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Issue #23

Young people prefer being tracked, trees blamed for air pollution, first brain implant patient becomes better gamer, and more.

News from June 27 - July 4, 2024

Young People Prefer Being Tracked

Young internet users are increasingly embracing location tracking, citing safety, comfort, and the inevitability of being watched by large corporations. This trend is especially popular among couples, with many admitting to sharing their partner’s live location, and some even saving it as their lock screen.

Commentary from people in their 20s suggests that stopping live location sharing can create tension in relationships. Young person: “Ending location sharing is the modern version of cutting someone out of photos.”

Despite this growing trend, privacy campaigners continue to fight on behalf of the population. Thanks to their efforts, Microsoft recently scrapped plans for a new feature that would have taken screenshots of a user’s PC every five seconds to train artificial intelligence.


Revolut CEO Builds $200 Million Side Bet

Nik Storonsky, known for shaking up banking with Revolut, is now aiming to transform venture capital with QuantumLight. Founded in 2022, the London-based firm uses algorithms and AI to source early-stage deals, bypassing traditional human input. 

QuantumLight has already invested in nearly a dozen startups after raising $200 million for its debut fund. Storonsky believes these methods will dominate the startup investment landscape, echoing his success with Revolut.

Ilya Kondrashov, CEO: “We look quite different compared to a traditional venture firm.” 


Trees Blamed for Air Pollution

A new study claims that trees contribute to air pollution, challenging their positive environmental role. Researchers found that chemicals from plants react with pollutants, worsening smog. 

Using measurements from 2021, they identified trees as major pollution sources, especially on hot days. Eva Pfannerstill, atmospheric chemist: "Since it’s hard to control the plant emissions, it’s even more important to control the [human-caused] part." 

This research underscores the complex interplay between natural and human-made pollutants in urban areas.


Bulletin Board

  • First Brain Implant Patient Becomes Better Gamer. Noland Arbaugh, the first patient with Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain-computer chip, has gained the ability to control a cursor with his mind. The 29-year-old, paralyzed after a diving accident, now enjoys enhanced gaming skills, likening the device to having an "aimbot" in his head. Noland: "They’ll probably have different leagues for people like me because it’s just not fair." Despite this, he faced issues with thread retraction due to air trapped in his skull following surgery and acknowledged potential hacking concerns. Source 
  • AI Ruins Google’s Environmental Goals. Google's carbon emissions surged in 2023 due to the energy demands of its AI initiatives. The increase opposes Google's goal to reach net-zero by 2030. To address this, the company plans to use carbon removal strategies, despite controversies surrounding their high costs and uncertain long-term effectiveness. Other tech giants like Amazon are also exploring alternative energy generation solutions like nuclear power to meet the energy needs of their AI projects. Source 
  • Tap-To-Pay Is Becoming Smarter. A new “Multi-Purpose Tap” concept will allow NFC-enabled devices to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, such as checking ID, adding loyalty points, paying, and providing digital receipts. Detailed by the NFC Forum, which includes Apple and Google, this concept aims to streamline transactions and share product details. However, it raises privacy concerns, as it could enable targeted marketing and easier linking of customer profiles. Source 
  • Startups Using Ocean as Waste Dump. Desperate to address climate change, scientists are considering ambitious projects like reducing sunlight and extracting carbon from the air. One such approach involves enhancing the ocean's ability to absorb carbon. Startups are experimenting with techniques to increase this capacity, such as using electrochemical methods or dissolving minerals like olivine in seawater. While promising, these methods face questions about safety, scalability, and funding. Despite current modest impacts, combined efforts could significantly reduce atmospheric carbon, potentially making zero carbon a reality. Source 
  • Americans Set July 4 Record. High fuel costs and the threat of a hurricane aren't stopping Americans from traveling this Fourth of July. Record travel numbers are expected, with millions driving, flying, and using other modes of transport. Despite recent declines, fuel prices remain well above historical levels. John LaForge, head of real asset strategy at Wells Fargo: "It's more about the rate of change than the price itself that affects the psyche of consumers." Patrick De Haan, analyst: "Americans are optimistic and wanting to travel, there's no denying it." 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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