A Blog by Jonathan Low


Mar 27, 2017

How Come the Robot Fear Index Shows Little Fear?

Familiarity breeds indifference? JL

Lee Schafer reports in The Star-Tribune:

An initial score suggests we are cautiously at ease with robots. A similar conclusion can be drawn from the ranking of Americans’ greatest fears: fear of “computers replacing people in the workforce” was near the bottom.17 percent said they were afraid of that, as many as being afraid of a large volcano. Not far away on the list was the fear of zombies. One reason Americans are not that afraid of robots: robot tech isn’t just our future. It’s around us already.

The Reason Hedge Funds Are Training Their Computers To Think Like You

Because - for now - our brains are faster and more adaptive than computers when confronted with large amounts of data. JL

Saijel Kishan reports in Bloomberg:

Image recognition -- the ability to identify a dog in a photo -- has succeeded because it draws on unlimited amounts of data. Market data is limited and constantly changing, making predictions challenging. Deep learning mimics brains, densely interconnected in complex ways, exchanging signals and forging new connections as we learn. Non-linear, multi-layered processing of data allows computers to build sophisticated concepts from basic ones.

Why Managers Rarely Improve Over Time

Because they dont invest the time or effort to do so, believing that they are already better than average (the 'Lake Wobegone' effect) or that the returns to investing time in marketing, finance or technology exceed those to self-improvement. JL

Robin Camarote reports in Inc.:

Management is like driving: Managers tend to rate their skills higher than average. When we believe we're already good at something we have little motivation to grow or change. (But) people managing by gut instinct aren't keeping pace with the change in the rest of the business. Few see their level of skill as an area worthy of an investment of time and energy.

IBM Is Betting the Company on the Cloud, AI - and Blockchain

The strategy is to be the go-to suppliers of the tools that enterprises require to prevail in the world they anticipate - and to disrupt those with whom they compete.

The challenge is being not necessarily first, but best. JL

Jason Bloomberg reports in Forbes:

The big picture here is business transformation – most notably for IBM, but also for its customers. Such disruption drives IBM’s bets. “We want to give disruptors tools so that they’re disrupting with IBM technology. Our job is to help prepare you for what you will become. In my mind, you will become a cognitive enterprise. It will separate the winners and losers.”

Let's Get Physical: Amazon's Ambitions Know No Bounds

Amazon's ambitions are bounded, curiously, not by the intangible opportunities of digital commerce, but by the tangible, physical demands of consumers who want to touch or smell before they purchase.

Amazon's steady expansion into store locations proves that it has no intention of letting that become a barrier to growth. JL

Nick Wingfield reports in the New York Times:

They are recognizing for certain things you can’t digitize and replicate online all the experience one has in a store. The ability to create experiences is going to be critical for them to continue to get share. Groceries (is) the mother of all shopping categories, with about $770 billion for supermarkets. Bezos wants to be the first trillion-dollar valuation company,.”

Why To Be More Productive, You Should Sit Next To Someone Who Is

A more productive workplace has many sources. The constant tinkering with office design has its roots in attempts to discern 'scientifically' what combinations of location, lighting, privacy - or not - may optimize performance.

But it may be that the greatest enhancements to productivity come from the example and inspiration of nearby colleagues. Successful organizations analyze every facet of how, where and when their human capital is invested to obtain superior results. JL

Jason Corsello and Dylan Minor report in Harvard Business Review:

10% of a worker’s performance spills over to neighbors. Replacing an average performer with one who is twice as productive results in neighboring workers increasing their productivity by about 10%. The effects of neighbor location on performance may be causal: office design can influence performance (so) better spatial management can enhance individual and team performance.

Mar 26, 2017

Intel's Plan To Reinvent Memory

The biggest question may be whether Intel still enjoys the respect - and has the clout - to shift the market to its new products. JL

Cade Metz reports in Wired:

The internet’s biggest companies need faster and cheaper ways of storing ever-larger amounts of data. As Google, Amazon, and Microsoft expand their cloud computing businesses, these internet giants will account for more and more of the worldwide hardware market. The new tech serves as a way for Intel to shift multiple markets in its favor.