Autonomous Car Privacy – 8 Scenarios to Explain the Enormous Complexity of this Issue

by | Dec 19, 2019 | Future of Transportation

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Blog: Autonomous Car Privacy Issue And Identity Theft

When we stop owning our own vehicles, we’ll be forced to adopt whole new mindset!

Over the coming years the conversations about privacy in driverless vehicles will become a delicate balancing act between privacy, security, and convenience.

Let’s consider a typical morning commute in 2030.

After summoning a car, it arrives quickly, recognizes you, and opens the door. “Good morning Mr. Johnson, where are we heading off to today?”

With facial recognition it already knows your most common destinations, and the stops you like to make along the way. But today is different.

“I’d like to pick up Mr. Norbert from Doggy Daycare and take him to my sister’s house in North Willows.” (Mr. Norbert is the cocker spaniel that he hates leaving at home while he’s gone. The sister’s house is already a known destination.)

“Would you like to stop for your regular cup of coffee before going to Doggy Daycare? I see a Tim Hortons along the way, would you like to stop there?”

“Yes, that would be nice.” (In this situation, Tim Hortons was suggested because the company paid extra to get premium placement on the car’s recommendation engine.)

“Would you also like to purchase a doggie mat for the backseat as well?”

“No he’ll be fine sitting on my lap.” (Since the car is already aware of Mr. Norbert’s bladder problems, sensors under the floor mats and seats are given a “monitor closely” alert.)

“Very well, will you be planning any trips this weekend?”

“Perhaps, I was thinking about taking Sally to the Fire House Bistro on Saturday evening.”

“Would you like me to make reservations for you at the Fire House Bistro on Saturday?”

“Yes, that’ll work. Let’s set the arrival time at 6:30 pm.”

“Very well, I’ll contact them now.” Two minutes go by. “The only times available for the Fire House Bistro on Saturday are earlier than 5:30 pm or after 8:00 pm. Would you like me to reserve one of those time-slots?”

“No, see if you can get a 6:30 pm reservation at the Capitol Club? And also, make it a reservation for four because we’d like to take our grandkids Jonathan and Beverly along.”

“Very well, I’ll contact them now.” Two minutes go by. “Good news, I was able to make a 6:30 pm reservation at the Capitol Club on Saturday for a party of four. Will you be needing car seats for your grandchildren?”

“Yes, I’ll need one carseat for Beverly.” (Once again, this request triggers a sensor alert for possible spillage and other messes.)

After stopping to grab a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons, we drive by a grocery store and a list of sale items appear on my screen. With a few taps, he adds them to his grocery list and a delivery service will drop them off this evening.

Just like every morning, my regularly scheduled conference call comes up and he finds himself part of discussion about next generation security systems for the office.

In this age of self-driving cars, an era when much of the minutiae of daily life is relegated to a machine, we can be as busy or as relaxed as we want to be. But overall, they’ll free up people’s time and attention to focus on other matters while they’re moving from one place to the next.

But there can also be a darker side to all this if you’re concerned about privacy. So let’s take a closer look at the privacy side of the equation.

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Blog: Driverless Cars Privacy Concerns and Cost Of Convenience

In a driverless vehicle, privacy becomes a delicate balancing act with security and convenience!

Competing Interests

Every trip we make in the future will have multiple parties interested in tracking our activities inside an autonomous vehicle.

Vehicle Owners – The company that owns the cars will want to know about any situation that could possibly compromise the ongoing operation of the vehicle. The list of possible “cleanup & repair” triggers will get more complicated over time:

  • Spillage and trash
  • Contagious diseases
  • Known criminals
  • Handicap people
  • Illegal activities
  • Terrorist activities

Governments – Since autonomous vehicles will be classified as “public transportation,” governments have an obligation to provide safe and efficient transportation while mitigating danger, and stopping harmful activities before they happen:

  • Known criminals
  • Handicap people
  • Illegal activities
  • Hackers
  • Hijackers
  • Terrorist activities

Passengers – Anyone riding in an autonomous car will want a safe and inexpensive form of transportation:

  • Convenient
  • Safe and secure
  • Reliable
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to enter & exit

Advertisers – Having access to a captive audience is worth its weight in gold, however, it’s a delicate balance between being too intrusive and not enough. Contrary to what most people think, advertisers are not interested in spamming the world with ads. Rather, most are interested in specifically targeting only those people who will be interested in their products or services.

Loyalty Programs – Passenger rewards for being a frequent traveler will become a hot topic in the future. For this reason, having an automated system for logging trips and calculating mileage will become a critical feature.

AI Operating System Companies – The heart and soul of every autonomous vehicle operation will be an AI operating system that becomes increasingly anticipatory over time. Having the right cars in the right parts of the city at the right time will prove to be the first benchmark for performance. Beyond that, every AI operating system will get to know their passengers quite intimately, offering movies, games, music, recommending products, goods, and services, making accommodations for changes in jobs, lifestyles, and even working with quirky new passenger demands.

With driverless technology, our expectations will dramatically change!

