Baby boomers like myself clearly recall the tumultuous years leading up to the Bicentennial of the United States. The world we grew up in was near the peak of the industrial revolution, dominated by the aftermath of the Great Depression, WW2, and the Cold War. We were raised in a culture that had witnessed first-hand the power of a unified government, which led to the victory of fascism in our parent’s generation, followed by a round trip to the moon in our own. In the childhood of my generation, nothing was impossible with sufficient government power. Read More
Given the systemic nature and scale of the financial crisis, and in consideration of the poor ongoing economic conditions, it’s clear that the industry, political process, and regulators have all fallen short of achieving the individual mission of each, particularly in consideration of current technological capabilities.
For the past several months financial institutions have been trying to convince regulators that they should not be labeled a Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI). The process of implementing the 2010 Dodd-Frank law in the U.S. has resulted in spin offs in an attempt to avoid increased U.S. regulation, while the new global rules for multi-national banks on top of Basel III, including surcharges and increased capital ratios, is resulting in a comprehensive rethink of the fundamental assumptions surrounding the global banking model. Read More
If the financial crisis confirmed anything, it is that the majority of humans are followers, not leaders, and that leaders throughout our society have yet to capture the significance of technology to their members and organizations.
One of the primary causal factors cited by thought leaders in studying crises is poor leadership, to include those who accept misaligned or conflicted interests. When we see “skimming off the top” in others we label it corruption, yet few see it in themselves at all, or choose to ignore it, resulting in the same outcome. While balance is obviously needed for survival—indeed managing that balance well is key for modern leaders, when we over-emphasize short-term profits, we then elevate the influence and power of those who are skilled at winning very short-term battles, rather than long-term wars. I have personally experienced that strategy in organizations and observed it in many others; it doesn’t end well. Read More
Above is a screen capture of an internal Kyield document that displays a graphic and text illustration of the high costs of data silos to individual organizations, regions, and society based on actual cases we have studied; in some case based on public information and in others private, confidential information. This is intended for a slide-show type of presentation so does not go into great detail. Suffice to say that human suffering, lives lost, and wars that could have been prevented that were not are inseparably intertwined with economics and ecology, which is why I have viewed this issue as one ultimately of sustainability, particularly when considering the obstacles of silos to scientific discovery, innovation, and learning as well as crisis prevention.
I have argued consistently since the mid 1990s that the global medium (combined Internet and Web) increasingly reflects the global economy, and that rational, functional regulation is essential. I started this journey then with a very similar ideology to Alan Greenspan before the financial crisis; that self-regulation should be sufficient to prevent systemic crises, but in practice it has failed to do so.
Most of the actual regulation in computer networking today is accomplished via manipulation of architecture in one form or another, but technical standards on the web are voluntary, as the Tech Review article The Web is Reborn highlights, which was apparently in response to the article The Web is Dead at Wired earlier in the year. In the U.S. we are really reliant on primarily one form of regulation on the Web other than proprietary architecture and voluntary standards, which is social. Social regulation has evolved with the consumer web, occasionally demonstrating some power—as was recently demonstrated with Facebook security issues, but social regulations has also proved self-destructive at times, particularly regarding sustainable economics and jobs. Few if any consumers can see how their actions on the Web are impacting their own regional economy or industry, meaning that the blind is often leading the blind towards dangerous hazards in a similar fashion to the housing crisis. Ignorance is being exploited…. click to continue Read More
The net neutrality issue is finally being debated, thanks not to populist politics, but rather the supply and demand dynamics of electromagnetic spectrum. Unfortunately, I believe activists and advocates have been exploited all along on this issue, often apparently without their awareness. Read More
After struggling with a very difficult decision, we have decided not to attend the mHealth summit later this year hosted by the Foundation for the National Institute of Health. To the best of my knowledge, the Kyield healthcare platform is the most novel in the world relative to meeting the mission and objectives of the Summit, but their policies contain a fatal flaw that may prevent those who engage from achieving an economically sustainable model, without which it will be impossible to achieve their stated goals. The applicants for the mHealth technology presentations were required to be free to consumers. Read More
I was recently approached by a consultant who came out of “big oil”. This person was writing a book on credibility and making the ancient pitch that perception is reality—all that mattered was the perception of the oil industry. We exchanged about a dozen emails on the Gulf disaster, innovation, and crisis prevention, until I… Read More
It seems that every few weeks we hear of another major series of tragedies leading to a crisis that could have been substantially mitigated, if not entirely prevented. Among the most disturbing to discover, and most costly, are those involving safety issues that either threaten or cause loss of life.
Often has been the case during the past decade when the organization involved has been a government agency, but this quarter Toyota wins the prize for failure to act on the digital dots in the enterprise (in fairness Toyota should share the prize with NHTSA—also the front runners for the annual prize—it’s still early in the year). Read More
Jenny Zaino at SemanticWeb.com asked a group of us to provide predictions for 2010. An interesting mix and worth a close look, particularly for those seeking input from the front lines of Web innovation.