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Preview: Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Irving Wladawsky-Berger



A collection of observations, news and resources on the changing nature of innovation, technology, leadership, and other subjects.



Updated: 2018-02-19T06:32:20-05:00

 



Blockchain and the Promise of an Open, Decentralized Internet

2018-02-19T06:32:20-05:00

The January 21 issue of the NY Times Magazine included a very good article, Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble, by science writer Steven Johnson. His article aims to explain what blockchain, cryptocurrencies and related technologies are all about as well as...



Human Beings Need a Story

2018-02-12T07:11:31-05:00

It wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t have much use for probabilities in our daily life, - outside of weather reports, election predictions, baseball and financial markets. But that’s all changed with the growing datafication of the economy and...



Will There Be Enough Work in the Future?

2018-02-05T07:35:21-05:00

Will there be enough work in the future? Opinions are fairly divided between those who believe that technology advances will reduce human jobs, and those who believe that technology advances will produce as many jobs as they displace. It’s easier...



The Challenges of Executing a Transformational Strategy

2018-01-29T06:01:34-05:00

The 2018 MIT CIO Symposium will take place on May 23. This year’s Symposium will be focused on the challenges of executing a digital transformation strategy. It’s no longer enough to have formulated a digital strategy for the business. As...



The Impact of Automation on Everyday Life

2018-01-12T08:29:28-05:00

This past October, the Pew Research Center released Automation in Everyday Life, a report on what Americans think about advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics, and the impact they expect them to have on their everyday lives. The report...



Cloud Computing and the Supply Chain of Services

2018-01-15T07:25:45-05:00

In 2008 I gave a talk at a conference on The Promise and Reality of Cloud Computing. In his closing remarks, the conference organizer noted that most everyone had agreed that something big and profound was going on, but they...



AI and the Productivity Paradox

2018-01-08T06:02:11-05:00

AI is being successfully applied to tasks that not long ago were viewed as the exclusive domain of humans, matching or surpassing human level performance in more and more domains. But, at the same time, productivity growth has significantly declined...



Blockchain and the Music Industry: Turning Pennies into Dollars

2018-01-02T06:06:51-05:00

Just about every industry has been significantly transformed in the past few decades. But few have been as disrupted as the music industry. Everything seems to be changing at once, from the way content is produced and delivered, to the...



The Rise of Winner-Take-All Urbanism

2018-01-03T07:18:06-05:00

Earlier this year, Richard Florida published Why America’s Richest Cities Keep Getting Richer in The Atlantic. Florida is a leading urban studies author and researcher, professor at the University of Toronto and Director of Cities at its Martin Prosperity Institute....



AI and The Future of Work

2018-02-10T07:03:43-05:00

Last month I attended AI and the Future of Work, a conference hosted by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and its Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). The two-day agenda included over 20 keynotes and panels on...



The Emergence of Industry 4.0

2017-12-11T05:59:52-05:00

Over the past few years, Industry 4.0, - aka the 4th Industrial Revolution, - has been the subject of several articles, studies, and surveys, as well as a book published earlier this year by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman...



A Historical Perspective on the Digital Economy

2018-02-08T11:11:37-05:00

A few months ago, the magazine strategy+business (s+b) published a roundtable discussion between s+b editor-in-chief Art Kleiner, economic historian Carlota Perez, and PwC UK partner Leo Johnson. The discussion was centered on Perez’s theory of technology revolutions and economic cycles....



Human-AI Decision Systems

2017-11-27T07:56:02-05:00

I recently read The Human Strategy, a very interesting article on Human-AI decision systems by MIT Media Lab professor Sandy Pentland. Pentland is the faculty director of MIT Connection Science, - with which I’m associated as a Fellow, - as...



Where is Technology Taking the Economy

2017-11-20T07:09:48-05:00

I recently read Where is Technology Taking the Economy?, an article in McKinsey Quarterly by W. Brian Arthur, - External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute , Visiting Researcher at PARC, and former faculty member at Stanford University. According to...



The Top Ten Emerging Technologies of 2017

2017-10-07T07:34:29-04:00

Earlier this year, Scientific American, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, published a special report on The Top Ten Emerging Technologies of 2017. These technologies, - selected by a global panel of experts, - “are expected to become increasingly...



The MIT 2017 Inclusive Innovation Challenge

2017-11-06T07:27:07-05:00

The MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) was organized in 2013 by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andy McAfee to examine the impact of digital technologies on the world. Understanding the future of work and jobs is one of the major...



