Information & Technology

Bitcoin may not last, but blockchain could be the real deal

Economist Nouriel Roubini, aka Dr. Doom since he predicted the 2008 financial crisis, called it “the mother of all bubbles.” The head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Howard Davies, invoked Dante’s Inferno to warn investors off it. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon flat-out called it a “fraud” – at least initially.

The target of this opprobrium was bitcoin, […]

Fast and fair: delivering customer service on social media

Last April, a bloodied passenger, Dr. David Dao, was dragged from his seat and off the plane of United Express Flight 3411 after refusing to relinquish his seat for United Airlines employees. The next day, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz tried to justify the removal of Dr. Dao in a public statement. He also sent an email to the […]

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    The media market and the battle for increasingly rare exclusive eyeballs

The media market and the battle for increasingly rare exclusive eyeballs

The battle for ‘exclusive eyeballs’ among media platforms explains the sharp decrease in advertising revenues for mainstream media over the last 10 years. Remarkably, the battle also generates more media diversity, since it becomes more profitable for media platforms to differentiate themselves to reach new audiences. This may result in greater polarisation and less duplication of content for the […]

Without urgent action big data may widen inequality

I would like to tackle the role of big and open data in contemporary society, and the well-justified fear that the development of related digital technologies and artificial intelligence may widen existing inequalities and social divides. The term “big data” is typically associated with the idea that lots of data, about anything and everything, can now be rapidly produced, […]

Blockchain: an overview

During the late 1990s, investors were eager to invest in any company with an Internet-related name or a “.com” suffix. Today, the word “blockchain” has a similar effect. Like the Internet, blockchains are an open source technology that becomes increasingly valuable as more people use it due to what economists call “the network effect”. Blockchains allow digital information to […]

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    Does social media foster polarisation? A close look at the handle @realdonaldtrump

Does social media foster polarisation? A close look at the handle @realdonaldtrump

Social media facilitates communication and an appealing question is whether citizens use it to endorse or criticize the government. I investigate individuals’ potential polarisation about President Trump, as reflected in his personal Twitter account. In this context, polarisation relates to expressing positive or negative judgements through social media.

The reach of social media is not trivial. Users use it to […]

How blockchain can help the fight against counterfeit goods

At one point, purchasing goods and services online was more of a novelty experience with high shipping costs. Today, online purchases are a ubiquitous part of the shopping experience. A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that nearly eight-in-ten Americans are making purchases online.

Most consumers are using the Internet to enter a global marketplace where they can […]

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    The Murdoch-Disney buy-out: What consequences for British viewers?

The Murdoch-Disney buy-out: What consequences for British viewers?

In December 2017 it was confirmed that Rupert Murdoch is selling a substantial part of his 21st Century Fox media empire (including the 39 per cent of Sky that he already owns) to Disney. This raises some difficult questions both for the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and for UK audiences. It is uncertain whether Murdoch’s Fox group will be allowed […]

Is car ownership on its way out?

Is car ownership going to die? The definite answer in the short term is no. The longer answer is that we are going to see a big shift in car ownership in the next 12 years. Interestingly, it’s an equation with several variables. It’s all in the economics, and the pieces are already on the table.

New technologies, new financing […]

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    Data in the age of increasing nationalism and trade disruption

Data in the age of increasing nationalism and trade disruption

Today, data is one of organisations’ most valuable assets. For most, it is instrumental in every decision-making process. It drives production and distribution strategies, new product development decisions, and customer service planning and execution. As the world moves toward a future in which artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are increasingly prevalent, data is sure to assume an even […]

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    More data or better data? Using statistical decision theory to guide data collection

More data or better data? Using statistical decision theory to guide data collection

Big data has become an increasingly common topic of discussion. While the amount of available data and its role in the economy will continue to grow, we worry that the big data revolution will not live up to its promise if it is guided by the principle that bigger is always better. Data quality will limit the usefulness of […]

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    Facebook’s newsfeed changes: a disaster or an opportunity for news publishers?

Facebook’s newsfeed changes: a disaster or an opportunity for news publishers?

Social media and digital executives in newsrooms already have a tough job connecting their content to consumers via social media, but Facebook’s proposed changes in the algorithms of its ‘newsfeed’ are going to make it a lot harder. Social networks offer immense opportunities for reaching vast new audiences and increasing the engagement of users with journalism. The most important platform in […]

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 […]