Posts Tagged ‘Information’

Information & Control Versus Computation

A recent book, Possible Minds (Brockman, 2019), provides 25 essays on the future of AI, building upon Norbert Wiener’s 1948 classic Cybernetics: Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine.  A key distinction among these pundits is between information and control versus computation. This distinction is intriguing. My roots are definitely in the information […]

Freethinker Forum

George Adams was a graduate student in Public Policy at Georgetown.  He relied on a cognitive assistant that he named Emily after his favorite aunt. It was sort of a fun thing to do, thinking that Emily might be of some I’ll-defined assistance. George totally underestimated the possibilities. Emily learned from everything George did. His […]

Is N = 1 Feasible and Affordable?

In my last post, I argued that everyone is cognitively unique.  Others have argued that everyone is genetically unique.  Can we really tailor assistive technologies and medical care to each individual?  Is it feasible?  Is it affordable? Of course, there are many examples of how we tailor technology to our personal preferences.  We adjust the […]

Taking Charge — Episode 3

George has been exploring how money is spent and the outcomes produced.  His latest quest has been trying to understand the benefits of subsidizing faculty members so they can pursue research.  When Marie and George operated at the department level, it never occurred to him to question this.  However, Beresford is trying to make it […]

Taking Charge — Episode 2

While George continued his sleuthing, Marie focused on building relationships across campus with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as each member of the Board of Trustees.  It was a lot of work, leaving her exhausted every evening as she retreated to the President’s House. She tried to stay connected professionally with her colleagues […]

Baptizing Cats

A couple of ideas intersected this week.  First, a piece I was reading suggested that the endeavor they were elaborating was “As difficult as baptizing a cat.”  Depending on how you have related with cats in the past, this statement evokes an immediate sense of what the baptism experience would be like.  I am on […]

What My Cognitive Assistant Knows

I posted a piece on Emily, my cognitive assistant, last March. Several readers have asked me what she really knows.  Beyond deep understanding of health and well being, driverless cars, and complex systems in general, what does she know about me? She has complete access to everything I do via computer or other digital devices. […]

An Unexpected Interview

I couldn’t tell whether the inquiry related to an opportunity for entertainment, adventure, or travel.  To my complete surprise, the inquiry led to a possible offer of employment.  The employer wanted me to join a team that would be exploring complexity.  I asked what that meant.  They said, “It is difficult to explain, but we […]

What I Would Like AI to Do for Me

There is much concern lately that AI will displace human workers and perhaps eventually discard humans entirely.  I suppose such scenarios are imaginable.  However, I have been thinking about the potential of AI to do work that I currently do poorly.  I almost always under invest in this work, often resulting in poor performance, wasted […]

Life With a Cognitive Assistant

Where will AI take us?  I understand that Field & Stream is planning a special issue on AI-based deer, elk, and fish.  Gourmet is planning a special issue on robotic food gathering and preparation.  Psychology Today is addressing how to deal with conflicts with your cognitive assistant. My cognitive assistant is Emily, an appealing but […]

Wrestling With Technology

This has been quite a week for dealing with technology.  It started with submitting a revised journal article using a web-based publishing platform.  It was unhappy because the zip code for one of my coauthors was missing.  It wanted me to add this information but I did not know the user name and password for […]

Higher-Order Consequences

The first-order consequence of driverless cars, when fully deployed and successful, is that humans will no longer drive cars.  That’s the whole idea.  Cars will be without drivers.  The many Uber rides that I take won’t change that much, except there will be no human driver. There are higher-order consequences of driverless cars being fully […]

Washington Drama

I moved to Washington, DC a bit over four months ago.  I have long liked the city, traveling here at least once a month for business over almost four decades. During this transition, I started watching TV shows associated with the White House.  I have been binge watching The West Wing – just into the […]

The Big Short

Just watched this movie this week, after having read many of the books published on the Great Recession, as well as having served on a National Academy study committee of what happened.  During this study, I had a chance to chat with the second most senior executive at one of the major banks involved, one […]

