/ Weekly Takeaways

Is auto insurance dying? Disney's done with YouTube and The weaponization of software engineers

Self-Driving Cars Might Kill Auto Insurance as We Know It

The way our insurance is calculated is based on a big pool of historic data of driver behaviour. Your quote ends up looking something like this:

*You look like you're in X accidents / year, at an average cost of Y and therefore we'll need to charge you Z*

But with more and more vehicles on the road that transmit your driving data, these calculations are quickly becoming obsolete. This is an issue that legislators, insurance companies and the general public have been wrestling with for the better part of the last decade with IoT taking over the market. Ultimately we'll likely see either a change to the calculation, or a very different insurance policy in the future for anyone with a "smart car".

This write-up on the topic is definitely worth a read as you get into the week: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-19/autonomous-vehicles-may-one-day-kill-car-insurance-as-we-know-it

Key Takeaway

The real winners in this new game between consumer privacy, insurance fees and machine learning will likely be those that control and refine the data coming out of the cars themselves. Companies like Tesla, Google and Uber have a lot of power in the future of this landscape, and will determine the future of insurance companies.

Disney pulls all ads out of YouTube in light of a public pedophile ring on the platform

Earlier this week, a video was posted (ironically on YouTube) about how YouTube is facilitating sexual exploitation of minors through their commenting system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O13G5A5w5P0.

The issue ranges from lewd comments, all the way to using commenting threads on videos to exchange illegal videos.

Disney, Nestle and many other major advertisers are boycotting the platform in light of this news. See the full write up here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/technology/youtube-pedophiles.html?partner=IFTTT

Key Takeaway

If advertisers continue to pull out of YouTube - we'll see a serious stream of revenue missing from one of the largest content products the world has ever seen. Less product revenue = less product investment or worse, a shift in where YouTube generates revenue. If this trend continues - we could see a decrease in payments to high quality YouTubers, and therefore less content production which would lead to more content on different platforms. This might not be a bad thing.

Microsoft employees protest against the military HoloLens contract

Back in November - I talked about how Microsoft won a half billion dollar contract with the Pentagon to sell their HoloLens product. The military will use this product for better in-field targeting, and ultimately "better lethality" - as MSFT employees call it.

There's a petition growing in signatures amongst Microsoft personnel against the contract, with mounting fears that their software engineering skills are being used for a corporate gain that they can't support.


Key Takeaway

Filed under Unintended Consequences - great minds are contributing to a military apparatus beyond just this story. We've now seen this in use with abuses of public facial recognition systems and now more immediate applications directly on the battlefield. Microsoft's employees will be the first to say no to the literal weaponization of data, and I hope they won't be the last.

The bigger question will be how long until engineers that aren't opposed to this use of technology moving into jobs for weapons manufacturing firms where you'd expect to find them.

Is auto insurance dying? Disney's done with YouTube and The weaponization of software engineers
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