Monday, July 16, 2018

Tech In China: "Letter from Shenzhen"

From Logic Magazine:

Letter from Shenzhen
Chinese tech isn’t an imitation of its American counterpart. It’s a completely different universe.
山寨 (Shanzhai) translated directly means mountain stronghold, and that’s where my journey appropriately begins. I’m in a small town in Guizhou, one of the poorest provinces in China, where the GDP per capita is the lowest in the country. But the lack of disposable income does not prevent the glimmer of aspirational consumerism from fueling this live sales seminar that I am overhearing.

In a large conference room, within a hotel that is more often used by couples looking for privacy from families than tourists, a man drones on about filial piety. His story is melodramatic and suspenseful at all the right parts, about a mother who gives up her last penny to save her son’s company. He asks: in return, what can sons and daughters do for their parents who have given them so much? Even I am close to tears when the man does his big reveal: buy them 2,500 RMB silk bedding.

I go on to visit other mountain strongholds — villages and zhais, places where bathrooms still offer an adrenaline rush of potentially falling into a pit, and pigs are slaughtered alongside a river. A combination of tourism and economic development are rendering these places increasingly rare. Yet one element remains constant: the ubiquity of mobile phones and the central importance of phones for the simple transactions of everyday life.

Most transactions center around one app: WeChat. WeChat is an app made by Tencent that has become crucial to life in China, especially with Tencent’s state-sponsored initiative of 智慧生活 (zhihuishenghuo, smart living). WeChat enables access to messaging, video chat, payment systems, and public services. And it has nearly one billion users — about as many users as Facebook Messenger. In fact, many of WeChat’s features have recently been eerily appearing in Facebook Messenger.

I use WeChat to message a friend while standing in the middle of a rice paddy, to pay for snacks and water in a remote village, to buy train tickets, to book hotel rooms, to order taxis, to get takeout, and to send my aunt photos. If I wanted to, I could also use it to pay electricity bills, top up my mobile phone account, make hospital appointments, and check the weather.

Scan these QR codes to pay, even at the village bodegas. WeChat pay on the left, Alipay on the right.
Everywhere I go, little “Alipay/WeChat Pay” QR codes sit in plastic placards, in the most unexpected places. In one small town, every business, including the woman making 炒粉 (chaofen, rice noodles) in the front of her house accepts WeChat Pay. At a newly opened train station, massage chairs have no slots for coins or money—just a simple QR code pasted on their arm. To pay with WeChat, I scan the QR code with my phone, and the chair turns on....MUCH MORE
 

Chicago Booth: Machine Learning In Money Management

The CBR headline is a bit more rah-rah.
From the Chicago Booth Review:

Machine learning can help money managers time markets, build portfolios, and manage risk
It’s been two decades since IBM’s Deep Blue beat chess champion Garry Kasparov, and computers have become even smarter. Machines can now understand text, recognize voices, classify images, and beat humans in Go, a board game more complicated than chess, and perhaps the most complicated in existence. 
And research suggests today’s computers can also predict asset returns with an unprecedented accuracy.

Yale University’s Bryan T. Kelly, Chicago Booth’s Dacheng Xiu, and Booth PhD candidate Shihao Gu investigated 30,000 individual stocks that traded between 1957 and 2016, examining hundreds of possibly predictive signals using several techniques of machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence. They conclude that ML had significant advantages over conventional analysis in this challenging task.

ML uses statistical techniques to give computers abilities that mimic and sometimes exceed human learning. The idea is that computers will be able to build on solutions to previous problems to eventually tackle issues they weren’t explicitly programmed to take on.

“At the broadest level, we find that machine learning offers an improved description of asset price behavior relative to traditional methods,” the researchers write, suggesting that ML could become the engine of effective portfolio management, able to predict asset-price movements better than human managers.

The researchers created an ML-based forecasting model, which they used to predict an asset’s risk premium, or the compensation an investor receives for taking on the risk of capital losses. They define this as the return of a given asset over that of a risk-free investment such as short-term US Treasuries.

“Measurement of an asset’s risk premium is fundamentally a problem of prediction,” they write. “Machine learning, whose methods are largely specialized for prediction tasks, is thus ideally suited to the problem of risk premium measurement.”

Decision trees and neural nets were the most effective forms of ML for predicting asset prices, the researchers find. Using a decision tree, the computer learns to think in the manner of an expansive flow chart with multiple iterations. A neural net is a learning algorithm meant to mimic biological neural networks. This technique is especially useful in modeling nonlinear and interactive patterns, which the researchers say abound in the world of individual stock returns.

Of almost 100 characteristics the researchers investigated, the most successful predictors were price trends, liquidity, and volatility....MORE
Also at the Review:

Are investors paying too much for ‘black swan’ risk?

Behavioral economics from nuts to ‘nudges’
A bowl of cashews led to a research breakthrough...

Australians Opt Out Of Online Health Records So Fast The System Crashes

From ZD Net:

My Health Record systems collapse under more opt-outs than expected
When citizens rush to opt out of an Australian government service, it says something about their levels of trust. When the system falls over under heavy load, it proves them right.
Australians attempting to opt out of the government's new centralised health records system online have been met with an unreliable website. Those phoning in have faced horrendous wait times, sometimes more than two hours, often to find that call centre systems were down as well, and staff unable to help.

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), which runs the My Health Record system, is reportedly telling callers that they weren't expecting the volume of opt-outs.

"On hold with @MyHealthRec for over 1.5 HOURS to opt out without providing my drivers license/passport number. Turns out their entire backed system has crashed and they are telling support staff to just punch peoples details into the website. Confidence inspiring!" tweeted one caller.
"The person i'm speaking to is stressed as f***. Its their first day. I feel bad for her but she also has no idea what's going on and puts me on hold every time I ask something that's not on the script."

The problems started early on Monday, the first day of the three-month opt-out period before digital health records are created automatically.

"Call operator Laura answers. Pleasantly & politely tells me she can help. Uses my Medicare number to locate my record. But can't change alter my record as system down. She apologizes, guesses this is why I'm having trouble online and suggests I try again later," tweeted Dr Leslie Cannold at 7.29am....MORE

Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano: "The yield curve needs to be respected"—Jeffrey Gundlach

Hah! I scoff at the yield curve.

