Monday, January 23, 2017

Is Data the New Oil?

I thought water was the new oil.  Either way, good LinkedIn post from Kshitij Kumar:

"Just as oil is a very valuable and expensive commodity, so has data quickly become a very valuable commodity. Information is power. Data provides information when processed properly, and therefore is capable of providing power.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are both applied to data and can be used to generate value. AI without data is like a car without oil - each might look very cool, but neither will function and is practically useless on its own.

From Customer Experience management to generating targeted advertising information, from providing the Next Best Offer for a customer browsing an organization's website, to predicting and preventing a fraud event before it happens for a financial organization, data can be used to generate immense value.

Data is the new oil because it is invaluable, powers pretty much everything in the online world, and will soon power all aspects of our lives. Those who learn to harness the power of data will benefit immensely from it - monetarily and otherwise, just like those who learnt to harness oil benefited from it."

When Economists Debate Infrastructure Investment

When Change Becomes Catastrophe

The current issue of the Economist has an excellent profile of Peter Navarro - the head of President Trump's new National Trade Council.  Navarro has promised "a seismic and transformative shift in trade policy."  The critical issue that we face is what policies the new administration will put in place to increase manufacturing employment and reduce the trade deficit.  From the article:

"When manufacturing production moves overseas and then returns, productivity has usually risen in the interim; so far fewer jobs come back than left.  Messrs Edwards and Lawrence find than even though the trade deficit in manufactured goods in 2010 was about two-and-a-half times what it was in 1998, the number of lost manufacturing jobs the deficit represented rose only very slightly, from 2.5m to 2.7m.  In any case, if China lost low-skilled jobs, manufacturers would relocate to other low-cost emerging economies, not America, says Eswar Prasad of the Brookings Institute, a think-thank."

Before we start down the trade policy change path, it is important to remember the words of Nassim (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable) Taleb - - "Don't mess with complex systems, because we don't understand them."

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Fragility" (Incerto) by [Taleb, Nassim Nicholas]


Sunday, January 22, 2017

First Time the Word Infrastructure Used in Inaugural Address

How to Count a Crowd

What Happens to Global Footprints in a World of Walls?

Construction equipment maker Caterpillar is just one example - - the firm is designed and managed for a globalizing world.  What happens to their financial strength and opportunities if their global footprints turn to dust in a nationalizing world?

The Foresight of Jack Welch

Legendary GE CEO Jack Welch once said of businesses, "If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."  Every city has monuments to this - - the old Blockbuster, Sears, and Macy's buildings constantly remind us of the risk of getting blindsided by the likes of Netflix and Amazon.  The old yellow cab is probably up next - - the outside forces of Uber should be visible in the rear view mirror of every cab in the US.

The Welch observation also holds for politics.  The negative forces of globalization produced a rate of external change (i.e., job loss and community decay) greater than the rate of internal change (i.e., job training and re-investment in regions and communities).  The politics of old is giving way to the politics of new across the globe - - outside > inside is an important inequality to monitor.