Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryBusiness and Finance

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Businessman holding investment finance chart, stock market business concept, and exchange, financial growth graph,Investing in the stock market of cryptocurrencies

Understanding the Fall of FTX — the False Reality of Market Caps

Let’s have a look at the critical question that was never asked in the first place…

In finance, the “market capitalization” or “market cap” of a security or currency is a simple way to evaluate the overall “value” of the total entity (this is also called “network value” in terms of a cryptocurrency). It is easiest to think about market caps in terms of stocks instead of currencies. In the stock market, if ABC Company is broken up into 100,000 shares, and the going market price is $3 per share, then the market cap of ABC is $300,000. Likewise for coins, if there are 100,000 coins available, and the current market price of the coin is $7, then the market cap of the coin will be $700,000. The idea behind the market cap is that, if Read More ›

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Friends group having addicted fun using mobile smart phone - Close up of people hands sharing content on social media network with smartphone - Technology concept with millenials online with cellphone

Musk and Twitter: Why, Amid Pink Slips, the Sudden Virtue Parade?

Musk may or may not be the answer but he is sure not the problem

If Elon Musk has not invested his fortune in electric cars, he would be wise to consider soap operas… On the other hand, maybe he can continue to do the soap operas for free? Consider: After he bought Twitter, who can beat these headlines from the — suddenly — dreadfully earnest tech media? “After Twitter Staff Cuts, Survivors Face ‘Radio Silence’ ” Or “Elon’s paranoid purge.” Or a sudden love for China-owned Tik Tok. And get this: One tech writer primly informs: “[TikTok CEO Shou Zi] Chew’s comments, perhaps unintentionally, cut to one of the biggest question marks still looming over Musk’s embryonic tenure as Twitter’s owner: just how committed is he to keeping Twitter safe?” Twitter? Safe? Is TikTok Read More ›

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Peter Thiel via videoconference at COSM 2022

Peter Thiel: The Multiverse Is a “Gateway Drug”

It’s a gateway drug to other crazy ideas, like the belief we live in a simulation

BELLEVUE, WA — Speaking to tech leaders and investors at COSM 2022 in the Seattle area, entrepreneur Peter Thiel provocatively asked “why do so many people in Silicon Valley believe in the simulation hypothesis that the entire universe, the cosmos, is just a computer simulation? Why do they believe something as crazy as this?” Actually, noted Thiel, the belief that our world is a simulation has now faded somewhat: I think probably the peak belief in the simulation hypothesis was maybe something like a decade ago, maybe circa 2012 to 2015, and it has probably faded some. We’ll still have Gen Z people say that things are a glitch in the simulation or there’s still some sort of passive reference Read More ›

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Hipster breakfast at home

Tech bubble? Our Progress Towards Value to Users Has Slowed…

We should be wary of glowing forecasts when newer technologies don’t offer anywhere near as large benefits

Today’s new technologies, from virtual reality to nuclear fusion have recently received record investments from venture capitalists, but their revenues are not growing as fast as technologies of past decades. Startup losses are unprecedented — far larger than in past decades. Share prices and private valuations have also been collapsing in 2022. Optimists mostly focus on the good news and ignore these facts. They believe that the heavy funding for these new technologies is a good measure of potential and thus any criticism is unjustified. Here is their typical argument: Paul Krugman and other “experts” criticized the Internet, personal computers, and other technologies in their early years. But these technologies succeeded. Therefore, criticisms of the new technologies are unfounded — Read More ›

Office colleagues using digital devices during meeting, consulting internet

Control of Social Media: Changes in the Lineup

Not just Elon Musk but Ye West, Peter Thiel, and J.D. Vance have their hats in the ring

The social media field is seeing a wave of insurgents — not because it is profitable (it largely isn’t, just now) but perhaps because control is important for other purposes. Of course, whether we want to or not, we must begin with Musk and Twitter. Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk must now acquire Twitter by October 28 or the whole thing goes back to trial in a Delaware court, where the judiciary will likely be peeved with him over antics that waste court time. The only people who are really unhappy now are Twitter employees. Musk announced an intention to lay off 75% of them and they have responded with an open letter: The letter demands that Musk commits to preserving Read More ›

