Archiv für den Monat Juni 2016

The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles

Here is the MIT Full Report posted in Science Magazine: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6293/1573.full

Ethical question leaves potential buyers torn over self-driving cars, study says

Faced with two deadly options the public want driverless vehicles to crash rather than hurt pedestrians – unless the vehicle in question is theirs

A self-driving Lexus SUV, operated by Google, after colliding with a public bus in Mountain View, California, in February 2016.
A self-driving Lexus SUV, operated by Google, after colliding with a public bus in Mountain View, California, in February 2016. Photograph: AP

In catch-22 traffic emergencies where there are only two deadly options, people generally want a self-driving vehicle to, for example, avoid a group of pedestrians and instead slam itself and its passengers into a wall, a new study says. But they would rather not be travelling in a car designed to do that.

The findings of the study, released on Thursday in the journal Science, highlight just how difficult it may be for auto companies to market those cars to a public that tends to contradict itself.

“People want to live a world in which everybody owns driverless cars that minimize casualties, but they want their own car to protect them at all costs,” Iyad Rahwan, a co-author of the study and a professor at MIT, said. “And car makers who offer such cars will sell more cars, but if everybody thinks this way then we end up in a world in which every car will look after its own passenger’s safety … and society as a whole is worse off.”

Through a series of online surveys, the authors found that people generally approve of cars that sacrifice their passengers for the greater good, such as sparing a group of pedestrians, and would like others to buy those cars, but they themselves would prefer to ride in a car that protects its passengers at all cost.

Several people working on bringing self-driving cars to market said that while the philosophical and ethical question over the two programming options is important to consider, real-life situations would be far more complex.

Brian Lathrop, a cognitive scientist who works on Volkswagen’s self-driving cars project, stressed that in real life there are likelihoods and contingencies that the academic example leaves out.

“You have to make a decision that the occupant in the vehicle is always going to be safer than the pedestrians, because they’re in a 3,000lb steel cage with all the other safety features,” said Lathrop, who was not involved in the new study.

So in a situation in which a car needs to, say, slam into a tree to avoid hitting a group of pedestrians, “obviously, you would choose to program it to go into the tree,” he said.

A spokesman for Google, whose self-driving car technology is generally seen as being the furthest along, suggested that asking about hypothetical scenarios might ignore the more important question of how to avoid deadly situations in the first place.

The problem seems to be how to get people to trust cars to consistently do the right thing if we’re not even sure we want them to do what we think is the right thing.

The study’s authors argue that since self-driving cars are expected to drastically reduce traffic fatalities, a delay in adopting the new technology could itself be deadly. Regulations requiring self-driving cars to sacrifice their passengers could move things forward, they write. But, in another catch-22, forcing the self-sacrificing programming could actually delay widespread adoption by consumers.

Susan Anderson, an ethicist at the University of Connecticut, and her husband and research partner, Michael Anderson, a computer science professor at the University of Hartford, believe the cars will be able to make the right call.

“We do believe that properly programmed machines are likely to make decisions that are more ethically justifiable than humans,” they said in an email. “Also, properly programmed self-driving cars should have information that humans may not readily have,” including precise stopping distance, whether to swerve or brake, or the likelihood of degree of harm.

How to get those cars “properly programmed”? The Andersons, who were not involved in the study, suggest having the cars learn from or be given “general ethical principles from applied ethicists”.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/23/self-driving-car-safety-study-pedestrian-crashes

Battle of the assistants

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Image: patrick lux/Getty Images

Despite what science-fiction wisdom says, talking to your computer is not normal. Sitting in the middle of a modern, open floor-plan office and saying „Hello, Computer,“ will garner some head-turns and a few scowls.

No matter. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Apple are convinced we want to talk to everything, including our desktop and laptop computers. Side-eye looks be damned.

Which brings us to today. Almost a year since Microsoft brought Cortana to Windows 10, Apple is following suit with Siri for the newly rechristened macOS.

Windows 10 with Cortana is, obviously, a shipping product, while macOS with Siri integration is in early beta. Even so, I can’t look at Siri’s first desktop jaunt in a vacuum, so when Apple supplied me with a MacBook running the beta of macOS Sierra (due to come to consumers in the fall), I compared the two desktop-based voice assistants. As you might surmise, they’re quite similar, but they have significant and strategic differences.

Where did they come from?

Siri arrives on the desktop as the oldest of the growing class of digital assistants, appearing first on the iPhone 4S in 2011. It’s long been rumored that it would eventually come to the Mac, so no one was surprised when Apple announced exactly that earlier this month at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

Cortana (which was named for the synthetic intelligence in Microsoft’s popular Halo game series), arrived with Windows 10 in 2015, a year after the digital assistant’s formal introduction on Windows Phone at the 2014 Microsoft Build conference.


Siri macOS

Siri lives in two spots on the desktop and asks you to let the system know your location.

Image: Apple

Like Cortana, Siri has a permanent place on the macOS desktop. Actually, it has two. A tiny icon in the upper right corner and then another in the macOS dock. Both launch the familiar Siri „waiting to help you“ wave.

On Windows, Cortana sits next to the Start Button. it has a circular halo icon and, next to that, the ever-present „Ask me anything.“


cortana

A click on the Cortana logo opens this Cortana window.

Image: microsoft

It’s at this point that the two assistants diverge. Cortana is a voice assistant, but, by default, it’s a text-driven one. Most people who use it will type something into the Cortana box. If you want to speak to Cortana — as I did many times for this article — you have to click the little microphone icon icon on the right side of the Cortana box.

While Cortana combines universal search with the digital assistant, Apple’s Siri drawn a line between the two.

Importantly, you can put Cortana in an always-listening mode, so it (she?) will wake when you say „Hey Cortana.“ Even though you can also wake the mobile Siri with „Hey Siri,“ macOS offers no such always-listening feature. For the purposes of this comparison, I left „Hey Cortana“ off.

Siri is a voice assistant. It has no text box. A click on either Siri icon opens the same black box in the upper right-hand side of the macOS desktop (it actually slides in from offscreen — a nice touch). As soon as you hit that button, Siri is listening, waiting for you to ask a question.

Sitting right next to Siri is Spotlight, which last year got a significant update. It’s a universal search that can pore over you Mac, the Web, iTunes, the App Store, maps.

So while Microsoft’s Cortana combines universal search with the digital assistant, Apple’s drawn a line between the two — sort of. Spotlight can perform many of the same searches as Siri. However, if you type a question into Spotlight, it may launch Siri. A trigger word appears to be „What’s.“

I really don’t know why Apple chose to keep Spotlight and Siri separate, but they may reconsider in future versions of macOS.

Battle of the assistants

It’s early days for Siri on the desktop, but I’m already impressed with its performance and intelligence — especially as it compares to Microsoft’s Cortana.

To test the two voice assistants, I first closed my office door. I wanted to speak in a normal voice and didn’t want to attract any annoyed stares.

Both Siri on macOS and Cortana start by asking you to open up your privacy settings a bit. They simply do their jobs better if they know where you are. So I followed Siri’s instructions and turned on location services on the macOS.


Here’s something else Siri on macOS and Cortana have in common: Both can tap into your system to, for example, find files and make system-level adjustments, but they’re both pretty inconsistent. Siri on macOS, obviously, is still a work in progress, so take these criticisms with a grain of salt. Even so, I suspect that there will, at least for some time, be limits to what Siri can do even after the forma macOS launch, especially as long as Spotlight survives.

When I asked Siri to „increase my screen brightness,“ it opened a System Preferences: Brightness slider box within Siri and told me „I made the screen a little brighter.“

Impressive.

When I asked Cortana the same question, it opened a Bing search result inside the Cortana box, which told me how to adjust screen brightness, but didn’t do it for me.

On the other hand, when I told Cortana to turn off my Wi-Fi, it turned it off, it returned a message of „Wi-Fi is now off“ and showed the setting to confirm.


Cortana and Siri Wi-Fi

On the left is how Cortana handles voice commands for turning on and off Wi-Fi. On the right is how Siri does it. When you turn off Wi-Fi (networking), you basically disable Siri.

Image: APPLE/MICROSOFT/COMPOSITE/MASHABLE

Siri can turn off Wi-Fi, too, but doing so also renders Siri for macOS useless. Unlike Cortana, it needs an Internet connection to work, which means once Siri on macOS has turned it off, you can’t use it to turn Wi-Fi back on. Even if you turn off network connectivity, Cortana will still be able to search your system.

Siri and Cortana excel at natural-language queries (asking questions in sentences), but Siri comes across as the smarter system.

It’s easy to check your schedule through both systems — you just need to ask one of them about your next appointment. However, Siri goes a big step further.


