Box of Amazing: Spotify is selling your emotions  
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Box of Amazing is a weekly digest curated by Rahim covering emerging technology, trends and extraordinary articles, hand picked to broaden your mind and challenge your thinking.

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Editor's Note
Last week was London Tech Week, where conferences like CogX (highlights) and SoonerThankYouThink (highlights) help define the upcoming landscape for Emerging Tech with a UK spin to it. Next week is London Edtech Week (The State of Edtech) although it rarely dents in defining anything game-changing.

This week, if you have time, I would recommend 
Accelerating Digitial Innovation from MIT
OfCom's Online Nation 
Disruption Starts with Unhappy Customers, Not Technology from Harvard

I'm rarely shocked by stories. The Spotify article (no. 10) completely blindsided me. Read it and realise that privacy is completely over.

Please share this email with 5 people you know will enjoy Box of Amazing, perhaps your team at work, or even someone you met for the first time.

Have a great week!

Onward! - Rahim
 
What's Amazing
 
1. Meeker
If you only have time to skim one report, Mary Meeker's is the only one that is required reading covering everything from tech to healthcare, new business models to China to Education. It's an annual must-read for me and I highly recommend you make the time to get a clear view of the state of the world and tech's place in that. There are 333 slides that you can quickly go through or read this summary for the high-level view or watch her speed through. Either way, please do engage with this one way or the other. Link
2. Remote First
Remote work is not a new term or concept and you can see companies allowing remote working more and more. There are business models that revolve around the expectation of a having a hub at a Wework but rarely do we see the Remote First or Remote Only organisation. Why don't we see more companies like Wordpress leveraging the power of online communication to set themselves up to get the best talent no matter where they are. I think the time s coming. "And after some major tech companies like Yahoo very publicly pulled the plug on their remote work programs, it’s heartening to see big players starting to get back in the game. Stripe recently announced that their newest engineering hub will be remote, saying, “Our users are everywhere. We have to be, too.”" Link
3. Hologram Circus
"At performances of Circus Roncalli in Germany, an elephant stands before the audience, its ears flapping and trunk wagging. It hoists up its hind legs as the crowd applauds. Then it disappears. The elephant, like the other animals featured in Circus Roncalli, is a 3-D hologram—a tech-savvy effort to preserve the flavor of historic circuses while eliminating concerns of animal cruelty. As German newspaper the Rheinische Post reports, Circus Roncalli was founded in 1976 and began phasing out animal performances in the 1990s. Since 2018, the show has featured no live animals, turning instead to holographic projections with 360-degree visibility for spectators seated around the ring with 11 projectors to pull off the feat." Live entertainment? Link
4. McDonald's by UberDrone 
"Uber’s plans to start delivering fast food by drone in San Diego this summer are nearly coming to a head. Deliveries will not be made to customers’ houses, but instead, will be sent to “designated safe landing zones” where Uber couriers will unload the package by hand and take it to the customer’s doorstep. These landing zones might even include the roofs of parked Uber cars, which will be identified by the drones using QR codes." McDonald's is an early partner. Link
5. WeChat is watching
The problem with the one app that does it all is that it knows everything about you. WeChat is that App in China. Imagine if WeChat wanted to create its own state. Imagine if the government wanted to access that state:  "Before 10 on a normal day in Chengdu, WeChat knows the following things about me: It knows roughly when I wake up, it knows who has messaged me and who I message, it knows what we talk about. It knows my bank details, it knows my address and it knows my coffee preference in the morning. It knows my biometric information; it knows the very contours of my face. But this isn’t all it knows. I use WeChat to pay my rent. I use it to pay for my utilities. I use it to top up my phone credit. I use WeChat to pay for the metro system. I use it to scan QR codes on the back of shared-bike schemes throughout the city. I use it to call cabs. It knows where I go and how I go there. I follow bloggers on it, I follow media organizations and NGOs and government offices (there are over 20 million official accounts associated with governmental institutions, agencies, or officials) and I read their content through it. It knows what academic interests I have—I’m researching mental health and I pay for and attend online courses in psychology through the app. I book movie tickets, order things through Jingdong’s page (the Chinese Amazon), and I recently downloaded a WeChat app which allows me to take a photo of a flower and have it tell me the name. It also tells me anytime it’s been mentioned in Chinese poetry." Link
6. Magnetic Microbots
"A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in South Korea and one in Switzerland has demonstrated that it is possible to use magnetically actuated microrobots to deliver stem cells to targeted tissue. In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, the group describes creating the tiny bots and how well they worked when tested. Prior work has shown that it should be possible to deliver drugs to a target in a living human by injecting tiny robots into the bloodstream then directing them to a target using external magnets. In this new effort, the researchers have shown that the same should be possible for stem cells." Link
7. Why airport face scans are a privacy trap
"In Atlanta, Delta has an entire “biometric terminal” that uses your face at check in, bag drop, security and boarding. It says the scans help board international flights nine minutes faster, saving two seconds per passenger. This has all the makings of a convenience trap. That’s how privacy-invading technology — the stuff of China’s police state — creeps into American life. Mostly in the name of efficiency, airlines and the U.S. government are, at a large scale, scanning the faces of people who aren’t suspected of crimes. It’s America’s biggest step yet to normalize treating our faces as data that can be stored, tracked and, inevitably, stolen." Link
8. Robot Hands
"Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said on Thursday he expects there will be commercial robots in the next 10 years that can grasp items as reliably as humans, a development that could lead to the automation of warehouse jobs around the world. The remark, made on stage at Amazon’s “re:MARS” conference in Las Vegas, underscored how companies and university researchers are rapidly developing technology to perform human tasks, whether for elder care in the home or for the picking and stowing of goods in retail warehouses." Link
9. AI Robot Artist Exhibition
"An artificially-intelligent art-making robot named Ai-Da has reached a milestone in its career: the robot is about to have its first solo exhibition. Titled “Unsecured Futures,” the show will open at the University of Oxford’s Barn Gallery on June 12th. The show’s press release describes Ai-Da as “the first ultra-realistic drawing robot artist.”" She's already sold $1.2M worth of art.  Link
10. Spotify is selling your emotions
"MUSIC IS EMOTIONAL, and so our listening often signals something deeply personal and private. Today, this means music streaming platforms are in a unique position within the greater platform economy: they have troves of data related to our emotional states, moods, and feelings. It’s a matter of unprecedented access to our interior lives, which is buffered by the flimsy illusion of privacy. When a user chooses, for example, a “private listening” session on Spotify, the effect is to make them feel that it’s a one-way relation between person and machine. Of course, that personalization process is Spotify’s way of selling users on its product. But, as it turns out, in a move that should not surprise anyone at this point, Spotify has been selling access to that listening data to multinational corporations." Link
This email contains the ten most important stories that I have read this week. 
You can get my long list of recommended reading by following Box of Amazing on Twitter.
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Box of Amazing is a project that I started to share my thoughts with like-minded individuals who are interested in the future world that we are fast approaching. This newsletter now has readers spanning the globe from San Francisco to Tokyo and across multiple industries including strategy consultancy houses (McKinsey to Bain), from all the FAAANG companies (Facebook to Alphabet), from startups to scaleups, from unicorns to brand new companies as well as people just interested in staying ahead of the game. If you enjoy it, please share it with your friends, family, co-workers, enemies, competitors, pets, potential love interests and others who are interested in learning about the emerging technology and trends that will affect us all in this lifetime. 

Thank you for reading

- Rahim

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Box of Amazing is curated by Rahim Hirji. If you were forwarded this email and want to subscribe, you can do so here. If you no longer wish to receive these emails you can unsubscribe from this list






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