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e-commerce

PayPal Can Still Fine Its Users $2500 for Wrongthink

It’s possible that PayPal is morphing into something like a church-based credit union, where certain beliefs and behavior are expected of customers

As word of PayPal’s leaked proposal to charge users $2500 for spreading “misinformation” spread last week, the e-commerce system quickly disavowed it. They were wise. Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr described the proposal as “Orwellian.” Thousands sought out search terms around the concept of cancelling PayPal. Such a nice story; if only it ended there. Lesson learned and we all go home. But some caution, not so fast. Other things the Terms of Service (TOS) still says should also set users thinking: As it turns out, PayPal has in place another dystopian financial censorship policy that enacts similar fines for those it deems bigots or hatemongers. Law professor Eugene Volokh exposed the PayPal policy, which again authorizes $2,500 fines (taken Read More ›

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Stock Trader Sleeping At Multiple Computer's Desk

More Hard Math Does Not Necessarily Mean More Useful Solutions

It is sometimes tempting to overemphasize the math and underemphasize the relevance

Math is said to be the language of science in that most (but definitely not all) scientific models of the world involve mathematical equations. The Pythagorean theorem, the normal distribution, Einstein’s energy-mass equivalence, Newton’s second law of motion, Newton’s universal law of gravitation, Planck’s equation. How could any of these remarkable models be expressed without math? Unfortunately, it is sometimes tempting to overemphasize the math and underemphasize the relevance. The brilliance of the models listed above lies not in mathematical pyrotechnics but, if anything, in their breath-taking simplicity. Useful models help us understand the world and make reliable predictions. Math for the sake of math does neither. Examples of mindless math are legion. I will give three very different examples. Read More ›

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Gavel and dollars banknotes on table

Can PayPal Really Fine You $2500 for “Misinformation”?

Does the firm hope to grow rich off “fines” for Incorrect opinions? This episode will do nothing to allay suspicions

Update: PayPal Value Down $6 Billion, ‘Delete PayPal’ Searches Soar 1,300% After Daily Wire Report Exposes ‘Misinformation’ Policy In an unusual sequence of events, PayPal announced the proposal: A new policy update from PayPal will permit the firm to sanction users who advance purported “misinformation” or present risks to user “wellbeing” with fines of up to $2,500 per offense. The financial services company, which has repeatedly deplatformed organizations and individual commentators for their political views, will expand its “existing list of prohibited activities” on November 3. Among the changes are prohibitions on “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” that “promote misinformation” or “present a risk to user safety or wellbeing.” Users are also barred from “the Read More ›

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senior woman is receiving post from an futuristic robotic delivery service

Amazon Abandons Robot Home Delivery Service

Scout is in mothballs. We are told that “the program did not completely meet its customers' needs.”

Delivery folks, don’t quit your jobs yet: Oct 6 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) will stop live tests of its automated delivery robot “Amazon Scout”, a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Thursday, after the U.S. retailer realized the program did not completely meet its customers’ needs. The company is now scaling back or “reorienting” the program, and it will work with the involved employees to match them to other open roles within the organization, Amazon spokesperson Alisa Carroll said, adding that it was not abandoning the project altogether. Technology, “Amazon abandons live tests of Scout home delivery robot” at Reuters (October 6, 2022) Amazon insists that it is not abandoning the idea. But problems with the model Read More ›

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Twitter, man, business.

Musk and Twitter? The Babylon Bee Nailed It a While Back

After months-long strife, Musk offers full price for Twitter — for now. The drama continues to be free to view

We would not have credited even Elon Musk with his sudden decision to buy Twitter for the full price after months of legal proceedings during which he said he didn’t want it at all but Twitter, which hates him, was forcing him to buy it anyway. Not a rumor: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk confirmed his intention to purchase Twitter, according to a new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on Monday. “[W]e write to notify you that the Musk Parties intend to proceed to closing of the transaction contemplated by the April 25, 2022 Merger Agreement,” Musk’s lawyers stated in a letter filed with the SEC. Andrew Moran, “Elon Musk Confirms Intention to Buy Twitter, SEC Filing Shows” at Read More ›

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Woman reading online news on digital tablet

