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    global ai commerce financing trend

    This is a preview of a research report bundle from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) isn't a part of the future of technology. AI is the future of technology.

    Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have even publicly debated whether or not that will turn out to be a good thing.

    Voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa have become more and more prominent in our lives, and that will only increase as they learn more skills.

    These voice assistants are set to explode as more devices powered by AI enter the market. Most of the major technology players have some sort of smart home hub, usually in the form of a smart speaker. These speakers, like the Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod, are capable of communicating with a majority of WiFi-enabled devices throughout the home.

    While AI is having an enormous impact on individuals and the smart home, perhaps its largest impact can be felt in the e-commerce space. In the increasingly cluttered e-commerce space, personalization is one of the key differentiators retailers can turn towards to stand out to consumers. In fact, retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, at a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group.

    This can be accomplished by leveraging machine learning technology to sift through customer data to present the relevant information in front of that consumer as soon as they hit the page.

    With hundreds of hours of research condensed into three in-depth reports, BI Intelligence is here to help get you caught up on what you need to know on how AI is disrupting your business or your life.

    Below you can find more details on the three reports that make up the AI Disruption Bundle, including proprietary insights from the 16,000-member BI Insiders Panel:

    AI in E-Commerce Report

    ai ecommerce

    One of retailers' top priorities is to figure out how to gain an edge over Amazon. To do this, many retailers are attempting to differentiate themselves by creating highly curated experiences that combine the personal feel of in-store shopping with the convenience of online portals.

    These personalized online experiences are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). This is the technology that enables e-commerce websites to recommend products uniquely suited to shoppers, and enables people to search for products using conversational language, or just images, as though they were interacting with a person.

    Using AI to personalize the customer journey could be a huge value-add to retailers. Retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It could also boost profitability rates 59% in the wholesale and retail industries by 2035, according to Accenture.

    This report illustrates the various applications of AI in retail and use case studies to show how this technology has benefited retailers. It assesses the challenges that retailers may face as they implement AI, specifically focusing on technical and organizational challenges. Finally, the report weighs the pros and cons of strategies retailers can take to successfully execute AI technologies in their organization.

    The Smart Speaker Report

    smart speaker report

    Smart speakers — Amazon's Echo, for example — are the latest device category poised to take a chunk of our increasingly digital lives. These devices are made primarily for the home and execute a user's voice commands via an integrated digital assistant. These digital assistants can play music, answer questions, and control other devices within a user's home, among other things.

    The central question for this new product category is not when they will take off, but which devices will rise to the top. To answer this question, BI Intelligence surveyed our leading-edge consumer panel, gathering exclusive data on Amazon's recently released Echo Show and Echo Look, as well as Apple's HomePod.

    This report, which leverages BI Intelligence's proprietary data, analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, we evaluate each device's potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. And we draw some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.

    The Voice Assistant Landscape Report

    Voice assistant landscapeAdvancements in a bevy of industries are helping intelligent digital voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa become more sophisticated and useful pieces of technology.

    Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are allowing them to accurately understand more information, while upgrades to mobile networks are facilitating quick transfers of data to robust clouds, enabling fast response times. In addition, the swell of internet connected devices like smart thermostats and speakers is giving voice assistants more utility in a connected consumer's life.

    Increasingly sophisticated voice assistants and the growing potential use cases they can assist in are driving consumers to adopt them in greater droves — 65% of US smartphone owners were employing voice assistants in 2015, up significantly from 30% just two years prior. Consumers are also eagerly adopting speaker-based voice assistants, with shipments of Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers expected to climb more than threefold to 24.5 million in 2017, according to a report from VoiceLabs.

    However, there are still numerous barriers that need to be overcome before this product platform will see mass adoption, as both technological challenges and societal hurdles persist.

    This report explains what's driving the recent upsurge in adoption of digital voice assistants. It explores the recent technology advancements that have catalyzed this growth, while presenting the technological shortcomings preventing voice assistants from hitting their true potential. This report also examines the voice assistant landscape, and discusses the leading voice assistants and the devices through which consumers interact with them. Finally, it identifies the major barriers to mass adoption, and the impact voice assistants could have in numerous industries once they cross that threshold.


    Access the three in-depth reports referenced above today when you claim our exclusive AI Disruption Bundle. By purchasing the full bundle today you will SAVE 33% 0ff list price! But act now, as this is a limited-time offer.  
    Access my AI Distruption Bundle NOW


    Register for an All-Access membership to access these three reports PLUS hundreds of other reports, data, and daily newsletters! Register for All-Access NOW >>

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    A shopper pushes a trolley in a supermarket in London, Britain April 11, 2017. British inflation shot past the Bank of England's 2 percent target last month, potentially adding to uneasiness among some officials at the central bank about keeping interest rates near zero. Consumer prices rose by a stronger-than-expected 2.3 percent, the biggest annual increase in nearly three-and-a-half years, pushed up by an increase in global oil prices and the impact of the Brexit vote on sterling.

    • Inflation jumps to its highest level since March 2012, as Brexit related price increases continue.
    • Economists had predicted that inflation would remain flat at 3%, but it rose to 3.1%.
    • The sharp fall in the value of the pound following the UK's vote to leave the EU last year has raised the cost of imports.
    • Bank of England Governor Mark Carney must now write a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond.

    LONDON — Inflation climbed to another fresh high in November, coming close to its highest level in six years, as the impact of Brexit continues to hit the price of goods in the UK.

    The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that the UK's Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate — the key measure of inflation — was 3.1% in November, above consensus estimates, and a little higher than the 3% seen for the three previous months.

    CPI measures the weighted average of prices of a basket of goods and services, such as food, transportation, and medical care.

    November's reading marks the highest rate of consumer price inflation since March 2012, when prices rose an average 3.5%.

    CPIH, a measure which includes costs associated with maintaining a home — and which the ONS cites as a more useful indicator of living costs than CPI — was 2.8% in the month, unchanged from October's reading.

    "CPI inflation edged above 3 per cent for the first time in nearly six years with the price of computer games rising and air fares falling more slowly than this time last year," the ONS' Head of Inflation Mike Prestwood said in a statement.

    "These upward pressures were partly offset by falling costs of computer equipment."

    "The prices of raw materials and goods leaving factories continued to increase as oil and petrol prices continued to rise," he said.

    Tuesday's data means that Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor must write a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond to explain why inflation is more than one percentage point away from the 2% target the bank is mandated to acheive for the UK by the Treasury.

    The chart below shows Tuesday's data as part of the longer term trend surrounding inflation:

    Screen Shot 2017 12 12 at 09.37.55

    The sharp fall in the value of the pound following the UK's vote to leave the EU last year has raised the cost of imports and pushed up the rate of inflation. Most major forecasters believe that inflation's peak is likely to be somewhere around the mark reached in the latest data.

    Pantheon Macroeconomics' Samuel Tombs points out that November's rising inflation "was driven by a 0.06 percentage point increase in the contribution to the headline rate from airline fares inflation."

    "The usual sharp month-to-month fall in plane ticket prices in November depressed the index by much less than in November 2016, because the weight of airline fares in the CPI has declined to 5%, from 8% last year."

