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Saturday, 31 August 2019

Weekly Reading - Some Interesting Stuff


1) How AI is shaping new fintech
Data science is increasingly being used to speed up processes, compare products, find deals, and produce answers customised to an individual’s circumstances. 
Using natural language processing, chatbots are designed to cope with the huge variety of unstructured responses that people may type or speak into their devices. As they become more sophisticated, chatbots learn from each encounter, so they can pick up on more subtle or idiosyncratic phrasing and better identify ways to help users. This includes “sentiment analysis”, where the bot detects tension or upset in a user’s tone of voice, and quickly switches over to a human operative to resolve the issue. 

2) Inverted yield curve explained using a sports analogy
The financial world has been atwitter about the inversion of the yield curve. It is a phenomenon in the bond market in which longer-term interest rates fall below shorter-term interest rates, and has historically been a warning sign that a recession could be on the way.
This all seems obvious to people who are steeped in bond market math and the workings of fixed-income markets, and can be completely perplexing to those who are not. Maybe a sports gambling analogy will make the intuition clearer.

3) How deepfakes on social media is getting stronger as the technology to catch it as well
Misinformation has long been a popular tool of geopolitical sabotage, but social media has injected rocket fuel into the spread of fake news. When fake video footage is as easy to make as fake news articles, it is a virtual guarantee that it will be weaponized. Want to sway an election, ruin the career and reputation of an enemy, or spark ethnic violence? It’s hard to imagine a more effective vehicle than a clip that looks authentic, spreading like wildfire through Facebook, WhatsApp, or Twitter, faster than people can figure out they’ve been duped.
As a pioneer of digital fakery, Li worries that deepfakes are only the beginning. Despite having helped usher in an era when our eyes cannot always be trusted, he wants to use his skills to do something about the looming problem of ubiquitous, near-perfect video deception.

4) A city grows based on the commute time
From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes. Even if there is a vast amount of land available in the country, that land has no value in an urban context, unless transportation makes it quickly accessible to the urban core. And that pattern has repeated itself, again and again, as new mobility modes have appeared. This means that the physical size of cities is a function of the speed of the transportation technologies that are available. And, as speed increases, cities can occupy more land, bringing down the price of land, and therefore of housing, in newly accessed territory.

5) McDonalds is experimenting with a new futuristic store layout
The fast-food giant is known for its quick drive-thru service, but now it’s taking things a step further with a new to-go location that only serves food with no seating.
With its takeout location, McDonald’s is leveraging new technology and touchscreen ordering. McDonald’s creative solution makes the technology an integral part of its business operations, which could prove incredibly successful.

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