Information & Technology

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    Cybersecurity is the defining business challenge of the 21st century

Cybersecurity is the defining business challenge of the 21st century

Speaking in 1941, a renowned businessman said “I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.” While John D Rockefeller was speaking at a time when the likes of drones, driverless cars and virtual reality were distant dreams and works of fiction – the central tenet of the quote is firmly applicable […]

Beware Big Brother in the family room?

It was a dystopian revelation straight out of Orwell: The hyper-connected “smart TV” that lets you binge-watch your favourite Netflix or Amazon series at the touch of the remote has other capabilities that aren’t quite spelled out in the user’s guide. Like allowing the government to snoop on your conversations.

The news, contained in a trove of CIA documents released […]

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    Even with the internet, we’re not any closer to everyone speaking the same language

Even with the internet, we’re not any closer to everyone speaking the same language

Global economic integration has been enabled by technologies that radically lower the costs of moving goods and of communicating across long distances. The first of these, the railroad and the telegraph, were developed in the early 19th century. Later additions include the telephone, radio, containerized shipping, and the internet. All of these technologies exhibit network effects: The value of […]

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    Industrial applications are the juicy part of the Internet of Things

Industrial applications are the juicy part of the Internet of Things

Say “Internet of Things” (IoT) and most people will think of the many connected products you hear about every year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — from refrigerators that tell you when to buy milk, to smart pillows that lull you to sleep with music, then vibrate to wake you up when you’re snoring.

Indeed, cool gadgets […]

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    Strong consumer data protection can be a disruptive innovation

Strong consumer data protection can be a disruptive innovation

Something regarding big data has recently changed in Brussels which business should take note of. This usually prefaces news of ramping up EU data protection rules, such as the recent Data Protection Regulation, which are not universally welcomed in business circles. In particular, companies coming from the more permissive environment of the US are faced with a sea change […]

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    Fintechs have advantages over established banks, but regulation is a major challenge

Fintechs have advantages over established banks, but regulation is a major challenge

Fintech firms may have many advantages over established banks in entering the new market of digital banking. For example many well-known banks have outdated and cumbersome computer systems while new start-ups can start from scratch and develop new and fast systems in only months. The question for large financial institutions is whether to buy firms or build the new […]

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    How to ensure future brain technologies will help and not harm society

How to ensure future brain technologies will help and not harm society

Thomas Edison, one of the great minds of the second industrial revolution, once said that “the chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.” Understanding the human brain – how it works, and how it is afflicted by diseases and disorders – is an important frontier in science and society today.

Advances in neuroscience and technology increasingly […]

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    The side effect of scrutinising traders in social trading platforms

The side effect of scrutinising traders in social trading platforms

The rationality of human investors has long been questioned. Behavioural biases have been broadly investigated and are known to impair human decision-making in capital markets. Our empirical study draws on these findings regarding behavioural biases and analyses the behaviour of traders on a social trading platform to expand insights on behavioural biases and human decision-making. In particular, we have […]

Blockchain: Will it ever be as big as the buzz?

If we look at the Gartner’s “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies”, the rapid ascent to peak expectation, before the equally swift fall into the trough of disillusionment, for a lot of hot new technologies is hard and fast. But for blockchain, we are still teetering at the tipping point, as we have been for a while now, as the […]

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    The big data revolution: embrace it but proceed with caution

The big data revolution: embrace it but proceed with caution

The combination of a number of amazing advances in technology (resulting in faster computer processor speeds, increased density and capability of computer storage, and higher bandwidth network connections) has opened up a new world for big data – the application of smart algorithms to large quantity and/or high velocity data.

Big data techniques enable us to infer patterns and preferences, […]

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    Crowdscanning: The future of open innovation and artificial intelligence

Crowdscanning: The future of open innovation and artificial intelligence

Imagine a future where the CEO of a manufacturing firm turns to his Chief Innovation Officer and asks: “Bob, how can we innovate on our product and save 10 per cent of production cost to stay competitive against low-cost firms?” So far this seems to be a normal conversation that occurs daily across organisations around the world. Except that ‘Bob’ is really […]

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    With software updates, Tesla upends product life cycle in the car industry

With software updates, Tesla upends product life cycle in the car industry

Traditionally, cars are sold as finished and complete products, with a price premium attached to the specification and quality of design and craftsmanship. The buyers do not expect new cars to improve or change once they are rolled out of the dealer’s premises. Only occasional maintenance services, software updates or repairs are carried out to keep cars functional. To […]

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    Transhumanism and the future of capitalism: The next meaning of life

Transhumanism and the future of capitalism: The next meaning of life

Although there is no single definition of ‘transhumanism’, the term broadly relates to the idea that the human species should radically transform itself as it has the physical environment through the use of advanced technology. Steve Fuller writes on the link between transhumanism and capitalism, and elaborates on what it would mean to be a person in such a […]

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    Blockchain: cheap, fast and accurate (but consumes a huge amount of energy)

Blockchain: cheap, fast and accurate (but consumes a huge amount of energy)

Proponents of the blockchain technology envision a world without financial service providers. Asset ownership would thereby be recorded in a distributed, non-manipulable ledger – the blockchain – that is stored on each participant’s computer. Except for the digital currency bitcoin, this technology has not been widely applied so far. Many promises surrounding blockchain exist. The most important ones are […]

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    Is the digital media a panacea for the ills of mass media concentration?

Is the digital media a panacea for the ills of mass media concentration?

Mass media play an important role in democracies, educating the public, providing a forum for discourse, and shaping public policy. Control of mass media by a few elites, however, is inimical to democracy as it limits the variety of messages disseminated, who can participate in discourse, and what is discussed. Yet, even in democratic countries, mass media is controlled […]

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    People are more likely to promise to help you if you ask them in person or by phone

People are more likely to promise to help you if you ask them in person or by phone

Photo by Jonathan Velasquez on unsplash.com, under a CC0 licence,
It is a busy day at work. Suddenly a colleague jumps into your office asking you to quickly review some slides for an upcoming presentation. “Could you please do me this favour by tomorrow?” she asks. Well, this task is not really related to your work, but you promise her to do the […]

Ride-sharing apps really reduce drunk driving fatalities

Girl waving, by Unsplash, under a CC0 licence
Ridesharing platforms such as Uber and Lyft have sparked a host of policy debates over the last half decade. Detractors argue that these firms put the public and consumers at significant risk. Advocates have argued that such services provide customers with a much needed service that circumnavigates the bureaucratic processes of licensed […]

Can data sharing improve public services?

Ball, by geralt, under a CC0 licence
It is easy to see the appeal of data-sharing as means of fixing problems with the delivery of public services. Take data set X held in one part of government, share it with a different part of government that has another data set Y. Combine data sets X and Y and use the […]

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    Central banks of developing nations should issue digital currency

Central banks of developing nations should issue digital currency

Bitcoin keychain extended background, by BTC Keychain, under a CC-BY-2.0 licence
Over the past few months, academics and central bankers have been involved in a dialogue over whether central banks issue digital currency. We have made our own contribution to this conversation, but perhaps we should be asking a different question. In addition to whether central banks should issue digital currency, […]

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    How people react to the ‘also recommended’ section of online stores

How people react to the ‘also recommended’ section of online stores

Online shopping with touchscreen ultrabook, by Intel Free Press, under a CC BY 2.0 licence, via Wikimedia Commons
The “diaper and beer” product placement practice has been a great marketing strategy in traditional retail stores. As e-commerce gains popularity in recent years, online retailers have attempted to replicate this practice in e-commerce.

Is there any website feature that online retailers can exploit to […]