Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryBusiness and Finance

the-code-is-on-a-laptop-on-a-wooden-table-in-front-of-the-window-in-the-dark-with-a-view-of-the-lights-of-the-night-city-color-lighting-in-the-room-home-decor-stockpack-adobe-stock
The code is on a laptop on a wooden table in front of the window  in the dark with a view of the lights of the night city, color lighting in the room, home decor

Know When to Hold ’em, Know When to Fold ’em

Taking control of the rewrite reflex

Computer programmers are a pretty predictable bunch. Every time they approach legacy code, the gut reaction is “let’s rewrite this from scratch.” The reaction is understandable for many reasons.  First of all, code written by someone else (or even yourself a long time ago) is hard to understand. Even good documentation can’t cover every detail you need to know, and there is nothing that helps you understand the problem better than writing the code yourself. Second, as time goes on, and you think about a problem, you always come up with better (or at least different) approaches. You might realize that some aspect of your code could be factored out. You might think that rearranging the code would make it Read More ›

young-woman-looking-on-the-black-board-with-mathematical-formulas-and-calculations-bright-idea-way-of-thinking-discovery-and-challenge-concept-stockpack-adobe-stock
Young woman looking on the black board with mathematical formulas and calculations. Bright idea, way of thinking, discovery and challenge concept.

If You Fear High Tech Debates, Stay Away From COSM 2021

COSM 2021 will be held in person. You will interact with the real movers and shakers.

Recently, George Gilder and Jay Richards enjoyed a wide ranging discussion on the topics and people converging for the COSM 2021 Technology Summit: From Life After Google to Life After Capitalism. In the first portion, they discussed life after capitalism. Who can still innovate? In this portion, they talk about innovations that will make a difference: This portion starts at about 10:30 min. Here is a partial transcript and notes: George Gilder: Kai-Fu Lee will be there to talk about his new book, Ten Visions, about artificial intelligence. We hope that he can give us some ideas that are relevant to the new environment for US-China relations… But people like Kai-Fu Lee are keeping world of knowledge and wealth, then Read More ›

door-choice-stockpack-adobe-stock
door choice

What Do We Need To Know About Life After Capitalism?

At COSM 2021, a number of thinkers will discuss and debate the pressing questions

Recently, George Gilder and Jay Richards enjoyed a wide ranging discussion on the topics and people that will converge for the COSM 2021 Technology Summit: From Life After Google to Life After Capitalism. They cover the paradoxes of the future of technology. Here is a partial transcript of the first ten minutes: Jay Richards: The theme of COSM 2021 is Life After Capitalism, which is also the name of your forthcoming book. What does that mean exactly? What are you referring to, this idea of life after capitalism? George Gilder: In the last few months, literally trillions of dollars of new money has been printed. Money has been deprived of its informational content. It’s now merely an expression of government Read More ›

business-leadership-attributes-and-features-in-literature-stockpack-adobe-stock
Business Leadership Attributes and Features in Literature

What Does Super-Investor Peter Thiel Think You Should Read?

Some books to consider include history as well as business strategy. The two cannot be separated

Peter Thiel, whose name is practically synonymous with successful high-tech investing, will be speaking at COSM 2021. He has also offered some thoughts on books worth reading: Here are three of them, courtesy Kevin Rooke: ➤ The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz (Harper Business 2014): From Thiel: “Every management guide presumes that all great companies follow a formula. But successful startups don’t imitate; they build innovations that can’t be copied. Ben Horowitz knows no recipe guarantees success. He has written the first true guide for protecting a startup from self-sabotage.” ➤ Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (Basic Books, 2010) From Thiel: “He tells how Read More ›

bull-figurine-standing-on-bitcoins-concept-of-cryptocurrencies-stockpack-adobe-stock
Bull figurine standing on bitcoins, concept of cryptocurrencies

Seven in 10 Institutional Investors Expect To Buy Cryptos

Mainstreaming continues, despite the detractors, with major investment players signing on

