Meta & more news

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Meta, Meta, Meta

Facebook Changes Corporate Name to Meta – The New York Times – Zuckerberg has been committed to building the metaverse, a composite universe melding online, virtual and augmented worlds that people can seamlessly traverse. He has said the metaverse can be the next major social platform and that several tech companies will build it over the next 10-plus years. The name Meta is indicative of Facebook’s ambition for being the platform that is the metaverse.

[FREE] An Interview with Mark Zuckerberg about the Metaverse – Stratechery by Ben Thompson – If you want to understand the central desire and ambition behind Meta, listen to Zuckerberg talk to Ben Thompson about his vision for Meta by his description of the metaverse.

The problems facing the metaverse aren’t going to be just solved by Moores law and software alone. There are needed to be technology improvements in battery chemistry and optics. Hardware engineers from Meta have their own concerns about developing the metaverse.

Facebook Hardware Devs Reportedly Skeptical of Metaverse – Facebook hardware insiders told The New York Times tech reporter Mike Isaac that “this is going to take a long time, i.e. breakthroughs in physics, etc.” according to a tweet. Facebook’s Top VR Expert Seems Pretty Annoyed by Metaverse Push

Facebook’s Meta mission was laid out in a 2018 paper on The Metaverse – Oculus executives highlighted what a commercial metaverse would look like, that some think is a blueprint for Meta’s ambitions today. Meta won’t be a move away from Facebook’s current problems with regards privacy and social cohesion. Though one of the first moves of Meta was to shut down Facebook’s legacy facial recognition system.

Does Facebook’s corporate rebrand to ‘Meta’ prove the future is ‘beyond’ it? 

More ‘web of no web’ related content here.

Business

Airbus stands by plans for steep rise in output | Financial Times 

China

America, China, and the Tragedy of Great-Power Politics | Foreign Affairs

Interesting debate on the competing viewpoints of the Biden administration and China

Asia Society panel discussion featuring Lingling Wei, chief China correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and co-author of Superpower Showdown; Ryan Hass, senior fellow and the Michael H. Armacost Chair in the foreign policy program at Brookings; and Yasheng Huang, Epoch Foundation Professor of Global Economics and Management at MIT Sloan School of Management

Axios World | Europe’s China hardliners – despite the best efforts of some German corporates the sentiment in Europe is turning against China

China drafts tough rules to stop data from leaving its borders as Beijing tightens grip on information | South China Morning Post – is that database likely to be handed over to Chinese competitors or used in other ways?

Millions of TikTok followers adored Li Ziqi’s fantasies of rural Chinese life. Then politics intervened – Rest of World 

Yahoo Pulls Out of China, Citing ‘Business and Legal Environment’ – Variety

What if Xi Jinping just isn’t that competent? – by Noah Smith – Noahpinion – you can’t argue that Xi Jingping isn’t at least competent as a political operator, but some of the other points in here are valid to a point. But part of it is better understood if one asks if Xi Jingping is a true believer in Stalinism and the answer would be yes. You could also use it to argue that we’re close to hitting peak China and then the country will decline disgracefully rather like the UK did post British empire

Consumer behaviour

China’s youth increasingly taking up vaping of e-cigarettes, despite health warnings and ban on sale to minors | South China Morning Post

Sex Differences in Work Aspirations – Marginal REVOLUTION – more developed and gender equal nations are better than less developed nations in attracting boys to more established things-oriented (often blue-collar) occupations, but they fail to attract girls to these areas. This problem is also occurring for the subset of things-oriented STEM occupations. In fact, the problem for STEM is even more profound, given that interest in STEM declines for both boys and girls in more developed, innovative, and gender equal nations.

