Box of Amazing: Edition #100 - Your groceries are watching you. 👀  
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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
Welcome to the 100th edition of Box of Amazing! Thanks to those of you who started the journey with me just over two years ago...and to those who joined more recently. I hope this continues to bring you value, and, as always, if you have any suggestions, I am always open ears. 

Last week, travel and illness conspired against me and I was unable to get to you a newsletter, so I hope you enjoy this edition. As always, please share this email with your colleagues and friends, because sharing is caring. 

Have a great week!

Onward! - Rahim
 
Must Reads
How SoftBank ate the world Link

Understanding China's AI Strategy Link

How To Raise A Kid With Critical Thinking Skills (But Not An Anxious Mess) Link

I Cut the 'Big Five' Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell Link

iPhone Apps are recording your screen. And you don't know. Link

21 Neurotech Startups to Watch: Brain-Machine Interfaces, Implantables, and Neuroprosthetics Link
What's Amazing?
Your Groceries are watching you: Walgreens is exploring new tech that turns your purchases, your movements, even your gaze, into data."Demographic information is key to retail shopping. Retailers want to know what people are buying, segmenting shoppers by gender, age, and income (to name a few characteristics) and then targeting them precisely. To that end, these smart coolers are a marvel. If, for example, Pepsi launched an ad campaign targeting young women, it could use smart-cooler data to see if its campaign was working. These machines can draw all kinds of useful inferences: Maybe young men buy more Sprite if it’s displayed next to Mountain Dew. Maybe older women buy more ice cream on Thursday nights than any other day of the week. The tech also has â€śiris tracking” capabilities, meaning the company can collect data on which displayed items are the most looked at. Crucially, the “Cooler Screens” system does not use facial recognition. Shoppers aren’t identified when the fridge cameras scan their face. Instead, the cameras analyze faces to make inferences about shoppers’ age and gender. First, the camera takes their picture, which an AI system will measure and analyze, say, the width of someone’s eyes, the distance between their lips and nose, and other micro measurements. From there, the system can estimate if the person who opened the door is, say, a woman in her early 20s or a male in his late 50s. It’s analysis, not recognition." For those of us that area paranoid already to think twice when googling something that could be seen as slightly inappropriate in case it was held as a stain on our character in the future, this new onslaught of data tracking will haunt us. Not only will tracking like this become the norm, but also the real-time nature of personalised dynamic pricing being thrown into the mix will make two single independent journeys to the store a completely different experience. Pricing disparity. Link
AI Anger Detection: When Alexa, Google or Siri gets something wrong and you curse in dismay at the machine, do you think it's learning what you sound like when you actually are angry? That may not be happening, but in a new paper, the levels of speech and the characteristics of speech are starting to not only be characterised, they can also be recognised. "Affectiva’s researchers describe it (“Transfer Learning From Sound Representations For Anger Detection in Speech“) in a newly published paper on the preprint server Arxiv.org. It builds on the company’s wide-ranging efforts to establish emotional profiles from both speech and facial data, which this year spawned an AI in-car system codeveloped with Nuance that detects signs of driver fatigue from camera feeds. In December 2017, it launched the Speech API, which uses voice to recognize things like laughing, anger, and other emotions, along with voice volume, tone, speed, and pauses. â€ś[A] significant problem in harnessing the power of deep learning networks for emotion recognition is the mismatch between a large amount of data required by deep networks and the small size of emotion-labeled speech datasets,” the paper’s coauthors wrote. “[O]ur trained anger detection model improves performance and generalizes well on a variety of acted, elicited, and natural emotional speech datasets. Furthermore, our proposed system has low latency suitable for real-time applications.”" Link
Innovation is Dead. Long live Innovation!: Innovation is hard. In organisations, in your day to day life, finding a new way, a new direction is difficult. Indeed, how do you encourage the right type of innovation if people do not have the tools? How do you know if you even need innovation? That's increasingly difficult in an unknown age. We are entering a new era in humanity and the rules of the last ten years are not necessarily going to be applicable any more. One key casualty is McKinsey's 3 Horizons Model of Innovation. The principles are strong, but speed to test in a new world is so important. Applying agile approaches to business, creating business sprints to solve problems are critical for survival in this new era. "In the commercial space Uber took existing technology (smartphone app, drivers) but built a unique business model (gig economy disrupting taxis). AirBnB, Uber, Lyft, Craigslist, SpaceX, and Tesla are examples of Horizon 3 disruptions using existing technologies and deployed in extremely short periods of time. These rapid Horizon 3 deliverables emphasize disruption, asymmetry and most importantly speed, over any other characteristic. Serviceability, maintainability, completeness, scale, etc. are all secondary to speed of deployment and asymmetry. To existing competitors, or to existing government requirements and acquisition systems, these new products/services look like minimum viable products — barely finished, iterative, and incremental prototypes. But the new products get out of the building, disrupt incumbents and, once established, they scale. Incumbents now face a new competitor that makes their existing product line, infrastructure, or business model obsolete."  Link
WeChat Product Principles: If you're building a product, you can't do better than analyse what a billion user product did. The base principles of what Allen Zhang did with WeChat are clear. 1/ The user is your friend; 2/ Technology is for efficiency; 3/ KPIs are secondary; 4/ Have a decentralised ecosystem. "A strongly product-led philosophy driven by principles like these is not without its challenges. Critics say Zhang’s approach to thinking about product may not always be realistic in terms of company viability. User-first product philosophy is integral for long-term survival, but in the short term, it can be at odds with maximizing shareholder value. Studying Zhang’s product philosophy raises a few questions: Are these principles generalizable? If WeChat had been a standalone private company versus part of Tencent, would it have been able to postpone monetization for so long? What lessons can be learned about investor patience and looking at the big-picture? And finally, how does a creator that is so opinionated on product not become a bottleneck for his or her team? As Zhang also stated in his speech: “Good products require a certain level of dictatorship, otherwise it will contain a lot of different opinions and fragment product character.”" Steve Jobs was similar in focus. You really need to focus on the user. The technology comes next. How does this evolve in an AI world? How do we use technology to solve problems that technology is creating?  Link
Quotes Worth Pondering
Newport suggests beginning with a thirty-day detox during which you stop using any “optional technologies” that you can forgo without causing harm in your professional or personal life (you probably need email; you probably don't need Facebook). That seems like a lot to ask, but trust: beyond this initial cleanse, digital minimalism is actually much more accessible than many of the prevailing anti-tech approaches that tell you to throw your phone in a river and save your brain while you still can. Newport doesn’t deny that the technology we use is both useful and imperative. (He is, after all, a professor of computer science at Georgetown.) The problem in our current digital world, he argues, isn’t about utility, it’s about autonomy: tech greatly improves our life, right up until the point where you stop using it intentionally and unknowingly fall into manipulative black holes—on your phone, on Slack, in your inbox—that are specifically designed to be addicting.

