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Friend or Foe? Technology in Our Everyday Lives: Future Mobility

Disruptive platforms and technologies can transform entire industries. From Airbnb and Uber, to cloud storage, 3D printing, and cryptocurrency, innovation arrives in many forms. Take the future of mobility, for example. With the world’s megacities and their populations outpacing existing modes of transportation, visionary solutions that weigh legal risks and privacy vulnerabilities are in demand. KPMG produced a video that provides a glimpse into the future of mobility: see it here.

Flying-car lab opens in Paris. Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, describes the future of transportation as being “three dimensional” in that vehicles will be able to move in vertical and horizontal ways.

Self-driving busesAutonomous vehicles that can speak sign language and combine “artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and smartphone apps to serve people with vision, hearing, physical, and cognitive disabilities” are already a reality.

But with new mobility solutions comes new challenges.

Body Scanners vs. privacy at public subway stations. Los Angeles sparked controversy in announcing its plans for body scanners to screen subway and bus passengers for hidden explosives with technology that works from 30 feet away. However, officials emphasize that the technology will be unobtrusive and able “to screen riders without revealing their anatomy.”

Transit Apps vs. privacy. Transit apps also illustrate transportation-related technologies that provide benefits along with burdens. These apps can aid easy navigation of a city on public transportation and, in some instances, even help report crimes by enabling users to attach photos and video discretely. However, the technology can also intrude on a person’s privacy by recording GPS data and tracking “the user’s course, elevation and speed” without their permission.

Self-driving vehicles, hacking vulnerabilities and privacy. “There will be connections between the car and the manufacturer. There will be connections between the car and other autonomous vehicles on the road, as well as any wired public infrastructure. All these connections increase the risk of hacking, just because there are many more entry points for hackers to exploit.”

And despite predictions that autonomous vehicles will reduce traffic congestion and decrease driver-caused deaths, personal privacy may significantly suffer. As The Atlantic’s Adrienne LaFrance notes, these “automated vehicles will learn everything about you—and influence your behavior in ways you may not realize.”

Because mobility solutions of the future are taking shape today, developing strategies to mitigate potential legal risks and privacy intrusions related to such technologies should be early priorities within any discussion in this space.

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