In Recent Test, Blockchain Brings Transparency To Notorious Credit Default Swaps

from ars technica On Thursday, Wall Street’s bookkeeper announced that it had successfully tested blockchain technology to manage single-name credit default swaps (CDS) among four big banks: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan. In a credit default swap, one bank buys the debt owed to another bank with the understanding that if the debt holder defaults on their loan, the buyer bank will be compensated by the selling bank. In the years leading up to the 2008 recession, the buying and selling of credit default swaps was not watched by regulators at all, and as an NPR explainer […]

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How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother

from The Atlantic In 2014, Cass Sunstein—one-time “regulatory czar” for the Obama administration—wrote an op-ed advocating for a cashless society, on the grounds that it would reduce street crime. His reasoning? A new study had found an apparent causal relationship between the implementation of the Electronic Benefit Transfer system for welfare benefits, and a drop in crime. Under the new EBT system, welfare recipients could now use debit cards, rather than being forced to cash checks in their entirety—meaning there was less cash circulating in poor neighborhoods. And the less cash there was on the streets, the study’s authors concluded, the […]

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The Smartest Places On Earth: Why Rustbelts Are The Emerging Hotspots Of Global Innovation

from Brookings The conventional wisdom in manufacturing has long held that the key to maintaining a competitive edge lies in making things as cheaply as possible, which saw production outsourced to the developing world in pursuit of ever-lower costs. In contradiction to that prevailing wisdom, authors Antoine van Agtmael, a Brookings trustee, and Fred Bakker crisscrossed the globe and found that the economic tide is beginning to shift from its obsession with cheap goods to the production of smart ones. Their new book, “The Smartest Places on Earth” (PublicAffairs, 2016), examines this changing dynamic and the transformation of “rustbelt” cities, […]

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If Only All Of America’s Crumbling Bridges Could Be Repaired This Fast

from CO.EXIST A 99-year-old bridge was rebuilt in just 39 months, but you can watch the entire process in the time-lapse video below in two minutes. Either way, it’s fast. The Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge replacement project, in Massachusetts, is a rare construction project that finished ahead of schedule(by four months) and under budget (by $5 million). The video, courtesy of EarthCam, which had an HD camera on the construction site from August 2012 to November 2015, captures the rebuilding of the 870-foot span, including new car and bike lanes and lighting. More here.

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GoPro Focuses On Olympic Heroes With Two New Original Video Series

from CO.CREATE When you think about GoPro content, chances are it lands somewhere between an insanely impressive action sports moment, an eagle’s eye view of the world, life as a toddler, or maybe just your buddy’s bike ride to work set to Iron Butterfly. But the brand’s own content strategy is evolving, including a move last October to bring in former vice president of creative development and operations for HBO Sports Bill McCullough to serve as executive producer of GoPro sports content. McCullough says GoPro’s content strategy is ultimately to tell the best, most immersive, and most compelling stories, but they’ve learned that character-driven pieces […]

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Andrew S. Grove, Longtime Chief of Intel, Dies at 79

from NYTs Andrew S. Grove, the longtime chief executive and chairman of Intel Corporation who was one of the most acclaimed and influential personalities of the computer and Internet era, died on Monday at his home in Los Altos, Calif. He was 79. The cause of his death has not yet been determined, said Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for the family. At Intel, Mr. Grove helped midwife the semiconductor revolution — the use of increasingly sophisticated chips to power computers — that proved to be as momentous for economic and social development as hydrocarbon fuels, electricity and telephones were in […]

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Domino’s Is Trialling An Autonomous Pizza Delivery Robot

from ars technica Pizza delivery boys and girls, beware! Pizza giant Domino’s has unveiled an autonomous pizza delivery robot that is being trialled in New Zealand. On Friday the company unveiled the Domino’s Robotic Unit (DRU), and announced that the bot had already carried out its first successful pizza delivery on March 8. “DRU is an autonomous delivery vehicle and is set to take the world by storm,” the company wrote in a statement on its website. The vehicle’s development started in 2015 and was pushed towards commercialisation by Domino’s Australia-based skunkworks DLab. According to a promotional video (embedded below), DRU uses software developed by the […]

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A Glimpse Of The Future Through An Augmented Reality Headset

from TED What if technology could connect us more deeply with our surroundings instead of distracting us from the real world? With the Meta 2, an augmented reality headset that makes it possible for users to see, grab and move holograms just like physical objects, Meron Gribetz hopes to extend our senses through a more natural machine. Join Gribetz as he takes the TED stage to demonstrate the reality-shifting Meta 2 for the first time. More here.

