Box of Amazing: The Internet is Affecting your Brain  
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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
Feedback recently has been around how realistic many of the concepts and ideas that grace this newsletter are. The reality is that the world is moving so fast that the articles cited, in general paint a picture for now to 24 months and if not, help in the journey to five years. The point of Box of Amazing is to help you stay ahead of the game, to help in your quest to futureproof, to prepare you for the now, the nearly now and the future. By understanding adjacent industries, you can help prepare for your own. By knowing what's going on, you can prepare yourself. You don't need to read every article I send - pick the ones that you think are relevant to you, or skim this newsletter in 3 minutes. 

Some higher brow recommendations for this week include:

McKinsey's Technology Blueprint for Personalization at Scale
PWC's Voice Revolution report
Automation in Retail Report
HBR's What Boards need to know about AI

I'd appreciate anyone you can share this email with. Thanks!

Have a great week!

Onward! - Rahim
 
What's Amazing
 
1. Peleton IPO
Good Hardware + Aspiration + Health + Good Branding + Good Margin + Subscription Model + Live Internet + Never Ending Addiction to being the best + Social + Ease of Access = $4BN Valuation = Time for the Peleton IPO (apparently)  Link
2. Blockchain Pushing Sales
Carrefour says the concept of blockchain tracking is driving sales of some of its products: "Blockchain’s digital tracking technology allows customers to see detailed information on products like when it was harvested or packed - reassuring them on the quality of items they buy and allowing them to avoid products with genetically modified organisms, antibiotics or pesticides if they want. Carrefour has launched blockchain information for 20 items including chicken, eggs, raw milk, oranges, pork and cheese, and will add 100 more this year with a focus on areas where consumers want reassurance, like baby and organic products. “You are building a halo effect - ‘If I can trust Carrefour with this chicken, I can also trust Carrefour for their apples or cheese,’” Emmanuel Delerm, Carrefour’s blockchain project manager, told Reuters at a conference."  Link
3. The Future is Asian
Why do you need an "Asian Strategy"? Not only because powerhouses are rising up."The future is Asian because demographically the world is already Asian. More than 50 percent of the world population lives in Asia. As the world population plateaus—somewhere around, but perhaps less than, 10 billion people—we will never live in a world where the majority of the world population is not Asians in Asia. We need to get used to that fact. Then there’s the economy. Especially if you measure in PPP [purchasing-power parity] terms, but even if you don’t, you have 35 to 40 percent of the global economy centered on the Asian realm. Third, Asia is “Asianizing.” These major Asian economic powers, and also the major markets to which Western companies want to export and do business in, are already trading more with each other than they are with the rest of the world. If you want to be a successful global company, you cannot make the statement “I am a successful global company” unless you are a big deal in Asia. It’s the present that’s already Asian, based on that data. And that’s ever more the case the further you look into the future." Link
4. Fact: The Internet is Affecting your Brain
You know it. I know it. We live in it. We depend on it. So, of course, it is bound to have impact on how we think. But now an extensive study from some of the world's finest institutions are calling it: "“The key findings of this report are that high-levels of Internet use could indeed impact on many functions of the brain. For example, the limitless stream of prompts and notifications from the Internet encourages us towards constantly holding a divided attention – which then in turn may decrease our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task,” said Dr Firth. “Additionally, the online world now presents us with a uniquely large and constantly-accessible resource for facts and information, which is never more than a few taps and swipes away. “Given we now have most of the world’s factual information literally at our fingertips, this appears to have the potential to begin changing the ways in which we store, and even value, facts and knowledge in society, and in the brain.” Link
5. Uber Copter
We are not quite at flying cars just yet which is Uber Elevate, but Uber is constantly plugging the transport ecosystem. "The new service, booked through Uber’s app, will take passengers between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy International Airport, an eight-minute flight. “This is a trip that so many travellers make a day, and we see an opportunity to save them a huge amount of time on it,” said Eric Allison, the head of Uber Elevate. Currently, that trip by car can take at least an hour, and in rush hour traffic, can last more than two hours. Other modes of transit, the subway and the Long Island Railroad, take between 50 and 75 minutes. Uber Copter promises to cut the total travel experience — including ground transportation — to as little as 30 minutes. “Our plan is to eventually roll out Uber Copter to more Uber customers and to other cities, but we want to do it right,” Mr. Allison said. “The main goal of this initial venture is to understand the operations behind aerial vehicles.” Link
