•  AIR TRAVELERS ALERT: A MAJOR CYBERSECURITY INVESTIGATION OF THE TOP 100 U.S. AND GLOBAL AIRPORTS found 97% with “an alarming lack of systems in place to protect websites or mobile applications, including misconfigured public clouds, Dark Web exposure, and nearly 60% with ‘critical risk’ code leakages… Nearly 25% received an ‘F’ grade for using outdated software with known and exploitable vulnerabilities in systems, or complete absence of SSL encryption. A third of mobile apps had some 500 security & privacy issues, along with nearly 300 security flaws.” The investigation by ImmuniWeb was undertaken after concerns highlighted at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, and only Amsterdam, Helsinki and Dublin airports passed all tests. [TECHREPUBLIC – 1/30/20]
  •  TODAY’S POLITICAL CONFLICT SUPPORTS A FORECAST THAT AMERICA IS HEADED TOWARDS A GENERATIONAL ‘RESET.’ “At the core of modern history lies a remarkable pattern: Over the past five centuries, Anglo-American society has entered a new era every generation or so (a ‘Turning’) where people change how they feel about themselves, the culture, nation and future… (1) The first Turning is an era when the old values regime decays; In America this was after WWII with weakened individualism and greater acceptance of national institutions; (2) second Turning becomes an era of passionate spiritual upheaval, when civic order comes under attack from a new ‘values’ regime with aggressive moralism and culture wars raging (the 60s hippies); (3) third Turning becomes a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, with hostility toward the corruption of civic life – those who’d trusted the nation now growing old & dying while a new crop of young adults are without allegiance (millennials); (4) the fourth Turning is a crisis – a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels replacement of old civic order with a new one.”  Does stage Four sound familiar – the very survival of the nation’s foundational culture feeling at stake? Authors of this scenario suggest the likelihood that “sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression & WWII.”  Powerful, well-documented material – well worth your read!  [THE FOURTH TURNING – Strauss & Howe]
  • THE COMMON REASON PEOPLE LEAVE THEIR JOBS IS BECAUSE OF LOW TRUST IN THEIR BOSS, usually resulting from absence of integrity. “The difference between what a leader says and does – the Say-Do gap – not only destroys the trust of others, but can infect an organization.” Effective leadership requires: (1) honestly assessing the gap between expectations & reality; (2) applying the mantra ‘It’s about the mission, not about me’; (3) aligning behavior with articulated principles; (4) encouraging feedback from less senior employees – even if unpleasant or unwelcome; and (5) delivering on promises. “Building trust is hard work. It happens one decision, one conversation and one promise fulfilled at a time…The reward can be a culture that is more fun and delivers more predictable & durable results.”  [CHIEF EXECUTIVE – 2/4/20]
  • GROCERY BUYERS BEWARE: TRUST IN THE GLOBAL FOOD SUPPLY IS INCREASINGLY DIMINISHING, as continuous incidents of ‘food fraud’ are circulated through social media – involving “wines & alcohol, adulterated honey & spices, mislabeled fish & sausage, and false claims of organic products including wild-caught fish or grain-fed meat” which affect up 20% of commercially sold food, according to various academic, industry and government sources (latest the Canadian Food Inspection Agency). “How and where foods are grown, harvested, processed and by whom put consumers at increasing risk of buying lower-quality food than what they paid for, or worse, eating food with unsafe ingredients or undeclared allergens.” [THE CANADIAN PRESS – 1/20/20]
  •  ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE UPDATE: Today’s versions of A.I. cannot yet think on their own, and most experts believe we are hopefully decades away from this scenario. Current versions involve machines created to “handle a specific task or limited range of tasks, in order to make autonomous decisions in an area of specialty… with ‘machine learning’ as the method of providing data points programmed to determine a specific defined outcome” – e.g. the database from which Netflix or Amazon automatically feedback recommendations based on viewing habits. These are derived from ‘deep learning’ models which can sort unstructured data (like research articles) and organize it to “draw conclusions for many types of tasks, with little human guidance” (e.g. legal or medical recommendations). Other models which feed data points include Image Recognition, Language Processing, and Robotics – where ‘light detection & ranging sensors’ can identify surroundings and take automatic responsive actions (like keeping a vehicle between auto lanes or a certain distance from cars ahead). It’s only the beginning of what’s to come. [JRNL OF ACCOUNTANCY – Feb 20]
  •  THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:    On immigration:  A thought-provoking 3 minute video, regardless of your political perspective:  https://www.youtube.com/embed/yeJ-iv3MOTo?rel=0

     Censorship laws & regulations which vary substantially from country to country now involve court decisions. Recently Brazilian authorities demanded removal of a Netflix comedy special that depicted Jesus as gay, which made it to a Supreme Court decision, but CNET reports that Netflix has complied with nine other demands from authorities in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, New Zealand, Vietnam and Germany.