    Inflation's impact on the British economy is being exacerbated by the fact that real wages are actually growing more slowly than prices are rising, meaning that the average Brit is actually seeing the amount of money they have to spend decrease.

    The ONS' latest wage growth numbers will be released on Wednesday, helping to create a fuller picture of just how intense the squeeze on Britain's consumers is right now.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Economist Jim Rickards on gold versus bitcoin — intrinsic value is meaningless for both but the bitcoin prices aren't real

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    Akayed Ullah

    • Akayed Ullah detonated a device in a failed attack in Manhattan yesterday.
    • Footage shows the bomb exploding, but only injuring Ullah and startling commuters.

    Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi man who had been living in Brooklyn, attempted a suicide bombing in New York City's Port Authority during Monday morning rush hour only to fail entirely and wound himself. 

    Later, police would say that Ullah had been inspired by ISIS attacks on Christmas markets in Germany, and targeted Christmas-themed posters in the crowded subway passage, according to the New York Times.

    Additionally, Ullah may have wanted to make a statement about Israel's occupation of parts of Gaza, according to CNN.

    But Ullah's homemade bomb failed, and he "did not achieve his ultimate goals," according to New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio.

    In video from the blast that wounded Ullah and gave three others ringing ears and headaches, we can clearly see the explosion take place, shoot up a column of smoke and cause the commuters to flee in either direction.

    But in the end, the smoke clears and only Ullah remains virtually motionless on the ground. Police found Ullah there and strip searched him on the spot, where they found another undetonated device, the New York Times later reported.

    Watch the video below:


    SEE ALSO: The ISIS-inspired NYC bomber chose to attack Port Authority because of its Christmas posters

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch a US Navy helicopter squadron fight the California wildfires by dropping huge barrels of water

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    woody johnson

    • US ambassador to the UK says Donald Trump will visit next year.
    • Woody Johnson said Trump's Britain First retweets were "misinterpreted."

    US President Donald Trump will visit the UK next year, despite his recent spat with Theresa May, the US ambassador to the UK has said.

    Woody Johnson told BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme on Tuesday: "Absolutely, I think he will come. It hasn't been officially announced, but I hope he does."

    An official state visit would entail the president being hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle, the BBC said, although there have been reports that his visit could be lower key and not involve time with the Queen.

    A row erupted between the US and UK last month after Trump retweeted three videos from Jayda Fransen, the leader of the far-right, anti-Muslim group Britain First last month, and taunted May when she condemned his actions.

    But Johnson, the billionaire owner of the New York Jets, insisted that "a lot of that stuff was probably misinterpreted," and that Trump's retweets were simply an attempt to "protect Americans."

    He told the BBC:

    "I think a lot of that stuff was probably misinterpreted.

    "The way I look at it, and the way he looks at this, is security is his number one oath. It's protecting Americans here and the US... If you look at it in the context of that, that's what he's trying to do.

    "Is he going to be perfect and appeasing everybody? [...]

    "He wants to protect Americans and he's doing his best to do that. He's not going to go down the path of a lot of politicians and maybe be namby-pamby about it. He's probably going to take some chances, and an effort to achieve that security goal may be that he'll ruffle some feathers. [...]

    "While there may be disagreements of how he said something, or how he does something, I think you can be rest assured that the security and prosperity... are top of mind to him."

    Multiple British campaign groups have promised to stage huge protests if Trump visits next year. Labour MP Stella Creasy told the BBC on Tuesday that she would take to the streets in pink to protest the arrival of the president. She called on other Brits to find creative and peaceful ways to demonstrate against Trump.

    SEE ALSO: Who are Britain First? The extreme far-right group retweeted by Trump

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 'You are the light': Watch controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte serenade Trump with a love song

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    Anthony Joshua

    • New Zealand boxer Joseph Parker says he is in advanced talks with Anthony Joshua over a UK fight in March.
    • Parker expects the fight to happen but claims the two parties disagree over finances.
    • Parker wants more money than Joshua's team has offered.
    • Three heavyweight world title belts could be on the line if Parker and Joshua come to an agreement.


    WBO world heavyweight title holder Joseph Parker is confident that his next bout will be a unification fight against IBF and WBA champion Anthony Joshua.

    The New Zealand power puncher has said the fight is "close," will likely go ahead in March, and that he is "excited" to showcase his skills in the UK for a second time having beaten Hughie Fury in Manchester in September.

    "I think the Joshua fight can go ahead early next year when both teams are locked in and happy,"Parker told ESPN. "In March we can definitely make it happen. I'm excited to showcase my skills in the UK more."

    For the fight to be formally announced, Parker and Joshua's promotional representatives — David Higgins of Duco Events and Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing — will need to agree on the purse split.

    The purse split is determined before an event is confirmed so there is transparency over the money allocation each team receives on fight night, regardless of who wins and who loses.

    Parker is gunning for a 35% split of the purse, with the more popular fighter Joshua earning the remaining 65%.

    But this is not good enough for Joshua, according to Parker.

    Joseph Parker

    "They're stuck at 30%, we're stuck at 35, so it's just finding the middle ground," he said. "We'll take 35%, which means Joshua will take 65, which is nearly double me.

    "That's a fair deal because he's the bigger draw and has two belts and I have one."

    On whether he believes the two sides can come to an agreement soon, Parker concluded: "I think we're very close."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's how tennis great and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal makes and spends his millions

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    • Business Insider UK spoke with Garrick Hileman about Bitcoin.
    • Hileman explains the best conditions to mine Bitcoin and why certain countries are ideal.
    • He then explains why China produces more Bitcoin than any other country.


    Business Insider UK spoke with University of Cambridge Research Fellow Garrick Hileman about cryptocurrency mining and the countries that are best suited for it and why China produces the most Bitcoin of any country.

    He explains that there are four key ingredients that make the ideal conditions for cryptocurrency mining; low-cost electricity, cold weather, reliable internet and low population density.

    Countries like Sweden and Iceland are good examples of this but Hileman says that China has become a haven for cryptocurrency mining.

    This is due to its under-utilised infrastructure in provinces like Szechuan where vast amounts of cheap electricity is being produced through coal and hydro-electric dams. These areas are less populated and a lot of this electricity would otherwise go to waste.

    Some of these hydro-facilities have even started Bitcoin mining as a way of using the excess electricity that is being generated.

    Read the full transcript below. 

    Garrick Hileman: So, where is cryptocurrency mining taking place today?

    Well, it’s taking place all over the world but there are certain countries where the four key ingredients – low cost electricity, cold weather, reliable internet and low population density – are more present than others.

    So you see a lot of cryptocurrency mining taking place in the far northern hemisphere so countries like Iceland, Sweden, Canada.

    You also see cryptocurrency mining taking place in countries like the United States, they have hydroelectric power there that’s relatively inexpensive.

    But by far and away the country where most of this mining is taking place is China for a couple of reasons. One – and the biggest reason of all – is low-cost electricity or free electricity.

    China has very cheap coal-based electricity and also a lot of extra hydro-capacity.

    So a number of hydro-facilities in provinces like Szechuan were developed in anticipation of new cities coming online to take advantage of this new inexpensive electricity.

