Should we let tech companies run the world?

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Yes, like, even more than they do today. This is Tyler Cowen’s question and here are two views: 

Under one view, the major tech companies lucked into some pieces of rapidly scalable software.  They are phenomenal at producing and distributing such software, but otherwise they put on their pants one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.  They are not especially productive at marginal activities beyond their core competencies.

Under the second view, the major tech companies have developed new managerial technologies for hiring, handling, and motivating super-smart employees.  That is the reason why the tech companies have become phenomenal at producing and distributing rapidly scalable software.  But if tech companies turn their attention to other productive activities, they would do very very well.  Alex for instance thinks that Apple ought to buy a university. Or you might expect that Google’s “scallion fried fish” dish would be especially tasty.  After all, do not smarter people make for better cooks?

[Source: Marginal Revolution]

Japan firm seeks to spawn salmon farm revolution

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The company’s process is two-fold: first, simple tap water is converted to seawater by adding artificial sea salt, which allows the farming process to be set up anywhere tap water is available.

Second, a patented technology involving bacteria cleans the water, consuming the ammonia produced by the fish, and dissolving nitric acid, meaning energy-sucking cleaning systems are not necessary.

“We’ll be the world’s first successful case for this type of land-based salmon farming if we can turn a profit,” Sogo said.

The process was born out of technology developed by Sogo’s company for sewage disposal systems.

In 2008, they developed the breakthrough bacteria technology and the following year it was being used at an aquarium in Tokyo, at which point Sogo realised it could be used for salmon farming.

Rendezvous next year to see if Sogo made it. 

[Source: AFP]

Here’s an unpopular, bearish view on the blockchain technology

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Reader Bob highlighted on a Marginal Revolution post

My favorite unpopular blockchain ideas: 99% of corporate experiments regarding blockchains are better handled with Apache Kafka and multiple archivers. Anything that attempts to be a fast, global ledger has to accept the reality that global ordering is a limitation, not a feature, and instead use logical clocks. The intersection between blockchain enthusiast and distributed system researchers is close to zero. When we look back 100 years, Bitcoin itself will be seen as far more relevant in retrospect than blockchain technologies.