tv Bloomberg Business Week Bloomberg June 2, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT
difficult projects in machine learning, how to beat stock market. >> the robots are not as coming as quickly as we think. and it is the casing in finance. financial market data presents a host of albums that make learning from data and teasing out relationships difficult. jason: one of the things you point out is the idea that computers have to cope with humans. human behavior, human emotion, all these things and even in the age of ai and machine learning, we are still unpredictable beasts. >> that is right and it is different than something like image recognition where the has been success over the past decade. you can think about millions -- in facebook, on the order of 4 million photos being uploaded per day. it is not easy, but straightforward to think about determining what is a dog, what is a cap, who is your brother, who is your uncle? in financial markets, even if you determine that come it is adversarial. someone else may be able to determine that and change the relationships and the thing you found. in image recognition, what you found is the ground truth. carol: as soon as a computer and algorithm finds a way to beat
the market and do better another program comes in and either replicates what they are doing or figures it out. the moment of success beating the market may be short-lived. richard: that's correct. it is one of the things i talk about at the end that is a return off -- turn off for researchers. you find something that works but over time, it will decay.
carol: talk about that because i love that point. how much do we talk about in the magazine that everyone wants ai engineers, ai engineers. there is a global race to get them in and a lot of them don't want to work at a financial firm because they don't get to talk about what they are doing. these guys live potentially to publish. richard: that's exactly right. i think the inability to publish is a big turnoff for top researchers. carol: in the financial world. richard: in the financial world and you can think about it, if you go into a top firm and are there for eight or nine years, you come out and have made discoveries and maybe it is just your friends for recruiters to say what have you been up to. you shrug your shoulders and say i can't say. jason: i would love to tell you, but i can't. how about those yankees? richard: exactly, and there is a huge buzz for those working at a google brain. they published a paper, it is talked about on social media and all of their colleagues and coworkers and even people at rival firms can look at the discovery, talk about it, and celebrate it. jason: you mentioned facebook
earlier and their ability to use artificial intelligence and some machine learning in their business. social media plays into a different part of the conversation, which is alternative data. some of the other datasets or places that machines are looking to try to get an edge. tell us about that. richard: everyone is looking for an edge anyway they can and there is an awful lot of data. satellites are taking pictures of parking lots every four hours and counting the number of cars. but i think that has been maybe overhyped from a lot of the people i've spoken with. one reason, that data is kind of ebay quit us now -- ubiquitous and there are dozens of data vendors selling it. at the end of the day, you still
need to ring signal out of this dataset. i'm carol massar kobach to where we talked about how humans can be good -- you talk about the role of humans in terms of the fact that we worry about or think about algorithms, computers are going to take over the world in so many industries. humans can be smart in terms of interpreting some of the nuances in the marketplace that maybe and algorithm is not going to pick up right away. richard: it gets to the real issue of causality. humans are good at that type of thinking and right now, researchers are really just starting to think about and make breakthroughs in causality. it is a really hot part of ai. carol: you do talk about some firms that have done well, have figured this out, how to beat
the market. renaissance technologies among others. how do they so consistently seem to be the market? have they brought in a lot of engineers? what is it? richard: renaissance, in particular, their successes down to a number of factors. i think they have more data and higher-quality data than anyone else. i think they have a really good platform that allows researchers to test ideas and experiment with thanks quickly. i think the have hired really high-caliber researchers that think about the markets in a scientific way. jason: taylor riggs is here with more data around how maybe we shouldn't be testing machines so much in the stock market. taylor: come into my terminal at gdb go. we are looking at the s&p 500 index and etf's that track quant funds. they have underperformed the broader markets. a lot of it, noise, data is constantly changing and the
minute you find a profitable trade, someone else is going to jump in and catch up with you. carol: only short-lived in terms of your advantage. next, islamic state has proved it has a global reach. jason: argentina's financial crisis creates an opportunity for china. carol: this is "bloomberg businessweek." ♪
>> welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." i'm carol massar. jason: i'm jason kelley. catch up on our daily show by listening and subscribing to our podcast at itunes, soundcloud, or bloomberg.com. carol: find us online at businessweek.com and our mobile app. jason: in the politics section, the islamic state is largely disputed on home territory. carol: but the organization is rebuilding africa. >> the leader of the islamic state, as most of us are aware, reemerged in a video in which he discussed the sri lanka
