately we do have to have zero emissions in cities.”

26 Sep 13:51

Daimler Changes CEO as It Focuses on an Electric Future

Daimler said its long-serving chief executive will step down and will be succeeded by its current research and development chief, who has been leading the car maker’s push into electric vehicles and self-driving cars.
26 Sep 13:24

Como é andar de patinete elétrica, a nova “moda” urbana, em São Paulo

by Alex Xavier

Quem vive em São Paulo e frequenta a região da Avenida Faria Lima já se acostumou a ver patinetes circulando pelas ruas. Não daqueles clássicos brinquedos de criança, mas umas mais modernas, elétricas, guiadas por adultos — de hipsters a engravatados. A prancha de duas rodinhas motorizada e com guidão tem se popularizado como opção de mobilidade como alternativa sustentável para evitar o trânsito e, principalmente, por parecer simples de manejar. Até para os mais desengonçados dos bípedes, como este repórter, que testou um equipamento da Ride, uma das marcas de compartilhamento de patinetes elétricas disponíveis na cidade.

Além de ser naturalmente atrapalhado, convivo há três anos com uma pequena dificuldade motora: um problema neurológico me faz mancar da perna esquerda, que é menos estável. No dia a dia, uso uma bengala para enfrentar os muitos buracos, desníveis e outros obstáculos das calçadas de São Paulo. Fiquei bastante interessado em encontrar um meio de locomoção alternativo para percorrer distâncias curtas. Se passasse pela experiência ileso, talvez aderisse de vez à onda das patinetes elétricas.

Os veículos estão à venda no Brasil há meses, em diferentes modelos, por preços a partir de 700 reais. A novidade por aqui é o serviço de compartilhamento, que vem se expandindo — como ocorreu nos Estados Unidos e na Europa. Em São Francisco, na Califórnia, onde a brincadeira surgiu há um ano, existem várias empresas investindo nessas locações, como Bird, Spin e Lime — esta última, ligada ao Uber. Tantas que a prefeitura precisou intervir e regulamentar o uso dos veículos para evitar engarrafamento nas calçadas. Nos arredores de Los Angeles, outro berço do negócio, a iniciativa chamou a atenção do empreendedor paulistano Marcelo Loureiro, 50.

Ele vivia lá desde 2008 e já tinha investido em diferentes empresas. A última foi a Spinlister, um sistema colaborativo de aluguel de bicicletas, que vendeu quando começou a se planejar para voltar ao Brasil. Na mesma época, testemunhou o boom das patinetes motorizadas bem abaixo da janela de seu escritório, na cidade de Santa Mônica. “O Marcelo percebeu que isso daria muito certo em São Paulo, onde a questão do trânsito é complicada e mesmo um microdeslocamento pode te obrigar a atravessar uma via completamente congestionada”, conta a publicitária Paula Nader, 47, sócia da Ride junto do engenheiro de produção Guilherme Freire, 33. Desde o final de agosto, quando o app da Ride entrou em operação, as patinetes têm se espalhado pelo eixo da ciclovia da Faria Lima, que foi meu campo de testes em uma quarta-feira ensolarada.

OS DESAFIOS DE PILOTAR UMA PATINETE

Então vamos ao test-drive. A Ride funciona assim: após baixar um aplicativo, o usuário tem acesso a um mapa no qual localiza onde encontrar o equipamento. Com o cartão de crédito cadastrado, destrava o sistema e paga uma taxa correspondente ao tempo de uso, podendo devolver em qualquer ponto credenciado.

A minha primeira dificuldade foi me entender com o mapa do app. Sem minha bengala, que só atrapalharia, fui até o lugar indicado onde os veículos deveriam estar, em Pinheiros, zona sul, e não encontrei nada nem ninguém. Perguntei à garçonete de um bar, que me indicou outro ponto, a três quarteirões dali. “Diferente da bicicleta, a patinete ainda não está regulamentada. Então, a gente combinou com a prefeitura que começaria a operação de ponto a ponto privado”, conta Paula. Na semana do meu passeio, eram oito endereços, mas eles já seguem o plano de acrescentar, pelo menos, um ponto novo a cada dois dias. “Nossa ideia é que o usuário saia do seu escritório e ache a patinete bem perto, para não desistir ou adotar outro modal. Não se surpreenda se, em breve, encontrar a Ride em pontos que são vizinhos de parede, quanto mais, melhor.”

