Information & Technology

AI and the democratisation of judgement and decision-making

Qualitative judgement – the ability to make considered business decisions based on a personal interpretation of the context and facts — has never been more important (or overlooked).

There are three main reasons why judgement will remain central to the practice of management and leadership in the years to come. First, qualitative judgement is the last preserve of humanity in […]

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    Why an open mind on open science could reshape human knowledge

Why an open mind on open science could reshape human knowledge

In the year 1610, Galileo observed a ring-like shape around a distant planet (Saturn). After realising the significance of his discovery, Galileo wanted to record it to be able to claim it as his own contribution once it was announced. To do that, he wrote a letter to a colleague stating the following: “smaismrmilmepoetaleumibunenugttauiras”. That meaningless text was Galileo’s […]

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    What if we all governed the Internet? Or what if we didn’t?

What if we all governed the Internet? Or what if we didn’t?

Multistakeholder participation in Internet governance supports, broadly speaking, the participation of all relevant stakeholders in the development of rules, norms and other governance mechanisms that have a potential impact on the evolution and use of the Internet. Such extensive collaboration has enabled the Internet to benefit from the perspectives and input of a variety of actors relatively devoid of the potentially […]

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    ‘Sharding’ and the search for a way to scale up blockchain

‘Sharding’ and the search for a way to scale up blockchain

Advocates of blockchain technology often expound its ability to deliver a disruptive layer of efficiency to existing industries that provide consumers goods and services. They might speak of how, by removing centralised trust from the equation of transaction verification, blockchain-based systems will provide a means of disintermediation that could save industries untold sums of capital that is otherwise lost […]

Digitalisation of work: blessing for some, curse for others

It is a commonplace that we live in the age of disruption. The latest trend towards digitalisation is set to accelerate changes in the workplace and transform the labour market perhaps irreversibly. Current debates on the digitalisation of work concern the extent and degree to which advanced technology such as robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithmic decision-making could […]

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    Connectivity will create a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the global airline industry

Connectivity will create a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the global airline industry

‘Disruption’ is one of the buzzwords that defines our economy at the moment. While much of the focus has been on entrepreneurial start-ups – soliciting early funding for the next ‘the Airbnb of…’ – taking a look at how more established businesses are responding to the technological revolution is just as interesting. Aviation is one such sector that is […]

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    The digitalisation of everything: How the US economy is going digital at hyper speed

The digitalisation of everything: How the US economy is going digital at hyper speed

Software is eating the world, goes the quip. So rapid are the developments, in fact, that while the “digitalisation of everything” has become a hallmark of tech’s promise of individual and business empowerment so has it begun to prompt anxiety, including among workers who worry about their future in a world of brilliant machines. And yet, for all the evidence […]

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    Don’t curse the inflow of emails: It can help you do your job better

Don’t curse the inflow of emails: It can help you do your job better

Do you find yourself becoming frustrated because you keep getting bombarded with email at work? Do you think that email is not really interruptive because it is you who decides when — and whether —to read and respond to your incoming emails? But do you also find that while this might be true in theory, you often can’t help […]

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    Transitioning video and TV to the Internet: Policy and regulation must be updated

Transitioning video and TV to the Internet: Policy and regulation must be updated

Digitally driven disruption is taking place at a rapid rate and within an unexpectedly wide range of industry verticals, including media and transportation markets. A clear example of this trend is occurring in the media market, where the increasing number of live TV over-the-top (OTT) offers (streaming media via the Internet) is accelerating a transformation of how video and […]

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    Social media echo chambers create serious issues for organisations

Social media echo chambers create serious issues for organisations

Recent political events such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have taken political pundits and observers by surprise. How could these things have happened? One explanation offered is that we are increasingly living in bubbles of like-minded people that limit our ability to understand other points of view. These bubbles are a result of the “micro-targeting” of […]

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    Catherine Wines: ‘International remittances help people directly’

Catherine Wines: ‘International remittances help people directly’

Immigrants who send money back home can be a lifeline to their families. According to some estimates, remittances to developing countries reached US$ 436 billion in 2014. Despite the fast growth of the market, until a few years ago it was a cumbersome, low-tech process. In 2010, an African immigrant saw an opportunity to take advantage of the mobile money phenomenon in Africa and founded WorldRemit, […]

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    New big data platforms are more efficient, but pose a serious threat to privacy

New big data platforms are more efficient, but pose a serious threat to privacy

The past few years have seen changes in the organisation of business models and work styles, caused by the rapid evolution of data analysis and data management systems. Business strategies are more and more driven by the integrated analysis of huge volumes of heterogeneous data, either directly or indirectly related to workflows. Data have become a key factor for making […]

Apps like Tinder commodify the intangible

“One of the most basic processes in higher brains is the ability to carry out perceptual categorization – to ‘make sense’ of the world,” stated neuroscientist Gerald Edelman, in his neuroscientific analysis of consciousness. So what happens when the world becomes too noisy to make sense of?

As part of a small-scale MSc research project, I investigated young adults’ conceptualisations […]

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    Edward George: ‘Banks are in danger of becoming utilities’

Edward George: ‘Banks are in danger of becoming utilities’

As the market for fintech grows in Africa, Ecobank Transnational Inc., a pan-African banking conglomerate headquartered in Togo, has built a digital strategy that includes acquisitions, partnerships and in-house IT development. Having a large network of branches is no longer considered sustainable in the long run, as banking moves online. The bank is instead acting as an incubator of African fintech […]

Blockchain and bitcoin: In search of a critique

One of the few things that has grown as fast this year as the price of cyptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, is the number of books available about them, along with blockchain technology and their many derivatives. There are now in excess of 500 books available on Amazon on these topics. These books include excellent technical guides like “Mastering Bitcoin: […]

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    Clarence Blay: ‘Ghana has 140,000 mobile money agents versus 1,300 bank branches’

Clarence Blay: ‘Ghana has 140,000 mobile money agents versus 1,300 bank branches’

The most famous mobile payments system in Africa, MPesa, allows users to make payments by sending text messages from simple mobile phones, not necessarily smart ones. The idea has started a new wave of mobile payments and transfers in the continent, and governments are taking steps to help this ingenious solution usher in a new era of financial inclusion for their countries. Clarence Blay, who […]

Humans and artificial intelligence: Rivalry or romance?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been developing at a frightening pace. It is debatable to what extent it has improved our lives – being able to use geolocation and search for the best restaurants or places of interest is great; however, AI is at the same time eliminating plenty of jobs, fast. A frequently cited report points out that a […]

Will online platforms be able to access your bank data?

The increasing importance of digital platforms and data to our lives is perhaps the defining trend of the 21stcentury so far. Facebook, in particular, wants to be essential to you: you can connect with friends, shop in the marketplace, and read the headlines, all for the cost of nothing more than tens of thousands of data points about you […]

How to design and price information for sale to others

Everyone seems to be talking about “big data” these days — what it is, where it is, why it’s important, who owns it and how to mine it. It’s like a gold rush with numerous prospectors jumping into the game, dreaming of striking it rich and cornering a market before others discover the location and size of their mine. […]

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    Our private data and the market for third-party providers of functionality to websites

Our private data and the market for third-party providers of functionality to websites

Your personal information is out there. You did not give it out, so how did it get there? Internet websites provide visitors with different levels of interaction, ranging from delivering basic information to providing sophisticated features and tools such as profile management, interactive visual communication, and of course, advertising. Like many traditional businesses, websites turn to third-party outsourcing to […]