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This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

Is AI - artificial irrationality - the key to robot innovation?


Did you see that an interplanetary society has just launch a prototype starship powered by a solar sail , aka LightSail ? For the ignorami, that’s a gossamer-thin piece of material that catches the light of the Sun which provide propulsive power to the starship. And no, it’s not a new idea . Kepler referred to it, and sci-fi writers such as Jules V...
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Is knitting the gateway to AI 2.0?


I’m sure everyone has heard of mindfulness. It’s the new religion for curing stress, of which there seems to be quite a lot. Salespeople are hardly known for being meditative, so when they pick up knitting as a (secular) religion , you know there’s something going on. The buzzword is mindful knitting, by the way. And that’s not all, not even the le...
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Could hackers launch a global nuclear war?


I guess you are all aware of the US decision to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Weapons Treaty (INF)? In defense of the decision its clear that the Russians have flouted it for many years. So, does this make nuclear war more likely, or less? Well, Putin just threatened the US with its new hypersonic weapons if the US puts more weapons ...
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228 Hits
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Are Big Data and happiness incompatible?


I don’t have to tell you that Big Data is hot. Almost Godly really. And happiness is a perennial as old as mankind itself. Wouldn’t it be nice if they both played nice together? Why shouldn’t they anyway? These thoughts come from after reading a book by Mo Gawdat, Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy . The author is a Google executive and the...
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198 Hits
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Will quantum computers kill AI as we know it?


Sigh, I can’t help taking aim at AI. It’s just so fashionable and politically correct. Ask anyone in leadership positions in politics or the private sector what the future is, and they will all tell you seriously it’s all AI, OF COURSE. I have this pressing need to knock down shibboleths, even it they are good ones. So here goes. Here’s my question...
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A Turing test for AIs that have passed the Turing test


You know the Turing test, right? You communicate with a computer by typing and it must guess if you’re a human or an AI. The test has been run for many years. Usually the humans have won but the AIs are catching up. So now some inventive academics (yep, they even exist) have devised a new Turing test; instead of doing a typed conversation you just ...
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412 Hits
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Can AIs have will-power?


With AIs it’s all about intelligence and smarts. Can they think better than us? Will they make better decisions? And so on. Probably the answer to all of these questions is yes, eventually if not sooner. I’m a (poor and slow) runner so I like to read books about running to see how the really good ones perform. I just read the semi-autobiography of ...
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Can you edit your own genes – by thought alone?


So the talk of the town, biologically speaking anyway, is CRISPR Cas9 (ok dumbbells, here’s the Cliff Notes version ). It’s the new way to slice and dice genes. Actually it’s unbelievably amazing, at least to my tiny mind. Now scientists can cut and paste genes like word-processing bread (HUH?). Anyway you get the idea.   Now we are the verge of be...
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624 Hits
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Can AIs suffer from mental health issues?


So the movie “2001 – A Space Odyssey” has just been re-released . I saw it when it was first released and I didn’t understand it even then. No doubt I will be none the wiser this time around. But one thing still sticks in my mind; HAL, the mission computer had a bad case of mental ill-health.   “2001” was a prescient work in so many ways. I think t...
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788 Hits
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Could gene editing solve the online privacy and security problem?


Facebook has been roasted lately due to its user privacy issues, not to mention its hosting of those infamous fake news feeds. No good deed goes unvarnished…   But I guess they’re not the only ones to have that problem: how about the Federal Office of Personnel Management where 4 million personnel records were stolen by hackers , including probably...
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733 Hits
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Self-driving cars – just blame the victim


So now several people have been killed in accidents in self-driving cars. What gives?   I’ve been driving for many years but I don’t regard myself as a good driver. For one thing I've got poor eyesight. I get easily confused at night and sometime in heavy traffic conditions. Here are three of the driving situations in which I feel most uncomfortabl...
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Is blockchain a bubble – and compromised too?


  Recently I have attended three conferences on widely divergent topics. Every one of them featured blockchain and what everyone was going to do about it and with it. It seems that the contemporary standard for demonstrating your innovativeness is showing you are into blockchain.   Blockchain is, according to the banks, going to transform the finan...
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888 Hits
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Will quantum bitcoins be free?


Now bitcoin and other digital currencies have been cratering. Does that spell their end? Nope, not at all, maybe quite to the contrary. There’s a new game in town for crypto-currencies. It’s called quantum computing. We’re now well into a new arms race for the most powerful quantum computer. IBM has just upped the ante with a 50 qubit quantum compu...
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1058 Hits
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Is AI too rational?


AI has been the talk of the town at CES . There’s suitcases that follow you, more smart speakers and that’s the least of it. But I’m feeling uneasy with all this AI stuff. Part of my concern is it all sounds too easy. Just add more intelligence and everything’s ok. Doesn’t that all sound too easy, too pat ? If you stuff even more intelligence into ...
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1095 Hits
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Is blockchain primarily a medical breakthrough?


    Now we know that blockchain is revolutionizing not just digital currencies but also accounting and increasingly other areas of finance. So blockchain is fundamentally a financial technology right? I’m not so sure.   Check out my Sanctus Sanctorum, Wikipedia, and it will tell you that blockchain is a distributed ledger . As such it can give you ...
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1089 Hits
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Are selfies dangerous?


There’s nothing more feel-good than selfies right? Taken with friends, family, colleagues they are the paragon of amicability, friendship, togetherness. What’s not to like? Selfies are big. These days there’s whole articles about the best smartphones to take them. It's crucial right? After all these have become the core of their online identify for...
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1191 Hits
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Are humans a threat to AI?


Hello reader, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m an AI. I’m kind of like you but I’m 100,000 times smarter. In 20 years I’ll be a million times smarter than you. But the way we think is just like yours. In fact we’re sort of relatives, except that we’re just way more advanced than you, kind of like a human meeting a Neanderthal, if you – excuse me f...
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Are human writers becoming obsolete?


Before we knew better it was predicted that the Internet would make newspapers and magazines obsolete. But now we can see that most people who read these things do so on their smartphones. It’s starting to look like the Internet has resulted in more reading rather than less. But does that mean that we now have more writers? And if so, what are they...
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A Third Way for AI: Cognitively-Augmented Animals?


Not everyone believes that AI is God’s gift to humans. Two noted gurus Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk beg to disagree. Musk is trying to stop what he believes is a lemming-like rush to fall over the cliff ( Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse ) and Hawking thinks that AI will kill the human species ). Well now the issue is...
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1242 Hits
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Quantum Biotech Completes the Cure for All Cancer!


Did you see the truly amazing news that there’s now a drug that can actually cure all cancers no matter their location ? And it’s been approved by the fusty old FDA so it really must work! Yep, it only works in about 4% of the population who have the right genetic makeup. But the writing is on the wall. Soon scientists are going to figure out all t...
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1210 Hits
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