Mobile internet and political polarization – Marginal REVOLUTIONthe mobile internet polarized the Left, but not so much the Right. What polarized the Right was…the polarization of the Left, and not the mobile internet. And please do note this sentence: “This increase in polarization largely did not take place among social media users.” It seems that on-line versions of older school media did a lot of the work

Yuval Harari warns humans will be “hacked” if artificial intelligence is not globally regulated – CBS News – in many respects people are already being hacked, that’s what behavioural science means

Data Shows Younger People Aren’t Reporting Cybercrimes / Digital Information Worldmembers of the younger generations, namely Gen Z and Millennials, are less likely to report a cybercrime once it gets committed against them. Baby boomers are the most likely to report a cybercrime since 64% of them said that they had done so, and the proportion was much lower for Millennials who only report cybercrime 32% of the time. Things become even more dismal when you look at Gen Z, colloquially known as “zoomers” in internet parlance, who only report cybercrimes 21% of the time. One reason for this might be the fact that, having grown up with the internet, Millennials and Gen Z members don’t realize that online security is not something that you can take for granted – or that they believe that insecurity is part and parcel of internet life now

Culture

‘Italo Disco’ Was About More Than Boogie Nights: Alessandro Melazzini – Variety – his analytical doc makes clear, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of independent, non-ideological escape music. The 80s have been seen as a superficial decade,” Melazzini says. “With time you have another approach to that period, which was more than just silly. It was also a time of optimism, experimentations, promises, illusion. And genius creativity.”

 Design

New Japan-Only Miata Asks You To Trade Power For Lightness | Jalopnik – I love this design philosophy: “horsepower and fun are not proportional, but lightness and fun are proportional, and if horsepower is increased, the body etc. must be strengthened, so it will inevitably become heavier. The lighter the car, the more fun the car is, and I think this Roadster is the best now if you enjoy driving.”

Teardown of iPhone 13:Nikkei 

Economics

China applies to join digital trade pact with Singapore and NZ – Nikkei Asia – “China’s unexpected move on Monday to apply to join a fledging global digital trade pact even as the country tightens up cross-border data flows has raised questions about its intentions.”

Finance

Secretive MoD ‘banking’ unit helps UK wage economic warfare | Financial Times“People who worked in banking in the late 1980s will tell you that between Friday and Monday when the Berlin wall came down, people they thought were West Germans working on trading floors and in M&A departments just disappeared,” Keatinge said. “They were actually working for [East Germany’s] Stasi, gathering information about the financial activity in the City of London. You can be sure the same thing is happening now with the Chinese.”

Opinion: Everybody Is Still Greenwashing, But That’s Not What ESG Stands For. the recent announcement from Kering banning the use of fur from all its collections and all its brands. It clearly did not have the impact that Kering would have hoped for. Although this would have been a big move internally, the public is now expecting more and is calling for a genuine rethinking of global systems and metrics that define success beyond financial gains to shareholders. Banning fur just isn’t enough for the Greta Generation – but how important are they for customers?

The case for splitting China out of the EM index | Financial Times

Gadgets

New Cadence HiFi DSP targets always-on hearables and wearables – Embedded.com

Germany

China blamed for cancellation of events for German book on Xi Jinping | Financial Times

Germany’s Economy, Once Europe’s Engine, Is Holding It Back – WSJAfter years of belt-tightening aimed at honing competitiveness, German businesses and the country’s public infrastructure are suffering from underinvestment, economists say. Germany’s net investment rate has been around 0.5% of economic output since the turn of the century, compared with about 1% for Italy and 1.5% for the U.S., according to the World Bank. German net public investment has fallen below zero as existing assets depreciate

Hong Kong

Sleepy Hong Kong residents get 5-hour “Sleeping Bus Tour” | The Standard 

Coronavirus: why Hong Kong phone vendors are ringing up sales of old models with ‘Leave Home Safe’ app | South China Morning Post

Reforms in Hong Kong Encourage Homecoming of Offshore Funds | Winston & Strawn LLPIn July 2021, the Hong Kong government gazetted a fund re‑domiciliation mechanism to encourage offshore funds set up in corporate or limited-partnership form to register in Hong Kong as OFCs and LPFs, respectively. This mechanism does not create any new legal entity; therefore, it does not require the dissolution of the original funds or require investors to exchange their interests from the old fund to the new fund. Upon re‑domiciliation, these funds would be de‑registered in the original place of incorporation and would have the same rights and obligations as any other newly established OFCs and LPFs in Hong Kong. The Wealth Connect, which formally commenced trading on September 10, 2021, allows Hong Kong-domiciled funds to be offered to mainland Chinese investors in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. This adds to the Mutual Recognition of Funds scheme, which started in 2015, allowing Hong Kong-domiciled funds to be distributed in mainland China. These connect schemes serve as another incentive to encourage fund managers to re‑domicile offshore funds to Hong Kong

