Box of Amazing: What blockchain can do, AI serendipity and Yuval Noah Hariri on being human  
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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

This week we found out the Elon Musk's Tesla investor was probably the Saudis, Microsoft and Alexa are integrating Cortana and Alexa, Uber finally booked some "positive" results, and Amazon is about to buy a movie theatre chain. Business Models Change and the unthinkable is normal. And then the really weird stuff happens like the luxury McDonald's in London? Enjoy the week! Onward! - Rahim 

PS Box of Amazing was mentioned by Josh Spector on For the Interested which helps you become better at work and life. Sign up!
PPS For those of you followed up with me on fintech last week, you may be interested in this report on AI in Fintech. It's industry-led, so perhaps I may have to eat my words
 
Blockchain, the key technology behind Bitcoin, is a new network that helps decentralize trade, and allows for more peer-to-peer transactions. Bettina Warburg explains blockchain technology to 5 different people; a child, a teen, a college student, a grad student, and an expert.

What's Amazing?
Blockchain Can Do: I've been spending time trying to understand some nuances associated with the Blockchain, how the technology might evolve, its limits and downsides. The video above is a great primer pitched at different levels. Blockchain is really all about trust, how you achieve that trust and what that trust enables you to do, what service you can provide. Isn't that the same as trust mechanisms you may find on the Internet. Well, yes, and sometimes no. And I found a great list of ten things you can do on the Blockchain but not on the Internet. These will help understand where the strategic benefit may lie. 

1. Send money from one person to another without traditional intermediaries.
2. Be the sole owner of a digital good, digital collectible or a real asset’s crypto proxy.
3. Earn money as a reward for work done (by a computer or human).
4. Be your own bank, and hold your own cryptocurrency.
5. Sell or buy something without any central co-ordinating authority.
6. Share unused computing or storage capacity and get paid for it.
7. Store content on a decentralized network that would never go down or get censored.
8. Contribute to recording something on the blockchain.
9. Pay for a service or good using a cryptocurrency you earned.
10. Earn cryptocurrency for data you shared. Link
Being human - Yuval Noah Hariri's new book comes out in less than two weeks, titled 21 lessons for the 21st century. One of the central premises of this book will be what we must do in the coming years which is significantly different to the the previous years. Humankind is facing unprecedented revolutions, all our old stories are crumbling and no new story has so far emerged to replace them. How can we prepare ourselves and our children for a world of such unprecedented transformations and radical uncertainties? A baby born today will be thirty-something in 2050. If all goes well, that baby will still be around in 2100, and might even be an active citizen of the 22nd century. What should we teach that baby that will help him or her survive and flourish in the world of 2050 or of the 22nd century? What kind of skills will he or she need in order to get a job, understand what is happening around them and navigate the maze of life? Unfortunately, since nobody knows how the world will look in 2050 – not to mention 2100 – we don’t know the answer to these questions. Of course, humans have never been able to predict the future with accuracy. But today it is more difficult than ever before because once technology enables us to engineer bodies, brains and minds, we can no longer be certain about anything – including things that previously seemed fixed and eternal." This means that it's increasingly important to think through the future of humanity. What do humans need to be in 2100, that we need to plan for now? Skills that are good for today might be taken over by humans. Our bodies may be repurposed to allow us to live longer. How do we win?  Link
Blockchaining your privacy: An interesting project coming out of MIT which is a cryptographically powered system that could help us track the court orders that let police access our digital data by creating a digital ledger of data requests where prosecutors would agree to make their requests public at a later date. "Digitally committing to unseal the requests would let members of the public track whether the documents are, in fact, later made public." And the beauty of this is because it is on the Blockchain, people can access the data in retrospect, and could be used across all areas of data requests, financial, legal or otherwise.  Link
AI is massively transforming our world, but there's one thing it cannot do: love. In a visionary talk, computer scientist Kai-Fu Lee details how the US and China are driving a deep learning revolution -- and shares a blueprint for how humans can thrive in the age of AI by harnessing compassion and creativity. "AI is serendipity," Lee says. "It is here to liberate us from routine jobs, and it is here to remind us what it is that makes us human."
Amazing News Nuggets
What's amazing?

"Levi’s has started rolling out lasers to its supplier factories that do the work of distressing jeans from start to finish in under two minutes, a job that has previously required lots of time, effort, and human hands. Big brands from Uniqlo to small labels like Ministry of Supply are working with 3D-knitting machines that can produce a complete sweater practically on demand, without any seams or sewing required. Zozo, Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce company, is turning our smartphones into measuring devices, making it possible to get t-shirts, jeans, and other items custom-made, faster and cheaper, on a mass scale."

Source: Fashion is turning to technology to make clothes faster, cheaper, and customizable — Quartz

"Some elements of that social change might be easier to anticipate than others. For example, the share of the young adult population that chooses to remain single (with their sexual needs met by robots) is very likely to increase. Because social change is organic, however, adaptations in other social norms and behaviors are much more difficult to predict. But this is not virgin territory. New technologies completely transformed sexual behavior and marital norms over the second half of the 20th century. Although getting any of these predictions right will surely involve some luck, we have decades of technology-induced social change to guide our predictions about the future of a world confronted with wholesale access to sexbots."

Source: Sex robots could totally redefine the institution of marriage.

"Electronic scooters took over U.S. sidewalks First there were none and now they are seemingly everywhere: Within a year of launching e-scooter services, already, nearly 4 percent of people in major U.S. cities have used an electric scooter, a much swifter adoption rate than previous forms of transportation. That potential has given Bird and Lime sky-high, unicorn valuations. "

Source: 10 charts that sum up 2018 (so far) - Recode

"It doesn’t stop. We wake up in the middle of the night and check our phone. We post something on Instagram and check our like-count every 2 minutes. We’re out with friends and just casually glance at our screen, maybe even fire off a few texts while we’re at it. If you get too involved, it can feel like the consequence of not checking your phone is losing contact with reality. So ironic."

Source: The Uncertain Future of Screens and Humans – Vlad Dinu – Medium

"Tech Mahindra, the fifth largest Indian IT services company by revenue, has launched a facial-recognition system for employees at its Noida office. Employees can now mark their attendance using swipe cards or they can simply look into the new facial-recognition terminal and sign in. "

Source: Tech Mahindra adopts facial recognition to mark attendance - The Economic Times
 
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
How TripAdvisor changed travel Link

Inside Evernote's Brain Link

Is commercialization of personal data the next frontier for wearable tech? Link

The Strange Infinities of e-Commerce Link

To Get Ready for Robot Driving, Some Want to Reprogram Pedestrians Link

Why Can’t Europe Do Tech? Link

Virgin Galactic's Rocket Man Link

Apple’s Massive List of TV Projects: An Exhaustive Guide Link

The Brain Behind: Artificial Intelligence Link

 Amazon Has YouTube Envy Link
Amazing Life Links
The Life Changing Advice of 100 Insanely Interesting People Link

6 Life Lessons the World's Most Successful Business People Have Learned That You Still Don't Get Link

How Millennials Killed Mayonnaise Link

10 Practical Answers To 10 Powerful Questions Link

12 Things Mentally Strong People Do That Nobody Else Does Link
Rebranding Motherhood 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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