    However that electricity is idle, it’s not being utilised so many hydro dam operators have gone into the cryptocurrency mining business and I think this is important to keep in mind as we think about the environmental impact of bitcoin.

    If that electricity is just going to waste it’s already less of a negative externality for bitcoin to be having this excess hydro-capacity used for bitcoin mining.  

    Produced by Jasper Pickering. Camera by Leon Siciliano. Research by Fraser Moore.

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    Social Video 101 Final.001.001.png

    This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    The “pivot to video” is digital media's megatrend of the moment. Globally, 47.4 minutes of online video will be watched daily in 2017, a 20% year-over-year (YoY) increase, driven primarily by mobile, where viewing times will reach 28.8 minutes per day, a 35% increase from 2016. 

    And not surprisingly, ad dollars are following eyeballs online. US advertisers are projected to double their investment into social video for the second year running to reach $4 billion by the end of 2017 — representing one-third of the country's total digital video ad sales. 

    The major social platforms — Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat — as well as YouTube, the pioneer in digital video, are propelling this shift to video.

    Their aim is to create a video advertising market that challenges that of traditional TV, but there's still a way to go: Global digital video advertising is expected to reach $27.2 billion this year, up 23% YoY, while TV accounted for $181 billion in global ad spend in 2016, and $73 billion in the US alone.  

    And although these companies share a common goal, there are peculiarities in each platform's approach to digital video. Understanding the nuances is important for those who wish to capitalize on this trend, such as content creators, publishers and other media companies, brands, advertisers, and the social platform's themselves.

    In a new report, BI Intelligence analyzes the efforts taken by Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram, Google through its subsidiary YouTube, and Snap to usher in a golden age of digital video. The report maps the parallels and divergences in these companies' video strategies and examines their relative strengths and weaknesses from a distribution and monetization perspective. It also attempts to anticipate where each platform is headed so that industry participants can plan and invest in a probable future.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Digital media companies are shifting their focus to video to attract some of the $180 billion in ad spend on traditional TV.
    • This is a big opportunity for brands, publishers, and creators, but understanding the differences between the social platforms — from strategies to audiences to ad units — is crucial.
    • Facebook was an early architect of social video through the News Feed, which set the standard for shareable content. Its new Watch tab, meanwhile, is the company’s clearest effort to compete directly with YouTube and traditional TV.
    • As the initial disruptor in siphoning viewers from TV, YouTube not only leads the digital video space but is arguably the most influential video medium overall. However, its incumbency is increasingly threatened by companies like Facebook and Snap. 
    • Although it has fewer users than its rivals, Snapchat’s mobile-first form factor and reach with younger viewers sets it apart. The platform is one of the bright hopes for the future of mobile TV.
    • Instagram is social video’s dark horse and is poised to become a major contender in the space. In particular, it poses a looming threat to YouTube, but Instagram’s prospects will require a few crucial tweaks to its platform first. 

    In full, the report:

    • Assesses the evolving social video landscape, with attention to Facebook, YouTube, Snap, and Instagram.
    • Analyzes the relative strengths of each platform from a product, distribution, audience, and monetization perspective.
    • Looks at what’s next for the industry, so that media creators and brands can invest for the future.

    To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. »Learn More Now

    You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo

    • Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo is not considered to be one of the 10 best players in his position, according to a new ranking.
    • Prominent think tank CIES Football Observatory says Ronaldo has not been as optimal as the players featured in its list based on domestic form throughout the season.
    • Sergio Agüero, Robert Lewandowski, and Ciro Immobile are the three best performing centre forwards competing in Europe's big-5 leagues today.


    Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo may have won the Ballon d'Or this month— the annual prize awarded to the player of the year in football — but he has failed to make the cut in a leading think tank's ranking of the best-performing players this season.

    The Football Observatory, a research group within the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) in Switzerland, argues that Manchester City striker Sergio Agüero, Bayern Munich goalscorer Robert Lewandowski, and Lazio forward Ciro Immobile are the three most in-form centre forwards in world football today.

    According to a research note, the Football Observatory evaluates player performance by focusing on "technical gestures." For players in Ronaldo's position, attributes like taking on an opponent, creating chances, and shooting were all assessed, amongst other skills.

    The algorithm only focuses on domestic football in the "big 5" leagues (England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Germany's Bundesliga, Italy's Serie A, and France's Ligue 1), meaning Champions League and Europa League football were not included.

    City striker Agüero headed up the Football Observatory's top 10 list.

    In 11 Premier League appearances, Agüero has created 19 chances, provided three assists for his teammates, and scored nine goals himself. He has also been responsible for scoring or creating a goal once for every 72 minutes he has been on a Premier League pitch.

    Here is the Football Observatory's top 10 list of centre forwards.CIES Football Observatory

    So why didn't Ronaldo make the cut?

    "According to our algorithm Ronaldo was only the 12th best centre forward in the big 5 so far this season, and second in Spain after Rodrigo (but ahead of Suárez)," Dr Raffaele Poli, who heads the Football Observatory, told Business Insider.

    Though Ronaldo helped Real Madrid dominate its Champions League group by scoring nine goals, he has failed to replicate that prolificacy in La Liga.

    In Spain's top division, Ronaldo has created 19 chances, like Agüero, but has struggled to make as big an impact as the City striker when it comes to affecting the scoreline and winning games. He has scored four goals and provided just two assists for his teammates.

    This means Ronaldo has only been responsible for scoring or creating a goal once for every 162 minutes he has been on a La Liga pitch.

    "Ronaldo is still outstanding but his main skill is shooting and before this weekend he scored only twice in the domestic league (only domestic league matches were assessed)," Poli said. "Efficiency was by far not optimal and lower than for higher-ranked players.

    Poli added that the Football Observatory also looked at results achieved when on the pitch. "Here, too, you had only 60% of wins (six out 10) and only three wins with more than one goal gap (again not really efficient as opponents were not top level clubs)," he said.

    Real Madrid is currently in Dubai as it prepares to compete in the Club World Cup. The team's first game is a semi-final against Abu Dhabi club Al Jazira on Wednesday.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's how tennis great and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal makes and spends his millions

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    • The BlackBerry Motion is the latest device from TCL, the Chinese electronics giant that creates the products and then uses BlackBerry's brand to market them.
    • BlackBerry phones have historically had a hardware keyboard, which has remained a constant even in the era of all-touchscreen smartphones; recent BlackBerry phones included the Priv and the KeyONE.
    • The BlackBerry Motion is a great device for business people with productivity in mind, but just an okay phone for everyone else.

    BlackBerry isn't a top player in the smartphone landscape anymore, and it hasn't been for quite some time.

    However, unlike Nokia, it hasn't completely disappeared; it just maintained a retrenched, low-key profile, and kept making devices that some people chose either for security reasons, their need for a productivity-oriented device, the presence of a physical keyboard, or a combination of the above.

    However, the most recent BlackBerry Motion rejects that, at least in part, as this is the company's first high-end Android device that doesn't feature a hardware keyboard at all. (It's not even hidden as it was in the Priv).