That was intended as joke.
The current situation actually got me thinking of Weimar's Foreign Minister, Gustav Stresemann who had the original volcano line back in 1928:
"The economic position is only flourishing on the surface. Germany is in fact dancing on a volcano. 
If the short-term credits are called in, a large section of our economy would collapse"
Stresemann was a pretty sharp guy* and might have been able to stave off Hitler and the Nazis but he died in 1929.

Here's Barron's Roundtable:

Jeffrey Gundlach Says We’re Getting Closer to a Recession
July 13, 2018 8:03 p.m. ET
Barron’s: What’s the good word, if any, on the economy and the markets?
Jeffrey Gundlach: We are more cautious about 2019 than about this year. We always start by asking whether a recession is coming. We have found about a dozen indicators to be helpful on a forward-looking basis. At the beginning of this year, not a single one was negative. We look at the leading economic indicators, consumer and small-business sentiment surveys, GDPNow from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and other things. The one indicator that is somewhat negative is the yield curve, which has flattened pretty relentlessly for the past year or two as the Fed has been tightening. There’s a narrative out there that says the flattening yield curve isn’t sending any message about a recession, and that couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, with rates so low, the yield curve signal is even stronger than usual.

What exactly is it signaling?

We are getting closer to a recession. When the curve goes flat from the two-year Treasury to the 10-year [meaning that the yields are identical], the recession risk is at least a year away. Recently, that spread was 28 basis points [hundredths of a percentage point], which is pretty close to being flat. It is flashing yellow. It needs to be respected. The other reason to think 2019 might be more problematic is that quantitative tightening has just started. The Fed has started to let bonds roll off its balance sheet [the central bank isn’t buying new bonds when many current holdings mature]. Several billion dollars of bonds per month are coming due, but by October the amount will be up to $50 billion per month.

At the same time, the Fed has said it intends to keep raising interest rates, probably twice more this year. That, together with the signal from the yield curve and perhaps $600 billion of quantitative tightening, and a budget deficit that is growing, is an issue. The strangest thing is that Congress passed a $280 billion tax cut and spending increases so late in the cycle, and with interest rates rising. It’s like a death wish. The U.S. is taking on hundreds of billions of dollars of debt while raising rates, which means our debt-service payments are going to be under serious pressure to the upside.

Where do you expect the 10-year bond yield to end the year?

I thought the 10-year would get above 3% this year. It did so, briefly. More important, the long bond [the 30-year Treasury] closed above 3.22% for one session. You’d need more than one close like that to send a signal. It turned out to be a buying opportunity. I expect the 10-year yield to be range-bound for the rest of the year. Rates should be much higher, based on nominal gross domestic product, which probably ran around 5% in the second quarter. But weirdly, again, in this era of quantitative easing, if you average nominal U.S. GDP and the German Bund’s 10-year yield, that’s where the 10-year Treasury yield is. The German 10-year yields 30 basis points. Average that with nominal GDP of 5% and you get about 2.65%. So, 2.65% is my year-end number.

What is the best way to invest in this sort of environment?

Be conservative. I still recommend low-risk, relatively low-duration bonds. I recommended PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio at the January Roundtable [now Invesco Senior Loan (ticker: BKLN)]. It has been a good performer, up almost 2% year to date, whereas most bond strategies are negative.

I still favor commodities. They are weirdly strong, given how powerful the dollar has been. Commodities prices have been spooked recently by the tariff situation, but that is a buying opportunity. I recommended the XLE [the Energy Select Sector SPDR exchange-traded fund] at the beginning of the year. Now I prefer the XOP [ SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production]. It just hit a high for the year, but we are looking for further gains in the commodities complex....MUCH MORE
One word of warning, Gundlach was either early or wrong at the last Barron's Roundtable: 

Jeffrey Gundlach’s Report Card
Jeffrey Gundlach Says We’re Getting Closer to a Recession

*Back to Stresemann, he saw what was coming. After doing his damnedest to play the extraordinarily weak hand the Kaiser and the generals had left Germany after 1918, he was made Chancellor for 100 days in 1923 and got in front of the Weimar hyperinflation.
Following that stint he was Foreign Minister for six years cutting deals with France and Britain and picking up a Nobel Peace Prize along the way (with France's Aristide Briand).

In 1928 he wrote to British diplomat Sir Albert Bruce Lockhart:
If the allies had obliged me just one single time, I would have brought the German people behind me, yes; even today, I could still get them to support me. However, they (the allies) gave me nothing and the minor concessions they made, always came too late. Thus, nothing else remains for us but brutal force. The future lies in the hands of the new generation. Moreover, they, the German youth, who we could have won for peace and reconstruction, we have lost. Herein lies my tragedy and there, the allies' crime. 
Related: yesterday's ICYMI: "U.S. Yield Curve to Invert in Mid-2019, Morgan Stanley Says" for more on the curve.
No history rambles, I promise.

See also Keynes' Economic Consequences of the Peace

"The Black Swan Man Lecture Series: Non-Ergodicity"

From The Black Swan Man:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DhB_okmXUAIBsIf.jpg

Next

Black Swan Man home

HT: Ogilvy's Rory Sutherland

"Jeff Bezos and Amazon have the advertising industry looking over its shoulder" (AMZN)

From ABC News (US):
Amazon has already become something of a corporate boogeyman — and now it could be bringing its industry disruption to advertising.

When Jeff Bezos arrives as expected at the Sun Valley conference — the year’s most exclusive meeting of media industry leaders — he’ll know much more about his fellow media moguls than they know about him.

And that has them worried, especially as Amazon’s advertising business picks up.
Amazon’s growing advertising business is poised to challenge the stranglehold Google and Facebook have on the internet’s ad dollars, thanks to its growing dominance in e-commerce and growing presence in the media world.

Google knows what consumers are interested in, and Facebook knows who you are. But Amazon has what many in the advertising industry regard as the most important piece of the puzzle: what people buy. And the e-commerce giant is starting to capitalize on that data in a big way.

"It is definitely growing as a media company, but it is surging in terms of ad revenue,” said Advertising Age editor Brian Braiker. "The scary part for marketers is that [data] is all walled off, and if you want the special sauce you have to play by Amazon's rules."

Amazon still makes the bulk of its money through the sales of goods and its widely used cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services, but its advertising business is growing. In the first three months of 2018, Amazon reported revenue for its “other” segment, which is largely advertising, rose 139 percent, to $2 billion.

“What’s interesting is advertising is not their lead punch,” said Michael Kassan, founder of MediaLink, an advertising and media consultancy. “It is a tiny part of their revenue. It’s growing fast.”

