A Blog by Jonathan Low


Mar 18, 2019

Nike's Self-Lacing Athletic Shoes Stopped Lacing: Blame the Internet

Is internet-based adaptability really a measurable attribute?

And if not, who does all this connectivity actually benefit? JL

Geoffrey Fowler reports in the Washington Post:

When something connects to the Internet, you’re not really in control of it. Nike’s most advanced kicks have been turning into bricks. he software update via his Android phone corrupted the “lace engine,” so the sneaker couldn’t tighten, even with manual buttons. What really is a connected shoe — or smart speaker, thermostat or other connected thing? It’s a way for a company to stay in your life.The self-lacing shoes are hardly the first “smart” thing to turn dumb.

The Missing Trillions: The High Price Of Not Valuing Intangible Assets

In the digital economy, value is often based on factors that traditional accounting standards do not assess, either through ignorance, inability or refusal - based primarily on fears of disadvantageous tax treatment.

The result is value measured in the trillions, billions or millions may be left out of crucial equations as the nature of enterprise valuations is calculated.

The regulatory bodies overseeing accounting conventions are unlikely to change because too many of their patrons are opposed to changes that may challenge the bases by which they assess their financial worth. Which means companies must begin to assert their own point of view. JL

Paul Adams reports in EverEdgeGlobal:

The world’s five most valuable companies are together worth £3.5 trillion ($2.6) yet their balance sheets report just £172 ($129) billion of tangible assets. £3.3 trillion of value is missing. Accounting standards like GAAP or IFRS were designed for an industrial age economy and ignore intangible assets, lumping them under “good will” or recording them at cost - (but) there is no correlation between the cost and the value of an intangible asset. Intangible valuation will involve more factors than traditional valuations: like the nature of software code; how current and relevant the data is; the breadth of a patent etc.

Stores See A Future Where Your Data Guides Your Purchases

And they will already possess your data.

The stores are touting convenience, but the question is whether, by guiding choice, they are already behind online merchants who pioneered it and are trying to build a deeper relationship - also constructed from customer data. JL

Sapna Maheshwari reports in the New York Times:

“You can’t out-Amazon Amazon. We’re never going to be the best pure-play retailer. What we have to do is marry digital tools with our store experience.” Expect more stores to incorporate the kind of digital data collection that has powered the online world. Stores would eventually recognize customers as soon as they walked in, able to immediately know customers’ identities and personal preferences when they arrived thanks to data collection.

Why Before You Set Out To Transform An Organization You Need To Build Trust

'Change succeeds at the pace of trust.' JL

Greg Satell reports in Digital Tonto:

Every change effort starts with a grievance. That drives the need to change, but does little to provide the will to change. Every successful change effort starts by transforming an initial grievance into an affirmative “vision of tomorrow.”  To drive a true transformation, people need to believe in it. Trust is especially important when you need to drive an organization to do something different. All too often, transformation is seen as a matter of strategy and tactics, but it’s far more than that. Nobody can drive change alone. You need buy-in from stakeholders, such as customers, employees, suppliers, analysts and investors to make it work.

Mar 17, 2019

Research: People Defeated By AI Feel Horrible About Themselves

Losing to anything or anyone that humans have been conditioned to believe is in some way inferior is inherently demoralizing. JL

Dan Robitski reports in Futurism:

Humans who are left eating the gamer AI’s dust, coming second to the bots again and again has a noticeable demoralizing effect, according to a study presented at a conference on human-robot interaction. (And) the extent to which they were discouraged by a superior AI increased when the prize value grew. The study has implications for people who see more and more of their co-workers replaced by robots and AI, as we all start to lose at the game of work.

The Problem With Telling Patients They're Dying - By Robot

Humanity's embrace of technology, does not, by extension, mean its rejection of humanity. JL

Joel Zivot reports in Slate:

A machine rolled into (the patient’s) room with a video live link to a doctor explaining the terminal nature of his illness and how the best option might be hospice. He died the next day, and his family has apparently not raised concerns about his medical care. But the family has complained about the fact that the doctor shared the prognosis via robot. Technology is the helper to the physician but not presently the replacement. If we allow technology to strip away our common humanity, we will all be diminished as a consequence.

US Government To Deploy Facial Recognition In Major Airports

So, the technological efficacy is questionable and the government violated its own procedural implementation rules, but appears to believe that nothing should stand in the way of surveillance. JL

Davey Alba reports in Buzzfeed:

US Customs and Border Protection is scrambling to implement “biometric entry-exit system,” with the goal of using facial recognition technology on travelers aboard 16,300 flights per week — or more than 100 million passengers traveling on international flights out of the United States — in as little as two years. This, despite questionable biometric confirmation rates and few, if any, legal guardrails. Documents suggest CBP skipped portions of a “rulemaking process,” which requires the agency to solicit public feedback before adopting technology intended to be broadly used on civilians.