Hot Takes from the Digital World This Week – Episode 1
Welcome to Episode 1. Here’s my briefing from the digital world…and a little bit more, including some Episode 1 goodies at the end. While you’re here, subscribe to get future episodes of my Weekly Digital Age Insights delivered straight to your inbox. And, if you find the post interesting, share it with your network.
Yes there’s more to Kenya than just safaris, and there’s more to Kenya than just Nairobi, but that’s for another time. From grassroots efforts like the decentralized Sarafu Network leveraging SMS technologies and blockchain infrastructure to enable daily purchases, exploratory government led research into regulatory frameworks to meet crypto and blockchain innovation, IBM partnering with a local Nairobi B2B logistics platform to intro blockchain based microfinancing, to now what is promising to be the world’s first ETF listing that will further cement regulation and open up a new asset class to investors. Cautious yet elated optimism for Kenya’s blockchain future.
“…handcrafted with white and pink crocodile leather as well as turquoise and black python. Lined with Japanese plonge leather liner. Inspired by the vibrancy of Miami.” Let’s talk sneakers.
If you’re still learning about the blockchain, Security Asset Tokens (STOs) may not have come across your radar. Think about them as assets that signify ownership. With that as a baseline, this article really expands your mind about what other opportunities exist with these digital assets. For the more initiated, the premises of value based on a dynamic pool of underlying assets will really get you thinking.
“Two Zurich-based graduates have created a low cost lower-limb prosthetic made of recycled plastic waste that is collected and processed in local factories in Kenya.” The use of post-consumer plastic in the fabrication process bringing down material cost and increasing overall lifecycle efficiencies, together with a strong design ethos makes this quite an eye-opening project.
Tesla always takes up real estate when it comes to discussing a driverless future. However, there are many other companies that are working with self-driving technologies. pony.ai is one such billion dollar company. Except in this case, it doesn’t make the car, just the software. Right now they’re operating within a fixed location and area but will expand reach and operations further in 2019. All things considered, the complexities around sharing the road with non autonomous vehicles, required government legislation, and more, has proved to be an almost unbeatable challenge. That’s why a generally accepted principle when it comes to driverless cars is to consider geographies of saturation vs a large scale global transition. For example, Lyft and global auto parts company Aptiv completed over 25K trips using autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas in 2018. There’s so much more to come in this space.
“The surrounding arches shrink into elegant curves from the bottom up.We constitute the dome with petaloid shells and creatively transform the interior space into a semi-exterior roof garden flooded with sunshine, fresh air and vegetation.”
Wasn’t it a much simpler time when all you had to do was pump your Reeboks? Or is it simpler now that “ sensors and microprocessors that spool up loose slack with 32 pounds of pressure to tighten the upper without yanking with the tips of your fingers”. It’s been projected that the Internet of Things will grow to 20 billion (that’s with a ‘b’) connected things by 2020…it was only a matter time before your feet started getting intelligent. It’s more interesting when you layer that particular growth on top of the athletic footwear market, which is projected to be worth over 95 billion by 2025. With Nike’s release of the Adapt BB shoe, I’m interested to see the impact on sneaker culture as well, as we have seen historically how sneaker culture moves the needle across various other areas of society.
“Seven years of Velocity Fund pitch competition has led to 91 grant-winning startups that are now valued at over $1 billion.” The University of Waterloo’s Velocity startup incubator has changed the face of entrepreneurship in Canada since launching almost a decade ago. Some significant companies to come out of Velocity include Maluuba (9-figure acquisition by Microsoft), BufferBox (8-figure acquisition by Google) and more. Y Combinator President Sam Altman has previously said that the density of Y Combinator companies in the Waterloo Region is greater than anywhere else outside of Silicon Valley.
January 23rd will see the presentation of Europe’s first Ethical Charter on the use of AI in judicial systems. Rather than the age old Tom Cruise Minority Report joke/reference that everyone brings up for this subject, what we have here is an actual framework of compliance within the lenses of data protection, human rights, etc for policy makers, legal professionals, the private sector to follow. It will be events such as these, which fuse execution with reality that will help to ensure a proper path forward. We have a long way to go, but we’re seeing how AI is being cautiously, yet successfully, integrated into traditional industries to push them forward. One of the most fascinating examples is healthcare – from AI-assisted diagnosis (some studies have shown a success rate of 93% in detecting cardiac arrest vs 73% for humans), to image analysis (up to 1000x faster than human image analysis), to robotic surgery, and more.
It’s hard to argue with a a midfield backed by Viera, Xavi and Nedved. But then again, it’s hard to argue with Zlatan “LIONS DON’T COMPARE THEMSELVES TO HUMANS” Ibrahimovic, period. When we sit down next, I’ll ask about his striker selection on this list.
I was fascinated early on by what cryptocurrencies would mean for the venture capital industry. It’s been nothing short of remarkable. Very, very few funds, and the minds behind those funds were ready for what was coming. Consider your traditional understanding of how deals are done. Those standard frameworks and agreements had to evolve very rapidly to meet the growing needs of innovators. I’ve been known to say many a time in my talks and fireside chats, that “entrepreneurs don’t wait for governments, they don’t wait for the private sector and they don’t wait for the customer.” This couldn’t have been more true in how the VC industry was transformed by crypto, on a global scale. You saw innovators moving so fast, that everyone else had to play catch up. Fast forward to today where we now have 900 crypto funds ready to propel blockchain innovations.
“The form and choice of material of this cryostat — stainless steel — is meant to convey coldness and advanced engineering. Inside, the quantum chip is held at a constant -273 degrees centigrade, a temperature colder than outer space.”
In my conversations with board members and executives across many different industries, organizational change is one of the major points I constantly have to reiterate. I’m shocked by the number of decision makers that are oblivious to not just the impacts of exponential technologies on their industries, but arguably more importantly, the impacts within their teams. The world is going to see 4 billion people connected online, in some cases over 20% of jobs that will be invalidated by automation in the coming decade, and growing daily interactions aided by technologies. This will require a radical transformation at the C-Suite level and in boardrooms to ensure that workplaces are adequately prepared to meet the needs of changing work environments and the changing nature of work itself.
Musical Highlight of the Week
I launched www.nabylcharania.com
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