recentpopularlog in

jerryking : dangers   18

Nick Bostrom: ‘We are like small children playing with a bomb’
Sunday 12 June 2016 | Technology | The Guardian | by Tim Adams.

Sentient machines are a greater threat to human existence than climate change, according to the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom.

Bostrom, a 43-year-old Swedish-born philosopher, has lately acquired something of the status of prophet of doom among those currently doing most to shape our civilisation: the tech billionaires of Silicon Valley. His reputation rests primarily on his book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, which was a surprise New York Times bestseller last year and now arrives in paperback, trailing must-read recommendations from Bill Gates and Tesla’s Elon Musk. (In the best kind of literary review, Musk also gave Bostrom’s institute £1m to continue to pursue its inquiries.)
artificial_intelligence  dangers  books  Oxford  risks  machine_learning  deep_learning  catastrophic_risk  existential 
march 2017 by jerryking
‘Beneficial opportunities’ are all in China’s favour
25 February 2017 | FT | Sir Christopher Ruane

This is disingenuous. Africa provides dozens of examples of lopsided investment that bolsters China politically and provides little or negative local economic benefit, from its dangerous copper mines in Zambia to the decimation of Nigerian textile manufacturing by Chinese imports. A similar pattern emerges globally.
China’s outward investment has been politically charged, socially disruptive and environmentally damaging in many ways.
disingenuous  China  Africa  textiles  letters_to_the_editor  FT  exploitation  deindustrialization  asymmetrical  dangers  predatory_practices  Zambia  Nigeria  neocolonialism  imperialism  FDI  environment  lopsided 
march 2017 by jerryking
Unnatural calm sparks visions of a 'Minsky Moment'
31 December/1 January 2017 | Financial Times | John Authers.

Argues that it is bad news that volatility on financial markets has dropped to an all-time low as measured on the CBOE's Vix index. Economist Hyman Minsky postulated that capitalist financial systems were inherently unstable, and that stability begat instability. As markets grow calmer and bankers more confident, lending steadily rises until it is out of control. The "Minsky Moment" occurs when investors realize that they have paid far too much for the credits that have bought, no buyers can be found, and the system collapses. Aka Wile E. Coyote running-off-a-cliff....The greatest dangers to us are not from things we perceive to be high-risk, because we generally treat them carefully. Trouble arises from that which we perceive to be low-risk.
instability  Vix  indices  volatility  economists  financial_system  risk-assessment  warning_signs  complacency  dangers  high-risk  low-risk  fear  bad_news 
january 2017 by jerryking
Empire of the geeks | The Economist
Jul 25th 2015 |

The 1990s saw a financial bubble that ended in a spectacular bust. This time the danger is insularity. The geeks live in a bubble that seals off their empire from the world they are doing so much to change....Critics are often from industries wanting to protect their privileges; the geeks’ aggressive behaviour is sometimes part of the creative destruction that leads to progress. But that is not the only source of anger. Silicon Valley also dominates markets, sucks out the value contained in personal data, and erects business models that make money partly by avoiding taxes. There is a risk that global consumers will feel exploited and that the effects of a shrinking tax base will infuriate voters.
techno-evangelism  Silicon_Valley  insularity  dangers  on-demand  network_effects  start_ups  tech-utopianism  creative_destruction 
july 2015 by jerryking
The Dangers and Opportunities in a Crisis
October 7, 2012 | NYTimes.com | By HUGO DIXON, Hugo Dixon is the founder and editor of Reuters Breakingviews.

Wherever one turns — politics, business, medicine, ecology, psychology, virtually every field of human activity — people talk about crises. But what are they, how do they develop and what can people do to change their course?

The first thing to say is that a crisis is not just a bad situation. When the word is used that way, it is devalued. The etymology is from the ancient Greek: krisis, or judgment. The Greek Orthodox Church uses the term when it talks about the Final Judgment — when sinners go to hell, but the virtuous end up in heaven. The Chinese have a similar concept: The characters for crisis combine parts of those for danger and opportunity.

