Information & Technology

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    Are we becoming digital slaves? Why online ‘privacy’ is a misnomer

Are we becoming digital slaves? Why online ‘privacy’ is a misnomer

There is something odd about calling the misuse of personal data online a privacy ‘issue’. We need ‘privacy’ when we undress or talk to our loved ones; it’s about feelings like shyness and embarrassment. In the digital world we label lots of things as ‘privacy issues’; but is stealing my credit card details and using it to rack up […]

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    No longer a currency, is bitcoin the digital equivalent of gold?

No longer a currency, is bitcoin the digital equivalent of gold?

Disclaimer: Despite my long-standing professional interest, I’ve invested in bitcoin only briefly. Though I’ve earned a 30% return in just three weeks when I did so, I soon realised this investment was not suitable for my risk appetite. So, unfortunately, this is not the story of how I’ve become a bitcoin millionaire.

In the past few years, bitcoin has become […]

The use of robots and artificial intelligence in war

The nature of war has changed significantly since the end of World War 2. Battle lines have now become opaque; an attack can come from terrorists who easily blend in as civilians, drones that are undetectable to the eye, or ballistic missiles launched from 500 miles away. To account for the increased lethality of war, a vast budget is […]

What we know and don’t know about Huawei

In recent weeks I have frequently been asked about what we should think about the policies and publicity that embroils Huawei. This is because I have been conducting research into them and many other Chinese digital economy companies for some years and have had unprecedented and greatly appreciated access to much of the company’s staff, records and facilities. The […]

Is it time to retire the word ‘robot’?

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ – Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland.

In Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, Humpty Dumpty is a wordsmith focused on making the most of his vocabulary. He not only recites but explains poetry to […]

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    Business automation in investment banking: fast forward…. or not?  

Business automation in investment banking: fast forward…. or not?  

By 2020 service automation, based on robotic process automation (RPA), cognitive automation (CA) and artificial intelligence (AI) has reached an intriguing and confusing moment in its evolution across sectors. As the hype all too readily highlights, the potential is massive. But developments are surprisingly slow. Market revenues for these technologies are increasing exponentially, but, standing at around $US6 billion […]

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    National electronic health records implementation: a tale with a happy ending?

National electronic health records implementation: a tale with a happy ending?

Aiming to improve healthcare efficiency and quality, countries around the globe, including Singapore, the UK, Japan and the US, are implementing nationwide electronic health records (EHRs). Recent studies suggest that when EHRs are shared across different healthcare providers they can facilitate better care and with the use of aggregated data analytics improve healthcare management and research. However, their implementations […]

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    When online sellers use different prices for different consumers

When online sellers use different prices for different consumers

Do you shop online? If so, sellers are likely to know a lot about you: purchase histories, browsing histories, where you live, which operating system you use, and so on. Consumers and policymakers are concerned that online sellers may use data of consumers to learn about how much they are willing to pay, and then charge different prices to […]

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    Time off social media may leave you less informed but happier

Time off social media may leave you less informed but happier

Within the span of a decade, social media has woven its way deep into our lives. Many use it extensively – the average user spends more than two hours a day on social media – to connect and communicate with each other, to get information, and to entertain themselves. There may be no technology since television that has so […]

The need for privacy versus the urge to reveal the self

Social interaction and communication are key elements of our society. Individuals reveal personal information about themselves to others — for instance with a view to deepening a relationship. Since nowadays, social relationships are oftentimes maintained via social networking sites, instant messengers, or other social media platforms, personal disclosures can reach larger audiences than originally intended and put people in […]

Seven thought-provoking posts on privacy

Informational privacy: a precondition for democratic participation? To survive, democracies need to protect citizens’ data privacy, even against their inclinations to share information online, writes Wulf Loh.

Informational privacy: a precondition for democratic participation?

 

Rethinking privacy in the age of psychological targeting. Direct regulation of psychological targeting and privacy by design may lift from users the burden of actively protecting their privacy, write Sandra Matz, Ruth Elisabeth […]

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    Informational privacy: a precondition for democratic participation?

Informational privacy: a precondition for democratic participation?

The value of informational privacy has long ceased to be seen merely in the protection or exercise of individual autonomy.  Already in the early 1980s, the German Federal Court pointed out that the political autonomy of citizens in exercising their democratic rights and duties would be incompatible with a “social and legal order […], in which citizens could no […]

Rethinking privacy in the age of psychological targeting

“Psychological targeting” is the practice of predicting people’s psychological profiles from their digital footprints (e.g. their Facebook profiles, transaction records or Google searches) in order to influence their attitudes, emotions or behaviours with the help of psychologically informed interventions. For example, knowing that a person is extroverted makes it possible to personalise recommendations in a way that aligns with […]

Is the idea of ‘care robots’ an oxymoron?

The idea that technology and the digital revolution will transform our lives and be wholly positive is a familiar trope. Undoubtedly the pace of change is rapid – especially since the arrival of high-speed internet connectivity – and the emergence of interactive and voice-activated devices has progressed from the possible to the common place in very short order. The […]

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    Do six per cent of financial transactions sent via the Swift system really fail?

Do six per cent of financial transactions sent via the Swift system really fail?

In May 2019, Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of a San Francisco based (but Delaware registered) fintech firm called Ripple Labs gave a presentation to the 9th High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System. The small audience included Christine Lagarde (then chairman of the IMF) and the heads of several central banks. He described a problem in the world financial system […]

How to promote media literacy

I was recently asked to respond to a presentation on Australian children’s news media literacy at LSE. Shortly after, I participated in a roundtable on news literacy and disinformation, organised by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). These two occasions have made me think more deeply about news literacy as a variant of media literacy, which has the potential to enable citizens […]

Data breaches and the fate of the IT director

Recently, hardly does a month go by without us hearing breaking news on high-profile data breaches. For example, earlier this year, the social media giant Facebook revealed that over 419 million users had their account-linked phone numbers exposed due to an unencrypted server. Anyone who is interested can potentially search for a particular Facebook ID and its associated phone […]

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    Why it’s hard to read the privacy policies of cloud service providers

Why it’s hard to read the privacy policies of cloud service providers

Cloud computing is growing at an unprecedented rate, and it is estimated that cloud services will reach a global market value of $411 billion annually by 2020 with annual growth exceeding 15 per cent (Columbus 2019; Gartner 2019). Cloud computing services allow businesses the flexibility of accessing data storage and software resources according to their needs without costly investments […]

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    As AI expands, companies must allow employees to rethink their jobs

As AI expands, companies must allow employees to rethink their jobs

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to transform the business world. It is not the first time that technologies have done so. Decision support systems, expert systems (already integrating AI) and knowledge management systems, which were promoted by the largest consulting firms and IT manufacturers, monopolised the interest of companies in the late 1990s. Yet, despite the undeniable benefits they […]

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    Hidden in plain sight: the ghost in the automation and future of work debate

Hidden in plain sight: the ghost in the automation and future of work debate

Looking at the big picture it is not easy to pick your way through the media representations of the debate around automation, robots and the future of work. Sources and multiple studies are, in fact, very variable in quality, evidence and rigour. Nevertheless, media narratives seem to polarise around two storylines — hype or fear. “Hype” tells us that […]