24 May 2021

Big Ideas ~ What's Most On my Mind...

When I'm not distracted by current difficulties, here are the Big Ideas which are most on my mind (and mostly my original ideas, unless otherwise noted)...

  • Tellus Optimus or Terra Optima ~ The best possible future of Earth, Humanity, and Society, IMHO.  Not a pollyanna Utopia but also more than Kevin Kelly's Protopia, Optima is the best possible combination of liberty, prosperity, and vitality planet-wide (and beyond).
  • Trias Humanitus of Politicus Mercatus & Civicus ~ I propose Montesquieu's Trias Politicus is actually mirrored in the commercial realm, Trias Mercatus, and in the civic NGO voluntary realm, Trias Civicus.  And that these three realms -- political, commercial, and civic -- similarly are a triad which check and balance each other, an overarching Trias Humanitus.  In any case, just like Trias Politicus has checks & balances between Executive, Legislative, and Judicial, so do Mercatus & Civicus.  Mercatus Executive are Entrepreneurs & CEOs; Legislative are the Markets, both Stock & Customer; Judicial are Audit & External Review boards.  Civicus is similar only with mission leadership, philanthropic investment, and audit & review.  And these occur at all scales of human endeavor from the smallest organizations & polities < cities < provinces < state champions & nations < MNC's & all of humanity.
  • "Dot" Gov Com & Org (plus Mil Net & Edu) ~ The Political, Commercial, and Civic realms of Trias Humanitus can be thought of in short-hand form as Gov, Com, and Org -- i.e. dot.gov, dot.com, and dot.org -- plus the specific specialties of Mil, Net, and Edu.
  • Liberty Prosperity & Vitality (LPV) ~ While there are many forms of political, commercial, and civic structures throughout human history, most are collectivist, tribal, racist, royalist, nationalist or otherwise unfree & despotic.  I'm partisan to a Tellus Optimus enabled by Liberty, Prosperity, and Vitality, or Min.gov, Max.com, and More.org.  A Liberty government does one thing really well, minimizing or eliminating the use and role of force between people.  That's it.  Most of the other things governments do today would be turned over or contracted to for-profit commercial players and/or to non-profit civic trusts.  For example, State & National Parks would go to non-profit Nature Conservancies.  Roads, rails, infrastructure could go to either way, perhaps with non-profit trusts contracting on a competitive basis with for-profit service providers and with the civic trust retaining ultimate authority and ownership.  Or doing so via Citizen Wealth Funds...
  • Citizen Wealth Funds (CWFs) & Percapitization (Perc's or per-capita participation) ~ Instead of Sovereign Wealth Funds managed by and for the so-called leaders, Citizen Wealth Funds are mutual funds managed for individual citizen benefit.  Oxford's Angela Cummine has documented the growing history and spotlights that in Alaska, for 40 years their Permanent Fund has managed oil revenues and disperses thousands of USD annually (in dividend income) to each resident of the State.  I think such funds could be ultra-local in a neighborhood or village, or in an Indian Reservation, or at City-scale, or State or Province, or National, or even Global.  The ultimate Citizen Wealth fund would be an Earth Fund where every human, including the future-born, receive their equal per-capita share of the benefits.
  • EARTH = Eurasiamerica, Africa, Restasia, Tjina, Hindia = five roughly equally populous clusterings of humanity with broadly shared cultures, philosophical traditions, languages, histories.  Of course, all of these have and continue to intermix, both historically due to conquest and today through migration, both involuntary and chosen.
  • Earth Commonwealth ~ Building towards Earth-wide shared basic principles of equality before reasonable laws, economic prosperity via common standards and rules of exchange, and enlightened thinking about science, reason, education for all, and scholarship.
  • ECUs (Economic Currency Units or Earth Commonwealth Units) ~ Towards shared currencies going beyond the nationalistic & politically dominated Yuan, Euro, USDollar, etc.
  • From UN to UP... United Peoples ~ The most singular failure mode of the United Nations is that it includes illegitimate regimes, including despotic kingdoms, undemocratic oligarchies, socio-communist dictatorships, tribal chiefdoms, cultish theocracies, etc, and treats them as morally equivalent to constitutionally-limited representative people-first republics with checks & balances.  Furthermore, tiny states have the same "Nation" status as behemoths, so scales of jurisdiction vary too widely.  Finally, the nation-state was born out of imperialism, conquest by force, colonialism, and violence generally.  I think instead the emphasis needs to be on the most indivisible sovereign element of all, individual people.
  • Liberation Capitalism ~ Bringing Global+Development Ventures & Inclusive Economies to all of humanity with participatory financial services, title & property rights, inclusive use of natural resources, investment in shared-benefit assets such as infrastructure & civic goods, transformative technologies to provide ultraffordable solutions, and the use of mutual benefit organizations, including Citizen Wealth Funds to ensure just access to common goods.