A crisis is a point when people have to make rapid choices under extreme pressure, normally after something unhealthy has been exposed in a system. To use two other Greek words, one path can lead to chaos; another to catharsis or purification.

A crisis is certainly a test of character. It can be scary. Think of wars; environmental collapses that destroy civilizations of the sort charted in Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”; mass unemployment; or individual depression that leads to suicide.

But the outcome can also be beneficial. This applies whether one is managing the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the current euro crisis, the destruction of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico or an individual’s midlife crisis. Much depends on how the protagonists act.

Students of crises are fond of dividing them into phases. For example, Charles Kindleberger’s “Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises” identifies five phases of a financial crisis: an exogenous, normally positive, shock to the system; a bubble in which people exaggerate the benefits of that shock; distress when some investors realize that the game cannot last; the crash; and finally a depression.

Although there is much to commend in Mr. Kindleberger’s system, it is too rigid to account for all crises in all fields. It also downplays the possibility that decision makers can change the course of a crisis. A more flexible scheme that leaves space for human agency to affect how events turn out has just two phases: the bubble and the crash......The bubble is typically characterized by mania and denial. Things are going well — or, at least, appear to be. Feedback loops end up magnifying confidence...............Manic individuals do not know their limitations and end up taking excessive risks — whether on a personal level or in managing an organization or an entire economy. As the ancient Greeks said, hubris comes before nemesis........But before that, there is denial. People do not wish to recognize that there is a fundamental sickness in a system, especially when they are doing so well........The ethical imperative in this phase is to burst the bubble before it gets too big. That, in turn, means both being able to spot a bubble and having the courage to stop the party before it gets out of hand. Neither is easy. It is hard to recognize a sickness, given that there is usually some ideology that explains away the mania as a new normal. The few naysayers can be ridiculed by those who benefit from the continuation of the status quo.

What is more, politicians, business leaders and investors rarely have long-term horizons. So even if they have an inkling that things are not sustainable, they may still have an incentive to prolong the bubble.......The crash, by contrast, is characterized by panic and scapegoating. People fear that the system could collapse. Negative feedback loops are in operation: The loss of confidence breeds further losses in confidence. This is apparent on an individual level as much as on a macro one.

..Events move extremely fast, and decisions have to be made rapidly........The key challenge is to make effective decisions that avoid vicious spirals while not embracing short-term fixes that fail to address the fundamental issues. With the euro crisis, for example, it is important to improve competitiveness with structural reforms and not just rely on liquidity injections from the European Central Bank.

In this phase, no one denies that there is a problem. But there is often no agreement over what has gone wrong. Protagonists are reluctant to accept their share of the responsibility but instead seek to blame others. Such scapegoating, though, prevents people from reforming a system fundamentally so that similar crises do not recur......Crises will always be a feature of life. The best that humanity can do is to make sure it does not repeat the same ones. And the main way to evolve — both during a bubble and after a crash — is to strive to be honest about what is sick in a system. That way, crises will not go to waste.
blaming_fingerpointing  books  bubbles  clarity  crisis  dangers  decision_making  economic_downturn  Jared_Diamond  market_crash  opportunities  risks  scapegoating  societal_choices 
february 2015 by jerryking
You can’t stop Ebola at airports - The Globe and Mail
ANDRÉ PICARD
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Oct. 07 2014

Ebola is spread by direct contact with a sick person’s bodily fluids – meaning saliva, feces, urine, blood, vomit or semen....For the past 600 years, quarantine has been used with varying degrees of success, and it has an unhappy history. It raises myriad political, ethical and socioeconomic issues.

Quarantine derives from the Italian word quaranta (forty); its origins date back to 1348, when Venice ruled that ships must lay anchor for 40 days to avoid spread of the plague. (Forty days was arbitrary; it was inspired by the biblical 40 days of travails of Jesus.) Draconian measures didn’t stop the Black Plague, or smallpox, or tuberculosis or SARS or successive waves of pandemic influenza, and it won’t stop Ebola. Quarantine has some public health benefits, but it has been used, throughout history, to repress and stigmatize minorities, and to quash political dissent.

