Author Archives: Net economy

The Future of Work — 3 Mega-Trends

By Graham Brown-Martin – Technology is just part of a broader spectrum of human activity and social change is driven by society rather than machines, that is, we have agency to act independently and make free choices.

The path of innovation and its social consequences are almost entirely shaped by society as a result of numerous social factors such as culture, politics, regulatory mechanisms and economic arrangements. The latter one is particularly apposite given the post-WWII obsession with neoclassical economics, as taught in most universities.

Political decisions supported by economic frameworks have excluded citizens from the discourse and, as a result, are now unraveling across the western world. It turns out that the things we value most are the things that are difficult or impossible to measure.

This obsession for economics and measuring what could be measured and ignoring what it couldn’t gave us global agencies such as the World Bank, IMF and OECD.

But these organizations have been unable to apply their frameworks, wedded as they are to a single metric of GDP, to the worlds most pressing challenges such as climate change, increasing population or growing inequalities, rather they have exacerbated them. more> https://goo.gl/DywzVb

In defense of hierarchy

By Stephen C Angle, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Julian Baggini, Daniel Bell, Nicolas Berggruen, Mark Bevir, Joseph Chan, Carlos Fraenkel, Stephen Macedo, Michael Puett, Jiang Qian, Mathias Risse, Carlin Romano, Justin Tiwald and Robin Wang – Good and permissible hierarchies are everywhere around us.

Yet hierarchy is an unfashionable thing to defend or to praise.

We live in a time when no distinction is drawn between justified and useful hierarchies on the one hand, and self-interested, exploitative elites on the other.

First, bureaucratic hierarchies can serve democracy. Bureaucracy is even less popular these days than hierarchy. Yet bureaucratic hierarchies can instantiate crucial democratic values, such as the rule of law and equal treatment.

There are at least three ways in which usually hierarchical constitutional institutions can enhance democracy: by protecting minority rights, and thereby ensuring that the basic interests of minorities are not lightly discounted by self-interested or prejudiced majorities; by curbing the power of majority or minority factions to pass legislation favoring themselves at the expense of the public good; and by increasing the epistemic resources that are brought to bear on decision-making, making law and policy more reflective of high-quality deliberation. Hence democracies can embrace hierarchy because hierarchy can enhance democracy itself.

Yet in recent decades, these civic hierarchies have been dismantled and often replaced with decentralized, competitive markets, all in the name of efficiency. This makes sense only if efficiency and effectiveness (usually assumed to be measured in economic terms) are considered the overriding priorities.

But if we make that assumption, we find ourselves giving less weight to values such as the rule of law, democratic legitimacy or social equality. Hence, we might sometimes prefer the democratically accountable hierarchies that preserve those values even over optimal efficiency. more> https://goo.gl/PDDv12

Updates from Autodesk

Check Vehicle Turning Paths in 3 Steps
Nothing to install. Just the vehicles and tools you need to analyze swept paths in seconds – all in your browser.

Evaluate the tightest turns at low speeds and determine if the vehicle can make the maneuver safely. AutoTURN Online can be used to simulate scenarios such as many cases like:

  • Reversing an recreational vehicle
  • Docking a trailer
  • Navigating a roundabout
  • Parking in a tight spot

A quick analysis performed directly on an aerial image can be very useful at the feasibility stage. Visualize the swept path for the vehicle body envelope, tire tracks, and safety clearances. more> autoturnonline.com

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The rise of personalist rule

By Torrey Taussig – Over the last decade, authoritarians have pushed back against the world’s prevailing democratic order. For the 11th year in a row, Freedom House has announced an overall drop in freedom worldwide.

Most countries today (55 percent) are considered not free or partly free according to the civil liberties and political rights citizens enjoy. At the same time, highly personalized regimes are taking control of autocratic and even democratic political systems.

There are four primary reasons that personalist systems can lead to more aggressive foreign policies.

First, the inherent characteristics of the kinds of individuals who become personalist rulers—ambitious, cut-throat and divisive—drive them to pursue more adventurist international goals than leaders of other kinds of regimes.

Second, personalist leaders perceive lower costs of fighting than leaders of democracies or more constrained autocratic systems because they have fewer normative aversions to force, do not internalize the costs of fighting, and view force as more effective than other tools of statecraft.

Third, personalist leaders do not fear defeat to the extent that other leaders do because of the lack of strong institutions able to punish the leader for his mistakes.

Fourth, subordinates to personalist leaders are typically unwilling to challenge a leader’s personal biases, leading to profound “groupthink” and overestimation of the likelihood of victory. more> https://goo.gl/D32rxA

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The future of the open internet — and our way of life — is in your hands

By Quincy Larson – So far, the story of the internet has followed the same tragic narrative that’s befallen other information technologies over the past 160 years:

  • the telegram
  • the telephone
  • cinema
  • radio
  • television

Each of these had roughly the same story arc:

  1. Inventors discovered the technology.
  2. Hobbyists pioneered the applications of that technology, and popularized it.
  3. Corporations took notice. They commercialized the technology, refined it, and scaled it.
  4. Once the corporations were powerful enough, they tricked the government into helping them lock the technology down. They installed themselves as “natural monopolies.”
  5. After a long period of stagnation, a new technology emerged to disrupt the old one. Sometimes this would dislodging the old monopoly. But sometimes it would only further solidify them.