  • Ultraffordability ~ Radical inclusion & economic justice won't be primarily achieved by taxing & spending or on wealth transfer.  Rather it requires supplying goods and services at ever more affordable prices, driving towards "ultraffordability".  In many ways we have some of this already, with poor people today having access to things kings couldn't have just a century ago.  But there's much more work to be done, especially getting rules & regulations out of the way of ultraffordability in housing, nutritious foods, quality education, and the like.  Plus this is fundamentally a tech-innovation and exponential technologies matter.
  • Exponential Technologies ~ All things which have a Moore's Law-like improvement doubling per unit time.  Obviously semiconductor integrated circuits like memory, CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, etc.  But also RF chips, PV panels, printronics, batteries.  And wetware like gene sequencing, gene synthesis, etc.
  • Gigayears of Quality Life or GigaDALYs ~ Mattias Åström, Shahid Azim, and I were lamenting lame impact metrics and came up with Gigayears of additional life as the ultimate type of impact, i.e. something better than mere claims of "lives touched" or "users" or financial metrics like revenue, profit, or market value.  As prime example, I suggested Nobel-winning agronomist Norman Borlaug whose contribution to the Green Revolution "may have prevented a billion deaths".  Take that billion number and guesstimate that the average person lived 5-15 years more and we guesstimate that Borlaug's impact on humanity is ~10 Gigayears.  That's a high bar for anyone to match in future!
  • Compassionate Libertarianism ~ Since libertarian governments are minimal states just focusing on security, defense, policing, judiciary, and things related to minimizing or eliminating the use of force in human relations, other vehicles are needed for schools, healthcare, parks, roads, etc.  Much of this could be handled for-profit commercially (and increasingly is), but where the market fails, we need non-profit civic, charitable, philanthropic alternatives.  The compassionate libertarian doesn't want uneducated children and sick poor people, but does want non-governmental solutions which are competent and non-corrupt and non-politicized.
  • ERAs = Empowerment Rights Areas ~ We talk about SEZs or Special Economic Zones, for example in China or Dubai, as attractors of companies and investment.  But equally, perhaps more important are zones where migrants or refugees and other displaced or shifted peoples have attractive political rights, including the right to work, own assets, have ID, maintain financial service accounts, etc.
  • Third Alternative Thinking ~ Perhaps the most useless rut to get stuck into are contesting between two limited and incomplete alternatives.  Happens all the time in politics (e.g. Demoblicans vs Republicrats) and beyond.  We really need more varieties of ideas and options, or "third alternative thinking."
  • Economological ~ Things which are both Economical and Ecological are economological.  This embraces the idea of circular economies, donut economics, cradle-to-cradle thinking, and more.  Ellen Swallow Richards, the MIT alumna founder of Home Economics is famous for also naming the field of Ecology.  She saw them synthesized together at best.
  • Beyond Our Cradles ~ I suggested the name for what's now the annual MIT Media Lab space initiative conference but actually had in mind multiple "cradles of humanity", including Tsiolkovsky's Earth as cradle for future spacefaring peoples.  The other Cradles include:  (1) Genetic ~ Longevity, Rejuvenation & Curing Illness; (2) Material ~ Harnessing Atoms, Affordable Ergs & Eliminating Want; (3) Cognitive ~ Augmentation, Uploading & Minimizing Irrationality; (4) Social ~ Achieving Equity-at-Scale & Ending Injustice; (5)  Economological ~ Seeking Prosperity while Avoiding Ecocide, plus, of course, (6) Astronomical ~ Offworlding, Backing-up Civilization & Seeking the Stars
  • EPIC TIES = Exponential Prosperity Inclusion & Creativity via Transformative Innovation & Entrepreneurial Solutions ~ People have wondered, if I were to have had a Media Lab research group, what would it be called...  EPIC TIES because it's about creative connections across scales, from neurological & cognitive to sociological & entrepreneurial.
  • ION Innovation Observatory Network & Socioscopes ~ Tools for observing us at ever finer resolution and ever greater scale for systems, experimental, and computational socioscience.
  • 5M's = My Innovation Observatory loop of Measure Mine Model Make Manipulate (or Market-test) and repeat.  Measuring data with socioscopes, Mining for patterns, Modeling for causal understanding.  Making prototype interventions which could help and/or validate understanding.  Manipulating (or Market-testing) those made interventions in the sociosystem, ideally with one or more intervention plus control groups to discern changes.  Then Measure & repeat repeatedly.