Hong Kong/HKEX: uncertain position in the eyes of Beijing weighs on listings | Financial Times

Ideas

The soft bigotry of America’s cultural left | Financial Timesimposing conformity through intimidation is not what is supposed to happen in democracies, still less on their most-prized campuses. Crushing free thought is McCarthyism. This new consensus is profoundly illiberal. It treats a person’s race as their primary fixed identity and assigns roles on that basis. This obliterates the individual moral autonomy on which liberalism rests. Since everything in society boils down to race, everything must change. California, for example, is trying to alter its mathematics curriculum to downplay the idea there are right and wrong answers in the science. The debate is fuelled by a proposal for new math standards called “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction”. The framework states that “objectivity”, “worship of the written word”, and “either/or thinking” are tools of white supremacy

EVs Are the Future, but Are They Really All That Eco-Friendly? – Robb Report

Silicon Valley’s Open Culture Era Comes To An End – by Alex Kantrowitz – Big Technology

Abridged: Data as a factor of production – by Lillian Li – Chinese Characteristics

Building Resilience: Critical Minerals — China Research Group

Innovation

Google’s Tensor, a machine learning-centric chip, has been crushed by Apple A15 in Machine Learning – but this is Google’s first go at mobile silicon design

Bringing Geek Back: Q&A with Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger – really interesting read

EETimes – Why Low Complexity Video Coding is Answer to UHD TV Success 

Luxury

Prada’s back-to-back game-changing campaigns: What drives a luxury brand from cat-walk to wet market? – reminds me of a project that Motorola was thinking of doing back in early 2005 linking London and Chicago

Loewe Announces Ghibli Museum Sponsorship | Highsnobriety

Supreme Might Get More Expensive & Harder to Buy | Highsnobriety

Luxury brands are ditching KOLs for virtual influencers in China: how Alexander McQueen, Dior and Prada are turning to digital avatars and AI idols to woo millennials | South China Morning Post 

Deloitte’s 2021 Swiss Watch Industry Study Forecasts Industry Changes – Robb Report

Harrods CEO on the threat to London’s cultural status | Vogue Business – negative effect of Brexit on London as global luxury sector retail destination

The Deep Dive: “Hyper-Customisation In Health and Wellness Has Become The New Luxury.”Another is working out which kind of digital technology will enable the clinic to stay connected with its clients, for example, wearables. “This is going to be a big challenge for us in the future because we have to have a tool which really works and that is really used by our clients.”  Whatever the future of health and wellness may look like, what remains certain is that it will be driven by what the client demands. And what the client demands, Clinique La Prairie delivers. “At the end of the day, what our customers want are benefits to their wellbeing, not just during their time at the clinic but when they are back home,” said Gibertoni.

Media

Banker Guy Hands: ‘I’m scared of ending my life having not achieved’ | The TimesWe had an enormous number of people working on the Stones and we weren’t making much money – they are a catalogue band. The new albums didn’t sell, and the income from old CDs was small. What really worked for the Stones was touring. The bid we had in mind for their new contract – the bid we thought made economic sense – was unlikely to be what they were hoping to achieve. The only way we could pay them more was if they did some TV work for us, put their name on a computer game and gave us a share of their concert revenues

Mediatel: Mediatel News: The strategy ‘crisis’ in media agencies: the way forward

Dominance And Collusion: Inside The Unredacted Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google’s Ad Tech Business | AdExchanger 

Online

Facebook confronts growth problems as number of young users in US declines | Financial Times

Facebook bungled efforts to curb explosion of hate speech ahead of Capitol attack | Financial Times

