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Issue #12

Brazil demands tourist bank info, McDonald's debuts a scented billboard, digital clones take over work tasks, and more.

News from April 11 - April 18, 2024

Brazil Demands Tourist Bank Info

Starting next April, U.S. travelers to Brazil will need to submit bank statements to secure a visa. The requirement seeks to ensure travelers are financially stable for their stay.

Americans must show an average balance of at least $2,000 in their accounts, using the last three bank statements or six payslips. Those unable to meet this can have a sponsor vouch for them financially.

Brazil saw nearly six million arrivals in 2023, with 483,000 U.S. citizens visiting in the first nine months of the year alone.


Bill Gates: AI Can Take My Job

Bill Gates is now worried that AI could become so advanced that it could even take his job.

During an interview, the Microsoft founder said: “I was very skeptical. I didn’t expect ChatGPT to get so good. I get a lot of excitement that, hey, I’m good at working on malaria, and malaria eradication, and getting smart people and applying resources to that. When the machine says to me, ‘Bill, go play pickleball, I’ve got malaria eradication. You’re just a slow thinker,’ then it is a philosophically confusing thing.”

In the past, Gates has emphasized that personal AI agents will transform everyone’s life in the next five years, giving an example of how the technology is helping doctors do their paperwork, which is “part of the job they don’t like, we can make that very efficient.”


Crypto As Common As Owning Home

Owning cryptocurrency is almost as common as owning a home for Gen Z and millennials, a new survey reveals. Only about 20% of these generations owns real estate compared to 21% who have crypto.

This comes as the income required for buying a home in the U.S. has surged 80% since 2020, outpacing the 23% increase in median household income. A household now needs over $106,000 yearly to afford a typical home, with an annual income of $150,000 required in 14 major housing markets.

A significant generational investment shift is also taking shape, with more Gen Z owning crypto than stocks, contrasting with Baby Boomers’ preference for stock ownership (27%) compared to crypto (10%).


Bulletin Board

  • Spotify Letting Users ‘Remix’ Songs. Spotify is reportedly planning to launch a new feature allowing users to remix songs by altering the playback speed and combining tracks. The move is aimed at enhancing user engagement and attracting younger audiences. The remix tool will likely be exclusive to Spotify Premium. Additionally, Spotify may increase its subscription fees by one to two dollars in some markets by the end of 2024. Source 
  • Digital Clones Take Over Work Tasks. Digital “clones” are now being used to attend Zoom meetings and answer emails, enabling businesspeople and influencers to maintain a virtual presence effortlessly. These AI-powered avatars, which cost between $19 to $399 a month, are designed to mimic their user's speech and thought patterns with precision, using personal data like voice recordings and videos. Jodie Cook, an AI engineer, points out that these digital clones are set to become more accurate and capable of handling complex conversations as the technology advances. Source
  • Dogs Get ‘White Paw’ Luxury Airline. A dog toy company has launched "BARK Air," a luxury airline service for dogs, offering amenities such as music, warm towels, and pheromones. Ticket prices start at $6,000 for a one-way trip to Los Angeles, with round-trip tickets costing up to $16,000. The service will initially operate flights from New York to Los Angeles and London, starting May 23. Matt Meeker, CEO of BARK, emphasizes that this service is designed to be dog-first, a significant shift from merely accommodating dogs, enhancing their experience from the ground to the skies. Source
  • McDonald's Debuts Scented Billboard. McDonald’s in the Netherlands has introduced a unique advertising campaign using scent-emitting billboards that release the aroma of their fries. The billboards have no logos and only include the recognizable smell. The bright red ads are all located within a few hundred feet of a McDonald’s. “Perfect when you roll off the night train at 7AM on a Sunday,” one person commented. CMO of McDonald’s Netherlands: “Smell has been proven to be more effective at sparking clear and emotional memories than images. With the inclusion of this next sense in our advertising, we found a new way to remind people of good times at McDonald’s.” Source
  • ‘Dead Internet Theory’ May Come True. The "Dead Internet Theory" suggests that most online interactions are between bots, not humans. Initially dismissed, advancements in AI might soon validate this theory. On TikTok, more and more videos are entirely AI-generated, from the voice-over to the pictures to the script. Instagram and X (formerly known as Twitter) are also plagued with bot-generated comments, especially on popular posts that receive automated comments to generate fake likes to get to the top of users’ feeds. Further, TikTok plans to explore virtual influencers who could compete with human influencers for brand deals, creating both the script and the influencer to perform in the video based on advertiser prompts. Source 

Disclaimer: This blog offers insights into international business and global events for informational purposes only. It is not intended as investment or business advice. WeavePay is not liable for any decisions made based on the content provided.

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