A Novel Approach for Measuring the True Impact of the Digital Economy

2017-11-06T10:44:56-05:00

Gross domestic product (GDP), the basic measure of a country’s overall economic output, is generally used by governments to inform their policies and decisions. “What we measure affects what we do; and if our measurements are flawed, decisions may be...



The Evolution Toward Digital Supply Chains

2017-10-23T08:20:17-04:00

Two years ago, a group of leading CEOs from around the world met in China to discuss the major issues facing their companies in the global marketplace. The meeting was organized by the Center for Global Enterprise (CGE), - the...



Jobs, Skills and Education

2017-10-16T05:20:07-04:00

Earlier this year the communications firm Burson-Marsteller along with research firm PSB interviewed 1,500 Americans from all walks of life to shed light on their feelings about the current state of the economy and their expectations for the future. “Americans...



Gender Diversity, Empathy and Technology

2017-10-09T06:32:48-04:00

What’s the value of gender diversity in technology-based disciplines? Is gender diversity an asset for technology-based companies? Are men inherently better than women at technology-based jobs? These are questions that have long been discussed. Lots of progress has been made...



The True State of Globalization

2017-10-02T07:18:14-04:00

The July-August issue of the Harvard Business Review features an article by NYU and IESE professor Pankaj Ghemawat, - Globalization in the Age of Trump: Protectionism Will Change How Companies Do Business - But Not in the Ways You Think....



Blockchain and the Future of the Firm

2017-09-25T07:13:14-04:00

Last week I wrote about Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, a recently published book by MIT’s Andy McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson. The book is organized into three main sections: Mind and Machine, Product and Platform, and Core and...



Minds and Machines

2017-09-17T10:29:19-04:00

A few months ago, Andy McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson published Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, - their third book on the impact of the 21st century digital revolution on the economy and society, - following the publication of...



Artificial Intelligence is Ready for Business; Are Businesses Ready for AI?

2017-09-11T09:30:50-04:00

AI is now seemingly everywhere. In the past few years, the necessary ingredients have come together to propel AI beyond the research labs into the marketplace: powerful, inexpensive computer technologies; advanced algorithms and models; and most important, oceans and oceans...



Platforms, Blockchains, and the Evolution of Trust

2017-09-04T10:33:30-04:00

“In primitive economies, people traded mostly with members of their village and community,” wrote David Brooks in a June, 2014 NY Times OpEd, - The Evolution of Trust. “Trust was face to face. Then, in the mass economy we’ve been...



Automation Anxieties - We’ve Been Here Before

2017-08-28T07:25:03-04:00

“The rise of artificial intelligence is the great story of our time,” notes What to Do When Machines Do Everything in its Preface. The book was published earlier this year by Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig and Ben Bring of Cognizant’s...



What’s the Core Priority of Corporate Managers?

2017-08-21T06:08:18-04:00

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, - The Error at the Heart of Corporate Leadership, - Harvard Business School professors Joseph Bower and Lynn Paine raised a number of important questions. What’s the core priority of corporate’s management, the...



Should Your Company Get on the Blockchain Learning Curve Now or Wait?

2017-08-14T06:00:05-04:00

A few weeks ago I wrote about the current state of blockchain. In particular, I asked whether blockchain is ready to cross the chasm from its early adopters, - who are already involved with blockchain in one way or another,...



Global Arbitrage and the Productivity Puzzle

2017-08-07T06:47:20-04:00

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about The Productivity Puzzle, - namely that despite our continuing technology advances, the US and other developed economies have experienced a sharp decline in productivity growth over the past 10 to 15 years....



Is Blockchain Ready to “Cross the Chasm”? Lessons from the Internet

2017-07-30T07:07:57-04:00

Earlier this year, IBM conducted the largest study to date on the state of adoption of blockchain. The study interviewed almost 3,000 C-Suite executives from over 80 countries and 20 industries to learn about their company’s blockchain plans. Survey responses...



The Productivity Puzzle

2017-07-21T16:29:55-04:00

Last year, Foreign Affairs focused its March/April issue on Surviving Slow Growth. “The first decade of the twenty-first century was a time of unprecedented economic growth,” said the issue’s introductory article. “The rich world got richer, and the developing world...



Robocalypse Now? Technology, Productivity and Employment

2017-07-13T16:52:05-04:00

Is the Robocalypse upon us?, asked MIT economist David Autor in his presentation at a recent Forum of European central bankers. His presentation was based on a paper co-written with Utrecht University economist Anna Salomons. “Is productivity growth inimical to...



On the Governance of Blockchain: Lessons from the Internet

2017-07-10T07:07:18-04:00

A few weeks ago, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released Realizing the Potential of Blockchain, a report by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution which was published in May, 2016, and founders of the recently launched Blockchain...