E-Books: What’s To Know About a New Way To Read

The electronic books might appeal to people with more interests than space to store stuff

E-books, books you can read on your computer, are becoming an ever-bigger presence in the market. MarketWatch currently wants nearly US$6000 to tell your company the market share forecast. They now make up 21% of book sales. Clearly, e-books would appeal to people who have more interests and ideas than they have space to store stuff. According to MarketWatch, the market is growing by roughly 20% a year. One source describes it like this: The global eBook market is being driven by technological advancements and the sophistication of reading devices that provide an experience similar to reading a physical book. The increased use of smartphones and the multilingual capabilities are predicted to boost global demand for eBooks. “eBook Market Overview Read More ›

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Barad-dur, Mordor

Tolkien’s for Sale

Commercializing the beloved epic fantasy comes at a cost

What happens when a beloved fantasy world, once respected and celebrated because it soared above the surrounding fray of decadent literature and art, becomes mainstream? What if the very work that was intended to transcend consumerism becomes the object of mass consumption? Harley J. Sims, writing for MercatorNet, believes Amazon has diluted the characteristic beauty and depth of The Lord of the Rings for the sake of mass consumption and appeal. I’ve shared my own thoughts on the new Rings of Power show in two separate pieces (here and here) for Mind Matters already, but just to recap: the show is interesting and entertaining enough to keep watching, but it’s missing something—a moral and imaginative ingredient Tolkien articulated beautifully in Read More ›

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An advanced CPU printed with a flag of USA on a neon glowing electronic circuit board. Illustration of the concept of United States made high-end micro chips.

What Difference Has the CHIPS Act Made to the U.S. and Taiwan?

We need to first look at the broader picture of what the CHIPS Act is intended to do

In a previous article, I discussed the semiconductor industry and Taiwan’s supremacy in manufacturing microchips, the foundry portion of the semiconductor supply chain. Now let’s look at the U.S. perspective on the semiconductor industry and its relationship to Taiwan. In order to do that, we have to talk about the CHIPS+ Act Congress passed a bipartisan bill, the CHIPS and Science Act in July, after a year of negotiations in committee. President Biden signed the act into law on August 9 and the CHIPS Act Implementation Strategy was launched on September 6 through an executive order. CHIPS, or “Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors,” is a $250B initiative that incentivizes businesses to bring semiconductor manufacturing, research and innovation back to Read More ›

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Concept of employee monitoring by boss

Why AI Employee Tracking Can’t Build a Great Company

Employees, knowing that an AI is tracking them, start filling in boxes instead of creating or innovating for success

Earlier this year, we learned about the best employee tracking software for 2022. (The Head Office can know if you went to the washroom or phoned your dog’s vet … ) Not everyone thinks that total surveillance by management is the best way to get optimum performance: But technology is not a replacement for what good managers do. They pull disparate groups of people together and build camaraderie, share a vision, grow trust, and—over time—create cohesive teams that achieve big goals. They get to know their team members individually and work carefully to set expectations, be supportive, understand context, and give feedback and direction. They take into account the nuance of uniqueness, inherent both in the person and in the Read More ›

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Scientists testing in lab.

Will AI Really Change Drug Development? Not So Fast…

Jeffrey Funk and Gary N. Smith note that AI was not significant in the development of COVID vaccines. Financial incentives ruled

Something to know before you invest or entertain high hopes: Jeffrey Funk and Gary Smith published a recent article in Salon that offers a free cold shower. Some realities they cite: Most of the expense of drug development is in clinical trials on human beings, which can’t be automated. Any attempt to save time or money would come at identifiable costs in accuracy. Yes, COVID vaccines were a banner achievement for speedy drug development. But AI played little or no standout role in the process: Determined to get a COVID-19 vaccine to the public before the November 3, 2020, presidential election, the U.S. government devoted $14 billion to support the pharmaceutical companies’ vaccine efforts. The government agreed to pay Pfizer Read More ›

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Once more unto the breach / 3D illustration of science fiction scene with robot general holding battle hammer rallying his android troops under a stormy dark sky

Oh, Not This Again: “AI Will Rise Up and Destroy Mankind”

The advances of AI raise a number of issues, yes. But the intelligences behind these advances are not artificial at all

