Newsletter | March 28th, 2017
 

This week we're talking about crime-fighting AI, smartphones vs. illegal logging, credit card-free ATMs, and the first zero-emission hydrail.

 
CRIME . Machine Learning Solves an Insider Trading Case
 

 
What would Holmes and Dr. Watson think of this one? A 2013 criminal investigation has come to light that involved machine learning technology solving a case of insider trading. U.K. startup Behavox used its machine learning technology to flag poker nights between traders at separate firms as a potential conflict of interest. The true genius was indentifying the poker games through the traders' fast food receipts, and then finding an overlap with huge spikes in the traders' P&L statements.  

With huge amounts of data it can be extremely time consuming and beyond the capabilities of human investigators to discern noteworthy patterns. Startups like Behavox sell machine learning services to financial institutions in order to help them room out bad behavior and reduce the billions in fines levied at them by regulators each year. 
 
ENVIRONMENT . Smartphone app enters the fight against illegal logging
 

 
Solar-powered cell phones are now helping to fight deforestation! Best sentence ever. The nicknamed 'guardian phones' are placed high in jungle canopies and can recognize sounds associated with illegal logging. The true magic is the app Rainforest Connection which collects ambient sounds and alerts park rangers if it picks up the sound of chainsaws, logging trucks, vehicles, and gunshots. This is a lot faster than the current method of analyzing satellite imagery for signs of logging.  
 
The noise samples aren't only for picking up signs of loggers. Ecologists will also be able to study the data to identify the presence and migration of animals without being onsite. Just when you think you've seen smartphones do it all, you get this. πŸ‘
 
BANKING . Forget plastic, we're moving to smartphone-only ATM use
 

 
Wells Fargo announced this week that it will offer the ability to use your smartphone to withdraw cash at their ATM's. Their mobile app generates a temporary 8-digit code that when combined with your PIN number allows you to withdraw or deposit cash, card-free.
 
If this technology seems familiar, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and iPhone's Apple Pay have all updated their apps to provide card-less options at the participating ATMs. The added convenience I'm sure will help drive down the estimated $4 billion of hacked credit card fraud, and be appreciated at a time when more people would rather those their wallet than their phone.  
 
TRANSPORTATION . We now have the first zero-emission hyrdail πŸš†
 

 
A train powered by a hydrogen fuel cell completed its first test run! The iLint train will begin commercial operations alter this year. It is the first zero-emission hydrogen powered train (or hydrail). By combining oxygen drawn from the local atmosphere with hydrogen, the two are combined to make electricity that is stored in lithium-ion batteries. The result is a train that is completely sustainable, with only water and steam for emissions.  

Meanwhile in neighboring France, construction of the Hyperloop has just begun. If you don't think the world is moving fast enough, Japanese bullet trains currently go up to 374 mph, and the Hyperloop is expected to reach 760 mph. Hydrogen-powered trains are currently barely breaking 100 mph. Speed aside, can we agree that zero-emission mass public transit > zero-emission 'cheap' electric cars?
 
 

...let's end with some beautifully designed technology

 The smartflower solar device unfurls as the sun rises in the morning. βš‘

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