Con­ver­sa­tion Starters

Some ideas to think about – whether it’s on tech­nol­ogy, fi­nance, so­ci­ety, or cul­ture


TECH­NOL­OGY Blockchain Tur­keys

We know the ben­e­fits of blockchain tech­nol­ogy, and now it has been ap­plied into the food sup­ply chain start­ing with tur­keys as a pi­lot project. Us­ing blockchain, some com­pa­nies are cur­rently ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of au­then­ti­cat­ing meat pro­duced ac­cord­ing to cer­tain Euro­pean stan­dards that cur­rently rate pro­duc­tion and an­i­mal wel­fare/pro­tec­tion as 1-, 2- or 3-stars.

FI­NANCE Right terms get you a foot in the door

In­vest­ments are still be­ing poured ag­gres­sively into the startup am­bit. Ap­par­ently, terms like AI-driven, neu­ral net­works, blockchain, ma­chine learn­ing are ‘hot’ terms that get the at­ten­tion of ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists. If you can squeeze ideas or even ter­mi­nolo­gies per­tain­ing to these ar­eas into your business model some­how, you might get a shot.

PROP­ERTY Trea­sure-laden carpark lots

In Hong Kong, the craze of prop­erty ac­cu­mu­la­tion is now cen­tered on carpark lots. This is with sky-high prop­erty prices that have driven yield-hun­gry in­vestors and even com­mon folk to place bets on carpark lots in the land-scarce econ­omy. A whop­ping nearly 300 per cent rise in the last 12 years makes it in fact a bet­ter in­vest­ment than hous­ing it­self. The en­tire sit­u­a­tion has al­ready spi­ralled out of gov­ern­men­tal con­trol and fresh ideas are needed to deal with this. A re­set but­ton of sorts is needed des­per­ately.

SO­CI­ETY Top dol­lar for top AI tal­ent

Look­ing to get hired and paid ob­scene amounts of money? The hir­ing phe­nom­e­non at this stage with tech giants re­mains at top-dol­lar hu­man cap­i­tal lev­els where astro­nom­i­cal pay scales are given to PhDs and those deemed to have the ca­pac­ity and brains for ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. In­ter­est­ingly enough, be­cause of the cash rich na­ture of these giants, they are more than happy to stake a bet at ac­quir­ing a com­pany just based on its ideas be­fore some­thing is ever built.

NEW IDEAS Mars zero

The Moon is known to be quite bare and not that easy to in­habit. This led to pri­vate com­pany Mars One mak­ing pub­lic announcements in the early part of this decade that it would be a pos­si­ble first­mover in the col­o­niza­tion of Mars, with a pro­jected 2023 ar­rival on the planet. To date, it has pushed back its time­line to 2031, and a fore­see­able stalling of plans where nec­es­sary. They prob­a­bly need the help of Mr. Elon Musk, and a few hun­dred times the amount of fund­ing that they cur­rently have. This is just one of those times that a good idea re­quires top fund­ing to re­al­ize first fruits.

CUL­TURE Crazy Rich Folks – Elitism vs The Elite

The uber-rich are some­times known to be the hege­monic ex­ploita­tive class of elites. Up in their ivory tow­ers, jet­ting around in pri­vate Bom­bardiers, and zip­ping from one lo­ca­tion to another in bul­let-proof Bent­leys, the im­age of ex­cess at the ex­pense of oth­ers is a dif­fi­cult one to shake. This has added fuel to the anti-elitism move­ment that is preva­lent. Per­haps more needs to be done to hu­man­ize their ex­pe­ri­ence by bring­ing about sto­ries about how it was for them be­fore their em­pires were built, their chal­lenges, fail­ures, and even­tual break­throughs that led them to where they are to­day. There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween elitism and be­ing an elite, and there’s noth­ing wrong fall­ing into the lat­ter category.

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