A new paper from researchers at Oxford University and Google’s Deepmind prophesies that “the threat of AI is greater than previously believed. It’s so great, in fact, that artificial intelligence is likely to one day rise up and annihilate humankind … Cohen says the conditions the researchers identified show that the possibility of a threatening conclusion is stronger than in any previous publication.” (MSN, September 15, 2022) How? Why? The research paper predicted life on Earth turning into a zero-sum game between humans and the super-advanced machinery. Michael K. Cohen, a co-author of the study, spoke about their paper during an interview. In a world with infinite resources, I would be extremely uncertain about what would happen. In a world Read More ›

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unicorn

Why People Keep Investing in Cool Companies That Lose Money

If money is all that matters, a beautiful loser is still a loser,… But wait. IS money all that matters when we are buying unicorns (exciting startups)?

Recently, we’ve been looking at unicorns — those tech companies that are just so Now! that, like Uber, Airbnb, and DoorDash, they are part of our everyday conversation. But as Gary Smith and Jeffrey Funk have noted, they don’t make money. And seldom or never have. For years on end. The recent downturn could mean some don’t survive. So Mind Matters News asked Dr. Funk, “Why don’t people notice, year after year, that these companies are not good investments? Is the buzzy idea more important than the financial outcome?“ Here’s what he told us: There are many ways to answer this question. My favourite answer uses Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller’s concept of irrational exuberance. Some of the following words are Read More ›

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A hand in disposable latex glove scanning an orange at a grocery store self-checkout station. People wearing gloves to protect themselves from covid-19 pandemic.

Grocery Giant Sours on Self-Checkouts; Too Much Loss…

Wegmans checked out (for the present) when it couldn’t stem the losses — which they suffered for various reasons perhaps, not just thefts

Recently, we wrote about unsubstantiated accusations of shoplifting at retail self-checkouts — sometimes accompanied by attempted shakedowns. But bigger, more complex issues loom in the background: Self-checkout probably does make theft (along with false accusations of theft) — and various other reasons that unpaid-for items find their way into shopping bags — much easier. So one large retailer, Wegmans, has decided to just forget it for now: “SCAN users have told us they love the app and convenience it offers,” a Wegmans spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state.” The grocery chain said the app would remain shut off until it can Read More ›

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unicorn on gold cube mountain . start up, illustration concept of leader on a market.3d rendering. 3d illustration.

Warning: Unicorn Stocks May Be Nearing Bankruptcy, Fire Sales

Uber, Airbnb, and DoorDash seem so lifestyle-friendly … they even became part of our vocabulary

In an article today, Jeffrey Funk and Gary Smith puzzle over the way investors have “rained cash” on unprofitable companies like Uber, Airbnb, DoorDash, etc. Yes, they are icons of popular culture. No, unlike Apple and Google, they do not make money: Here are their stats from the table the authors offer: Company Founded Funds Raised Cumulative LossesUber Technologies 2009 $25.2 billion $31.7 billionAirbnb 2008 $6.0 billion $6.0 billionDoor Dash 2013 $2.5 billion $4.6 billion Only one of the 15 companies they list — including some other culture icons — has ever had a profitable quarter: Any hopeful arguments that profitability is just around the corner ring hollow when every company is at least nine years old and two are Read More ›

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Human hand is holding Electric Car Charging connect to Electric car

Cars of the Future Will Offer “Electrifying” Rides — Guaranteed

Electric car expert Tony Posawatz will be speaking about new industry developments at COSM 2022

After forty years in the car business, professional engineer Tony Posawatz, is optimistic about the future of electric vehicles (EVs). At Forbes, he was mooted to replace Elon Musk at Tesla in 2018. Well, one thing Posawatz would not do is jump into an expensive catfight with… Twitter. He is wholly focused on ACES, as it is called: Autonomous, Connected, Electric & Shared vehicles, as the future of private transportation. Go here to get the Early Adopter rate before September 15. Current CEO of Invictus iCAR, a consulting firm that specializes in making cars leaner, meaner, and greener, Posawatz describes himself as “known for championing award-winning products and electrifying rides.” His interests and achievements span many automotive areas: “His product/general Read More ›