This is global roundup, a summary of daily hot trending topics and news around the world:
- Cheap Chinese goods in Africa are over. Years of quick profits have led to a glut of cheap products, and now malls filled with identical goods lie empty. Lily Kuo reports from Eastleigh in Nairobi, once a sleepy residential neighborhood and now one of the most globally connected trade hubs in Africa. Also from Kuo: Why the Chinese are now leaving South Africa.
- Reasons not to fear a superhuman AI. Veteran tech writer Kevin Kelly argues in Backchannel that warnings of a robot takeover (see Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, et al.) fundamentally misconstrue what artificial intelligence is. The key is to think of intelligence not as a linear scale, but as a vast possibility space. AI won’t be superior, just very different—vastly better at some things and not at others.
- Le hackers meddle with Macron. Just two days before France votes for a new President, the campaign of frontrunner Emmanuel Macron has been hit with a “massive and coordinated” hacking attack. The hackers reportedly duped campaign staff with phishing attempts and fake websites, and have now dumped reams of emails and accounting statements onto the Internet. Once again, it appears Russia is behind the attacks, seeking to disrupt and destabilize another democracy. (New York Times)
- Ant Financial’s great mobile payment race – PYMNTS.com chronicles the rise of Ant Financial from a small online lender for Chinese SMBs (Alipay) to a global interoperable financial services network that is well positioned to rival the largest multinational players such as Mastercard, Visa, and Paypal. Read more
- How banks can compete against an army of fintech startups – The Harvard Business Review explores the glacial pace at which banks have moved SME lending online and how that could leave them vulnerable. Read more
- Medium Blue. IBM has seemingly been on the comeback trail for years. It just reported its 20th consecutive quarter of declining revenue. Now one of the company’s most ardent backers, legendary investor Warren Buffett, says he’s losing faith and has sold one-third of his stake. “I’ve revalued it somewhat downward,” Buffett tells CNBC. “IBM is a big strong company, but they’ve got big strong competitors, too.”
- The future of TV. YouTube announced it would back 40 original series and movies over the next year, partnering with name brand stars like Ellen DeGeneres and comedian Kevin Hart. Snapchat has also been signing deals with media and news companies for short videos to run on its messaging app popular with teens