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Tag: startup

Rush Hour with robot cars and humans

Saturday, 12 March, 2016 0 Comments

Yesterday, General Motors announced it’s acquiring Cruise Automation, an autonomous vehicle technology startup. Almost simultaneously, Ford revealed a new subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility, that will focus on developing technology for autonomous vehicles. What will a world of robotic transport look like, feel like? Well, it will be cheaper and safer, that’s for sure. When robotic vehicles rule the road, we won’t have to stop at intersections anymore because pedestrians, cars and bikes will interweave at speed, intelligently, fearlessly. That’s how Fernando Livschitz envisages it, anyway.

To a certain degree, all of this is being acted out in the main cities of Asia every day, without robots. Rob Whitworth went to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and was captivated by the the energy of the place. “Saigon is a city on the move unlike anything I have experienced before which I wanted to capture and share,” he says.


We’ve got to talk about Hollywood

Friday, 27 January, 2012

Backgrounder: “What Happens At Y Combinator” is a lengthy and informative post written by Paul Graham in September 2010. Snippet: “The overall goal of YC [Y Combinator] is to help startups really take off. They arrive at YC at all different stages. Some haven’t even started working yet, and others have been launched for a year or more. But whatever stage a startup is at when they arrive, our goal is to help them to be in dramatically better shape 3 months later.”

And this segues nicely into the recently issued Y Combinator RFS, where “RFS” stands for “Requests For Startups”. It was the title wot done it: “RFS 9: Kill Hollywood“. Typical of the tenor of the piece: “How do you kill the movie and TV industries? Or more precisely (since at this level, technological progress is probably predetermined) what is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What’s going to kill movies and TV is what’s already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now?”

This is pretty incendiary stuff and, sure enough, is has generated some heated responses. The entrepreneur and blogger Jason Calacanis has just kicked back with, “We Need to Empower Hollywood–Not Kill Hollywood“. As always, Calacanis is entertaining: “What if YC’s screed winds up on the desk of some angry or delusional CEO or studio head’s desk with a list of stolen files in Dropbox folders and says, ‘These guys are trying to kill us, let’s unleash a trillion dollar lawsuit on them and harass them to death!’ That’s what Hollywood does — it harasses startups to death and YC’s post is EXACTLY what those lawyers are looking for: the smoking gun that internet people want to kill them.”
Y Combinator is right in demanding a creative response to the increasingly legalistic, stultifying, predictable, biased Hollywood output, but Calacanis is on the money when he points out that no amount of Angry Birds can match the magic of Hollywood when the result is something like Drive.