Box of Amazing: The New Normal  
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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
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Welcome to a new normal. Get used to it because 2020 is going to define what's normal, in how we work, how we learn, how we greet and how we communicate. COVID-19 is a pandemic of a generation, but will it be the first of many? Ultimately, it has and will be how we now choose to define our lives. What is that new normal of the future, where human to human contact is restricted...where we risk going out in public...where we are locked down for weeks, if not months to save a nation? This sounds dire but it plagues my mind. We won't go back to normal. This is it. 

When we think of the future and how we traverse there, what are the technologies that can help us get there, get through a situation like this? Communicative tech, medical research and clarity of direction are critical skills in winning in an age of pandemic. Whether the UK's stance of "herd immunity" is brilliance or a pot luck approach to life/death, we shall have to wait and see. Will we have to flatten the curve - or is the theory simply based on incorrect logic? Either way, if you are still comparing this to seasonal flu, please look at the data.

We will prevail. We will get through this. We will define our future. 

Last week was the most read newsletter since I started Box of Amazing. But this newsletter was supposed to be about emerging technology. But these are unprecedented times and I will continue to include reference to articles that I think you should read which are COVID-19 related - because I think that they are important - and that this time, the time that we are in right now, will define our future.

Be safe, wash your hands - and, be smart about working from home! 

My recommendations for this week:

1. Flattening the Coronavirus Curve Link
2. “Flattening the Curve” is a deadly delusion Link - the other side
3. Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now Link
4. Research finds huge impact of interventions on spread of Covid-19 Link
5. Why is the UK approach to coronavirus so different to other countries? Link
6. Cancel Everything Link - excellent.
7. COVID-19: Readings Link - great sources
8. The most ridiculous ways companies are trying to profit from the coronavirus outbreak Link
9. Exponential growth and epidemics Link - Excellent video primer. 
10. Exponential Growth and Covid-19 Link

Have a great week!

