This is a very exciting business proposition but my first and foremost concern is bike theft and destruction. The lack of formal docking sites significantly reduces the company’s ability to track or enforce damage control, as after a trip is paid and completed there is nobody to hold accountable for the bike until the next user logs on. This is why in the long-term, I would put my money on Mobike, though in the short term, whoever has more cash to burn may come out the winner. I wonder how the company deals with non-uniform flow of their assets? (e.g., unidirectional travel with commuting times. Do they offer discounts for those who travel in the opposite direction?
I really love the value of digitization in terms of restoring and renovating destroyed pieces of art. I would love for this to be extended to world heritage sites, like the Pantheon, or Palmyra. Digitization allows a scarce resource (physical proximity to a piece of art) to become unlimited, giving all internet users access to a personal and up-close experience with any uploaded pieces of art. Perhaps in the future we would be able to simulate the tactile nature of art in additional to the visual nature, so that people could interact with 3D recreations of items without causing worry of destruction of art objects, and allowing museums to function without risk of theft.
I actually question why there would be strong push-back to incorporating technologically advanced elements into religious life. Historically monks were knowledge keepers and forward thinkers (think Mendel’s peas). Given that religions were also historically centers of power, based upon followership, it makes sense that in China’s new social media universe Budhism would recruit in a technology forward manner. Perhaps Longquan will be a point of entry for a younger followership, while more traditional practices remain in more rural areas of the country.
I certainly agree there is a lot under the responsibility of a doctor that cannot be replaced by a machine (currently), but I would like to explore the potential impact of taking certain steps out of the value chain. Let’s say for example that IBM Watson is instituted as a permanent diagnostic step in all hospitals. MDs still have to undergo rigorous training and knowledge absorption for medical research (knowledge advancement), but practitioners are no longer performing Dx due to their inherent human bias. Therefore, after graduating from med school, a doctor may have fewer tracks to fall upon. Medical research and surgery remain open, but post-diagnosis implementation roles may swiftly be switched over to lower cost nurse practitioners. The healthcare space either needs fewer MDs or may start paying them less.
Hi Steve, this sounds like a great development. I’m looking forward to hearing more about their future developments as they adapt to handle multiple types of crops. One way that farmers can organically increase yield is intercropping, and this is probably commonly used in developing countries, because it requires less technological investment, and labor is cheap. If automated systems can be programmed to manage multiple different crop types at once, U.S. farmers can enhance yields through use of both organic and inorganic (fertilizer and herbicides) means which may have additional benefits such as soil maintenance and erosion control.
Agreed – from an investor standpoint, not necessary. Classic conflict of interest though – as you can see from some of their publications, their CEO most certainly would prefer to be included in the new wave of energy solutions, given the internal perspective that fossil fuels are on their way out, sooner or later. I may have a personal bias in wanting the company to make a transition into renewables.
It’s fascinating how strict AOC regulations were laid out and generated exclusivity based upon geographical definition. It’s quite a masterful move in generating exclusivity, because the geographical definition precludes others from being able to compete, even if they use similar viniculture techniques or generate similar flavor profiles and blends of wine as the originating Chateau. I question whether there will be a significant shift in viniculture to Northern Europe and the U.K. in the next few decades, given the lack of expertise or cultural background in the field. In the near term, I expect the impact is more likely that there simply will not be many good wines to be had. While it may certainly hurt the industry reputation and devastate some connoisseurs (e.g., the whole population of France), I would expect that the French Chateaus will retain their leading position in the near term, long-enough for them to innovate and adapt.
I agree and love the highlighted phrase – Tragedy of the Commons is perfectly exemplified here. Aquaculture would most certainly eliminate ASG’s dependence on our shared global resources, but may also be a controversial way to go. My guess is that U.S. consumers would be perfectly happy with aquaculture fish, but I know other cultures do place significant value on wild-caught fish, placing additional pressure on global fish shoals. Also, heavy aquaculture is known to lead to nitrate buildup and algal blooms due to concentrated fish culture in one area. I’m sure there are ways however to mediate the problem, such as moving shoals regularly. I’m curious to hear whether or not you think aquaculture can contribute to replenishing global fish stocks? I think conservation efforts should consider large-scale breed-and-release given the detrimental population decreases we’ve already seen. That being said, I also acknowledge there are concerns about polluting the gene pool or intervening in natural evolution.
Thank you for sharing! I have to admit I’m somewhat ashamed I did not know how big the dairy industry is in India. I really do think with the right cooperation and organization between small farmers, the industry as a whole can pull together enough resources to diversify their cattle breeds as well as build infrastructure to go into more stable products (is milk powder well received in India? I can imagine it could be successfully exported to much of the Middle East). The reason that I say so is that the Dutch dairy industry is built as a cooperative structure as well. One issue we didn’t address was how cattle farming does contribute to methane production and therefore is a part of the problem that is plaguing the industry itself. Dutch cooperatives have started trying to turn cow-dung into biofuel – perhaps that’s another source of income to supplement dairy sales? https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/nov/02/netherlands-europe-dairy-industry-agriculture-biogas-cows-manure-poo-power
I’m fascinated because I never knew that palm oil specifically was such a strong driver of the farming habits and haze issues across South East Asia. I recall living in the area in the 2000s and going to elementary school every day wearing these haze masks. Not quite understanding at the time where the root cause was, I would only hear people blaming every other nation / island than themselves. The issue is actually so prevalent in people’s lives that it’s taken on a comic twist; Spotify Malaysia created a playlist called “Hazed & Confused” with song titles acting as social commentary, including “Smoke gets in your eyes” and “We didn’t start the fire”. I’m glad to hear that a major player in the industry is moving forward with more socially responsible sourcing practices, but also hope to hear more about government controls and fines. Do you think that the competitive nature of agriculture across the South Asian countries is causing governments to turn a blind eye in favor of their own farmers?
This truly exemplifies the negative externality problem that climate change brings, and the exacerbation of the problem when the third party sufferers of climate change are smaller countries with less political leverage and less capital. The Maldives face consequences for which there are no ideal solutions – temporary solutions are common because local businesses are only able to/willing to sink that much capital into retaining beaches for their own livelihood. When it comes to the large scale solutions that are necessary, the capital investment needed from the government will significantly increase national debt. Building a Dyke system (such as in the Netherlands) is a huge project to embark upon from scratch, and also requires huge infrastructural shifts. Hotels and other beach-side facilities will have to move in-land, and beaches will fall on the outside of the protected zone. Alternatives may come in drastic changes in urban planning – zoning laws to make all lower floors of buildings dispensable, shifting residential and commercial use into upper floors, and transitioning the city into a Venice-like destination. Should natural mangroves suffice to weather the worst of the storm, they may be the most cost effective and aesthetically appealing option. I really hope that we will see significant investment in the Maldives, hopefully with external investment and support, to develop a strong response for long-lasting resilience against the rising sea levels.