Jan 29 – 5 Key Stories from the Digital World

By January 29, 2019 Insight

1. The world’s 310 unicorns are valued at over $1,000 billion

  • Last year, 112 new companies joined the global unicorn club, a 58% increase from the 71 new unicorns in 2017
  • Top 3 unicorns by market value: Bytedance (75B), Uber (72B), Didi Chuxing (56B)
  • US has the most unicorns at 150 (49% of the total), China’s VANCL is the oldest unicorn (since Dec 2010)

2. Life insurance product innovation: What insurers can learn from leading tech and consumer companies

  • 82% of life and annuities execs believe product development is a core competency but only 12% believe they have a process that delivers strong product innovation
  • Adopt funding approach that mimics venture capital: apply clear criteria and go/no-go gates to all ideas
  • Embrace design thinking: source ideas from designers, customers, and agents rather than just actuaries

3. Artificial Intelligence for Interstellar Travel

  • Large distances involved in interstellar travel require a high degree of space craft autonomy, realized by artificial intelligence
  • Estimates for the advent of artificial general intelligence (AI able to perform broad range of cognitive tasks at similar levels or better than humans) and first interstellar missions coincide and are both estimated to be in the middle of the 21st century
  • AI use cases for space exploration include: problem analysis and repair, self replicating space probes, design and construction of infrastructure, etc.

4. Blockchain Tech and the Energy Industry: More Decentralization and Greater Efficiency

  • Ability to use smart contracts to efficiently monitor the production and distribution of (renewable) energy
  • Siemens joined EWF who is building a core blockchain tailored to energy sector (Shell, E.On and Iberdola already affiliates of EWF)
  • Vakt’s post-trade blockchain platform launched in November records trades in oil and expanding to all physically traded energy commodities (BP, Shell, and Equinor already high-profile users)

5. State Farm sponsors popular Fortnite streamer DrLupo

  • State Farm’s first sponsorship of an esports athlete will include support of the stream through branded replays, live in-stream stunts and product integration, event-based remote streams, sponsored giveaways, and social content
  • $359 million would be spent in 2018 on esports sponsorships – State Farm sponsorship marks grown-up shift in an industry whose sponsors have traditionally included energy drink brands, Taco Bell and Totinos Pizza Rolls
  • Both viewership and the popular content creators, particularly in Fortnite, have grown up. DrLupo is married with a child, and his family frequently appears on his stream.