Cryptocurrencies are now estimated to be worth roughly $2 trillion and — despite pressure from regulators — demand from investors continues: In July 2021, FTX—the Antigua-based cryptocurrency derivatives exchange which offers futures, leverage tokens and OTC trading—raised $900 million from over 60 investors. This included venture capital firms Paradigm and Sequoia, hedge funds and the private equity group Thoma Bravo. It was the largest private equity deal in the crypto industry’s history, valuing the business at $18 billion—one of the largest rounds of financing for a digital assets startup. In May 2021, Block.one —the Peter Thiel, Alan Howard and Louis Bacon backed blockchain software firm—pumped $9.7 billion into a new cryptocurrency exchange subsidiary called Bullish Global. Even excluding Block.one’s capital Read More ›

terracotta-warriors-china-stockpack-adobe-stock
Terracotta warriors, China

China’s Data Laws Restrict Businesses and Favor the State

The Data Security Law and the Personal Information Protection Law are part of the Chinese government’s plan to steer the private sector toward State goals

In previous articles, I looked at how the Chinese government is reigning in China’s tech sector first of Jack Ma and Ant Group’s initial public offering on the Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock exchanges and then Didi Global, Inc. The Chinese government has since passed two data laws and released an update that clarifies the 2017 Cybersecurity Law. The result is better protections of citizens’ data from being used, exploited, or sold by private companies, and encroaching government presumption of the private sector in which the State has virtually unrestricted access to and jurisdiction over private companies’ data.  Clarification of the 2017 Cybersecurity Law The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) gained oversight powers over other state agencies in 2014 under Xi Jinping. Jane Read More ›

silhouette-of-business-people-work-together-in-office-concept-of-teamwork-and-partnership-double-exposure-with-light-effects-stockpack-adobe-stock
Silhouette of business people work together in office. Concept of teamwork and partnership. double exposure with light effects

CFO Extraordinaire Hope Cochran to Speak at COSM 2021

CFO, mother of three, and...opera singer? Yes, surviving backstage chaos was good training for technology ventures.

Brilliant minds in technology and business will be converging in Seattle to take part in Discovery Institute’s COSM 2021 this November. Among those minds will be Hope Cochran, mother of three, CFO extraordinaire, the first female managing director of Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, and former opera singer. Opera singer? Yes. In fact, Cochran is a classically trained vocalist. She earned a dual degree at Stanford in economics and music. At the start of her career, she would do “audit by day and opera by night” (as she told Armoire in 2019).  “…I could not imagine, not taking music lessons,” Cochran explained in a podcast released earlier this year. “And if you joined on as a major, you got to take them for free. So, Read More ›

Kai-Fu Lee

Kai-Fu Lee, Inventor of Speech Recognition, to Speak at COSM 2021

Lee is one of many technological geniuses appearing in Seattle this November

This November in Seattle, some of the most brilliant minds in technology will gather for COSM, an exclusive national summit on how technology is remaking the world as we know it. Among its many speakers will be Kai-Fu Lee, a computer scientist, businessman, and the inventor of speech recognition. Lee’s credentials are many and impressive. After his Ph.D. work at Carnegie Mellon (which produced continuous speech recognition), he has journeyed through the offices of Apple, SGI, Microsoft, and Google. In 2009, he launched Sinovation Ventures in an effort to financially support up-and-coming Chinese high-tech companies. In 2018, Lee gave a TED talk on how human beings can thrive in an era of AI. The video (posted below) is worth the Read More ›

-stockpack-adobe-stock
グローバルネットワーク デジタルコンテンツ

Peter Thiel Speaking in Person at COSM, Seattle, November 10

As a world class venture capitalist, he is known for bluntness about what works and what doesn’t

