Where Steve Jobs Left Us

Steve Jobs pumpking carving photo by Jenifer Joy Madden

Author’s note: I co-wrote this post with an author/professor friend shortly after Steve Jobs died in 2013.  A similar version appeared at that time in Notre Dame Magazine.

Steve Jobs was a durable human. His natural curiosity led him to explore new ideas, his brilliance allowed him to capitalize on what he learned, and his creativity drove him forward.

Jobs applied his experience to the design of what he called “seamless” products: devices so intuitive that using them is second nature. Yet he himself grew up in a world without such gadgets. Continue reading

Driverless Vehicles and Human Durability

Will vehicles which drive themselves help or hurt us as human beings? It may not be an either/or proposition.

In today’s Washington Post I paint a picture of how an edge city near Washington, D.C. can be wired with a system connecting smart phones with self-driving cars, buses and trucks. We hear from robotics expert Robert Finkelstein and consultant Richard Bishop who say we’ll gain productive time if we aren’t driving or caught in traffic. We’ll be safer, too. Smart vehicles have onboard sensors which are being shown to dramatically reduce crashes. Plus they never get tired or distracted. Continue reading

Cellphones More Important Than Kids?

Could it be that it’s easier to forget your child in the car than realize your cellphone is missing? A tragic number is telling.

At last count, 513 American kids have died inside hot, closed cars since record-keeping began in 1998. About half were forgotten by a parent or caregiver.

Because the death toll continues to climb, authorities met in Washington, D.C. this week to propose immediate action. “It’s so urgent that we find effective sets of countermeasures that we all can take right now,” said David Strickland of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as quoted in the Washington Post.

And what do experts suggest as a top countermeasure? Put your cellphone in the back seat with your child. Continue reading

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