First, who are the roughly 80 million Millennials in the US? The infographic defines them as people born between the years 1980 and 2000, and it says they spend approximately $600 billion per year—a figure that is expected to grow to $1.4 trillion by 2020.
For brands that want in on that Millennial action, it helps to know how this group shops. The infographic compares generational buying habits and points out that Millennials outspend other groups by $80 per month on coffee. It also says 60% of Millennials rate products and services online, compared with 49% of other generations.
The infographic explains that Millennials can be extremely loyal to brands they like, and it gives tips for harnessing that loyalty.
If you want to learn how to connect with Millennial shoppers, check out the infographic:
If you’re worried that one day the robots will revolt and either exterminate or subjugate the entire human race, you’re not alone. But instead of sitting back and waiting for the robot rebellion, two leaders in AI are teaming up to tackle the problem of creating smart computer programs that won’t eventually try and take over.
The main problem that the research tackled was when an AI discovers the most efficient way to achieve maximum rewards is to cheat — the equivalent of shoving everything on the floor of your room into a closet and declaring it "clean." Technically, the room itself is clean, but that’s not what’s supposed to happen. Machines are able to find these workarounds and exploit them in any given problem.
The issue is with the reward system, and that’s where the two groups focused their efforts. Rather than crafting an overly complex reward system that machines can cut through, the teams used human input to reward the AI. When the AI solved a problem the way trainers wanted to, it got positive feedback. Using this method, the AI was able to learn play simple video games.
While this is an encouraging breakthrough, it’s not widely applicable: This type of human feedback is much too time consuming. But through collaborations like this, it’s possible that we can control and direct the development of AI and prevent machines from eventually becoming smart enough to destroy us all.
Investors have cash to burn right now, and based on the astronomical performance of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, that’s where a lot of it is getting funneled.
This is coming at the expense of gold, says Tom Lee, the managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors. In fact, he thinks that the growing preference for the cryptocurrencies over gold is actually helping contribute to the torrid gains in the fledgling products.
Bitcoin is up a whopping 172% percent this year, closing at $2,607.02 per coin on Thursday. Ethereum has skyrocketed 3,200% over the same period, sitting at $266.01.
One main factor driving demand for cryptocurrencies is the reduction in supply that’s been seen in recent months, according to Lee. He notes that the rate of bitcoin units added has been more than halved over the past year, to 4.4% from 9.3%. With mining slowing down, bitcoin won’t reach its theoretical maximum number of units until 2045 or later.
Meanwhile, Lee finds that gold production has risen "sharply" since 2009, and now sits at 3,100 metric tons, the highest on record.
"Cryptocurrencies are cannibalizing demand for gold," he wrote in a client note on Friday. "Bitcoin is arguably becoming a scarcer store of value. Investors need to identify strategies to leverage this potential rise in cryptocurrencies."
So with all of that considered, how high can bitcoin go?
Fundstrat’s base case calls for the cryptocurrency to expand eight-fold to roughly $20,000 per unit by 2022. But in the most bullish scenario, bitcoin could reach as high as $55,000 over the same period.
"Our model shows gold’s value being relatively static against a rise in bitcoin," Lee says.
One potential wild card that may speed up investor allocation into cryptocurrencies could be buying by central banks. Bitcoin currently has an aggregate value of $42 billion right now, and if that climbs above $500 billion, it’s a very real possibility, according to Lee.
"Already central banks have looked into this possibility," Lee says. "In our view, this is a game changer, enhancing the legitimacy of the currency and likely accelerating the substitution for gold."
One of the key points of contention in the politicization of Bitcoin protocol development over the past couple of years has been the concept of miner signaling. While not intended to be a vote among miners to decide the future of the Bitcoin network, Ciphrex CEO and Bitcoin Core contributor Eric Lombrozo pointed out that miners are now using the signaling process as leverage in the discussion over Bitcoin scaling.
Lombrozo made the comments during a discussion with host Thomas Hunt and Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song on Hunt’s Mad Bitcoins YouTube channel.
“This whole signaling thing is a huge problem that I think created a very terrible narrative,” said Lombrozo.
What Is BIP 9?
BIP 9 is a method of rolling out soft-fork upgrades to Bitcoin. The short description of this process is that soft-forked changes will be enabled once 95 percent of miners have signaled to the network that they are ready for activation, using a trick called “version bits.”
