Information & Technology

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    Not all data is created equal: the promise and peril of algorithms for inclusion at work

Not all data is created equal: the promise and peril of algorithms for inclusion at work

In 2016, Microsoft unveiled its first AI chatbot, Tay, developed to interact and converse with users in real-time on Twitter and engage Millennials. Tay was released with a basic grasp of language based on a dataset of anonymised public data and some pre-written material, with the intention to subsequently learn from interactions with users.

On March 23, Tay took its […]

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    Recommendation engines: data-driven self-help is the future of the internet

Recommendation engines: data-driven self-help is the future of the internet

Self-knowledge, self-improvement. Self-control. In his 1859 best-selling ‘Self-Help,’ Samuel Smiles celebrated the self-disciplined cultivation of character and capability. “The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual,” that eminent Victorian declared. Smiles’ book not only codified cultural standards for industrial age ‘self-helpers,’ it launched the genre that made Dale Carnegie, Steven Covey and Oprah […]

Real-time crowding information can help contain COVID-19

As long as an effective medication and vaccine are still being developed, physical distancing is one of the most potent means to curb the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, many policymakers recommend or even fiercely enforce physical distancing of their citizens through lockdowns and curfews to ensure compliance. The prevalence of enforced physical distancing reached unprecedented levels when in March […]

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    Freelancing platforms want to become agile channels to attract large corporations

Freelancing platforms want to become agile channels to attract large corporations

Over the last decade we have seen the birth of an entirely new industry of freelancing platforms – such as Upwork, Freelancer or Gigster — that match the talent available in both domestic and global markets with the pressing demand for digital skills. Compared to traditional hiring channels, freelancing platforms dramatically improve a company’s agility in matching its needs […]

Do we need programmable money?

Programmable money can be designed to flow as easily as email without sacrificing regulatory controls, monetary policy or personal privacy. – IBM 2018

If the US dollar is to remain the world’s primary reserve currency in the unfolding digital century, how can it remain an analog instrument and unit of account for things increasingly programmable and denominated as digital tokens?– […]

COVID-19 may exacerbate the digital divide among businesses

What is the essential task of management? To look after the short term in ways that not only protect, but even enhance medium and long-term prospects. For businesses, the COVID-19 crisis presents massive challenges to fulfilling this quest; it is difficult to pull off even in periods of growth. Previous downturns demonstrated how problematic it is to ride out, […]

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    The abrupt shift to remote working has amplified cyber security problems

The abrupt shift to remote working has amplified cyber security problems

The COVID pandemic has forced most companies into distributed and virtual settings. Companies had to swiftly adapt their organisations to social distancing and elevated economic uncertainty. This adaption manifested itself in the form of fast deployment of digital tools to allow for remote collaboration and distributed work, and more agile and self-managed work processes.

Video conferencing tools, like Zoom, Skype, […]

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    China’s central bank has taken the lead in digital currencies. What does it mean for businesses?

China’s central bank has taken the lead in digital currencies. What does it mean for businesses?

As if Covid-19 and the trade war hasn’t done enough to upend global business between the US and China, yet another major transformation is afoot: the launch of China’s sovereign (i.e., central-bank offered) digital currency (CBDC). By “digital currencies” we mean financial transactions that are recorded on blockchain ledger and held in digital wallets. While Facebook’s Libra and other […]

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    Why trade facilitation reform requires mainstreaming digital technologies

Why trade facilitation reform requires mainstreaming digital technologies

A country’s international logistics performance depends on the extent and modernity of its trade facilitation reform (World Bank, 2018). National trade facilitation committees (NTFCs) are an institutional obligation for members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) because they serve as multi-agency platforms for stakeholder engagement. These partnerships generate consensus via ‘national roadmaps’ to customise a country’s approach to update […]

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    Using apps for contact tracing in response to COVID-19: the controversies

Using apps for contact tracing in response to COVID-19: the controversies

With the government repeatedly claiming that it is being guided by science, questions about the range of academic disciplines represented on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have begun to emerge alongside reports that the government is seeking to broaden the range of academic fields represented. A shadow version of SAGE has also been created with different experts and a different approach to the […]

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    Managing while invisible: how the gig economy shapes us and our cities

Managing while invisible: how the gig economy shapes us and our cities

The gig economy is full of disruptive technological darlings. Uber revolutionised how we used taxis, AirBnB changed the hospitality market forever, while Deliveroo has a substantial impact on how cities develop and change and how we use our city space. Their impact, we argue, is a consequence of one of their most important inventions: how to look like they’re […]

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    Why using technology to spy on home-working employees may be a bad idea

Why using technology to spy on home-working employees may be a bad idea

What will the life of a post-COVID-19 remote worker look like? Imagine yourself as one of the army of white-collar workers now working from home. You wake up, help with family chores, then sit at your desk ready to work. As you open your laptop, an app connected to your company’s server asks you to log in and to […]

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    Covid-19: how are new uses of technology transforming healthcare?

Covid-19: how are new uses of technology transforming healthcare?

As we are slowly preparing for lockdown restrictions to ease, healthcare professionals, managers and IT practitioners are wondering what changes to work practices and new models of healthcare provision that have resulted from the rapid deployment of digital technologies should be sustained beyond the current crisis.

Indeed this is a pressing question, which we are keen to pursue. First, we […]

Central bank digital currency: the devil is in the details

In the public debate over central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), the design is often implicitly assumed or overlooked. We outline the main CBDC design features and assess how effective they are in achieving policymakers’ objectives.

Policy objectives

CBDC sponsors’ arguments can be classified into three main groups. First is the need for a digital form of central bank liability to […]

Pandemics and big data tyrannies

Computer security threats can make the internet a dangerous place. Computer viruses (such as Stuxnet and CryptoLocker) can quickly spread throughout a network, infect your device, and take over your virtual identity. A virus can send emails on your behalf, make bank withdrawals, post a private picture on your favourite social media platform, or share your latest-greatest dance moves […]

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    Period-tracking apps: how femtech creates value for users and platforms

Period-tracking apps: how femtech creates value for users and platforms

For many women in the world, menstruation is the most dreaded time of the month. Some societies regard menstruating women as being in need of rest and requiring isolation during the days in which they bleed. Across many contexts, the idea that women are unclean during menstruation has been normalised. Some men have held the belief that contact with […]

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    Covid-19: the controversial role of big tech in digital surveillance

Covid-19: the controversial role of big tech in digital surveillance

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought new big data-driven practices of infectious disease surveillance to the forefront of efforts to track cases in real-time. As infections have continued to spread across the globe, governments have increasingly sought to capitalise on the volume, variety and velocity of the big data era, and to partner with big tech corporations in order to […]

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    Will remote working digital infrastructures become the norm?

Will remote working digital infrastructures become the norm?

Working at one of the world’s leading social sciences universities, we are now taking part ourselves as subjects. A global experiment of communicating almost entirely through the use of digital infrastructures is unfolding. I study the innovation dynamics and impact of digital infrastructures, so the current situation offers an opportunity for reflection.

The late Susan Leigh Star was the founder […]

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    Artificial intelligence will play an increasing role in wealth management

Artificial intelligence will play an increasing role in wealth management

It’s likely that in the next few years, the wealth sector will experience dramatic change. The sector has historically been resistant to technology and change, with many practitioners very highly paid and very happy with the status quo. The upper end of the industry is characterised by strong personal relationships, high prices and a lack of transparency. But automation […]

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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 […]