Uber launched a Saudi Arabia-only feature that lets female drivers avoid taking male passengers

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  • Uber has launched a feature for female drivers in Saudi Arabia which means they can block men from hailing their cab.
  • The feature, which became active in April this year, is called “Women Preferred View,” and selects nearby passengers based on their gender.
  • Drivers can toggle on and off whether male passengers come up on Uber’s Driver App.
  • Uber developed the feature when they found 74% of Saudi female drivers did not want to pick up male passengers.
  • Women gained the right to drive for the first time in June 2018, and since that time 2,000 women have registered to become taxi drivers.

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Why Futurism has a cultural blind spot

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We predicted cell phones, but not women in the workplace

In early 1999, during the halftime of a University of Washington basketball game, a time capsule from 1927 was opened. Among the contents of this portal to the past were some yellowing newspapers, a Mercury dime, a student handbook, and a building permit. The crowd promptly erupted into boos. One student declared the items “dumb.”

Such disappointment in time capsules seems to run endemic, suggests William E. Jarvis in his book Time Capsules: A Cultural History. A headline from The Onion, he notes, sums it up: “Newly unearthed time capsule just full of useless old crap.” Time capsules, after all, exude a kind of pathos: They show us that the future was not quite as advanced as we thought it would be, nor did it come as quickly. The past, meanwhile, turns out to not be as radically distinct as we thought.

In his book Predicting the Future, Nicholas Rescher writes that “we incline to view the future through a telescope, as it were, thereby magnifying and bringing nearer what we can manage to see.” So too do we view the past through the other end of the telescope, making things look farther away than they actually were, or losing sight of some things altogether.

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Uber has made a real difference for women in Saudi Arabia

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Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. That leaves women reliant on male relatives or paid services to get to stores, school, and (increasingly) work. So when Uber launched in Riyadh in early 2014, its impact went beyond the general convenience of tech-enhanced ride hailing. The company has made a real difference in Saudi women’s mobility.

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Here are 40 maps that explain the Roman Empire

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Caesar Augustus died two thousand years ago, on August 19, 14 AD. He was Rome’s first emperor, having won a civil war more than 40 years earlier that transformed the dysfunctional Roman Republic into an empire. Under Augustus and his successors, the empire experienced 200 years of relative peace and prosperity. Here are 40 maps that explain the Roman Empire — its rise and fall, its culture and economy, and how it laid the foundations of the modern world.

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Afrofuturism: where space, pyramids and politics collide

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Jazz musician, Sun Ra.

Popular culture tends to turn to the fantastical, providing an escape from the harsh realities of life during times of economic and political crisis. However, what is usually represented as Utopian in mainstream science fiction is often culturally European with a story that frequently revolves around a white male character. Even when depicting “multiracial” future societies, culturally the tropes of that imagined culture are regularly not representative of the races seen. If we accept that all humanity will be present in the future, why is it that non-European cultures seem to disappear once we get through the Earth’s atmosphere?

 

 

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The Disruptive Nature of the Sharing Economy: Finding the Next Great Opportunities

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Futurist Thomas Frey: Many of us suffer from a sinister and often contagious disorder, something I call just-in-case disease.

We own toolboxes full of tools, just in case we need to fix something. We have kitchens full of appliances just in case we want to prepare a meal. We have cars in our garages just in case we need to go somewhere. We even have closets full of clothes we know we’ll never wear just in case we get desperate.

 

 

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What Qatar will look like in 2050

Welcome to Doha at its 21st century ‘knowledge economy’ zenith.

By 2050 what will Qatar look like?  A semi-fictional vision presented by Barry Mansfield shows likely changes in cultural and economic life brought about by a ‘rise of the machines’ – and how Qataris may blend the traditional and high technology in a way that is agreeable to them.

 

 

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Libraries and librarians are more relevant than ever in the digital age

Harold Washington library in Chicago.

The need for libraries, and librarians has been placed under scrutiny due to the advent of the internet. Everything in print is now available online.  So do we really need physical libraries and librarians anymore?  Of course we do…now, more than ever before.

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