Amazon has already become something of a corporate boogeyman, with shares in other companies dropping sharply anytime the e-commerce giant enters a new industry. The company is known for building businesses over years without profit, squeezing out competitors along the way.
Collin Colburn, an analyst at the market research firm Forrester Research, warned that Amazon could do the same thing to the advertising industry.

“Amazon as a business doesn’t like the middleman,” Colburn said. “And agencies are the middleman.”

The race for third
Facebook and Google reign as the dominant forces in online advertising, with the two companies expected to account for more than half of all digital ad spending in 2018.

Microsoft, Twitter, Snapchat and Verizon, with its AOL-Yahoo unit called Oath, have all been jockeying for third place in the worldwide digital advertising market, which is projected to grow 61 percent next year, to $316 billion, according to digital advertising research firm eMarketer.
But eMarketer projects Amazon will leapfrog them all with a familiar Bezos-approved strategy — patience in the short term with an eye on dominance in the long term....MUCH MORE
If interested see also:
January 2018 
Platforms: Amazon Could Make Billions From the Ad Business (AMZN)
April 2017
Media: Google and Facebook's ‘Digital Duopoly’ and What Role Advertising Plays in All of It (plus Jeff Bezos and Izabella Kaminska stop by) GOOG; FB; AMZN
November 2016 
Google, Facebook And a Deep Dive Into The Future of the Future (GOOG; FB)
October 2012 
Amazon’s Next Big Business Is Selling You (and your data) AMZN

And many more.

Facebook Labels 65,000 Russian Users as "Interested In Treason" (FB)

Serious question: Is Zuckerberg a sociopath?
From The Guardian, July 11:

Firm removes category, which affected 65,000 people, from ad tools, following safety fears
Facebook’s advertising tools algorithmically labelled 65,000 Russians as interested in treason, potentially putting them at risk from the repressive state, until the company removed the category, following inquiries from journalists.

The labelling raises new concerns over data-driven profiling and targeting of users on the website, which has already faced criticism for the same tool algorithmically inferring information about users’ race, sexuality and political views despite data protection legislation requiring explicit consent to hold such information.

Facebook said the label was intended to only identify historical treason. “Treason was included as a category, given its historical significance. Given it’s an illegal activity, we’ve removed it as an interest category,” a spokesperson said.

Although Facebook does not directly expose user interests to external parties, advertisers can easily uncover them through careful use of the company’s public-access tools. For instance, they could run an advert targeting exclusively users living in Russia and marked as being interested in treason, then record the IP addresses of users who clicked through.

Those tools may be appealing to a state that is comfortable using the internet for repression, said Russia expert Mette Skak, an academic at Aarhus University. “Officially, the internet is not censored in Russia. However, these methods, which Facebook has probably unwittingly given the Russian authorities, make it much easier for governmental agencies to systematically track persons marked as potential traitors.”...MUCH MORE

"Norway oil, gas workers widen drilling rig strike"

From Reuters:
Some 900 Norwegian offshore oil and gas workers went on strike on Monday, joining almost 700 who walked off the job last week, in an escalating dispute over pay and pensions that has hit production.

The Safe union said it would consider in the next few days whether to widen the strike to all its 2,250 members.

Safe went ahead with its plan to expand the strike that began last Tuesday after employers did not respond to its demands for higher wages and pension benefits by a midnight (2200 GMT) Sunday deadline.
It is the biggest strike in the sector since a 16-day industrial action in 2012 cut Norway’s output of crude by about 13 percent and its natural gas production by about 4 percent.

Reidun Ravndal, a member of Safe's strike committee, said 900 additional workers were joining the strike on Monday, although it would take some time for the strike to become fully effective because they have to follow safe shutdown procedures....MUCH MORE 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Fùtbol Highlights

Via Slate:



First posted:
Sunday, November 25, 2012

“I licked the chair and voilà,” he says. “I could taste the fraud”

From Vanity Fair, July 10:

How a Sneaky Furniture Expert Ripped Off the Rich and Tricked Versailles

Bill G. B. Pallot wrote the book on 18th-century French furniture and passed his knowledge on to his student Charles Hooreman. But when Hooreman, an antiques dealer, noticed a few discrepancies in benches headed for Versailles, he suspected his former professor and decided to intervene.
In June 2016, Bill G. B. Pallot and Charles Hooreman, rival antiques dealers in Paris, became the two most famous men in the French art world. That was when Pallot admitted to the police that he had masterminded the forgery of at least four chairs purportedly built in the 18th century for France’s royal household and, in a series of transactions via third parties between 2009 and 2015, sold them to the Palace of Versailles. For decades, Pallot, who ran the furniture division of the Parisian gallery Didier Aaron, had enjoyed a reputation as the world’s leading expert on the works of 18th-century France; indeed, Versailles’s decision to purchase the chairs hinged on Pallot’s blessing. And based on Pallot’s imprimatur, the government classified two of his fake lots as national treasures.

It was Hooreman who realized the chairs were new constructions, initially because he recognized in them the handiwork of Pallot’s gilder and carver. “I often use the same people on restorations, and I’m intimate with their strengths and weaknesses,” Hooreman says. He knew that one of them, for example, was fond of painting a coat of melted-down licorice on the surface of reproductions, to make new wood look old and dirty. In 2012, Hooreman saw a pair of ployants—folding benches—that were for sale in the Aaron gallery showroom and were billed as the onetime property of Princess Louise Élisabeth, the eldest daughter of King Louis XV, and acted on a hunch. “I licked the chair and voilà,” he says. “I could taste the fraud.”

The following week, he confronted Pallot, who had once been his art-history professor at the Sorbonne. “I told Bill he’d always been my hero and this wasn’t right,” Hooreman recalls. “He said, ‘I’m the connoisseur,’ and admitted nothing.” A few months later, Hooreman learned that Versailles had bought the ployants. He sent an e-mail enumerating his misgivings to the museum’s curators, under the subject heading “Acquisition Dangereuse.” They responded by forwarding his note . . . to Bill Pallot, whose gallery promptly threatened Hooreman with a lawsuit. Meanwhile, the pieces went on display, and were part of a major exhibition in 2014.

The French police were eventually moved to take up the case, and Pallot was arrested in 2016, along with six other alleged participants in his scheme. He served four months in jail on a preliminary sentence—he is awaiting trial later this year on a full set of charges (including fraud, money-laundering, and tax evasion) that could send him back—and officials suspect he may be responsible for other copies that currently reside in museums and collections around the world. Pallot says he is not, but Hooreman has remained on his trail, attempting to document his forgeries in an effort that the police acknowledge has served as a blueprint for their ongoing investigation. To date, Hooreman’s list contains 15 lots he considers fakes.

