Self-Drive Cars [Near Future Prediction]

Listening to 16 episodes of the Four Cast Podcast has gotten me into a prediction mood. Here’s my first prediction:

With an increasing array of dashboard distractions at driver’s disposal, there will be a statistically small but noticeable increase traffic accidents and fatalities in urban centers.
Exhibit A) Studies are starting to emerge showing that anti-cellphone-talking laws have no impact on crash data.
Exhibit B) Just last month nation media made a big deal about 14 pedestrian deaths in Toronto, in the span of a few weeks.

Whether this is a statistically relevant number, I predict that the media will continue covering this sort of thing. Traffic safety will become a major issue. People may even begin to recognize that it has become difficult to drive will so many distractions, but by-and-large people will see this distractions as a necessary evil.

This will set the stage for the self-drive car. Based on the media’s (car-company backed) influence, the general public will see the self-drive car as the cure for the growing pandemic of traffic carnage – among other things. Depending on how bad it gets, manufacturers may even be granted some leeway to tweak the self-drive software, people might say things like “it’s not the drivers fault granny got hit, he had a blue screen of death.”

iPhone OS 4.0 Predictions

Apple have borrowed one or two ideas from the jailbreaking community in the past – the app icon rearranging functionality comes to mind, I’m sure there are others. I think many of the new features we’ll see in iPhone OS 4.0 will be based on functionality added by the community.

Don’t have time to fully explore these ideas in a blog post this morning, but here’s a breakdown of my ideas/wishlist. In order of probability.

  • Background processes
    • Not much of a hit to battery or CPU performance with simple apps like twitter or IM clients. Apple could tweak the OS to handle background processes even better.
    • All new smartphones have this ability. iPhone needs it to stay competitive.
  • Themes
    • New source of revenue
    • Could be what the paint splotches on the invite are alluding to
    • Only reason not to do it would be inconsistent UI. But, with themes officially supported Apple could apply their stringent review process.
  • Lockscreen
    • The lockscreen functionality is really cool.
    • Current jailbroken functionality doesn’t seem fully baked. I think Apple could make major improvements.
    • A dashboard widget type interface would seem to make sense.

// end stream of consciousness.