bombings, the resurgence of the caliphate, especially in africa. he took a pledge of loyalty from a group, they are looking at expanding into sedan and on syria and -- sudan and algeria and they are looking to recover, recharge, and refund their activities. carol: you have this in the story, they are doing it differently. they are not trying to be extremist in terms of targeting everybody including civilians. they are going after soldiers and helping people that did -- dig wells and help them live better. jillian: a group that split off has done exactly that. islamic state, many of their attacks have targeted large numbers of civilians. this group is targeting more soldiers and working with the community trying to develop
loyalty in that way. carol: the fear is the islamic state that is not in africa is essentially and ultimately going to get together with the islamic state in africa and create some form of a cohesive group. is that likely or are the differences too much? jillian: at that point -- this point, that is kind of a worst-case scenario. right now, the caliphate is so depleted in the middle east. there is not much transfer of money or people between the two branches and as you say, there are big cultural differences we are talking about on top of the geographic separation. if that did happen, it would be a long way off but that is a major fear. if you start seeing transfers of money between the two halves or groups or portions of islamic state, it will start to become a more major and present threat. jason: how much does the administration worry about this
terrorism building up in a way that it could be a threat stateside? jillian: right now, that is not so much a concern but it is something on the attention of the united states command in africa. they are watching these cells grow and the u.s. is attempting to transfer forces to africa, though they met some resistance. a few countries that don't want the interference of the u.s. military so it is tricky to balance. carol: beijing's growing influence around the globe can be seen in a parent dams in argentina. jason: construction has accelerated despite misgivings. here is jonathan gilbert. >> a typical situation at the moment. the financial crisis, essentially a country that can't access debt markets because of a problem going back about 18 months with a huge selloff of argentine peso and bonds.
it was locked out of credit markets essentially and the current president macri wanted to stave off the advance of china into the country when he came to power in 2015. when you are locked out of credit markets and need to get infrastructure going in your country, china is basically the only option. i was recently in santa cruz province, way down south in patagonia where china is building $4 billion worth of hydroelectric dams. carol: tell us about that dam. it is a twin dam project being built there but a lot of things might make you scratch your head saying why would this -- is this happening? jonathan: the trend in the world's renewable energy. we know about climate change and the global effort to push renewable energy, and also natural gas is cleaner than fuel and other types of fossil fuels.
hydro is on the way out slightly -- more than slightly -- it only grew .5% in 2017, whereas wind and solar group 30% and 40%. with hydro, you are damming landscape and affecting wildlife. the tendency has been to move away from that because of the environmental sector they have. china build the largest dam in the 1990's and 2000's, so they have a lot of power to harness in using the expertise in other countries. in argentina, they are building two huge dams, 1.3 gigawatts of power. we've got 5% of argentina's total energy generation. even those these are outdated dinosaurs, they serve china's need to push into emerging-market nations like argentina. jason: part of this pushing into latin america specifically has
to do with the belt and road initiative. this is the cornerstone of president xi's ambition for himself and his country. how does this fit into the larger picture? jonathan: energy and for structure among other countries would talk more about road and rail for structure. in latin america, we are looking at $65 billion of investment from china in latin america over the last decade or so. if you compare that to the world bank, the western benchmark for financing these types of projects, you are looking at six times as much from china compared to the world bank. mainly in brazil but now in argentina where you have the two dams but also the potential for an $8 million nuclear plant. you are seeing china start to move away from asia and africa
and into latin america were basically, the big gain from latin america is access to crops. he needs the crops, mainly soybeans, to feed the main source of protein for the chinese populations. jason: this is a story about olives. carol: plus, what would you do if all of your life's savings went missing from the bank and the bank doesn't help you? we have that cautionary tale. jason: this is "bloomberg businessweek." ♪
jason: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." i'm jason kelley. carol: i'm carol massar. you can listen to us on radio on sirius xm channel 119, and on am 1130 in new york, 106.1 in boston, 99.1 fm in washington, d.c. and am 960 in the bay area. jason: in london on dab digital and through the bloomberg business app. carol: americans say money they had at mexico's monex bank is gone. jason: they say the bank is helping them. we are talking $40 million missing from as many as 158 accounts. carol: reporter david welch has the story. david: americans decide i will move to mexico, the weather is nice, san miguel is very artistic, nice climate. my dollar goes a long way, and