New Facebook Storm Nears as CNN, Fox Business and Other Outlets Team Up on Whistleblower Docs — The InformationUpcoming news stories based on thousands of Facebook documents—which whistleblower Frances Haugen worked to release to more than a dozen news organizations as diverse as the Associated Press, CNN, Le Monde, Reuters and the Fox Business network—aren’t likely to be as revelatory as those epic leaks of time past – this drop has been carefully thought through to maximise scrutiny of Meta

Haugen claims backed by new Facebook whistleblower filing with SEC – The Washington PostFacebook officials routinely undermined efforts to fight misinformation, hate speech and other problematic content out of fear of angering then-President Donald Trump and his political allies, or out of concern about potentially dampening the user growth key to Facebook’s multi-billion-dollar profits.- drip, drip, drip and the Meta rebrand won’t stop it. At least in America it can rely on bipartisan disagreement to keep it from being regulated.

Meet the Male State: Russia’s Nastiest Online Hate Group – bellingcat 

One of China’s first influencers gets jail time for selling diet pills containing banned drug | NextShark – you can bet that these are also sold at the darker edges of the western web

Facebook Conducted An Experiment In Which It Turned Off The News Feed Algorithm, To Surprising Results / Digital Information World – Engagement dropped like a stone in an ocean, Groups ended up becoming more popular than ever before, and Facebook made even more money per user, once they actually went through their News Feeds. This sort of behavior seems to almost mirror the internet landscape we have today. Platforms such as Reddit have skyrocketed in relevancy, because they provide an enhanced version of Groups. They also make a lot of money on this premise, despite having much fewer active users than Facebook did back in 2018. – It will be really hard for Meta to live these findings down

Retailing

Inside the John Lewis nightmare | Financial Times 

Chinese influencers head to Shanghai Costco to pretend they are in US | The Independent – interesting arbitrage play

Security

SES sets up satellite quantum communication R&D lab EE News Europe 

Oil refinery woes raise concern in Westminster over financial backers | The Guardian – sounds like a later era Le Carré novel

US intelligence officials warn companies in critical sectors on China | Financial Timesmany businesses were not aware of the direct and hidden links between Chinese companies and universities and state security, or that Beijing was using a “whole of government approach” to obtain technology – more likely that these businesses don’t care and they will continue not to care unless financial and judicial penalties are put in place

Russia Strengthens Its Internet Censorship Powers – The New York Times 

Location Data Firm Got GPS Data From Apps Even When People Opted Out

A cyberattack paralyzed every gas station in Iran : NPR 

Exclusive: Amid national security concerns, US slaps overhead time limits on satellites – Breaking DefenseIndustry officials further argue NOAA’s ruling will stifle the ability of US firms to claim a leading edge in the growing global market for near real-time imagery products. The use of sat imagery to track terrestrial change has long been in use by the US government and even commercial firms. The ability to do so with ever increasing timeliness is what is new in the commercial market, and what is worrying DoD and IC officials is that those burgeoning capabilities mean there soon will be no place safe from prying satellite eyes.   

Hikvision Requires Private Xinjiang Meeting With UK Camera Commissioner, Refused | IPVM – I can understand why they wanted a private information. If it is held in public they are open to ridicule AND likely to get slapped by the Chinese government

Robinhood app accidentally leaks customer data to miscreant • The Register

Taiwan

Top 1000 Brands | Intelligence | Campaign Asia – surprisingly high ranking for Yahoo!, LINE and Panasonic

T-Day: The Battle for Taiwan – Reuters – good in-depth rundown of the situation with China

Technology

China launches world’s fastest programmable quantum computers | South China Morning Post

Telecoms

Corning announces plans for new optical fiber plant in Poland | Optics

Thailand

In Thailand, cinema-goers’ refusal to stand for royal anthem reveals changing attitudes towards monarchy | South China Morning Post 

Web of no web

Analog Devices to sell radar business to Indie Semi 

Apple Watch 8 may introduce an improved version of Car “Crash Detection” and extend it to iPhone 14 – Patently Apple