  • 5P's = People Projects Places Policies Planet ~ My realms of interest & action within EPIC TIES.
  • Engineering Revolutions ~ My multiple entendre about the organization and engineering of revolutions (social, political, scientific and otherwise) as well as the realm of revolutions in engineering ability and the commercialization thereof via Revolutionary Ventures, including such funding mechanisms as VCPE, SPACs, RIBOs and more.
  • RIBOs or Research & Innovation Backed Obligations ~ Basically my better name for Andy Lo-style R&D megabonds to fund portfolios of radical research from ideation through blockbuster impact.
  • Orchestrating Serendipity ~ Seeking to achieve a seemingly oxymoronic optimum between allowing for chance ideas & connections while also nudging, tuning, prompting, and otherwise trying to maximize the likelihood of constructive chance.  This is especially the role of hosts in social gatherings, instructors in project classes, advisors to research groups, etc.
  • Combinatoric Collaboration ~ When Problem-Domain experts systematically meet and work with Solution-Domain experts to see where there are prospective overlaps in their research agendae and possibly fruitful outcomes.  MIT Institute Professor Bob Langer is perhaps one of the most productive such collaborators, consistently connecting with complementary peers with results in now multiple fields.  Ed Boyden has taught this approach in our Revolutionary Ventures class for years now (and is himself a great practitioner.)
  • Radical Research & Transformative Technologies ~ Top things that matter most including Cryonics, Revitalization, Rejuvenation, Longevity, Fusion, Photrolysis, Robomation, etc.
  • CRISIS Solutions = Civilizational Resilience Innovations which are Smart, Inclusive, and Scalable. For starters, urgently addressing Covid-19 -- fighting the "fire", recovering better, and preventing in future instead of repeating -- but ultimately solutions can be anything to do with societal strengthening, urban resilience, maximizing human benefit in face of disaster. Both high and low-tech, hard and soft. Especially short term, but also medium and long. Plus across the spectrum from dot.gov and dot.com to dot.org and across scales from personal < local < urban < national < planetary.
  • Spinonyms ~ Endlessly thinking of better names for things (including spinonym itself).  Things like:  Plastoleum, Plantoleum, Photoleum, Ultraffordable, Robomation, Aridia, Avatari, Socioscopes, RIBOs, Artrocity, Architorture, and a long list of others.  Plus names for my students companies.
  • Cloud Academies ~ All learning from nursery through K-12, vocational, university, and continuing increasingly has a digitally-enabled dimension.  The most advanced and even stand-alone of such efforts are Cloud Academies.  MIT's hosted OCW OpenCourseWare and this past year gone mostly online for undergrad through professional education offerings.  Salman Khan's Khan Academy is a breakthrough example serving youth worldwide.  Claude Grunitzky's TAU or True Africa University is a new attempt to serve the massive youthful continent of Africa's underserved talent with digital & mobile-first educational offerings.
  • Beyond STEM, Enabling DREAMS ~ I really want a more embracive and less crappy acronym than STEM, STEAM, STREAM, etc.  My best idea so far is DREAMS = Design Reasoning Engineering Arts Maths & Science
  • Literacy, Numeracy, Computency ~ Computational Competency, algorithmic thinking -- Computency -- is the new literacy and the new numeracy, the new basic minimums for educated citizenry of the 21st Century.
  • Accelerated Convergence ~ Going 321, from Third World to First in a Generation.  This is inspired by Lee Kwan Yew's autobiography about his leading Singapore, plus Hans Roslings TED talk on the accelerated convergence of India and China catching up economically to the prosperous countries.  And that this convergence has happened in the past with US catching up to UK, Japan and a decade later South Korea similarly catching up.  And now the two global giants.
  • Economies of Flexibility ~ In too many places, I've seen the failure modes of emphasizing Economies of Scale, where bigger is supposedly better, more efficient, etc.  But for a variety of reasons, including resilience, anti-fragility, local tuning, responsiveness, jurisdictional arbitrage, and more, I think we need far more emphasize on Economies of Flexibility, ultra-locality, on-demand solutions, etc.  3DPrinting of Covid supplies by MIT spinoffs FormLabs and OPT are just two examples.
  • Labless Pharma ~ Just like we had “fabless semiconductors” value chain emerge disentangling tools from designs from fabrication from packaging from component bundling, there’s an analogous “labless biopharma” value chain evolving.  Or is there a better name for it?
  • Art Vivo ~ There's an emergent green arts & architecture movement as big a wave as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus, International Modern Style, etc, in their day.  I'm calling it "Art Vivo" in homage to Nuvo, Deco, Inmo, etc.  Some like "ecopunk" better in homage to cyberpunk, steampunk, etc.