What works most effectively for quelling outbreaks of disease like Ebola is not quarantining huge populations, but isolating those who are sick and those in direct contact with them and at risk of infection....The lesson there is that disease containment requires swift, decisive action. It means focusing on the sick and those at high-risk.

Casting a too wide net, such as invoking travel bans and treating everyone who has travelled to or lives in West Africa as a modern-day Typhoid Mary, does not make us safer.

On the contrary, it only provides an illusion of security, and an excuse for prejudice to come bubbling to the surface.
Ebola  airports  Africa  public_health  travel  quarantines  André_Picard  dangers  false_confidence  viruses  illusions  embargoes  biblical  arbitrariness 
october 2014 by jerryking
Top-Down Disruption
May 23, 2005 | Strategy + Business | by Nicholas G. Carr.
As Clayton Christensen warns, look out for the underdog — but also beware the leader of the pack.

A single-minded focus on bottom-up disruptions, the model is also potentially dangerous. It may lead managers to overlook a very different sort of disruption — one that emerges not at the bottom of the market but at the top.

In stark contrast to the bottom-up variety, top-down disruptive innovations actually outperform existing products when they’re introduced, and they sell for a premium price rather than at a discount. They’re initially purchased by the most discriminating and least price-sensitive buyers, and then they move steadily downward, into the mainstream, to recast the entire market in their own image. A top-down disruption is as revolutionary as a bottom-up one. But the good news for incumbents is that they have a much better chance of surviving, or even spearheading, the former than the latter.
Nicholas_Carr  Clayton_Christensen  outperformance  disruption  innovation  large_companies  top-down  bottom-up  dangers  dual-consciousness  overlooked  single-minded_focus 
july 2012 by jerryking
globeadvisor.com: Living in the real world of finance
December 9, 2011 | G&M | by David Parkinson.
Both a scientist and financial guru, Emanuel Derman warns of relying on mathematical models to predict stock movements. As David Parkinson reports, investors should beware the wild card of human nature...Mr. Derman was in Toronto discussing his new book, Models. Behaving. Badly: Why Confusing Illusion With Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life.

DAVID PARKINSON
boundary_conditions  finance  quantitative  Wall_Street  Colleges_&_Universities  books  physics  models  mathematics  stockmarkets  biases  modelling  dangers  false_confidence  human_factor  stock_picking  illusions  oversimplification  in_the_real_world 
january 2012 by jerryking
Market Research: Safety Not Always in Numbers | Qualtrics
Author: Qualtrics|July 28, 2010

Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.

we put together a few guidelines for when one research method might be more useful than the other.

Quantitative:
* For trending purposes, i.e. trends in customer feedback
* Need for quick feedback
* Particularly useful when a company wants to determine how to increase market share
* Product feedback for consumer products

Qualitative:
* Help identify non-obvious ways to delight current customers
* Looking for information to grow an existing market or create a new one
* Market research follow-up questions when numeric scales can be misleading
* Messaging validation for products that are new to the market
* Market validation
* Understanding objections and barriers
* Product feedback for enterprise products

In the article, “Market Research: Quantitative or Qualitative,” the writer Diane Hagglund said, “sometimes numbers provide false confidence and obscure real opportunity.” [Definition of overquantification]

She later added in a follow-up article that her market research firm recommends web surveys as good vehicles for quantifying concepts that the researcher is familiar with and wants accurate percentages for each option.

“This is a valuable thing to do, especially for market sizing, external marketing and PR purpose,” Hagglund said. “But for finding out the answers that you don’t really know, start with qualitative research – and by all means do a web survey next to put those percentages in place once you know the statements to put the percentages with.”

