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This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

Alcohol causes cancer – and the news gets even worse


A true shock! Alcohol causes cancer. No, it’s not a fake news story. It’s been validated by respected cancer researchers internationally as well as UK government committees . It causes cancer in at least 7 sites - oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast. And it’s likely that it also causes cancer of the skin, prostate and pan...
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Are selfies dangerous?


There’s nothing more feel-good than selfies right? Taken with friends, family, colleagues they are the paragon of amicability, friendship, togetherness. What’s not to like? Selfies are big. These days there’s whole articles about the best smartphones to take them. It's crucial right? After all these have become the core of their online identify for...
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Are humans a threat to AI?


Hello reader, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m an AI. I’m kind of like you but I’m 100,000 times smarter. In 20 years I’ll be a million times smarter than you. But the way we think is just like yours. In fact we’re sort of relatives, except that we’re just way more advanced than you, kind of like a human meeting a Neanderthal, if you – excuse me f...
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Can behavioral economics restore Alpha?


Did you notice that Richard Thaler just received the Nobel for behavioral economics? He’s the third; the first was Daniel Kahneman in 2002, the second Robert Shiller in 2013. Hmm, it took 15 years for the second and third prize to be awarded. Is that why economics globally is in such a mess? Why we still can’t predict recessions, the valuation of c...
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Higher Dimensions the Next Step for AI?


AI tries to replicate how humans think. But we know almost nothing about the actual mechanisms behind thinking. Sure we know quite a lot at the level of neuroanatomy. But this still doesn’t tell us how it all works. Check out this book Behave by Robert M. Sapolsky; it’s magisterial, comprehensive, but utterly boring because of this lack of understa...
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Facial recognition results in customizable personalities!


Facial recognition apps have now hit the big time. That means Big Brother can recognize you wherever you go using public cameras or those worn by police. Now we will get things like facial profiling, facial mood recognition and facial interpretation. Where will it all stop? Never I guess. Ever hear of the Theory of Mind (ToM)? That refers to our ha...
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Are smartphones an even bigger aging and health threat than obesity?


We’re so worked up about obesity (rightly so, though) that we forget about all the many other things that are out to get you. Count amongst these your trusty computer and your indispensable smartphone. The big problem is that we are either hunched over our computers at work or over our smartphones everywhere else. I’m sure you all know the problem ...
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Should nuclear proliferation be encouraged?


I guess you might have seen that the UN has just opened up for signature a treaty that would ban all nuclear weapons ? The big (nuclear) guys have already announced they won’t sign it. What a great start! Dream on. So nuclear proliferation is bad right? We should ban all nuclear weapons? Nonproliferation has been the core principle in international...
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Could China be North Korea’s True Nuclear Target?


It looks like North Korea really has it in for the US. But what if the Dear Leader’s real target is China? Now that sounds crazy right? China is North Korea’s closest ally. Moreover it is North Korea’s main trade partner. As the media constantly remind us, China will never move against North Korea because it needs the Hermit Kingdom to keep the Kor...
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Are human writers becoming obsolete?


Before we knew better it was predicted that the Internet would make newspapers and magazines obsolete. But now we can see that most people who read these things do so on their smartphones. It’s starting to look like the Internet has resulted in more reading rather than less. But does that mean that we now have more writers? And if so, what are they...
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A Third Way for AI: Cognitively-Augmented Animals?


Not everyone believes that AI is God’s gift to humans. Two noted gurus Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk beg to disagree. Musk is trying to stop what he believes is a lemming-like rush to fall over the cliff ( Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse ) and Hawking thinks that AI will kill the human species ). Well now the issue is...
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Does streaming music reduce productivity?


Well, whadya know? US worker productivity growth rose sluggishly in the last quarter (at 0.9%). So what? This is kind of boring stuff after my usual posts on quantum brains, love force-fields and the like. What could possibly be of existential interest here? Productivity growth is usually said to be caused by eye-glazingly boring phenomena such as ...
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Is love a physical force-field?


Did you hear about the recent wedding of two people in their nineties ( She’s 98. He’s 94. They Met at the Gym ). Tells us that you can have love even when it might be thought you were past it. Put it in the sweet news column. It used to be thought that love was a spiritual phenomenon (as distinct from being a spiritual feeling). Then we discovered...
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Bitcoin meets behavioral finance – what happens next?



So now Bitcoin has split between two camps , the miners and the rest. That gives us a bit of insight into the psychodynamics of the Bitcoin community. Can we figure out more of them? How about a behavioral finance analysis? To wit, what are the cognitive biases of the Bitcoin crowd? That is, both the rational and the irrational ones, more of the la...
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Can gravitational wave detectors read human thoughts?


Just been reading a couple of books about human consciousness ( Douglas Hofstadter “I am a Strange Loop and Dan Dennett, From Bacteria to Bach ). What’s the bottom line? In a word we still don’t have a clue how the brain really works and what consciousness actually is. Hmmm. Notwithstanding,  we smart-alec little pieces of terrestrial carbon, as of...
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Wagbits Revolutionizes How Pets Feel About Their BMI!


Obesity is old news these days. But what about our pets? It’s now become the topic du jour. naturally they’re getting fatter , just like we humans. The scientists are getting in the act, coz pet obesity (hereafter PO) is now big business, and of course we need to work out its genetics . Now the race is on to find healthier lifestyles for them, like...
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The End of Restaurants?


I just returned from one of my regular trips to China. Air quality worse, even more traffic. BUT a Cambrian-like explosion of bikes and bike-sharing (see Ofo ) and now, lots more yummy takeout. Americans invented takeout right? How dare the upstart Chinese try to beat us at our own game? But they have: massively. China and the US are on different p...
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Amazon Eats Whole Foods – Are Authentic Leaders Too Predictable?


So we didn’t expect Amazon to do the Whole Foods thing right? Bezos is an unpredictable guy. Reminds me of Elon Musk, Richard Branson, even (especially) Donald Trump. Unpredictable to a fault. Never know what they’re gonna do next. The traditional leadership canon teaches that leaders should be predictable; authentic they call it. But what I see is...
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Quantum Biotech Completes the Cure for All Cancer!


Did you see the truly amazing news that there’s now a drug that can actually cure all cancers no matter their location ? And it’s been approved by the fusty old FDA so it really must work! Yep, it only works in about 4% of the population who have the right genetic makeup. But the writing is on the wall. Soon scientists are going to figure out all t...
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Uber-Leading - Are empathy and disruptiveness incompatible?


So Travis Kalanick of Uber has been given the boot. What’s that all about? He’s promoted a hostile and sexually harassing culture. He needs to be reformed. Is his departure going to kill the company? Probably. I can think of several leaders who totally lacked empathy; more; they were unsympathetic, bullies, sometimes narcissistic and unappealing hu...
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