Onward! - Rahim
 
What's Amazing
 
1. We’re Not Going Back to the Way Life Was Before
Virtually every activity that entails or facilitates in-person human interaction seems to be in the midst of a total meltdown as the coronavirus outbreak erases Americans’ desire to travel. The NBA, NHL, and MLB have suspended their seasons. Austin’s South by Southwest canceled this year’s festival and laid off a third of its staff. Amtrak says bookings are down 50 percent and cancellations are up 300 percent; its CEO is asking workers to take unpaid time off. Hotels in San Francisco are experiencing vacancy rates between 70 and 80 percent. Broadway goes dark on Thursday night. The CEOs of Southwest and JetBlue have both compared the impact of COVID-19 on air travel to 9/11. (That was before PresidentDonald Trump banned air travel from Europe on Wednesday night.) Universities, now emptying their campuses, have never tried online learning on this scale. White-collar companies like Amazon, Apple, and the New York Times are asking employees to work from home for the foreseeable future.  Link
2. Injecting this sensor under your skin could prevent future pandemics
One of the scariest parts of the coronavirus is its dormant period: An infected person could be walking around further spreading the disease for up to two weeks before they even show any symptoms that they're sick. But what if there were a way to know whether a person was sick before the fever and coughing start? As spotted by Nextgov, biotech company Profusa announced Tuesday that it was initiating a DARPA-funded study to see whether its biosensor that it injects under the skin can help detect the flu up to three weeks early. The hope is that it could eventually be used to root out pandemics or bio-attacks in the future, too. Link
3. Autonomous Robots Are Helping Kill Coronavirus in Hospitals
UVD Robots is a Danish company making robots that are able to disinfect patient rooms and operating theaters in hospitals. They’re able to disinfect pretty much anything you point them at—each robot is a mobile array of powerful short wavelength ultraviolet-C (UVC) lights that emit enough energy to literally shred the DNA or RNA of any microorganisms that have the misfortune of being exposed to them.  Link
4. What would happen if the world reacted to climate change like it’s reacting to the coronavirus?
There are similarities between the situations—in both cases, the scientific community is offering clear warnings about what to do. Both involve public health. Climate change is already killing people in extreme heat waves and other disasters; it’s also worsening food and water shortages and it will displace hundreds of millions of people. The same pollutants that contribute heavily to climate change also cause air pollution that kills millions of people each year. Diseases like malaria and dengue fever are likely to spread as mosquitoes move into new regions. And as with coronavirus, people living in areas with the fewest resources are being impacted most by climate change. “Climate change also affects the most vulnerable first and worst,” says Boeve. “So we see that pattern play out as well, and how this is unfolding and how the response is and is not responding to that inequity and impact.”  Link
5. AI could help with the next pandemic—but not with this one
The hype outstrips the reality. In fact, the narrative that has appeared in many news reports and breathless press releases—that AI is a powerful new weapon against diseases—is only partly true and risks becoming counterproductive. For example, too much confidence in AI’s capabilities could lead to ill-informed decisions that funnel public money to unproven AI companies at the expense of proven interventions such as drug programs. It’s also bad for the field itself: overblown but disappointed expectations have led to a crash of interest in AI, and consequent loss of funding, more than once in the past.  Link
6. The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’
We’re in a gray zone now. The public-health imperative is to create social distance; that’s the only way we’re going to stop this. Think about having those get-togethers but practicing good public health: not sitting very close, trying to keep distance. Wash your hands; avoid touching your face. There are places on the board game that people are constantly touching—routinely disinfect [those, as well as] doorknobs, the bathroom faucets, those types of things. There’s no absolute rule about what works, but what we do know is that decreasing the size of those gatherings, increasing the distance, practicing good hygiene will go a long way. Link
7. Dark AI and the Promise of Explainability
In the last few years, we’ve entered the era of deep learning, a powerful and intimidating set of technologies that is transforming organizations and industries alike. Automotive, aerospace, and healthcare are but some of the verticals touched by its capabilities, and lines of business have begun outsourcing important decisions to these mysterious but intelligent systems. The ‘black box’ problem that plagues AI — our inability to peek inside exotic neural networks and understand how they work — represents one of the most urgent moral and business imperatives of our time. Link
8. The 10 most innovative artificial intelligence companies of 2020
Artificial intelligence has reached the inflection point where it’s less of a trend than a core ingredient across virtually every aspect of computing. These companies are applying the technology to everything from treating strokes to detecting water leaks to understanding fast-food orders. And some of them are designing the AI-ready chips that will unleash even more algorithmic innovations in the years to come. Link
9. Singapore Prepares For Facial Recognition to Eliminate ID Cards
Beginning in June, kiosks fitted with cameras will be installed at a limited number of government agencies, and instead of presenting an ID card citizens will be able to check-in for services with just their faces. The facial recognition system is a major expansion of the Smart Nation Initiative, which began in 2014 under Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and through which the state has built up a biometric database on more than four million Singaporeans over the age of 15. Link
10. Scientists are storing energy using uneaten fruit
A team of Australian engineers is looking in an unusual place for the future of energy storage: uneaten fruit. One of the major challenges in converting a fossil fuel-dependent energy infrastructure into something clean and sustainable is finding new ways to store energy — and a growing number of researchers have been looking into biowaste as a possible answer, according to research published in the Journal of Energy Storage in December. Building on research into bagasse, watermelons, pomelo peels, and even paper pulp, the engineers found a way to build ultracapacitors — extremely energy-dense storage devices — out of the jackfruit and durian..  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 me (@rahim) on Twitter.
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Box of Amazing is a personal project that I first started in 2017 to help curate quality articles for myself to fine-tune my reading around emerging technologies and the future. I now send this out by email every Sunday to whoever wants to receive it. The newsletter consists of ten great articles (topical recommended reading) and ten stories (what's amazing!). Box of Amazing now has thousands of readers spanning the globe from San Francisco to Tokyo and across multiple industries including strategy consultancy houses (McKinsey to Bain), from all the FAANG 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. If you have been forwarded this email, you can sign up at boxofamazing.com - it's free.

Thank you for reading

- Rahim

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