December 27, 2017 | Time to Read: 2 min 47 seconds
Good afternoon squad,
Hope everybody has enjoyed a lovely holiday with family and friends. Eggnog leads to sleepy mornings and late last minute newsletter edits.
Here’s some stuff you may or may not care about.
Spare Time Links
- Generation Screwed, Huffington Post
- Jeff Bezos’ Playbook, Recode
- Tax Bill calculator (find out if your taxes will go up or down)
Government’s role in healthcare is growing. Years of attacks on Obamacare — including the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill — have resulted in a more government-focused healthcare law. Here’s what you should know:
- Repealing the individual mandate means people no longer face a tax penalty for not buying insurance
- This means that healthier people with less need for insurance are less likely to buy it
- The remaining people make up a heavily subsidized high-risk pool of low-income people who are not eligible for Medicaid and must rely on government subsidies to pay their bills
- This remaining pool of insurance buyers will have higher costs, on average, so insurers will increase premiums even more
- When premiums rise, consumers are entitled to larger subsidies from the federal government to help defray the higher costs
- The brunt of premium increases falls on people who must pay the entire cost themselves — an individual with annual income over $48,240 or a family of four with income over $98,400
The hot take…this is exactly what the GOP didn’t want to see happen. The expansion of Medicaid was largely focused on lower income people, but does not address the lower-middle class. This group is generally exempt from Medicaid and relies instead on subsidies to meet the cost of premiums. When premiums go up, subsidies go up. When subsidies go up, the government spends more money.
Tony Stark outsourced his UX/UI. How would you like to be the UX/Visual designer that designs holograms and futuristic computer interfaces for movies? That’s what Territory Studios does, and they just did it for Blade Runner 2049. They designed experiences that had to take into account standard human-computer interaction principles in addition to a dystopian, datapocalyptic world. Sounds awesome, right?
The hot take…design is hard enough, but designing for a world that doesn’t exist means learning (read: inventing) new rules, understanding a non-existent culture, and in many ways re-imagining the human condition. And did I mention they had to build everything? Denis Villeneuve wanted actors to perform in physical environments. None of it was added in post-production. Check out the full article.
AI chip revolution. 2017 was the year that startups and companies began developing GPUs, the hardware for machine learning technologies. These silicon chips process rapid-fire calculations at much quicker speeds than the traditional CPU. The overarching goal for all these companies is to make inference and machine training — two key machine learning processes — faster and more power-efficient.
The hot take…everyone is looking to get into the game, but Google and Nvidia are leading the way. Nvidia practically owns the GPU market and Google released a line of machine learning chips called Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) earlier this year. Still, VC firms have poured almost $1B into 7 different startups trying to carve out their own niche in this space.
S&P 500: (+0.6%)
The hot take…Santa brought presents to some and coal to others.
- Apple’s stock slipped by more than 4% on Tuesday after news that it had slashed its expected iPhone X sales from 50M to 30M
- U.S. consumer confidence ends 2017 at a nearly 17-year high. This means most Americans anticipate making bigger purchases in 2018 and even taking a vacation
- Oil hit $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015. That’s good news for the U.S., which is on track for a record oil output in 2018. But bad for the polar bears.
Startup to Watch
Hybrid AI. Fin is a Human-AI assistant that, for $1/minute will do all the stuff you hate doing. It can call and make appointments for you, it can pay bills, it can, schedule meetings, it can send text messages…anything you give it information. That’s because the AI is just the user interface, ingesting information the same way a customer service line for Jet Blue does. On the other end is a specialist who can take care of everything you need.
The hot take…AI isn’t smart enough to differentiate from very specific tasks, you still need humans to help in most cases. But if you’re holding out to start that company because AI hasn’t matured to the point at which it’s commercially (and cheaply) available to develop on, consider solving your problem with a hybrid machine learning/human solution. The biggest reason? You can start collecting data. And data is more valuable than gold. Check it out.
Did you know…
China opens around 50 high bridges each year. The entire rest of the world opens ten.
Be well and do good work.
Cross-posted from humpdayspice.com