In other words, it’s important to quantify your qualitative research and qualify your quantitative research
market_research  market_sizing  overquantification  storytelling  qualitative  quantitative  Scott_Anthony  dangers  research_methods  non-obvious  enterprise_clients  false_confidence  Albert_Einstein  easy-to-measure  delighting_customers  follow-up_questions 
december 2011 by jerryking
New urban design plays a heady game of risk
Mar 12, 2005 | The Globe and Mail pg. F.3|
Doug Saunders.

The slogan of the new movement that is overtaking Europe's cities: "To make it safe, you need to make it dangerous." Iain Borden, director of the Bartlett School of Architecture in London and a leader of this new movement. Its members recently published an intriguing report titled "What Are We Scared of: The Value of Risk in Designing Public Space."

In recent months, a school of architects and urban planners has picked up disparate cues from the urban experiments taking place in northern Europe and given them a name -- risk. Our cities, they believe, are now designed predominantly to minimize risk, and this has made them dull, homogeneous, repetitious and, paradoxically, often quite dangerous.

(Risk is more than an intellectual puzzle — it invokes a profoundly physical experience. A small amount of danger surrounding the use of public spaces might act much like a vaccine immunizing the population against complacency).
Doug_Saunders  urban  design  risks  safety  public_spaces  counterintuitive  urban_planning  uncertainty  complacency  biology  psychology  dangers  life_skills  coming-of-age  risk-assessment  high-risk  low-risk  soul-enriching  physical_experiences 
october 2011 by jerryking
In a Data-Heavy Society, Being Defined by the Numbers - NYTimes.com
By ALINA TUGEND
Published: April 22, 2011
“Numbers make intangibles tangible,” said Jonah Lehrer, a journalist and
author of “How We Decide,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). “They
give the illusion of control.”[stories, anecdotes, and ratios make numbers memorable. See also Pinboard article, "To Persuade People, Tell Them a Story"]

Too many people shopping for cars, for example, get fixated on how much
horsepower the engine has, even though in most cases it really doesn’t
matter, Mr. Lehrer said.

“We want to quantify everything,” he went on, “to ground a decision in
fact, instead of asking whether that variable matters.” [jck: that is, which variables are incisive, worth paying attention to, act as signal in a sea of noise?]
obsessions  rankings  data_driven  metrics  statistics  analysis  incisiveness  quantitative  Jonah_Lehrer  dangers  intangibles  meaning  sense-making  data  illusions  false_confidence  anecdotal  books  sense_of_control  storytelling  decision_making  overquantification 
april 2011 by jerryking
The Culture of Today’s Changing World
May/June 2009 | Departures | By Joshua Cooper Ramo. From
Hezbollah in Beirut to a investment fund in Beijing, we’re living in an
age of unthinkable change and surprise. "In a world of constant newness
in science, technology, and media, there’s no reason to think politics
and economics should be immune to change any more than the way we search
for information is. If we truly want to develop a sense of the unstable
geography at this moment and master the suddenly essential language of
surprise and hope and danger, our only chance is to get out of the house
(or the bunker) and start looking for signs of the new. Travel,
tourism, and culture instantly become more than hobbies or distractions;
they are transformed into our best hope of understanding. Because while
we are now indisputably living in the age of the unthinkable, it
doesn’t mean we’re living in the age of the unexplainable."
Joshua_Cooper_Ramo  globalization  dangers  politicaleconomy  instability  unpredictability  travel  tourism  culture  surprises  constant_change  sense-making  unthinkable 
january 2010 by jerryking
Judging the risks in the backcountry
Feb 4, 2003 | The Globe & Mail pg. A.18 | editorial.
Becoming independent requires some assumption of risk. That is the
process of growing up. Toronto's school board, failing to understand
this, demolished its playground equipment in 170 schoolyards three years
ago without any statistical evidence of dangerousness. Hockey, Canada's
game, exposes boys and girls to the risk of serious spinal-cord
injuries, yet the game goes on.
risks  life_and_death  life_skills  TDSB  children  editorials  coming-of-age  risk-assessment  playgrounds  dangers  soul-enriching 
december 2009 by jerryking
In praise of risk
Sep 14, 2000 | The Globe & Mail. pg. A.16 | Why expose
children to even the slightest risk if we can avoid it?

