Automation is a lot farther away than we think, at least going by the evidence witnessed by Lafferty News on the front line of payments (aka our local supermarket). Lafferty News has noticed a new job emerging as our local supermarkets move to offering four self-service checkouts. At first, the supermarkets installed an employee to help shoppers use the machines, which refuse to work for a variety of reasons, such as buying something that won't register as weighing anything — "Unexpected item in the bagging area" — or trying to buy beer, which requires the robo-monitor to undertake some mystery authentication process. At this point the employee comes to solve the problem and wave the shopper through. But now the robo-monitor job appears to be permanent, because human-machine interactions are imperfect. This resentful employee is now forced to teach customers how to interact with the robot that is replacing the employee. Many of those customers are in turn resentful of the human interference, and only came to the self-service checkout to avoid talking to the cashier. "Thank you for shopping with Tesco. Please remember to take a blue token."
Bob Diamond is to step down as chairman of Atlas Mara, a position he has held on an "interim" basis since 2016. The moves comes amid wider rumblings at Atlas Mara. It announced plans for Citigroup to undertake a review, which suggests Atlas Mara will reconsider any market where it cannot gain a top five share. "Mr Diamond floated the business in London in 2013," notes the FT. "And while the opportunity to build a banking giant in Africa was perceived by investors in the IPO to be huge, Atlas Mara's shares, at $1.65 apiece, have lost around 86 per cent of their value since the group's stock market debut." Atlas Mara holds a 31 percent share in Union Bank of Nigeria.
The alarming lack of security protocols at Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX is a reminder of the downsides of the unregulated world of digital assets. The following story is equivalent to a banker Not content to let banks steal all the bad press, Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX announced last week that it basically lost all of its customer deposits. It appears that founder and chief executive of the exchange Gerald Cotton fell victim to Crohn's disease in India and died, taking with him the password for the cold wallet storing customer assets. In other words, Cotten was the only person with access to the keys to the vault. In an affidavit filed in Canada on 31 January, Cotten's widow Jennifer Robertson said that without the password, which no-one else at the company has access to, the $190 million dollars in customer assets had become "unavailable" and may be lost. "She later added that she has no business records whatsoever for QuadrigaCX or its affiliated companies," reports Coindesk. "While she does have Cotten's laptop, the device is encrypted and she does not have its password or recovery key. While a consultant has been retained to try and recover the laptop's contents, he has had limited success to date."
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