  • Vital Cities ~ Seeking green, clean, vibrant, delightful, livable, and creative places.  Over half of humanity are already urbanites.  By 2050 it could be pushing three quarters and of a bigger population.  Something like a billion new urbanites in each of the next three decades, which is ~100 million per year or roughly a Manhattan per month of new city development.  So it behooves us to do it better than we have for the last century of so in the petrochemical-fueled internal combustion era.
  • Sci Fab ~ Science Fiction can inspire fabrication and vice-versa, plus can help us understand the trendscape of humanity and envisioneer better futures.
  • AITs = Asset Investment Trusts ~ A generalization of REITs Real Estate Investment Trusts to embrace more ownership varieties, e.g. CoREITS or Cooperative REITs, as well as non-Real Estate, including tangibles (e.g. leasable capital equipment such as airplanes, construction equipment, railroad cars, containers, ships, etc), and intangibles (e.g. intellectual property portfolios such as patents, copyrights on movies, songs, writings, etc).
  • Digital Immortality ~ I'm increasingly enamored with the idea of prototyping Digital Immortality.  Basically training SU -- "Synthetic You" -- on all of your writings, sayings, etc, and having it run in parallel with you.  At any and all decision point junctures, you agree or disagree (with shades of subtlety) and thus train "essyou" or maybe we call it MyAI?  Among other things that come to mind are (a) textual reasoning, what would I write, (b) verbal tonation, how would I say it, (c) gestural & facial mannerisms, what characteristic moves. But the reasoning learning part would have to include (i) capacity for inconsistency, (ii) known vectors of change-of-mind over time, (iii) ability to apply principles to contexts in often non-obvious ways, (iv) deciding whether synthetic me would OR would not embrace my foibles, e.g. moods, illnesses, booze, and (v) distinguishing between outward-facing behaviors in private or public, and inner personal dialog and "true" thoughts (which would have to be overted).  Plus, of course, mere predictive duplication of a person's everyday reactions is all the obvious stuff. To get really interesting we need to put their creativity-in-a-box. Basically to "can" the most creative of human capabilities. Not easy! Not AI but AC Artificial Creativity.  And merely being able to clone with code our most creative isn't the end of it. Then we have zillions of instances of those most creative beavering away at the big problems. More interesting yet are the prospects for Combinatoric Creativity, the multiplexing of creative instances for ideation, collaboration, and deep recombinations.
  • Avatari ~ Watch what happens when Netflix merges with Epic (after absorbing Spotify) to create the ultimate alternative to the applsoftazonooglebabacent multiverse. I'm calling it... Avatari
  • What does M.I.T. mean? ~ Someone once asked me, what does MIT stand for? Beyond the obvious, I replied, it's Magicians In Training in homage to Clarke's "sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Hiroshi Ishii seemed to really like that one;-) Then when MIT Muddy Charles Pub spinoff Venture Cafe co-founders Carrie Stalder and Timothy Rowe asked, I said Money Ideas Talent! That became the founding logo of the Cafe for years and still represents the core combinatoric ethos of our MIT Venture classes. 
  • Iterate Escalate & Recombinate ~ Media Lab compadres Birago Jones and Karthik Dinakar asked me one day at the Muddy, what should the Lab's motto be? Obama had just harshed "Demo or Die" -- Die, really?! -- and Joi's "Deploy" seemed a bit short-termist or even mercenary. I was in a pretty shitty mood, so in a bit of a funk, but that got me going, and after thinking about it I said Iterate & Escalate! Then later adding systematic wildcardery to become Iterate Escalate Recombinate. I suppose the initial Ideate is implicit.
  • Inventing MIT ~ Building on my MIT MOT thesis The Innovation Institute, subsequent opus Inventing MIT would be my synthesis of everything that both built the Institute and continues to make it great through relentless re-invention.
  • MIT Innovation Tours
  • Aridia & Oasis Cities ~
  • CoDev = Cooperative Development
  • Innovation Epicenters
  • Jurisdictional Optimization ~
  • Island Economies
  • Gollywood
  • Envisioneering & Futurecrafting
  • ABC = Autonomous But Connected ~ Basically exploring Holons and Holarchies, something covered very nicely in Daniel Suarez's Daemon & FreedomTM.
  • FutureSMITH ~ Self Money Ideas Talent Humanity
  • Facts ~ To set the record straight:  (1)  I did the first global study of MIT entrepreneurs, not later MIT Sloan professors.  (2)  I proposed & thus initiated what became the Development Ventures class and later MIT Legatum, not MIT Media Lab faculty.  (3)  I co-founded all the ventures-related classes at MIT Media Lab.  (4)  I proposed combining AI for Impact with our ventures classes, not others.  (5)  I proposed the first and second credit-bearing MIT IAP entrepreneurship classes.  (6)  The list goes on.