COSM 2021 is the place to be, November 10–12, to get the inside track on the converging technologies remaking the world as we know it. This year, iconic Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel will be speaking in person, addressing the question “Is Technology Soaring or Slumping?” At the first COSM in October 2019, Peter Thiel spoke by interactive video. Not one to mince words, he told the attendees bluntly that Silicon Valley is losing its touch and compared universities today to the Catholic Church at its worst. He has a remarkable history in both areas. He has been a prime mover in PayPal, Facebook, Palantir, Airbnb, Lyft, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. And he had intended to found a university. But, Read More ›

business-woman-using-tablet-with-cryptocurrency-bitcoin-link-network-concept-stockpack-adobe-stock
Business woman using tablet with cryptocurrency bitcoin link network concept

Will Going Mainstream Spoil the Fun for Crypto?

Crypto exchange FTX.US is, for a tidy sum, naming a Berkeley sports field, with philanthropy thrown in

At least one cryptocurrency exchange seem to be settling into the accustomed round of corporate donorship that creates name recognition with the public. FTX.US, affiliated with global crypto exchange FTX, has given Cal Athletics (University of California, Berkeley) $17.3 million for the right to call the field at field at California Memorial Stadium “FTX Field” for ten years. FTX has been creating recognition with other strategic donations as well: FTX has been on a sports and e-sports sponsorship spending spree this year. In March, the exchange secured the naming rights to the home arena of NBA team Miami Heat for a reported $135 million, while in June, the exchange paid $210 million to acquire the naming rights for e-sports organization Read More ›

robotic-handyman-pliers-handwrench-fixing-maintenance-concept-creative-design-toy-with-metal-funnel-hopper-cogs-wheels-gears-silver-metallic-body-green-wall-blue-floor-background-copy-space-stockpack-adobe-stock
Robotic handyman pliers handwrench. Fixing maintenance concept. Creative design toy with metal funnel hopper, cogs wheels gears silver metallic body. Green wall, blue floor background. Copy space

Nobody is Taking Tesla AI Seriously Anymore

Tesla's "AI Day" presented reasonable discussion until the "robot" showed up

Recently, Tesla held its “AI Day.” Tesla often creates an event which highlights some aspect of their business that they want to promote to investors, customers, or to potential employees. Tesla has had “battery day” and “autonomy day” to promote Tesla efforts on those fronts. It is an attempt to keep excitement and exposure to a maximum during seasons when there are no big product reveals. While Elon Musk is typically guilty of leading people on with extravagant (and unwarranted) claims about Tesla technology, these events have recently shown a more reserved side to Tesla’s front man. In “battery day,” he was expected to launch a million-mile battery, but instead talked mostly about getting access to the minerals needed for Read More ›

email-marketing-concept-send-e-mail-or-newsletter-stockpack-adobe-stock
email marketing concept, send e-mail or newsletter

Why So Many Mainstream Media Figures Really Hate Substack

The subscription newsletter service allows good writers to reach their audiences without a horde of censors and gatekeepers, as is usually the case in mainstream media today

Substack — a newsletter site where popular writers can make money via private newsletters — has thoroughly rattled many traditional legacy mainstream media. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in San Francisco, it essentially ensures that the writer, not the medium, is the primary financial beneficiary of the writer’s talent. It also doesn’t need to censor writers on account of, say, money from China. One result is that many well-known writers from, for example, the New York Times, Vox, and BuzzFeed quit their jobs and started writing for newsletter subscribers who pay for premium content, print or podcast, typically $5 a month or $50 a year. Only a few thousand subscribers are needed to generate a nice income for a talented Read More ›

lightning-over-field-stockpack-adobe-stock
Lightning over field

Are Your Electronics Protected Against Sudden Surges?