Cal Newport on Why We'll Look Back at Our Smartphones Like Cigarettes  Link
Amazing Links Worth Your Attention
Below is a selection of recommended reading that you can get by following Box of Amazing on Twitter.
Top of the News
Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company Link

Apple should buy Netflix but it would likely cost at least $189 billion, JP Morgan says Link

Amazon moves into Self Driving Cars. Link

The Rise of the Robot Reporter  Link

Everything you need to know about WeChat — China's billion-user messaging app Link
Tech, Science and the Future
Future pills will be personalized and 3D printed, just for you Link

Live Concert inside Fortnite draws millions Link

The Problem With Big DNA Link

Scientists connect a human brain and 'rat cyborg' brain together Link

There's no good reason to trust Blockchain Link
Improving Your Life
How Not to Care When People Don't Like You Link

How VCs Negotiate: 8 Skills Top Founders Master for Startup Fundraising Link

The Process of Mastering a Skill Link

Things To Avoid When You Feel Lost Link

How to Push Past Your Analysis Paralysis Link

Miscellany
How Marie Kondo Bucks Japanese Tradition Link

A woman who studied 600 millionaires says there's a misconception about wealth that just won't die Link

The Tinder algorithm, explained Link

Eating breakfast is not a good weight loss strategy, scientists confirm Link

Brick by Lego brick, teen builds his own prosthetic arm Link
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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. 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 emerging technology and trends that will affect us all in this lifetime. 

Thank you for reading

- Rahim

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