Horizons newsletter – Week 3 // 2017

Horizons newsletter – Week 3 // 2017

Horizons is a bi-monthly Dasym Research initiative to show you how the Dasym themes have been in the news. We publish the Horizons on our website and as an email newsletter. If you wish to receive the email, please contact Investor Relations.
Do you have a question about the digitization of consumer’s daily lives? As a research-driven investment company, we want to be relevant to you, so please provide us with your questions and remarks. Your feedback will help us to drive our research agenda.


China’s Caribbean Moment
Sino-American relations could deteriorate under Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump broke protocol by speaking directly to Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen and he openly questioned America’s One-China policy. However, it is possible that Trump is seeking to improve America’s terms of trade with China and that Taiwan is only a sensitive bargaining chip in this strategy. China’s situation is comparable to the United States in the early 20th century. Back then the U.S. was an emerging power: economically powerful, but under a global order controlled by other countries like England, France and Spain. Through the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary, the U.S. curbed external influence in the Caribbean and South America. In 1898 the U.S. evicted Spain from Cuba and in 1904 it focused on the Panama Canal. Today China is an emerging power that is recalibrating its relations with Taiwan and the Philippines. Like the U.S. a century earlier, China could in 2017 become the dominant power over the island nations in its neighborhood and subsequently move on to a next phase of hegemonic rise.

Deep Device Direction
The first human-computer interaction was through command-line interfaces with keyboard input. The mouse and Graphical User Interfaces, such as Windows, boosted computer usage and helped spread the technology. Since then screens and graphics have continued to improve, with touchscreens as one of the most significant innovations. The essence of the graphical-user interface, however, has remained the same, but that is changing. January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) featured many applications of Conversational User Interfaces (CUIs) that render the mouse, keyboard and screen obsolete. CUIs make user interfaces more natural, increasing the intensity of our interaction with devices and digital assistants (even falling in love with them as shown in the film Her). Using our voice to control devices not only improves the user experience and increases usage by making things easier (e.g. filling in paperwork), our voice also discloses more information such as our moods, and could even uncover incipient heart diseases. Furthermore, it might increase technology adoption, for example among older or visually-impaired people. CUIs are the next interface-innovations that could spur new and deeper uses of ICT and digital devices.

Read more about this topic in our Deep Dive When the world starts talking (and listening).

It ain’t fair use
Star Trek has one of the most loyal fan bases around the world with fans creating their own stories in word and video based on the broad Star Trek universe. The legality of these fan creations has been under debate since it first emerged in the late 1960s, but in general, the owners of the properties tend to look the other way because these projects are clearly recognizable as non-professional productions. Last year, however, Star Trek owners CBS and Paramount sued the producers of crowdfunded fan film Axanar for copyright infringement, and this January a U.S. judge agreed with the studios when ruling that fair use – the copying of copyrighted material for a limited purpose – does not apply. Axanar is an example of how easy it has become to finance (Axanar raised more than $1 million), create and distribute high-quality fan productions. At the same time, this lawsuit shows the risks studios run of alienating fans. Studios will thus increasingly have a hard time keeping fans happy and protecting their intellectual properties at the same time.