Electrical engineer Sarah Seguin discusses with Robert J. Marks an under-recognized risk for sensitive electronic devices

In a recent podcast, “Sarah Seguin on EMPs and How to Protect Your Data” (August 5, 2021), Sarah Seguin, talks with Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks. Protecting data became a much bigger issue for typical employees during the COVID-19 lockdowns when many were working from home on a computer usually used to surf entertainment vids or shopping sites. Hackers have found the displaced workers a tempting target. In any event, hacks of governments, health care facilities, and big firms are on the increase. Seguin offers some thoughts about a quite different but very relevant data protection issue: Protecting data from degradation from electromagnetic pulses (EMPs): https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-146-Sarah-Seguin.mp3 This portion begins at 02:12 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Read More ›

majestic-unicorn-posing-in-an-enchanted-forest-stockpack-adobe-stock
Majestic Unicorn posing in an enchanted forest

The Unicorn Might Be Very Profitable — If It Existed

The statistical reality is that most new businesses flop

Jeffrey Funk and Gary Smith, well known to many of our readers, have just published an article at MarketWatch, warning against heedless optimism about “unicorn” stocks. As they put it, “The stock market unleashes its ‘animal spirits’ on an animal that doesn’t exist.” They begin by pointing out that most new businesses flop. The president of one venture capital company estimated the chance of success at one in 1,000. An SEC study of 500 randomly selected new issues found that 43% were confirmed bankrupt, 25% were losing money but still afloat, and 12% had disappeared without a trace. Of the remaining 20%, just 12 companies seemed solid successes — a scant 2% of the companies surveyed. Jeffrey Funk and Gary Read More ›

concept-cryptographic-nft-blockchain-network-cryptographic-non-fungible-tokens-nft-with-a-network-and-a-growing-schedule-search-new-technologies-financial-schedule-future-concept-banknotes-stockpack-adobe-stock
Concept cryptographic NFT. Blockchain network, cryptographic non-fungible tokens. NFT with a network and a growing schedule, search. New technologies, financial schedule, future concept, banknotes

How Can Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) Be Made To Work Better?

Bernard Fickser offers twelve steps to handling NFTs in a way that dispenses with cryptocurrency-based blockchains and works in ordinary online marketplaces like eBay

Introduction: At Expensivity, Bernard Fickser explains that a non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique token in cryptography that represents, say, real estate or art rather than money. Because the tokens have unique identities (non-fungible), they can be bought or sold while reducing the risk of fraud. So how do they work?: The series is called How Non-Fungible Tokens Work: NFTs Explained, Debunked, and Legitimized (July 30, 2021). In Part 7, we look at 12 steps to make NFTs economically viable without Ethereum. 7 A Protocol for Handling NFTs on eBay The best way to challenge an existing idea is to replace it with a better one. In this last section, I’m going to lay out a protocol for handling NFTs Read More ›

nft-non-fungible-tokens-or-nfts-are-unique-assets-that-cannot-be-replicated-underpinned-by-blockchain-technology-stockpack-adobe-stock
NFT Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs are unique assets that cannot be replicated underpinned by blockchain technology

What Makes NFTs Valuable? What Does It Mean To Own One?

In the case of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain, actual ownership with legal standing is never in fact transferred for the underlying digital file

Introduction: At Expensivity.com, Bernard Fickser explains that a non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique token in cryptography that represents, say, real estate or art rather than money. Because the tokens have unique identities (non-fungible), they can be bought or sold while reducing the risk of fraud. So how do they work?: The series is called How Non-Fungible Tokens Work: NFTs Explained, Debunked, and Legitimized (July 30, 2021). In Part 5, we looked at how scarcity, central to the economic value of works of art, can be created in the digital world, where copying is generally quite easy. Now, we look at what makes NFTs valuable and what it means to own them: 6 Value and Ownership of NFTs In this Read More ›

china-from-space-on-realistic-model-of-planet-earth-with-network-concept-of-digital-technology-connectivity-and-travel-stockpack-adobe-stock
China from space on realistic model of planet Earth with network. Concept of digital technology, connectivity and travel.

What’s Behind China’s Crackdown on Big Tech?