Eight Scenarios

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Blog: Autonomous Fleets Problems

Surveillance inside a vehicle will take many forms – visual surveillance with cameras, audio surveillance through microphones, GPS, sensors, air quality monitors, and much more.

As fleet owners offer customers a smooth, clean, comfortable ride from point A to point B, there are a staggering number of things that can go wrong along the way.

Whenever serious problems are detected, vehicles will be taken out of service until the problem has been resolved. However, any time a vehicle is removed from operation – either for cleanup, repair, spills, contagions, police activity, or any number of situations – expenses start mounting.

At the same time companies want to monitor what’s happening inside their cars, customers have many reasons why they don’t want anyone watching them.

Here are a few quick scenarios to highlight the size and scope of issues these companies will be dealing with.

1. Terrorist Scenarios

Autonomous vehicle companies will quickly become targets for hackers, hijackers, and any number of devious minded schemers. All parties involved – governments, passengers, and vehicle owners – will want to minimize these kinds of problems. When it comes to terrorist scenarios, problems will range from bombs, to poison, toxic cars, infectious diseases, spying on conversations, and more.

2. Divorce Scenarios

Many of those going through a divorce tend to have heightened levels of paranoia. With many worried that their qualifications and worthiness of being a parent will be called into question, many recently divorced people will want to travel incognito with their messy, unruly kids, dogs, and toys.

3. Celebrity Scenarios

At a certain point, fame becomes the arch enemy of being seen in public, and many will worry about word getting out at the driverless command center about their whereabouts. Paparazzi, stalkers, and even autograph junkies become a problem for those who just want a peaceful trip across town. These types of problems are quickly exacerbated when viral media stars and rapidly unfolding news stories focus a huge spotlight on anything they do.

4. Business Exec on Phone Scenarios

Many business executives routinely have phone conversations that, if overheard by those in competing businesses, could jeopardize the long-term competitiveness of their own company. Corporate espionage is alive and well, and operating at far more sophisticated levels than ever before.

5. Pets and Support Animal Scenarios

As the number of people living with pets continues to climb, pet owners increasingly expect their pets will be as welcome as they are wherever they go. With pets ranging from potbelly pigs, to chickens, dogs, cats, snakes, rats, miniature horses, parrots, and iguanas, the overall messiness of animals enclosed in tiny mobile spaces becomes a significant issue. Fleet operators will insist on specific “rider insurance policies” that will kick in whenever an animal is onboard.

6. Contagious Disease Scenarios

No one wants to contract a virus, infections, lice, allergens, or any other kind of transmittable illness inside a driverless vehicle. For this reason, fleet owners will have air quality monitors that continuously sniff and test air particles for anything remotely dangerous.

7. Messy Kid Scenarios

Even though you may love kids, few passengers want to climb into a car where an explosive diaper has been changed, a 32 ounce Big Gulp has been spilled, projectile vomiting is coating the seat-backs, or magic markers have turned the interior into a Picasso-wanna-be.

8. Wealthy People Scenarios

While rich people are willing to pay for absolute privacy, where all cameras, sensors, and recording devices are turned off, things will still go wrong, and fleet owners (and police) will want to know who is responsible. What if passengers get into a fight, blood everywhere, someone dies, or is thrown from the vehicle, how are these issues resolved?

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Blog: The More Personalized Self Driving Cars Get The More Personal Data Is At Risk

The more personalized driverless vehicles get, the more conveniences they’ll offer!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to self-driving cars, the price of convenience is surveillance.

Massive amounts of data will be collected, as a natural extension of a driverless car’s functionality. These cars will rely on high-tech cameras, both internal and external, along with ultra-precise GPS data. This means cars will collect reams of information about the people they transport around, similar to the data Uber has amassed about its customers’ habits, but down to a level of detail that’s far more granular.

For self-driving cars to work, an enormous amount of data has to flow through their onboard sensor networks to be able to keep track of every car, person, or animal on the road.

The more personalized these vehicles get, and the more conveniences they offer, the more data they’ll have to incorporate into their operation. The future I described might be a few years away, but there’s no reason to believe it’s too far-fetched.

That said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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Autonomous Car Privacy – 8 Scenarios to Explain the Enormous Complexity of this Issue

by | Dec 19, 2019 | Future of Transportation

I was thoroughly intrigued when I found out the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado was offering a degree in asteroid mining.

Yes, the idea of extracting water, oxygen, minerals, and metals from an asteroid sounds like science fiction to most people, but it’s not that far away.  In fact, Colorado School of Mines’ newly launched “Space Resources” program will help people get in on the ground floor.

After thinking about the proactive nature of this approach, it became abundantly clear how backward thinking most colleges have become.

When colleges decide on a new degree program, they must first recruit instructors, create a new curriculum, and attract students. As a result, the talent churned out of these newly minted programs is the product of a 6-7 year pipeline.

For this reason, anticipatory-thinking institutions really need to be setting their sights on what business and industries will need 7-10 years from now.

The Risk-Averse Nature of Education

When Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen released his best-selling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, his core message that disruptive change is the path to success, was only partially embraced by higher education.

