Trends with Benefits: Volkswagen’s very bad week, and how to become a cyborg

Hackers just gained access to 100 million Volkswagens; Alexa is looking to become your new backseat driver; on-demand Drone Insurance is becoming a thing; there is now a clear way to kickstart your life as a cyborg; and China has a spaceship!

Our latest weekly episode of Trends with Benefits features Caleb Denison, Drew Prindle, Ryan Waniata, and Greg Nibler talking about these topics, and whatever else comes up.

Our topics this week:

  • Volkswagon hack: There is no denying that Volkswagen is having a pretty bad year. First came the revelation that they cheated on the emissions test for their diesel vehicles. Now, researchers at the Usenix security conference have revealed a way to hack into the remote key fobs of nearly every VW produced since 1995! This leaves up to 100 million vehicles vulnerable. As technology is increasingly incorporated into all newer cars, security will become a huge issue going forward.
  • Alexa comes to your automobile: BMW has announced a partnership with Amazon, to incorporate Alexa into their cars. The program will be called “BMW Connected” and will help users gain real-time traffic information, find their car in a parking lot, and even have the AC running before they get to it. The potential is great, but would you want your car to be so interconnected with your electronic devices?
  • More Apple Car rumors: Apple is also reportedly partnering with BMW for a potential “Apple Car.” Dubbed Project Titan, details are still a little sketchy. The rumors state that they could have a car on the road by 2020. This leads to a big debate on the show, of why Apple would even need a car in the first place.
  • Drone insurance: Switching to Drones, we all know the dangers of accidentally crashing yours into a building, tree, the ground, your friend, etc. Now there is a company that is trying to offer you some protection. Called Verifly, they are offering up to $1,000,000 of insurance protection, at an hourly rate. For as little as $10, you could be protected from causing damage to other property. One caveat: your drone itself is not covered, so far.
  • A simple cybernetic implant: A very forward-thinking company named Cyborg Nest has developed a device called North Sense. It is a miniature, chip-like device that attaches to your body, like a piercing. It will then vibrate every time you face toward magnetic north. Why you would want this, we are not sure. The company has stated it wants to add “extras sense” to humans.
  • China’s crazy new spacecraft: Finally, after discussing a Chinese Bus last week, we have a new idea from China. They want to create a hybrid plane/spacecraft that will travel at hypersonic speeds and be able to break the orbit of the Earth. This kind of technology could be revolutionary in both industrial and commercial travel.

Also, Dixie Carter. You’ll have to listen to find out why.

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