Memia 2020.38: Flu.🦠Shot.🤒// climate action priorities🌀// ScoMo's lack of tech ambition💤// the chip wars of the 21st century⚔️

It hinges on Hong Kong⏳🇭🇰

Hi / Kia ora,

Welcome to another Memia newsletter, a regular weekly scan across the future as it unfolds - as viewed from my corner of the world, Aotearoa New Zealand.

The most clicked link in the last issue (~15% of openers) was video of the Liebherr cranes lifting cranes lifting cranes. Two words: Boys. Toys.🤐

Having been liberated from the election cacophony here in AoNZ a week and a half ago, it’s now just 7 days until our friends across the Pacific (and, being frank, the whole world) are *hopefully* liberated as well. To everyone reading this in the US, we’re hanging out with you over here…🙏

Flu.🦠Shot.🤒

Perhaps the most unforeseen outcome of AoNZ’s lockdowns, border closures, stricter hygiene and social distancing during 2020 is that the number of Kiwis with the flu fell by 99.8 per cent compared with the previous year!

The *ubiquitous* Professor Michael Baker said:

“What the Covid-19 response has done has largely eliminated those excess winter deaths …mortality as a whole is down around 5 percent, so that means an extra 1500 people will survive this year who wouldn't have.”

Image

(Graphic credit: TVNZ)

Meanwhile Yale Science Professor Nicholas Christakis previews some of the arguments in his forthcoming book Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live with this thought experiment: what if…Covid-19 had been deadlier? (Click for the whole thread, compelling).

Climate action priorities🌀

The AoNZ Sustainable Business Council and Climate Leaders' Coalition released a Briefing to Incoming Government on Climate Action Priorities, representing the views of over 150 businesses contributing towards more than a third of New Zealand’s GDP:

I’ll let the summary of recommendations speak for themselves:

ScoMo’s lack of tech ambition💤

Across the ditch, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a speech centred on his government’s “digital policies”: in short, accelerating adoption of imported tech products by SMEs rather than creation and export of new technologies. The Aussie tech sector was quick to comment: “uninspiring”, “lacking ambition” and, more fundamentally, inconsistent with the Australian government’s emphasis on supply chain security and sovereignty in response to the pandemic:

…But at least Australia has a tech policy. The New Zealand Labour party’s manifesto - on which they just won an electoral landslide - contains absolutely NOTHING on tech or digital except for “30,000 digital training vouchers” and pursuing “Digital Economic Partnership Agreement” trade deals.

Which would we prefer: a lack of ambition or a total policy vacuum…?

Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Quad⚔️

With all of our media attention fixated on the US election soap opera, rather more significant changes are happening closer to AoNZ’s region:

“Hong Kong is a good indicator of the strength and nature of globalisation.  The regime change underway in the global system runs directly through Hong Kong.”

“The dispute over Huawei’s access to [Taiwanese] TSMC has highlighted how vulnerable American industry is to the loss of its sole supply of advanced chips. If the matter cannot be solved by negotiation, China may perceive the restrictions as economic warfare and rapidly escalate, potentially threatening Taiwan. It is not at all clear that Washington has thought through the consequences of its actions here, nor that the current administration has considered chip supply as part of a wider supply chain security and national industrial policy.”

Expect some rapid chess moves to play out in the region after the US presidential election result is clear.

  • Meanwhile, directly related, Australia, Japan and India have been practicing their “Quad exercises” with the US:

[Weak] signals

The steady stream of signals received from the unfolding future…

More CDBCs

About-facial recognition

What can’t you do with AI?

  • Two amazing videos of what you can do with GPT-3 in Google Sheets🤯:

  • (…or alternatively…🤣)

AR

  • Never get lost indoors with this helpful AR guidance bot:

VR-esolution

Future VR could employ new ultrahigh-res display

Quantum supremacy supremacy?

Building ecotech

  • A new type of cooling paint is able to reflect 95.5% of sunlight and reduce surface temperatures by 1.7C compared to the ambient air conditions, promising significant reductions in CO2 emissions from buildings.

  • Simple natural light tubes to bring light indoors by day and night:

Mind expanding

So much being covered that this week’s newsletter Mind Expanding links couldn’t fit into the weekly email - but they’re amazing reading covering Data Science, Humanity as a *Complex System* The Ministry Of The Future and Imagining the End of Capitalism (Twice)read them online here instead.

Rollcall

Going on around AoNZ this week:

Hidden gems

Finally, a couple of nuggets from around the internet this week:

  • Before it ends (see Mind Expanding above), capitalism thrives:

🙏🙏🙏 Thanks as always to everyone who takes time every week to get in touch with links and feedback, it’s always great to hear from you.

Special request: if you enjoyed reading this week’s newsletter, please take a moment to share with someone in your network who might enjoy it too. Thank you!

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More next week…

Cheers / Ngā mihi

Ben