6. AI Designed Clothes: Glitch
'Glitch' is a new company that sells dresses generated by machine learning algorithms. The “little black dress” has been considered a staple in women’s fashion since the designer Coco Chanel popularized it in the 1920s. Since then, it’s seen many iterations, most recently, by machine-learning software developed by two recent MIT graduates, called Glitch. “The ‘little black dress’ is considered an essential item that should be in any woman’s wardrobe,” said Yanardag. “Sooner or later, AI is going to be an essential tool for any person in computing, so we thought the ‘little black dress’ was a good place to start.” The designs generated by Glitch are then sent to a designer who brings it to life. 
Link
7. Amazon Drone Delivery
I'll refer you back to my introduction paragraph. Amazon announced drone delivery two years or so ago. Now, it's soon to launch in places where it's viable. Amazon owning the value chain from product concept to last mile delivery is the holy grail of retail, especially if they own that last mile market. If that becomes as dependable as using Amazon, then there is only one way, the Amazon Highway."What’s maybe even more important, though, is that the drone is chock-full of sensors and a suite of compute modules that run a variety of machine learning models to keep the drone safe. The announcement marks the first time Amazon is publicly talking about those visual, thermal and ultrasonic sensors, which it designed in-house, and how the drone’s autonomous flight systems maneuver it to its landing spot. The focus here was on building a drone that is as safe as possible and able to be independently safe. Even when it’s not connected to a network and it encounters a new situation, it’ll be able to react appropriately and safely." Check out the video Link
8. Genetically Editing Our Own Stem Cells (in our bodies)
"We owe our long lives to stem cells, which are nestled deep inside certain tissues in the body and constantly replace old cells. In recent years scientists have been able to correct genetic diseases by removing these stem cells, editing their genomes and then implanting them back into the patient, but that adds complications. Now, new research led by Harvard scientists has successfully edited the genes of stem cells while still in the body. When it comes to treating genetic diseases, it can be kind of like cleaning up pollution in a river. If you just pick up litter downstream, the river will only get dirty again unless you tackle the problem further upstream. In the same way, treating diseased cells won't help much if you don't address the stem cells, which will quickly replace the healthy cells with new diseased ones. Currently, fixing stem cells involves removing them from their hideouts deep inside the body, then genetically altering them and putting them back into the patient. There are a lot of potential failure points in that complicated procedure: the stem cells can die in the culture dish, the patient's immune system can reject them once transplanted, or they can just fail to fire back up." Link
9. Robotic Furniture
"Ikea is going to sell robotic furniture to maximize space in smaller apartments. The furniture can morph into a bed, couch, desk, or wardrobe, depending on which setting you choose. The large storage system slides across a room, transforming into different pieces of furniture depending on which you need to use at that moment. It’s controlled by a touch pad and is designed to let people in cities make the most of the space in their apartments." Starts in Hong and Japan next year. Link
10. Technology solving the Airport problem
My readers that travel will appreciate this. Since 911, we've all had to empty our liquid, pull out our laptops and endure the general pain of travel before we actually do. I get it. But I always thought there was a better way. Now there is. "Passengers at Heathrow airport will be able to keep their liquids and laptops inside their carry-on bags, once new security equipment is installed. The airport is investing £50m in the computer tomography (CT) security scanners, to be rolled out over the next few years. The technology, similar to CT scanners used in hospitals, provides a clear picture of a bag's contents. Detailed 3D images can be easily rotated and dissected by staff. Heathrow chief operations officer, Chris Garton, said: "This cutting-edge kit will not only keep the airport safe with the latest technology, but will mean that our future passengers can keep their focus on getting on with their journeys and less time preparing for security screening." Security is not going away, but life will be easier. 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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