    It's a phone that tries to earn its place in 2017's increasingly crowded sea of devices, focusing on what BlackBerry does best and improving features such as battery life and software customisability instead of trying to offer top-notch performance or gorgeous-looking, borderless displays.

    Making the Motion a full-touchscreen device is a way of streamlining the product along the lines of virtually any other smartphone, but this is not a phone that wants to compete with the iPhones, Pixels, and Galaxys of the world. It still wants to be a BlackBerry, front and center — and if anyone knows that that's what they are going to find, chances are they will be happy with their purchase.

    Nailing down the basics that matter (to BlackBerry users)...

    The BlackBerry Motion is a no-frills handset that gets most of the basics just right, but overwhelmingly focuses on productivity and features that might be of interest to a business user, or a busy person in general.

    I can say that just by pinpointing its absolute best feature: An astonishingly big, tablet-size battery (4000mAh), which was basically impossible for me to kill in one day.

    An iPhone X or last year's Pixel XL, by comparison, always required to be topped up by the time I went to bed, unless I wanted my phone to die on me some time during the morning after.

    Battery life on the Motion is so good that I simply forgot about it; and this is especially useful for those who plan to use the device extensively, travel, write loads of documents and the likes. The Motion is the kind of device you'd want to use for a lot of time; or at least feel comfortable doing so.

    The other good things this phone has to offer are in certain details: The excellent keyboard with its smart predictions, the widgets incorporated into icons via a simple, nifty swipe, the numerous quick accesses to functions inside the calendar, email, and notes apps, and even outstanding call quality (the voice from the other end is almost unexpectedly clear and rich).


    There is also a smart "convenience key" button, which lets you remap it to a number of customisable options for immediate, one-click access. I found it useful to take screenshots to quickly crop or scribble on, but the button's placement is terrible, as it sits right below the sleep/wake button and even after a week of use I kept confusing them.

    Even worse is the fact that the convenience key has a special texture on it, which is usually reserved to distinguish the power button from the volume rocker, and that didn't help my muscle memory to adapt.

    BlackBerry's universal search is also fantastic, as it scans through every angle of the phone to look for what you're trying to find; and I also love the idea of its centralised hub, where BlackBerry manages to keep everything organised in one place: Email, text messages, phone calls, calendar events, and even tweets are all under one roof.

    BlackBerry Motion software

    And not just that: You have features such as rich text formatting, snoozing of notifications, and even a nice "conversation view" to display multiple messages more clearly, all inside the BlackBerry Hub.

    The software overall has a somewhat steep learning curve because of its profound flexibility and customisation options, but this also brings an unmatched level of solidity for users that do master it. It's powerful, useful for the kind of users it aims to serve, and can indeed be smart, helpful, and rewarding.

    As far as productivity goes, the BlackBerry Motion gets very little wrong.

    ...but failing to meaningfully please anyone else

    The Motion clearly aims at this one particular audience: Those who need to have some sort of work computer inside their pocket. Or, well, current BlackBerry users, if you will. And, in my experience, the Motion's software is built to serve them well. But if I had to purchase the BlackBerry Motion for anything outside of that, its various shortcomings would inevitably make me look elsewhere.

    Starting from its design, the BlackBerry Motion is as generic a phone as you can possibly get.

    There's nothing exciting about it: It looks like yet another black slab with some metal here and there, and even its carbon fiber-like back doesn't impress, as it fails the in-hands feel test beyond the plastic it's actually made of.

    The one good thing is that, at least, the phone is rated IP67 for water and dust resistance, so it should be more durable than average, but that's a kind of design element you can only appreciate in specific situations, not day-to-day use.

    The bezels are just outright enormous, too; alongside the boxy shape, they contribute to make the phone feel gigantic, especially on the chin, where the home button and capacitive keys reside.

    The button itself hides a fingerprint reader, but it is, annoyingly, a little too wonky, especially compared to the stiffer keys on the sides.


    The capacitive keys are terrible as well; more often than not a slightly dirty, wet, or sweaty thumb wouldn't be recognised, and even when it did the vibration is weak and unpleasant. The front's coating is also particularly bothersome, as for some reason cleaning the screen was harder than usual, in my experience.

    The 5.5-inch, 1080p display itself is fine, with good viewing angles and okay colors, but it falls a little flat when compared to anything higher-end smartphones offer — when using it side by side with an iPhone 8 Plus (which has the same size, resolution, and display technology), it's just unfair how much better Apple's smartphone is.

    The camera is also acceptable at best; perfectly lit conditions will produce good results, but in most situations the Motion's rear sensor struggles to get past anything a high-end smartphone camera from two years ago would've handled just fine, with low-light being the predictably sorest spot.

    BBM picture

    Photos aren't bad, but the camera is far from the Motion's strongest asset. The best feature it has is probably the built-in scanner, which ties in with its productivity-oriented software.

    The front-facing selfie shooter, on the other hand, does its job well, and the camera also offers slow-motion videos, up to 4K resolution at 30fps (frames-per-second).

    Performance is also nothing to cheer for — the Snapdragon 625 processor handles BlackBerry's software without lag or hiccups, and the phone never froze or rebooted in my testing, but the Motion never feels like it's running the otherwise stock Android 7.1.2 like a true champ either.

    In short: There's nothing necessarily bad about the BlackBerry Motion, whose overall experience outside hardcore productivity is okay — but so many other phones do the vast majority of things better, and, even if they're more expensive, still offer more value for their money.

    This is the perfect phone for former BlackBerry users tired of dealing with a physical keyboard

    The BlackBerry Motion is not a phone for everyone, and it's not even a good choice if your budget is the £399 TCL — The Chinese company behind the newer BlackBerry-branded devices — asks for.

    The BlackBerry Motion's strengths all lie within its insanely good battery life, as well as the numerous little software tweaks that make productivity task-completing much more powerful than on an average smartphone, and usefully customisable to one's preferences.

    If you were happy with the company's previous devices, like the KeyONE, chances are you'll like the Motion, too, so long as you don't have a problem with a pane of glass taking the place of BlackBerry's marquee physical keyboard.

    For all other users, just £50 more can get a OnePlus 5T in your hands, and you can rest assured that the overall experience will be much, much better.

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    Tim Cook Dave Grohl music

    • Apple confirmed it's buying British music recognition startup Shazam, with sources pegging the deal at $400 million.
    • Shazam raised $140 million from investors, was once valued as a unicorn at $1 billion, and had at least 100 million monthly active users.
    • An early investor in the UK, Simon Murdoch, told Business Insider that the deal made sense for Shazam because Apple could reach a much larger audience.
    • Murdoch said Shazam had "fantastic" technology which was seven years too early.

    British venture capitalist and angel investor Simon Murdoch was one of the first backers of Shazam, the British music recognition startup being acquired by Apple for a reported $400 million (£300 million).

    Murdoch made an angel investment in Shazam in 2001 and, according to a recent filing, holds some 41 million shares, the bulk of which are preferred shares. This makes him one of the firm's biggest individual shareholders and high up in the pecking order when it comes to a post-acquisition payout.

    "I've got enough shares to mean it's a nice outcome," Murdoch confirmed to Business Insider.