Siri on macOS

Changing you schedule should be this easy everywhere.

Image: apple

When I asked it about my next appointment, it showed me one for Thursday at 11:00 a.m. I then clicked the microphone icon below the calendar result and asked Siri, „Can you move that to 11:10.“ Siri responded, „Okay, I’ll make that change to your event. Shall I reschedule it?“ It then offered the option of confirming the change or cancelling it with my voice. Siri on macOS actually maintains the context between queries — that feels more like the future.

When I asked Cortana to make a similar change, it sent me to a Bing search result. (By the way, both voice assistants use Bing and neither will let you change it to Google.)

The level of conversational prowess in Siri could be a real game-changer and certainly puts Microsoft on notice.


macOS Siri

These are questions I can’t just ask Cortana.

Image: apple/composite/, mashable

Cortana and Siri on macOS both boast system access, but Siri does a better job of keeping track of system specs. I can ask about the speed of my system and how much iCloud storage I have left in Siri. Cortana, unfortunately, has no clue about my OneDrive storage and when I asked „How fast is my PC?“ I only got a Bing search result.

Where’s my stuff and who are you

Siri and Cortana each do a good job of finding system files that contain a keyword. For both, I asked, „Find me files with [keyword],“ and they both quickly showed me local, relevant results. Siri, however, excels at making results persistent. You can pin whatever you find to the notification center.


Cortana and Siri on macOS

On the left you can see that Cortana does a good job with image search, but won’t let me drag and drop from the window. On the right, Siri on macOS found me puppy pics and let me drag and drop one into an email that I plan to send to you.

Image: apple/microsoft/composite/mashable

Similarly, both voice assistants do a good job of finding images, but only Siri on macOS lets me drag and drop one of the image results into a document or email. When I tried to do the same thing with a Cortana result, it only dragged and dropped the HTML for the original query.

Siri did struggle with contacts. I tried initiating a text and got stuck in a sort of infinite loop — it just kept going back to asking me which of my duplicate contacts I wanted to text. This felt like a pre-release bug.

No winners yet

Since Apple is still working Siri for macOS, it’s way too soon to crown a voice-assistant champion. Even so, Siri on mac OS is already faster (Cortana’s voice recognition seems plodding by comparison) and it’s already outstripping Cortana on the intelligence front. On the other hand, Cortana truly shines when you can type into it, a feat impossible in Siri for macOS, unless you start in Spotlight and use one of the magic words to auto-launch Siri.

Microsoft, of course, has its own big Cortana update in the wings as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update due later this summer. It will increase Cortana’s intelligence and utility (order plane tickets, shop), but based on what I’ve seen in Siri for macOS, it may only help Cortana achieve parity on some features, while still leaving it trailing in others.

mashable.com/2016/06/22/siri-macos-vs-cortana

Apple confirms iOS kernel code left unencrypted intentionally

When Apple released a preview version of iOS 10 at its annual developers conference last week, the company slipped in a surprise for security researchers — it left the core of its operating system, the kernel, unencrypted.

“The kernel cache doesn’t contain any user info, and by unencrypting it we’re able to optimize the operating system’s performance without compromising security,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Apple has kept the inner workings of the kernel obfuscated by encryption in previous versions of iOS, leaving developers and researchers in the dark. The kernel manages security and limits the ways applications on an iPhone or iPad can access the hardware of the device, making it a crucial part of the operating system.

Although encryption is often thought to be synonymous with security, the lack of encryption in this case doesn’t mean that devices running iOS 10 are less secure. It just means that that researchers and developers can poke around in the kernel’s code for the first time, and any security flaws will come to light more quickly. If flaws are revealed, they can be quickly patched.

Leaving the kernel unencrypted is a rare move of transparency for Apple. The company is so notoriously secretive about its products that some security experts speculated in the MIT Technology Review that the lack of encryption in the kernel was accidental. But such a mistake would be so shocking as to be practically unbelievable, researchers said. “This would have been an incredibly glaring oversight, like forgetting to put doors on an elevator,” iOS security expert Jonathan Zdziarski told the MIT Technology Review.

Apple has begun to shift towards greater transparency, particularly on security issues, in the wake of its battle with the FBI over unlocking an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter. When the FBI attempted to compel Apple to unlock the phone, CEO Tim Cook penned a rare open letter to Apple’s customers, explaining his decision to resist. “We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government,” Cook wrote. (The FBI eventually dropped its request after paying a third party to break into the device.)

Opening up the kernel’s code for inspection could weaken the market for security flaws like the one the FBI is presumed to have used to get into the San Bernardino iPhone. If flaws are revealed quickly and widely, it will reduce the prices law enforcement and black markets will pay for them — and it could mean quicker fixes for Apple’s customers.

Apple confirms iOS kernel code left unencrypted intentionally

Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and Honda lead the autonomous car race

Automakers have spent the majority of 2016 announcing their plans for self-driving and the future of automation, but while some just begin to prototype systems, others are soaring ahead of the pack.

Research and advisory firm Lux Research has charted the 12 major automakers on business execution and technical value, and noted if the company has a positive or negative view on the advent of self-driving.

Lux Grid Auto Self Driving

Toyota, Honda, and Mercedes Benz are ahead right now, as you can see in the graph above. Tesla and BMW aren’t far behind, but the report claims that the two companies have a “wait and see” attitude to self-driving, rather than actively pushing for its arrival. The attitude is based on investments, partnerships, and demonstrated capability.

Daimler Trucks and Hyundai are the other two automakers in the top right on technical value and business execution. German automaker Audi has a decent technical value rating, but lacks the investment or business execution its German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz have achieved.

The two major automakers in the U.S.—General Motors and Ford—have similarly poor outlooks. The two companies are lower than all European rivals on technical value and business execution, apart from Renault-Nissan, which is far behind the group.

Self-driving car R&D market is white hot

General Motors has started spending heavily in the self-driving market, investing $500 million in a partnership with ridesharing app Lyft and purchasing Cruise Automation for $1 billion in March. Ford, on the other hand, may be looking to partner with Google to fix some of its self-driving shortcomings.

See Also: Can taxi drivers still have a place in a driverless world?

The PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler are both not on graph, despite both working on self-driving or partnering with tech companies. PSA Group, which controls Peugeot and Citroen, is currently the only firm allowed to test self-driving cars in France. Fiat Chrysler recentlypartnered with Google, providing them with 100 vans, and may have plans to create similar partnerships with Uber and Amazon.

While it is worrying to see companies like Renault-Nissan and Audi not invest in self-driving as much as rivals, we are still three years away from any concrete legislation that allows driverless cars on the road. That is enough time for any automaker to change their attitude towards self-driving.

Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and Honda lead the autonomous car race

The Zombification Of America’s Millennials

 

It’s not your imagination: Millennials really are glued to their smartphones.

Nearly four in 10 millennials (39%) say they interact more with their smartphones than they do with their significant others, parents, friends, children or co-workers, according to a survey of more than 1,000 people released Wednesday by Bank of America. That’s compared with fewer than one in three people of all ages who say they engage with their smartphones more.

This means that, on an average day, millennials — defined here as being ages 18 to 34 — “interact with their smartphone more than anything or anyone else,” the survey concluded.

This may not surprise anyone who has looked at millennial smartphone usage. More millennials (77%) own smartphones — and spend more time on them (over two hours a day) — than any other age group, according to a 2014 report that examined the behavior of more than 23,000 adults, and was released by Experian.“In fact, millennials spend so much time on their smartphones that they account for 41% of the total time that Americans spend using smartphones, despite making up just 29% of the population,” the report concluded.

Furthermore, nearly half of millennials — significantly more than any older age group — say they “couldn’t live without” their smartphone, according to data released in 2015 by the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

Millennials are also far more likely to use their smartphone as a social escape: More than seven in 10 millennials say they have used their smartphone to avoid a social interaction, compared with fewer than half (44%) of others, according to the Bank of America data.

To be fair, millennials have many compelling reasons for using their smartphones: Experian data show that roughly one in five millennials (again, more than other age groups) use their phones to read the news during a typical week, and millennials are more likely than other cohort to use their phones to stay in touch with friends. What’s more, Pew data shows that millennials are more likely than other groups to use their phones to look at educational content, find and apply for jobs and learn more about a health condition.

 

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-21/zombification-americas-millennials 

Iphone 7 remove of the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid

Another day, another rumor that Apple is going to ditch the headphone jack on the next iPhone in favor of sending out audio over Lightning. Or another phone beats Apple to the punch by ditching the headphone jack in favor of passing out audio over USB-C. What exciting times for phones! We’re so out of ideas that actively making them shittier and more user-hostile is the only innovation left.

