Understanding Game Changing Technologies

“It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, “…it’s going to be a game changer.” When observing the media analysis of such rhetoric, you always see a mix of embrace and cynicism.  The latter being the ‘mainstream’ news titles, and the former (invariably) being technology press.  Reflect back on the launch of the iPod, and you will see similar conflicting attitudes, but it would be difficult now…

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Learning Ethics from the Future of Warfare

Professor Ronald Arkin is one of the world’s leading roboticists.  In 2009, he published a book entitled “Governing Lethal Behaviour in Autonomous Robots” which (as one review quoted) is, “….the most serious attempt to date to set out how to build an ethical robot.” The review continues, “This timely book outlines and directly addresses the ethical dilemmas posed by the development of autonomous military robots, which will confront roboticists and military policy makers in the…

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What the Volcano Taught Us about Business

April 20 (Bloomberg) “Stranded flyers created a surge in demand for travel industry Web sites and remote conferencing services as a shutdown of many flights in Europe continued through a sixth day.” Nothing Broke… That’s Important. The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull really caught the world off-guard, and created the levels of profound disruption which only natural disasters and war can.  In most such crises (such as in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks) we used…

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The Moral Hazard of Short Term Attitudes

In the fields of political science and economics, you will commonly see discussion of the “Principal-Agent Problem” (also known as agency dilemma) which deals with the outcomes of situations of conflicted interest, or asymmetric information, where (for example) an agent (such as an investment manager) acting for a principal (such as an investment bank) may have their own goals and objectives versus the interests of the principal. In classic management theory, the tools used to…

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The Arrogance of Globalisation

On March 29th 2010, The Economist reported that, “When the trials of four Rio Tinto employees opened in Shanghai last week, their guilty pleas to the first of the charges, of bribe-taking, dampened hopes that the matter might be settled without any severe penalties. Even so, the harshness of sentences handed down on Monday March 29th was unexpected. The mining giant’s four executives—three Chinese, one an Australian of Chinese descent—were jailed for between seven and…

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