    Apple and Shazam have confirmed the deal, and a source close to the matter confirmed the price tag to Business Insider late on Monday.

    "It's brilliant tech and it's a very good deal for Apple and Shazam," said Murdoch. "Apple has got the distribution."

    Shazam didn't become a big hit until the iPhone arrived 7 years after launch

    Shazam was founded in 1999 but didn't take off until the release of the iPhone seven years later, when users could use the app to hold up their phones and recognise any song.

    The company netted more than 100 million monthly active users and turned to advertising and brand partnerships to make money. But Apple has still acquired a loss-making firm: in the 12 months to December 2016, Shazam posted a £3.7 million ($5 million) loss. That's a slight improve on the £16.7 million ($22 million) loss the prior year, but rather belies the firm's one-time unicorn valuation of $1 billion.

    Murdoch, despite believing in Shazam's tech, said the firm was too early because its tech arrived before the iPhone did. He also said unicorn valuations were "a vanity metric."

    "One thought around investing is that it's best to find a business where the timing is right," he said. "Shazam is an interesting one in that it was too early when it started, and now the timing is a bit too late."

    Shazam's acquisition by a major US tech firm fits into a wider pattern. DeepMind, Magic Pony, TweetDeck, and SwiftKey are were all British startups snapped up by foreign buyers, chipping away at European hopes of producing its own rival to Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon.

    The trouble with Shazam, Murdoch said, was that it couldn't "own" its market.

    "Take Spotify — it owns that space where it can help you find any music and manage all your music," he said. "Shazam is a bit of a points solution and didn't own a big enough space. It was more sensible to be an acquisition target.

    "It's great technology, but at the end of the day, great technology doesn't mean a business that can earn hundreds of millions in revenue."

    For those who are disappointed with the outcome, Murdoch said: "People should celebrate this as a success. It's awesome tech and Apple is a great place for it to go."

    Apple could use Shazam to expand into the home

    Apple hasn't said what it's likely to do with Shazam, other than embed it into Apple Music. One source said it was possible Apple could use Shazam, which has multiple TV partnerships, to expand its reach into the home. The source drew comparisons with Amazon's digital assistant Alexa, which comes installed in Amazon's Echo smart speakers and is present in millions of homes.

    The deal is yet to be formalised and it isn't immediately clear who will benefit, and who will lose out from the acquisition.

    Shazam raised about $140 million (£105 million) in total from investors, and if the $400 million price tag is correct, the firm's preferred shareholders should theoretically get their money back.

    Whether ordinary shareholders — like employees who hold stock — get a payout depends on whether there's enough money left over.

    It's likely the major beneficiaries will be Shazam's biggest shareholders which include: the Townshend Lamarre family trust; Acacia Capital Partners; DN Capital; KPCB Holdings; and Institutional Ventures Partners, among others. Through various family trusts, several of Shazam's founders also hold preferred stock.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    Advancements in a bevy of industries are helping intelligent digital voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa become more sophisticated and useful pieces of technology. 

    Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are allowing them to accurately understand more information, while upgrades to mobile networks are facilitating quick transfers of data to robust clouds, enabling fast response times. In addition, the swell of internet connected devices like smart thermostats and speakers is giving voice assistants more utility in a connected consumer's life. 

    Increasingly sophisticated voice assistants and the growing potential use cases they can assist in are driving consumers to adopt them in greater droves — 65% of US smartphone owners were employing voice assistants in 2015, up significantly from 30% just two years prior. Consumers are also eagerly adopting speaker-based voice assistants, with shipments of Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers expected to climb more than threefold to 24.5 million in 2017, according to a report from VoiceLabs.

    However, there are still numerous barriers that need to be overcome before this product platform will see mass adoption, as both technological challenges and societal hurdles persist. 

    In a new report, BI Intelligence explains what's driving the recent upsurge in adoption of digital voice assistants. It explores the recent technology advancements that have catalyzed this growth, while presenting the technological shortcomings preventing voice assistants from hitting their true potential. This report also examines the voice assistant landscape, and discusses the leading voice assistants and the devices through which consumers interact with them. Finally, it identifies the major barriers to mass adoption, and the impact voice assistants could have in numerous industries once they cross that threshold. 

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Voice assistants are software programs that respond to voice commands in order to perform a range of tasks. They can find an opening in a consumer’s calendar to schedule an appointment, place an online order for tangible goods, and act as a hands-free facilitator for texting, among many, many other tasks.
    • Technological advances are making voice assistants more capable. These improvements fall into two categories: improvements in AI, specifically natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning; and gains in computing and telecommunications infrastructure, like more powerful smartphones, better cellular networks, and faster cloud computing.
    • Changes in consumer behavior and habits are also leading to greater adoption. Chief among these are increased overall awareness and a higher level of comfort demonstrated by younger consumers.
    • The voice assistant landscape is divided between smartphone- and speaker-based assistants. These distinctions, while important now, will lose relevance in the long run as more assistants can be used on both kinds of devices. The primary players in the space are Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa, and Samsung's Viv. 
    • Stakes in the competition for dominance in the voice assistant market are high. As each assistant becomes more interconnected with an ecosystem of devices that it can control, more popular platforms will have a sizable advantage. 

    In full, the report:

    • Identifies the major changes in technology and user behavior that have created the voice assistant market that exists today. 
    • Presents the major players in today's market and discusses their major weaknesses and strengths. 
    • Explores the impact this nascent market poses to other key digital industries. 
    • Identifies the major hurdles that need to be overcome before intelligent voice assistants will see mass adoption. 

    Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

    1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. »Learn More Now
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    cohn mnuchin

    • AQR Capital Management, a quantitative-focused hedge fund overseeing $208 billion, seeks to dispell the four biggest myths associated with corporate share repurchases.
    • The firm argues that companies using cash to repurchase stock isn't negative for economic growth, as has been suggested in recent weeks.
    • One of the arguments against the GOP plan has been that companies will use excess capital to simply buy back their own shares.

    To hear detractors of the GOP tax bill tell it, the plan as currently proposed won't actually boost economic activity. These skeptics think corporations will simply use the excess capital to buy back their own shares.

    And that's not too far-fetched of an idea. After all, buybacks have swelled during the 8 1/2-year equity bull market, and stock gains have followed in spades.

    The conventional explanation for the strength has been as follows: companies artificially boost their per-share prices by reducing the number of units outstanding, while simultaneously signaling to the market that their shares are attractively priced.

    But AQR Capital Management, the quantitative hedge fund that manages $208 billion, doesn't buy it. The firm thinks that buybacks are completely misunderstood — and don't directly drive much share appreciation at all.

    AQR has even gone as far as to compile what it sees as the four main myths of share repurchases, which the firm published in a recent research paper entitled "The Premature Demonization of Stock Repurchases." And while the study doesn't specifically reference the GOP tax reform, it does refute worries specifically related to it.

    "A common critique is that each dollar used to buy back a share is a dollar that is not spent on business activities that would stimulate economic growth," a team led by AQR managing and founding principal Cliff Asness wrote in the study. "Oh, if only it were that simple."