Agora, no começo da operação, a Ride vai manter um orientador para ajudar os usuários na retirada do veículo.

Cafés e restaurantes, pet shops, condomínios residenciais e centros empresariais estão entre os locais escolhidos pela startup. Segundo Paula, o ponto ideal fica em uma área privada onde possam colocar, ao menos, duas unidades visíveis da rua, para interessar não só quem já tem o app como quem está de passagem.

“É um acordo legal para todo mundo. Para o usuário, porque consegue encontrar e devolver a patinete de uma forma prática; e para o dono do estabelecimento, porque a gente consegue gerar um fluxo de pessoas”, conta a empreendedora.

No ponto que escolhi, estavam estacionadas três patinetes, com três rapazes da empresa atendendo e orientando os usuários. Fui logo avisando que nunca havia andado naquilo antes. Estava preparado para ouvir um longo tutorial, mas eles levaram mais tempo mostrando como liberar o equipamento, usando a câmera do celular na leitura do código do que propriamente falando do funcionamento dele.

Hoje, contando mecânicos, desenvolvedores e a equipe de rua, a Ride emprega 48 funcionários, que cuidam de toda a operação, inclusive a manutenção. Eles retiram todos os veículos diariamente das ruas para recarregar as baterias elétricas e verificar possíveis defeitos.

Com a patinete em mãos, recebi uma orientação bem simples. Para sair da inércia, é preciso dar dois ou três impulsos com a perna. Só então deve-se acelerar, com cuidado. Como estava em uma pequena descida, era só deixar a gravidade agir e acionar a ignição com a mão direita. Estava pronto para o meu primeiro tombo e fiquei feliz por não haver muita gente ao redor. Para minha surpresa, porém, foi realmente tranquilo ligar o silencioso motor pela primeira vez e chegar, pelo calçamento, à primeira esquina. De lá, tomei a ciclovia no canteiro central da Faria Lima, em direção ao Itaim, um passeio que tinha tudo para ser sossegado, não fosse a “peça” que fica segurando o guidão, ganhando confiança lentamente a cada quarteirão.

COMO ADAPTAR A TECNOLOGIA ÀS CALÇADAS BRASILEIRAS

Toda a tecnologia da Ride foi desenvolvida pela própria startup. Após decidir seguir por esse caminho, há cerca de um ano, Marcelo chegou a ir à China para visitar os maiores fabricantes do segmento. Percebeu que seria necessário criar seu próprio sistema — do software ao hardware, como conta Paula:

“Não fazia sentido trazer uma patinete que roda em Los Angeles para São Paulo. Aqui chove mais e a qualidade do nosso piso, das calçadas, ou mesmo da ciclovia, é diferente”

Os sócios ainda fizeram várias modificações para atender a legislação brasileira, bem diferente da norte-americana, incluindo itens de segurança como o velocímetro. A velocidade máxima nas ciclovias aqui, por exemplo, é de 20 km/h. Nas calçadas, 6 km/h.

Pausa para uma selfie durante o teste da patinete da Ride.

Oficialmente, a empresa foi fundada em janeiro deste ano, com Marcelo ainda nos Estados Unidos e vindo regularmente ao Brasil. Guilherme entrou em março, apresentado por amigos em comum, quando seu interesse ainda era na Spinlister, mas soube da venda da empresa de aluguel de bikes e foi envolvido pela história das patinetes. Paula foi a última a se juntar ao grupo, após largar a diretoria de marketing do Santander.

Ela diz que os três fazem de tudo um pouco, sem uma função específica. Apesar de não revelar números ou dar nomes, a sócia conta que o valor inicial veio parte de recursos próprios dos empreendedores e outra de investidores-anjos, alguns brasileiros e a maioria norte-americanos. “Além de capital, muito deles aportaram know-how, já que são fortes na área de mobilidade.”