Look, I know you’re going to tell me that the traditional TRS headphone jack is a billion years old and prone to failure and that life is about progress and whatever else you need to repeat deliriously into your bed of old HTC extUSB dongles and insane magnetic Palm adapters to sleep at night. But just face facts: ditching the headphone jack on phones makes them worse, in extremely obvious ways. Let’s count them!

(Also, here is a list of reasons you might actually prefer Lightning headphones, by my friend Vlad Savov, but let’s be clear that my list is the superior one.)

1. Digital audio means DRM audio

Oh look, I won this argument in one shot. For years the entertainment industry has decried what they call the „analog loophole“ of headphone jacks, and now we’re making their dreams come true by closing it.

Restricting audio output to a purely digital connection means that music publishers and streaming companies can start to insist on digital copyright enforcement mechanisms. We moved our video systems to HDMI and got HDCP, remember? Copyright enforcement technology never stops piracy and always hurts the people who most rely on legal fair use, but you can bet the music industry is going to start cracking down on „unauthorized“ playback and recording devices anyway. We deal with DRM when it comes to video because we generally don’t rewatch and take TV shows and movies with us, but you will rue the day Apple decided to make the iPhone another 1mm thinner the instant you get a „playback device not supported“ message. Winter is coming.

2. Wireless headphones and speakers are fine, not great

I am surrounded by wireless speaker systems. (I work at The Verge, after all.) And while they mostly work fine, sometimes they crackle out and fail. It sucks to share a wireless speaker among multiple devices. Bluetooth headphones require me to charge yet another battery. You haven’t known pain until you’ve chosen to use Bluetooth audio in a car instead of an aux jack.

3. Dongles are stupid, especially when they require other dongles

Shut up, you say. All of your complaints will be handled by this charming $29 dongle that converts digital audio to a standard headphone jack!

To which I will respond: here is a photo of Dieter Bohn and his beloved single-port MacBook, living his fullest #donglelife during our WWDC liveblog:

macbook with a bunch of dongles

Everything is going to be great when you want to use your expensive headphones andcharge your phone at the same time. You are going to love everything about that situation. You are going to hold your 1mm thinner phone and sincerely believe that the small reduction in thickness is definitely worth carrying multiple additional dongles.

Also, they’re called fucking dongles. Let’s not do this to ourselves. Have some dignity.

4. Ditching a deeply established standard will disproportionately impact accessibility

The traditional headphone jack is a standard for a reason — it works. It works so well that an entire ecosystem of other kinds of devices has built up around it, and millions of people have access to compatible devices at every conceivable price point. The headphone jack might be less good on some metrics than Lightning or USB-C audio, but it is spectacularly better than anything else in the world at being accessible, enabling, open, and democratizing. A change that will cost every iPhone user at least $29 extra for a dongle (or more for new headphones) is not a change designed to benefit everyone. And you don’t need to get rid of the headphone jack to make a phone waterproof; plenty of waterproof phones have shipped with headphone jacks already.

5. Making Android and iPhone headphones incompatible is so incredibly arrogant and stupid there’s not even explanatory text under this one

6. No one is asking for this

Raise your hand if the thing you wanted most from your next phone was either fewer ports or more dongles.

I didn’t think so. You wanted better battery life, didn’t you? Everyone just wants better battery life.

Vote with your dollars.

http://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2016/6/21/11991302/iphone-no-headphone-jack-user-hostile-stupid

BMW Concept 100 – The Ultimate Driving Machine

BMW turns 100 this year, and although the company has a rich history, it is looking forward with a barrage of extreme concepts to prove its will remain relevant for the next 100 years. The company owns Rolls-Royce, which recently offered a glimpse of luxury in the 22nd Century, and Mini, which got a futuristic makeover. And now BMW peers into tomorrow and sees a sleek four-door with flexible skin, scissor doors, and an interior that flutters in three dimensions to communicate with you.

01 The exterior will look suitably futuristic

The silhouette of the Vision Next 100 Concept doesn’t look too out-there, and the lines bring to mind the sedan-coupe mashups you see today. Open the doors, which move upward (like this) instead of outward (like this), and the conceptual craziness steps up a notch. Of course the open on their own, as soon as you approach. The car, which presumably runs on electricity, or perhaps hydrogen, or maybe something not yet discovered, starts with a press of the ginormous BMW logo on the dashboard.

Credit: BMW

02 The car will be capable of driving itself

Today, BMW drivers can choose Eco, Comfort, and Sport mode. In the future, they’ll choose Ease or Boost. Feeling lazy? Select Ease mode and let the computer do everything. Want to see if BMW is once again the Ultimate Driving Machine? Boost mode lets you take the wheel. Whatever the mode, nearly 800 tiny triangles throughout the cabin flutter like birds, communicating with the driver. It sounds nuts, but the video makes it look like an effective way of conveying information. Besides—it’s a concept. It’s not like it actually has to work.

Credit: BMW

03 But the human can still take over

Swiping and scrolling has all but killed buttons and knobs, so it’s no surprise you won’t find any in BMW’s concept. Instead, you’ll handle everything through “The Companion,” which looks like a big, glowing gemstone on the dash. It uses colored light and voice commands to …. do something. Choose Boost mode and The Companion retracts and steering, er, bar pops out of the dash. And this being the future, the windscreen is a giant heads-up display.

Credit: BMW

04 It’s super slippery

The wheels sit at the far corners of the car because some things won’t change in 100 years. They’re covered with a flexible skin that BMW calls Alive Geometry, a fancy way of saying the bodywork moves as the wheels turn. (BMW’s explored this before with a shape-shifting car made of fabric.) Keeping the wheels covered improves aerodynamics, and BMW says it’s pretend car would have a drag coefficient of 0.18, making it much slicker than the sleek BMW i8.

05 And super green

To make the body pliable enough to change shape, BMW uses more of the tiny triangles that came alive when you got in the car. BMW believes the days of punching panels out of steel will end, and automakers will use recyclable materials and composites made with, say, random stuff that might otherwise go in the trash.

Credit: BMW

06 Copper is the new Rose Gold

BMW chose that shiny copper hue to underscore the idea that vehicles of the future “should appear technical yet still have a warmth about them.” Whatever. The color may be the coolest thing about this car.

Credit: BMW

07 The car is a sketchpad for the direction of the company

BMW built its reputation on quick cars that are a hoot to drive. (See also: 507, 2002, various M3s, etc.) But as the industry moves inexorably toward its autonomous future, that will become less important to most consumers—and far more important to those who see driving as more than a means of getting from Point A to Point B. This concept, as crazy as it is, shows BMW, like other automakers, hopes to serve both audiences.

You can make the walled garden very very sweet, but the jungle outside is always more appealing in the long term.

Transformers  event

As fragile as paper is, written documents and records have long provided historians with a wealth of insight about that past that often helps shape the present. And they don’t need any special technology to read them. Cerf himself points to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 bestseller Team of Rivals, which she based on the diary entries and letters of Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet members. The book influenced how President Obama shaped his own cabinet and became the basis for the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln. In short, old records are important. But as Cerf’s own email obsolescence shows, digital communications quickly become unreadable.

Don’t believe it? What would you do right now if you wanted to read something stored on a floppy disk? On a Zip drive? In the same way, the web browsers of the future might not be able to open today’s webpages and images–if future historians are lucky enough to have copies of today’s websites at all. Says Cerf, “I’m concerned about a coming digital dark ages.”

That’s why he and some of his fellow inventors of the Internet are joining with a new generation of hackers, archivists, and activists to radically reinvent core technologies that underpin the web. Yes, they want to make the web more secure. They want to make it less vulnerable to censorship. But they also want to make it more resilient to the sands of time.

The Permanent Web

Today, much of the responsibility for preserving the web’s history rests on The Internet Archive. The non-profit’s Wayback Machine crawls the web perpetually, taking snapshots that let you, say, go back and see how WIRED looked in 1997. But the Wayback Machine has to know about a site before it can index it, and it only grabs sites periodically. Based on the Internet Archive’s own findings, the average webpage only lasts about 100 days. In order to preserve a site, the Wayback Machine has to spot it in that brief window before it disappears.

What’s more, the Wayback Machine is a centralized silo of information—an irony that’s not lost on the inventors of the Internet. If it runs out of money, it could go dark. And because the archives originate from just one web address, it’s relatively easy for censors, such as those in China, to block users from accessing the site entirely. The Archive Team–an unrelated organization–is leading an effort to create a more decentralized backup on the Internet Archive. But if Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, Cerf, and their allies who recently came together at what they called the Decentralized Web Summit have their way, the world will one day have a web that archives itself and backs itself up automatically.