they moved down there. all of them basically started banking with their u.s. banks and getting money sent to mexico. getting actual cash, getting liquidity was time-consuming, after a few years, they decided the bank locally and that is where the trouble started. carol: talk about model x bank. jason: there is banco monex and then the brokerage house. people have accounts in both. the trouble if your account was in the brokerage house, those are not insured deposits. in the bank, mexico only insures deposits of $140,000. that is problem number one if trying to get money back. the real problem started with this woman marcella, it is about
a tailor whose mother is an american and she worked in the u.s. in california for a number of years, had great english. everyone described her as multicultural. she sort of took these people in with her very good english, multicultural knowledge and experience and got them to think she is like an american banker. she's a person to deal with. carol: people have been in banking for several years. some of them got decent returns on investments through the bank. david: the statement said that -- the bank said she had falsified statements and they weren't getting those returns. another issue is she was telling the client's they had dollar-denominated accounts which meant a would be protected from the devaluation of the peso. monex is saying no. they are basically trying to settle with people. they've offered people $.50 to $.70 on the dollar and as an american who banks within american bank, money was stolen from the bank in my account and
you want to settle? jason: the scope is massive. $40 million missing from as many as 158 accounts. according to your story. this was widespread. this is just taking advantage of a couple of people and the implication is this probably wasn't just this woman acting alone, right? david: that is certainly the theory of the people who were ripped off. some told me that monex officials told him, never in writing, that they didn't think this woman could have done it alone either. lighter transfers had names on them and these people just don't know who they are. the bank is investigating this and turned it over to mexico authorities. she is back in san miguel. i interviewed her briefly at her mother. her mother cryptically said monex had something to do with this. marcela said she would do a full interview and i told her i have everybody's story and everyone
blames you. i need your story. she agreed and then got on the phone and said i can't say in eating. jason: the relationship between washington and madrid is being put to the test after president trump slapped 835% tariff on black spanish table olives. carol: pretty steep tariff and now exporters are being forced to cut jobs. we talked to editor cristina lindblad about the story. cristina: local olive growers have been complaining they dumped all of his below-market price in the government and growers get subsidies from madrid and the european union come so when trump came into office, based on opportunity to actually get this complaint off the ground and now there is a 35% punitive tariff on spanish processed olives imported to the united states. jason: there are really two sides to this.
how does this go from here? david: welcome -- cristina: like the china dispute, it has been intractable and despite attempts in bilateral talks to resolve this, it hasn't worked out so far. brussels on behalf of spain has gone to the world trade organization to initiate a dispute. that hasn't moved either, so they are calling for a special panel to make the decision this month. we will see if anything happens. typically, the wto is not a high-speed process. carol: that can take a few years, right? jason: and the worst news you can get is -- carol: taking it to the wto. cristina: the flow of the olive trade will be impacted.
we visited several farms in southern spain and job losses have been sizable. in one form, the guy only has one fourth of the workforce he had. basically what people are expecting is for the harvest this year which starts around september, there will be a repricing of contracts, processing companies' fees to brine olives. there have been interesting repercussions. one of the spanish companies has bought stake in a california companies that was one of the two that brought the initial complaint some the idea is now that they are going to start shipping green olives to the u.s. and brining them here to try and evade the tariffs. jason: one of the potential workarounds too is he started use your olives for olive oil but that is a lower margin
business. this has implications on the supply chain and reminds us that even if these disputes are eventually worked out, businesses have to make decisions right now around employment, investment, around their potential market. cristina: and in spain, the unemployment rate is over 20% so this is already high level and this is adding to that and creating pressure. carol: what is going to happen? what does the u.s. do? where do they get their black table olives and what is spain doing in finding new markets? there are ready shifting? cristina: we've heard a lot of the word "decoupling" when it comes to the u.s. and china but other sectors are trying to decouple from the u.s. too. in spain, the cristina: --olive industry is looking for markets in asia and pakistan to ease the dependency on the u.s.
