๐Ÿ”ฎ Engineering biology; disrupting transport; the heartset; weaponised AI kids & faulty rewards++ #191

When no one retires

Dept of podcasts ๐ŸŽง

One very strong example of a well-being economy would be an economy which recognises that every job needs to give people the possibility of a sense of fulfillment, and a sense of personal growth. We're a long way away from that, but the debate is shifting.

In the latest conversation on the Exponential View podcast, you can hear me discuss the well-being economy, the meaning of work, and human-oriented technological change with Matthew Taylor, the Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts. It truly is a mind-expanding conversation and deserves your attention. Subscribe and listen:

Listen to the Exponential View podcast here:
iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | Overcast | Breaker 


Dept of the near future

๐Ÿ”ฌ Vijay Pande: How to engineer biology.

๐Ÿ‘ฝ Melanie Mitchell: Machine learning algorithms donโ€™t yet understand things the way humans do, and this can be a problem.

๐ŸŒ€  When no one retires: A demographic shift is keeping older workers in the workforce much longer. Companies will need to adapt to manage a multigenerational workforce.

๐Ÿ‘Œ Understanding the incredible A12X chip in the new iPad Pro. It has Xbox-like performance, super-turned for machine learning and augmented reality applications. Custom silicon, yet another thing at which Apple is excelling.

โค๏ธ "We need to move beyond mindset and expand our horizons to address our heartset", argues EV reader, John Hagel. "Our institutions have cultivated a very narrow and misleading view of ourselves as people. As change accelerates on a global scale, weโ€™ll find it very challenging to shift from mounting performance pressure to expanding opportunity if we hold onto that narrow view. Until we recognize and address the heartset that shapes our actions, and its complex interactions with our mindset, weโ€™ll find that fear and stress will increase resistance to change. Our heartset can be the enabler of change."

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ On silicon and silk: how China's digital ambition will impact the global internet. The digital silk road, built on Chinese technology, will enable Western platform companies in large parts of the world. It will create a hybrid model will need to map the principles of governance and laws and regulations borrowed from China with the platforms and software from entrenched Western giants. How will it play out? (See also, very long read from EV reader Knut Wimberger on Chinese cultural nationalism, a local strategy that complements the global one of One Belt, One Road, as seen through the lens of the Chinese International Import Exhibition.)

Dept of appreciation ๐Ÿ™Œ

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Dept of transport

The exceptional analyst, Horace Dediu, has been working hard on micromobility which covers transport modes such as electric bikes and scooters. Micromobility could be the most transformative force in urban transport. Horace put out a few staggering tweets on the topic:

Micromobility is bringing a new meaning to the phrase "downsizing". The car companies are piling into firms making these small vehicles:

๐Ÿšด Micromobility may make sense in most cities anyway. Fascinating data from millions of trips from Deliveroo, a food delivery service, shows that bicycles are faster than cars in the cities it serves.

๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’จ EV friend, Gregor McDonald on the decline of the internal combustion engine. Many fascinating nuggets, including this one: new car demand is down overall in China, but EV demand is up 55% year-on-year. (Recommended)

Low-speed electric vehicles, those pod-like EVs which often operate on restricted routes, might be a canonical 'disruptive innovation' in the Christensen sense.

๐Ÿ“Mapping for self-driving cars is super hot right now. DeepMap just raised $60m.

Bell Helicopter uses VR to cut time to design a helicopter by several years.


Dept of artificial intelligence

Chinese Enders: 30 kids have been enlisted by the Beijing Institute of Technology to develop intelligent weapons systems: "a passion for developing new weapons is a must and they must also be patriots."

Profile of Kebotix which uses machine learning to discover novel chemicals.

How GDPR may challenge existing ML systems. "The reality is that most existing applications of this kind will have to be re-engineered or re-designed according to the principles of privacy by design and accountability."

๐Ÿ“Š What are the most in-demand data science skills?

Great list of examples of faulty reward functions and unintended consequences in algorithmic systems. (Google sheet, may not look good on mobile.)

Xinhua launches an AI-based news anchor.


Short morsels to appear smart at dinner parties

European VC funding has quadrupled since 2012, according to this superb piece of research from DealRoom.

๐Ÿ”ฆ What do third-party trackers know about us? 5,300 rows and 46 columns of data for a single user in one week (Azeem's comment: computers are really good at gathering lots of data and inferring even more. That 5,000 could easily have been 50,000 or 500,000. So don't get hung up by the 5,300 number. But do look at just how messy some of the data captured & predicted is. I often wonder whether it has any real commercial use.)

๐Ÿ›’ Retailpocalypse now: almost 2,700 shops in the UK closed in the first half of 2018.

How we might achieve a world without factory farming. (Book review.)

๐Ÿ˜ฎ Mining bitcoin is more than 3 times as expensive as mining gold (17 Megajoules/$ for BTC vs 5 Megajoules/$ for gold).

How nature defies math.

Scientists detected the key protein that boosts adult memory.

๐Ÿฆ How the Bank of England adapted to technology change in the 18th and 19th centuries.


End note

I'm writing this from Dubai where I am attending the Annual Meeting of the Global Futures Councils of the World Economic Forum. It is also where the local police are rumoured to be getting flying motorbikes. This trip has come on the back of a hectic few days of travel (the fourth country I've been in this week), so accept my apologies for a somewhat rushed newsletter.

I can commend you our podcast series. I am sure many of you are already regular podcast listeners. If you aren't familiar with the medium, then the EV podcast is as good a place to start as any. We're publishing them on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Overcast and others. Do subscribe so you get notified when a new one comes out.

It's hard to have favourites from my own podcasts, but for newbies to the format, I suggest starting with the discussion with Kai-Fu Lee on AI in China. For the most enjoyable piece of intellectual jousting I've had for a while, this week's with Matthew Taylor is quite special. But honestly, the podcasts are conversations with experts like Yuval Harari, Reid Hoffman or Mariarosaria Taddeo, so you can hardly go wrong.

Back in London next week where normal service will resume.

Cheers,
Azeem ๐Ÿ˜Ž