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Eating the Crappy Stuff

19 February Subscribe
Tech news, HAT-slanted 
Issue 130

Facebook imitates WeChat

Whelp, it finally happened. The West caught up to innovation in China.

Last week, Facebook - sorry, a consortium of participants of which Facebook is but one member - pulled back the veil on Libra, the crypto-currency that will be embedded across many/most of the platform's technologies to achieve WeChat-like payment functionality around the world. 

There's lots of interesting stuff here, mostly around its being a bull-case for cryptocurrencies that will finally get used and how the developing world will never need banks now, or something. It is of course awesome that this technology can serve as payment solution to the underbanked - there are still tooooons of those and tech to fix that is tech for good. But it definitively remains to be seen that this solves a problem in earnest for everyone else.

I gotta be honest - I expected to hate that a consortium of our corporate overlords will control a currency to take over the world, but I don't think I do. I am happier about the (possible) eradication of money exchange fees than I am scared over Zuckerbucks running all of my money.

I think I will just say this - money is going digital, little by little. A testament to our hatred of gatekeepers who charge us money just to be functional humans. That's a big problem, and innovations solving it are to be lauded. If Mark runs away with the world's cash in his efforts to, I suppose we'll just have to start a new less Facebook-y one to bring us all back from dystopia.

Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The past

Facebook activity (likes, shares, posts) fell 20% after the Cambridge Analytica scandals (while earnings-per-share rose dramatically). How is it even remotely possible value-to-advertisers is being tracked accurately on this platform? 

The present

Could TikTok be past a billi users? (ask your kids (I guess?))

We're building AI the wrong way round. We're finding out what tech can do, and then putting it onto a problem, when we should be finding a problem that needs AI and then going after the tech to do it.

The future

The doghouse

Adtech is just plain illegal apparently.

What is "acceptable CRISPR?" Inquiring minds want to know.

Microsoft wants its staff to use its own tools instead of Slack. You know, for privacy reasons.

HAT News

Present. Linda was presenting our tech for the first time this week at IDEO. Heap ye praises upon her - she did great!

Torontonians. Friends in far places, we're planning a September trip. Get in touch to be a part.

Highers. We're looking for a couple new roles on the commercial team - get in touch for early access.

Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager

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