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Perthblog

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.

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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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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AI is heading in a wrong and terrible direction!


My recent post on AI argued that currently AI is not interesting because it’s really just more incremental thinking based on current, boring,  paradigms, in effect party tricks (“AI – Let’s move beyond party tricks!” ). Yep, I’ve seen the latest celebratory article in the new York Times about the amazing things they’re doing with Google Transl...
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Is reading bad for you?


As a book writer myself I’m always interested to see who might want to read my books, or for that matter, any books. The bad news is that the book market is essentially flat, so doesn’t look like I’m going to make out with my book, even if it were a best-seller, which it’s not. The slightly better news is that e-books are growing a little faster bu...
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Are celebrities better venture investors than the professionals?


We Americans are obsessed by celebrities. Many of them have lots of moolah. So I’m sure you took notice of the recent announcements that Leonardo DiCaprio has joined a Boston VC firm . Maybe you also happened to notice another recent announcement that Kobe Bryant had launched a $100 MM VC fund, with one Jeff Stibel . This is just the tip of the ice...
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AI – Let’s move beyond party tricks!


Right now AI is really hot. But to me it’s boring, showing no imagination. Siri still performs at the level of a very dumb 5 year old. Self-driving autos work but the tech is soooo incremental. Basically AI is all about performing party tricks. When will it get truly smart, even shocking? I am sure you have heard of the famous American science fict...
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Robo-Etiquette by Emily Roast


  Have you noticed the recent explosion of robots? There are robo-soldiers , robo-advisers , robo-vacuums and so on. To my great shame I’ve even added to the clutter ( Robo-coaches ), so I’m part of the problem too. We have a rapidly-emerging existential crisis, namely how to communicate with these robos. I mean no-one teaches you at school or...
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Who owns Mars?


Did you hear that China intends to land on the Moon and to have a base there by 2020 ? That’s only 4 years’ time. Your freshman kids won’t even have finished college by then….. And of course, SpaceX intends to have a settlement on Mars by 2024 . Maybe the explosion of its rocket recently will put a dampener on that, but personally I doubt it. I thi...
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The end of the wheel - wheel-less cars the next humongous growth driver


Hmmm, no car drivers these days, so why not no wheels too? You can’t open any paper, blog or tweet these days without hearing about self-driving cars. Frankly I’m getting bored. How about something new for once? How about wheels? Wheels are terribly old-fashioned. They weigh a lot, cost a lot, need a heavy car to ride on, are very hard to stop and ...
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Space will be the New Driver of Global Economic Growth


So Yellen and the Fed just wimped out of raising interest rates, yet again again. What does that tell us? The world is in an economic funk. Nothing's working. China’s about to crash big-time so its role as a growth driver has definitely ended. The emerging markets are in an even worse pickle – Russia a total mess about to implode yet again, the Bra...
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No Thrills Mom - Towards the Giving Car


All this stuff with new-fangled autos has become overwhelming. Self-driving cars, connected autos, car-sharing, electric vehicles, and so on. But the big question is, what does it do for me? Self-driving cars will change everything. It used to be all about thrills. Hmmm, if I have a high-performance car, I want to drive it myself. Don’t trust anyon...
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Could Genetically-Modified Humans Re-Ignite Global Growth?


I’m sure you’ve heard about the Vermont law that says that all foods that include genetically-modified ingredients must be disclosed on the label starting July 2016. Of course most of Europe doesn’t allow GM foods. China officially bans GM crops, although in fact the vast majority of them are in fact GM . So the movement to ban all GM foods is pret...
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High Frequency Trading Trashed by Quantum Computers?


I’m sure you’ve all heard of high-frequency trading (HFT). We now realize that  HFT could actually bring down the stock market . As it is, HFT accounts for at least half of all the stock trading in the US. This isn’t to complain about HFT. It is what it is. Maybe it makes it hard for small investors. It’s certainly changed the nature of equity...
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e-Wallets – China is Winning


For all the angst about the problems in the US, at least we still lead the world in innovation, right? Not so fast, read on for this telling little story. The US Is still in the throes of deciding which e-wallet it will use. There’s a ton of them around so mass appeal is limited until John Q. Public makes up his tiny mind. Then retailers can finall...
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The Unicorn Innovation – Address Dumbed-Down Basic Needs


Unicorns are so….fashionable. You know what they are right? Startups valued at at least $1 billion, amazing right?. Right now in the US there are over 80 unicorns, mainly in Silicon Valley. One of them, Square, just went public at a valuation of $6 billion which was felt to be a low figure now. Hmmm. Now there are so many unicorns that there is a n...
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Will Robots Have a Problem with Mental Health Too?


The march towards robots taking over our everyday lives moves ahead inexorably. Self-driving cars are just the latest manifestation of the trend. Recent research now shows that in order to make them more human,, we need to give the similar flaws to real people so that we take them more seriously ( How perfect is too perfect? Research reveals robot ...
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Could a Cloud Attack Lead to a Global Depression?


Tech earnings were up significantly in the last quarter. This was at least partly due to significantly increased earnings from the Cloud by Microsoft , Amazon and Google. When Microsoft gets earnings from anything other than its legacy products it’s worth sitting up and taking notice. This time it aced the market for the first time in a long time. ...
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How many Dead People on the Internet? Reflections on Alan Turing and the Imitation Game.

I notice that Facebook has just announced a new policy concerning who owns a person’s account once they die. The issue of what happens to and who owns a dead user’s accounts is a huge and growing global issue as everything goes into the cloud. I had an employee who died about 3 years ago. I forwarded his emails to me since I didn’t want to lose bus...
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Extreme Fracking Means the End of the Ruble as We Know It?

Did you notice that the NASA’s Curiosity Rover has just seen spikes of methane on Mars ? People are already putting one and one together to get five, namely the presumed presence of life on Mars, inferred from the production of methane. But there’s another possibility. That is, that the methane comes from inorganic, non-biological processes. If so,...
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