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Friday, 24 January 2020

Weekend Reading


1) Now an electric car on subscription
Canoo thinks the tides are changing and a subscription-based car-buying model is the future. Canoo subscribers pay a monthly fee for a bundle that includes a Canoo EV, maintenance, registration, access to insurance, and charging. The service launches next year. Canoo calls its vehicle an "urban loft on wheels." With a wraparound bench, the Canoo’s inside is designed to feel like a living room.


2) Yuval Noah Harari warns that companies and governments can "hack" humans
For Harari, the age of rival investment between the US and China in Artificial Intelligence should worry us all.
"On the most shallow level it could be a repeat of the nineteenth century industrial revolution, when the leaders had the chance to dominate the world economically and politically," he said. "I understand the current arms race as an imperial arms race...You don't need to send the soldiers in if you have all the data on a country."
From the geopolitical to the personal, the age of digital surveillance also threatens what it means to be human and free, Harari warned.
"The point is when you gather enough data on people, you get to know people better than they know yourself. Are we at the point where companies or governments can hack millions of people, that means they know my medical history, personal weaknesses?"
But how do you hack a human being?
"You need a lot of biological knowledge, enough computer power, and enough data about me. You can hack my body, my brain, my life, you can reach a point where you know me better than I know myself," he said.
In his view, there is state surveillance in China, surveillance capitalism in the US, and no serious third player in the arms race for tech dominance.


3) They know where you were last summer!! ;-)
Clearview AI, a relatively unknown tech company, has devised a ground-breaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.
Federal and state law enforcement officers said that while they had only limited knowledge of how Clearview works and who is behind it, they had used its app to help solve shoplifting, identity theft, credit card fraud, murder and child sexual exploitation cases.


4) Is there a case for central bank digital currency (CBDC)?
Money, as we know, has three functions. It’s a unit of account, a medium of exchange and a store of value. Money issued by central banks, which is the norm around the world, performs all these three functions. Such money is uncontested legal tender. A central bank digital currency (CBDC) is a different proposition, different from these commercial cryptocurrencies because a CBDC will be able to perform like money. It will be able to perform all the three functions of money that I listed above. It will be like traditional money except that it will be in a digital form. The main advantage will be that a CBDC will make payment systems more efficient.


5) A new book walks through business failures
While much can be learned from business success stories, there is a lot to learn from mistakes, failures, blunders, errors, lapses, traps, snags, bad judgment, mistiming, malpractice, deceit, fraud, and foibles as well, Robin begins. Forewarned is forearmed, and the lessons of hindsight and research can help avoid failures on your part as well, and prevent the destruction or erosion of value.

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