The case has gripped certain segments of a nation for whom patrimoine, royal objects, and state-run museums possess a measure of public importance not quite fathomable in the U.S. “Versailles is one of France’s great institutions, and for some Pallot’s crime is a fraud against the national identity,” says Harry Bellet, Le Monde’s reporter on the case. The notion of extremely wealthy collectors being taken advantage of is nearly as titillating: in Paris Match, Pallot was called “the Bernard Madoff of art.” William Iselin, a London antiques dealer who, in light of Pallot’s arrest, has launched a forensic effort to determine the authenticity of several world-class collections, told me that a number of his peers have long had a reputation for selling fakes, “but this stuff typically hasn’t come to court, because when rich people discover they’ve been had, they’re too embarrassed to come forward.”

The news from Versailles has sent the multi-billion-dollar market for French antique furniture into a tailspin. The proprietors of Paris’s storied Galerie Kraemer, one of the houses through which Pallot’s ring allegedly sold fakes, have received court protection to structure a limited reimbursement plan for former clients, and face indictments and lawsuits from several collectors, including one over a pair of allegedly fraudulent cabinets it sold for more than $6 million. (Kraemer maintains its innocence in the Versailles-related case and claims to have been Pallot’s unknowing victim.) A number of American collectors who purchased furniture through Pallot or Kraemer over the years flew expert restorers to their homes from Paris last year to try to determine whether they owned forgeries.

The duel between a forger and his sleuthing pursuer should be a simple morality play, but in this case the protagonists’ personalities complicate the plot: Pallot, our villain, remains so convinced of his enduring likability that after the hitch in jail he celebrated his provisional return to civilian life by re-installing himself on the benefit-party circuit. He posed for photographs in Le Figaro and Paris Match, telling interviewers that he’d had Balzac novels delivered through the prison gates by family members and lamenting the shortcomings of the correctional-system library. “The problem is that prison is not made for intellectuals,” he told the French edition of GQ. Even before his arrest, Pallot had cut a high-profile figure, an enfant terrible well into middle-aged bachelorhood. (He is now 54.) With long hair, round spectacles, and an egglike countenance, he bears some resemblance to a groovy Benjamin Franklin. Pallot’s 1987 book, The Art of the Chair in Eighteenth-Century France, is still widely viewed as the bible on its subject and earned him the punning nickname “Père Lachaise.”...
...MUCH MORE  

"The New York Fed DSGE Model Forecast–July 2018"

From the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Liberty Street Economics blog, July 13:
This post presents an update of the economic forecasts generated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. We describe very briefly our forecast and its change since March 2018. As usual, we wish to remind our readers that the DSGE model forecast is not an official New York Fed forecast, but only an input to the Research staff’s overall forecasting process. For more information about the model and variables discussed here, see our DSGE model Q & A.

The July model forecast for 2018-21 is summarized in the table below, alongside the March forecast, and in the following charts. The model uses quarterly macroeconomic data released through the first quarter of 2018 and available financial data and staff forecasts through June 29, 2018.  
http://libertystreeteconomics.typepad.com/.a/6a01348793456c970c022ad3a02f48200b-500wi
*****
http://libertystreeteconomics.typepad.com/.a/6a01348793456c970c022ad3805d39200d-500wi

...MUCH MORE

Of Hot Hands and Roulette Wheels and Coin Flips: The Fallacy That Became A Fallacy

From Koenfucius, July 6:

Even specialists can fall prey to cognitive errors

I have been tossing a fair coin, and it has come up heads six times in a row. The chance of either heads or tails is 1 in 2, but for this to happen six consecutive times is 1 in 2 to the power 6, or 1 in 64. What is the probability that the next toss will turn up a seventh consecutive head?

The correct answer is of course 1 in 2. Coins don’t have a memory. What happened before cannot influence the current result. We all know that – yet our intuition sometimes leads us to believe differently.

On 18 August 1913, the ball at one of the roulette tables in the Monte Carlo casino had been ending up in a black slot for nearly 20 times in a row. Several gamblers started taking an interest and started putting money on red: after such a long streak of black, red was surely due to come up. And still the ball kept falling on black. People put more and more money on red at each successive turn of the wheel – and kept on losing it, as black kept on coming up. Let’s face it, where would you put your money if you happened to be there, having seen black come up 25 times in a row? Eventually, after an unbroken series of 26 blacks (likelihood: 1 in more than 136 million) the ball finally landed on red.

More recently, it was number 53 in the Italian lotto that had failed to come up for nearly two years and which, apparently, not only drove people bankrupt, but some to their death. The phenomenon has been described long before, though, for example by the early 19th century mathematician Pierre-Simon de Laplace, as Joshua Miller and Andrew Gelman discuss in a fascinating paper.

It is gamblers who give this cognitive illusion – that if something happens less frequently than normal for a period, it will occur more frequently in the future (or vice versa) – its name: the gambler’s fallacy.

Let’s not assume that only compulsive gamblers fall for it, however. If your neighbour is pregnant again, having had five girls, what is the chance of the sixth child being a boy? Did you not, for a moment, feel that it ought to be more than 1 in 2? Given the dry and sunny weather we’ve been experiencing in the UK for weeks now, do you think a dry second half of August is more or less likely than normal?

We treat streaks as if they predict the next outcome. Our human brain is ill-equipped to handle the concept of randomness: we easily see patterns where there are none. The figure below[1] shows the outcome of three sequences of 50 roulette wheel spins (ignoring any zeroes). We know that red and black are equally likely, and we intuitively interpret this as “50% of the outcomes should be black”.  When we see long streaks of one colour, we think that is extraordinary. The universe is out of balance, and a reversal is overdue. Our intuition tells us that after the five blacks in A, a red outcome must be more likely to redress the imbalance. A sequence without long streaks (like C) looks more ‘normal’, but in reality, A and B are the result of genuine spins, while C has been manipulated to generate a reversal 3 out of every 4 times.
roulettespin

The hot hand

There is another phenomenon that is often compared with the gambler’s fallacy. Known as the hot hand fallacy, it was first described in 1985 by Thomas Gilovich, Amos Tversky and Robert Vallone. The ‘hot hand’ refers to a presumed temporary state of a basketball player in which they are more likely to perform better than average, i.e. they will be producing streaks of successful shots. Fans, coaches and players alike widely believe that players are more likely to make a shot after having made the last two or three shots, than after having missed them.

