Updates from Siemens

2017 in Review: Best Teamcenter Topics on Enterprise PDM to PLM
By Katie_Dudek – If you’ve been watching the Teamcenter blog, you know we covered a range of topics from enterprise PDM (product data management) to PLM (product lifecycle management) in 2017, with a focus on showing how Teamcenter is easier to use and deploy than ever before … along with the breadth of our portfolio to reach new users!

Best Practices Implementing Workflow
By Susan Zimmerlee – Companies look to workflow on PLM as one of the tools to improve productivity, let’s discuss some best practices that will help ensure that you are focusing on this end goal, and not just making a manual process electronic. more>

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The right to vote should be restricted to those with knowledge

BOOK REVIEW

Markets Without Limits, Authors: Jason Brennan, Peter Jaworski.
Against Politics, Author: Jason Brennan.

By Jason Brennan – Who should hold power: the few or the many? Concentrating power in the hands of a few – in monarchy, dictatorship or oligarchy – tends to result in power for personal benefit at the expense of others. Yet in spreading power among the many – as in a democracy – individual votes no longer matter, and so most voters remain ignorant, biased and misinformed.

We have a dilemma.

Republican, representative democracy tries to split the difference. Checks and balances, judicial reviews, bills of rights and elected representatives are all designed to hold leaders accountable to the people while also constraining the foolishness of the ignorant masses. Overall, these institutions work well: in general, people in democracies have the highest standards of living.

But what if we could do better?

The idea here is not that knowledgeable people deserve to rule – of course they don’t – but that the rest of us deserve not to be subjected to incompetently made political decisions. Political decisions are high stakes, and democracies entrust some of these high-stakes decisions to the ignorant and incompetent. more>

The revolution of obfuscation for cybersecurity and threat intelligence

By Tom Badders – The daily headlines are proof — including recent news on the Shadow Brokers NSA breach and incursions at Siemens, Moody’s, Equifax and many other organizations. Yet for all the attention, most government agencies and private companies remain vulnerable to attack.

Fixating on a threat, in other words, is not the same as fighting it.

The problem is getting worse as modern cloud environments and mobility solutions enable remote personnel, online customers and third-party vendors to interconnect ever more deeply with enterprise systems. Despite this, too many organizations remain reliant on access solutions that seem more secure than they really are.

Against this backdrop, smart leaders are learning to embrace cyber defense and threat intelligence solutions as flexible and sophisticated as the state-of-the art digital attacks that bad actors keep unleashing on them. Success is increasingly tied to the emerging best practice of anonymizing — or obfuscating — sensitive data and user information.

Obfuscation typically involves masking user and organizational data through a powerful “transit cloud” of encryption and IP hopping capabilities. more>

Monetary policy and Guy Fawkes lanterns

By Nick Hubble – For many dozens of years, central bankers have been managing the relationship between inflation and unemployment. Only to discover there isn’t one.

The last ten years proved the point. In fact, the relationship between inflation and unemployment has only held for a preciously short amount of time. And yet it continues to be the most influential economic theory around. That’s because it justifies monetary policy itself. The idea that governments can and must manage the economy.

I know that managing the economy through interest rates sounds like a stupid idea. But people used to believe in similar absurdities.

It’s all down to the Phillips Curve – the relationship between inflation and unemployment.

If unemployment is too high, inflation will be too low because workers aren’t cashed up enough to spend and push up prices. If inflation is too high, it’s because too many workers have too many jobs and too much income, which pushes up prices.

This theory is stupid. It ignores something called supply and demand. If prices rise because workers are cashed up and can buy more, then production increases and increases supply. That returns prices to a lower level. As commodity traders will tell you, the cure for high prices is high prices. It incentivizes supply. But to an economist, the cure for high prices is higher interest rates. Because they can’t help but meddle.

If central bankers can’t control inflation or unemployment, why put up with the problems they create? Like asset bubbles, debt booms, inequality and explicit backdoor bailouts for bankers that encourage absurd levels of risk? more>

Updates from GE

The Fix Is In: AI Is Solving The Riddle Of Smarter, Faster Maintenance
By P.D. Olson – It might seem like a cushy job to be the man or woman who works out of the carpeted offices of a power plant, coordinating field service crews who traipse out into the elements to fix, say, an idled wind turbine. But it’s far from elementary. “It’s still a judgment call,” says Scott Berg, chief operating officer of ServiceMax from GE Digital. “Dispatchers probably can’t consider all the historic factors and track record of the individual. Your ability to dispatch might be dependent on your personal knowledge of 20 people.”

But starting this year, artificial intelligence will help make some of those decisions less complex. “We call it intelligent dispatching,” Berg says.

ServiceMax leads the global industry of field service management software — an estimated $25 billion market worldwide. The ServiceMax research team is now developing algorithms that will help dispatchers pick the right repair person by scanning each individual’s work history and predicting which technician would be the quickest and most reliable at a particular task.

The new AI-driven suggestions will offer details that most people wouldn’t be able to remember, never mind calculate together with all the other parameters to consider, such as a field worker’s skill set, time available and distance to the site. “We’re running a proof of concept now,” Berg says. more>

Inside the growing backlash against China

By Peter Marino – The strategic environment in which China’s “lay low” approach to international affairs has helped to make it the world’s second-largest economy is changing – and a broader backlash against China is beginning.

The global conditions that favored China’s rise began at the end of the Cold War. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the West in general and the United States in particular were eager to bring additional countries into the world order they felt they had created. Throughout the 1990s, faith in the liberalizing power of commerce, and in Francis Fukuyama’s thesis that the West’s triumph over Soviet socialism heralded the “End of History,” was at its height. As a consequence, concerns about China’s autocratic model were largely shelved in Western capitals.