    Here are the four myths:

    Myth #1: Companies are self-liquidating using share repurchases at a historically high rate

    AQR admits that the total dollar amount spent on buybacks is higher than in the past, but says this "muddles changes in the scale of the economy and changes in the typical balance sheet of firms throughout time."

    The firm points out that the total money spent on buybacks, relative to aggregate market cap, is not at a record. In fact, the measure is far below where it was during the last financial crisis. AQR also notes that, when properly normalized, there hasn't even been an upward trend in buybacks over the past five years.

    Screen Shot 2017 12 11 at 4.24.19 PM

    Myth #2: Share repurchases have come at the expense of profitable investment

    AQR says this assertion is "not consistent with either finance theory or an empirical examination of the sources and uses of capital among US corporates."

    The firm stresses that there's no apparent negative relationship between normalized investment and stock buyback activity. It also highlights that the two readings have actually been positively correlated lately, with both rising since the financial crisis.

    Screen Shot 2017 12 11 at 4.28.25 PM

    Myth #3: The recent increase in stock prices is the result of share repurchases

    In order to disprove this one, AQR computed a rough estimate of cumulative index level returns using stock buybacks as the only input. The firm found that if every member of the gauge bought back shares in a given year at historically normal sizes, it would account for 1-2% of index-level price appreciation. That's a far cry from the gain of more than 15% for the Russell 3000 index.

    Perhaps an important nuance to this point is that, while buybacks can't possibly be fully responsible for the large gains seen in the stock market, they are accretive to a degree.

    Myth #4: Companies that repurchase shares do so only to increase EPS and thereby ‘price’

    For this one, AQR points out that while buybacks reduce share count, the depletion of cash to buy back those shares is negative for earnings. "Only if the cash that is used for share repurchases is truly idle (sitting in the chairman's desk drawer) would we agree that share repurchases increase EPS," Asness wrote.

    Going off AQR's logic, investors shouldn't be worried about the tax plan's massive windfall being misused. Assuming companies realize that buybacks aren't directly responsible for share gains, they'll theoretically be more likely to spend money on capital expenditures and corporate reinvestment — the activities most closely tied to economic growth.

    And based on recent equity market performance, companies should already be favoring reinvestment to share repurchases anyway.

    Since the beginning of 2016 and through October, a Goldman Sachs-curated basket of stocks spending the most on capex and research and development has beaten a similarly constructed index of companies offering high dividends and buybacks by a whopping 21 percentage points. That outperformance totaled 11 percentage points in 2017 alone, according to the firm's data.

    Goldman's data-backed argument that companies should be reinvesting, combined with AQR's myth-busting around the use of buybacks, should be give corporations all the information they need to use tax reform proceeds in a way that will help the overall economy.

    But will they? That's another discussion entirely.

    SEE ALSO: Why BlackRock's $1.7 trillion bond chief gets up at 3:30 a.m.

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    San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died just after 1 a.m. local time at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

    “It is with profound sadness and terrible grief that we confirm that Mayor Edwin M. Lee passed away on Tuesday, December 12 at 1:11 a.m. at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Family, friends and colleagues were at his side,” his office said in a statement, according to the Examiner.

    “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his two daughters, Brianna and Tania, and his family."

    Lee will be succeeded by San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed. Lee was originally appointed by the board as mayor in 2011, and won reelection in 2015.

    As of Tuesday morning Lee's cause of death remains unclear.

    As recently as last week, Lee joined his "Fix-It Team" cleaning up the streets of the city and addressing quality of life issues

    Lee presided over San Francisco during pivotal years when Silicone Valley giants took off and revolutionized industry while causing home prices in his city to skyrocket.

    But Lee's run as mayor ran into international controversy recently, when he accepted a statue from South Korea commemorating the "comfort women" who the Japanese military used as sex slaves during World War II.

    As a result, Osaka ended its "sister city" relationship with San Francisco.

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    sleepy man

    • Sleep is something we are too willing to compromise on.
    • Poor sleep can be bad for our physical health and our minds.
    • Sometimes the things we try to do to get a better night's sleep aren't actually helping us.
    • Here are some of the mistakes we are making and how to rectify them.

    Poor sleep makes us miserable. Not only that, but research has shown that if we don't get enough sleep, it can be bad for our mental health, result in poor performance and concentration, and in the long term can increase our risk of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's.

    But no matter how many times we are told about the risks of not sleeping enough, it's still something too many of us compromise on.

    New research from Debut — a student careers app— looked at the sleeping habits of 1,331 UK-based 18 to 25-year-old university students. It found that 74% of them admitted to often forfeiting sleep to make time for study, completing assignments, or revising for exams.

    The study found that some of the tricks the students used to try and get a better night's sleep were actually not helping them that much — and while exams and late-night studying stop for most people after university, some of these habits apply to all of us.

    Sleep scientist Stephanie Romiszewski, Channel 4’s resident sleep expert and the owner of the Sleepyhead Clinic, looked at what the students were doing, and made some recommendations on how they could improve their sleep patterns.

    Here are some of the mistakes you might be making, and how to rectify them.

    1. Turning phones and screens to 'night mode.'

    57% of the students said they use the "night shift" mode on their phones to reduce light intake.

    Romiszewski said that all light, no matter how dim, reduces the amount of melatonin — the hormone that prepares our body for sleep — we produce. By looking at your phone at night, you are effectively fighting off your "wind-down" process, and keeping yourself awake. The same goes for television and laptop screens.

    2. Falling asleep to music.

    40% of students said they listen to classical or relaxing music.

    Listening to music is fine as long as what you are listening to is relaxing and doesn't increase your heart rate, according to Romiszewski. But make sure you set a timer to turn the music off, otherwise you won't enter the phase of deep sleep you need to wake up refreshed.

    3. Exercising before bed.

    34% of those surveyed said they exercise before bed.

    Exercise is a great way to tire ourselves out, but if you work out just before bed, you'll make it more difficult for your body to relax afterwards, Romiszewski said. It's best to exercise during the day, or at least a few hours before you plan on going to sleep.

    4. Writing things down to clear your head.

    29% of the students said they write things down to clear their heads before hitting the hay.

    It's a good idea to write things down, but you should ensure you do it at least an hour before you go to bed so you can deal with any thoughts that pop up. Otherwise, you'll probably still be thinking about what you wrote when you're lying down. If you write a to-do list, Romiszewski said you should make sure it's full of achievable things.

    5. Using relaxation and sleep-tracking apps before bed.

    23% of students surveyed use mobile relaxation apps like Headspace, or sleep-tracking apps.

    These sorts of apps are helpful, but they're not that great if you only use them at night, according to Romiszewski. To really get the benefits of meditation, you should try using them more frequently during the day. It's not a short-term fix, so you need to see using these kinds of apps as a long-term lifestyle change.

    Also, apps that track your sleep probably are more trouble than they're worth. They can make you more anxious if you see that you're not getting the sleep you want.

    6. "Getting ready" for bed right before you want to sleep.

    Getting ready for bed can be counter-productive.

    Romiszewski said putting on pyjamas, changing the sheets, and brushing your teeth can all be unhelpful when you're trying to wind down. You should get ready for bed at least an hour before you want to sleep, so you make time to relax afterwards.