In several studies the researchers failed to find any significant correlation between shots (except for one player). They concluded that the belief in the hot hand in basketball is a cognitive illusion, resulting from the “expectation that random sequences should be far more balanced than they are, and the erroneous perception of a positive correlation between successive shots.” The chance of scoring does not depend on what went on before.

For about 30 years, this conclusion remained largely unquestioned. The hot hand fallacy stood as one of the more robust cognitive errors, even as new research using larger datasets found patterns actually consistent with the hot hand. Issues of measurement and control prevented these studies from determining the magnitude of the hot hand, and so they did not topple the prevailing wisdom.
But in 2016 Joshua Miller and Adam Sanjurjo discovered a fundamental flaw in the reasoning by Gilovich et al. One of their original studies positioned players on various spots on an arc, at a distance from which their shooting percentage was approximately 50%. Each player had to take 100 shots and they found no marked difference in the goal percentages after 1, 2 or 3 hits, or after 1, 2 or 3 misses. Intuitively, this is exactly what you would expect to find if you were to replace the outcomes of the players’ shots by a sequence of 100 coin flips. As successive flips are independent, we expect the percentage of heads that follow a streak of heads to be identical to the percentage of tails that follow a streak of heads.

This is incorrect.
Bafflingly so, but yes, it truly is incorrect. Meet Jack, a hypothetical character from Miller and Sanjurjo’s paper. Jack tosses a coin 100 times. Every time it produces heads, next time he flips he writes down the result. He – like Gilovich and co, and most of us – expects to see approximately 50% of heads. But it is less.

To illustrate why, let’s look at what happens when he tosses the coin just three times. There are eight possible outcomes:...MUCH MORE

News You Can Use—"Invisible Mask: Practical Attacks on Face Recognition with Infrared"

From arXiv:
Zhe Zhou, Di Tang, Xiaofeng Wang, Weili Han, Xiangyu Liu, Kehuan Zhang
Accurate face recognition techniques make a series of critical applications possible: policemen could employ it to retrieve criminals' faces from surveillance video streams; cross boarder travelers could pass a face authentication inspection line without the involvement of officers. Nonetheless, when public security heavily relies on such intelligent systems, the designers should deliberately consider the emerging attacks aiming at misleading those systems employing face recognition.
We propose a kind of brand new attack against face recognition systems, which is realized by illuminating the subject using infrared according to the adversarial examples worked out by our algorithm, thus face recognition systems can be bypassed or misled while simultaneously the infrared perturbations cannot be observed by raw eyes.
Through launching this kind of attack, an attacker not only can dodge surveillance cameras. More importantly, he can impersonate his target victim and pass the face authentication system, if only the victim's photo is acquired by the attacker. Again, the attack is totally unobservable by nearby people, because not only the light is invisible, but also the device we made to launch the attack is small enough. According to our study on a large dataset, attackers have a very high success rate with a over 70\% success rate for finding such an adversarial example that can be implemented by infrared. To the best of our knowledge, our work is the first one to shed light on the severity of threat resulted from infrared adversarial examples against face recognition.
Subjects: Cryptography and Security (cs.CR)
Cite as: arXiv:1803.04683 [cs.CR]
(or arXiv:1803.04683v1 [cs.CR] for this version)
Submission history 
From: Zhe Zhou [view email]
[v1] Tue, 13 Mar 2018 08:51:01 GMT (3397kb,D)

ICYMI: "U.S. Yield Curve to Invert in Mid-2019, Morgan Stanley Says"

From Bloomberg, July 11/12:
  • Fed in March to map out end to balance-sheet contraction: MS
  • Net Treasury supply seen smaller thanks to Fed balance sheet
The Federal Reserve next March will probably map out an end to the contraction in its balance sheet, helping support longer-dated bond yields, which will drop below those on shorter-dated notes by the middle of 2019, according to Morgan Stanley.

“Investors are underestimating the size of the SOMA portfolio” that will be needed to keep the benchmark overnight interest rate within the range targeted by the Fed, Morgan Stanley strategists including Sam Elprince wrote in a July 12 note. SOMA refers to the System Open Market Account, the Fed’s name for its pool of assets.
  • Morgan Stanley cut its forecast for net U.S. government debt issued by the Treasury by $690 billion through 2020
  • The bank sees 10-year Treasury yields at 2.75 percent by year-end, and 2.50 percent by mid-2019. It previously forecast them at 2.85 percent for end-2018 and 2.70 percent for the second quarter of 2019.
  • The yield curve will invert “by mid-2019,” the analysts said. “We suggest an overweight to U.S. Treasuries.”
The Fed started shrinking its balance sheet last October, unwinding the unprecedented quantitative easing launched during the financial crisis. The recent phenomenon of the effective federal funds rate trading toward the upper end of the Fed’s target range has been a sign to some observers that liquidity may already be getting tight....MORE

Recently:
"As the Yield Curve Flattens, Threatens to Invert, the Fed Discards it as Recession Indicator"
"Who’s Afraid of a Flattening Yield Curve?"
Blackstone's Byron Wien: "No Recession in Sight" 
Our best guess is market downturn in 2019 and recession in 2020.*
But more new highs first.
Mr. Wien seems a bit more optimistic...


San Francisco Fed: "Economic Forecasts with the Yield Curve"

And from last December:

Interpreting the Yield Curve: Counterintuitive Stimulative Effects of Rate Hikes
The writer, David Andolfatto is Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Views should in no way be attributed to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, or to the Federal Reserve System.
Neither should the blog be taken as an endorsement of the fashion sense of the Federal Reserve Economics Data clothing line:


The FRED Team

Posted in FRED Announcements
From Macromania..... 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Urban Warfare In A 'Dumb City' Environment: Mafioso Avoids Death By Hitman (video)

From Sputnik:

WATCH: New York Man Miraculously Escapes Botched Mob Hit (GRAPHIC)
The surveillance tapes shows the unidentified hit men in a dark sedan with New Jersey plates Thursday morning before the shooter, who was in the passenger seat, exits the car and fires several shots at 41-year-old Salvatore Zottola, a Bonnano crime family associate.
The Bonanno crime family is one of the five major New York City organized crime families of the Italian American Mafia. Zottola is affiliated with Vincent Basciano, acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, who was imprisoned for life after a 2007 murder conviction.
In the video, Zottola can be seen rolling on the pavement behind a minivan, ducking for cover in an attempt to avoid the bullets, as the shooter unloads opens multiple rounds from point blank range....MORE
Earlier:
Urban Warfare In A 'Smart City' Environment