No início do mês passado, a Ride começou sua fase de testes, com uma frota nas ruas. Desde então, foram cerca de 6 mil downloads do app. “Foi um período que a gente aproveitou para experimentar o aplicativo e o equipamento sendo usado por muitas pessoas que nunca tinham subindo em uma patinete elétrica”, diz a empreendedora.

Atualmente, eles já contam com 300 unidades operando e, até o final de outubro, esperam chegar a mil. “O que está na regulamentação de bicicletas é ter, no mínimo 25 mil bicicletas circulando. Se a gente imaginar que o mercado de patinetes é muito parecido, vemos que tem bastante caminho para crescer só em São Paulo. E, claro, estamos olhando para outros polos também.” Basicamente, cidades onde há ciclovias e ciclofaixas e uma topografia mais plana interessam a eles.

Ao mesmo tempo que concorrentes como a Scoo e a Yellow (a mesma das bicicletas) estão buscando sua fatia do bolo, chegam dos Estados Unidos notícias sobre a insegurança das patinetes elétricas. Este mês, o governo da Califórnia tornou o uso do capacete obrigatório, motivado pelo caso de um usuário que morreu ao cair de cabeça. Paula fala a respeito:

“Nossa legislação não exige o uso de capacete, mas recomendamos o uso e planejamos fazer uma campanha a respeito”

Ela complementa: “A ideia é construir a imagem do capacete como um negócio bacana, indispensável para quem se desloca pela cidade por modos não tradicionais”. Eu mesmo não levei capacete para o meu test-drive. Deveria, pois a confiança que ganhei conforme avançava na ciclovia me deixou meio inconsequente. No início, titubeei ao passar sobre buracos na pista, pois perde-se fácil o equilíbrio com essas oscilações. E, pior, existiam bueiros desnivelados em certos trechos. De repente, eu estava em uma prova de off-road… só que de patinete!

Entre trancos e barrancos, o repórter Alex Xavier fez um trajeto de 25 minutos com uma patinete da Ride. A corrida saiu 15 reais.

Este também não é o veículo mais apropriado para curvas bruscas. Até então, porém, tudo bem. Até que eu resolvi ser mais impetuoso, quando já voltava para a base. Acelerei ao máximo para cruzar a Teodoro Sampaio antes que o farol para os carros ficasse verde. Deu tempo de alcançar a outra margem, só não vi o pedestre que atravessava na faixa. Para não acertá-lo, fui para o chão em uma posição pouco nobre. Muitos celulares ao redor. Certeza de que alguém gravou a cena. Eu mesmo não consegui registrar muitos momentos, pois é impossível tirar as duas mãos do guidão (como se faz em uma bike) e não se desequilibrar.

Paula é clara sobre a questão: “Da mesma forma que a bicicleta, potencialmente, tem risco, a patinete também tem”. No entanto, ela acha seu produto mais confiável, por ter o centro de gravidade mais baixo e os pés perto do chão.

A Ride pretende produzir mais conteúdo para as pessoas adquirirem mais segurança e, também, bom senso. Vai descer a calçada? Nada de descer a guia dando um salto achando que vai pousar como se fosse um skatista habilidoso. Por outro lado, a lição número 1 para a empreendedora é aproveitar o passeio. “Na hora que o usuário pega uma patinete para ir a uma reunião, transforma seu dia. São dez minutos que ele tem contato com a cidade de um jeito diferente, algo que dentro de um carro é impossível. Naquele tempinho, ele se diverte no meio da rotina”, diz Paula. Já eu, posso dizer que voltaria a usar a patinete — com capacete da próxima vez.

26 Sep 13:03

Alaska Airlines partners with SkyLights to trial Allosky virtual reality IFE headset

by Ryan Ghee

The following article was published by Future Travel Experience

The Allosky Cinematic VR headset will be piloted as a First Class amenity onboard Alaska Airlines’ Seattle-Boston and Boston-San Diego routes.