Some pieces of this new web already exist. Interplanetary File System, or IPFS, is an open source project that taps into ideas pioneered by the decentralized digital currency Bitcoin and the peer-to-peer file sharing system BitTorrent. Sites opt in to IPFS, and the protocol distributes files among participating users. If the original web server goes down, the site will live on thanks to the backups running on other people’s computers. What’s more, these distributed archives will let people browse previous versions of the site, much the way you can browse old edits in Wikipedia or old versions of websites in the Wayback Machine.

“We are giving digital information print-like quality,” says IPFS founder Juan Benet. “If I print a piece of paper and physically hand it to you, you have it, you can physically archive it and use it in the future.” And you can share that copy with someone else.

What would you do right now if you wanted to read something stored on a floppy disk? On a Zip drive?

Right now IPFS is still just a tool the most committed: you need to have IPFS’s software installed on your computer to take part. But Benet says the team has already built a version of the software in JavaScript that can run in your browser without the need to install any new software at all. If it winds up on everyone’s browsers, the idea goes, then everyone can help back up the web.

Unlike the early web, the web of today isn’t just a collection of static HTML files. It’s a rich network of interconnected applications like Facebook and Twitter and Slack that are constantly changing. A truly decentralized web will need ways not just to back up pages but applications and data as well. That’s where things get really tricky–just ask the team behind the decentralized crowdfunding system DAO which was just hacked to the tune of $50 million last week.

The IPFS team is already hard at work on a feature that would allow a web app to keep trucking along even if the original server disappears, and it’s already built a chat app to demonstrate the concept. Meanwhile, several other projects– such as Ethereum, ZeroNet and the SAFE Network—aspire to create ways to build websites and applications that don’t depend on a single server or company to keep running. And now, thanks in large part to the Summit, many of them are working to make their systems cross-compatible.

Why Bother?

Even if the web winds up in a new, better of digital archive, plenty of problems still remain. Today’s web isn’t just a collection of static HTML files; it’s dynamic apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Slack. The operating systems and hardware of the future might not be able to read or run any of those. The same holds true for videos, photos, maybe even text.

Many efforts are afoot to right those weaknesses. But why bother?

‚We are giving digital information print-like quality.‘

After all, if anyone really cares about a specific file or site, can’t they just transfer the files to newer media and convert the most important files to newer formats? The problem with that line of thinking, Cerf says, is that people often don’t always know what’s important right away. For example, sailors have kept meticulous records of weather and temperatures in locations all over the world for centuries. That sort of information probably seemed useless, the sort of thing geeks of old preserved out of a vague sense of historical purpose. But guess what: climate scientists may find all that weather data very valuable. (The Old Weather project is now hard at work digitizing those old ship logs.)

Still: some websites just shouldn’t last forever. Does anyone in the future really need to see old drunken college photos or inadvisable Facebook rants? Meanwhile, activists and law enforcement are trying to stop web publishers from posting nude photos of people without their consent–a practice known as “revenge porn.” These same preservation tools that could make it harder for governments to censor the web could make it harder for people to scrub content from the web that shouldn’t be there anyway. People like Snapchat for a reason.

‚The walled garden is very sweet. But the jungle outside is always more appealing.‘

Cerf suggests possible technical workarounds to this problem. Web publishers, for example, could specify whether other people can automatically archive their sites. Bennet says the IPFS team has been considering a feature that would enable the original publisher of a page to un-publish it by sending a beacon to all other servers hosting a page asking for its removal. The IPFS servers could also host blacklists to remove copyrighted material. Still, those blacklists themselves become a reminder of the things we’re trying to forget.

But the biggest problem facing the decentralized web is probably neither technical or legal. And that’s getting people to care in the first place. At a time when people spend most of their time in closed-off platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, so much of what humans digitally produce stays locked up anyway. Bringing people back to the open web is going to mean creating user experiences that are fun enough and easy enough to persuade people to venture out of the confines of today’s app-centric
Internet.

But Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the original web, isn’t worried. After all, the open web already beat out walled gardens with names like America Online, Compuserve, and Prodigy. “You can make the walled garden very very sweet,” Berners-Lee said at the summit. “But the jungle outside is always more appealing in the long term.”

The Inventors of the Internet Are Trying to Build a Truly Permanent Web

Bitcoin is soaring due to China and Brexit

Bitcoin is on a tear.

The price of bitcoin has jumped 42 percent since the beginning of June. It hasn’t been this high since early 2014. It’s moved from a total market capitalization of US$8.3 billion, to nearly US$12 billion. It’s unheard of for a currency – digital or otherwise – to skyrocket this quickly.

Bitcoin Price Indextruewealthpublishing.asia

China has played a big part in this rally. As The Wall Street Journalrecently reported, two Chinese exchanges, Huobi and OKCoin, now collectively account for 92 percent of global trading in bitcoin.

In February, we explained that bitcoin is “cryptocurreny,” or a form of digital money. It’s created and stored electronically through a blockchain database.

Like dollars or yen, you can use bitcoin to buy goods and services. But, unlike paper currencies, which governments can create and print at will, no single entity controls the bitcoin network. Its mathematical rules limit the maximum number of bitcoin units to 21 million.

A network of “miners” digitally secures bitcoin transactions. When a miner completes the complex process of mining a block, he’s paid a fee – in bitcoin.

Every time 210,000 bitcoin blocks are mined, the value of mining new bitcoins is cut in half. There’s only been one “halving” since bitcoin was created eight years ago. It happened in November 2012.

Miners expect the next halving to happen in July. This is one explanation for the recent price surge. Some investors see the imminent halving – which will cut the mining fee from 25 to 12.5 bitcoins – as a reduction in supply. That’s why they’re bullish on bitcoin.

Another explanation is that blockchain, the technology at the heart of bitcoin, is gaining traction in a growing number of commercial applications, stoking investor interest.

Also, concerns over “Brexit” are adding to bitcoin demand. Some investors are worried about the financial fallout if the U.K. leaves the European Union. So they’re turning to bitcoin as a safe haven asset – treating it like a digital alternative to gold.

Yuan, china currencyReuters/StringerDamaged 100 yuan banknotes are seen on a table at a branch of China Bank in Foshan, Guangdong province, June 5, 2013. A woman brought about 400,000 yuan ($65,200), which she had kept at home, to the bank for replacement after most of the notes were bitten by white ants. Her notes were exchanged for new ones but for 60,000 yuan ($9,780) which the bank assessed and declared to be unchangeable. Picture taken June 5, 2013.

That said, the yuan is a much bigger player in this bitcoin rally.
China’s currency has been weak in recent months. It’s down 6.1 percent against the dollar since August.

Investors in China are selling yuan-denominated assets in favour of other currencies, particularly the U.S. dollar. In 2015, Chinese citizens and corporations moved an estimated US$1 trillion in capital out of China. The capital flight has slowed this year. But renewed weakness in the yuan may reaccelerate it.

China’s government wants this to stop. This is part of the reason why it prohibits individual citizens from moving more than US$50,000 per year out of the country. Even so, Chinese citizens have a variety of ways to bypass these capital controls – including bitcoin.

Bitcoin is gaining popularity as a method to quietly and anonymously move money out of China. Basically, a Chinese investor can deposit yuan in a bitcoin account and exchange the bitcoin overseas for some other currency. Fees range from one to two percent.

The price of bitcoin is volatile. So there’s a risk it might change while the transaction is being processed, causing the investor to lose money. Otherwise, it’s a relatively simple way to skirt the rules.

Still, the main reason for bitcoin’s price surge is even simpler: Good old-fashioned speculation.

In recent months, speculation driven by Chinese money has resulted in short-lived bubbles in assets as diverse as iron ore, steel rebar, cotton, and eggs – as well as in bitcoin.

All of these Chinese-driven speculations have the same basic lifeline. Whatever the explanation – lack of alternative investments, a deep-rooted gambling culture, investing naiveté, easy-money loans – each of these market booms played out the same way. Prices shot up in a speculative frenzy, and crashed once the mania faded.

Bitcoin shows all the signs of another Chinese-driven financial bubble.
That’s not to say the price of bitcoin won’t go higher. Bitcoin’s 2013 price surge, as shown above, is the stuff of legend. At the start of 2013, you could purchase a single bitcoin for around US$12. On November 29, you could sell that same single bitcoin for US$1,100.

That’s more than a 9,000 percent gain.

If the yuan starts to freefall, it’s certainly plausible that bitcoin could blast as high as it did in 2013, which would be about a 50 percent gain from current levels.

Keep in mind that China’s economy dwarfs the bitcoin market. Chinese financial deposits total over US$22 trillion. The country experienced capital outflows of US$45 billion in April alone, according to RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland). And by recent standards that’s considered moderate.

