5 for Friday: We're Back!

Truth be told, we didn't mean to leave you high and dry after we wrapped up our podcast-related blog series in August...but things got away from us (in a good way). We joined the Jacob Frey for Minneapolis Mayor campaign and it was an all-consuming race to a victorious finish.

working on the Jacob Frey for mayor campaign

On top of that, we've been working on stopping a pipeline with Sierra Club and laying out season two of Here to There.

But now, we're ready to get back to our regular programming. Working on the mayor's race was a great opportunity to dig into local policies, community interests, and the nuances of deploying big ideas across many perspectives. As we look at our slate of projects for 2018 (including what's sure to be another fun session at the MN legislature), we find that more than ever there's a need for collaboration, discussion, and deep strategic thought when it comes to integrating technology, systems, and people.

With that in mind, let's get into a forward-looking weekly round-up that answers some of the top questions we anticipate tackling in 2018:

  1. Is anticipatory governance more important than ever? (From the Voice, the Citizens League's magazine, p. 10) -- Yes, yes it is. In the winter issue of the Voice magazine, you'll find a transit-framed think piece written by yours truly on the importance of anticipatory governance when it comes to deploying new transportation technology to the benefit of the people and communities it serves. The article is part of a series in which three authors give three different perspectives on how to deploy disruptive technology.

  2. You keep telling me it's coming but when will I see driverless technology on our streets? (From KSTP) -- Today, if you like. MnDOT is offering up free rides on its driverless bus today and this weekend. Yes, they've tested it extensively (Leili even took a test trip in December!). Yes, they've tested it at night. Yes, they've tested it in snow/sleet/salt (in fact, Minnesota was the first "harsh-weather" test site). The future is now!

  3. Ok, one bus that can go 10mph, fine. Impress me with something I could use myself. (From Wired) -- GM is doubling down on consumer vehicle options including debuting a car without a steering wheel next year and launching Maven, a new car-sharing concept. Ford has some similarly cool new ideas, such as letting you lease a car with up to five other people, kind of like how you can have a friend-and-family cell phone plan. Yes, there's technology that needs to catch up. And laws (remember that time we talked about the importance of anticipatory governance?). And testing. But we're getting closer than ever to seeing mainstream deployment of driverless technology.

  4. What's going on in solar technology? That seems to be a hot issue (pun intended). (From Forbes) -- As of today, kind of a mixed bag. This week's big news was the Trump administration announcing a 30% tariff on imported panels, but the Forbes article has a slightly more optimistic view as to how this isn't a death knell. Greentech Media has a good write-up as well, talking about near-term effects to jobs (estimated loss of 23k), but some good news when it comes to US-based solar manufacturers announcing expansion plans. We'll see how it all pans out soon enough.

  5. Speaking of solar, how are things looking for the environment? (From NPR) Honestly, not great. There's rapid melt in the permafrost which has scientists worried (er, more worried I suppose) about masses of carbon being unloaded into the atmosphere. A tweet this week pointed out that if you were born after 1977, you've never experienced a cooler-than-average year (more in this Mashable article). We have real work to do because effects like the natural disasters this summer and the unprecedented drought in South Africa are just the beginning of what's to come.

On that cheery note, it's clear that there's much to be done this year and beyond. At Apparatus, we're as committed as ever to bringing strategic, forward-thinking, collaborative discussions to fruition so that we can find productive harmony in the nexus between natural, built, and social systems. To a great year ahead!

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