The Allosky Cinematic VR headset will be piloted as a First Class amenity onboard Alaska Airlines’ Seattle-Boston and Boston-San Diego routes.

Alaska Airlines has partnered with SkyLights to offer passengers Allosky Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, becoming the first North American carrier to do so. The partnership was announced at APEX Expo in Boston.

The solution, which enables passengers to enjoy 2D, 3D and forward-facing 360° films on a full HD cinema screen, will be piloted as a First Class amenity onboard Alaska Airlines’ Seattle-Boston and Boston-San Diego routes.

“Alaska Airlines is excited to be the first airline in North America to trial virtual reality headsets as an inflight entertainment device,” said Brett Catlin, Alaska Airlines’ Managing Director of Guest Products. “We’re thrilled to partner with innovative companies like SkyLights that share our desire to enhance the guest experience.”

David Dicko, SkyLights’ CEO, commented: “The Allosky is now ready to deploy and we are delighted to see it take flight with an airline renowned for its customer experience. We strongly believe the Allosky marks a new age in inflight entertainment and we aim to validate this in North America with the help of Alaska’s First Class passengers.”

The Allosky headset is powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ platform, to deliver enhanced performance and power to inflight entertainment for passengers. “SkyLights’ product design is a great example of a VR device that is easy to use, without cables, that provides an awesome user experience to passengers who can sit back and relax with a cinema view powered by our Snapdragon solution. We look forward to more airlines providing mobile XR experiences to passengers,” said Hugo Swart, Head of XR, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

In terms of content, passengers onboard the pilot flights will be able to choose from a selection of 2D and 3D blockbusters provided by SkyLights’ content partners, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers and EIM. Noteworthy titles include Academy Award-winning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Spielberg’s Ready Player One in 3D, and Ferdinand for children. The Allosky will also be preloaded with forward-facing 360° films to further differentiate the experience. Especially selected for their suitability to view inflight, the short VR films cover subjects including freediving, classical music and acrobatics.

Article originally published here:
Alaska Airlines partners with SkyLights to trial Allosky virtual reality IFE headset

26 Sep 12:55

IKEA's Autonomous Vehicle Concept Abandons Sleekness for Boxy Functionality

by Planetizen
The furnishing giant's concept imagines an app-summoned fleet of "living rooms on wheels" delivering everything from groceries to health services.
26 Sep 12:46

9 Transportation Innovations from U.S. Cities

by Planetizen
Curbed surveys the nation for cities leading the push toward more sustainable, equitable, and effective transportation systems.
25 Sep 20:35

Antena de luz transforma 85% da luz visível em eletricidade

O fotoeletrodo pode funcionar como célula solar, gerando eletricidade, ou como célula de fotossíntese artificial, produzindo hidrogênio.
24 Sep 17:46

A 6-Part Tool for Ranking and Assessing Risks

by Luke Bencie
David Crockett/Getty Images

One of the most overused expressions thrown around by wannabe “Wall Street Rambos” is business is war. But sometimes war tactics really can help in business.

Among these tactics is CARVER, a system for assessing and ranking threats and opportunities. Developed during World War II, CARVER (then one letter shorter and known as CARVE) was originally used by analysts to determine where bomber pilots could most effectively drop their munitions on enemy targets. It can be both offensive and defensive, meaning it can be used for identifying your competitors’ weaknesses and for internal auditing. In addition, many security experts consider it the definitive assessment tool for protecting critical assets. In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recommended it as a preferred assessment methodology. (One of us, Luke, is so enthusiastic about CARVER that he cowrote a book on it.)

More recently, CARVER has converted a new community of believers in the business world, including CEOs, financial analysts, and risk management planners, not to mention any number of Fortune 500 security directors. Since it draws on both qualitative and quantitative data, CARVER can be applied in almost any scenario that is analyzed and discussed in an organized, logical way. It can be highly useful if you need to, for example, defend a budget request or a strategic plan to company leadership. Because it helps you articulate an efficient story using numeric values, CARVER can be used to clarify mission objectives — whether on the battlefield or in the boardroom. You might say CARVER is a SWOT analysis on steroids.

