Five for Friday: What's better than a self-driving car?

A weekly roundup of interesting technology, medical, and sustainability news served up in perfect conversation-starter tidbits.

Let's close out the month of September by answering the question What could possibly be better than a self-driving car?

no more car insurance

1. Answer: No car insurance. (From The Economist) If human error is all but eradicated when it comes to car-driving with the liability shifting to the manufacturer vs. the driver, the insurance industry could be looking at a seismic shift in how it will deal with insuring drivers. The Economist offers a quick take on the changes that could be ahead of us but watch out -- there's still plenty of ways you could be in trouble (such as not updating your car's OS before taking it out for a spin in manual mode). Please remember to responsibly recycle your car insurance statements.

2. Answer: Self-driving chairs. (From Minnesota Public Radio) Have you ever waited in line and wondered if gouging your eyes out would be more fun? Then this news story's for you! Nissan just launched its ProPilot chair to make waiting in line "easy and fun" (read: "easy to read fun stuff on your phone without having to stand on your own two feet"). The future is now, my friends.

3. Answer: Zoning laws. (From Politico) Ok, stick with me on this one. You may not give it a lot of thought in your daily life, but zoning and comprehensive city/state planning are crucial to public spaces that are inviting, accommodating, and spur economic growth. We're looking at a mounting housing crisis in areas that should be growing as job centers and the President is calling on local leaders to reconsider archaic zoning rules and practices. (Bonus for our local readers, there's great comp planning going on throughout Minnesota and I'd recommend some light Googling to see what's going on around you. Minneapolis and St. Paul have published some extensive plans and are in the trenches refining them.)

4. Answer: A Minnesota-focused film you can stream in your PJs. (From the Pioneer Press) If you're an an extroverted introvert like myself, you may love the sound of a film screening but not be able to get yourself psyched up to attend in person. The DocuMNtary film highlighting the booming tech industry in Minnesota is set to be available for free online and includes interviews with a diverse array of local tech leaders.

5. Answer: A robot dog. (From The Mirror (I know, I know but it has a video)) It's called the Ghost Minotaur (obviously) and its creator company is preparing for mass production. For just $1500, you too could terrorize your mammalian pets and astound your neighbors! Get it on your holiday shopping list now.

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