Daily Archives: June 20, 2016

What You Need to Know About the Future of Money

By Jason Dorrier – Finance has been computerized for decades. An ungodly number of daily trades are executed by algorithm. The speed of the market is superhuman—on the order of microseconds—and finance’s population of wonks is probably second only to tech.

Fintech is more about how the ethos of startups, apps, the internet, and all things digital has begun to infiltrate Wall Street, taking aim at long-standing business models. It’s the promise that small teams coding software can be corporate killers.

According to Catheryne Nicholson, CEO and cofounder of BlockCypher, no distributed ledger like blockchain would work without the incentive to validate transactions—and digital currency (in the form, for example, of Bitcoin mining) is that incentive.

Blockchain and digital currencies may mean no more fees for ferrying cash between pockets, a vastly simplified financial back office—which today is consumed by clearing and validating transactions—and even companies that fund and then run themselves.

Middlemen. Who needs ’em? more> http://goo.gl/peMhAz

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In the Depths of the Digital Age

BOOK REVIEW

Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism, Author: Judy Wajcman.
Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age, Author: Bernard E. Harcourt.
Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art, Author: Virginia Heffernan.
Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media, Author: Wendy Hui Kyong Chun.
Mood and Mobility: Navigating the Emotional Spaces of Digital Social Networks, Author: Richard Coyne.
Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up, Author: Philip N. Howard.

By Edward Mendelson – The digital world makes once-unimaginable amounts of information available to everyone, while it also transfers to the network and the crowd what had once been matters of personal knowledge and personal judgment.

This change began before the digital era; one trivial but telling example is the decline of the single-author restaurant guide—written by someone with a distinctive set of personal preferences—and its replacement by the crowd-sourced guides, printed or online, pioneered by the Zagats. Wikipedia relies on “consensus” as the final arbiter of content, rather than a ruling board of supposedly expert editors, as in, say, the Columbia Encyclopedia.

Wikipedia’s continual give-and-take corrections work well for math and science, less well for history and literature where consensus is sometimes ill-informed. Dubious romantic or heroic stories about larger-than-life figures like W.B. Yeats or Ernest Hemingway cannot be dislodged because consensus favors familiar myths. more> http://goo.gl/jIftTz

Updates from GE

Full Steam Ahead: This Software Brain For Coal-Fired Power Plants Could Help Eliminate 500 Million Tons Of CO2
By Tomas Kellner – It was just in April that GE Power, the GE business that makes power generation equipment, acquired the Boston-based machine learning and data analytics startup NeuCo Inc., which uses software and artificial intelligence to improve the efficiency of coal-fired power plants.

These power plants burn coal to boil water and then use the steam to spin turbines and generate electricity. They are the most common source of electricity, providing around 40 percent of the world’s electric power.

GE says it could help eliminate 500 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions if deployed at all existing coal-fired power plants globally. That’s the same as removing 120 million cars from the road – or every tenth car in the world – or covering Earth with carbon-trapping forest the size of Europe.

The technology is “equipment-agnostic,” which means it can optimize machines made by any manufacturer, says Ganesh Bell, GE Power’s chief digital officer.

“Utilities will need to generate 50 percent more electricity than they do today by 2040 and meet ambitious goals to cut emissions set by COP21,” says Bell, referring to the United Nations climate change conference that took place in Paris last year. “Using data science, software and intelligent automation to optimize every aspect of the electricity value chain – from generation to delivery and consumption – will do both.” more> http://goo.gl/XOMhju

How the Republican elite tried to fix the presidency and instead got Donald Trump

By Gwynn Guilford – The GOP’s purpose in 2012 was simple enough: To make sure outsiders wouldn’t threaten the appearance of party unity during the nomination process.

Among other things, the rules revisions helped the frontrunner seize the nomination early, and blocked paths for adversaries to challenge the presumptive nominee at the national convention. The primaries schedule that resulted boosted candidates with fame, funding, and easy media access.

Being blindsided by a billionaire reality TV star with a knack for hijacking the media is the most obvious unintended consequence of the GOP’s strategy.

Traditionally, grassroots movements were an important mechanism for bringing the GOP leadership into contact with the most active and passionate of the party’s supporters. By infusing the party with new people and letting the ideas they bring bubble up through the system, these bottoms-up efforts have long kept the party vital.

Trump’s rise also points to potential long-term trouble for the party. more> http://goo.gl/QkZCsa

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