Memia 2020.26: V/W/L-shaped recoveries, revisited📉📈// extortion dance💃🧧🕺// mind expanding🧠// imminent civilizational collapse💥// prosecution futures ₿// shouting zeroes and ones🔟
☑️I AM a Robot🤖
The most clicked link in the last issue (~14% of openers) was the Mashable video of new hyper light Graphene structure - exploring a bit deeper, the original research is actually 3 years old.
V/W/L-shaped recoveries, revisited📉📈
Back in Memia 2020.12 I looked at various predictions for Post-Covid economic recovery scenarios, including potential “V”, “W” and “L” shapes. The latest SME revenue data from accounting firm Xero provides a pretty compelling justification for AoNZ’s “go hard and go early” lockdown and elimination strategy - Australia is now likely heading into a “W” with the new outbreaks in Victoria and NSW… stay focused folks across the ditch, it’s worth it on the other side…
More recent economic analysis:
Ganesh Ahirio and the team at BERL provide a goldmine of data on the AoNZ economic outlook in their Birds Eye View - Winter Update (southern hemisphere winter!) Interesting nugget:
“The RBNZ has ruled out negative interest rates in 2020, although this is reportedly due to significant challenges for banks whose IT systems are not prepared for negative rates.”
…and some advice for September’s incoming government:
“Any new administration will be faced with the challenge of turning a behavioural focus on short-term sprints to check-box targets, towards more concerted long-term marathon outcome goals. However, any new administration would be foolish to not – in the OECD’s words - seize this opportunity.”
(See also Where is Aotearoa headed? What's the vision? Where is the 100 year strategic plan? No one knows. BERL calls for a new (old) Commission for the Future).
Sharon Zollner and the economics team at ANZ expect more monetary easing in their most recent research note, with a difficult outlook ahead:
“Despite the vigour of the bounce out of lockdown…a very challenging period lies ahead…We expect that we will enter 2021 with GDP about 5% below pre-crisis levels, inflation below the RBNZ’s 1-3% target band, and unemployment hovering near 10%, with a slow recovery in prospect. And there are significant downside risks”
Meanwhile internationally the outlook looks ever more precipitous:
Joseph Stiglitz and Hamid Rashid: How to Prevent the Looming Sovereign-Debt Crisis
…Finnish doomsayer economist Tuomas Malinen highlights perhaps the largest of several elephants in the room: IMF research highlighting the divergence between financial markets and the real economy is at unprecedented levels.
Microsoft are in talks to acquire TikTok from Chinese owner ByteDance:
But in all seriousness this is a poisoned deal…🤮 Trump threatens to ban TikTok one day and then next day opens the door for a Microsoft purchase…with a deal commission for the US Treasury?!:
“It can’t be controlled for security reasons by China,” Mr. Trump said of TikTok, adding that he did not mind if Microsoft or another very secure, “very American” company bought it instead… “A very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States, because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen” - New York Times
Just yuk. Expect MS to walk away quietly in a few months. (Plus, remember Skype).
A new regular section of mind expanding reading / watching I’ve come across:
…Starting with this profile from 2018 of Edinburgh University philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark - one of the originators of the theory of extended mind:
“One day, he lost his laptop, and felt so disoriented and enfeebled that it was as if he’d had a stroke.”
My idea of Saturday evening relaxation: comprehensive and accessible recent lecture by superstar physicist Sean Carroll: 5 Mysteries of Modern Physics. I learned a lot in 1 hour *without* putting it on 1.5X speed.
Dark Study: an emergent alternative to fees-based university-authorised study, born out of the Covid pandemic:
“Dark Study is an experimental program centered on art…We are digitally-rooted and virtual-first. Dark Study takes up the work that the university prevents through regulation, intellectual property ownership, and massive debt…Dark Study is a refuge for students dealing with the untenability of higher education and the fallout of neoliberalism.”
(ht spotting @k_pendergrast)
Memia’s regular collection of signals from near and far futures:
Imminent civilizational collapse💥:
Two theoretical physicists specializing in complex systems have modeled global deforestation is on track to trigger the “irreversible collapse” of human civilization within the next two to four decades. Original peer-reviewed paper in Nature here.
(…which makes everything else that follows below somewhat prosaic…)
Future of WFH:
Barclays Bank CEO says big (7000-worker) city offices may be a ‘thing of the past’
“We have also seen people making new and renewed commitments to values and goals (for example, balancing time spent at work and with family), and preparing to make meaningful trade-offs that will shape their life choices long after the current crisis passes.”
Ethereum turned 5, with a market cap of US$44,180,075,601 at the time of writing, the 2nd largest cryptocurrency in circulation behind Bitcoin.
But despite early promise and the $millions raised in Eth ICOs back in the day, there are still no critical mass DApps or smart contracts built on Ethereum technology - indeed the top 10 Eth DApps may total less than 10,000 users. Still a way to go.
Back in 2016, financial regulators started referring to the ₿ Bitcoin blockchain as “Prosecution Futures” due to the ease of tracking: check out this video from crypto forensics firm Elliptic of how ₿ paid in response to the recent Twitter Hack are being laundered:
Poking holes in the Great Firewall:
Alibaba Cloud is helping Australian universities skirt Chinese government internet controls to keep classes going for mainland Chinese students. Where does this lead…?
Free Energy (maybe):
Assembly began on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) - which will be the world's first industrial-scale fusion device when it is completed in five years’ time.
Robots, robots, robots:
🤖Last word on robots goes to Viz Comic🤣:
Lots of local moving and shaking to report as usual:
Welcome home to Wipster CEO Rollo Wenlock, partner Gemma and family, relocating back to Ōtautahi from Portland, Oregon in response to the pandemic and now running the globally dispersed Wipster team remotely from AoNZ.
Dawn Aerospace unveiled their new suborbital spaceplane, the Mk-II Aurora:
Andrew Chen and a diverse group of luminaries have published a new book: Shouting Zeroes and Ones - Digital Technology, Ethics and Policy in New Zealand
Simplified is a new election-year initiative by a group of passionate VUW students which aims to make politics accessible, understandable and entertaining for young people. Great resource and growing by the day.
Twitter Friend Circles: get your own personal Echo Chamber graphic at https://chirpty.com/. All the heroes are here:
And in the week when the first commercial spaceflight mission splashed down successfully, some more awesome imagery of our local neighbourhood:
The usual 🙏 appreciation to those readers who take the time to get in touch with links and feedback!
…And as always if you enjoy these Memia posts, please take the time to share with a friend in AoNZ or around the 🌎🌍🌏. Thank you!
Cheers / Ngā mihi