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On November 15, 2018, Sara commented on Building a Better Future – 3D Printed Housing at WinSun :

It’s very interesting to me to think about how this concept and business model could be applied in developing vs developed countries. In particular whether there would be any form of brand cannibalization if one were to go after different segments of the market (affordable vs. upscale), and if one could mitigate this by fundamentally different designs.

I did not even think about the potential to build something as large as a house! But if possible to gain efficiencies and reduce waste, which is a huge problem is construction, and thus reduce costs this could really transform how and where houses are built vs. assembled.

On November 15, 2018, Sara commented on Killer Robots: The Future of Warfare? :

It’s an interesting conundrum of when we are willing to allow for Type I vs Type II error in the technology (recognition), and when the risks end up outweighing the benefits. The moral argument is almost separate in my view to the technological. Certainly within the next decade we will be able to reduce risk of any error, but should we still allow for there to be fully automatic weapons systems? On one had it could be argued to reduce the mental health risk and the physical risk to the soldiers that are deployed, but is it even fair to pit humans against non-humans? The moral hazard of bringing a country to war if there are no casualties of ones own army on the line is an interesting, and somewhat terrifying one.

On November 15, 2018, Sara commented on DHL: Cracking Logistics with the help of Machine Learning :

I find the shift from big data to small data to further precision data fascinating. Understanding how to best utilize the different types of machine learning that is applicable at different life stages is an important issue to analyze, and something I’m looking forward to learning more about as the technology progresses.

One of the more pressing questions this raised for me was around how and when (if ever) AM could become a technology that will surpass traditional manufacturing even at large batch sizes or on products with low customization needs. The argument for using AM then would be more focused on the reduction of waste in industries or products where the raw materials cost is high and waste currently is high. It is unclear whether this type of innovation is more likely to be advanced at small companies pushing the edge of innovation as opposed to at manufacturing giants.

On November 15, 2018, Sara commented on GM and Machine Learning Augmented Design :

Fascinating to read about the Dreamcatcher. Where I find this to be particularly interesting is if combined with 3-D printing to produce both test parts, and new single-piece parts which have so far not been feasible to manufacture. By opening up the design options to multiple other manufacturing options, there is scope to fundamentally alter the parts cost of a car, but more importantly to completely redesign previously unquestioned styles and facets of cars.

I think this post brings up a real concern that managers face day to day when implementing or extending legacy systems. One of many interesting applications of blockchain is how disaggregation of information into small enough pieces where any one piece is not important enough to pose a security risk, but where a secure ledger can provide all of the information needed will be hugely valuable.

What I find interesting is not how this can fully replace the capital raising business – there are so many other parts of advisory that go into an IPO or initial debt issuance that I find it unlikely for the service to be fully replaced and for the demand of those services to dissipate – but rather how blockchain technology can be utilized in follow on offerings, back office functions, and capital flows. The advisory services will in my opinion always fetch a premia in terms of fees, albeit unlikely at similar levels as currently. Where it is possible to make the commoditised services cheaper for banks to provide to clients will be interesting to see.

It will also be interesting to see how this will effect the European markets where fees are already only a fraction of US fees, and where it is already close to uneconomical to provide ‘vanilla’ financings. Will banks keep the incremental margin, or be required to pass it over to clients, thus further reducing the incentive to even provide this service from other than a franchise perspective?