Tesla was banned in China for privacy concerns

Hi there!

I’m writing this newsletter from my parents’ house in Rome. Funny story: they left for vacation and no dogsitter who was willing to stand their 3yo crazy Labrador. The only solution was to fly me over from Copenhagen 😅

I’ll drop a picture of Martin the Lab at the bottom of the email.

Now, let’s get started. This week we’ll cover:

  • Tesla was banned in a Chinese district for privacy concerns
  • Amazon acquires a healthcare company for $3.9B
  • A Coinbase employee and 2 friends face 40 years in prison for insider trading
  • Meta gives FB and IG the TikTok look

p.s.: I’m collecting data on people’s perception on AI. I’d love you to fill this short form (2 min to fill). Thank you in advance!

Tesla cars were banned in a Chinese district for privacy concerns

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What happened: Teslas will be prohibited for up to two months from entering the Chinese coastal district of Beidaihe, the site of a secretive annual summer party leadership conclave. Teslas use several external cameras to navigate the world around them, but that means they can collect data about their surroundings and the Chinese government is afraid that’ll be sent to the US (even if Tesla says cameras are not active outside the US)

What I’m thinking: If you think about it, Tesla is the biggest surveillance company in the world. Who else has millions of robots with 8 hi-res cameras each, moving around the world and sending their location? This raises new privacy issues that have no easy answer. As I often say here: self-driving is just marginally about algorithms, and A LOT about policy and other open questions we can’t even imagine.

Amazon acquires a healthcare company for $3.9B

Learn more on video 📹

What happened: One Medical is a listed company offering 24/7 on-demand virtual care. Amazon bought it because they think that “health care is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention. […] There’s lots of opportunity to both improve the quality of the experience and give people back valuable time in their days”. They already bought online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 for $1B, and Health Navigator, a digital service startup, in 2019

What I’m thinking: it’ll be interesting to see the outcomes, and if there’ll be synergies in using Amazon’s AI capabilities on One Medical’s data. Interesting also how Amazon bought it for 18$/share, and One Medical was trading at 60$/share during the pandemic. Pretty good deal!

Coinbase insider trading

Learn more on video 📹

What happened: A former product manager at Coinbase, his brother and friend are facing up to 40 years each in prison for insider trading. The product manager belonged to the team in charge of listing new cryptocurrencies on the platform. Typically, new listings make the new tokens go “to the moon”, so he tipped his brother and friend to buy them right before the launch. They did that for 10+ launches, netting $1.5m in profits. The fraud was discovered by a regular Twitter user by scanning the public blockchain

What I’m thinking: Crypto needs regulation to prevent people from scamming others and losing a ton of money. But the more the government regulates them like normal stocks, the more they look like…normal stocks? The almost anarchist ethos of crypto seems to be vanishing. One thing is amazing though: an open ledger allows ANYONE to investigate. This is not the first time that a simple guy does it and uncovers frauds that are then prosecuted by authorities. You have to admit that’s pretty cool.

Meta copies TikTok

Learn more on video 📹

What happened: Meta announced redesigns of Instagram and Facebook to make them both look and function like TikTok. The main changes are the discrete scrolling, and more content from people you don’t follow in the feed.

What I’m thinking: I often said that TikTok’s secret weapon is not their algorithm. It’s the perfect synergy between their UX and AI. The way it works allows algorithms to get the cleanest signal on people’s interest (like? keep watching - don’t like? change video), and that’s why it’s so good and figuring us out. Yet, I wonder whether it’s too late. As you can see from the graph above, people are already voting for which one’s the best app with their attention span, and some want Instagram to stay what it is (including Kim Kardashian who posted a story about it). So maybe its destiny is to just…be #2?

Congratulations! You’re now MUCH smarter about tech 🍕

As promised, here’s a picture of Martin the crazy lab.

See you next week!

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