Winner-Takes All Effects in Autonomous Cars and More
"There are now several dozen companies trying to make the technology for autonomous cars, across OEMs, their traditional suppliers, existing major tech companies and startups. Clearly, not all of these will succeed, but enough of them have a chance that one wonders what and where the winner-take-all effects could be, and what kinds of leverage there might be. Are there network effects that would allow the top one or two companies to squeeze the rest out, as happened in smartphone or PC operating systems? Or might there be room for five or ten companies to compete indefinitely? And for what layers in the stack does victory give power in other layers?"
Benedict Evans, ben-evens.com
"According to the World Health Organization, approximately 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide, and in the United States alone, 8.1 million internet users have a visual impairment.
"What most non-disabled individuals consider to be the internet, a place full of text, images, videos, and more, is something completely different for the visually impaired. Screen readers, tools that can read text and metadata on a web page, are very limited and can only expose one part of a webpage, namely the text of the site. While some developers take the time to go through their sites and add descriptive captions to their images for visually disabled users, the vast majority of programmers do not take the time to do this admittedly tedious task."
Abhinav Suri, Hackernoon
Three: Amazon is Coming to Town
"The Lehigh Valley, a Pennsylvania region 90 miles west of New York City, was home to the prosperous steel industry through the 20th century. Now, after more than a decade of decline following its collapse in the early 2000s, it’s become a boomtown again — this time for e-commerce, which is bringing in million-square-foot warehouses and much-needed jobs. But where is this trend ultimately heading?"
William Turton, The Outline
Four: Deep Learning for Siri’s Voice: On-device Deep Mixture Density Networks for Hybrid Unit Selection Synthesis
"Siri is a personal assistant that communicates using speech synthesis. Starting in iOS 10 and continuing with new features in iOS 11, we base Siri voices on deep learning. The resulting voices are more natural, smoother, and allow Siri’s personality to shine through. This article presents more details about the deep learning based technology behind Siri’s voice."
Siri Team, Apple Machine Learning Journal
Five: Disney's Choice
"While the “look-at-the-silly-millenials” genre tends to be a bit tiresome, the Wall Street Journal came up with a novel angle earlier this month: the TV antenna.
"The antenna is mounting a quiet comeback, propelled by a generation that never knew life before cable television, and who primarily watch Netflix, Hulu and HBO via the Internet. Antenna sales in the U.S. are projected to rise 7% in 2017 to nearly 8 million units, according to the Consumer Technology Association, a trade group…
"Since the dawn of television, the major networks have broadcast signals over the airwaves. It is free after buying an antenna, indoor or outdoor, and plugging it into your TV set. It still exists, though now most consumers have switched to cable television, which includes many more channels and costs upward of $100 a month."
"The story is even more ironic when you consider the origins of cable TV. In the late 1940s, households that, due to geography, could not receive over-the-air television signals in their homes, banded together to erect “community antennas” on mountain tops or tall buildings, and then ran cables from said antennas to individual houses. In other words, cable TV originated as a means to get the free TV that was broadcast to everyone."
Ben Thompson, Stratechery