TRENDS

2.1

Betterment

Robo-advisors are appealing because they are dispassionate about financial recommendations and, as a result, their growth is exploding.

Betterment was one of the early pioneers in this space, first providing robo-advisory services back in 2010. Today the firm has more than $10 billion in assets under management and over 270,000 customer accounts.

Since it was started, Betterment has been a bellwether for automation across the entire industry. Then about a year ago, Betterment made an announcement that surprised many people. They added a human option.

2.2

Human Library

Originally developed as a project for a Danish event called the Roskilde Festival, the idea was inspired by the belief that the most transformative experience any of us can have to better understand the world is a boundary-free conversation with someone, in which we are encouraged to ask the questions we are usually afraid to ask.

The concept was that volunteers would sign up to be checked out so they could tell their stories. Anyone could borrow a person from the library for a 30-minute conversation.

2.3

Blueprint Robotics

Baltimore-based Blueprint Robotics is using robots to manufacture pre-fabricated parts for homes that are then shipped and assembled on site.

As much as 60% of a home can be built in the factory, eliminating many headaches from the on-site building process. Yet even these innovators are not eliminating humans entirely. Blueprint Robotics still relies on skilled laborers to assemble the houses.

2.4

Appen

Australian company Appen collects data for tech companies that use machine learning;. it currently employs 70 linguists and engages thousands of others as needed. The company has offices in the US, Australia, the Philippines, and last year, set up an office in China.

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