Memia 2021.43: Metastasis or metamorphosis?🐛🦋// more meme stonks🐶// China's ghost cities🏗️// solar sheep farming⛅🐑// brainhacking🧠// awesome in the true sense of the word🤯

Emanator detected♾️

Kia ora,

Welcome to this week’s Memia newsletter - your regular scan across emerging tech, global change and the future as it unfolds from Aotearoa New Zealand.


Weekly roundup

The most clicked links in the last issue (only 4% of openers each were the Electrek guide to weird and wonderful EVs on Alibaba) and the first glimpse of Jeff Bezos’ US$500M superyacht.

Also this week:


🐛🦋Metastasis or Metamorphosis?

  • 🏅So, I called it: Facebook (the company) is now Meta.

  • The announcement was made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg towards the end of the hour-long Facebook Connect 21 webcast, which included a bunch of saccharine skits on what Meta’s vision for the Metaverse looks like. There are moments of “wow” when you want to buy into the Ready Player One vision - but right now, all too self-conscious and, er, *kids cartoon aesthetic*… Also, switch off the compulsory dental smiles and ubiquitous ambient music/sound!

Ben Thompson: “Why now for the vision? There is an aspect of Facebook’s seems very hamstrung as far as acquisitions go, is there really any other alternative for Facebook’s cash flow other than returning it to investors than this all-in bet on the metaverse? I guess, in other words, is Facebook building the metaverse because it is best positioned to build something that is inevitable, or because Facebook needs the metaverse to exist so that it has further growth opportunities that are independent of Apple?”

Mark Zuckerberg: “…One of the things that I’ve found in building the company so far is that you can’t reduce everything to a business case upfront. I think a lot of times the biggest opportunity is you kind of just need to care about them and think that something is going to be awesome and have some conviction and build it. One of the things that I’ve been surprised about a number of times in my career is when something that seemed really obvious to me and that I expected clearly someone else is going to go build this thing, that they just don’t. I think a lot of times things that seem like they’re obvious that they should be invested in by someone, it just doesn’t happen.”

“The strategic goal is clearest. We are vulnerable on mobile to Google and Apple because they make major mobile platforms. We would like a stronger position in the next wave of computing. We can achieve this only by building both a major platform as well as key apps…we need to build both.

…From a timing perspective, we are better off the sooner [our] next platform becomes ubiquitous and the shorter the time we exist in a primarily mobile world dominated by Apple and Google…Therefore, our goal is not only to win in VR/AR, but also to accelerate its arrival.

(Incidentally I thought this was my Smartest.Tweet.Ever. …but not many others did!🤣)


🐶More meme stonks

Global markets still a-flexing.

  • An NFT was seemingly purchased for over US$532 Million (CORRECTION FROM ORIGINAL POST: NOT Billion!!) . Er….

Twitter avatar for @nanexcoolmariano.eth ✨ᕙ༼💦༽ᕗ✨ | 🦇🔊 @nanexcool
This is so good :) - Flash loan as much as you can - List your punk for an insane amount of $ETH - Buy it - Other account gives you the ETH back - Repay
etherscan.io/tx/0x92488a00d…

CryptoPunks Bot @cryptopunksbot

Punk 9998 bought for 124,457.07 ETH ($532,414,877.01 USD) by 0x9b5a5c from 0x8e3983. https://t.co/dmT6jDRC1W #cryptopunks #ethereum https://t.co/UQlmm1oqkj

Once again, the fantastic Kyla Scanlon uniquely weaves the threads together as to WTF might be going on: Why Money Isn’t Real:

We often use inductive reasoning in finance -

  • “This company has x cash flow, cash flow is a good sign of a good company, so this is a good company”

  • [observation → analysis → theory]

But in Meme Markets, its more deductive reasoning

  • “dog coin goes up, this is a dog coin, dog coin go up”.

  • [idea → observation → conclusion]

Of course, this is all going to end well…


[Weak] signals

Were there any signals this week other than we’re all going to live in a corporate cartoon Metaverse??

Yes, lots! (But only enough room for a few links here after the extended Meta commentary above… as always, check out @memialabs Twitter feed for links that have been catching my eye recently. Normal service resumed next week.)

🏗️What housing crisis?

🧠Brainhacking

"To hack a human being is to get to know that person better than they know themselves. And based on that, to increasingly manipulate you…

It's data about what's happening inside my body. What we have seen so far, it's corporations and governments collecting data about where we go, who we meet, what movies we watch. The next phase is surveillance going under our skin." 

(A topic for more in-depth investigation another day… as someone who leans into promises of cyborgism/brain-augmentation with AI I’ve got a bunch of thoughts to unpack here…so much opportunity too. As always the issue’s not the technology per se but the [models governing] how it’s designed / applied…)

⛅🐑Solar sheep farming


Mind expanding

Two videos I enjoyed recently pushing the edge of my understanding:


Rollcall

  • The Meta announcement will have done wonders for long-innovating Aotearoa motion capture startup StretchSense. Congrats to CEO Ben O’Brien and team on the stamina to make it this far…future looking bright!


Hidden gems

To finish…

🎃Scariest pumpkin ever

🤯Awesome in the true sense of the word

Natural Aotearoa really laid it on thick at the weekend for me - here’s my view tramping in the backcountry behind Lake Takapō. (With sincere apologies to all still in lockdown in Tāmaki Makaurau and Waikato).🫂

That’s it for another week…as always 🙏🙏🙏 to everyone who reaches out and gets in touch with thoughts, feedback, links. Keep’em coming!

Ngā mihi

Ben