Urban Warfare In A 'Smart City' Environment

From the U.S. Army's Mad Scientists Initiative via Small Wars Journal:

Trusting Smart Cities: Risk Factors and Implications
Margaret L. Loper
This article is the latest addition to the U.S. Army TRADOC G2 Mad Scientist Initiative’s Future of Warfare 2030-2050 project at Small Wars Journal.
In the coming decades, we will live in a world surrounded by tens of billions of devices that will interoperate and collaborate to deliver personalized and autonomic services.  This paradigm of objects and things ubiquitously surrounding us is called the Internet of Things (IoT). Cities may be the first to benefit from the IoT, but reliance on these machines to make decisions has profound implications for trust. Trusting smart cities refers to the confidence and belief of smart city installations to be capable of operating securely, reliably, and accountably. To understand how trust applies to smart cities, we introduce formal definitions of trust and risk, and present three risk factors that capture the range of issues that must be considered when deploying smart city technologies. Building on these risk factors, a threat analysis matrix for capturing how well smart cities are addressing these risks is proposed. We close the paper with some thoughts on the future of warfare in smart cities.
Introduction
The urban environment is becoming increasingly more connected and complex. In the coming decades, we will be surrounded by billions of sensors, devices and machines, the Internet of Things (IoT). Cities and urban areas that benefit from the IoT are commonly referred to as Smart Cities (SC) [1]:
"A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social and environmental aspects."
The idea of a SC can be applied to other domains as well, such as smart military installations, smart compounds, and smart campuses. [i] Smart city applications are developed with the goal of improving the management of urban flows and allowing for real time responses to challenges. However, there are security risks associated with deploying distributed sensor networks in urban environments. One risk is the ability of adversaries to gain access to civilian infrastructures and use them against us. Therefore, it is critical to understand how these IoT technologies will be used in urban environments, their operational behavior, how citizens will interact with these sensor networks, and security implications of large scale deployment in urban environments.
Cities may be the first to benefit from the IoT, but being surrounded by billions of sensors, devices and machines has profound implications for security, trust and privacy. The more technology a city uses, the more vulnerable to cyber-attacks it is, so the smartest cities face the highest risks. While security, privacy and trust are all critical areas for IoT, our specific interest is focused on Trust.
The need for trust has long been recognized, as stated in [2], the “… pivotal role in … decision making means it is essential that we are able to trust what these devices are saying and control what they do. We need to be sure that we are talking to the right thing, that it is operating correctly, that we can believe the things it tells us, that it will do what we tell it to, and that no-one else can interfere along the way.” This brings us to the idea of whether we can trust smart cities.
This paper is organized as follows. In section II we introduce a formal definition of trust and its inverse relationship to risk. In order to understand how trust applies to smart cities, we introduce three risk factors in Section III. A threat analysis matrix is introduced in Section IV, which represents the next steps in understanding the risk to smart cities. We close the paper with some thoughts on the future of cyber-attacks on smart cities.
Trust and Risk
There are several definitions of trust. Trust is the belief in the competence of an entity to act dependably, securely and reliably within a specified context [3]. Trust is the extent to which one party is willing to depend on somebody, or something, in a given situation with a feeling of relative security, even though negative consequences are possible [4]. In other words, trust is a broader notion than information security; it includes subjective criteria and experience. Trust includes concepts, such as
  • Perception – awareness of something through the senses;
  • Memory – past history and experience; and
  • Context – trust may exist in one situation, but less or not at all in another.
The subjective nature of trust relies on one’s willingness to participate in a transaction, and the relative security of the outcome of the transaction. Thus, there is an aspect of dependence, which includes both uncertainty through possibility and risk through negative consequences [4].
Risk emerges when the value at stake in a transaction is high, or when this transaction has a critical role in the security or the safety of a system. “In most trust systems considering risk, the user must explicitly handle the relationship between risk and trust by acknowledging that the two notions are in an inverse relationship, i.e. low value transactions are associated to high risk and low trust levels and vice versa, or, similarly, risk and trust pull in opposite directions to determine a users’ acceptance of a partner.” [5]
To understand how this inverse relationship applies to smart cities, we define three key risk factors [6]: non-technical, technical and complexity. Non-technical risk includes aspects of a SC where humans are involved, such as management, training and education, governance and security practices.
Technical risk factors focus on the technology aspects of a SC, including both hardware and software systems. This also includes the concept of cyber-physical systems, which is a system of collaborating computational elements controlling physical entities. The last risk factor is complexity. A smart city is not a discrete thing; it is the complex multi-dimensional interconnection of diverse systems (human and technology) that deliver services and promote optimum performance to its users. There is risk in the complexity of these systems, especially as the scale becomes very large. These key risk factors are described in more detail in the following section.
Risk Factors
In this section, we describe examples of risk that fall into each of the three dimensions.
Non-Technical
Smart cities represent a fundamental change to the way that services are delivered – it’s not primarily about technology, but about service transformation and improvement [7]. This brings into focus the importance of processes and people, i.e. how to make a city smart and who manages it. This leads us to the non-technical risk areas: management, training and best practices.
Management. Advanced technologies increase complexity and uncertainty. The greater the risk, the more necessary it is to have effective managerial and policy tools to deal with the risk. Performance of smart cities will depend on effective management of the systems and infrastructure, not purely the performance of the systems themselves. Information technology (IT) deployment is a complex endeavor, and failure to manage the high risks associated with a deployment can lead to total failure in technology-driven public sector projects. An example of this is the disastrous roll out of the health information marketplace for the Affordable Care Act. [8] In fact, 85% of all IT projects fail because of the challenges by non-technical aspects of innovation, in large part - policy, organization, and management-related risks [9]....

"Xi says China must lead way in reform of global governance"

And I'll bet he knows just the man to do it.

First up, the story as reported by Reuters three weeks ago:
June 23, 2018
BEIJING (Reuters) - China must lead the way in reforming global governance, the foreign ministry on Saturday cited President Xi Jinping as saying, as Beijing looks to increase its world influence.

China has sought a greater say in global organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and United Nations, in line with its growing economic and diplomatic clout.