And right now, we’re in step 4 the open internet’s narrative. We’re surrounded by monopolies.

The problem is that we’ve been in step 4 for decades now. And there’s no step 5 in sight. The creative destruction that the Economist Joseph Schumpeter first observed in the early 1900s has yet to materialize. more> https://goo.gl/dFd7MK

Why Overcoming Inertia Takes Two Whys

By George Bradt – As laid out in an earlier article on “Three Steps to a Compelling Message,” leadership stories to inspire change need to:

  1. Depict the platform for change (why)
  2. Create a vision of a better future (what)
  3. Lay out a call to action (how)

Scott Jackson provides a model leadership story in his book, Take Me With You, published this week. In particular, he nails the two whys it takes to overcome inertia.

  1. Why #1 – Why I Can’t Keep Doing What I’m Doing
  2. Why #2 – Why I Should Listen To You On This Subject

more> https://goo.gl/Dc74Ee

Updates from Georgia Tech

New Projects Create a Foundation for Next-Gen Flexible Electronics
By Josh Brown – Four projects set to move forward at the Georgia Institute of Technology aim to lay the groundwork for manufacturing next-generation flexible electronics, which have the potential to make an impact on industries ranging from health care to defense.

Researchers at Georgia Tech are partnering with Boeing, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, General Electric, and DuPont as well other research institutions such as Binghamton University and Stanford University on the projects.

Flexible electronics are circuits and systems that can be bent, folded, stretched or conformed without losing their functionality. The systems are often created using machines that can print components such as logic, memory, sensors, batteries, antennas, and various passives using conductive ink on flexible surfaces. Combined with low-cost manufacturing processes, flexible hybrid electronics unlock new product possibilities for a wide range of electronics used in the health care, consumer products, automotive, aerospace, energy and defense sectors.

“Flexible electronics will make possible new products that will help us address problems associated with food supply, clean water, clean energy, health, infrastructure, and safety and security,” said Suresh Sitaraman, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, who is leading Georgia Tech’s flexible electronics activities. more> https://goo.gl/qjx3UT

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How Trump’s Plan to Reorganize Government Could Work

By Steve Goodrich – On March 13, President Trump issued an executive order for a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch. It calls for the OMB director and agency heads to develop plans for improving the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of agencies, subcomponents and programs within 180 days.

I am not naïve, and yes, I have seen this many times before. But if done right, with a strong foundation and a plan, it could work. It could also be another once-and-done exercise that demonstrates little to no value. Many administrations have conducted similar exercises, most of which faded with the political passing. The Trump executive order runs the risk of having little or negative impact, reducing readiness and demoralizing employees. It also has the potential to do great things for our country.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make it work.

  1. It must involve Congress.
  2. It should begin with a national summit that results in a strategic plan.
  3. Someone must be in charge.
  4. Reorganization must address vertical and horizontal programs.
  5. Reform must cross agency boundaries.
  6. Accept that some investment will be necessary.
  7. Leverage what you have before you throw anything out.
  8. Make hard decisions.
  9. Fix the foundation.
  10. Create a culture of sharing.
  11. Grow people.
  12. Address financial issues

more> https://goo.gl/CGO0zu

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The body is the missing link for truly intelligent machines

BOOK REVIEW

Basin and Range, Author: John McPhee.
Descartes’ Error, Author: Antonio Damasio.

By Ben Medlock – Things took a wrong turn at the beginning of modern AI, back in the 1950s. Computer scientists decided to try to imitate conscious reasoning by building logical systems based on symbols. The method involves associating real-world entities with digital codes to create virtual models of the environment, which could then be projected back onto the world itself.

In later decades, as computing power grew, researchers switched to using statistics to extract patterns from massive quantities of data. These methods are often referred to as ‘machine learning’. Rather than trying to encode high-level knowledge and logical reasoning, machine learning employs a bottom-up approach in which algorithms discern relationships by repeating tasks, such as classifying the visual objects in images or transcribing recorded speech into text.

But algorithms are a long way from being able to think like us. The biggest distinction lies in our evolved biology, and how that biology processes information. Humans are made up of trillions of eukaryotic cells, which first appeared in the fossil record around 2.5 billion years ago. A human cell is a remarkable piece of networked machinery that has about the same number of components as a modern jumbo jet – all of which arose out of a longstanding, embedded encounter with the natural world.

We only have the world as it is revealed to us, which is rooted in our evolved, embodied needs as an organism. Nature ‘has built the apparatus of rationality not just on top of the apparatus of biological regulation, but also from it and with it’,

In other words, we think with our whole body, not just with the brain. more> https://goo.gl/oBgkRF

The identity threat

By Teri Takai – The big problem for many government agencies is that most of them still rely on declarative legacy roles, rubber-stamping certifications and manual processes to manage identities and roles — all of which expose them to continual and multiple access risks. External threat actors compromise identities to evade detection from existing defenses, while insiders work under the radar to access data for exfiltration.

To provide a robust defense and protect the identity-based perimeter, government agencies must consider new thinking and approaches.

The core issue is security leaders are not attacking the evolving security landscape through proactive planning and change management. Instead, they are stuck in a reactive mode.

It is not hard to understand why: the user profile is 24-7, global, instantaneous, and rich in consumer-driven IT. more> https://goo.gl/X59JUA