CARVER is an acronym that stands for:

  • Criticality: how essential an asset or critical system is to your company
  • Accessibility: how hard it would be for an adversary to access or attack the asset
  • Recoverability: how quickly you could recover if something happened to the asset
  • Vulnerability: how well (or not) the asset could withstand an adversary’s attack
  • Effect: how much of an impact there would be across your business if something happened to the asset
  • Recognizability: how likely it is that an adversary would recognize the asset as a valuable target

To use CARVER — whether you’re assessing a system, a business goal, or something else — you assign scores from 1 to 5 (with 5 being “most essential,” “most likely,” and so on) for each of the six criteria above. The sum of the six scores is the total score for whatever you’re assessing. Once you’ve calculated the total scores for a few things, you can compare them. For example, you could use CARVER to compare two business opportunities; whichever has the higher score is probably the better option to pursue.

Here’s an example. Let’s say the chief security officer for an oil and gas company is deciding how to allocate their budget across multiple locations and assets. At a strategic level, the CSO could use CARVER to think through the factors involved for each location and then allocate resources for each facility.

To start, the CSO would ask a series of questions related to the CARVER criteria. Beginning with Criticality, they might ask, “How critical is the oil pipeline in Abuja, Nigeria, to the company’s overall operations?” Because Criticality is based on the importance of the asset (in this case the pipeline), the CSO would need to determine if the destruction or compromise of this asset would have a significant impact on the output, mission, or operation of the company. The CSO would rank Criticality like this:

5 – Loss of the pipeline would stop operations
4 – Loss would reduce operations considerably
3 – Loss would reduce operations
2 – Loss may reduce operations
1 – Loss would not affect operations

Obviously, the higher the number, the more detrimental the loss of the asset would be to the organization. The lower the number, the less detrimental the loss would be, or there might be redundancies in place — other pipelines, for example. (Those redundancies would also affect the asset’s Recoverability score.)

To assess the Recoverability of that same pipeline (perhaps after a natural disaster, sabotage, or a terrorist attack), the CSO would rank it like this:

5 – Extremely difficult to replace; long downtime
4 – Difficult to replace; long downtime
3 – Can be replaced in a relatively short time
2 – Easily replaced in a short time
1 – Can be replaced immediately; short or no downtime

The CSO would then continue ranking the Abuja pipeline on the other four criteria. If the pipeline received a 5 for Criticality and Recoverability, for example, it seems likely that it would be a good candidate to receive more of the CSO’s budget.

To consider another example, say a hedge fund is looking to acquire a tech company that claims to have a leading-edge technology. In addition to simply auditing the company’s books, analysts could perform a CARVER assessment to determine how close the competition might be to catching up to this technology, thus balancing the risk of the investment. The tech company may score low (meaning good) on Criticality and Recoverability but score high (meaning bad) on Accessibility and Effect. That Accessibility score might mean a competitor could beat the product to market, and the Effect could be the fallout from a controversial marketing campaign.

One question the analysts might ask for Effect is: “What is the effect on us if the tech company’s competitors beat us to market?”

5 – Very high economic, political, or social impact on the organization
4 – High economic, political, or social impact
3 – Moderate impact
2 – Little impact
1 – No unfavorable impact

The important thing to remember is that this exercise is conducted to identify, categorize, and prioritize high-risk assets; to assess vulnerabilities; and to make recommendations around risk. Once a CARVER assessment has been completed, and material risks and threats have been identified, security and risk management professionals can determine the best approach to take. Even the smallest difference in CARVER scores could influence whether you open a store in one location versus another, or help you decide between upgrading an existing product line and opting to create something new.

Strategic decisions are being made in boardrooms everywhere, by executives who are looking for any advantage over the competition. Business leaders are looking for hard numbers to provide them with an edge in their decision-making process. CARVER can provide a quantified justification for standing by — or abandoning — a decision or initiative.