02 August 2020

Systematics ~ Sociome, Diseasome, Interactome

Tim Clancy spots this complex systems hierarchy infographic from Handbook of Systems and Complexity in Health, 2013...
"A great example of systems thinking. The Manifest (top), Latent (middle), and Deep Latent (bottom) levels of hierarchy in a complex system.  In truth there are many levels of hierarchy in any system -- and what gets modeled or represented is a design choice based on problem definition and boundary selection."

20 April 2020

Covid-19 Testing ~ Diagnostic Tech Strategies...

The Center of Complex Interventions (CCI) offers COVID-19 RNA Testing Technology Assessment...
"This living document aims to survey the technical aspects of these diagnostic tests, outline the features and current limitations of their underlying technologies, formulate a modular framework for the assessment of the existing (and upcoming) tests workflows, and help depict a clearer and more comprehensive picture of this rapidly evolving space."
Here's the current testing landscape mapping cost vs speed...

18 April 2020

Heroines ~ Artist Manara's Homage to Frontliners

Italian graphic novel artist/illustrator Milo Manara pays homage to the current pandemic's heroic women drawing rather differently than usual...
"Posting his work, he talks about his appreciation of doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers, cleaners, shop assistants, police, delivery workers and more. In terms of content matter, it is still recognisably his work, but it has a different focus."

25 March 2020

Calling Bullshit ~ Factcheck Covid-19 Misinfo

WIRED's Tom Simonite writes about The Professors Who Call ‘Bullshit’ on Covid-19 Misinformation...
"Jevin West told fellow University of Washington professor Carl Bergstrom that he was starting a new course on big data. The pair worked together to develop a course, Calling Bullshit, broadening the scope to offer tips on how to detect and disarm spurious appeals to data and science in anything from TED talks to medical papers. The syllabus went viral [Now] the pandemic has added Miracle-Gro to what Bergstrom and West’s course calls the “natural ecology of bullshit.” Despite the bullshit bonanza, West says he has been pleased to see medical experts fighting incorrect information on social networks and tech companies such as Facebook and Google adding banners and filters to fight or block coronavirus misinformation."
As an example...
"University of Washington professor Kate Starbird used a database of tweets about Covid-19 to create this chart showing how retweets (blue circles), quotes (orange diamonds), or retweets of quotes (green circles), boosted a tweet sharing inaccurate scientific claims about the novel coronavirus."

