This blog post was first published in the October 2022 edition of The Actuary magazine.
The term “metaverse” first appeared in the science fiction novel, Snow Crash. In Neal Stephenson’s seminal novel published in 1992, the metaverse is a “computer-rendered imaginary place” that users access by wearing “goggles that wrap halfway around the head”. What was once a niche nerdy term has exploded into mainstream consciousness. Hitherto the domain of science fiction, the metaverse is slowly becoming a reality.
I love this time of the year – crisp autumn mornings, fall foliage, pumpkin spice latte, and Tesla’s annual AI Day.
Tesla AI Day is part product demonstration, part university lectures. These events provide technical details that showcase the company’s progress in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. They’re also staged to attract the best and brightest.
Tesla’s ability to recruit and retain top science and engineering talents in the age of the Great Resignation is an unparalleled competitive advantage, on par with its zero advertisement customer acquisition strategy.
I spent the last several weekends working on Buildspace projects. These projects are free learn-by-doing tutorials on building fully functional web3 applications – from writing smart contracts, deploying them onto the blockchain, to building the user interface that interacts with the smart contract.
The applications I learnt to build include a decentralised version of Twitter, a non-fungible token (NFT) generator (see the collection on OpenSea), and a simple game that uses NFTs to represent the game characters. Doing these projects have helped me connect the dots.
Tesla has done several technical deep dives over the years to give the world an update on the company’s progress in fully self-driving (FSD) and battery technology. It started with Autonomy Day, followed by Battery Day, and more recently, AI Day. Tesla uses these events to help recruit the best and brightest.
The events are also probably staged to make Tesla stock short sellers sweat profusely. Elon Musk had, in various presentations, interviews and podcasts, alluded to most things presented at the event. To see them fleshed out in details must have made critics regret calling Elon Musk a shyster.
This blog post was first published in the July 2021 edition of The Actuary magazine. I wrote it as a call to arms for actuaries to learn about blockchain, and to start building on decentralised networks. Further reading and learning resources are at the bottom of the post.
The actuarial profession has historically thrived in the insurance and risk management industries. While many of us have moved successfully to “non-traditional” actuarial areas, the profession has more to do to become the “revolutionary” elite Elon Musk hoped for when he tweeted about hiring actuaries to develop Tesla’s insurance proposition. The imminent arrival of fully autonomous vehicles is just one of a number of technological megatrends which are poised to change our industry and how we work.
This is the third of a multi-part series on decentralised finance (DeFi). DeFi is a blockchain use case that is potentially disruptive to the traditional finance industry. The first part of the series explains what it is and the philosophy behind the movement. The second part of the series delves into the state of the DeFi ecosystem as of October 2020. A primer on blockchain (including examples of insurance use cases) is available in this paper I co-authored.
Coinbase’s imminent stock market debut has been a long time coming. It’s a fortuitous time for a crypto exchange to go public; at US$2 trillion (at time of writing), crypto-assets’ total market capitalisation is at an all-time high. The frothy market makes people trade with abandon, bestowing lucrative transaction revenue and custody fees (c. US$1.8 billion in Q1 2021) to Coinbase. In good times, it’s easy to overlook the risk factors listed on Coinbase’s S-1 filing. “No risk, no reward” is the mantra of the day.
My Saturday morning routine when I was 7 years old was simple. I woke up and before long, I was in front of the television watching reruns of the 1980s cartoon, Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Voltron left such an impression on my younger self that many years later, I referenced it in my wedding vows.
This is the second of a multi-part series on decentralised finance (DeFi). DeFi is a blockchain use case that is potentially disruptive to the traditional finance industry. The first part of the series explains what it is and the philosophy behind the movement. A primer on blockchain (including examples of insurance use cases) is available in this paper I co-authored.
Naval Ravikant is a tech entrepreneur, angel investor, and a modern day philosopher. He’s not a household name; he once lamented that his fans are mainly young male geeks. That’s a shame because his wisdom is universal; transcending age, gender, and predilection.