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Elon Musk’s Neuralink plans to link people’s brains to the internet by next year



Your mind and computer just got one step closer.

Elon Musk on Tuesday announced in a livestream that his neurotechnology startup Neuralink hopes to begin implanting devices into human brains as early as next year.

“We hope to have this aspirationally in a human patient before the end of next year,” Musk said at a press conference on Tuesday, where he gave updates on the progress of the system. “So this is not far.”

Musk has invested $100 million into the secretive company since its founding in 2016, according to the New York Times. Neuralink has brought together some of the world’s leading neuroscientists to its homebase at a laboratory in University of California, Davis.

Musk explained that the Neuralink system would allow for a tiny chip — referred to as a brain-machine interface — to be implanted into the brains of willing subjects and would allow humans to achieve a “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.”

Small chips, roughly 4×4 millimeters in size, would be capable of stimulating neurons ⁠— or nerve cells in the human brain that communicate with other cells⁠ — using tiny flexible threads of electrodes. Each individual electrode thread would be inserted using a precision robot in a procedure he said would be as safe and painless as LASIK eye surgery.

“It’s not like a major operation, it’s sort of equivalent to a LASIK type of thing,” he said.

Musk admitted the futuristic system would take time to gain FDA approval.

He explained that the system could be used to treat brain disorders, like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s Disease, and ultimately could “preserve and enhance” brain function. He claimed Neuralink chips would be 1,000 times more effective than other electrode stimulating systems out there.

Max Hodak, Neuralink’s president, added that the system would be completely wireless and would last “years to decades.”

While some have lauded Musk’s attempts to create the next-generation of brain-computer connection, experts say the hype surrounding the complex system may not be justified just yet.

Philipp Heiler, physician and founder of Neurofeedback Neuroboost, told Business Insider last year that the system comes with risks.

“When doctors open a patient’s skulls to integrate a BCI (brain-computer interface), there are numerous risks, including the risk of brain damage, inflammation, and scarring,” Heiler said. “You have to ask yourself what the advantage is over other interfaces like touchscreens or language assistants like Alexa.”

Thomas Stieglitz from the Department of Biomedical Microtechnology at the University of Freiburg in Germany told Business Insider last year that Neuralink’s stated long-term goals sound too good to be true.

“I believe Neuralink’s long-term goals are unrealistic, or at least it’s dubious to phrase them in such a way,” said Stieglitz.

“Unless all this is clear, it’s simply not possible to upload knowledge somewhere else then upload it back into the brain. While it might make for great science fiction, in reality it’s just hokum.”

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Latin America Fintech Landscape report from Business Insider



Fintech has had a staggering influence globally, catapulting to new highs in major financial markets like the UK and the US, but Latin America (LATAM) has lagged behind — until now. 

Latin America Smartphone Adoption

Business Insider Intelligence

A massive fintech boom is taking hold in the region as innovative upstarts look to leverage widespread smartphone and internet penetration to serve the region’s massive unbanked and underbanked populations and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Meanwhile, authorities in many of these countries have enacted fintech-friendly regulations, having identified fintech and digital financial services as a way to provide widespread financial access, while international investors have honed in on the region as an attractive investment space as it becomes harder to identify and compete for these startups in mature markets like the US and UK.

And the pace of fintech growth in the region is evidenced by the vast sums LATAM startups have raised: In Q2 2019, fintechs secured $481 million, representing a six-quarter high, at least, and accounting for 69% of the total raised in the region across all of 2018, per CB Insights.

In fact, those Q2 funding figures outpaced the sums raised by both Chinese ($375 million) and Indian ($350 million) fintechs for the first time — both notable Asian hubs that typically rake in substantial funding. All told, LATAM’s fintech ecosystem represents a huge opportunity, with the size of the industry estimated to exceed $150 billion by 2021.  

In the Latin America Fintech Landscape report, Business Insider Intelligence identifies five key fintech markets in the region — Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile — that provide meaningful insights into LATAM’s fintech ecosystem. The report explores the factors driving fintech growth in each country, identifies the key fintech segments within each market, and discusses what has made major players in each segment successful as well as how they can improve going forward. Finally, we examine opportunities and challenges in each country to illustrate how fintechs and incumbents can leverage the progress already made to further transform the region’s financial services landscape. 

