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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: 2017-07-17T06:00:37-04:00

 



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

2017-06-19T07:44:42-04:00

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...



Automation and Employment in the 21st Century

2017-01-23T15:57:09-05:00

Ever since the advent of industrialization over 200 years ago, there’ve been periodic fears about the impact of technology-based automation on jobs. In the 1810s, for example, the so-called Luddites smashed the new machines that were threatening their textile jobs....



Machine Learning and Knowledge Discovery

2017-02-27T13:33:02-05:00

After decades of promise and hype, artificial intelligence is finally achieving an inflection point of market success. It’s now seemingly everywhere In the past few years, the necessary ingredients have come together to propel AI forward beyond the research labs...



The Fourth Industrial Revolution - Risks and Benefits

2017-02-18T11:48:39-05:00

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) was the central theme of the 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) that took place a year ago in Davos, Switzerland. It continued to play a prominent role in the recently concluded 2017 annual meeting. Coming...



The Future of the Globally Integrated Enterprise

2017-02-13T11:25:45-05:00

“In Retreat: Global companies in the era of protectionism,” reads the cover of the January 28 issue of The Economist. In The retreat of the global company, The Economist defines global firms as those where over 30% of their sales...



The Emerging, Unpredictable Age of AI

2017-02-07T06:41:01-05:00

In a 1930 essay, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, English economist John Maynard Keynes wrote about the onset of “a new disease” which he called technological unemployment, that is “unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use...



The Competitive Value of Data: From Analytics to Machine Learning

2017-01-31T06:01:27-05:00

A recent article by NY Times reporter Steve Lohr discussed the rising importance of data as a major competitive differentiator. The article noted that regulators, policy makers and academics in Europe and the US are increasingly concerned that the vast...



AI and Public Policy

2017-01-19T09:57:30-05:00

Two years ago, Stanford University launched the One Hundred Year Study of AI (AI100), “to study and anticipate how the effects of artificial intelligence will ripple through every aspect of how people work, live and play.” One of its key...



The Internet, Blockchain, and the Evolution of Foundational Innovations

2017-01-15T10:59:59-05:00

Last year, a panel of global experts convened by the World Economic Forum selected blockchain as one of the Top Ten Emerging Technologies for 2016, based on its potential to fundamentally change the way economies work. But, how transformative will...



AI, Automation and the US Economy

2017-01-10T06:17:44-05:00

On December 20, the White House released Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy, a new report that investigates how AI will likely transform job markets over time, and recommends policy responses to address AI’s impact on the US economy. This...



Securing the Foundations of our Digital Economy

2017-01-02T08:00:07-05:00

In February of 2016, the President issued an Executive Order establishing the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity within the Department of Commerce. The Commission was charged with “recommending bold, actionable steps that the government, private sector, and the nation as...



The 2016 MIT Inclusive Innovation Awards

2016-12-26T07:37:31-05:00

Several months ago, MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy launched its first annual Inclusive Innovation Competition (IIC). MIT is one of the world’s top research universities, renowned as well for its entrepreneurial culture. But the objectives of the IIC are...



Becoming a Data-Driven Business: Challenges and Opportunities

2016-12-19T16:32:20-05:00

A few weeks ago, McKinsey published The age of analytics: Competing in a data-driven world, a comprehensive report on the state of big data, and in particular, on the challenges and opportunities a company faces as it strives to become...



The Transformative Power of Cloud Computing

2016-12-12T07:09:26-05:00

I was recently involved in two different meetings, each convened by an IT research organization focused on providing strategic advice to CIOs. My participation in each of the CIO meetings was in the form of a fireside chat with a...



How Will AI Likely Impact How We Work, Live and Play?

2016-12-05T06:57:52-05:00

A few weeks ago I discussed whether AI is finally reaching a tipping point, mostly based on a recently published report, - Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030. The report was developed by a study panel of AI experts convened...



Digital Twin: Bringing the Physical and Digital Worlds Closer Together

2016-12-23T17:13:12-05:00

A few weeks ago I first learned about a relatively new concept - Digital Twin. A Digital Twin is essentially a computerized companion to a real-world entity, be it an industrial physical asset like a jet engine, an individual’s health...



The Evolution of the Firm

2016-11-21T13:43:48-05:00

A few weeks ago I discussed The Rise of the Global Superstar Company based on a recent special report on the subject by The Economist. The report noted that the decade-long trend toward increasingly concentrated global firms is somewhat surprising....



