🔮 DeSci; Psychedelic capitalism; Digital Solar; Whistling dolphins++ #365

Hi, I’m Azeem Azhar. I convene Exponential View every week to help us understand how our societies and political economy will change under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies.

🎙This week on the podcast

What will living morally in the metaverse mean? How will the expansion of our reality affect us? I go into these and other questions with philosopher David Chalmers in the latest podcast discussion. Listen to the conversation here.

Today’s edition is supported by our knowledge partner, McKinsey & Company.

The mainstreaming of additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3-D printing, is one of the most revolutionary technologies in manufacturing. It’s now a $14.7 billion industry, and it’s growing. But even while rapid innovation is driving its use, AM is still considered mostly a niche technology. A new article explores how manufacturers can take AM technologies to the next level.

The near future

🧪 Decentralised science
DeSci uses blockchain to enable open science and scale scientific research, collaboration and funding opportunities. Scientist and founder Sarah Hamburg maps out the DeSci landscape in this must-read guide. h/t EV member Gianni Giacomelli

📈 Consumerising the private markets
Private equity net asset value grew twice as fast as public markets between 2002 and 2017 on the global stage. For the longest time, the average individual didn’t have access to the value created in private markets. Finally, the tide is turning thanks to widely accessible investment platforms, modern infrastructure, online communities, and loosening regulation.

💎 Psychedelic capitalism
On another front, we are starting to see entrepreneurial developments on the Schedule I drug front – in comes Psychedelic Inc. What could go wrong in the world of psychedelic capitalism? Good, slow read. See EV#343 about the frontiers of mental health.

🍏 Subscription runway
Subscription ambitions are growing at Apple, as the company prepares to launch its hardware subscription service starting with the iPhone later this year or early next. We don’t know what the program will look like, though some speculate that

a world where Apple has customers invest months of capital to rent a device only to have them return it at the end of the process seems equally unlikely.

It’s possible that Apple is simply looking to cut out the middleman and expand its installment-based payment offerings to other products. [...] Apple also allows Apple Card customers to pay for Apple products over monthly installments without paying interest, but that too is only limited to a small subset of Apple customers. An Apple-based subscription service could eliminate those requirements, and allow Apple to expand it to other hardware products (like the iPad or its Mac computers) too.

See also: Apple furthers its push into new payment technology with the acquisition of UK open banking startup Credit Kudos.

Dept of our climate future

In every Sunday edition, we track key metrics that tell us a little about our shared climate future. We have invited EV member Marshall Kirkpatrick to curate stories about our climate future in this section every week: “Any of these positive developments could be a seed that spreads sustainable models around the world. As adrienne maree brown writes of the Fractal principle of Emergent Strategy, ‘The large is made up of the smallest things, patterns repeat at scale.’ One way to foster change is to ‘help people see, celebrate, and build on the small shifts they are making.’ And the following are already some pretty big compounding shifts we are making together. Let’s continue to hurry.”

SEC on Climate: The US Securities and Exchange Commission, the body that governs publicly traded corporations, proposed new rules aimed at enhancing those companies’ disclosure of climate-related risks and impacts. Scope 1 and 2 would be required for all companies, and Scope 3 for some. The move was widely applauded by climate activists; Investigative journalist Amy Westervelt said the move “should curb greenwashing.” Goldman Sachs said "We're not going to wait for the SEC rule to kick in.” Morningstar said it’s favoured by and will be good for investors. In the spirit of Donella Meadows, may the clouds at the boundaries of our system maps be pushed back to include these essential parts of the systems by which humanity sustains itself. Historically, discounting such externalities to zero has been an act of unfathomable violence.

UK Winds: The UK has surpassed China and the US to become the world’s largest planned producer of off-shore wind power. As Assaad Razzouk, The Angry Clean Energy Guy, summarises: “At 86GW, UK offshore wind pipeline …is more than 6 times country's current capacity, is up 60% in 12 months, and is on track to comfortably beat its 2030 goal of 40GW in installed offshore wind.” For onshore wind, UK is considering lowering peoples’ energy bills based on their proximity to turbines. It’s not hard to imagine such place-based incentivisation strategies deployed around the world.

Open Data: The International Energy Agency has announced it will begin making its data freely available for 3rd party analysis, after a decade-long community campaign calling for access to said data. “We need to know how much energy countries consume and from which sources, and how much each sector (such as electricity, road transport, aviation and heating) demands,” Hannah Ritchie explained in Nature last October. “These data are gathered by the International Energy Agency, which is based in Paris and funded mainly by governments. But researchers must pay thousands of dollars to use them.” The value of open data for confronting global crises became all the more clear with the emergence of Covid-19. Effective instrumentation at scale requires democratisation, including the right economic, social, and institutional support for such data to be utilised.

Digital Solar: Space-constrained Indian apartment dwellers are finding innovative ways to participate in solar power generation, including a tokenised ownership platform called SundayGrids, recently profiled by Reuters. Participants pay to help fund the installation of large scale solar generation on the rooftops of schools, shopping malls, and other partner sites. Then, when those facilities sell the power they generate, the network of token owners are paid back in cash to cover their own energy use.  Many readers of Exponential are surely nodding heads to see sustainable behaviours meeting business and tech.  Innovative models such as this will need to flourish around the world in order to close the exponential gap between technology and society. May many more of them facilitate this kind of collective action.

Short morsels to appear smart while whistling at dolphins

⚙️ Hybrid and remote work are here to stay.

🌡️ The Kremlin has been battling with big tech far before its invasion of Ukraine.

🚕 Uber volte face: the ride-hailing company will start listing traditional taxis on its app.

🔎 There is growing scientific evidence pointing to a zoonotic origin for Covid-19.

🚼 Researchers and regulators are warning against the harms of selecting embryos for IVF based on yet unproven screening methods of genetic diseases.

😻 The pitch decks of 29 startups before they became unicorns. One highlight: Linkedin showing how companies that leverage network effects become winners. 15 years on, they could not have been more right.

😙 Dolphins use whistling to communicate with distant friends.

🇺🇦 This digital meta museum of war creates NFTs linking a piece of news about the war in Ukraine with a unique illustration. The funds directly reach the crypto-accounts of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine to support army and civilians.

End note

I've been in bed sick since Friday, so today’s newsletter is shorter, and my Sunday commentary is missing. When I recuperate, I look forward to welcoming a new cohort of members into our Exponential Do community.

In the meantime, if you’re working on a blockchain project we should know about, fill out this form. We’d like to hear from you.


What you’re up to – notes from EV readers

Kaila Colbin is organising the Boma Agri Summit on the 21-22 June 2022 to explore the future of food and fiber. Readers of Exponential View get $100 off in-person tickets (code: EV_100) and $20 off virtual tickets (code: EV_20).

Rodolfo Rosini is hiring a remote UK accounting lead for 1 day/week. Apply here.

Co-founder Sean West’s UK and Rwanda-based legatech business Hence Technologies secured $1.8M in funding.

Louis Rosenberg partnered with the non-profit group More Perfect Union to produce an educational video about the need for metaverse regulation.

Deputy Director Nicolas Marescaux and his team at MACIF launched a community of interest focused on autonomous vehicles composed of 13 companies, including Microsoft, SNCF and BNP Paribas. Read their survey of 1000+ local officials and their perceptions of mobility here.

Tsung Xu wrote a guide to the energy transition focusing on the non-linearity of solar, wind and batteries and what it means for emerging industries.

To share your projects and updates, fill out your details here. Because of space constraints, we prioritise updates from paying members and startups I have invested in. (You can become the former by subscribing, if you have not already, and the latter by getting an intro to me via a trusted contact.)

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