    7. Focusing on number of hours instead of quality of sleep.

    Quality is better than quantity, and it's not all about sleep duration. In fact, Romiszewski said it's better to wait until you feel tired to go to bed, rather than worrying about what time it is. Short, unbroken sleep is more beneficial to you than more time in bed not sleeping.

    8. Napping during the day.

    41% of students admitted to falling asleep in lectures.

    Napping during the day is a pretty bad idea. It steals away the tiredness you'll feel later on, so your body will have to build it up again before you can sleep.

    To get into a healthy sleep pattern, get up at the same time every day, no matter how tired you are, according to Romiszewski. This will be hard at first if you've slept badly, but you'll be setting yourself up well for the next evening. Before too long, you'll be in a good sleep cycle, and probably find you're laying awake staring at the ceiling a lot less.

    SEE ALSO: Poor sleep can ramp up our insecurities — here's how treating insomnia can help with mental health

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    Here is what you need to know. 

    Small-business optimism soars. NFIB Small Business Optimism soared to 107.5 in November, hitting its highest level since 1983, according to Bloomberg. 

    UK inflation hits an almost 6-year highConsumer prices rose 3.1% in November, making for the fastest pace since March 2012, Office for National Statistics data showed.

    Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to hike petrol prices by 80%Saudi Arabia plans to raise gas and jet fuel prices by 80% in January, a person with knowledge of the plans told Bloomberg, as it looks to bolster state finances and remove subsidies.

    Brent crude zooms higher after a major Eurpoean pipeline is shutThe international benchmark trades up 1.34% at $65.62 a barrel after Britain's Forties pipeline, which is important because the oil it carries normally sets the price of dated Brent, was shut due to cracks, Reuters says. 

    The head of the SEC weighs in on cryptocurrency maniaSEC Chairman Jay Clayton on Monday acknowledged the revolutionary potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, but warned investors about exchange-traded funds holding cryptocurrencies and unregulated initial coin offerings. 

    Westfield agrees to sell itselfThe mall owner has agreed to sell itself to France’s Unibail-Rodamco for $15.7 billion, in what would be the biggest takeover of an Australian company on record, Reuters says.

    Stock markets around the world trade mixedHong Kong's Hang Seng (-0.59%) lagged in Asia and Britain's FTSE (+0.22%) is out front in Europe. The S&P 500 is on track to open little changed near 2,662.

    Earnings reporting remains lightMongoDB and Verifone report after markets close.

    US economic trickles outPPI will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 1 basis point at 2.39%.

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    • Designer toddler Millie-Belle Diamond's Instagram account has nearly 160,000 followers.
    • She apparently gets sent free designer gear by brands and is paid up to AUD $250 (£140, $190) a post to share photos of her wearing it.
    • Her latest toy is a souped up AUD $5,000 (£2,800, $3,800) cubby house, "Palace MBD," complete with a 50-inch flat screen TV, baby grand piano, and crystal chandelier.

    Three-year-old Millie-Belle Diamond from Noosa, Queensland, is no ordinary toddler — that's if her Instagram is anything to go by.

    Her account, managed by mum Schye Fox, has nearly 160,000 followers, making one of the world's youngest Instagram sensations.

    Designer labels send her free clothes, handbags, and shoes, her mother told Femail, then will pay her up to AUD $250 (£140, $190) a post to share photos of herself wearing the products.

    The latest addition to her luxurious life is a brand new custom-built "cubby house" which has cost AUD $5,000 (£2,800, $3,800) for her father to build, and comes complete with a 50-inch flat screen TV — with Netflix installed naturally — a baby grand piano, crystal chandelier, and a rose garden and day bed out front.

    "It truly is the cubby of every child's dreams — Millie-Belle is so lucky but she also knows how lucky she is," Fox told Femail. "It is a palace fit for a queen and she absolutely loves it."

    Click the arrows below to see inside the souped-up cubby house, which they have named "Palace MBD."

    To have her life 😂🤷🏼‍♀️ . . I promised more inside pics and a decor tag list so here goes .. EACH PHOTO IS TAGGED - scroll through and see other post for more pics .. . . Gucci Bell - we sprayed it silver and it’s from @Bunnings Vanity @potterybarnkidsaus Bow chair @dreamykidz Doll @neapolitanhomewares Dolls bed @little_mackie Toy chests @belleandcoliving . . . Feature wall - yes we made it ourselves and we got the wallpaper from Bunnings too. Yes hubby made it all from scratch without plans or a kit & yes her TV is in the wall. Aircon to come. And no he isn’t making anymore 😂 AND NO, we are not opening a “palace” business 😂😂😂 everrrrr

    A post shared by Millie-Belle Diamond (@milliebellediamond) on Dec 9, 2017 at 8:34pm PST on

    The three-metre squared space was inspired by a $20,000 Hamptons-style cubby house that Fox saw while in America, she told the paper.

    It took Millie-Belle's father, a former builder, three months to build.

    Inside, there's a wallpapered "feature wall" and a "mini makeup vanity."

    The couple are also planning to install air con in the coming months.

    Take a tour of the end result in the video below.

    "So many cubbies you see around look great on the outside but are just plain and wooden on the inside so it was important to us that it was just as beautiful if not better on the inside," Fox said.

    "I wanted it to look Instagram-worthy and just be a beautiful mini home and I think that's just how the palace turned out."

    Fox told Femail that she started up the Instagram account when Millie-Belle was just two months old so that family could keep up with their lives.

    Now, her daughter gets paid up to AUD $250 (£140) a post to share photos of her wearing the designer gear...

    Christmas shopping done right 🤷🏼‍♀️😂 MBD in #gucci tee, tulle skirt, socks AND shoes from ❤️

    A post shared by Millie-Belle Diamond (@milliebellediamond) on Nov 17, 2017 at 1:31am PST on

    ...And she has a pretty insane trainer collection for a three-year-old.

    3 year old shoe goals 🤷🏼‍♀️😂 Gucci + her new @diamondkicks_au Nikes!

    A post shared by Millie-Belle Diamond (@milliebellediamond) on Nov 10, 2017 at 3:29pm PST on

    SEE ALSO: The Russian billionaire owner of Arsenal reportedly paid for his niece to wed in a lavish Disney-style wedding — take a look inside

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    NOW WATCH: France's $21 billion nuclear fusion reactor is now halfway complete

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    man flu shutterstock jelena danilovic

    • "Man flu" is real, according to an article in the British Medical Journal.
    • A professor in Canada argued that male immune systems are inherently weaker than female ones.
    • This could lead to increased susceptibility to bad bouts of flu.

    Man flu is apparently real — and the cure is lying on the sofa and watching telly, according to one professor.

    Dr. Kyle Sue, a medical professor at a Canadian university, spelled out what he described as "the science behind man flu" after growing "tired of being accused of over-reacting" to flu-like symptoms.

    He made the case that men could genuinely be more susceptible to bad bouts of flu in an article for the prestigious British Medical Journal.

    Sue, who works at Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada, first looked at studies with mice, which he suggest are "good models for human physiology."