13 March 2020

Covid-19 Trendscape ~ Comparative Exponentials

Andreas Burkert has been updating Covid-19 exponential trendscape plots.  This one's most recent as of Friday 13th posting, but see his FB page for the latest...

10 March 2020

Flattening the Curve ~ Mitigating Covid-19....

David Reiley writes...
"Here's something we all need to know. In China, when the spread of the virus is slow, we see a 1% death rate among those infected. When the spread of the virus is fast, hospitals get overloaded, ventilators become too scarce, and the death rate goes up to around 5%. (Italy, probably about a week or two ahead of the US in infections, is currently rationing medical equipment among the dying.) Note that the curve changes shape as people take more preventive measures, but the area under the curve remains more or less constant. About the same total number of people will be contracting the virus, but when that happens over a longer period of time you’re vastly more likely to get medical care if your situation becomes critical. Even with a slow growth rate, we're likely to lose 30 million people worldwide over the next two years. With a fast growth rate, that number could be 150 million."

11 February 2020

Humanity’s Sweet Spot ~ Sustainable + Social

MIT colleague Anna Waldman-Brown spotlit this provocative infographic in one of her "Academic frustrations of the day", a plot of...
"...the extent to which a country is meeting its people’s essential needs while at the same time ensuring that its use of Earth’s resources remains within its share of the planet’s biophysical boundaries."
This is on Kate Raworth's page and is named (terribly) "doughnut economics". But I like the graphic... The quadrants represent alternative thematas to "developed" vs "developing" and stand for:
A. Countries that are barely crossing any planetary boundaries, but are falling very far short on meeting people’s needs
B. Many middle-income, ‘emerging’ economies are both falling short on social needs while already crossing biophysical boundaries.
C. Today’s high-income countries cannot be called developed, given that their resource consumption is greatly overshooting Earth’s boundaries and, in the process, undermining prospects for all other countries.
D. No country is yet in sweet-spot cluster D (for Doughnut!) – so how many years until some are there, and which will make it there first?

American Evolution ~ Rails, Roads & US Cities!

The FT shares this compelling piece Mapping how railroads built America mashing up the evolution of US railroads over time with the growth in physical expansion and population of American cities...
"A new look at antique US railroad maps reveals how cities grew over the past 200 years. The FT's Alan Smith and Steven Bernard trace how cities, people and the economy spread from coast to coast"

01 February 2020

Inclusive Economies ~ Spring 2020 @ MIT D-Lab

Together with colleagues Kate Mytty and Libby McDonald, I'm co-teaching the Inclusive Economies seminar at MIT this Spring 2020 every Wed morning starting Feb 5th from 9:30-11:30a in N51-310, the D-Lab classroom area!
We explore how innovations and market mechanisms can benefit humanity by rallying impact investments, engaging participants cooperatively, boosting equity and resilience, and broadening prosperity. We look at market mechanisms for maximizing participation, choice, and growth; impact investing approaches which are socially responsible and include metrics that matter; cooperative and mutual ownership structures for shared gains; equitable citizen participation in basic and natural resource wealth; and the role of new technologies and methods towards boosting affordability, accessibility, and overall inclusive prosperity.

30 January 2020

AI for Impact ~ Spring 2020 @ MIT Media Lab

Together with colleagues Professors Alex "Sandy" Pentland and Ramesh Raskar, I'm co-teaching the AI for Impact seminar this Spring 2020 every Monday afternoon starting Feb 3rd from 2:30-4:30a in E14-633, the penthouse classroom on top of the MIT Media Lab! Our class goal is to bring computational, analytics, and AI techniques to bear on solving problems in the high impact realms of health & wellness, cities & sustainability, education & content, finance & commerce, and civics & governance across scales of action from each of us as individuals to embracing all of humanity, in both developed and emerging markets alike. We want to help students identify top AI opportunities for impact and help make progress towards building prototypes, planning action ventures, and/or better understanding the emerging technology and impact trendscape.
Also known as "Media Ventures" and formerly also known as "Imaging Ventures", “AI Ventures”, and "Digital Anthropology", this “AI for Impact” class seeks answers to the question: If you could make almost anything, what's actually most worth making, i.e. what problems are most worth picking? We believe starting with the right problem is 90% of what makes for great projects and ultimately epic, worthy solutions.

