On scarcity, ubiquity, and value; or, what is an NFT?

The last few weeks, “NFTs” have been all the rage. So far, the US National Basketball Association Top Shot product from Dapper Labs has had over $230US million in sales. And there’s purportedly another $150 million in NFT art. Some of these things may be bubbles, but I do think there’s something real going on […]

Is it a robot, a vehicle, or a drone?

There’s been a lot happening in the autonomous vehicle space (including a fresh $2 billion round into Cruise, which included Microsoft). But one interesting question is, where do we draw the line between a vehicle and a robot? Or, put another way, when we think of the autonomous-vehicle market, what counts as a vehicle? A few […]

What to make of the Parler shutdown

In the wake of the “assault” on the US Capitol (in quotation marks, because if you look at the video footage, it really seems a lot more like LARPing than an actual attempt at insurrection), everyone was all abuzz about how the social-media giants were handling Trump’s accounts (Twitter gave him a “permanent suspension” (I […]

The ongoing takeover by the plants

The start-up world continues to do interesting things in the world of lab-grown food. Meat (“Fake meat is all the rage”, newsletter #14) and dairy, including the seemingly insoluble problem of vegan cheese (see, “More on animal-replacement startups”, newsletter #38), have come a long way — but they’re still just the tip of the iceberg. Last week, […]

The Apple car in the news (again)

An Apple car has been in the works, at least in fits and spurts, since 2015. The big question for most people remains … WTF is Apple going to build a car? It’s not at all clear what value they add. To quote Hal Eddins, chief economist at Apple shareholder Capital Investment Counsel, “My initial reaction […]

Keep your eye on Chinese tech

Over the last several months there’s been a lot of meaningful news on China from both an economic and political front, but it’s also worth paying attention to them on the technological front. While they may be best known for different values around intellectual property than we’re used to in the West, the reality is, […]

AlphaFold and the state of AI in biotech

AlphaFold was all over the news this week. What it’s done is hugely important, but also nowhere near enough. In case you’ve forgotten your high-school biology, proteins are complex molecules made up of amino acids. They can be extremely complicated molecules, but one of the more interesting things about them is that their function can […]

Privacy, Profit, and Tech Regulation

Every country is going to regulate tech —and they’re not going to do it in the same way the US is; nor do they necessarily care what the US does. The EU is well down this path, as I’ve written before. A lot of that regulation is about protecting user privacy. Apple announced a bunch of […]

What the COVID vaccines would mean for biotech

Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have released preliminary stage III results of their COVID vaccine trials, and both look really good (over 90% efficacy). They both also represent a totally new kind of vaccine. Vaccines work by giving your body a “sheep in wolve’s clothing” — something that your body sees as a virus, which it […]

Electronic driver’s licenses are coming

Many of us have quickly become accustomed to our phone acting as our credit card (Google Pay, Apple Pay), but pretty soon we may be putting our official IDs onto our phones as well. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO — which you might think is a confused acronym, but comes from the fact that […]

Apple is building a search engine?

The whole business-news world was awash with speculation this week that Apple is building its own search engine (The Telegraph ($/2), Financial Times ($), Forbes, Forbes again, c|net, etc…). These sites all point out that Google is under anti-trust scrutiny, and part of that is the purported $8–12 billion that Google pays Apple to be the default search engine on Apple devices; and […]