Since taking office in late 2012, Xi has taken a more muscular approach, setting up China’s own global bodies like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and launching his landmark Belt and Road project to build a new Silk Road.

Beijing has cast itself a responsible member of the international community, especially as President Donald Trump withdraws the United States from agreements on climate change and Iran, and as Europe wrestles with Brexit and other issues.

China must “uphold the protection of the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests, proactively participate in and show the way in reform of the global governance system, creating an even better web of global partnership relationships”, Xi said in comments reported at the end of a two-day high-level Communist Party meeting....MORE

And from Project Syndicate, July 12. The writer is Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia:

Xi Jinping’s Vision for Global Governance
Last month, the Communist Party of China concluded its Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, the second since Xi Jinping became China’s undisputed ruler in 2012. These meetings express how the leadership sees China’s place in the world, but they tell the world much about China as well.
NEW YORK – The contrast between the disarray in the West, on open display at the NATO summit and at last month’s G7 meeting in Canada, and China’s mounting international self-confidence is growing clearer by the day. Last month, the Communist Party of China (CPC) concluded its Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, the second since Xi Jinping became China’s undisputed ruler in 2012. These meetings are not everyday affairs. They are the clearest expression of how the leadership sees China’s place in the world, but they tell the world much about China as well.

The last such conference, in 2014, marked the funeral of Deng Xiaoping’s dictum of “hide your strength, bide your time, never take the lead,” and heralded a new era of international activism. In part, this change reflected Xi’s centralization of control, Chinese leaders’ conclusion that American power is in relative decline, and their view that China had become an indispensable global economic player.

Since 2014, China has expanded and consolidated its military position in the South China Sea. It took the idea of the New Silk Road and turned it into a multi-trillion-dollar trade, investment, infrastructure, and wider geopolitical/geo-economic initiative, engaging 73 different countries across much of Eurasia, Africa and beyond. And China signed up most of the developed world to the first large-scale non-Bretton Woods multilateral development bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

China has also launched diplomatic initiatives beyond its immediate sphere of strategic interest in East Asia, as well as actively participating in initiatives such as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. It has developed naval bases in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Djibouti, and participates in naval exercises with Russia as far away as the Mediterranean and the Baltic. In March, China established its own international development agency.

The emergence of a coherent grand strategy (regardless of whether the West chooses to recognize it as such) is not all that has changed since 2014. For starters, the emphasis on the CPC’s role is much stronger than before. Xi, concerned that the party had become marginal to the country’s major policy debates, has reasserted party control over state institutions and given precedence to political ideology over technocratic policymaking. Xi is determined to defy the trend-line of Western history, to see off Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” culminating in the general triumph of liberal democratic capitalism, and preserve a Leninist state for the long term.

This approach – known as “Xi Jinping Thought” – now suffuses China’s foreign policy framework. In particular, Xi’s view that that there are identifiable immutable “laws” of historical development, both prescriptive and predictive, was particularly prominent at last month’s foreign policy conference. If this sounds like old-fashioned dialectical materialism, that’s because it is. Xi embraces the Marxist-Leninist tradition as his preferred intellectual framework....MORE

"The World's Most Mysterious Silver Cups"

From the BBC, July 11:
Rome, 1604:
Pietro Aldobrandini, an aristocratic Italian cardinal and patron of the arts, is hosting a grand meal at his private residence. Surveying the dining room, one of his guests, Fabio Masetti, ambassador to the Duke of Modena and Reggio, is impressed by the awe-inspiring collection of silver on display, glittering in the candlelight. The following day, Masetti writes to his boss, singling out a set of monumental silver objects that caught his eye: “I observed 12 [large serving dishes] with the 12 Caesars, and within sculpted all their triumphs and famous accomplishments, valued at 2,000 scudi.”
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/wwfeatures/wm/live/1600_640/images/live/p0/6d/8y/p06d8yvf.jpg
His words describe the so-called 'Silver Caesars' – a set of 12 silver-gilt 'standing cups' that together comprise a stunning example of Renaissance silverware, arguably the most important suite of silver to have survived from the period. “There is a lot of beautiful Renaissance silver, but nothing quite like the Silver Caesars,” says Julia Siemon, curator of a spellbinding exhibition about them at Waddesdon Manor, the 19th-Century French-style chateau in Buckinghamshire, England, built by a member of the Rothschild banking dynasty whose father owned one. “Really, they are unique: there are no other Renaissance objects like them, no other complete suite.”

Historically, the Silver Caesars have been known as the 'Aldobrandini Tazze', because they once belonged to Cardinal Pietro (1571-1621). A 'tazza' is a shallow, ornamental cup, mounted on a foot, which derives its shape from ancient drinking vessels; 'tazze' is the plural form.

Seeing the 12 tazze together in Waddesdon’s White Drawing Room – reunited for this exhibition for the first time in 150 years – is a magnificent sight. Each cup is around 16in (41cm) high and consists of a statuette of a Roman emperor standing in the centre of a dish decorated with four intricate scenes marking important moments from his life. Every dish in turn rests upon an ornate foot.

There are 48 narrative scenes in total, each illustrating a specific passage from The Twelve Caesars, a famous literary work by the Roman historian Suetonius, written in the early Second Century AD, chronicling the lives of Julius Caesar and Rome’s first 11 emperors....MUCH MORE

Why Revolutionaries Love Spicy Food

From Nautil.us:

How the chili pepper got to China. 
In 1932, the Soviet Union sent one of its best agents to China, a former schoolteacher and counter-espionage expert from Germany named Otto Braun. His mission was to serve as a military adviser to the Chinese Communists, who were engaged in a desperate battle for survival against Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists.

The full story of Braun’s misadventures in China’s Communist revolution is packed with enough twists and turns for a Hollywood thriller. But in the domain of culinary history, one anecdote from Braun’s autobiography stands out. Braun recalls his first impressions of Mao Zedong, the man who would go on to become China’s paramount leader.

The shrewd peasant organizer had a mean, even “spiteful” streak. “For example, for a long time I could not accustom myself to the strongly spiced food, such as hot fried peppers, which is traditional to southern China, especially in Hunan, Mao’s birthplace.” The Soviet agent’s tender taste buds invited Mao’s mockery. “The food of the true revolutionary is the red pepper,” declared Mao. “And he who cannot endure red peppers is also unable to fight.’ ”


Maoist revolution is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when your tongue is burning from a mouthful of Kung Pao chicken or Mapo Tofu at your favorite Chinese restaurant. But the unlikely connection underscores the remarkable history of the chili pepper.