While many were experimenting with MOOCs and smart whiteboards, changes in the subject matter of their courses still evolved at the traditional pace of discovery.

This is not to say colleges are not innovative. Rather, the demands of today’s emerging tech environment are forcing business and industries to shift into an entirely new gear. And that most definitely includes our academic institutions.

From a management perspective, it’s far easier to oversee a contained system where all variables are constrained. But during times of change, we tend to give far more power to the “unleashers,” who are determined to test the status quo and release ideas and trial balloons to see what works.

For this reason, managers and creatives often find themselves on opposing sides, and the winners of these warring factions often determine what we as consumers see as the resulting ripples of change.

Offering Pilot Programs

When Facebook bought Oculus Rift in March 2014 for $2 billion, the job boards went crazy, as there was an instant uptick in the demand for VR designers, engineers, and experience creators. But no one was teaching VR, and certainly not the Oculus Rift version of it.

Colleges have a long history of being blindsided by new technologies:

  • When eBay launched, no one was teaching ecommerce strategies
  • When Myspace launched, no one was teaching social networking
  • When Google launched, no one was teaching online search engine strategies
  • When Uber launched, no one was teaching sharing economy business models
  • When Apple first opened their App Store, no one was teaching smart phone app design
  • When Amazon first allowed online storefronts, no one was teaching the Amazon business model
  • When YouTube first offered ways to monetize videos, no one was teaching it

Since most academic institutions are only willing to put their name on programs with long-term viability, the endorsement of half-baked agendas does not come easy. However, that is exactly what needs to be done.

Colleges can no longer afford to remain comfortably behind the curve.

52 Future College Degrees

As a way of priming your thinking on this matter, here are 52 future degrees that forward-thinking colleges could start offering today:

  1. Space Exploration – space tourism planning and management
  2. Space Exploration – planetary colony design and operation
  3.  Space Exploration – next generation space infrastructure
  4. Space Exploration – advanced cosmology and non-earth human habitats
  5. Bioengineering with CRISPR – policy and procedural strategies
  6. Bioengineering with CRISPR – advanced genetic engineering systems
  7. Bioengineering with CRISPR – operational implementations and system engineering
  8. Bioengineering with CRISPR – ethical regulation and oversight
  9. Smart City – autonomous traffic integration
  10. Smart City – mixed reality modeling
  11. Smart City – autonomous construction integration
  12. Smart City – next generation municipal planning and strategy
  13. Autonomous Agriculture – robotic systems
  14. Autonomous Agriculture – drone systems
  15. Autonomous Agriculture – supply chain management
  16. Autonomous Agriculture – systems theory and integration
  17. Swarmbot – design, theory, and management
  18. Swarmbot – system engineering and oversight
  19. Swarmbot – municipal system design
  20. Swarmbot – law enforcement and advanced criminology systems
  21. Cryptocurrency – digital coin economics
  22. Cryptocurrency – crypto-banking system design
  23. Cryptocurrency – regulatory systems and oversight
  24. Cryptocurrency – forensic accounting strategies
  25. Blockchain – design, systems, and applications
  26. Blockchain – blockchain for biological systems
  27. Blockchain – large-scale integration structures
  28. Blockchain – municipal system design strategies
  29. Global Systems – system planning, architecture, and design
  30. Global Systems – large-scale integration strategies
  31. Global Systems – operational systems checks and balance
  32. Global Systems – governmental systems in a borderless digital world
  33. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - drone film making
  34. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – command center operations
  35. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – municipal modeling and planning systems
  36. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – emergency response systems
  37. Mixed Reality - experiential retail
  38. Mixed Reality – three-dimensional storytelling
  39. Mixed Reality – game design
  40. Mixed Reality – therapeutic systems and design
  41. Advanced Reproductive Systems – designer baby strategies, planning, and ethics
  42. Advanced Reproductive Systems – surrogate parenting policy and approaches
  43. Advanced Reproductive Systems – organic nano structures
  44. Advanced Reproductive Systems – clone engineering and advanced processes
  45. Artificial Intelligence – data management in an AI environment
  46. Artificial Intelligence – advanced human-AI integration
  47. Artificial Intelligence – streaming AI data services
  48. Artificial Intelligence – advanced marketing with AI
  49. Quantum Computing – data strategies in a quantum-connected world
  50. Quantum Computing – quantum-level encryption and security
  51. Quantum Computing – quantum computing implementation strategies
  52. Quantum Computing – AI-quantum system integration

Final Thought

More so than any time in history, we have a clear view of next generation technologies. Naturally, we’re still a long way from 100% clarity, but for most of the technologies listed above, the shifting tectonic plates of change can be felt around the world.

Without taking decisive action, colleges run the risk of being circumvented by new types of training systems that can meet market demands in a fraction of the time it takes traditional academia to react.

The ideas I’ve listed are a tiny fraction of what’s possible when it comes to emerging tech degrees. Should colleges stick their neck out like Colorado School of Mines and offer degrees that may not be immediately useful? Adding to that question, how many college degrees are immediately useful today?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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