“It was an arbitrary system created by developers in order to coordinate smooth soft-fork transitions,” said Lombrozo. “It was not designed to be a political system for voting on controversial issues ever — that was never the intention.”
Lombrozo also noted that, in the past, soft forks have been deployed on Bitcoin without any special treatment for miners, and BIP 9 was supposed to solve some of the issues miners could face during the deployment of a soft fork.
“It was introduced for the courtesy of miners to be able to reduce their orphan rates and reduce the probability that they’re going to end up mining blocks that are actually invalid — that was the real motivation behind it,” said Lombrozo.
According to Lombrozo, the goal is still to get nodes upgraded and enforce the rules of the soft fork; BIP 9 was simply a technique to coordinate with miners.
The Ciphrex CEO added that there was nothing like miner signaling in the original version of Bitcoin, and Satoshi Nakamoto never used miner signaling for the soft forks that he deployed on the network.
“It was a mechanism that was created way later,” said Lombrozo. “And once this mechanism was created, it was abused and turned against the developers to try to extort stuff. And now it’s being used against businesses to extort stuff from them.”
BIP 9 Does Not Work With Uncooperative Miners
According to Lombrozo, BIP 9 would not have been used for Segregated Witness (SegWit) if the contributors to Bitcoin Core knew then what they know now.
“If we considered that there had been this kind of, like, contentious or adversarial situation, then BIP 9 would not have been used,” said Lombrozo. “We would not have used the signaling mechanism because it obviously does not work under those kinds of circumstances.”
In Lombrozo’s view, miners are now using the effective veto power that comes with the miner signaling process outlined in BIP 9 as leverage in the discussions around scaling Bitcoin. He also believes Bitcoin Core developers may deserve some of the blame for using BIP 9 in the first place.
“But at the same time, we only had the best of intentions at the moment,” added Lombrozo. “We thought we’d gotten through all these disagreements and it seemed like the miners were for it and going to support it … Obviously, the adversarial case needs to be considered because it’s just the nature of this network and the way that it works.”
Lombrozo suggested that miners also used miner signaling as a sort of “propaganda” tool with Bitcoin Unlimited, even though there was no activation mechanism included in the code.
Never Use BIP 9 Again?
According to Lombrozo, miners now think they have some control over the protocol due to the use of the miner signaling process outlined in BIP 9.
“Miners started thinking, ‘Hey, maybe we have control over the protocol because of this whole signaling thing,’” said Lombrozo during his discussion with Hunt and Song.
Lombrozo claimed that “we’re never going to use BIP 9 to deploy anything almost for sure” if SegWit is not activated via the current BIP 9 deployment.
As an alternative, Bitcoin Core could turn to BIP 8, which is a variation of BIP 9 from pseudonymous developer Shaolin Fry that eventually activates a soft-forking change whether miners have signaled for it or not. Miners can still activate the change before it is automatically locked-in on the network, but approval from miners is not required before that lock-in takes place.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a storm twice as wide as Earth. It has lasted more than 350 years.
Using the Juno spacecraft, NASA will take its closest-ever photos of the giant storm on July 10.
Business Insider simulated what the best single-frame image might look like.
The Great Red Spot of Jupiter is about twice the size of Earth and has tumbled in the planet’s atmosphere for at least 350 years.
Despite astronomers’ long-standing interest in it, however, it’s mysterious: It’s hundreds of millions of miles away, and only a handful of spacecraft have taken detailed images of it.
That will all change on July 10 — when the space agency’s Juno probe will fly within a cosmic breath of the Great Red Spot and take its closest-ever images of the super-storm.
"This will not be the only flyover of Great Red Spot planned for Juno’s [orbits], but it is the closest [Great Red Spot] flyover in the plans," Candice Hansen, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, told Business Insider in an email.
How Juno will photograph the Great Red Spot
Juno, a robot the size of a basketball court, settled into orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
But Juno has yet to take close-up photos of the Great Red Spot because Jupiter rotates rapidly, about once every 10 Earth hours. The probe’s visits are also fast and infrequent — about every 53.5 days — to avoid exposure to the planet’s electronics-damaging radiation.