18 Sep 20:43

How to Get Better at Reading People from Different Cultures

by Kasia Wezowski
Paula Daniëlse/Getty Images

Body language varies significantly across cultures. What is considered rude or foolish in a Nordic country may be welcomed as warm and friendly in an African one. What a Canadian businessperson would perceive as arrogant, an American executive may see as healthy confidence.

But what remains consistent across all known cultures are microexpressions. These brief, involuntary flashes of facial expression reveal our true feelings about another person or situation.

microexpression-collage-2

Photos courtesy of the Center For Body Language.

People might try to hide or obscure them in different ways informed by culture, but to a practiced reader the true emotions are always visible. Consider the contrast in expressiveness between Filipino and Japanese people. In the Philippines, showing emotion — both positive and negative — is a sign of openness and honesty. In Japan, the opposite is true. Visible negative emotion is seen as rude or hostile, while expressing too much positive feeling is considered indelicate. However, when we evaluate people from both countries for their microexpressions, we find that they actually experience emotions at more or less the same level of frequency and intensity. It’s just that the Japanese consciously try to mask their reactions, often by smiling, while Filipinos wear their feelings for all the world to see.

The ability to read microexpressions can be useful anywhere — as we’ve previously shown, salespeople who have this knack get better results — but it’s particularly useful in more buttoned-up cultures, where people are careful managers of the physical signals they send out.

You and Your Team Series

Working Across Cultures

  • To Lead Across Cultures, Focus on Hierarchy and Decision Making
    • Erin Meyer
    How to Successfully Work Across Countries, Languages, and Cultures
    • Tsedal Neeley
    Leading Across Cultures Requires Flexibility and Curiosity
    • Deborah Rowland

    Here’s another example: A few years ago, my husband and I traveled to Qatar to lead a body language workshop for 200 HR executives. Immediately, cultural norms made it difficult to gauge how the audience was receiving our presentation. Women’s bodies were completely covered, so we couldn’t see their posture or gestures. When I stood on stage with my husband, all the men looked exclusively at him, and all the women looked exclusively at me. But we could read the microexpressions we saw around the room. We knew from the videos we’d previously made of Qataris that the flashes of emotion in their faces reflected the same sentiments we might find from audience members anywhere else in the world. And, so we could calibrate our presentation accordingly, and felt just as comfortable as we would have at home.

    Recognizing and interpreting microexpressions takes practice, but there are a few things you can start doing immediately to improve your skills.

    First, study the common microexpressions pictured above so you know the hallmarks of each. Disgust, for example, involves down-turned lips, while people feeling contempt might show it by inadvertently pulling one side of the mouth up. Surprise and fear might look similar, but the latter emotion will cause people to pull their brows together.

    Second, if you know you’re about to visit or interact with another culture, educate yourself on the local body language — including masking techniques. YouTube is a great tool for this: Find videos of 10 executives from that culture and watch how they communicate.

    Third, when you’re in the moment, pay attention. You can’t interpret microexpressions if you don’t notice them. Don’t make your counterpart uncomfortable with an unwavering stare. But do keep your focus on the face.

    Fourth, listen to your intuition.When you notice a tiny facial movement, ask yourself: “What could that mean?” Humans are wired to subconsciously detect even the subtlest of emotional flashes, so your gut instinct may be correct.

    You might also try to mimic the movementWhen you repeat what you saw — whether it was a quick eyebrow raise or tightening of the lips, it not only gives you more time to think, but also fires the mirror neurons in your brain, making it easier for you to associate the movement you saw with the correct emotion.

    If you’re still perplexed, start to exclude emotions. After memorizing the expressions above, you should be able to quickly assess what the facial cue does not mean. For example, if you saw someone’s eyebrows going down, you can exclude surprise, fear, or sadness — all of which are associated with raised eyebrows — and work from there.

    If you’re presenting to a crowd, as we were in Qatar, continue to scan the audience for microexpressions. Don’t fixate on one negative look; instead try to discern the sentiments of the majority.

    Body language can be cultural, but emotions are universal. Microexpressions reveal someone’s true feelings in a fragment of a second, and so it pays to notice them and calibrate your behavior in cross-cultural interactions accordingly.