If the yuan starts a correction in earnest, and just a portion of the fleeing capital flows into bitcoin, it’s anyone’s guess how high the price of bitcoin might fly.

Nevertheless, buyer beware. When this bubble pops (as they all do), many speculators will wish they had never heard of bitcoin.

This is why China’s investors are crazy about bitcoin

The Top 100 Brands for Millennials

Millennials make up a crucial group of consumers. Ad agency Moosylvania asked over 3,500 millennials — defined as 20 to 35-year-olds — to select their favorite brands over the past three years. Great Questions, LLC helped rank the winning brands. These brands are the ones that came out on top. Some are surprising — others, not so much. A common theme for successful brands? Engaging with millennial consumers via social media.

100. Audi

100. Audi

Robert Libetti/ Business Insider

Headquarters: Ingolstadt, Germany

Place on last poll: Not applicable (*Note: Moosylvania’s previous poll from spring 2015 only contained the top 50 brands for millennials.)

Why it’s hot: Audi used a mobile app to connect with its users during the 2015 Audi Cup, allowing users to be parts of the experience.

 

99. Subaru

99. Subaru

Subaru

Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Subaru’s Winterfest integrated an entire winter culture to go with the brand. It gave Subaru owners perks such as free snowboarding clinics —  and more. This helped the brand develop a different kind of image — one with the outdoors and adventure — which can be appealing to millennials.

98. Nestle

98. Nestle

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Headquarters: Vevey,  Switzerland

Place last poll: 34

Why it’s hot: Nestle’s Nescafe created „social art“ in Croatia by placing its red mugs all over the city. This, Moosylvania says, appealed to millennials. Nestle also manufactures many popular candies.

97. Johnson & Johnson

Headquarters: New Brunswick, New Jersey

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: The „ACUVUE 1-DAY Contest“ allowed users to meet with popular celebrities and receive a brief mentorship. This has helped the brand cater to millennials, and not just be known as a producer of baby powder.

96. DC Shoes

Headquarters: Huntington Beach California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: DC Shoes is about cultivating a skateboarding lifestyle. Additionally, the brand engaged its audience by with its #TraseYours campaign, wherein the Talenthouse community of artists were able to design shoes for chances to win cash prizes. Better yet, the winning design had the chance of being produced by DC Shoes.

95. Carter’s

95. Carter's

Instagram/Carters

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: The Carter’s website proves that the brand has nailed ecommerce. In fact, the brand has mastered social media. Therefore, Moosylvania found that it’s very appealing to millennial parents who want to share photos of their babies (wearing Carter’s apparel, no less) with its hashtag #lovecarters. Carter’s features those photos of adorable tykes on its website, too.

94. Calvin Klein

94. Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Facebook

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Calvin Klein utilizes popular celebrities for its campaign. It also is savvy when it comes to the social sharing culture — its #MyCalvins campaign has successfully capitalized on that.

93. Axe

93. Axe

Axe

Headquarters: Unilever N.V. Rotterdam, Netherlands

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Axe’s #KissForPeace campaign — and its corresponding ad — were right in line with Axe’s signature tone. It also engaged Axe’s consumers with the nonprofit organization, Peace One Day, and millennials love when a company supports a cause.

92. Subway

92. Subway

Flickr/Bubby

Headquarters: Milford, Connecticut

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Subway has long reigned supreme when it healthy fast food, but recently, Chipotle has dethroned the chain. The chain lost a lot of clout when Jared Fogle, the brand’s former spokesperson, was associated with child pornography.

91. Jeep

91. Jeep

Thomson Reuters

JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE AT NEW YORK AUTOMOBILE SHOW.

Headquarters: Auburn Hills, MI

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Jeep engaged with its consumers with its Endless Jeep Summer campaign, wherein Jeep owners submitted videos to Vine and Instagram.

90. Anthropologie

90. Anthropologie

Anthropologie

Headquarters: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Anthropologie is Urban Outfitter’s finely curated and refined sister brand, so it makes sense that the brand chose to engage with its consumers via Pinterest, the social channel that’s all about curation, with its #PintoWin contest.

89. Publix

89. Publix

brownpau/flickr

Headquarters: Lakeland, Florida

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Publix’s app has simplified shopping. An easier shopping experience is more crucial than ever, given the rise of grocery delivery services.

88. General Mills

88. General Mills

bpende / Flickr

Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: General Mills‘ Fiber One brand has been nailing its marketing, with its funny ads, and its socially-driven contest like #FiberOneCheesecake, which gave users the opportunity to win cheesecake for an entire year.

87. ESPN

87. ESPN

Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters

Headquarters: Bristol, Connecticut

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: ESPN’s Fantasy Football app engaged consumers and helped the network bring a popular past time into the next generation.

86. ACER

86. ACER

Amazon

Headquarters: Taipei, Taiwain

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Acer’s tablets work in tandem with billboards, which allows consumers to interact with brands on a whole new level.

85. Wendy’s

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Place on last poll: 47

Why it’s hot:  One of Wendy’s recent marketing campaigns was ultra-focused on millennials, with the young „Red“ character in commercials and new items like pretzel cheeseburgers. Wendy’s has always emphasized being fresher than competitors, making every burger to-order and not freezing beef. In the era of Chipotle, this message resonates with millennials.

84. Trader Joe’s

84. Trader Joe's

Christian Storm/Business Insider

Headquarters: Monrovia, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Millennials love Trader Joe’s. Organic food, unique products, and low prices make it a hot destination for millennials. It also boasts its own unique personality — be it the Hawaiian shirts or the pun-laden signs around the stores.

83. J. Crew

83. J. Crew

J. Crew

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Times have been tough for preppy mainstay J. Crew, as it appeared to stray from its roots with odd selections. But a fall collection and the spring/summer 2016 lineup looked generally promising. The brand continues to connect with millennial women, largely in part due to its Creative Director, Jenna Lyons. J. Crew’s „Very Personal Styling“ also appeals to millennials, as does its somewhat-affordable wedding apparel.

82. Gucci

82. Gucci

Thomson Reuters

File photo of a woman holding an umbrella as she walks past a company logo of a Gucci boutique outside a shopping mall in central Guangzhou

Headquarters: Florence, Italy

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Gucci engaged with millennial consumers with a campaign surrounding its classic loafer. The campaign included quizzes, a Pinterest board, and a #Gucci1953HorsebitLoafter hashtag, cementing the luxury brand as a participant in the social community with its own voice.

81. Costco

81. Costco

Thomson Reuters

Shopping carts at Costco in Fairfax, Virginia

Headquarters: Issaquah, Washington

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Now that Costco has partnered with Google, it can serve cash-strapped millennials in urban cities who want to buy things in bulk, but perhaps don’t have the transportation to do so. It already boasts many great deals.

80. Rue 21

80. Rue 21

Instagram/Rue 21

Headquarters: Warrendale, Pennsylvania

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: The brand has figured out a way to pull in shoppers. When rue21 launched its new ecommerce site, it held a „Shop & Win“ contest. The contest involved a social sharing aspect as well as the promise of winning clothing.

79. Puma

79. Puma

Puma Facebook

Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: While Puma lags in comparison to competitors Nike and Adidas, it still has managed to engage a young audience — especially with its „Dance Dictionary“ feature. Fortunately, Rihanna’s involvement with the brand is helping it tremendously.

78. Playstation

78. Playstation

Sony

Headquarters: San Mateo, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Playstation has managed to take gaming to the next level with its Infamous: Second Son game — it features a character with the power to shock others, and yes, players can get shocked.

77. Nordstrom

77. Nordstrom

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Nordstrom is the department store that’s managing to defy the odds. It recently announced plan to expand its lower-priced concept, Nordstrom Rack. Nordstrom managed to capture and hold onto a young audience by adding Reddit to its social media roster.

76. Nissan

76. Nissan

Newspress

Headquarters: Yokohama, Kanagawa Perfecture, Japan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Nissan’s „Open The Briefcase“ campaign last year cemented it as a car company that’s fully engaged with its consumers, as it was orchestrated via mobile devices.

75. Dodge

75. Dodge

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Headquarters: Auburn Hills, Michigan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: When Dodge partnered with „Anchorman“ to produce an ad featuring the comically legendary Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), it cemented itself as a brand that communicated on the same level as many pop-culturally savvy millennials.

74. Toshiba

74. Toshiba

Thomson Reuters

Pedestrians walk past a logo of Toshiba Corp outside an electronics retailer in Tokyo

Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo, Japan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Toshiba partnered up with Intel and San Francisco ad agency Peira & O’Dell for its „Beauty Inside“ campaign — a piece of branded content that featured six episodes about a character named Alex, who woke up as a different person everyday (including both celebrities…and regular people).