29 January 2020

Surreal Value ~ Apple's Exponential Exhuberance

The FT reports on the Apple Effect...
"When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, it was valued at $3bn, less than one-tenth of Siemens, Europe’s largest industrial group then and now. Today, Apple is worth more than Germany’s 30 leading companies."

27 January 2020

Suspended Animation ~ Cool Emergency Surgery

The Guardian's Science Editor Ian Sample wrote in Nov 2019 about Humans put into suspended animation for first time...
"The process involves rapidly cooling the brain to less than 10C by replacing the patient’s blood with ice-cold saline solution. Typically the solution is pumped directly into the aorta, the main artery that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Known formally as emergency preservation and resuscitation, or EPR, the procedure is being trialled on people who sustain such catastrophic injuries that they are in danger of bleeding to death and who suffer a heart attack shortly before they can be treated."
This seems to me to be proto-cryonics as well as learning lessons from the many accidental hypothermia cases.

23 January 2020

Democracy 2019 ~ Economist Index of World Pox

The Economist says...
"Democracy is in retreat, according to the latest edition of the Democracy Index from our sister company, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). This annual survey, which rates the state of democracy across 167 countries based on five measures -- electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties -- finds that democracy has been eroded around the world in the past year. The global score of 5.44 out of ten is the lowest recorded since the index began in 2006. Just 22 countries, home to 430m people, were deemed “full democracies” by the EIU. More than a third of the world’s population, meanwhile, still live under authoritarian rule."

15 January 2020

MIT Nuts & Bolts of New Ventures ~ IAP Jan 2020

On Tuesday night, 21 January 2020, Joe Hadzima and I kick off the latest incarnation -- the 31st year (!!) -- of our MIT Nuts & Bolts of New Ventures course over the MIT Independent Activities Period (IAP 2020). Joe starts with the essence of business planning as a process of iterative imagination and special guest speaker Bob Jones shares how to present venture essentials. My primary topic is Team & Organizational issues, our special guest speakers (mostly MIT alums, all entrepreneurs) cover the essentials everyone ought to know about new venturing, including how to identify customers, pitch a concept, raise money, model financials, deal with legalities, negotiate with people, and holistically integrate this all together.

Sessions are evenings over the next two weeks Tue, Wed, and Thurs nights 1/21-1/30 from 6-9p in 10-250 -- i.e. in our prime MIT lecture hall under the iconic Great Dome. Folks can choose whether to attend all sessions, plus doing the (useful) written homework assignment, and registering For Credit (3 Units, Pass/Fail for 15.393 online via Websis) or to come for any (or all) nights and simply participate as a Listener. All MIT affiliates and colleagues -- including students, faculty, staff, post-docs, alums, spouses, relatives, and friends -- are welcome on a space-available basis with priority for registered full-time undergrad and grad students. We also continue to welcome students from our sister schools in Boston-metro (e.g. Wellesley, Harvard, BU, Tufts, etc) as well as Members of the MIT Enterprise Forum network. Those interested, please simply join us at 6pm in our MIT 10-250 classroom.

05 January 2020

Losing Faith ~ Shifts in Religous Zeal Appeal

The Economist spotlights Arab Barometer religious trendscape...
"NO TO RELIGION or sect,” cry the protesters in Iraq. “No to Islam, no to Christianity, revolt for the nation,” echo those in Lebanon. Across the Arab world people are turning against religious political parties and the clerics who helped bring them to power. Many appear to be giving up on Islam, too. These trends are reflected in new data from Arab Barometer, a pollster that surveys Arab countries. Across the region the share of people expressing much trust in political parties, most of which have a religious tint, has fallen by well over a third since 2011, to 15%. (The share of Iraqis who say they do not trust parties at all rose from 51% to 78%.) The decline in trust for Islamist parties is similarly dramatic, falling from 35% in 2013, when the question was first widely asked, to 20% in 2018."

28 December 2019

21 December 2019

Mapping Corruption ~ Transparency to Opacity

Visual Capitalist's Chart of the Week maps Transparency International 2018 data about corruption perceptions worldwide...