jason: this is a remapping of global trade in many ways an important reminder it feels like that european countries and the eu, overall is just as concerned with this as china is maybe and that is a front we don't talk about. cristina: we don't, but i think we will be talking about it more. there has been issued with auto tariffs and whether they will, on or not. carol: trump hasn't targeted other people selling cristina: -- selling olives? cristina: you can buy olives from greece, morocco, yeah. it is a particular kind of olives. it is ones found on pizza toppings and salad bars. there is not an easy substitution in the short term. carol: next come how to avoid a cold war between united states
jason: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." carol: still ahead in this week's issue, netflix gives nigeria's film industry a wider reach. jason: and the spotify for classical music. carol: and in our podcast, we hear about a new book "hacking darwin." jason: it explores the new era of genetic engineering. carol: first up, we talked about trumps trade war with china.
keep in mind, jamie has served on the senate foreign relations committee and state department. jason: and we got the difference between an opportunity and a threat. >> the path has been towards greater connectivity. i have been a critic of china because i feel like they have gamed the trading system. huawei itself has admitted they have stolen property. carol: under the direction of the government? >> you never know. but a big chinese company, it is a different model.
you are connected to the government. you have a chinese party sell within sight of your company. when big things happen, you cannot say no. that is why the rest of the world has recognized they are not like japanese or korean companies. we have to see them as quasi-state actors. they have gamed the system through forced technology transfers and ip theft. because that, and it is unfortunate because -- as someone who believes they could collaborate and play by the same rules. the united states has been forced. i am not an advocate of what president trump is doing, but they have been forced to recognize the united states
needs to play much tougher. it is not just about economics, but about what values will guide the geopolitical system. unfortunately, china has brought this response on itself. jason: we have spent a lot of time talking about a number of different hotspots. latin america, south america being one, africa being another. these are places that, while the negotiations are going on, china is flexing their economic muscle. whether it is investing in infrastructure and the consumer markets in those other places. how is that balance shaping out in your estimation? the u.s. and china are becoming too superpowers, dividing up the world. >> we don't want to go back into this cold war model. not all investment is necessarily bad. africa needs a lot of infrastructure. the question is, in what context? with the world, not just the
united states, they have said you are welcome, we need u.s. trading partners. but we want you to articulate what kind of world you are trying to build. is a world that can help everybody, or is this just colonialism by another name? carol: is it too late in terms of the imprint china has already developed? one belt, one road, access to raw commodities, is it too late? >> i don't think so. we want a country like china to be going out and trading with the world. it benefits allies of ours like australia, canada, and others. but what we need to do is say that, for china to play an
active role and for us to accommodate that role, there has to be a same set of rules. that is why it is so unfortunate the united states has stepped away from these trade agreements. had we ratified those, we would be calling the shots. now we are play catch-up. carol: is the rest of the world on the u.s. side? >> the world recognizes there is a china opportunity and a threat. unfortunately, president trump has not only picked a fight with china, but with europe and canada. in order to stand up to china, we need to build an alliance around shared values. that we have not done that makes us weaker. jason: there is an easy hit to your book. that is because your book sits right at this next is and is something you have been working on and thinking about for a long
time. help us understand that journey from national security, foreign relations, into this view of the world. >> more than 20 years ago, i was on the national security council, working for my boss and friend richard clark. he was the person who predicted 9/11. he always said that everybody in washington was focusing on one thing, you could be sure something important was being missed. i thought about that and started looking around the world, getting data here and there. this is long for anybody heard of chris berger. i heard these revolutions would change everything. i started educating myself, writing articles, i started getting more and more involved. like, hey, we have to focus on this. now the world is starting to recognize that this is a big
deal. there are three issues which are the biggest issues we will need to face as a species. genetics, ai, and climate change. these are existential opportunities. with the genetics revolution, after 3.8 billion years of life evolving by the set of rules, we are now taking increasingly active control of biology. that is going to change everything. we are going to be able to have new ways of manufacturing and fundamentally transform health care. moving from generalized medicine to precision and predictive. it will change genetics. you get these swabs and it is fun to see your ancestry, but you will have a lot of predictive information about how your life will play out. and then we will change the way we make babies.
