Box of Amazing: Mobiles causing horns to grow on your head  
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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
Before we address the news of the week, I'd like to draw your attention to a great article on How Big Companies Can Simultaneously Run and Reinvent Their Businesses as well as one on When AI Becomes an Everyday Technology.

Of course, the news of the week was Facebook's announcement about its new (crypto) currency Libra. This is hugely important and will dominate tech news for the coming years. - check out extensive coverage below.

Of course, the other news was Slack's non-IPO listing. It's another loss-making Unicorn and I can't see that its business model will become profitable. Perhaps it's something to do with replacing email. Nice company, excellent product, but interested in what's next. 

Have a great week!

Onward! - Rahim
 
What's Amazing
 
1. Europe's New (and Next) Unicorns (and Titans)
GP Bullhound have put together an excellent piece of research identifiying the winners and losers in the largest tech players as well as those predicted to make it over the coming years, based on scale velocity and sentiment. I won't spoil the big reveal, so check out the report. Link
2. Using CRISPR to resurrect the dead
"Gene-editing breakthroughs could allow us to bring extinct species, like the woolly mammoth, back from the dead. Science has already unraveled the DNA code of long-dead species such as the woolly mammoth, the passenger pigeon and Australia's iconic Tasmanian tiger -- and now, pioneering researchers are using CRISPR to remake modern-day descendants in the image of their ancient counterparts. Could we transform an Asian elephant into a woolly mammoth? We are marching toward that reality."  Link
3. Libre - the second coming of Facebook
Will its network effect dominate payment transactions? Will it work? WIll it be banned? I've yet to complete my reading on the area (because there are so many views), but below are a selection of some great articles and the one's I still have to go. If you don't know what Libra is and not sure whether you should invest the time here is the top line: "Facebook is planning to launch a cryptocurrency it hopes will “transform the global economy.” The currency, named Libra, is being developed by Facebook, but the company intends to share control with a consortium of organizations, including venture capital firms, credit card companies, and other tech giants. At launch, you’ll be able to send Libra inside of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, with it mostly being meant as an intermediary for transferring traditional currencies. Eventually, Facebook hopes Libra will be accepted as a form of payment, and other financial services will be built on top of its blockchain-based network. Facebook is also launching a subsidiary company, Calibra, which will develop products and services based around Libra. It’s where Facebook intends to make money off of the cryptocurrency, and it’ll be starting with the launch of its digital wallet. Calibra will also handle Libra integrations for Facebook’s other products. Given Facebook’s lofty goals — and its reputation for disregarding privacy and exacerbating immense political and social issues throughout the world — the announcement of Libra was followed by an immediate backlash from regulators. Facebook will have a lot of questions to answer ahead of the currency’s launch in the first half of 2020."

Everything you need to know about Libra, Facebook’s ambitious cryptocurrency from The Verge
The Libra Masterplan 
First Look: Libra from Binance Research
The Ambition Plan from Wired
Facebook’s New Competition: The U.S. Dollar
Facebook's Libra Vs. Bitcoin: 5 Key Differences from Seeking Alpha
Facebook's Libra will not help the unbanked from the FT
Libra Summary from NYT
There’s a Second Token from Coindesk
Libra White Paper Analysis from Coindesk
Facebook Is a Threat to Governments Not Crypto from bitcoin.com
Facebook’s currency could threaten democracy. Let’s not rush it from Fast Company
Facebook’s Libra Must Be Stopped from Project Syndicate
France to create G7 stablecoin taskforce following Libra’s announcement from The Block

Make sure you read at least one of the above articles to school yourself up from scratch or deep dive. Link
4. In Stores, Secret Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move
Imagine you are shopping in your favorite grocery store. As you approach the dairy aisle, you are sent a push notification in your phone: “10 percent off your favorite yogurt! Click here to redeem your coupon.” You considered buying yogurt on your last trip to the store, but you decided against it. How did your phone know? Your smartphone was tracking you. The grocery store got your location data and paid a shadowy group of marketers to use that information to target you with ads. Recent reports have noted how companies use data gathered from cell towers, ambient Wi-Fi, and GPS. But the location data industry has a much more precise, and unobtrusive, tool: Bluetooth beacons. Link
5. AI Cooking
Machines are learning how to cook given only an image of our favourite pizza dishes. A new study in deep neural networking, titled "How to make a pizza: Learning a compositional layer-based GAN model"  explores how machine learning can be used to transform a single image of a dish into a step-by-step guide on how to create it. The PizzaGAN project is described as an experiment in how to teach a machine to make a pizza by recognizing aspects of cooking, such as adding and subtracting ingredients or cooking the dish. The Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) deep learning model is trained to recognize these different steps and objects, and by doing so, is able to view a single image of a pizza, dissect and peel apart each object or change 'layer,' and recreate a step-by-step guide to cook it.  Link
6. Control your TV with your Eyes
"An eye-controlled remote may seem to serve a small niche, but not if you think about accessibility tech as driving broader innovations for consumers. Most people won’t use the new remote today, but building these kinds of products could make new interactions possible for everyone later on. He points to voice controls, which first arose to serve the needs of the blind community decades ago. “Now look at what voice has become. It’s a mainstream product,” says Wlodkowski. “Inclusive design makes better products for everyone.”" Link
7. Mourning Robot Companions
We don't have a pet, but we did have to say goodbye to some of my daughters' life long cuddle toys recently, reminiscent of Toy Story scene, but what happens when that moves to saying goodbye to a robot. That's the quandary facing those who bought a Jibo, a social home robot, as it looks to be sunsetted. And this is an issue that will continue years to come as we start to grow attached to our bot family. Have you told Alexa that you love her recently?  Link
8. Phone Bones: mobiles cause horns to grow on your head.
No, it's not April the 1st. Forget about your text thumb or tech neck issues, mobile phones are changing the bone make up of humans. I like the term phone bones: "In academic papers, a pair of researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, argues that the prevalence of the bone growth in younger adults points to shifting body posture brought about by the use of modern technology. They say smartphones and other handheld devices are contorting the human form, requiring users to bend their heads forward to make sense of what’s happening on the miniature screens. The researchers said their discovery marks the first documentation of a physiological or skeletal adaptation to the penetration of advanced technology into everyday life." Link
9. Live Hologram Concerts
I remember when Tupac was "brought back" for a last performance with Snoop, and then Michael Jackson performed at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. Technology has evolved and we are on the cusp of live holograms going on tour. Get ready for some dead performances by Whitney, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly etc. but this could start to be a way for performers who are alive to extend their tours. And then, when consumer tech is good enough, you'll get the live performance in your Oculus or perhaps in your living room.  Link
10. Upgrade your memory with a surgically implanted chip!
"In a grainy black-and-white video shot at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, a patient sits in a hospital bed, his head wrapped in a bandage. He’s trying to recall 12 words for a memory test but can only conjure three: whale, pit, zoo. After a pause, he gives up, sinking his head into his hands. In a second video, he recites all 12 words without hesitation. “No kidding, you got all of them!” a researcher says. This time the patient had help, a prosthetic memory aid inserted into his brain. Over the past five years, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has invested US$77 million to develop devices intended to restore the memory-generation capacity of people with traumatic brain injuries. Last year two groups conducting tests on humans published compelling results." 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

P.S. Are we connected on LinkedIn?
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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