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Linden Lab’s Project Sansar and the Future of Virtual Reality

from readwrite Since 2003, members of Linden Lab’s virtual world Second Life have been able to participate in an immersive reality filled with nightclubs, art exhibits, shopping malls, in-world corporate offices, and even higher education campuses. With a surge of virtual reality headsets coming to market such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the big question on the horizon remains: What needs to happen for the metaverse to catch on in the mainstream? To better understand what it would take to bring about a resurgence in virtual worlds like Second Life, I spoke with Linden Lab‘s CEO Ebbe Altberg and Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director […]

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George Martin and the Beatles: A Producer’s Impact, in Five Songs

from NYTs When we hear a great recording, we tend to think of the music as having sprung fully developed from the imagination of the musician or band that cut the tracks. But that ignores the role of the producer, who translates the musician’s vision into the sound we experience. The contributions that George Martin, who died Tuesday at 90, made to the Beatles’ recorded catalog were crucial, and although he was the first to say that most of the credit belongs to the band, many of the group’s greatest songs owe their sound and character to his inspired behind-the-scenes work. […]

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IBM Watson Now Powers A Hilton Hotel Robot Concierge

from ars technica Just arrived to your hotel, desperate for some munch at a decent restaurant nearby, and not really into speaking with human beings? Connie the robo-concierge is here to help. American hotel multinational Hilton has teamed up with tech giant IBM to trial a robotic concierge powered by IBM’s AI software Watson. The bot has been christened “Connie” after the chain’s founder, Conrad Hilton, and it is currently assisting residents at Hilton McLean hotel, in Virginia. From its station next to the reception desks, Connie helps guests navigate around the hotel and find restaurants or tourist attractions in the area—but it […]

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The War for Mobile Search

from Medium There’s a war being waged in mobile. A war to control the final lucrative frontier that will shape how mobile is monetized. The battle is for mobile search, and its outcome is uncertain. Today, mobile search is a wild landscape of competing and contradictory technologies, unfulfilled promises, and 800 pound gorillas strategically positioning themselves without any centralized regulation or governance. It should be no surprise that the war for search has gone mobile as people spend more and more time on their phones. In May 2015, Google confirmed that mobile search queries overtook desktop queries. By all indications this trend […]

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Five Ways Mobile Is Changing the World

from <RE/CODE> Mobile is about more than a device or platform. The combination of immediacy, personalization, scale and global reach mobile provides has democratized content, commerce and culture. It has given unlimited power to consumers who spend on average 11 hours per day on mobile devices. Those who view mobile as simply an extension of their advertising program are wrong. Mobile is becoming core to all consumer-brand efforts, both in terms of time spent with these devices and because they are home base for search and social media and, increasingly, all things video. For marketers, mobile is our industry’s greatest […]

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Should You Be Able to Patent a Human Gene?

from TED A decade ago, US law said human genes were patentable — which meant patent holders had the right to stop anyone from sequencing, testing or even looking at a patented gene. Troubled by the way this law both harmed patients and created a barrier to biomedical innovation, Tania Simoncelli and her colleagues at the ACLU challenged it. In this riveting talk, hear the story of how they took a case everybody told them they would lose all the way to the Supreme Court. More here.

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As More Pay by Smartphone, Banks Scramble to Keep Up

from NYTs Ryan Craine hates carrying cash and finds writing checks to be a headache. He doesn’t do much of either anymore — he mostly uses his smartphone to pay for things. Mr. Craine, a 28-year-old tech support worker in Washington, D.C., uses Apple Pay at the stores and restaurants that accept it. About 20 times a month, he turns to Venmo, a digital wallet for transferring money from one person to another, to pay his share of rent, meals, groceries and utility bills. To refinance his student loans last year, he went to an online lending start-up, Earnest. Mr. Craine’s money […]

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14 New York Tech Companies To Watch In 2016

from Forbes New York’s tech ecosystem is strengthening dramatically. In fact, after Silicon Valley, no other area has seen more early stage funding flowing to local startups. There have been many successful exits in 2015 as well. Some of the most impactful companies in ad tech, fintech, ed tech and other tech sectors call New York home today. Many of them have big plans for 2016, from listing on public stock exchanges to creating whole new product categories. Here are fifteen New York tech companies, ranging from small to large, to watch in the coming year. More here.

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Welcome To New York, Where Tech’s Not Just An Industry

from Medium Last night we hosted an event at our office in Union Square and I heard an SF-based product designer say seven words that encapsulate something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: “You’d never find this in the Valley”. The visitor from the Bay Area was referring to the diversity of people gathered together for a Wednesday night event that was, for all intents and purposes, a “tech party”. Yet it wasn’t just about “tech.” Paul Greenberg, Media Executive and investor in Human Ventures realized this when he observed, “Everyone I’ve introduced myself to tonight has such a […]

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4K Video Shootout Shows iPhone 6s Outperforming $3k’s Worth of Nikon DSLR

from 9to5 Mac Fresh from showing how an iPhone 6s and a few cheap accessories can enable you to do a great photoshoot, Fstoppers’ Lee Morris  has now put the iPhone 6s video capabilities up against a semi-pro Nikon D750 DSLR. The results are actually quite shocking, the iPhone 6s delivering much sharper results, as seen in the 200% zoom above and video below. There are a few riders, of course …  First, as Morris notes, the footage was shot in ideal conditions: outdoors in bright light. This is the least-taxing environment for a camera. As I noted in my own […]

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Today, All Stores In The US Should Accept Chip-And-Pin Cards. Yeah, Right.

from ars technica Way back in 2012, MasterCard and Visa agreed that by October 1, 2015, every retailer in the United States would have to have new terminals that would accept chip-and-PIN cards, like those that were found in most of Europe, as well as in Australia, Brazil, and a variety of other countries. Those countries ditched magnetic stripe cards, like the ones the US uses primarily today, more than a decade ago to mitigate credit card fraud. October 1, 2015 is now upon us, and the changeover to chip cards in the US is patchwork at best. Over the […]

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