Last month today february

Last month today: February 2020 in review

The race is on

In the U.S., Democrats begin their seek for the candidate to take on Donald Trump. Iowa, as the first stop, usually sets the tone for the rest of the campaign – based on the outcome, the Democrats should be holding their breath for things to change. Iowa ends up as a total disaster with the results arriving more than a week overdue. And Bernie Sanders did not win.

Bernie does pick up speed during the month, but, according to local sources, Michael Bloomberg is the only one with a thick enough wallet to actually contest Trump. Cognitive dissonance at its purest.

Meanwhile, Trump basks in the limelight as he gives his traditional State of the Union speech. According to the numbers, the U.S. economy is doing great, and sugarcoated by Trump’s drama skills, U.S. is heading towards greatness as “the best is still to come”. At the end of the speech, Nancy Pelosi rips the manuscript, crowning the humiliation.

Spreading like a virus

The coronavirus was still going strong. Kone, UPM and Konecranes were the first Finnish companies to put their operations in China on hold in the quest of preventing their people from catching the virus. Finnair does the same, in a way, as it cancels all flights to continental China until the end of the winter season.

Speaking of cancellations, the global mobile convention in Barcelona goes under the virus as well. As companies like Amazon, Sony, LG, Ericsson, Intel, Facebook, Cisco and Nokia choose to not participate, the entire events is cancelled. The Tokio Olympics and other sports events are being discussed. China responds by sacking people with high political status.

Media is the media

The Sanoma Group purchases competitor Alma Media’s local newspapers, which raises both questions about diminishing versatility in Finnish media and cries of foul play from the competition. A look next door reveals that in countries like Sweden and Norway, the media is controlled by even fewer conglomerates. At least initially, the market accepts – both Sanoma’s and Alma’s stock rise drastically.

Artificial Intelligence is no fake

A drug molecule invented entirely by artificial intelligence is set to enter human clinical trials for the first time. As these projects typically take four and half years to reach this stage, this new compound – designed to treat patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder – did it in 12 months. Time certainly is money in drug development – FT says investors are “pouring billions” in companies that aim to speed things up with AI.

Other timely areas where AI is being increasingly used include identifying the most promising and loyal applicants in recruitment processes, defeating bugs with ability to resist antibiotics – and managing vineyards more efficiently. The development is so fast and versatile even the mighty European Commission felt the need to step in; stricter control and clear rules for which kind of AI-based applications can actually be implemented in Europe were demanded. However, even the politicians admitted that AI provides substantial opportunities – as long as the consumers can trust the systems based on it.


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