73. Sephora

73. Sephora

Thomson Reuters

People walk out of the Sephora store on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris

Headquarters: Paris, France

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Sephora is the premiere destination for all things beauty. Its points and rewards system encourages brand loyalty; consumers keep coming back to obtain points to earn new products. Sephora’s app, Beauty Insider, features „Beauty Boards,“ which allow shoppers to show off their best new looks. It also serves an inspiration board, in the same vein as Pinterest.

72. Netflix

72. Netflix

Thomson Reuters

The Netflix logo is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas, California

Headquarters: Los Gatos, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: There’s a reason people say „Netflix and chill“ and not „cable and chill!“ Netflix’s original series such as „Orange Is The New Black“ and „Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt“ have turned it into a very influential vehicle in pop culture. It also partnered with popular site Gawker for a documentary club, wherein viewers were able to discuss a weekly program with other people.

71. JCPenney

Headquarters: Plano, Texas

Place on last poll: 18

Why it’s hot: JCPenney has been working to execute a turnaround by focusing on engaging consumers, like with its interactive charity game during the Oscars. JCPenney recently starting incorporating Sephora units into its larger stores.

70. Banana Republic

70. Banana Republic

Banana Republic

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Banana Republic partnered with the funny Instagram account #HotDudesReading — promoting First Book, a literacy program for children (and millennials love things with a good cause). Recently, Banana Republic has faced some troubles with fashion missteps and slipping sales.

 

69. Valve

Headquarters: Bellevue, Washington

Place last poll: 24

Why it’s hot: The video-game development company rose to prominence with its Half-Life franchise in 1998. The brand has a huge following on Facebook and frequently posts giveaways. Steam has also become the premiere gaming platform for many people.

68. Pizza Hut

Headquarters: Wichita, Kansas

Place last year: 21

Why it’s hot:  Pizza Hut tested out movie-projector boxes in Hong Kong, proving that the brand is always looking to innovate. Pizza Huts wacky pizzas, like its Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza, certainly set sparks of intrigue (and maybe disgust) flying throughout social media and the Internet.

 

67. Marvel

67. Marvel

Marvel

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Marvel is obviously a huge power force in pop culture — its „Avengers“ movies (amongst others) are smash hits, grossing billions of dollars worldwide. Marvel knows its movies generate tremendous hype, so it kept its „Avengers: Age of Ultron“ trailer ‚locked‘ until fans tweeted enough. Moosylvania notes that Marvel received an outrageous amount of tweets — an average of 8,100 tweets a minute worldwide — so it was obviously a successful campaign.

66. Michael Kors

66. Michael Kors

Facebook

Michael Kors rose to popularity because of its handbags.

Headquarters: New York, New York

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Michael Kors bags and watches are very popular with millennials, although a recent rise in ubiquity (along with rapid expansion) has threatened the brand’s level of luxury. It may be too popular for its own good. Still, Moosylvania praises the brand for its memorable 2013 campaign, #WhatsInYourKors, which cemented the brand’s social voice.

65. Facebook

65. Facebook

REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California September 27, 2015.

Headquarters: Menlo Park, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Facebook is a primary vehicle for millennial communication. The „Look Back“ campaign and the recent „memories“ feature cater to millennials‘ love for nostalgia — and better yet, they’re both focused on social sharing.

64. Bath & Body Works

64. Bath & Body Works

AP

Headquarters: Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Bath & Body works was an icon in the late ’90s and early aughts (and a mainstay for holiday gifts). Bath & Body Works capitalized on millennials‘ love for nostalgia by throwing back to its iconic older fragrances, such as Cucumber Melon and Juniper Breeze with its #FlashbackFragrance campaign.

63. Barnes & Noble

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Yes, these kids still read! And Barnes & Noble knows that. Barnes & Noble also capitalized on social media with its #BNGiftTip campaign, which helped consumers figure out what sort of items to buy for presents via the Internet.

62. AT&T

62. AT&T

Daniel Goodman / Business Insider.com

Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: AT&T had its own mini-series on Snapchat called „Snapperhero“ — and millennials love Snapchat. AT&T has encouraged its users to submit their own content for the campaign, too. Ultimately, all of it was shared on various social networks. AT&T proved it could communicate on the same level that millennials communicate on. AT&T also remains a popular phone service.

61. Verizon

Headquarters: New York, New York

Place on last poll: 27

Why it’s hot: Verizon is continuing to dominate the mobile space. The company also recently purchased AOL, showing it is interested in producing more content. The company has recently endeared millennials by making its data plan cheaper. The brand also had a campaign that encouraged young people to create mobile apps.

60. Mountain Dew

60. Mountain Dew

Honest Slogans

Headquarters: Purchase, New York

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Mountain Dew has capitalized on the way many millennials communicate — via Snapchat. It announced its new flavors via the social media service. The brand also told a live story via Snapchat when it launched its new Kickstar beverage, causing Fast Company to sing its praises. „Mountain Dew is a brand that is constantly engaging with young consumers,“ the website wrote.

59. Kroger

59. Kroger

REUTERS/Mike Blake

Breakfast cereal is shown for sale at a Ralphs grocery store in Del Mar, California, March 6, 2013.

Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Kroger’s loyalty cards track what shoppers buy — so that Kroger’s shoppers don’t just receive random rewards, but rather, rewards that cater to their specific shopping needs. Kroger has been taking many steps to advance its in-store (and delivery) technology.

 

58. Kraft

58. Kraft

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Kraft macaroni and cheese products are seen on the shelf at a grocery store in Washington, May 3, 2012.

Headquarters: Northfield, Illinois

Place on last poll: 40

Why it’s hot: Kraft scored big points with millennials this year when it announced that starting in 2016, its original Macaroni & Cheese will get its color from natural spices like paprika instead of from artificial additives Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. Kraft’s latest ads have also appealed to millennials, Moosylvania explains, since they look more like GIFs — something millennials love.

57. Gamestop

57. Gamestop

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Headquarters: Grapevine, Texas

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: GameStop knows how to cater to its customers. It uses mobile data to help it figure out which games to stock in particular regions. GameStop has avoided the fate of becoming the next ill-fated Blockbuster, by stocking more than just games, featuring downloadable content, and making GameStop not just a store, but a social destination for game-loving shoppers.

56. Chipotle

Headquarters: Denver, Colorado

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: It’s no secret — millennials are obsessed with fast casual behemoth Chipotle. Its focus on eliminating GMOs and sustainable ingredients has helped it unseat Subway as the ultimate healthy place to eat. The company is also quirky — Moosylvania points to its haiku contest, wherein consumers could write love haikus to their beloved burritos for the chances to win prizes.

 

55. Chick-fil-A

55. Chick-fil-A

Hollis Johnson

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Place on last poll:

Why it’s hot: Chick-fil-A has a cult following, no doubt. Its zealots showed their devotion when they had the opportunity to dress like cows to win free food. Chick-fil-A remains a favorite destination for millennials because the food is fresh…and good.

 

54. Whole Foods

54. Whole Foods

Mallory Schlossberg/Business Insider

Headquarters: Austin, Texas

Place on last poll:

Why it’s hot: Whole Foods is known for selling fresh, organic food, and for suggesting healthy recipes to consumers. It has engaged consumers on its social networks by encouraging them to share their own food photos.

53. Ebay

53. Ebay

Thomson Reuters

An eBay sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California

Headquarters: San Jose, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Even though reselling clothes is becoming the hottest new thing in retail — and many startups are aiming to disrupt the space — eBay remains the primary place for reselling items on the Internet. eBay has also showed off its cultural colors when it suggested that artists use the hashtag #eBayArtforAll to share their own personal inspirations.  

52. Asus

52. Asus

REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

Asus Padfone 2 tablet

Headquarters: Taipei, Taiwan

Place on last poll: 50

Why it’s hot: This Taiwanese company is a huge PC vendor. The brand is making headlines for its inexpensive Android smartphone and ZenWatch. The brand also plays on popular memes (for example, birds with arms), and has optimized its Internet friendly content, including games and videos. But as more consumers turn to Android, Asus could be challenged.

51. Taco Bell

51. Taco Bell

Taco Bell Online

Headquarters: Irvine, California

Place on last poll: Taco Bell

Why it’s hot: Taco Bell remains wildly popular. It’s #breakfastdefects campaign helped the brand create its own unique, Internet-friendly culture surrounding its breakfast lineup. Taco Bell also rewards fans by giving away free food with occasional contests.

 

50. Dr. Pepper

50. Dr. Pepper

By andreasivarsson on Flickr

Headquarters: Plano, Texas

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Dr. Pepper not only has a cult following, but it also has taken steps to lure in millennial consumers. It partnered with Spike TV’s popular show, „Lip Sync Battle“ to set up a lip sync booth in Times Square. Some people were selected to have their videos air on the television show.