The Growing Value of a Dual-Track Education

2017-07-03T09:41:05-04:00

A few weeks ago I read a very interesting article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, - Why Colleges Need to Embrace the Apprenticeship. The article raised a number of important questions on the future of college education, in particular,...



Serious AI Challenges that Require Our Attention

2017-06-26T06:55:12-04:00

Several weeks ago Vanity Fair published and article by NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd, - Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the AI Apocalypse. “Elon Musk is famous for his futuristic gambles, but Silicon Valley’s latest rush to embrace artificial...



Is Blockchain the Major Next Step in the Evolution of the Internet?

2017-08-03T12:41:55-04:00

In the Fall of 1995, IBM made the decision to embrace the Internet and make it the centerpiece of its strategic directions. As the general manager of the newly formed IBM Internet Division, I spent a lot of time thinking...



Become a More Productive, Empathetic, Creative Person With the Help of AI-Based Tools

2017-06-12T06:02:03-04:00

Despite dramatic advances in technology, most of the world’s economies have been stuck in a long period of slow growth and slow productivity. This is one of the most serious challenges in our 21st century economy. Opinions abound, but there’s...



Mobile Payments - a Long, Relentless War of Attrition

2017-06-05T07:16:31-04:00

Apple Pay was launched in September of 2014. It was positioned as a relatively easy, secure way to pay for purchases in physical stores as well as online using a variety of supported Apple devices including iPhones, iPads, Macs and...



Global Trends and Business Strategy

2017-05-29T09:52:28-04:00

McKinsey recently published an article on the long-term trends that are reshaping the business environment. The article reminds us that the trend is your friend is an old adage that applies to business strategy as well as to investing. The...



The Emerging Data Economy

2017-05-22T06:47:48-04:00

The Economist’s May 6 issue referred to data in its cover as the world’s most valuable resource. Its lead article, - Data is giving rise to a new economy, - called it the fuel of the future. “Data are to...



Peering into a Confusing, Paradoxical Future

2017-05-15T07:33:41-04:00

Every four years since 1997, the US National Intelligence Council has been publishing a Global Trends report on the key trends that will shape the world over the following twenty years. This unclassified strategic report is intended to provide the...



Globalization at a Crossroads

2017-05-08T07:15:04-04:00

Earlier this year I wrote about the future of global firms, based on two recent articles on the subject, - The retreat of the global company in The Economist, and The Global Enterprise: Where to Now? in Foreign Affairs by...



Not Your Grandfather’s Manufacturing

2017-05-01T05:47:16-04:00

The February 23 issue of the NY Times Magazine was devoted to the future of work, and in particular, to what it called the new working class. The Oxford Dictionary defines working class as “The social group consisting of people...



The Simple, Economic Value of Artificial Intelligence

2017-04-24T11:19:14-04:00

I recently attended a very interesting talk , - Exploring the Impact of Artificial Intelligence: Prediction versus Judgment, - by University of Toronto professor Avi Goldfarb. The talk was based on recent research conducted with his UoT colleagues Ajay Agrawal...



What’s the Value of Blockchain?

2017-04-17T07:11:26-04:00

A few weeks ago I attended the IBM Blockchain Summit 2017 in New York. The Summit included a number of talks and panels, and - most important, - presentations of concrete blockchain use cases IBM has been working on in...



Technology, Capitalism and “The American Way of Life”

2017-04-10T06:05:35-04:00

Much has been written about our digital technology revolution and its impact on economies, societies and individuals. But few have brought the kind of historical perspective to the subject that helps us better understand our turbulent times like scholar and...



The State of American Jobs

2017-04-04T06:51:02-04:00

Last year, the Pew Research Center, - in association with the Markle Foundation, - conducted a survey about the state of American jobs to shed light on how people think about work and about the skills and training needed to...



Open Innovation 2.0

2017-03-27T06:57:02-04:00

I recently read Twelve Principles for Open Innovation 2.0, an article published last year in Nature by Martin Curley. Curley, - who’s long been involved with innovation in both his business and academic positions, - nicely summarized its evolution over...



Should the US Slowly Phase Out the $100 Bill?

2017-03-20T06:57:55-04:00

Last November, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shocked the country by banning the use of all 500- ($7.50) and 1,000-rupee ($15) notes, effectively removing over 85 percent of India’s currency in circulation. Modi said that the ban was intended to...



The Growing Importance of Storytelling in the Business World

2017-03-13T17:19:03-04:00

Communications have played a major role in my work over the past few decades. During this period, I was involved in organizing emerging business opportunities at IBM, including the Internet and Linux. Since retiring from IBM in 2007, I’ve continued...