Cambre’s #TechAways - Issue #9

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02 June 2017

- 2 June 2017 -

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A “covfefe” conjecture [Wired]

This item is just for fun. The internet exploded this week with a late night tweet from Donald Trump. What seemed to be a typo took the world by storm and led to endless chatter and memes. Wired rightly points out that it’s interesting how language is evolving in the digital realm. This one is in our running for the win.

Tough at the top for tech titans, says dotcom guru Meeker [Financial Times]

Much ink flows over the apparent stranglehold that US tech giants have over the sector. Yet former Wall Street star analyst Mary Meeker points out in an interview to coincide with her annual take on the state of the sector that they face stiff competition as they stray onto one another’s turf. They also have China’s Alibaba and Tencent breathing down their necks, and India is poised to pose a serious threat. But the question is whether this will simply spur a new global oligarchy. And where is Europe in all this?

French scepticism about innovation in fintech [Les Echos]

Would you rely 100% on a robot’s artificial intelligence, biometrics or digital wallet to manage your finances? According to a report released by HSBC, among 11 countries surveyed, France wouldn’t. It is the most reluctant country, followed by Germany, to use new technologies for financial services. Only 41% of the respondents are positive about technological progress, while China (89%) and India (85%) are the most open to innovation. Companies, as well as EU and national institutions, have some work to do to improve the trust capital of innovation in fintech as there is a huge economic potential in this sector.

Bitcoin or bust? [The Economist]

Is there a bitcoin bubble? Not so fast says The Economist. While the price has doubled in the last two months, it might not pose a sizable risk. Why? It’s a contained system. Early bitcoin adopters know the risk and are limited in numbers. While it’s normal for regulators to start sniffing around this emerging issue, bitcoin and blockchain are in their infancy and a bit of experimentation can’t hurt.

Clothes maketh the (wo)man [WIRED]

Whatever is said about not judging a book by its cover, we all know that appearances matter. This excerpt from Geek Girl Rising by Samantha Cabot and Heather Walravens certainly makes that clear. A telling portrayal of the challenges of being a young female entrepreneur in the macho tech world, it shows the importance of dressing for the part. Even to the extent of A/B testing clothes to combat sexism. Not all is negative though. The message is that even in tech, women are gradually shattering that glass ceiling.

Competition is not for losers – even in the digital era [Financial Times]

Disrupt or Decay? These opposing tales of our economy tell you a lot about the focus of competition policy. The US, the Disrupt camp, believes, simply, that the current economy is in an era of unprecedented change. The EU, the Decay side, sees a problem in the lack of innovation. Depending on the side you are on, competition policy should then either attempt to mitigate social risk (Disrupt) or create incentives to innovate (Decay). But which tale is true? Oxford law professor Ariel Ezrachi says: neither! He argues that the digital era, big data and tech giants have changed the game entirely. Meaning: competition policy “must be reinvented to match the needs of our time, whichever economic story you believe”.

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