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🔥 Human face of technology #10

AI vs. work; wearables; a tech giant vs. the rest of the market; slavery in Poland; Facebook apes Snapchat; Google makes its own adblocker; the music industry on the rise again. 

TECH

🤖  I think that intellectual labour will be automated more easily than manual labour – it's easier to only write software than to write software and build hardware on top of that (e.g. a robot). We can see it in finance, where people's output is entirely virtual and based on very clear procedures. Medical diagnosis is also seeing a rapid progress, because AI is great at recognising patterns. For example, AI is much better than a doctor at predicting a heart attack based on diagnostic data. 

⌚️ Apple is in the process of developing a sensor that would enable patients to test their blood sugar levels without taking even a drop of blood. If they succeed, Apple Watch might become the default choice for every diabetic out there. The potential of wearables is still underestimated, especially when it comes to health and fitness.

📈 The top five companies with the biggest market capitalisation in the US are now exclusively tech companies (except Berkshire Hathaway, which is an investment fund). Eleven years ago, the situation was opposite – there was only one tech company in the top five.

🚙 Mercedes promises to introduce self-driving taxi cabs in three years time. Three years! This means that it might be worth deferring the purchase of a new car for three years, because the market will likely have changed dramatically by then. The inspiring cases of the innovative Silicon Valley companies have definitely spurred rapid progress in the automotive industry

🙊 At F8, Facebook presented and announced a few new products. Apart from aping Snapchat's strategy, Facebook also showed their VR product, Facebook Spaces. Facebook would like to see us wear a VR helmet rather than just FaceTime with our friends. Most peculiar.

👻  In March, WikiLeaks published a list of exploits of popular apps and operating systems put together by the NSA. In May, thousands of individuals and many institutions have suffered cyberattacks. You can't really blame the NSA from compiling such lists – it would be daft not to do it. Neither you can blame tech companies for the fact that software has vulnerabilities. Finally, you can't blame users for not updating their software, because updates often break a perfectly working thing, and people don't like it. The only thing that is certain at the moment is that an effective cyber-security policy in an organisation can be a competitive advantage. 

👀 Google is planning to implement their own adblocker in Chrome. It's a brilliant strategic move, because it will make Google’s flagship browser even more popular (adblockers are users’ favourite type of browser extensions), enable them to control what the adblocker filters out without the need for paying a lot of money, and, finally, it will make even more publishers and advertisers reach for Google's services. Will the move be perceived as a strategy aimed at destroying the competition and thus monopolising the market? 

👁 Unroll.me, the popular free-of-charge service enabling users to unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters, sells users' e-mails to their business clients. Thanks to Unroll.me, Uber could estimate Lyft's revenue based on the receipts that people receive after a trip with Lyft. If a product is "free", it means that your data will also become a product.

📱 Have a look at this interesting interview with Jan Koum, WhatsApp's founder. Koum spoke about the reasons for WhatsApp's success and why he doesn't invest in startups.

🚁 DJI consumer-grade drones won't work in Iraq and Syria. ISIS use consumer-grade drones for military purposes.DJI, the Chinese drone maker, is fully aware of the situation and tries to make it more difficult to use its products for illicit purposes.

SOCIETY 

🐄 We fear AI because we know how we treat "lower forms of intelligence" ourselves (e.g. animals).

🎧 The music industry has grown by 11 percent year-to-year thanks to the income from streaming services.Does anyone besides the music industry earn any money on streaming? Is it the case that the music industry capitalises on investors’ hope that streaming will eventually become profitable? Streaming is music industry's revenge for Napster.

🚨 It appears that Russian trolls' activity in social media is quite sophisticated. For instance, they take advantage of "gaslighting", a technique in which you influence the behaviour of a victim through lies, manipulation and partial truths. This makes the victim feel as if they had lost touch with reality. Techniques such as gaslighting, when used on a massive scale in social media, can become a powerful psychological weapon.

😞 Global Slavery Index estimates the number of "modern-day slaves" in Poland at around 180,000. Poland is the leader in this category among all the member states of the EU. Did you know that?

CULTURE 

👔 People quit their jobs for two reasons: (1) the quality of people who they work with is poor; (2) the work they do is meaningless.

📊 Niemanlab has released an article about the Argentinian daily,La Nación, which decided to base their journalism on data. I enjoy reading data-driven content, especially if it's presented in a concise form. Recently, I've often visited Axios, because it gives you bite-sized news and data-based reports. 

👕 Nordstrom has extended their product range by jackets that look as if they were soiled with mud. If you buy one, it will set you back around $400.

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