Tag: future (page 1 of 5)

What exactly is ‘hybrid work’?

‘Future’ is a new publication from the VC firm a16z. As such, most things there, while interesting, need to be taken with a large pinch of salt.

This article, for example, feels almost right, but as a gamer the ‘multiplayer’ analogy for work breaks down (for me at least) in several places. That being said, I’ve suggested for a while that our co-op meets around a campfire in Red Dead Redemption II instead of on Zoom…

Remote 1.0. The first wave of modern “remote-first” companies (including Automattic, Gitlab, and Zapier) leaned heavily on asynchronous communication via tools like Google Docs and Slack. This involved a fundamental culture shift that most enterprises could not — and didn’t want to — undertake. It didn’t help that video conferencing technology was clumsy and unreliable, making frictionless real-time communication unfeasible. When collaboration happened, it was primarily through screen sharing: low-fidelity, non-interactive, ineffective. Rather than paving the way, technology was in the way.

Remote 2.0, the phase we’re in, more closely approximates in-person work by relying on video conferencing that allows real-time collaboration (albeit still with friction); video calls are much better now, thanks to more consumer-friendly tools like Zoom and Google Meet. Millennials and Gen-Z-ers, who are more comfortable with multimedia (video and audio as well as multi-player gaming), are increasingly joining the workforce. But while this phase has been more functional from a technical standpoint, it has not been pleasant: “not being able to unplug” has become the top complaint among remote workers. (Especially since many teams have tried to replicate a sense of in-person presence by scheduling more video calls, leading to “Zoom fatigue”). As context diminishes, building trust has become harder — particularly for new employees.

Remote 3.0 is the phase ahead of us: hybrid work. The same challenges of Remote 2.0 are magnified here by asymmetry. The pandemic leveled the playing field at first by pushing everyone to remote work; now that it’s feasible to work in-person, though, hybrid work will create a “second-class citizen” problem. Remote employees may find it much harder to participate in core company functions, to be included in casual conversations, and to form relationships with their colleagues.

Source: Hybrid Anxiety and Hybrid Optimism: The Near Future of Work | Future

A glimpse into the future of autonomous electric vehicles

Ideally, we’d all be using mass transit rather than just switch fossil fuel-based vehicles for their electric equivalents. But, as a student of human nature, I recognise that autonomous electric vehicles might be a pragmatic stop-gap.

This is an interesting article, as it puts a price on how much these vehicles might cost by the hour (~7 Euros) and talks about what people might be doing while waiting for them to recharge (playing video games!)

The German automaker is considering charging an hourly fee for access to autonomous driving features once those features are ready. The company is also exploring a range of subscription features for its electric vehicles, including “range or performance” increases that can be purchased on an hourly or daily basis, said Thomas Ulbrich, a Volkswagen board member, to the German newspaper Die Welt. Ulbrich said the first subscription features will appear in the second quarter of 2022 in vehicles based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, which underpins the company’s new ID.3 compact car and ID.4 crossover.

Source: What would you pay for autonomous driving? Volkswagen hopes $8.50 per hour | Ars Technica

‘The individual’ is an idea like other ideas

Blue sky through dark clouds

I thought I’d share some things that have really opened my eyes recently.

The first is a two-part interview with Vinay Gupta from the Emerge podcast in 2019. I’ve followed Vinay’s work ever since we tried to get Firecloud (a P2P publishing platforming using WebRTC) off the ground in 2013 when I was working at Mozilla. Ten years ahead of the curve, as always.

Working with Vinay absolutely blew my mind, and although we haven’t met up in person for a few years, he’s been changing the world in the meantime. He was the release manager for Ethereum, and he’s currently CEO of Mattereum.

The difference with Vinay, though, is that he’s enlightened. I don’t mean that in a LinkedIn kind of way. I mean that in a studied-under-a-Hindu-guru kind of way. This underpins all of the humanitarian work he does, some of which you can see at myhopeforthe.world

The two episodes on the Emerge podcast are entitled Waking Up in the Monster Factory (Part 1 / Part 2). I guarantee they are worth your time.


The second thing I’d like to share is a documentary series by Adam Curtis that was released last month. Entitled Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World it’s available on BBC iPlayer and YouTube.

The late, great Dai Barnes implored me to watch Curtis’ 2016 documentary HyperNormalisation. I’m only half way through the new documentary series, and it’s having a similar effect as when I watched that. A feeling of waking up, and seeing the world as it really is. It’s kind of counter-conspiracy theory.


The crucial thing for me, and my reason for sharing both of these, is a recognition that there’s no-one coming to save us. But, unlike those people discussed in the 99% Invisible podcast episode The Doom Boom, it’s up to us to figure out how to pull together collectively — instead of hunkering down and just making sure that our immediate family and friends are OK.


Quotation-as-title by Harold Rosenberg. Image by Antonino Visalli