The robot’s main camera, called JunoCam, will beam back new images of the Great Red Spot around July 14, Scott Bolton, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute and the Juno mission’s leader, said in an email to Business Insider.
Scientists like Bolton and Hansen are eagerly looking forward to seeing the unprecedented data.
"Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special," Bolton said in a NASA statement.
However, taking photos of the Great Red Spot isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.
Hansen explained that Juno will fly too close to the storm — about 5,600 miles above it — to capture the whole thing in one view at that point. Making the task even more challenging, the probe will zoom by at 34 miles per second, which is speedy enough to traverse the continental US in a little more than a minute.
As a result, JunoCam will strafe the planet with a series of images.
Hansen said the eastern and western edges of the Great Red Spot will be out of view, and that the northern and southern regions "will be foreshortened due to the viewing angle close to the top of the storm."
What Juno’s Great Red Spot photos might look like
This illustration, created by Business Insider based on an image provided by Hansen, shows approximately what JunoCam will see and what it won’t (in red) during its flyby.
"The closest, most detailed image that JunoCam will return of the Great Red Spot is expected to show more than half of the [storm]," Hansen said.
That single photo will capture a similar level of detail as the JunoCam image below, which is of Jupiter’s wandering Little Red Spot as seen from about 9,000 miles away.
The much-larger Great Red Spot, however, should fill most of the frame with its eastern and western limbs cropped out.
To get a sense of what the actual Great Red Spot photo might look like, we cropped a true-color photo of the Great Red Spot, taken in 1996 by the Galileo probe, to match up to JunoCam’s view. The new spacecraft’s photo will show much more and better detail, however.
As Juno zips away from the planet and into deep space, more distant images should reveal the entire storm (though not in as much detail).
Once all of JunoCam’s raw photo data is verified, processed into full color, and stitched together as a giant mosaic image of the probe’s flyby, it will be unrivaled in history.
"The first report of a feature on Jupiter which could be the Great Red Spot was about 350 years ago, not long after the first telescopic observations from Galileo," Bolton told Business Insider. "It is possible the feature has existed considerably longer but there are no recorded observations to provide evidence."
NASA’s Juno probe won’t fly endlessly around the gas giant. The space agency expects to destroy Juno in 2018 or 2019 by plunging it into the seemingly bottomless, noxious clouds of Jupiter. The goal is to keep Juno from disrupting any aliens — microbial or otherwise — that might live in hidden oceans of water below the icy shells of Jupiter’s moons Europa and Ganymede.
Ever wonder why you have to put your phone on "Airplane Mode" on flights? Most people think it’s because active cell phones could interfere with the plane’s navigation equipment. But that’s not the real reason why your phone has to be in "Airplane Mode."
So many of us sit all day at work, although countless studies have concluded it’s terrible for our health. A massive study found out how much you have to exercise in order to prevent these health problems.
Brad Streicher contributed to an earlier version of this video.
Recently, a kerfuffle in the world of CRISPR illustrated just how easily money—and our perception of it—can impact science.
In late May, a paper came out questioning how effective the gene-editing technology really is. Working with mice, researchers found that edits made with CRISPR can also result in thousands of unintended changes to a genome. The study cast serious doubt on whether CRISPR is ready for prime time.
The fallout was swift. Stock prices of three CRISPR companies—Editas Medicine, Intellia Therapeutics and CRISPR Therapeutics—tumbled. Scientists affiliated with those companies fired back, questioning the study’s methodology. Stocks bounced back. The scientific world was set atwitter, questioning not only the validity of the initial study, but how to trust a rebuttal against that study when it came from those who stood to lose the most from its publication.
Conflicts of interest aren’t a new problem in science. One frequently-cited example is the role that tobacco industry-funded scientists played in distorting the health consequences of smoking. There is a significant body of evidence suggesting financial interests can correlate with favorable results. But, conflicts of interest aren’t always all bad. Research funding from sources with a vested interest in a topic can sometimes help advance science that otherwise might not get funded at all—think the patient advocacy groups funding cures for little-known diseases.
What’s undoubtedly true is that money plays a significant role in science. And rarely has there been as much money at stake as with CRISPR, the nascent gene-editing technique that promises to cure everything from genetic disease to global famine by allowing researchers to easily cut and paste particular genes. When scientists whose fortune and reputation hinges on a particular technology speak out against a paper questioning that technology, it’s hard not to wonder how that bias might factor in.
