21 Must-Read Articles From Around the Web From Blockchain Bubbles to Chinese Values

I’m constantly scouring the web for good material to read and here’s my latest curated list:

Big Brother

Life Inside China’s Social Credit Laboratory Yikes. China has started to quantify people’s trustworthiness based on their “behaviour”. They then get a social credit score which determines their movements and services they can access.

Big Brother’ in India Requires Fingerprint Scans for Food, Phones and Finances Not to be left behind, India is scanning everyone’s fingerprints, eyes and faces to build an ID system that will be linked to everything from welfare payments to mobile phones.

Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men From Hate Speech But Not Black Children. Fascinating article that shows that FB’s rules actually protect white men over minority groups.

Blockchain/crypto

In Blockchain We Trust Argues that blockchain is as revolutionary as the railroad, broadband and accounting (yes, accounting). Argues that fake accounts could be a thing of the past if everything is recorded on a trustless decentralised ledger (the blockchain). Never will you be hoodwinked by dodgy corporations.  Also, argues that it allows unique ownership of digital assets (such as e-books and music).

Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future Umm, you can guess where  this article is going. Argues that blockchain doesn’t solve the trust problem – all it does is a create a tamper-proof history of transactions/data. People can still input fake data. Moreover, it argues that you still need to trust something, in this case the software, which is even harder to understand than humans. No wonder bitcoin exchanges have been hacked, smart contracts have been drained of cash and so on.

Bitcoin would be a calamity, not an economy argues that bitcoin won’t replace fiat money. If it did, you’d lose the ability inject liquidity during a crisis, impart deflationary shocks due to limited bitcoin supply and introduce high transaction costs when bitcoin is most needed.

Some Simple Bitcoin Economics an academic paper that introduces bitcoin into a theoretical economy. I don’t understand the paper, but hopefully some readers may.

Tech

The End of Windows Great article on how Microsoft’s CEO Nadella has essentially demoted Windows as a product as they pivot to mobile and cloud tech

Denmark hired a tech ambassador. After what happened with Facebook, maybe every country should. Where the Danes, we all follow.

The death of the newsfeed  “all social apps grow until you need a newsfeed. All newsfeeds grow until you need an algorithmic feed. All algorithmic feeds grow until you get fed up of not seeing stuff/seeing the wrong stuff and leave for new apps with less overload. All new apps grow…” Basically we’re all moving to WhatsApp groups.

Industries / Fields where you applied Analytics, Data Science, Machine Learning in 2017? #1 consumer analytics, #2 finance #3 banking services #4 healthcare #5 fraud detection

Economics and Companies

Walmart’s Future Workforce: Robots and Freelancers Brutal vision of low-paid gig-economy workers and robots.

Tencent Shows Off Their Vision for the Future of Unmanned Retail Like Walmart, the Chinese retail experience doesn’t seem to need many humans.

This Is Your Public Relations Nightmare The nature of PR and trust is that it favours the incumbents, not disruptors.

The Global Macrofinancial Model I got a headache reading this. The IMF lays bare its model to understand the world economy.

Politics

The Surprising Roots of Recent White Extremism Great survey of the key personalities and movements behind white extremism in the US. Argues that its foundation is despair rather than triumph.

How Trump Is Winning Over Democrats, Losing Republicans Trade wars are shifting loyalties. Many Democrats like them, many Republicans hate them

Why Chinese Filmgoers Don’t Buy Hollywood’s Values Anymore Shows that Chinese audiences don’t like movies that focus on individualism and liberalism (like “Three Billboards”). Instead they prefer movies that focus on collective effort, patriotism and self-sacrifice. Domestic movies are therefore starting to fare very well in China, but so are Bollywood movies which share many of these values.

Self-Help and Distractions

How to Be a Stoic Live like as Spartan. Visualise loss and death, focus on effort not outcomes, embrace discomfort, pursue virtue.

A 2-Year Stanford Study Shows the Astonishing Productivity Boost of Working From Home You are much much more productive at working from home, but you get lonely, so work some days at home during the week.

Nikola Tesla predicted the smartphone in 1926 Yep, he predicted it. See also cartoon below.

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