Both China and the U.S. are treating big tech with a heavy hand, but under different motivations

In a previous article I looked at Chinese regulators’ crackdown on Didi Global, China’s ride-hailing service. Didi is one of several Chinese tech giants that have been tamed in the past nine months. Prior to Didi, Ant Group, Tencent, Meituan, and Pinduoduo were all quelled by regulators. After Didi, regulators targeted Full Truck Alliance and Kanzhun. They recently shut down online for-profit tutoring and have banned mining cryptocurrencies in China.  Thus far, the Chinese government’s actions have resulted in almost $1 trillion net losses for the Chinese tech sector.  The two big questions are, Why now? and, relatedly, Who’s next? SupChina has a well-organized explainer on China’s Big Tech Crackdown here. Another helpful resource is this video from DW, “How China is tightening control of its tech companies”: According to SupChina, China’s Read More ›

cold-fresh-lemonade-with-slices-of-ripe-lemons-stockpack-adobe-stock
Cold fresh lemonade with slices of ripe lemons.

Insurance Company Gives Sour AI Promises

Data collection and discriminatory algorithms are turning Lemonade sour

An insurance company with the quirky name Lemonade was founded in 2015 and went public in 2020. In addition to raising hundreds of millions of dollars from eager investors, Lemonade quickly attracted more than a million customers with the premise that artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can estimate risks accurately and that buying insurance and filing claims can be fun: Lemonade is built on a digital substrata — we use bots and machine learning to make insurance instant, seamless, and delightful. Adding to the delight are the friendly names of their bots, like AI Maya, AI Jim, and AI Cooper. The company doesn’t explain how its AI works, but there is this head-scratching boast: A typical homeowners policy form has 20-40 Read More ›

cryptographic-nft-non-fungible-token-marketplace-cryptoart-and-blockchain-logo-on-the-screen-of-modern-mobile-phone-black-wallet-and-dollar-money-on-the-office-table-banner-top-view-photo-stockpack-adobe-stock
Cryptographic NFT non fungible token marketplace, cryptoart and blockchain logo on the screen of modern mobile phone, black wallet and dollar money on the office table, banner top view photo

In the Digital World, What Does “Scarcity” Mean?

For a digital artwork like Beeple’s Everydays, which sold for over $69 million, a number of methods are used to prevent copying, thus ensuring uniqueness

Introduction: At Expensivity, Bernard Fickser explains that a non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique token in cryptography that represents, say, real estate or art rather than money. Because the tokens have unique identities (non-fungible), they can be bought or sold while reducing the risk of fraud. So how do they work?: The series is called How Non-Fungible Tokens Work: NFTs Explained, Debunked, and Legitimized (July 30, 2021). In Part 5, we look at how scarcity, central to the economic value of works of art, can be created in the digital world, where copying is generally quite easy: 5 Digital Scarcity When jumping into the world of NFTs, one finds a certain breathless awe in the face of blockchain technology. One Read More ›

crypto-art-non-fungible-token-nft-digital-art-stockpack-adobe-stock
Crypto Art Non-fungible token (NFT). Digital art

4 NFTs: You Bought One. But Do You Really Own It? Could You Ever?

Right now, the non-fungible tokens markets leave a lot to be desired as a business proposition, Bernard Fickser explains why

Introduction: At Expensivity, Bernard Fickser explains that a non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique token in cryptography that represents, say, real estate or art rather than money. Because the tokens have unique identities (non-fungible), they can be bought or sold while reducing the risk of fraud. So how do they work?: The series is called How Non-Fungible Tokens Work: NFTs Explained, Debunked, and Legitimized (July 30, 2021). In Part 4, he looks at the question of what benefits NFTs, in their current state, really confer on you (or don’t): 4 What Just Happened? The creation and purchase of an NFT as described in the last section raises a lot of interesting — and troubling — questions. It’s easy enough to Read More ›