Just in Case it Matters to You
Weekly Report 17-24
- “MEASUREMENT HAS REPLACED INTUITION” AS ORGANIZATIONS RELY MORE ON ‘BIG DATA.’ The classical process has been that owners, execs & Directors, presumed most knowledgeable based on their history and expertise, have the responsibility for “thinking about what kind of Truth is in the world and what, from their subjective judgment, it might be in five years, about what kind of potential options can be based on that interpretation of the future, how the organization should spend its resources accordingly (markets, products, etc), and who it should hire in order to satisfy that mission” – i.e. Goals, Objectives and Tactics. Today, “algorithmic prediction is replacing expertise inference… But using data alone doesn’t paint the entire picture when it comes to forming a cohesive strategy… Data, per se, is not a religion or a panacea. Humans, in the form of executive leadership, still need to determine what’s being listened to, what predictions are being made with what levels of certainty around that information, and then what decisions can be made based on that observation.” DCG can help! [McKINSEY ANALYTICS – May 17]
- ROBOCOP HAS ARRIVED! A Dubai Police Officer is now on patrol in the form of a two-armed, wheel-based, 66-inch, 220 pound robot that can speak nine languages and has 80% accurate facial recognition technology. While “pop culture is filled with a bleak dystopian culture in which humanity is ruled by… robot overlords and android uprisings, as artificial intelligence has gone bad,” Dubai Police are nonetheless working on a “fully functional robot that can work as a normal police officer… chasing down suspects and arresting people,” and plan for Robocops to comprise 25% of the force within the next dozen years. Other jurisdictions around the world already also have robots in the pipeline with names like SwatBot, PackBot and ThrowBot. In Los Angeles, police now utilize BatCat in bomb disposal work, and Talon in surveillance, communications and hazmat situations. [CNN.COM – May 22, 17]
- ‘BAN THE BOX’ LEGISLATION NOW PRECLUDES ‘CRIMINAL HISTORY’ FROM JOB APPLICATION FORMS, federally and in 176 states & municipal jurisdictions including Los Angeles. Rationale is that “nearly half of all ex-prisoners re-offend within their first year of release, which would be lower if more found honest work.” These laws do not prevent background checks if/after making ‘conditional’ job offers, but eliminate the standardized application checkbox question about previous run-ins with the law (irrespective of nature) – which are indeed obstacles to candidates with criminal pasts, based on biases in both society and individual prejudices, and not without rational cause. But, as always, societal experiments generate unintended consequences, and recent studies find that some employers have responded by simply “interpreting black-sounding names as a signal of criminality,” resulting in a different victim of discrimination. [THE ECONOMIST – May 20, 17]
- DISASTER EVENTS – including man-made, as well as natural catastrophes like earthquakes, storms, floods & wildfires – resulted in some $175 billion economic losses from 327 events last year, nearly doubling the prior year and reversing what had been a several year downtrend. North American disasters accounted for over half the global insured losses, according to Swiss Re (re-insurer), largely due to a record number of ‘convective’ storms, but over four in ten were ‘man-made.’ [CFO MAGAZINE – May 17]
- “LONG-STANDING RETAILERS ARE DYING OFF as shopper’s habits shift online and continue to pull shoppers from bricks & mortar stores,” recently including traditional mall anchors Sears, JC Penney and Macys. Last week, Radio Shack closed a thousand more stores and Payless announced another 800 going. A new report from Credit Suisse predicts over 8,600 closings by end of this year and that up to a quarter of the nation’s shopping malls will be closed within five years.
- POLITICAL-CORRECTNESS INSANITY OF THE WEEK: Two white female entrepreneurs studied up on techniques of making tortillas, even travelling to Mexico to study the styles. The Tortilla Shop they opened in Portland was just forced to shut down over complaints of “cultural appropriation… after Activists claimed this was equivalent to stealing recipes and exploiting their creators’ already ‘marginalized identities for the purpose of profit and praise’.” When is enough enough?
- THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: George Carlin’s prediction, effectively responding to last week’s Paris Accord ‘crisis’ – perspective on the “arrogant attempts by humans to interfere with nature”: https://biggeekdad.com/2009/10/saving-the-planet/
Tips to avoid illness from germs while traveling: https://mic.com/articles/177047/a-germaphobes-guide-to-airports-and-airplanes#.MeOfXZT6K
A truly astonishing magic trick: https://biggeekdad.com/2017/06/amazing-close-magic/