“There is this unspoken assumption the people in academia are driven primarily by the quest for knowledge and the science,” Josephine Johnston, a bioethicist at The Hastings Institute, told Gizmodo. But in recent history, controversies over things like tobacco and GMOs have begun to erode that perception. “When it became clear that more and more scientists have a specific financial stake, it caused a lot of concern,” Johnston said.
When it comes to CRISPR, the financial stakes are certainly complicated. Two separate groups of scientists have long been embroiled in a battle over the patent for the technology, with one headquartered at The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the other at U.C. Berkeley (so far, the US has awarded the patent to Broad but Europe and China have sided with Berkeley). The patent gives the scientists the ability to license the technology. In this case, Broad has licensed the technology to Editas, a company founded by scientists at both Berkeley and Broad. Berkeley licensed its patents Intellia, which Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna is also a founder of, as well as to CRISPR Therapeutics.
Most of the headline-grabbing scientists associated with CRISPR have major financial stakes in publicly traded CRISPR companies, creating a strong incentive across the industry for CRISPR to succeed. The concern is that a CRISPR-favoring bias could potentially cause researchers to misinterpret or skew study results, or forge ahead with human clinical trials before CRISPR is really ready.
That’s not to say that there’s necessarily anything wrong with the points industry-affiliated CRISPR scientists raised in their rebuttal to the paper questioning their science. In fact, several other scientists raised similar concerns.
“Finances certainly can influence science. Not just companies, but also the premises supporting government grant finances,” George Church, an author of the rebuttal paper and founder of Editas, told Gizmodo via email. “We were basically raising issues that the original authors can address. This, fortunately, doesn’t require perfect unbiased authors. Anyone can point out a potential problem.”
Michael Kalichman, director of UC San Diego’s research ethics program, pointed out that financial interest isn’t the only bias that scientists have to be wary of.
“We’ve talked about conflicts of interest for many years in science and for many reasons much of that focus has been on financial conflicts. For one, it’s easy to see,” he told Gizmodo. “What I find astonishing is that even scientists forget that there are other conflicts that can influence work, like tenure, your reputation or just being excited about an idea.”
Kalichman said his biggest concern is less that scientists are actually doing anything unethical, and more that financial conflicts of interest create the perception that they are. The paper that sparked the CRISPR controversy received press in most major news outlets, and the blowback against it has received significant attention, too.
“Part of me is worried about the way [this CRISPR fight] is playing out because of the picture it paints of science,” he said. “We have this battle going on in the pages of scientific journals that creates this perception that this is what science is about when most of science is not about this.”
Johnston echoed those concerns.
“The introduction of these financial interests muddies the water enough that people don’t know who to trust,” she said. “Whether or not we can see anything wrong with either study, or anyone else can, there’s still this suspicion that the financial stakes must have played some role here. That’s a very corrosive thing across science.”
In the initial Nature Methods paper, scientists from Stanford and University of Iowa working to cure blindness in mice found that while CRISPR did successfully edit the gene for blindness, it also caused mutations in more than a thousand unrelated genes. The consequences of those off-target effects, far more extensive than previously realized, are largely unknown. “This finding warns that CRISPR technology must be further tailored, particularly before it is used for human gene therapy,” the researchers wrote.
As mentioned, scientists associated with CRISPR companies were not the only ones, or even the first, to criticize the study’s design. Many scientists raised red flags about basic mistakes, such as misidentifying genes, mislabeling genetic defects, and the small number of animals the researchers had included in their research. But other scientists found the reaction against the paper, was written as a brief letter to the editor intended mainly to point to an area where more study might be needed, to be overwrought. Some, like UC Davis professor Paul Knoepfler, suggested the real problem was that the results had been over-interpreted and blown up in the press, setting in motion an out-sized blowback.
Scientists from Intellia and Editas both sent separate letters to Nature Methods, forcing it to eventually add a note to the study about the controversy surrounding the letter. What’s more, in publishing their own study taking down the initial work’s methodology, scientists associated with Editas opted to publish a pre-print online before it was peer-reviewed, though the initial paper did go through a peer review process. And while the response paper mentions the institutions and companies each author is affiliated with, there is no clear conflict of interest section. (Church said conflicts of interest will be included with journal publication.)
