Trains with a guard become driver-only trains, which then become driverless trains. That's the fear underlying Aslef's dispute with Southern railways and accounts for the rearguard action to prevent further job losses across the rail industry. It's not the only reason for the dispute. There is also scorn for Southern's management, which has attacked drivers' basic terms and conditions, and there is anger at transport secretary Chris Grayling's anti-union stance. But, at its heart, the dispute is over the status and even the very existence of the job of train driver, which has been around for nigh on 200 years.
The first self-driving cars to be operated by ordinary British drivers will be left deliberately unmarked so that other drivers will not be tempted to "take them on", a senior car industry executive has revealed. One of the biggest fears of an ambitious project to lease the first autonomous vehicles to everyday motorists is that other road users might slam on their brakes or drive erratically in order to force the driverless cars into submission, he said. This is why the first 100 self-driving 4x4 vehicles to be leased to motorists as part of a pilot scheme on busy main roads into London will look no different than other Volvos of the same model, said Erik Coelingh, senior technical leader at Volvo Cars. The scheme will start in 2018. "From the outside you won't see that it's a self-driving car.
Driverless trucks will be safer and cheaper than their human-controlled counterparts, but that doesn't mean America's 3.5 million professional truck drivers are giving up to the machines without a fight. "Individuals can make their own choices about whether they want to get into a driverless car or taxi, but labour-saving technology will be deployed by businesses much quicker," explains Stern, whose book Raising the Floor explores the need for a universal basic income as technology replaces jobs. Now the race is on to put driverless trucks on public roads. The savings are expected to come from labor ( 70bn), fuel efficiency ( 35bn), productivity ( 27bn) and accidents ( 36bn), before including any estimates from non-truck freight modes like air and rail.
States across the US are scrambling to figure out how to regulate self-driving cars, wearable technologies that track our health, smart homes that constantly monitor their infrastructure and the rest of the devices emerging from the so-called "internet of things" (IoT). The result is a smattering of incomplete and inconsistent law that could depress the upside of the technology without really addressing its risks. What's most notable about these early regulatory attempts is not that they are varied – that is to be expected. It's that the regulations deal mostly with physical safety, leaving privacy and cybersecurity issues almost wholly unexamined. This seems to be a pattern now, true too of drone regulation, where regulatory bodies have jurisdiction over physical threats, not informational ones.
For the past half decade, the technology industry has been racing to build better cameras into the hardware we use every day. Yet the surveillance age has inspired an odd cottage industry battling against this trend: a glut of cheap stickers and branded plastic slides designed to cover up the front-facing cameras on phones, laptops and even televisions. For years, security researchers have shown that hackers can hijack the cameras to spy on whomever is on the other end. To put that in perspective, think of all the things your devices have seen you do. Such warnings have finally caught on.
The global automotive industry and the oil majors are not known for meekly rolling over when a competitor comes along – from General Motors involvement in killing public transport in Los Angeles in the 1940s to Shell lobbying to undermine EU renewables targets in more recent years. But recently, the world has started to see a new side to the sector: "If you can't beat them, join them; and if you can't join them, buy them out." This week Saudi Arabia announced a surprising new venture for the country's vast oil-generated sovereign investment fund: a 3.5bn stake in the ride-hailing startup Uber. The investment, which values six-year-old Uber at 62.5bn, is one of the largest ever made in a privately held company, and is roughly the same size as the sum total of all investments in the UK's tech sector over the course of 2015, according to the venture capitalist David Galbraith. Saudi Arabia's goal with its investment fund is to use some of the state's 2tn in assets to make long-standing investments that will fund the future of the country once its oil economy begins to sputter.
Related: Robot revolution: rise of'thinking' machines could exacerbate inequality As a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, Alec Ross travelled the world with the remit of cataloguing the best examples of innovation the human race has to offer. His trips took him to Korea, the Congo and Silicon Valley (and far enough overall he has calculated, to take him from the Earth to the moon twice, with a side trip from the US to New Zealand), and left him with a concern that the rate of change could leave many behind. From robots entering the workforce and leading to the very real prospect of redundancy within a decade for the million employees of Taiwan's electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn to genetic engineering unleashing the possibility of designer babies, the power of technology to reshape the world is reaching historic levels. But the people who have the most to lose from those changes are often the ones who get the least warning. That, says Ross, was his motivation for writing The Industries of the Future, which looks at six of the biggest waves of change about to hit the world.
This is Volvo Group's driverless truck, designed to work in underground mines far beyond the limits of GPS navigation. Cost savings can be measured on a societal level, because there will be a need for fewer vehicles, reducing CO2 and fuel consumption, while driverless technology also has safety benefits. Companies such as Otto, formed by former Google executives this month, are racing to develop autonomous vehicle technology for the long-haul trucking industry.
Driverless cars, drones and a proposed first commercial spaceport for the UK will feature in the Queen's speech. The Department for Transport has said such cutting-edge technologies are crucial to the country's economy and that its proposals, to be unveiled on Wednesday, will help deliver jobs. Legislation will be introduced to enable driverless cars, already trialled in the UK, to be insured under ordinary policies. The government has said that the spaceport will be constructed by the end of the current parliament. The self-driving car market is currently growing at 16% a year and could be worth up to 900bn worldwide by 2025, while the port is part of the government's plan to raise revenues in the space sector from 12bn to 40bn by 2030, which would mean capturing about 10% of the sector worldwide.
Google has said it will ban ads for payday loans because they can be "deceptive or harmful". "This change is designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful financial products." The ban will not cover mortgages, car loans, student loans, commercial loans or credit cards, said Graff, adding: "We'll continue to review the effectiveness of this policy, but our hope is that fewer people will be exposed to misleading or harmful products." "UK consumers enjoy a vibrant, highly competitive credit market and we will be interested to read the evidence that Google uses to justify overruling open market advertising of a legal, regulated industry to deny people freedom of choice," he said.