49. Dove

49. Dove

Dove

Headquarters: Rotterdam, Netherlands

Place last year: 26

Why it’s hot: Dove, which is owned by Unilever, has been succeeding with its „real beauty“ campaigns, which emphasizes natural looks over the typically airbrushed ads, resonate well with millennials. The brand’s „Self Esteem“ Snapchat campaign, in which girls could Snapchat their insecurities and receive a positive response, highlighted the brand’s ethos.

48. HTC

48. HTC

Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

Headquarters: Xindian District, New Taipei, Taiwan

Place on last poll:

Why it’s hot: HTC made its consumers stars in Times Square — the company encouraged consumers to share their most gorgeous photos for a chance to be shared on a massive billboard in the iconic New York City enclave.

47. Hershey’s

Headquarters: Hershey, Pennsylvania

Plac last poll: 37

Why it’s hot: Hershey’s has dropped artificial colorings from its chocolate. „We are committed to making our products using ingredients that are simple and easy-to-understand, like fresh milk from local farms, roasted California almonds, cocoa beans and sugar – ingredients you recognize, know and trust,“ the company said in a news release.

46. BMW

46. BMW

BMW

Headquarters: Munich, Germany

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: BMW served as an official sponsor of the United States Olympics team in 2014, and the automobile company sponsored social campaigns with incentives for consumers, like its #BMWborntoslide campaign, wherein consumers who photographed themselves sliding could a win a trip to Utah to ride in a real bobsled.

45. Ralph Lauren

45. Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Headquarters: New York, New York

Place on last poll: 30

Why it’s hot: Ralph Lauren’s brand is available at thousands of stores worldwide. The brand has become more active on social media and hired Sports Illustrated cover model Hannah Davis to model its resort collection. The brand also encouraged consumers to be a part of its „Project Warehouse“ campaign last year, which Moosylvania says created an emotional connection between the brand and its consumers.

44. Kellogg’s

Headquarters: Battle Creek, Michigan

Place on last poll: 39

Why it’s hot: Cereal sales might be declining, but the company has mastered digital campaigns, which certainly appeals to millennials.

43. Coach

43. Coach

REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot:  Coach’s social media activity and campaigns have made the luxury brand accessible to younger shoppers who don’t have as much money. But, Coach’s ubiquity and accessibility have hurt the brand’s reputation as a luxury retailer, so the brand has been focusing on toning down its promotions to help it become more exclusive again.

42. Honda

42. Honda

Newspress

Headquarters: Hamamatsu, Japan

Place on last poll: 31

Why it’s hot: Honda’s fuel-efficient, compact cars appeal to millennials. But most importantly, the company’s YouTube campaigns for Honda Fit excited millennials. Honda has partnered with major companies such as iHeartRadio, Live Nation, and REVOLT for its YouTube channel.

41. Chevrolet

41. Chevrolet

Chevrolet

Headquarters: Detroit, Michigan

Place on last poll: 23

Why it’s hot: Chevy’s compact, Trax SUV is a hit with urban millennials. The brand’s emoji-themed campaigns also appeal to millennials, who communicate that way.

40. Best Buy

Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Place on last poll: 28

Why it’s hot: Best Buy has been successfully growing sales and revenue through its television business. Executives at Best Buy have made it clear that 4K Ultra High Definition televisions are the future of the business. Last year, the brand appealed to consumers during the holiday season by encouraging them to post what they wanted online with a #hintingseason hashtag.

 

39. Macy’s

39. Macy's

Kena Betancur/Getty

People enter the Macy’s store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

Place on last poll: 16

Why it’s hot: Millennials are spending less money on clothes, which is bad news for Macy’s. In order to attract younger shoppers, the brand has been investing in trendier clothing lines and other categories like home goods and cosmetics. But Macy’s has been also focusing on its social campaign, like its #MacysLoveMoms. For every photo memory or tweet shared, the company donated $3 to a charity.

38. Express

38. Express

Facebook/Express

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Express rewards shoppers by not just using their store credit cards, but by getting involved with Express in other ways, too — like retweeting its tweets and singing up for its text message alerts. For every 2,500 points, shoppers earn $10. This helps Express ensure customer loyalty.

37. Aeropostale

37. Aeropostale

AP

Headquarters: New York, New York

Place on last poll: 46

Why it’s hot: Despite falling out of favor with the teen set, Aeropostale still maintains some loyalty with the 20-somethings who wore it in high school. The brand’s status, however, is falling fast as young people increasingly move away from logos. The brand has appealed to millennials by incorporating YouTube personality Bethany Mota into its marketing and fashion plans. (The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May.)

36. Hewlett-Packard

36. Hewlett-Packard

Lisa Eadicicco

Headquarters: Palo Alto, California

Place on last poll: 35

Why it’s hot: Young consumers love Hewlett-Packard’s relatively inexpensive laptops. Still, they remained threatened by Apple’s dominance in the industry.

35. Gap

35. Gap

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Although Gap’s „Dress Normal“ campaign generally misfired, it succeeded on some points. Moosylvania points to tis „Play Your Stripes“ game in collaboration with Blood Orange, where people could ‚play‘ the stripes on their clothes to create music.

34. Frito Lay

34. Frito Lay

Hollis Johnson

Headquarters: Plano, Texas

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Lay’s won big with its Do Us A Flavor contest. People who shared their digitally designed flavors online were eligible to win bags of their designed chips — and some even got to have their flavors nationally produced. (Business Insider went ahead and tested some of these wacky flavors).

33. Toyota

33. Toyota

Toyota

Headquarters: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Toyota has teamed up with YouTube stars like Rhett & Link for campaigns, proving it knows how to cater to its audiences. Moosylvania also highlights its 2014 #CarsThatFeel campaign, which incorporated LED lights into Priuses for the 2014 Vivid Light Festival in Sydney Harbor. The cars had ‚personalities‘ and ‚feelings‘ and interacted with people, which is certainly intriguing.

32. McDonald’s

Headquarters: Oak Brook, Illinois

Place on last poll: 17

Why it’s hot: The brand has been introducing more fresh ingredients and customizable burgers to compete with fast casual brands. It’s #PayWithLovin campaign also appealed to millennials. The company is also launching a new salad mix that is more colorful, perhaps to appeal to health-conscious millennials.

31. H&M

Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: H&M knows what its consumers want. Moosylvania points to the racy campaign where shoppers could choose how David Beckham would appear in one of its ads — with or without clothes (he was wearing briefs, of course!). H&M has also managed to lure many sartorially minded shoppers with its high-profile collaborations.

30. Under Armour

30. Under Armour

Facebook/Under Armour

Headquarters: Baltimore, Maryland

Place on last poll: 45

Why it’s hot: Under Armour has exploded in popularity in recent years thanks to signing famous athletes like Stephen Curry and smart marketing of its performance-wear. The brand is rapidly catching up to competitors Lululemon and Nike, especially as it incorporates more technologically-focused apparel into its lineup.

29. Levi’s

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Levi’s has benefited from young consumers‘ tendency to wear denim and casual clothing to work. But now, many millennials are abandoning denim entirely, choosing to wear athletic attire instead. To combat this problem, Levi’s has been designing jeans that are stretchy and more form-fitting in nature, to put them in line with athleisure-style apparel.

28. Dell

28. Dell

Lisa Eadicicco

Headquarters: Round Rock, Texas

Place last poll: 15

Why it’s hot: Dell is another company benefiting from millennials‘ reliance on technology. The company’s laptop and desktop computers are especially popular with the young set. But most crucially, Moosylvania explains that Dell really appealed to millennials by sending YouTube celebrities Smosh on a road trip, chronicling it all with a Dell Venue 8 Tablet.

27. Vans

Headquarters: Cypress, California

Place on last poll: 25

Why it’s hot: Vans started out selling skater shoes, but has since gone mainstream. The company has benefited from athletic footwear becoming more fashionable than dress shoes.

26. Hollister

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Hollister signifies a beachy lifestyle. The company owned that attitude by renting a beach house in California in summer 2014, tapping top artists to perform. The brand had stylists give consumers advice online, too. The brand proved that it was in touch with its consumers favorite celebrities while also engaging in a conversation with its shoppers.

 

25. Victoria’s Secret

25. Victoria's Secret

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Place on last poll: 38

Why it’s hot: Victoria’s Secret is the undisputed leader of the lingerie market, controlling 61.8% of the market share, according to IBIS World. The company’s marketing strategy, which includes its famous Angels, is seen as one of the best in the business.

