Weekend Reading

16 September 2016 | by Paul Perrino, CFA

A summary of this week’s best articles. Follow us on Twitter (@INTRINSICINV) for similar ongoing posts and shares.

Noise: How to Overcome the High, Hidden Cost of Inconsistent Decision Making (Daniel Kahneman @DanielKahneman, Andrew M. Rosenfield, Linnea Gandhi @LinneaGandhi, Tom Blaser, Harvard Business Review)

Behavioral and cognitive biases are always present and constantly need to be monitored and reflected upon. Daniel Kahneman is a well-respected researcher on the topic. In his latest article, he and his colleagues discuss “the concept of noise as a source of errors and explain how it is distinct from bias.”

Google’s DeepMind Achieves Speech-Generation Breakthrough (Jeremy Kahn, @jeremyakahn, Bloomberg)

Google’s DeepMind project continues to break new frontiers. In the latest development, WaveNet, DeepMind’s speech AI, was able to mimic the human speech better than Google’s old text to speech software. It’s still detectable as a computer but it’s working towards beating the Turing test.

Safety Trade Leaves S&P 500 on Knife’s Edge as Valuations Soar (Oliver Renick, @OJRenick, Bloomberg)

Similar to our recent post, Oliver comes to the same conclusion “Utilities, consumer staples makers and phone companies — sectors that usually do well when the economy isn’t — plunged at least 2.8 percent Friday, worse than the broader market. It’s an abrupt change for companies that were among the few winners at the start of the year and are often labeled by Wall Street as safety sectors.”

U.S. Household Income Grew 5.2 Percent in 2015, Breaking Pattern of Stagnation (Binyamin Applebaum, @BCAppelbaum, NYT)

“Household income rose significantly last year, but it is still slightly lower than it was before the last two recessions. The rate of those living in poverty fell to its lowest level since the Great Recession, but, as with income, the rate is higher than it was before.”


Big Week for Apple

Apple’s iPhone Keeps Going Its Own Way (Farhad Manjoo, @fmanjoo, NYT)

A few years after the release of the first iPhone commentators said the iPhone would be commoditized and prices would fall. But today Manjoo says “The iPhone’s continuing dominance may not be a sure thing, but in the tech industry, it’s as sure a thing as you can find right now.”

Airpods (Neil Cybart, @neilcybart, Above Avalon)

As Apple has done in the past (eliminating the CD-ROM), they continue to look into the future and start paving the new path for consumers to follow. This time, it was the headphone jack. It may not seem revolutionary, but it’s another step in develop the user ecosystem, which Apple is the center of.

With the iPhone 7, Apple Changed the Camera Industry Forever (Om Malik, @om, The New Yorker)

The camera feature in smartphones has improved dramatically over the past few years. The latest version of the iPhone 7 Plus starts to rival the quality of DSLR cameras.


Best Video of the Week

Watch Boston Dynamics’ Atlas Robot Balance On One Foot (Brendan Byrne, @valuewalk, Value Walk)

Watching the development of AI and robotics is like watching a child develop. Amazing! “Maybe the most striking thing about the video isn’t necessarily the extended period of time it spends balancing, but the incredibly human-like way the robot tries to regain its balance at the end of the video.”


Ensemble Capital’s clients own shares of Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL).

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