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Autonomous cars and medtech

There’s a lot of prophecies about how tech will change our daily lives. From smart houses to having a robot as your personal assistant. Let’s walk out of the house and look into what self-driving cars might to do our surroundings and get a bit realistic about Medtech.

The advancement of self-driving cars is a bit of an argument, to say the least. Will they conquer our streets in three or 30 years? That’s a bit unclear.

It’s hard to neglect their presence though. Google is said to have driven more than 1,3 million miles, and the number of companies that want a piece of the pie is growing steadily.

But there’s more to autonomous cars than just the transportation part. How will they affect our cities?

In the utopian way of thinking – a city with self-driving cars will be a much better place. Less traffic, no traffic jams, less parking lots, less accidents and no fuzz.

A fact is that large cities like London are thinking of what this might actually mean, when planning ahead. They think about more narrow roads leaving space for green areas, about less investment in infrastructure, and how this might change perspectives – focusing on the inhabitants needs. They also think about how todays infra structure like bus stops and traffic lights could be part of the connected city.

In a self-driving car era we probably won’t own our own car. There will be pools of autonomous cars and we will simply use these with some sort of leasing agreement, in a door to door-system where the car will be no more than a tool to bring you from A to B.

Some argue that this also will be a democratization process, where mobility will be available for everyone – even those who are limited today, like disabled or elderly.

On the downside: yes, all together this is probably an utopian prophecy, at least there will be lots of stages on the way. And which ethical dilemmas might occur, that puts things at stake? How should a self-driving car act when there is a school bus with kids in front and the accident is inevitable? Would it sacrifice the two persons inside the car to save the children?

And what to do if you like to speed of in a nice looking car that you’re really fond of? Perhaps owning and driving a non self-driving car will be like the vinyl record trend today – a nostalgic, somewhat nerdy or perhaps exclusive hobby.

Medtech – taking the load of your doctor

You might find the wearable on your wrist revolutionizing your running. Or enjoy (or not) your watch reminding you that your not moving around enough. But the interesting and game changing thing about health and tech has more to do with real life or death.

Med tech was the largest theme on this year’s tech convention South By Southwest.

Obviously there is no lack of ideas and projects, and medtech could indeed change the future of health care and medicine – if it all comes true.

To trigger your fantasy just a bit:  Wouldn’t it be great if you could take an intelligent pill that scan your status and make sure that you take the right dose of medicine the next day? Or to use bioelectronics medicine instead of chemicals, pills or injections through a small device attached to a nerv, optimize your brain with neuroscience or have a chip restoring your memory?

All this is probably a bit off in the future, though. When speaking of health and medicine it’s another game than keeping track of how many steps you’ve been taking or self diagnoses online. You got to get into the scientific way of doing things, you need clinical tests to prove what works and there’s a lot of regulations. This means resources and long processes.

More down to earth and maybe not so far off, tech and data could take the load of your doctor, for real – enabling her to focus on important stuff. We’re talking about data, your history and medical issues gathered and analyzed. This would also get rid of one of the most expensive challenges in health care – people who seek help when they don’t really need to.


South by Southwest (SXSW)

SXSW is a set of annual conferences and festivals in Austin, Texas, gathering experts and enthusiasts within, film, music and interactive media.
The music festival is regarded as the largest of it’s kind, featuring more than 2 200 acts and attracting more than 30 000 registrants in 2016.
SXSW film started of focusing on indie films but is now also attracting larger players.
The interactive part is focused on emerging technology and trends and attracts start up hunters as well as industry leaders within tech and media. The first SXSW festival took place in 1987.

NAME: Ann Axelsson

TITLE: Editor Future Report, Project Manager Editorial Development, Svenska Dagbladet

YEARS IN SCHIBSTED: 17

WHAT I'M INSPIRED BY: Storytelling and investigating challanges

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