24. Kohl’s

Headquarters: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Kohl’s rewards program ensures customer loyalty without needing a store credit card. In fact, customers can earn points by doing the simplest activity such as pinning images on Pinterest. Kohl’s lower prices can also lure millennials.

22. Hot Topic

22. Hot Topic

flickr / camknows

Headquarters: Industry, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Hot Topic is more than just a destination for clothing for millennials — it’s become an entire lifestyle, with its focus on the music industry and pop culture. The store even sponsors shows.

23. Old Navy

23. Old Navy

AP Photo/Ed Betz

Shoppers wait in line to pay at an Old Navy store in Deer Park, N.Y.

Headquarters: San Francisco

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Old Navy’s digital campaigns have been massive hits — Moosylvania points to its 2014 Christmastime Vine campaign, but the company’s „#Unlimited“ viral video, which has over 12 million views on YouTube. The company has also delivered quirky spots starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Old Navy understands how to market content to the Internet generation, though sales have been slipping lately.

21. Disney

Headquarters: Burbank, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: Moosylvania points out Disney’s unique campaign „Disney Side,“ wherein shoppers would walk by a billboard a the Westfield Sunrise Center in Massapequa and see iconic Disney characters. This was a huge social media hit.

20. LG Corporation

20. LG Corporation

REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

A model holds a curved G Flex smartphone by LG Electronics during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona February 24, 2014.

Headquarters: Busan, South Korea

Place on last poll: 48

Why it’s hot: LG’s funny #MomConfessions campaign proved the LG knew how to cater to millennials — through humor and social media.

19. Ford

19. Ford

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

The new Ford Vignale is presented during a media preview day at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) September 10, 2013.

Headquarters: Dearborn, Michigan

Place on last poll: 19

Why it’s hot: Ford is repositioning its brand to seem more luxury and compete with auto-makers like BMW and Mercedes with the launch of the new Vignale brand. The new line of compact sedans could resonate with millennials, who prefer smaller cars then their parents‘. Ford has also embraced social media with Instagram contests.

18. Converse

Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts

Place on last poll: 20

Why it’s hot: Converse has seen sales boom as more millennials wear sneakers to work and other occasions. Athletic apparel and footwear is set to outperform the industry for the next five years, according to Morgan Stanley. Converse’s „Made By You“ campaign allowed consumers to show off their unique attributes and lives — using Converse as a vehicle for it all.

17. American Eagle

Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it’s hot: American Eagle has managed to avoid the fate of many of its competitors by not falling victim to the low sale prices utilized by many fast fashion stalwarts. Most crucially, American Eagle has won the heart of millennial females with Aerie, its lingerie subset, which proudly boasts Photoshop-free ads. Since nixing Photoshop, sales have soared.

16. Starbucks

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Place on last poll: 22

Why it’s hot: Starbucks has been expanding its menu to include more food options such as sandwiches and salads — and even wine at some locations. It has also added drive-thrus to many locations. Additionally, it allows consumers to have a say in its products — like when it had consumers vote on new frappuccino flavors in the summer, granting the winning beverage a lower price, Moosylvania notes.

15. Pepsi

15. Pepsi

Thomson Reuters

Cases of Pepsi are displayed for sale in Carlsbad

Headquarters: Purchase, New York

Place on last poll: 10

Why it’s hot: PepsiCo has introduced a beverage sweetened with natural sweetener Stevia called Pepsi True. The company says the new product „will continue to provide consumers with the crisp, refreshing zero-calorie cola taste they expect from Pepsi.“ It also removed artificial ingredient aspartame from Diet Pepsi. The brand’s 2014 YouTube hit, „Unbelievable,“ was a smash with viewers, garnering over 7 million hits.

 

14. Jordan

Headquarters: Beaverton, Oregon

Place on last poll: 9

Why it’s hot: Many of Nike’s Jordan brand sneakers are prominent on the billion-dollar reselling market.  A growing culture of so-called sneakerheads buy collectible footwear on eBay, Craigslist, and other sites. Jordan’s „We Are Jordan“ campaign had an interactive element, too.

13. Adidas

Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Place on last poll: 14

Why it’s hot: Adidas is going to start offering customized shoes to appeal to millennials. It also is working to reduce the time between when products are designed and when they hit shelves. Still, the brand continues to lose market share to Nike.

12. Forever 21

12. Forever 21

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Women shop for clothes in clothing retail store Forever 21 in New York.

Headquarters: Los Angeles, California

Place on last poll: 36

Why it’s hot: Forever 21 offers fast fashion at unbeatable prices and has expanded tremendously in two decades.

10. Coca-Cola

10. Coca-Cola

Donald Bowers/Getty Images

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Place on last poll: 8

Why it’s hot: Coca-Cola remains the clear leader in the soda market. The brand also scored high points for its „Share a Coke“ campaign, which featured common names on Coke bottles. Now, with its „Tweet a Coke“ campaign, people can send Cokes to others. Still, Coca-Cola’s partnership with Keurig for the Keurig Kold failed to resonate with consumers.

11. Nintendo

11. Nintendo

YouTube/cobanermani456

Headquarters: Kyoto, Japan

Place on last poll: 13

Why it’s hot: Many millennials feel nostalgic toward Nintendo because they played its games as kids. This has led to brand loyalty in adulthood. 2015 was also the 30th anniversary of Super Mario, and the brand encouraged users to participate in a campaign called „Let’s Super Mario,“ allowing users to submit their own Mario-related content — all of which would be shared on a site where many could see it.

9. Wal-Mart

9. Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart

Headquarters: Bentonville, Arkansas

Place on last poll: 5

Why it’s hot: Wal-Mart gave its workers a raise this year and has pledged to adopt more humane standards for the meat it sells. It also opened smaller format stores that resonate with millennials more than supercenters. Its „Neighborhood Market“ grocery concepts could rival those of Whole Foods, and its app helps consumers find savings throughout the store.

8. Google

8. Google

AP

Headquarters: Menlo Park, California

Place on last poll: 12

Why it’s hot: Google’s smartphone apps have become essential for many millennials. Its Gmail program is also extremely popular. Google continues to find ways to be a part of users‘ everyday lives.

7. Amazon

7. Amazon

REUTERS/Phil Noble

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Place on last poll: 11

Why it’s hot: This year, the company started offering one-hour delivery for members of its Prime service and expanded its grocery delivery business to New York City. The company also announced a new gadget called the Dash Button, which will make it easier for consumers to order household items, such as detergent, when they are running low. Amazon has also connected with Twitter.

 

6. Target

6. Target

Associated Press

A Target employee hands bags to a customer at the register at a Target store in Colma, Calif.

Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Place on last poll: 6

Why it’s hot: Target invented the idea of „cheap chic“ two decades ago. Today, the company is revamping its grocery selections for millennials. Target has also worked to cement itself as the premiere destination for back-to-school college goods.

 

5. Microsoft

5. Microsoft

Microsoft

Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s OEM Division, and Felicia Guity, general manager in Microsoft’s OEM Division

Headquarters: Redmond, Washington

Place on last poll: 7

Why it’s hot: Cloud computing, mobile apps, and holographic computing are driving Microsoft to record profits. The brand recently did a demo showing how personal computers could become holographic. Its Microsoft Band even features Uber and Facebook apps — two very popular apps. Microsoft has also been using LinkedIn to comunicate with its consumers.

4. Sony

4. Sony

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Sony Mobile Communications Inc President and CEO Hiroki Totoki poses with Sony’s new Xperia Z4 smartphone after a news conference in Tokyo April 20, 2015.

Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo

Place last poll: 4

Why it’s hot: Sony’s Playstation, gaming, photo, and music businesses are booming. Sony is aggressively investing in these areas. The company also has popular smartphones. Sony also utilized a concept called One Stadium Live for the 2014 World Cup, creating a single platform for all World Cup-related social media.

3. Samsung

Headquarters: San Jose, California

Place last poll: 3

Why it’s hot: Samsung’s Galaxy phones and tablets are extremely popular with millennials. The brand’s latest Galaxy S6 smartphone received rave reviews.

2. Nike

Headquarters: Beaverton, Oregon

Place on last poll: 1

Why it’s hot: When it comes to active wear — and apparel in general — Nike is the go-to brand. Data also shows that millennials believe exercise is essential for health, while their parents only focused on their diets. Nike has focused on incorporating top-tier technology into its clothing.

1. Apple

1. Apple

Business Insider / Matt Johnston

Headquarters: Cupertino, California

Place on last poll: 2

Why it’s hot: Apple has a fanatical following, and many of its customers are millennials. The company’s iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks are wildly popular. Last year, Apple made headlines with its new watch.

http://www.businessinsider.de/top-100-millennial-brands-ranking-2015-5?op=1