First, because it costs money. The $700,000 it cost to tear down those
Toronto playgrounds, and the $30-million it will cost to replace them,
could have been spent on something indisputably worthwhile: books, or
teachers or safe-driving programs for teenagers.

Second, some level of risk is unavoidable. Life, as they say, is a fatal
disease. If we wanted to eliminate all danger to our children, we would
keep them indoors all day and tell them to hide under the bed. We don't
do that because childhood is supposed to be fun, and part of having fun
is taking risks.

Sensible risks.

A responsible society, like a responsible parent, will do everything it
reasonably can to protect the young from real, demonstrable dangers.
What it will not do is fly into a frenzy at the slightest hint of peril.
If we don't raise our children to act that way, why on earth would we?
children  schools  playgrounds  editorials  dangers  soul-enriching  risks  childhood 
october 2009 by jerryking
Take Smart Risks
09.21.09 | Wired Magazine | by By William Gurstelle. "Done
artfully and wisely, living dangerously engages our intellect, advances
society, and even makes us happier. It is possible to work consciously
toward joining the "golden Third": Just get in there and start pitching.
As with knife-throwing, unicycle-riding, and whip-handling, one gets
better mainly by practice. Make your choices smart ones. It's not
difficult to discriminate between a good, soul-enriching risk and one
that's just plain nuts."

A comment:

That study of risk takers vs. non risk takers is probably
biased. The random sample of people interviewed most likely didn't
include people that were dead or in prison as a result of the risks they
took.

And it is very true, but sometimes risks are compounding and other times
they are isolated. It's important to distinguish when something that
appears to be isolated is really starting to compound.
category_errors  risk-taking  risks  self-actualization  isolation  compounded  discernment  risk-assessment  dangers  psychology  soul-enriching  practice  dedication  multiplicative  survivor_bias  cumulative 
october 2009 by jerryking
Corner Office - John Chambers of Cisco - Treasure Your Setbacks - Question - NYTimes.com
Aug. 1, 2009 | New York Times | Interview w. John Chambers,
chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems, conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
(1) We’re products of the challenges faced in life; (2) Becoming a
great company involves encountering major setbacks--near-death
experiences--and overcoming them; (3) During stressful events, it’s
valuable to be your calmest, most analytical self; (4) Today’s world
requires a different leadership style — more collaboration and teamwork
including using Web 2.0 tech; (5) Build relationships with people who
have dramatically different views from yours by identifying and focusing
on areas shared in common; (6) Moving too slow or moving too fast
without process behind it are both dangerous; (7) Interview questions -
tell me about your results;your mistakes and failures-what would you do
differently this time? who are the best people you recruited and
developed-where are they today? Customer-oriented? Good listeners?
Domain expertise? Sports played?
Cisco  CEOs  leadership  lessons_learned  interviews  hiring  interview_preparation  John_Chambers  setbacks  teams  stressful  resilience  bouncing_back  collaboration  dual-consciousness  dangers  internal_systems  relationships  calm  industry_expertise  dissension  process-orientation 
august 2009 by jerryking
globeandmail.com - The art of investing dangerously
June 2008 | Report on Business Magazine | by Doug Steiner on risk-taking and investing in Haiti.

The bigger picture is that opportunities as well as risks abound in Haiti. The country has genuine selling points: one of the cheapest work forces on the planet, duty-free access to the nearby U.S. market, prime undeveloped beachfront property, and pent-up local demand for just about every basic product and service. One giant float at Carnival carried one of Haiti's most popular bands, RAM; it was draped in huge red banners heralding Digicel, Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien's wildly successful Caribbean cellphone venture. The company arrived in Haiti in 2006 and signed up one million customers within months.
Haiti  risk-taking  Doug_Steiner  emerging_markets  investing  dangers 
january 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read