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Archive for the ‘economics’ category: Page 5

Aug 13, 2019

SpaceX Mars City: Here’s How Much Elon Musk’s Dream Would Cost

Posted by in categories: economics, Elon Musk, space travel

How much would it cost to build a city on Mars? According to Elon Musk over the weekend, it could be the most expensive construction project in human history — and cost up to an eighth of the value of the entire global economy.

The SpaceX CEO’s vision includes not only sending the first humans to Mars, but to use that mission as a starting point to build a permanent settlement. Assuming all goes to plan, Musk believes that a self-sustaining city could take shape as early as 2050.

What happens after that point is anyone’s guess. Inverse has spoken to experts from a number of fields, who have flagged a series of issues those first inhabitants will need to address. They could mutate and develop new physical attributes, they could find the city’s confines stifling and develop a national identity, and they could develop a new, ground-up economy.

Aug 11, 2019

With the global economy facing countless flashpoints, governments are turning inward

Posted by in categories: economics, finance

The bottom line: The world as we know it — of complex global supply chains and countries playing to their best Ricardian advantage — is rapidly transforming into an atavistic place of trade barriers and bellicose rhetoric. If countries increasingly retreat into their nationalistic shells, no amount of fiscal or monetary stimulus will be able to head off the inevitable economic and financial consequences.

Global financial system.

Aug 11, 2019

AI Provides Solutions for the Japanese Fishing Industry

Posted by in categories: economics, food, robotics/AI

In the 1990s farmed fish (aquaculture) accounted for about one-quarter of global seafood production according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. Now, with demand rising and the ocean’s resources being steadily depleted, aquaculture has overtaken wild fishery, globally producing more than 100 million metric tonnes of seafood each year.

Artificial intelligence is increasingly used in aquaculture management to analyze water conditions, environmental changes and fish status. And nowhere are these emerging fishing industry technologies more important than in Japan.

According to a report by private research group Yano Economic Research Institute, Japan’s aquaculture market will reach JP¥20.3 billion in 2021, an increase of 53 percent from 2016. AI-powered smart fisheries will account for JP¥1.3 billion, a figure that is rising quickly.

Aug 7, 2019

Spending Bitcoin in person is easy (What happens in background is elegant)

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics

Today, I was co-host of an online cryptocurrency symposium—taking questions from hundreds of visitors. A common question goes something like this:

Can Bitcoin be used in person—or
is it just for internet commerce?

Our panel had a moderator, and also an off-screen video director. As I cleared my throat in preparation to offer a response, a voice in my ear reminded me that it was not my turn. The director explained that another panelist would reply. It was a highly regarded analyst and educator in Australia. Realizing that that she was calling the shots, I deferred.

I was shocked as I listened to a far off colleague suggest that Bitcoin is not useful for in-person payments. I wonder how he explains this to the grocers, tailors, lawyers, theme parks and thousands of retailers who save millions of dollars each year by accepting bitcoin—all without risk of volatility and even if they demand to instantly convert sales revenue into Fiat currency.*

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Aug 5, 2019

Beijing is prepping for a massacre in Hong Kong: time for the West to put human rights ahead of free trade

Posted by in category: economics

After eight weeks of huge Hong Kong street protests against Beijing’s rule, the People’s Republic is massing police and soldiers just across the border. Message: If the protesters don’t quit, a bloodbath is coming.

Beijing has also started denouncing the protests as the work of American provocateurs. That’s so the regime can paint its Tiananmen Square-style crackdown as a battle against “foreign influence,” not a smashing of Chinese people who decided all on their own that they’d rather be free.

A quarter-century ago, the West wagered that welcoming China into the world economy would seduce the Communist Party into allowing ever-more freedom. That bet’s been lost.

Aug 5, 2019

Frozen heads and future fortunes: what is the cost of digital information?

Posted by in categories: economics, mobile phones

With a seemingly infinite amount of knowledge available to us at the tap of a smartphone, we all take digital information for granted. But when it can be replicated at zero cost, how do the economic laws of supply and demand work, especially in the context of using digital currency?

Aug 5, 2019

France Is Making Space-Based Anti-Satellite Laser Weapons

Posted by in categories: economics, military, satellites

France will develop satellites armed with laser weapons, and will use the weapons against enemy satellites that threaten the country’s space forces. The announcement is just part of a gradual shift in acceptance of space-based weaponry as countries reliant on space for military operations in the air, on land, and at sea—as well as for economic purposes, bow to reality and accept space as a future battleground.

Jul 30, 2019

America is drowning in garbage. Now robots are being put on duty to help solve the recycling crisis

Posted by in categories: economics, health, robotics/AI, sustainability

To tackle this environmental catastrophe, U.S. companies and researchers are developing AI-assisted robotic technology that can work with humans in processing plants and improve quality control. The goal is to have robots do a better job at sorting garbage and reduce the contamination and health hazards human workers face in recycling plants every day. Sorting trash is a dirty and dangerous job. Recycling workers are more than twice as likely as other workers to be injured on the job, according to a report at the University of Illinois School of Public Health. The profession also has high fatality rates.


The U.S. is facing a recycling crisis that is burying cities and towns in tens of millions of tons of garbage a day. The problem began last year when China, the world’s largest recyclable processor, stopped accepting most American scrap plastic and cardboard due to contamination problems, and a glut of plastics overwhelming its own processing facilities. Historically, China recycled the bulk of U.S. waste.

Contamination in the U.S. is high since recyclables are often dumped into one bin instead of multi-streamed or separated from the source. Now China has strict standards for recycling materials it will accept, requiring contamination levels in a plastic bale, for example, contain one-tenth of 1%.

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Jul 28, 2019

AI event in Seattle brings together Japanese companies and U.S. innovators

Posted by in categories: business, economics, ethics, governance, robotics/AI

Seventy-five people filed into a Washington State Convention Center meeting room Wednesday to hear about the latest advancements in artificial intelligence. In a pitching session reminiscent of a speed-dating event, about 10 Northwest startups hurriedly shared their accomplishments and aspirations with Japanese investors eager to stoke business relationships.

Master of ceremonies Tom Sato, co-founder of Kirkland-based investing firm Innovation Finders Capital, lightened the mood by cracking jokes as he translated the English-speaking founders’ business plans into Japanese, cautioning the attendees that he faced a challenge: “I have to understand what the hell they’re talking about.”

The A.I. Age | This 12-month series of stories explores the social and economic questions arising from the fast-spreading uses of artificial intelligence. The series is funded with the help of the Harvard-MIT Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over the coverage.

Jul 28, 2019

Jack Ma’s $290 Billion Loan Machine Is Changing Chinese Banking

Posted by in categories: business, economics, finance, mobile phones

The financial-technology boom that turned China into the world’s biggest market for electronic payments is now changing how banks interact with companies that drive most of the nation’s economic growth. As MYbank and its peers crunch reams of new data from payment systems, social media and other sources, they’re growing more comfortable with smaller borrowers that they previously shunned in favor of state-owned giants.


Jack Ma’s online bank is leading a quiet revolution in the way China lends to small businesses, taking aim at a credit bottleneck that has held back Asia’s largest economy for decades.

Using real-time payments data and a risk-management system that analyzes more than 3,000 variables, Ma’s four-year-old MYbank has lent 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion) to nearly 16 million small companies. Borrowers apply with a few taps on a smartphone and receive cash almost instantly if they’re approved. The whole process takes three minutes and involves zero human bankers. The default rate so far: about 1%.

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