Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here

The arrival of the robots and their potentially devastating effect on human employment has been widely predicted. Now, the machines are starting to roll or walk out of the labs. In the process, they are about to tip off a financing boom as robotics and artificial intelligence become one of the hottest new markets in tech.


Read how robots will change our world: The FT meets the robots, talks to people already living and working with them, and consults the best brains in the field. (FT)

In the news

HSBC profits dip Profits at Europe’s biggest bank by assets dipped in the first quarter but still came in ahead of estimates, as it announced it had completed the largest fundraising by a lender since the financial crisis in the period. Adjusted pre-tax profits fell 18 per cent year on year to $5.4bn in the three months to March, but still came in ahead of analysts’ expectations of $4.2bn. (FastFT)

Brazil court blocks WhatsApp The country’s mobile phone operators have been ordered to block the chat service, used by an estimated 100m people in Brazil, for 72 hours. It is the latest in a series of attempts to get the Facebook-owned service to hand over copies of encrypted message data relating to a criminal investigation. Earlier this year, the same judge ordered the arrest of Facebook’s vice-president for Latin America in connection with the case. (The Intercept)

EU ‘set to approve visa free travel for Turks’ The European Commission will give conditional approval for Turks to travel without visas to Europe’s passport-free Schengen area on Wednesday, sources have told the BBC. The move is part of a deal in which Turkey is taking back migrants who have crossed over the Aegean Sea to Greece. But Turkey must still meet EU criteria, and the deal must be approved by the European Parliament and member states. Davotuglu’s gamble (BBC, FT)

Breast cancer breakthrough Scientists say they now have a near-perfect understanding of the genetic events that cause breast cancer, a milestone that could spur the discovery of new ways to treat and prevent the disease. (BBC)

The little engine that could Cambridge university researchers have developed a microscopic engine called Ant — the smallest in the world — that they say is the first one capable of driving nanobots, including medical robots that could travel through the body. (FT)

Puerto Rico headed for imminent default The US territory’s governor ordered a moratorium on debt payments as the island heads for a potentially crippling default. (FT)

It's a big day for

The US presidential race Both parties turn to Indiana where Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will hope to strengthen their frontrunner status. Polls are giving Mr Trump a clear advantage over his opponents and party strategists who oppose him recognise that a loss by Ted Cruz is likely to break the organised resistance to his candidacy. Sign up for our daily US politics newsletter here. (FT, NYT)

Europe's economy The European Commission will announce its spring economic forecasts for growth and employment in the 28 EU member states. The reports may provide some insight on whether the continent's economy is regaining its footing. (NYT)

Food for thought

Curse of the salaryman That globally recognised stereotype of overworked, group-thinking, duty-burdened Japan has now been around for 100 years. The ideology served the country well in its boom years, but in 2016, the salaryman, unassertive and allergic to risk, has switched from asset to liability. (FT)

Scourge of Wall Street Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, runs one of the largest and most respected offices of federal prosecutors in the country. Under his leadership, the office has charged dozens of Wall Street figures with insider trading, and has upended the politics of New York State by convicting the leaders of both houses of the state legislature. The turning point in his career, though, took place when he masterminded a dramatic congressional hearing. (New Yorker)

Lost Endeavour may be found Researchers in the US believe they may be a step closer to locating the ship in which British explorer Captain James Cook sailed to Australia in 1768. The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project has known for some time the ship was scuttled in Newport Harbour in 1778. But they now believe they have narrowed down the search to a cluster of five shipwrecks on the seafloor. (BBC)

Battle for Asian airports European operators are seeking a bigger slice of the $80bn Asian airport market. Kansai Airports, a consortium led by Japan’s Orix and France’s Vinci Airports, took over operation of two Japanese airports in April, the first time a foreign company has been involved in operating a Japanese airport. The Philippines opened bidding last year on development and operating rights for five regional airports, worth $2.3bn. (NAR)

A Roman (working) holiday Chinese police are set to patrol the streets of the Italian capital as part of an experiment aimed at helping tourists from China feel safe. The four officers, who were trained by Italians in Beijing, will wear the same uniforms they wear at home so their compatriots can recognise them easily. (The Guardian)

Air rage explained Flights with a first-class section are nearly four times more likely to have air rage incidents in their economy class, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It also found that incidents of “belligerent behaviour” or “emotional outbursts” were nearly 12 times more likely among first-class passengers and more than twice as likely among economy-class passengers if they were made to board from the front of the plane and walk through the first-class section together. (Science)

Video of the day

FT Pub Quiz: US elections Test your knowledge of the US presidential candidates with Washington DC bureau chief Demetri Sevastopulo. (FT)

Get alerts on World when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article