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The Next Big Disruption: 4 Ways Driverless Cars Are Going To Change The World

The Next Big Disruption: 4 Ways Driverless Cars Are Going To Change The World

All of us living in this technological age have become quite accustomed to major disruptive technologies changing how we deal with different aspects of our lives. Whether it is the invention of different interactive social media tools or a commercial rocket company, we have seen it all and lived to tell the tale, all the while benefiting from what these great disruptions had on offer.

Another interesting major disruption is just around the corner, which can make an even bigger impact on our lives than all of its other ace predecessors. Driverless cars were once considered science fiction, only to be seen in movies, but they are fast becoming a reality as evident by the driverless car stats. Although it will be a while until we are engulfed by this amazing technology, it still is a major consideration on the changes it will beget on the current scenario. There will be some major shake ups down the road, let’s look at 5 ways how these amazing autonomous vehicles are going to have an impact on the world!

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Increased integrated driven productivity

Autonomous cars don’t need to follow state laws and are not required to take rest like human drivers which could highly increase productivity as these cars will be able to operate 24 hours without direct human intervention.

These cars “see” the road through GPS, which enables them to work even in low light and foggy conditions, making long haul payload transportation more efficient. Companies could earn highly from this increased efficiency and making this revolution in supply chain, would keep prices of different materials low for the common consumer without affecting profitability. Now that’s productivity!

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Lowering human effort

With a smartphone in almost every hand, there would be high convenience in them being given commands which they can line up on themselves, given an increase in robotic and AI technology, and make light of tasks which we humans consider cumbersome, like taking your mom for her routine checkup every week. This will free humans up to engage more in productive activities.

The same time period could now be utilized to achieve even more as we won’t be engaged in hour long commutes towards work or picking children up from their schools, we could instead be dozing up on our way to home from work or catch up on some latest music while the cars brings the children. What an amazing let off would that be!

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Changing Job Dynamics in the Transportation Industry

As cars would be driven autonomously, there would be increase in joblessness for people working in the transportation industry as drivers. This could both be used as a bane or a beneficial advantage as these now free workers could be put to other more useful tasks accomplishing more or they could become irrelevant.

It all depends on planning and charting out a course on how these people could be re-accommodated into the job market otherwise they could end up as disgruntled workers in the race for driverless cars. Policy makers round the world should keep an eye on this issue as there have been a lot of instances in history where a new disruption caused sudden high unemployment causing social unrest. These workers could be re-instigated into the same supply chain industry in different roles.

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Putting a lid on Environmental Damage

Carbon emissions from factories and automobiles have caused increasing damage to the fragile climatic conditions of this planet, with us now on the brink of a major calamity owing to the increase in greenhouse gases anytime soon.

These autonomous vehicles mostly employ solar power as compared to conventional modes of transportation, will cause a drastic reduction in carbon emissions worldwide, lowering our carbon footprint and putting a leash on the breakaway climate change we have instigated, even if not reversing the damage altogether. These autonomous cars will ensure that our over dependence on fossil fuels end and with that our monstrous impact on the world we currently inhibit.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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