The United States in particular pushed for China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, which ultimately served as an inflection point in China’s economic growth.

While this was happening, Beijing played its hand skillfully. Deng Xiaopin advocated avoiding flashy shows of power in order to shield Chinese efforts from outside scrutiny while the country wasn’t positioned to handle them properly.

The last five years upended nearly all of this in very short order. Indirect diplomatic suggestions have been swapped for attention-grabbing proposals, strategic ambiguity has been abandoned for international military bases, high-profile drills, showy parades and standoffs with neighboring countries. Fueled by large state-subsidized loans, large Chinese firms were sent on international buying binges.

Modern China has never faced simultaneous suspicion of its motives and objectives in both the West and the developing world. Beijing’s diplomats are more experienced at sidestepping or deflecting critics than at engaging them, and the party’s domestic politics demand a near-absolute protection of “core interests.” This does not bode well for a country that will have to start addressing legitimate diplomatic concerns around the world. more>

Economics is quantum

BOOK REVIEW

The Money Formula: Dodgy Finance, Pseudo-Science, and How Mathematicians Took Over the Markets, Author: David Orrell.
Quantum Mind and Social Science, Author: Alexander Wendt.
Laws of Media: The New Science, Author: Marshall McLuhan.

Money and brains are both quantum phenomena – so it’s not surprising that economics is overdue for a quantum revolution
By David Orrell – In recent years there have been many calls for economics to reinvent itself, most noticeably from student groups such as the Post-Crash Economics Society, and Rethinking Economics. In 2017, the United Kingdom’s Economic and Social Research Council announced that it was setting up a network of experts from outside economics whose task it would be to ‘revolutionize’ the field. And there have been countless books on the topic, including my own Economyths (2010), which called for just such an intervention by non-economists.

But progress has been slow.

One problem is that, while there have been many demands for a revolution, the exact nature of the revolution is less clear. Critics agree that the foundations of economics are rotten, but there are different views on what should be built in its place.

But what if the problems with economics run even deeper?

What if the traditional approach has hit a wall, and the field needs to be completely reinvented?

What if, as with 19th-century physics, the problem comes down to ontology – our entire way of thinking and talking about the economy? more>

Is Your Startup Stalled? Pivot to Blockchain

By Erin Griffith – In the high-stakes world of venture-backed startups, not growing is the same as dying. Historically, stalled companies sought a sympathetic acquirer or quietly shut down. Now, startups have a new potential lifeline: They pivot to blockchain.

The rush by startups into cryptocurrencies mirrors similar moves among publicly traded companies, where shares of several cheap, thinly traded stocks have spiked after merely adding the word bitcoin or blockchain to their names.

Even the stock price of the parent company of Hooters leapt nearly 50% at the mere mention of blockchain in a press release. The Securities and Exchange Commission has taken note, halting trading in some cases, because of the risks these currencies posed to inexperienced investors.

The rush by startups into cryptocurrencies mirrors similar moves among publicly traded companies, where shares of several cheap, thinly traded stocks have spiked after merely adding the word bitcoin or blockchain to their names.

Even the stock price of the parent company of Hooters leapt nearly 50% at the mere mention of blockchain in a press release. The Securities and Exchange Commission has taken note, halting trading in some cases, because of the risks these currencies posed to inexperienced investors. more>

Updates from Ciena

Year in Review: Ciena’s Top 8 Announcements of 2017
By Bo Gowan – We started off the year in January with a new member of our Blue Planet family: Blue Planet Analytics. Built for the new world of Big Data, Blue Planet Analytics generates deep network insights to help network operators make smarter, data-driven business decisions.

Paired with Blue Planet’s orchestration and policy systems, Blue Planet Analytics helps operators to continue on the path to a more autonomous network and is a strategic evolution of Ciena’s Blue Planet software suite.

Following shortly after our Blue Planet Analytics news was the unveiling of a much anticipated Blue Planet offering: Manage, Control and Plan (MCP).

MCP brings together all aspects of network operations within a single, unified interface, providing customers real-time software control and advanced visualization across Ciena’s packet and packet optical portfolios. For our existing packet and optical customers, Blue Planet MCP is a new way of managing their network. more>

Donald Trump and the Rule of Law

By Jeffrey Toobin – Richard Nixon earned eternal disgrace for keeping a list of his political enemies, but he, at least, was ashamed enough of the practice to know that he had to keep it secret. Trump, in contrast, is openly calling for the Department of Justice, which he controls, to put his political opponents in jail.

This kind of behavior is a trademark of the authoritarians he admires, like Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Trump’s contempt for the rule of law infects his entire Administration, as illustrated by Jeff Sessions’s newly announced guidance on marijuana policy.

Under the new policy, in much of the country federal marijuana enforcement will be run by officials who are only accountable to Sessions and Trump, not to the broader public.

Senators have a right to ask prospective U.S. Attorneys how they plan to enforce federal law on marijuana, and, of course, the legislators have the right to vote these officials down if they don’t like their answers. But Sessions has installed acting U.S. Attorneys in much of the country—including in such high-profile locations as Manhattan and Los Angeles—and senators can’t exert any oversight of them.

This gesture of contempt for the Senate’s role in confirmations is reflected well beyond the Justice Department. Throughout the government, Trump has nominated many fewer officials to Senate-confirmed positions than his predecessors; instead, Cabinet secretaries have filled these crucial positions with acting or temporary officials who avoid scrutiny from senators. more>