#0019: Rehabilitated python

Apple looks to be taking a slightly unusual approach when testing it’s self-driving vehicles. If this article can be believed, Apple has jury-rigged a Logitech video gaming wheel and pedal set into the drive-by-wire feature of the car, and plugged it in so that the car can be controlled by a driver from the back seat. #mechanised #autonomous

This article provides a really detailed (and long!) breakdown of Amazon’s strategy. It’s worth contrasting their current strategy with what they had originally planned with AWS. It was imagined for a while that Apple would be the first company to hit a USD$1 trillion valuation. But perhaps Amazon will get there first. #strategy #amazon #aws

As if ridding the world of internal combustion engines, establishing a second human colony in the Solar System, or fundamentally replacing global mass-transit systems is not enough, Elon Musk has a new project. This time, he’s trying to build an ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interface to connect humans to computers. Is there anything that this guy can’t do? Interested? Here’s a really detailed exploration of what Neuralink is planning. #cognitive #ironman

According to Bloomberg, it sounds like more than a few chatbots have something over and above tech to make them work. The special sauce? Real people. #cognitive #chatbot

Jimmy Wales (of Wikipedia fame) has launched a evidence based news service called ‘WikiTribune’ to find #fakenews. I really hope this works out. #news

A team has built an AI that learns to play a video game from instructions in plane English. #cognitive

The co-founder of DeepMind explains how AI will help us make unimaginable leaps in understanding the world. $ #cognitive

Lawrence Krauss is one of the best science communicators in the World today. His 2017 Darwin Day Lecture is really worth listening to. Fave quote: “Just because we don’t know everything doesn’t mean we don’t know anything.” #science #universe

The story of the Juicero Juicer is fascinating on many levels. But the hyperbolic over-engineering of the device is a whole story in itself. #hubris #iot #design

The always brilliant Wait, but Why? gets underneath Elon Musk’s latest venture: Neuralink. #cognitive

Spotify has acquired blockchain startup Mediachain to “solve music’s attribution problem”. #transactional #blockchain

Need something interesting to do while you’re waiting for the tube? Try this. #hourslost

Special Event: Google Demo Day, London

I managed to spend some time at the first European Google Demo Day this week. Ten startups had the chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry luminaries. Here’s a (very!) brief summary of the pitches:

  • Divido — point-of-sale finance
  • Asaduru — self-sufficient green homes
  • Woom Fertility — fertility management
  • XapiX.io — API marketplace and tools
  • Kompyte — competitor monitoring
  • Kenzen — smart health insights
  • Nordigen — credit scoring from transaction analysis
  • Connecterra — #agtech platform for smart dairy farming
  • zzish — #edtech platform for monetising education apps
  • motivii — smart feedback platform to help managers and their teams

My fave was Connecterra because I think it had the biggest commercial and social impact. Best quotes: “only 10% of dairy farms use any form of technology” and “the average age of dairy farmers in the us is 59”. There is a lot of upside in this space and these folks seem to be executing very well. This was the crowd’s favourite as well. The judges’ winner was Kenzen. They had a rock-star team, made some bold claims about really interesting tech, and looked to have a great growth story.

Takeaways from the event:

  • The judging panel drew attention to the ratio of LCV (lifetime customer value) and CCA (customer cost of acquisition) on multiple occasions. This is obviously a key metric (at least to this panel) in how they value the startups.
  • VCs vote for the team first, and then they vote for hard tech. This was really clear in their response to Kenzen, which they described as having one of the best startup teams that they had seen assembled.

Only in Australia

I don’t know who’s getting the wrong end of the deal here: Drug-addicted python rehabilitated by Australian prisoners. #onlyinaustralia

Friday Teaser

Here’s a simple one: cross out nine letters from the list of letter below to spell out a single word:


The usual variety bag of empty promises awaits the first correct answer.