    Several studies he cited suggest that female mice have stronger immune systems than their male counterparts, and that gender hormones have a direct effect on the immune system.

    But it wasn't just in animal studies that the phenomenon could be observed.

    A 2013 study from Stanford University found that women's antibodies tend to respond more rapidly to an injection of the flu virus than men's antibodies.

    The study also found that men with higher testosterone levels tended to have the weakest antibody response. As a result, the study suggests that testosterone suppresses the immune system, while estrogen boosts it.

    The capability of the immune system to deal with infection has more consequences than the occasional sniffle.

    In a study of flu-related deaths between 1997 and 2007, published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, a group of researchers found that mortality was more common in men than women across multiple age-groups, regardless of underlying conditions.

    woman cold shutterstock agnieszka marcinska

    Sue warns that, if these hormones do have a profound effect on the immune system, then "men may not be exaggerating symptoms, but have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory viruses, leading to greater morbidity and mortality than seen in women."

    As a result, Sue believes that the common perception of "man flu" as an exaggeration is unjust.

    When feeling under the weather, Dr Sue promotes energy conservation. "Lying on the couch, not getting out of bed, or receiving assistance with activities of daily living could also be evolutionarily [sic] behaviours that protect against predators," he advised.

    Playing up to the stereotypes of men's reactions to illness, Sue jokingly said: "Perhaps now is the time for male friendly spaces, equipped with enormous televisions and reclining chairs, to be set up where men can recover from the debilitating effects of man flu in safety and comfort."

    SEE ALSO: These 5 celebrity diets were just ripped to shreds by a top authority

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    NOW WATCH: This animation shows how terrifyingly powerful nuclear weapons have become

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    Theresa May

    • Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other web firms are likely to face new sanctions in the UK about hosting abusive content on their platforms.
    • The government's ethics committee will recommend that prime minister Theresa May sues the web giants if they can't delete abusive posts in time, according to The Times.
    • It isn't clear how much the firms might have to pay, but they are more widely under huge political pressure to keep paedophilic and terrorist content off their platforms.

    Prime minister Theresa May will be advised to sue Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other tech firms who don't delete abusive content, according to a report from The Times.

    Abusive could mean racist, sexist, terrorist, and other hateful posts.

    The government's ethics watchdog is due to publish a report on Wednesday making the recommendations. Its suggestion for new laws would, in a major shift, begin treating the US web giants more like publishers. Conventionally, Facebook and Google have argued they are just platforms and not responsible for the content hosted on their sites in the way normal publishers are.

    The report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life doesn't specify particular sanctions, but recommends legislation that could mean prosecution for firms that don't obey the rules.

    The report is part of an inquiry into intimidation of MPs during elections, much of which takes place on social media. Chair Lord Bew previously said: "There is a degree of frustration in our committee about what’s actually been done, given the vast resources of these companies, to protect the integrity of our democracy. We are less than hugely impressed by what they have done."

    May has already proposed sterner rules for web firms, particularly when it comes to taking down terrorist content.

    The committee report follow aggressive investigations by the press into the kind of content Twitter, Facebook, and Google are willing to put up with. A Tuesday report in The Sun found "hundreds" of Twitter users use the site to talk about their sexual urges towards children.

    The Sun examined accounts that describe themselves as "non-offending" and "anti-contact"— terms used by self-confessed paedophiles who say they have never harmed children. The newspaper found some accounts of the talking about children, though it did not seem to find any examples of anything illegal or explicit. A Twitter source told the newspaper the information had been handed to the police, and that police had not requested further data.

    Elsewhere, the BBC found Amazon-owned gaming site Twitch was hosting sexualised content, while YouTube has been under fire for several weeks over inappropriate content aimed at children.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A guy who reviews gadgets for a living spent a week with the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 — the winner was clear

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    jimmy kimmel billy son

    • Jimmy Kimmel made a tearful plea to lawmakers to secure funding for CHIP.
    • The Children's Health Insurance Program covers 9 million children who would struggle to pay for healthcare without it.
    • Kimmel held his son Billy, who has a heart condition that has required several surgeries.
    • CHIP's funding expired while politicians were finalising details of an impending tax bill.

    Jimmy Kimmel took his seven-month-son on air to make a tearful plea to congress to save the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers 9 million children in the US.

    Kimmel appeared alongside Billy after a week-long break from his show, "Live." Billy was born with tetralogy of fallot with pulmonary atresia, a rare defect which required open heart surgery just hours after his birth.

    Billy has undergone a series of surgeries in his short life, but Kimmel said he now has just one more to go.

    CHIP, first introduced during the Clinton administration, recently had its funding lapse as Congress focuses on passing tax reform. An analysis by the Urban Institute found that 1.2 million children, many of them in low-income families, could lose their healthcare.

    Speaking with his son in his arms, Kimmel immediately began to tear up while compelling Congress to act to fund CHIP, and his viewers to demand action from their representatives.

    "CHIP has become a bargaining chip. It's on the back burner while they work out their new tax plans, which means parents of children with cancer, diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month," Kimmel said. "Merry Christmas, right?" 

    "Imagine getting that letter, literally not knowing how you will afford to save your child's life. This is not a hypothetical. About 2 million CHIP kids have serious chronic conditions," Kimmel said.

    Kimmel pointed out that CHIP usually gets bipartisan support in the Senate and House but said "this year they let the money for it expire while they work on getting tax cuts for their millionaire and billionaire donors."

    Watch the full clip below:


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    Sundar Pichai

    • Google is launching a new research project to develop so-called "appsperiments."
    • Appsperiments are new apps that use some of Google's experimental technologies.
    • The company is releasing three new apps today, on both Android and Apple's iOS.

    Google is launching three new experimental apps, named Storyboard, Selfissimo!, and Scrubbies, on iOS and Android (we first saw the news via The Verge).

    The first will come just to Android, while Scrubbies is an iOS exclusive; Selfissimo!, on the other hand, will be released on both platforms.

    The three apps are parts of a first round of products inside the Google's new, so-called "appsperiment" program. More apps will come, but the current lineup focuses on photography.

    The apps are all built on experimental technologies — a bit like Motion Still, the iOS app that transforms Apple's Live Photos into universally shareable gifs.

    "[The apps] rely on object recognition,person segmentation, stylization algorithms, efficient image encoding and decoding technologies, and perhaps most importantly, fun!" reads Google's blog post.



    Storyboard is a nifty app that asks users to upload a video, and then automatically extrapolates six frames out of the clip from which it creates a comic-book like panel.

    There are six visual styles, Google says, and up to 1.6 trillion different combinations for its algorithms to churn out.

    Scrubbies, iOS' exclusive apps, lets you use your fingers to scroll through a video's timeline, DJ style, and record the movement to create a video loop that emphasises movement and action.

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    The weirdly named Selfissimo! will make its way to the iPhone and Android phones, and is the simplest app out of this first appsperiments' wave.

    A simple tap on the screen will make your phone start recording (with the front-facing camera), and ask you to strike a few different poses.

    The end result is a lot like a photobooth's, with Google's app snapping a shot every time you move and giving you back black and white pictures to save and share on social media or elsewhere.



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