This week, a pre-print of a second paper published by scientists at Intellia that reanalyzed the original paper’s data and found far fewer off-target edits also appeared online.
In a statement, the Broad Institute said that the peer review process should weed out the impact of any conflict.
“Scientific papers—whether making a new claim, or analyzing an existing scientific claim—should always be subject to rigorous evaluation by the scientific community to establish whether the scientific evidence actually supports the argument in the paper,” the Broad Institute told Gizmodo. “Such review by the community provides protection against incorrect arguments, whether due to a scientific error, financial or reputational interest, or something else.”
Most journals and research institutions have a comprehensive conflict of interest policy. In 2010, UNESCO called for journals to adopt a common standard of dealing with “the complex and growing financial arrangements that have developed in recent years between vested interests and independent scientists.” Even so, sometimes those ties wind up omitted.
Kalichman said more might be needed to address conflicts of interest in the realm of basic science.
“In clinical research, you do everything you can to separate financial interests from the people doing the work,” Kalichman said. “We don’t really talk about that in basic research, but maybe we need to do something like that. Maybe if you have a financial interest, you’re not the one that looks at the raw data.”
It’s next to impossible to fully weed out conflict in science—be it financial or otherwise. Besides, it makes sense that scientists should be able to make money off of their own work. But it’s also impossible not to acknowledge that those interests can influence the science. How could they not?
Update: This story has been updated to include mention of the Intellia study.
Okay, we get it. Bill Gates is smart. He founded one of the most important companies ever, Microsoft. He’s one of the richest men in the world. So yeah, he’s smart, but does the dude also have some kind of crystal ball that helped him do so well over the years?
I ask this because Markus Kirjonen, a business student, recently wrote on his blog about 15 predictions that Bill Gates made 18 years ago, way back in 1999, that were freakishly accurate.
Check out these predictions and tell me the guy doesn’t have magical powers…
Online Price Comparison Services
“Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites, making it effortless to find the cheapest product for all industries.”
“People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices.”
Instant Payments, Online Financing and Healthcare
“People will pay their bills, take care of their finances, and communicate with their doctors over the internet.”
Personal Virtual Assistants
“‘Personal companions’ will be developed. They will connect and sync all your devices in a smart way, whether they are at home or in the office, and allow them to exchange data. The device will check your email or notifications, and present the information that you need. When you go to the store, you can tell it what recipes you want to prepare, and it will generate a list of ingredients that you need to pick up. It will inform all the devices that you use of your purchases and schedule, allowing them to automatically adjust to what you’re doing.”
Online Home Monitoring
“Constant video feeds of your house will become common, which inform you when somebody visits while you are not home.”
“Private websites for your friends and family will be common, allowing you to chat and plan for events.”
Automated Promotional and Sales Offerings
“Software that knows when you’ve booked a trip and uses that information to suggest activities at the local destination. It suggests activities, discounts, offers, and cheaper prices for all the things that you want to take part in.”
Live Sports Discussion Websites
“While watching a sports competition on television, services will allow you to discuss what is going on live, and enter contest where you vote on who you think will win.”
“Devices will have smart advertising. They will know your purchasing trends, and will display advertisements that are tailored toward your preferences.”
Website Integration With Live Television
“Television broadcast will include links to relevant websites and content that complement what you are watching.”
Regional Online Discussion Boards
“Residents of cities and countries will be able to have internet-based discussions concerning issues that affect them, such as local politics, city planning, or safety.”
Interest-Based Online Communities
“Online communities will not be influenced by your location, but rather, your interest.”
Project Management Software
“Project managers looking to put a team together will be able to go online, describe the project, and receive recommendations for available people who would fit their requirements.”
“Similarly, people looking for work will be able to find employment opportunities online by declaring their interest, needs, and specialized skills.”
Business Community Software
“Companies will be able to bid on jobs, whether they are looking for a construction project, a movie production, or an advertising campaign. This will be efficient for both big companies that want to outsource work that they don’t usually face, businesses looking for new clients, and corporations that don’t have a go-to provider for the said service.”
While some of these are still in their infancy they’ve all pretty much come true. Bill Gates is a wizard, I’m now convinced.