so this is a trillion dollar industry. if i was here and we had just sent the first email. and i was saying this internet thing is big, this is bigger. carol: for more of our interview, check out our extra podcast. coming up, how gale and harvard inspired one indigenous tribe to create wealth for generations to come. jason: and how donald trump lost ownership of new york's famed plaza hotel. carol: this is "bloomberg businessweek." ♪
carol: our editor helped create this week's special "money" issue. we talked about our favorite stories of the week, how donald trump tried and failed to hold onto america's most famous hotel. jason: and over to new zealand, where the maori build a successful portfolio and created intergenerational wealth. >> when we go back to colonization in new zealand, in 1998, the government decided to finally settle with the tribes. in 1998, one of the tribes received a little over $100 million. not all was settled, but they decided to. since the inception of the fund, they are now worth $1.3 billion. so since inception, they have
generated a 15% return. carol: talk about how we did that. they looked to the well-known endowments. >> yeah, they did. they looked to the ivy leagues, which is where a lot of people look. specifically at yale, harvard, and their goal is to create intergenerational wealth. they were not looking for quick returns. there are 60,000 members of this tribe and they are looking to sustain this for generations. they have been successful in doing that. they made an early investment in a retirement community that was very profitable. but where they really make their
money is in tourism. one of these companies that provides jet boat rides they are owned by this tribe. they have made money in tourism and other ventures, but mostly that way. carol: there are other tribes still waiting for settlements. these guys had a provision that said they get a part of future settlements. >> that is right and is a good point. they decided to settle 20 years ago, but not all tribes decided to do that. the largest did not, and there has been squabbling about whether to do that. but basically, they settled. and they get 16% of all future settlements. that has amounted to millions and millions. they have said we need to look
forward. let's start now, and they have been very successful. jason: let's bring it back home to new york city. carol: the more obvious story. jason: just a couple blocks where we are sitting, and iconic, iconic building. the plaza hotel, i felt like i do a fair amount, but the ins and outs are amazing. take us there. >> we looked at when donald trump, in 1988, purchases the hotel and borrows a lot of money to do it. basically, he gets completely burdened down with debt. in the mid-90's, citibank is like, we have got to unload this thing. they try to find some buyers, but trump's original fixer, a guy named abraham, pre-dating michael cohen. he says, if i can find us a buyer, you can still be involved. so he looks to hong kong at the kwok family.
he invites them over with the family. we will take you guys shopping and go golfing. he goes up to get them one morning, and they are trapped in their hotel room. the door is stuck. he has to call security. jason: not stuck like jimmy it a little bit. like trapped in the room. >> he comes up with security guards, they hatchet their way in. not shockingly, the family decides they are going to pass, which makes sense. citibank goes out and finds two buyers. they team up, and in 1995, eventually buy the plaza. as the first time the hotel has been in foreign hands and has been ever since. carol: step back, before signing
the bottom line, abraham, he was loose, a little bit? >> these families, they are conducting the negotiations to buy the hotel in the plaza. and it turns out there is a secret room off of the presidential suite that he knew about. he is sitting in the room listening to the negotiations while this is going on. carol: eavesdropping. >> we could call it, charitably. he decides that every time they call a bank to discuss a loan,
he is to call the same bank and request the same amount of money just to confuse the bankers. finally, trump, when this fiasco happens, he went around trying to fire people. he says, look, we got to cut this out. carol: doesn't somebody say fire, fire? >> they tried all sorts of tactics. they said there was a fire in the building, they pulled every -- they did what they could to prevent citibank from deciding who was going to be the next owner. i think they knew they would be cut out. that is essentially what happened. jason: it is a fascinating window into, as we said, an iconic building. it does represent wealth, it is the epitome, emblematic in some way. that is what made it so attractive to trump. >> right. he buys it for an insane amount of money. even at the time, people thought that what he paid for it was outrageous.
