Box of Amazing: Your Car Alarm is Useless  
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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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Using technology to bring back that the dead treads an ethical fine line. I found it difficult to watch the South Korean sorrow-stricken mother reunited with her deceased daughter using virtual reality. But it begs the question of what might be possible with technology in the future...and if you had the opportunity to meet your loved ones one more time, would you?

My recommendations for this week:

1. Our phones can now detect health problems from Parkinson’s to depression. Is that a good thing? Link
2. I stumbled across a huge Airbnb scam that’s taking over London Link
3. Ghosting is normal now. That’s completely bonkers. Link
4. Are Algorithmically-Generated Term Papers the Next Big Challenge to Academic Integrity? Link
5. Cost Cutting Algorithms Are Making Your Job Search a Living Hell Link
6. How ultra-processed food took over your shopping basket Link
7. 7 Types Of Virtual Reality That Are Changing The Future Link
8. Harar's History of Everyone Ever Link
9. The Cancer Industry: Hype vs. Reality Link
10. This Is What It Feels Like to Catch the Coronavirus Link

Have a great week!

Onward! - Rahim
 
What's Amazing
 
1. Air Meat
In October, a Bay Area startup introduced an alternative: a type of protein that can be produced out of thin air. The company, appropriately named Air Protein, uses a technique discovered by NASA to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into protein the same way plants do. Its CEO, Lisa Dyson, thinks that process will be less deleterious to natural resources than other plant-based meat alternatives. She told the San Francisco Chronicle that her protein-making process requires 1,000 times less land and water than soybean production.  Link
2. Robots rewriting Wikipedia
A new “text-generating system” created by the brains behind Massachusetts Institute of Technology may be the beginning of the end for all human editing jobs. The system, announced in a press release Wednesday, is able to rummage through the millions of Wikipedia pages, sniff around for outdated data, and replace it with the most recent information available on the internet in a “human-like” style — thus making the need for real, hot-blooded editors basically obsolete.   Link
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4. Blind Woman Sees With New Implant, Plays Video Game Sent Straight to Her Brain
A camera embedded in a pair of thick, black-rimmed glasses records Gómez’s field of view and sends it to a computer. The computer translates the data into electrical impulses the brain can read and forwards it to a brain implant by way of a cable plugged into a port in the skull. The implant stimulates neurons in Gómez’s visual cortex, which her brain interprets as incoming sensory information. Gómez perceives a low-resolution depiction of her surroundings in the form of yellow dots and shapes called phosphenes which she’s learned to interpret as objects in the world around her. The technology itself is still very much in the early stages—Gómez is the first to test it—but the team aims to work with five more patients in the next few years. Eventually, Fernandez hopes their efforts can help return sight to many more of the world’s blind people.  Link
5. A Tiny Electric Brain Implant Could Wake People in Comas
Brain scans have suggested that an area called the thalamus, which is located just above the brain stem, plays a role in consciousness. In a paper published in the journal Neuron on Wednesday, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison identified a tiny zone within this region — just a few millimeters in size — that, when stimulated appropriately, appears to wake unconscious monkeys. It may be especially important in keeping humans awake and conscious as well.  Link
6. With Whatsapp now at 2 billion users, is it time for Signal to step up
"Signal is thinking hard about how to give people the functionality they want without compromising privacy too much, and that's really important," Green adds. "If you see Signal as important for secure communication in the future—and possibly you don't see Facebook or WhatsApp as being reliable—then you definitely need Signal to be usable by a larger group of people. That means having these features." Link
7. Spot the Dog starts work
Spot the Dog—the robotic viral sensation known for opening doors, climbing steps with ease, and even taking clean dishes out of the dishwasher—has just landed a full-time gig as an inspector at an oil and gas company in Norway. At some point this year, the Boston Dynamics robot will begin patrolling Aker BP's oil and gas production vessel at the Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea. There, it will run inspections, look for hydrocarbon leaks, and put together reports based on the data it collects.  Link
8. Blockchain: The revolution that hasn't quite happened
Blockchain has struggled to find a purpose, beyond powering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. In that scenario, the blockchain acts as a universal record of every Bitcoin transaction ever made. The blockchain is a ledger, or log, of those transactions and users on the network collaborate to verify new transactions when they occur. They're rewarded financially for this effort - an enterprise known as "Bitcoin mining". But the basic idea, of a ledger of information distributed around lots of different users instead of held centrally, has provoked a lot of interest.  Link
9. Science of Money Motivation
These everyday incentives typically come in one of two forms—discounts or surcharges—and are usually put in place for a simple reason: money motivates. And sure enough, it has been demonstrated time and time again that people change their behavior when they are financially incentivized: it’s pleasurable to earn money, and painful to lose it  Link
10. Your Car Alarm is Useless
My car has been broken into twice this year. In researching how it was actually possible, it transpired that there is just no point in trying to secure your vehicle. The tech to break into your car is just too readily available:  "With the device armed, the second man walked towards a bright white Jeep parked in the garage. He held his own piece of technology: a small box with an antenna jutting from the top. The man tried to open the car's door, but it was locked. He pushed a button on the top of his handheld device, a light flickered, and instantly the car was open. He clambered into the driver's seat, and pushed the button to start the vehicle"  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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