The Two Types of Automation with Lex Sokolin


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Lex Sokolin is Global Fintech Co-Head and Head Economist at ConsenSys. He is a New York & London entrepreneur with senior operating and board-level Fintech experience in blockchain, digital investing, and wealth management. He founded the Fintech practice at Autonomous, a financial services equity research firm, where he focused on artificial intelligence, blockchain, and mixed reality. 

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Here’s the timestamps for the episode: 

(00:00) – Introduction

(02:12) – Banking, investing, lending and insurance, which used to be intermediated by human beings, are now targeted by artificial intelligence companies. 

(04:09) – The digitization of all the industries from media to retail to now finance and healthcare.

(05:14) –Machine Learning on top of large data sets. Services that used to be physical now have digital chassis that create data exhaust.

(06:28) – Removing humans and running on autopilot makes it way cheaper and more accessible to manufacture a financial product. 

(09:12) – Mobile apps usage rises because phones are more distributed than banking services.

(11:07) – 800 million or so users in China power the engine for the algorithmic decision-making for credit there.

(12:30) – Free internet costs your data, your money or tracking of your behavior.

(15:35) – Chinese model is successful because fixed costs of research and development are covered by government spending, and the U.S is fairly disadvantaged in that regard.

(16:13) –  Asymmetrical markets are controlled by very few players. Capitalism allows for that sort of selection mechanism to occur. The other option is decentralized direction, which is less profit-driven and more humanistic.

(22:16) –  Low marginal costs is the direction that we’re moving towards from a macro level, driven by lower cost manufacturing and lower cost distribution.

(24:05) – Finance jobs are threatened by automation.

(28:40) – Encourage venture capitalism for innovation and risk-taking by the population.

(34:36) – Distribution of wealth and income are getting more unequal because of unassailable structures of society.

(38:21) – The internet age accentuates inequality. The large tech firms trend towards monopoly.

(42:19) – Mental health tactics to keep at baseline

(42:55) – A system that manufactures anxiety. Scientists develop newsfeeds to break down your behavioral defenses