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August 10, 2020

 

 👋 <<First Name>>,

Goood Monday! Negotiations are still ongoing for a second economic stimulus package. As a result, Trump signed executive orders to provide temporary relief while bypassing Congress.

In other news, the Lebanese Prime Minister and his cabin have resigned under pressure from protesters.   

THE STORIES 

📉 Mutual fund winners ain’t winning

😶 Face-Off

FINANCE


📉 Mutual fund winners ain’t winning

 

WHAT 

  • Beating the market is tough. Even some of the greatest investors of our time, such as Warren Buffett, have faltered for years.

  • But many have also prospered. One simple strategy from the 1990s, taught in business schools for years, was to hold actively managed mutual funds that beat the market last year.

  • You may have heard the adage, “past performance doesn’t predict future success.” This strategy defied this until Professor Choi discovered otherwise.

  • Professor Choi found that in the last 20 years, the “momentum effect” discovered in the 90s no longer applies to the markets today.

WHO

  • James Choi is a professor of finance at the Yale School of Management. He is recognized for his outstanding scholarship on lifelong financial security.

WHY SHOULD I CARE 

  • When you need a wealth manager to handle your millions, don’t be fooled by a mutual fund’s past performance. If you can’t go by past performance, what should you go by? It’s not clear. 

  • For all you aspiring hedge fund managers 🐍, this research serves as a reminder that markets change over time. What worked 20 years ago may not work today, so test, test, test.

TL;DR 

  • New research suggests that picking mutual funds based on recent performance doesn’t make sense, while low-cost index funds make for safer long-term bets. 

READ MORE HERE
Editor’s note: We’re not in the business of offering stock bets, so please do not take the above as our viewpoint. The Office Hour focuses on reporting expert findings.

 


COMPUTER SCIENCE


😶 Face-Off

 

WHAT 

  • Notice anything different between the above photos of Queen Elizabeth? We didn't either.

  • Clearview AI, a tech company that specializes in creating facial recognition tools for private companies, law enforcement agencies, and even individuals, has collected 3 billion images of strangers’ faces from sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Venmo for its commercially available models, and they’re just one example of many.

  • Needless to say, this poses privacy concerns for many who don’t want their publicly posted photos to be used in facial recognition software to identify them.

  • Luckily for those concerned, researchers at the University of Chicago have built a tool called Fawkes to “cloak” your images before posting them online. 

  • This is done by making very small changes to the picture that are imperceptible to the naked eye, but are enough to throw off facial recognition models from recognizing you as someone in their data.

WHO

  • Researchers at UChicago’s SAND (Security, Algorithms, Networks, and Data) Lab developed Fawkes. The project was led by Shawn Shan and Emily Wenger.

WHY SHOULD I CARE

  • Over the last several years, ubiquitous facial recognition has gone from science fiction to reality, going much further than simple uses like unlocking a smartphone. 

  • Facial recognition systems can be used in unpleasant ways, to say the least. Take China, for example, where they use facial recognition systems to establish a social credit system. That’s some Black Mirror sh**.

TL;DR

  • A research project from UChicago has come out with Fawkes, an image cloaking tool designed to throw off facial recognition systems built off publicly posted images.

READ THE PAPER HERE
Fawkes is available to the public and can be downloaded here.

PROFESSOR'S CORNER

Let's work out these brain muscles this week. We'll start off with a nice brainteaser today  🧠 

  • A room contains a single lightbulb. 
  • Outside of this room, there are three light switches. One of the switches controls the lightbulb in the room.
  • You're standing outside the room. You can touch the switches however you want, but once you open the door, you can't touch the switches. 
Which light switch controls the lightbulb?
Check the solution
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