The New Reality

Our operatives have uncovered the motivation and reasoning behind various presidential candidates now emphasizing what many of them are calling the “new realty.”  This reality relates to their personal histories, climate change, economic prospects, and so on.  All of the candidates have “repositioned” their personal stories to gain voter support. One candidate, born to immense […]

Disruptive Service Innovations in Healthcare

A recent issue of The Economist provided an in-depth review of how high technology financial startups are poaching high-margin financial services from large banks.  The large banks are not standing still; they are often acquiring these startups once they prove viable.  This may keep them in the game, but high margins are being substantially eroded […]

Pundits’ Performance

There is a wealth of self-proclaimed pundits providing pronouncements on sports, politics, the economy, and so on.  There seem to be unlimited numbers of Democrat and Republican strategists.  Some are wizened pros that have been through many campaigns, some successful and some less so.  Many are quite young.  Despite having seemingly no credentials, they are […]

Reflections on New York City

I am on the homestretch of being in New York City for three years, actually in the bleachers of Hoboken watching the game played by this remarkable city.  For over 400 years, it has been an innovation ecosystem embracing change, creativity, and diversity.  The only colony without a religious or political agenda, New York City […]

Complexity Overload

How many user names and passwords do you have? Do you need passwords with exactly six or eight or ten characters including as least one numeric character and one non-alphabetic or non-numeric character? How often are you required to change them for security reasons?   Do you have a list, tucked away physically or electronically that […]

What Might Happen

Various pundits in sundry domains attempt to predict what will happen.   In domains such as climate change, urban systems, and national politics, which are laced with human and social phenomena, such predictions are folly.  There are far too many possible ways in which individuals and social groups can behave in response to evolving events, whether […]

Worst Practices

I have recently been involved with an enterprise that has somehow managed to embrace just about the worst transformation practices possible.  It all started with the vocabulary the leaders chose to employ.  They managed to paint a transformation picture that they apparently had no intention of pursuing.  While they portrayed fundamental change, their actions totally […]

What Is or What If

Much of contemporary analytics focuses on tabulating and portraying characteristics of existing systems, whether they are for energy supply, health delivery or a wide range of other complex systems.  This type of analytics addresses “what is” or in many cases “what was.” This approach is backward looking, which makes a lot of sense if there […]

Controlling the Costs of Healthcare

We continue to anguish over escalating healthcare costs.  To gain control of these costs, we need to understand one essential equation.   The total cost of healthcare is Total Cost = Costs Per Use x Number of Uses Careful design of delivery processes to eliminate unwarranted care process variations can decrease the costs per use.  Variations […]

Moneyball in Academia?

I just finished reading Michael Lewis’ Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.  Lewis relates the story of the Oakland Athletics and their ability to use scientific management to maximize wins per dollar. I could not help but wonder how their empirically derived principles might apply to academia. What is the equivalent of On-Base […]

Transforming Public-Private Enterprises: Defense

National defense, and acquisition of weapon systems in particular, has long been a target of transformation.  The Packard Commission in 1985 provided a very reasonable set of recommendations for reforming defense acquisition processes.  These recommendations resulted in relatively minor changes.  Blue ribbon committees both before and after the Packard Commission had comparably minor impacts. President […]

System-Enabled Incompetence

I wrote early last year about Delta Air Lines transforming a great airline into a bus line.  I really did not anticipate how bad Delta’s performance could get. I was in Houston on Thursday waiting for a flight to Atlanta. When I checked in at the kiosk, Delta offered me the opportunity to stand by […]

Engineering Healthcare Delivery

I am pleased to report that IOS Press released “Engineering the System of Healthcare Delivery” this week in Amsterdam.  Denis Cortese and I edited this 500-page compendium of the insights and ideas of a wide range of luminaries in healthcare.  Our goal was to bring together in one place the thought leaders who are transforming […]