Towards a Trusted Framework for Identity and Data Sharing

2016-11-14T06:39:46-05:00

I recently participated in a Treasury Identity Forum organized by the US Treasury Department in Washington, DC. The Forum focused “on the critical role of legal identity for financial inclusion, economic development, and anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) safeguards,...



The Rise of the Global Superstar Company

2016-11-08T05:42:17-05:00

The September 17 issue of The Economist included a special report on the rise of so called superstar companies. “Disruption may be the buzzword in boardrooms, but the most striking feature of business today is not the overturning of the...



Is Design Thinking the “New Liberal Arts”?

2016-10-31T07:46:26-04:00

Design thinking has become an increasingly popular topic of discussion over the past decade. It was featured in the September, 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review with several articles on the subject. Design is no longer just for physical...



Has AI (Finally) Reached a Tipping Point?

2016-10-24T08:53:09-04:00

After many years of promise and hype, AI seems to be finally reaching a tipping point of market acceptance. “Artificial intelligence is suddenly everywhere… it is proliferating like mad.” So starts a Vanity Fair article published around two years ago...



Reflections on the Development of Implementable, Winning Strategies

2016-10-18T08:46:43-04:00

I recently read an article by strategy consultant and writer Ken Favaro which nicely explained how to best think about strategy in today’s business environment. “Many business leaders subscribe to the classic definition of strategy as a set of actions...



Blockchains: the Promise of More Frictionless, Trusted Economies

2016-10-11T07:21:06-04:00

Why do firms exist? Ronald Coase, - the eminent British economist and University of Chicago professor, - addressed this question in The Nature of the Firm, - a seminal paper published in 1937 which along with other major achievements earned...



Competing Against “Digital Invaders”

2016-10-04T06:38:57-04:00

Last year, IBM’s Institute for Business Value conducted a C-suite study aimed at identifying the key disruptive trends that will likely impact companies around the world over the next three to five years, as well as what their senior executives...



Why Are We Stuck in a World of Slow Economic Growth? Nobody Seems to Know for Sure

2017-01-23T15:24:38-05:00

Over the past few centuries, the natural sciences, - e.g. physics, chemistry, biology, - have developed a variety of principles and models. These have enabled them to analyze and predict the behavior of our highly complex physical systems under widely...



Blockchain Can Reshape Financial Services… But it Will Take Significant Time and Investment

2016-09-19T13:10:13-04:00

In early August, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published two excellent reports: A Blueprint for Digital Identity, - which I wrote about a few weeks ago, - and The future of financial infrastructure: An ambitious look at how blockchain can...



STEM Literacy and Jobs

2016-09-13T05:21:14-04:00

In the early days of the Industrial Revolution, it’s been estimated that around 12% of the world's population was literate. Literacy rates increased throughout the 19th century, as people started moving from the countryside to towns and cities for the...



Automation Technologies and the Future of Work

2016-09-06T06:40:04-04:00

Last year, McKinsey launched a multi-year study to explore the potential impact of automation technologies on jobs, organizations and the future of work. “Can we look forward to vast improvements in productivity, freedom from boring work, and improved quality of...



Digital Identity - the Key to Privacy and Security in the Digital World

2016-09-08T09:45:33-04:00

From time immemorial, our identity systems have been based on face-to-face interactions and on physical documents and processes. But, the transition to a digital economy requires radically different identity systems. In a world that’s increasingly governed by digital transactions and...



Blockchain - Once Again, the Technological Genie Has Been Unleashed from its Bottle

2016-08-22T18:05:09-04:00

Skeptics needing further reassurance that the Blockchain is truly reaching a tipping point can rest easier with the recent publication of Don Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution, co-written with his son Alex. Don, whom I’ve long known, has a knack for identifying...



The Top Ten Emerging Technologies of 2016

2016-07-28T08:07:15-04:00

For the past several years, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has published an annual list of the Top Ten Emerging Technologies that would likely have the greatest impact on the world in the years to come. A few weeks ago,...



Is There a STEM Crisis or a STEM Surplus?

2016-08-05T07:39:21-04:00

Is the US facing a critical shortage of STEM skills? Do we have enough STEM workers to meet the demands of the labor market? Are enough young people choosing STEM careers so we can meet future demands? Such serious concerns...