Box of Amazing: Ubernomics  
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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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Welcome

Apologies, the email gremlins got me last week and I mistakenly sent out a wrong link to the Stripe article. Here is the right one. It's very relevant. My articles to read this week include How China rips off the iPhone and reinvents Android, In Defense of Elon Musk and How Netflix Expanded to 190 Countries in 7 Years. This week, the news that stood out for me was the passing of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (Bill Gates writes a poignant piece); Uber is planning a $120bn IPO, and after the $5 billion EU antitrust fine, Google will start charging for Android apps.   In unrelated news to what I usually cover on Box of Amazing, I think everyone should read Jamal Khashoggi's last piece  - What the Arab world needs most is free expression.

I wish you an amazing week

Onward! - Rahim
 

What's Amazing?
Future Cities: Much of what Box of Amazing is about is about things that are on the cusp, the technology that is changing our lives, the business models that will affect how we live, the way of life that we will need to adapt to. Sometimes it's nice to take a step into the future and decide whether we believe in it or not. It will invariably be wrong, but it will give us a flavour or what it might be like (whether we are alive or not!). Some call it sci-fi. I call it soothsaying. This article from popular mechanics gives a great view of 2045 by asking the smartest futurists to give their view of future cities. Here is a snippet: "Flying Cars: It comes up once every few years: Where’s my flying car? In the century-­plus that this publication has been asking that question, the answer today is the same as it was in the late 2010s. That’s when Google cofounder Larry Page’s company Kitty Hawk was conducting test flights. When Uber had hired a vertical-­takeoff-and-landing expert away from NASA. When even Aston Martin had a concept car. But the issues haven’t changed. Moving people around in flying pods is loud, dangerous, and too expensive for all except a select few citizens of each city. Which is why, for now at least, terrestrial transportation is still the fastest way to get around a city. Check back next year!"   Link
Ubernomics: Uber has changed the scene when we think of how business models have changed. They created a massive open market, disrupting all incumbents and adjacent businesses and applied core economic principles of supply and demand in hundreds of cities around the world which made the concept of surge pricing appear normal. With numbers of initiatives rolling out, they are readying themselves for an IPO. Powerloop was announced this week - an initiative where Uber will rent out interchangeable trailers so truckers can swap trailers. More exciting is Uber Works, where Uber are planning to set up a short term staffing business. "Economists don’t just love Uber—the company loves them back. Uber is so fond of economists that it employs more than a dozen PhDs from top programs at its San Francisco headquarters. The group acts as an in-house think tank for Uber, gathering facts from quants and data scientists and synthesizing them to arm the lobbyists and policy folks who fight some of Uber’s biggest battles. Officially, this team is known as “Research and Economics.” Internally, it’s also been called Ubernomics."  Link
The AI Market: At the onset of the Internet, there was huge excitement of what it might bring. There was boom and bust and we now have an infrastructure to do remarkable things. We are at about 1999 again when it comes to AI. Who are the players today that will shape the future of AI, nevermind its impact? For that I think it is worth looking back to 2016 and a piece by Shivon Zilis, listing out all the players. "We see all this activity only continuing to accelerate. The world will give us more open sourced and commercially available machine intelligence building blocks, there will be more data, there will be more people interested in learning these methods, and there will always be problems worth solving. We still need ways of explaining the difference between machine intelligence and traditional software, and we’re working on that. The value of code is different from data, but what about the value of the model that code improves based on that data? Once we understand machine intelligence deeply, we might look back on the era of traditional software and think it was just a prologue to what’s happening now."   Link
Amazing News Nuggets
What's amazing?


"In practice, blockchain is nothing more than a glorified spreadsheet. But it has also become the byword for a libertarian ideology that treats all governments, central banks, traditional financial institutions, and real-world currencies as evil concentrations of power that must be destroyed. Blockchain fundamentalists’ ideal world is one in which all economic activity and human interactions are subject to anarchist or libertarian decentralisation. They would like the entirety of social and political life to end up on public ledgers that are supposedly “permissionless” (accessible to everyone) and “trustless” (not reliant on a credible intermediary such as a bank)."

Source: Blockchain isn't about democracy and decentralisation – it's about greed | Nouriel Roubini | Business | The Guardian

"The first time I heard the word “Ethereum” was in April, 2017. A hedge-fund manager, at a benefit in Manhattan, was telling me that he’d made more money buying and selling ether and other cryptocurrencies in the past year than he’d ever made at his old hedge fund. This was a significant claim, since the fund had made him a billionaire. He was using words I’d never heard before. He mentioned bitcoin, too, which I’d certainly heard a lot about but, like most people my age, didn’t really understand. I’d idly hoped I might be just old enough to make it to my deathbed without having to get up to speed. "

Source: The Prophets of Cryptocurrency Survey the Boom and Bust | The New Yorker

"The UK has the chance to lead the world on healthtech. We already have some of the world’s leading healthtech companies bringing new innovations and advancing the international reputation of our excellent science and research base. And, in the NHS, we have the world’s biggest health institution. We have the opportunity to build an ecosystem that continually creates the best healthtech – technology that can be exported, alongside new methods and insights that can contribute to health outcomes globally. "

Source: The future of healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care - GOV.UK
 
Amazing Links Worth Your Attention
Below is a selection of recommended reading that you can get by following Box of Amazing on Twitter.
Tech Links
Inside the $2.6 billion subscription box wars  Link

The Super-Quick Rise and Even Faster Fall of Groupon. Former CEO Andrew Mason on what the roller-coaster ride felt like. Link

Bitcoin must die Link

Lessons from Coinbase’s Wild Ascent: Four Rules for Scaling Link
Amazing Life Links
Is Chronic Anxiety a Learning Disorder? Link

5 Foods You Can Eat All The Time Without Gaining Weight, According To Nutritionists Link

A pioneering scientist explains ‘deep learning’ Link

Four steps to a younger, smarter brain Link

Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind Link

The lost art of concentration: being distracted in a digital world 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. The numbers of subscribers are growing quickly from all parts of the world. 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. 

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