The companies mentioned in this report are: Addi, Afluenta, Aliatu, Aspiria, Banco Inter, BBVA, ClearScore, ComparaOnline, ContaAzul, Contabilizei, Credijusto, Cumplo, Finaktiva, Jooycar, Klar, Konfio, Kubo.financiero, Kueski, Lineru, Mercado Credito, MercadoLibre, Moni, Neon, Nubank, Omie, OmniBnk, RapiCredit, Rebanking, RedCapital, Sempli, Starling, Ualá, Uber, Wilobank.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Fintech has spread globally over the past decade, taking root in various hubs worldwide, but Latin America has always lagged behind — until now.
  • This report highlights five countries — Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile — that are dominating LATAM’s booming fintech ecosystem.
  • Brazil is the region’s economic powerhouse and home to some of the most innovative players.
  • Mexico, LATAM’s second largest economy, is battling Brazil to become the dominant fintech hub, and boasts the greatest number of fintechs in the region.
  • Colombia, while considerably behind the region’s two dominant fintech ecosystems, has quietly consolidated its position as the third largest fintech ecosystem in LATAM.
  • Argentina’s long history of economic booms and busts has created a fertile environment for fintech growth.
  • Although Chile is the smallest fintech ecosystem of the five, it has seen rapid growth of fintech players over the last 18 months.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the five markets at the forefront of LATAM’s fintech revolution: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile.
  • Discuss the factors driving fintech’s growth in each market, highlighting both regional factors as well as localized drivers.
  • Details the most notable fintech segments in each market and the major players in each segment.
  • Outlines the fintech opportunities and challenges in each of those countries going forward.

Interested in getting the full report? Here’s how to get access:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >>  Purchase & Download Now
  2. Sign up for Fintech Pro, Business Insider Intelligence’s expert product suite tailored for today’s (and tomorrow’s) decision-makers in the financial services industry, delivered to your inbox 6x a week. >> Get Started
  3. Join thousands of top companies worldwide who trust Business Insider Intelligence for their competitive research needs. >> Inquire About Our Enterprise Memberships
  4. Current subscribers can read the report here.

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Coronavirus: Photos show Asia tourist hotspots left empty in outbreak



  • The coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc on the tourism industry in China and beyond.
  • Attractions like the Great Wall and Disneyland Shanghai have issued warnings to visitors, canceled events, or even shut down completely.
  • These photos show the stark contrast between Asia’s biggest attractions when there is an epidemic raging and when there isn’t.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus outbreak is devastating tourism across Asia, and these images prove it.

The problem is twofold: attractions within China are either shut or heavily restricted, and also Chinese tourists on lockdown are no longer flying abroad.

Neighboring countries like Japan, South Korea, and Thailand are especially badly affected.

These pairs of before and after photos show how individual landmarks have been left looking like ghost towns by an outbreak which has paralyzed large parts of a whole continent.

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Victoria’s Secret billionaire may step down from company: WSJ, NYT



  • Les Wexner, the billionaire businessman behind L Brands, is reportedly “in discussions” to step down as CEO of the company and sell the Victoria’s Secret brand, according to the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
  • Sources familiar with the matter also told The Journal that the company is looking to reach a potential deal in the coming weeks.
  • Wexner founded what is now L Brands in 1963 and is the longest-standing CEO of any Fortune 500 company. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Retail billionaire Les Wexner is reportedly “in discussions” to step down as CEO from L Brands, the company behind Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported.

Sources familiar with the matter told The Journal that Wexner is also considering selling part of, or all of, Victoria’s Secret. 

“The company is looking to reach a decision on the potential deal and succession plans in coming weeks,” Journal reporters Khadeeja Safdar and Corrie Driebusch wrote early Thursday morning, quoting their sources. 

A spokesperson for L Brands declined to comment on this when contacted by Business Insider.  

Wexner founded what is now L Brands in 1963 and is the longest-standing CEO of any Fortune 500 company.

Wexner’s talks of departure comes in light of scrutiny over his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in federal prison in August while facing charges of sexual trafficking of minors.

In the summer of 2019, the company was caught up in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Epstein previously managed the money of L Brands CEO and founder Les Wexner and two were reportedly once close friends.

L Brands’ board of directors hired an outside law firm to review its relationship with Epstein. In September, Wexner addressed his ties to Epstein at L Brands’ investor meeting.

“At some point in your life we are all betrayed by friends,” Wexner said. “Being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so cunning, so depraved, is something that I’m embarrassed I was even close to. But that is in the past.”

The news of the possible sale of Victoria’s Secret also comes after several years of declining sales and pressure from analysts and shareholders to address concerns over the business.

While Victoria’s Secret is still the largest lingerie retailer in the US, its market share in the US has dropped in recent years and the brand has been accused of losing relevance among shoppers as its oversexualized ads and racy runway shows fail to resonate in the era of #MeToo. 

This came to a head in November, after a Vogue interview with Ed Razek – chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands and one of its longest-standing executives after only Wexner himself – went viral online. Razek told the interviewer that he didn’t think the company’s annual fashion show should feature “transsexuals” because the show is a “fantasy.”

“It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is,” he said in the interview.

His comments sparked an outcry online, which later led to him issuing a formal apology. Razek later stepped down from the company in August.

Lauren Frias contributed to this report.

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