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October 16th, 2019 at 12:25 pm

What can we learn from Sweden, the ultimate cashless society?

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Demand for notes and coins in Sweden is so limp that cash is literally disappearing: the amount in circulation has fallen 27.5pc in the last four year

The collapse of cash in Britain has been dramatic. There were 11.5 billion fewer cash transactions in 2018 than in 2008 – a decline of 51pc. It’s a pace of change that has surprised everyone, even industry insiders.

“The rise of the debit card and the decline of cash is the phenomenon of the last decade,” says Adrian Buckle, head of research for UK Finance, the banking sector trade body.

But Britain, while on the podium, is not the world champion in cashless. That title goes to Sweden, where demand for notes and coins is so limp that cash is literally disappearing: the amount in circulation has fallen from 80bn kronor (£6.6bn) to Skr58bn (£4.8bn) in the last four years, a reduction of 27.5pc. The same period has seen ATM withdrawals fall by more than half.

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October 16th, 2019 at 12:20 pm

How selling citizenship is now big business

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Buying and selling citizenship is now a global industry worth an estimated $25bn a year

You can be born into it, you can earn it, and you can lose it. Increasingly, you can also invest your way into it.

The “it” is citizenship of a particular country, and it is a more fluid concept than ever before. Go back 50 years, and it was uncommon for countries to allow dual citizenship, but it is now almost universal.

More than half of the world’s nations now have citizenship-through-investment programmes. According to one expert, Swiss lawyer Christian Kalin, it is now a global industry worth $25bn (£20bn) a year.

Mr Kalin, who has been dubbed “Mr Passport”, is the chairman of Henley & Partners, one of the world’s biggest players in this rapidly growing market. His global business helps wealthy individuals and their families acquire residency or citizenship in other countries.

He says that our traditional notions of citizenship are “outdated”. “This is one of the few things left in the world that is tied to blood lines, or where you are born,” he says. He argues that a rethink is very much due.

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October 16th, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Why Everything Is Getting Louder

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The tech industry is producing a rising din. Our bodies can’t adapt.

Karthic thallikar first noticed the noise sometime in late 2014, back when he still enjoyed taking walks around his neighborhood.

He’d been living with his wife and two kids in the Brittany Heights subdivision in Chandler, Arizona, for two years by then, in a taupe two-story house that Thallikar had fallen in love with on his first visit. The double-height ceilings made it seem airy and expansive; there was a playground around the corner; and the neighbors were friendly, educated people who worked in auto finance or at Intel or at the local high school. Thallikar loved that he could stand in the driveway, look out past a hayfield and the desert scrub of Gila River Indian land, and see the jagged pink outlines of the Estrella Mountains. Until recently, the area around Brittany Heights had been mostly farmland, and there remained a patchwork of alfalfa fields alongside open ranges scruffy with mesquite and coyotes.

In the evenings, after work, Thallikar liked to decompress by taking long walks around Brittany Heights, following Musket Way to Carriage Lane to Marlin Drive almost as far as the San Palacio and Clemente Ranch housing developments. It was during one of these strolls that Thallikar first became aware of a low, monotone hum, like a blender whirring somewhere in the distance. It was irritating, but he wrote it off. Someone’s pool pump, probably. On another walk a few days later, he heard it again. A carpet-cleaning machine? he wondered. A few nights later, there it was again. It sounded a bit like warped music from some far-off party, but there was no thump or rhythm to the sound. Just one single, persistent note: EHHNNNNNNNN. Evening after evening, he realized, the sound was there—every night, on every street. The whine became a constant, annoying soundtrack to his walks.

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October 15th, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Humans hava a ‘Salamander-like’ ability to regenerate damaged body parts, study finds

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Axolotls (pictured) have a remarkable ability to regenerate lost body parts.

Salamanders are renowned for their regenerative capabilities, such as growing back entire limbs. We can’t pull off this biological trick, but new research highlights a previously unknown regenerative ability in humans—one held over from our evolutionary past.

Our bodies have retained the capacity to repair injured or overworked cartilage in our joints, says new research published today in Science Advances. Remarkably, the mechanics of this healing process are practically the same as what’s used by amphibians and other animals to regenerate lost limbs, according to the study.

“We call it our ‘inner salamander’ capacity.”

The scientists who identified this previously unknown human capacity are hopeful their findings could lead to powerful new therapies to treat common joint disorders and injuries, including osteoarthritis. More radically, this healing mechanism “might be exploited to enhance joint repair and establish a basis for human limb regeneration,” the authors wrote in the paper.

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October 15th, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Voice AI systems will be ‘everywhere’ and ‘phones will disappear in 10 years’

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Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk claims the AI system will connect us to the internet from anywhere and will enable humans to down their phones and merely speak to access any information or make any purchases

WCIT 2019: Voice driven devices will grow claims Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk claims that voice driven AI devices will continue to grow in popularity in the next decade. Speaking at WCIT 2019 the businessman says ‘we will have devices in our homes, offices and cars. It will surprise people quite a bit.’

Voice AI systems will be everywhere around us within the next decade, meaning we only have to speak to get what we want, an AI expert has claimed.

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