nobody thought it was a good idea. but it represents much more than just the money it is worth. it is iconic. when it opened in 1907, it was hailed as the most opulent, and in many eyes, it still retains that. but since the mid-90's, it is now just a boutique hotel. they have given a large retail presence, there are condominiums. which was actually trump's idea. he could have potentially made a lot of money, but it did not get realized until after he sold. carol: up next, netflix wants to introduce you to nollywood. jason: and an app for classical music fans.
carol: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." jason: you can also listen to us on the radio on sirius xm channel 119, and on a.m. 1130 in new york, 106.1 in boston, 99.1 f.m. in washington, d.c. carol: a.m. 960 in the bay area, in london on dab digital, and on the bloomberg business app. in the technology section, this classical streaming app has been downloaded one million times. jason: but the question remains, will that momentum carried them to competition with spotify? >> this is a startup from berlin, a music streaming company. essentially, they are classical
only. so none of your dr. dre, none of your phil collins, whatever you might want. it is all classic. that is a very vast field and goes all the way from gregorian chants to philip glass. their ambition is to have the most complete catalog out there for classical music only. the reason they have done this is they say that spotify, apple, others are not good at catering to a classic music audience. they struggle to find things on platforms like spotify. idagio came along and said they could do better. carol: talk to us about the cofounder, he spent a couple of decades managing classical musicians and he understands it is a little different when you want to catalog and reach out to consumers.
>> absolutely right. the cofounder of the company is deeply rooted in the classical music industry. he spent two decades doing what is called artist repertoire, looking after artists and music festivals. he came to a point around 2012 where he found it was difficult to reach a target audience. you have standard channels like cds or concerts, but there was not a dedicated and good platform to reach an audience through streaming. so he found a co-investor, a chap who had created another streaming platform, to solve his --. he was wondering if you should take the risks, sell everything i haven't go into the deep end,
or do i stay in my fairly comfortable job. he decided to go full throttle. he founded the company around 2015. it is up and running and claims to have the most complete catalog of classical music out there. jason: nigeria's vibrant film industry is known as nollywood. carol: in netflix wants to help them reach a wider audience. >> when you think about africa, people forget how vast and large the continent is. there are 1.2 billion people in africa. nigeria, which runs the film industry in africa, there are hundreds of millions there. they are driving entertainment in that region.
carol: how big is it? >> it is such a huge industry, following bollywood, second largest in terms of output. that is something to tap into when looking for the next growth driver in entertainment. jason: we are in an interesting moment in the global entertainment realm. think about the avengers, think about black panther, the audience is much different than it was 20 years ago in terms of who is going, and candidly, what they expect to see. it feels like like nollywood is taking advantage of that. >> especially with streaming. netflix is the first first one to go into nigeria and pick up local contact.
they really hit it big with "beasts of no nation." it got a lot of good commentary, critically acclaimed. jason: one of the reasons streaming has been good, as i understand, is that it has eliminated or helped mitigate one of the real problems in nigeria specifically, piracy. it really put a dent in the ability to make money. >> what was interesting about nollywood, is the infrastructure they have a problem with. they want backing from the government, and what comes to pre-financing dollars and grants, they really need that push, that launchpad to get films across the board.
as the industry moves away from dvds and towards trading, you are seeing less piracy. carol: "bloomberg businessweek" is available understands now. jason: got a must read? carol: check out our mobile app and our podcast because my conversation with jb has to be one of my favorite things this week. we got into a conversation about china because of his background, but his book is about how genetic engineering will change everything. jason: thought-provoking, for sure. my must read is the excerpt about the plaza hotel. as a new yorker, you see this building, the story underneath it, fascinating. carol: great history. and you can find more stories on businessweek.com.
♪ emily: i'm emily chang, and this is the "best of bloomberg technology," where we bring you all our top interviews from this week in tech. coming up, after its rocky debut, uber reports its first earning results as a public company. is the ride-hailing giant really on a path to profitability? plus, alibaba is considering a megadeal that will bring china's largest company closer to investors on its home turf. we've got the details on a potential second public listing. and facebook shareholders pressed for more checks on ceo mark zuckerberg's power.