For years culinary detectives have been on the chili pepper’s trail, trying to figure out how a New World import became so firmly rooted in Sichuan, a landlocked province on the southwestern frontier of China. “It’s an extraordinary puzzle,” says Paul Rozin, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, who has studied the cultural evolution and psychological impact of foods, including the chili pepper.
Food historians have pointed to the province’s hot and humid climate, the principles of Chinese medicine, the constraints of geography, and the exigencies of economics. Most recently neuropsychologists have uncovered a link between the chili pepper and risk-taking. The research is provocative because the Sichuan people have long been notorious for their rebellious spirit; some of the momentous events in modern Chinese political history can be traced back to Sichuan’s hot temper.

As Wu Dan, the manager of a hotpot restaurant in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital, told a reporter: “The Sichuanese are fiery. They fight fast and love fast and they like their food to be like them—hot.”

The chili pepper, genus capsicum, is indigenous to the tropics, where archaeological records indicate it has been cultivated and consumed perhaps as far back as 5000 B.C. Typically a perennial shrub bearing red or green fruit, it can be grown as an annual in regions where temperatures reach freezing in the winter. There are five domesticated species, but most of the chili peppers consumed in the world belong to just two, Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens.

The active ingredient in chili peppers is a compound called capsaicin. When ingested, capsaicin triggers pain receptors whose normal evolutionary purpose is to alert the body to dangerous physical heat. The prevailing theory is the chili pepper’s burn is a trick to dissuade mammals from eating it, because the mammalian digestive process normally destroys chili pepper seeds, preventing further propagation. Birds—which do not destroy chili pepper seeds during digestion—have no analogous receptors. When a bird eats a chili pepper, it doesn’t feel a thing, excretes the seeds, and spreads the plant.

The word “chili” comes from the Nahuatl family of languages, spoken, most famously, by the Aztecs. (One early Spanish translation of the word was “el miembro viril”—tantalizing early evidence of the chili pepper’s inherent machismo.) Botanists believe the chili pepper originated in southwest Brazil or south central Bolivia, but by the 15th century, birds and humans had spread it throughout South and Central America.
Enter Christopher Columbus....MORE

The China Ship Chapter 2: "Galleon of China: flagship of trade over two centuries"

Following up on last week's "The discovery of the roundtrip and the beginning of globalisation""

From the South China Morning Post:
Galleons of the Pacific, Acapulco or Manila, and Nao de China, which translates to China Ship, were all colloquial names for the transpacific vessels that sailed the tornaviaje for more than two and a half centuries. Though similar, the ships were built from different materials than their European counterparts, and had other unique characteristics

Construction By the 16th century, shipbuilding in Spain was extremely advanced and master shipwrights brought their cutting-edge techniques to the Philippines. Though they were still built according to Spanish regulation, the Philippines’ abundance of high-quality wood allowed them to construct hundreds of galleons well into the 17th century – each more grand and ornate than the last

Timber
Tropical hardwoods in the Philippines were strong, durable and insect-resistant, with the best coming from bitaog, apitong, terminalia trees, as well as banaba, palo maria, dangam, arguijo and coamings. Shipwrights would identify the most suitable timber for the build, and then take workers on expeditions to find and collect it
It took 6,000 workers three months to find enough timber for one ship 
Shipbuilders took advantage of the natural shapes of different tree varieties, depending on how they would be used in the construction. A straight pine trunk, for example, was perfect for a mast, whereas a crooked one might be ideal to frame the keel 

Cut down with a new moon
According to tradition, trees hewn with the new moon would be drier, harder and more resistant to weathering, putrefaction and fungal infection...MUCH MORE
Coming up:
Chapter 3 A journey of dread
Chapter 4 How silver changed the world

Friday, July 13, 2018

"$1.8 Billion for Crypto at Lightspeed Ventures..."

From Hacker Noon:

$1.8 Billion for Crypto at Lightspeed: Notable VC Firms are Raising Sizable Funds for Crypto & AI
Lightspeed Ventures, a well-known Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has set up a $1.8B fund for crypto. At the same time, Andreessen Horowitz another notable VC firm stated:
“We believe that just as the last three megatrends — mobile, social, and cloud — intersected and reinforced each other, so will the next three megatrends — next-gen computing devices, AI, and crypto.” — a16zcrytpo.com
Another recent quote sums up the fervor in crypto among funds in a very powerful way:
“The hedge fund financiers backing QI are far from the only City bigwigs putting cash behind AI and related fintech projects.
In May, the Swiss bank UBS said it was moving 80 staff into a new artificial-intelligence division, dubbed the Strategic Development Lab, which is dedicated to defending its fixed-income trading turf against hungry fintech startups.
Later the same month Deutsche Börse, the German stock exchange, said it had earmarked €270m for investment in big data analysis, blockchain, robotics and AI.
Meanwhile, the City Corporation’s top envoy to the EU, Jeremy Browne, said late last month that he thinks AI will be more disruptive to UK financial firms than Brexit, in the long term.
Quant Insight and its backers are betting that banks and asset managers will also tap into new tech by buying in services like the one it offers. The analytics firm said it has grown customer numbers by 50% this year, and has added new staff to sell its services in Asia and the US.
It is also working with “major banks” on creating bespoke indexes and equity baskets — groups of stocks that share certain characteristics and are likely to move in a similar way in response to given macro events.”
As more funds focus on AI and cryptocurrencies, just as our fund has done for the last 4 years, we anticipate a consolidation of quality with funds focused on high-end crypto technologies that utilize AI, NLP and Machine Learning.

A few examples of cryptos being targeted by new crypto and AI-focused funds might be: Matrix AI, Vectorspace AI or SingularityNet [link].

Venture capital firm behind snapchat, Lightspeed is planning to set a brand-new cryptocurrency project that will be first of its kind for a premium venture company, an earmarked pool of cash within a bigger fund to be spent entirely and exclusively on crypto investments.

Lightspeed Ventures, a point-of-sale and e-commerce software provider based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They provide small and medium-sized retail and restaurant businesses with a point of sale solutions. The company in the back of hits like Snap has been exploring three other choices as a part of an effort led via partner Aaron Batalion to tremendously scale up the company’s activity within the area.

Sources predict that instead of creating an entirely separate fund, the company would seek the newly raised fund and save some of the cash crypto deals exclusively. But the final plans have not been decided yet....MORE