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We’re creative futurists at Swagger. And we’re smart ones at that. We’re always on the lookout for future products, trends, and behaviors. What’s in the when, not just the now. We chat about stuff like that at our Future Cafés, a weekly internal pow-wow where our crew gathers to debate the pros and cons of the latest futuristic news. It’s a mission of ours to keep up with these things. Here are the ones we found most share-worthy.

Future Products and Trends (Part III)

April 10, 2018

Tesla Semi Aims to Manufacture 100,000 Electric Trucks per Year, Says Elon Musk (Electrek)

The mad scientist, Elon Musk, has been testing out his autonomous, electric semi trucks and expects them to have an impact on the market by 2019. Musk has stated that Tesla expects to manufacture 100,000 electric trucks per year from 2019–2023. Considering that these trucks will sell for $150,000 a pop, Musk is looking at a whopping $15 billion in revenue by 2023. PepsiCo and UPS have pre-ordered 100–125 electric trucks from Tesla respectively. Tesla announced that they will offer a 300-mile range version for $150,000 and a 500-mile version for $180,000. Testing has begun, and one has been spotted in the wild. It seems truckers may be the first to lose their jobs to autonomous vehicles, but cab companies and private drivers should keep a close eye on these developments as well. Ultimately, the whole country needs to take a look at this as this type of technology has the potential to eliminate many jobs.

De Beers Fights Fakes with Technology as China’s Lab-Grown Diamonds Threaten Viability of the Real Gems (South China Morning Post)

China’s efforts to design synthetic diamonds for industrial purposes, such as oil drilling, is now posing a threat to the entire diamond industry. De Beers, one of the major players in the diamond market, plans to invest tens of millions of dollars on methods to identify man-made stones as opposed to these “fake” ones. This is because nobody has been able to accurately detect the difference between the diamonds. The article states that “synthetic diamonds are chemically identical to the real thing. They are made from diamond ‘seed’ which grows new crystals.” While De Beers is looking for ways to detect differences, other companies such as Chow Tai Fook have attached a unique serial number to its diamonds in order to make them more trackable. The real question is, does the public care if they are synthetic or not? This isn’t like buying a fake diamond—it’s still a real diamond. Maybe these companies should be looking at ways to innovatively produce diamonds, rather than restricting their supply.

Clean Energy Forces Three California Gas Power Plants to Close (Digital Journal)

Fossil fuel power plants in California are shutting down, and three gas-fired power plants owned by GenOn are next. GenOn is a subsidiary of NRG Energy and is closing for “economic reasons.” California is pushing to change the way power is supplied by using storage batteries and other non-fossil fuel sources instead of gas-fired power plants in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 from 2015 levels. It creates a bittersweet feeling when power plant workers could lose their jobs but the next generation could lead healthier lives.

Vision-Improving Nanoparticle Eye Drops Could End the Need for Glasses (Digital Trends)

Some people who don’t have good eyesight may be unwilling to pursue something as extreme as LASIK eye surgery. They may wear glasses instead. Pretty soon, people will be able to use eye drops to improve their vision. Israel’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Bar-Ilan University have been testing “nanodrops” that improve near- and far-sightedness. These nanoparticles change the refraction index inside the cornea and correct vision issues. The effects are temporary, but the drops can be used at home without a doctor’s supervision. Would you rather wear glasses or add “nanodrops” to your eyes? Here’s hoping they eventually come out with eye drops that give us superhuman sight!

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