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Archive for the ‘strategy’ category

Oct 10, 2019

Is Anticipation a Good Strategy?

Posted by in categories: education, futurism, policy, strategy, theory

Anticipation and to remain hopeful and patient in expecting a preferred future have a special place and a critical role in some moral and religious systems of faith. As a personal virtue, there are many natural, cultural, social, and educational factors that play a role in its development. However, for an economic agent and in general forward looking decision makers who follow a more secular worldview, the argument in favor of anticipation and how much it could be reasonable might be less clear. Therefore, it is worthwhile to explore when and under which circumstances we should choose anticipation. A convincing argument might be helpful. In this blog post I will build a framework based on game theory to provide a better and deeper insight.

Economists, mathematicians, and to some degree, engineers have contributed to the development of game theory. In neoclassic economics, it is assumed that each economic agent has a rational behavior. According to the prediction model based on such an assumption, decision makers, if they sell goods and services, tend to maximize profit and if they buy tend to maximize utility. In other words, people naturally seek the best and the most. Moreover, decision making is based on the principle of “predict then act”. The individual first predicts the likely consequences of choices and attribute to them utilities. In the next step, an alternative is chosen that has the best consequence or the most utility. This camp or school is often called the normative decision analysis.

Nonetheless, empirical studies on the behavior of real decision makers demonstrate that despite the prediction of rational models of choice, the individuals or economic agents, do not always follow the principle of the best and the most. In 1950s, for instance, Herbert Simon showed that when faced with uncertainty and due to lack of information about the future, there are cognitive limits to rationality such that contrary to the neoclassic economic theory, people do not make decisions rationally and logically in search of the optimal alternative. Instead they seek a combination of satisfaction and sufficing levels of utility which is also called “satisficing”. This camp or school is often called the behavioral or descriptive decision analysis. To further explain, no one can claim that in a certain decision the best alternative has been chosen, regardless of the choice criteria or the ideal level of utility. Because there is always a better alternative than the best alternative known to us now. That better alternative either exists now beyond our awareness or will appear in the future. But we never can choose it if we do not know about it. In brief, we can possibly choose from a subset of the best, the best element.

In light of the flaws of the actual decision making by humans, we tend to recognize both the pros and cons of normative and descriptive decision analysis. Pioneers of decision analysis therefore have attempted to work on a new integral school that is wise enough and take into account the natural cognitive limits. This camp or school is often called the “prescriptive” decision analysis. The aim is to educate and train better decision makers, both individually and collectively. Our approach here to the question of anticipation is also integral and prescriptive.

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Oct 9, 2019

Ambassador Juan José Gómez Camacho — Mexico’s Ambassador to Canada — Migrant Health, Pandemics, and Aging — IdeaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, geopolitics, governance, government, health, law, policy, science, strategy, sustainability

Aug 23, 2019

Jackie Kallen — “The First Lady of Boxing” — ideaXme Show — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, business, entertainment, events, fun, health, journalism, sex, strategy

Jun 2, 2017

A Net Neutrality Nightmare? / Part II (Future A to Z)

Posted by in categories: futurism, information science, internet, journalism, law, media & arts, software, strategy, supercomputing

The recent efforts to remove Net Neutrality have given many a sense of impending doom we are soon to face. What happens to an Internet without Net Neutrality? Advocates have a vision of the possible results — and it is quite the nightmare! In this segment of Future A to Z, The Galactic Public Archives takes a cheeky, yet compelling perspective on the issue.

Part 1 / Part 2

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Jul 16, 2016

Beware the Rise of Gerontocracy: Some Hard Lessons for Transhumanism, Not Least from Brexit

Posted by in categories: aging, biological, ethics, futurism, governance, government, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, neuroscience, policy, strategy, thought controlled, transhumanism

Transhumanists will know that the science fiction author Zoltan Istvan has unilaterally leveraged the movement into a political party contesting the 2016 US presidential election. To be sure, many transhumanists have contested Istvan’s own legitimacy, but there is no denying that he has generated enormous publicity for many key transhumanist ideas. Interestingly, his lead idea is that the state should do everything possible to uphold people’s right to live forever. Of course, he means to live forever in a healthy state, fit of mind and body. Istvan cleverly couches this policy as simply an extension of what voters already expect from medical research and welfare provision. And while he may be correct, the policy is fraught with hazards – especially if, as many transhumanists believe, we are on the verge of revealing the secrets to biological immortality.

In June, Istvan and I debated this matter at Brain Bar Budapest. Let me say, for the record, that I think that we are sufficiently close to this prospect that it is not too early to discuss its political and economic implications.

Two months before my encounter with Istvan, I was on a panel at the Edinburgh Science Festival with the great theorist of radical life extension Aubrey de Grey, where he declared that people who live indefinitely will seem like renovated vintage cars. Whatever else, he is suggesting that they would be frozen in time. He may actually be right about this. But is such a state desirable, given that throughout history radical change has been facilitated generational change? Specifically, two simple facts make the young open to doing things differently: The young have no memory of past practices working to anyone else’s benefit, and they have not had the time to invest in those practices to reap their benefits. Whatever good is to be found in the past is hearsay, as far as the young are concerned, which they are being asked to trust as they enter a world that they know is bound to change.

Questions have been already raised about whether tomorrow’s Methuselahs will wish to procreate at all, given the time available to them to realize dreams that in the past would have been transferred to their offspring. After all, as human life expectancy has increased 50% over the past century, the birth rate has correspondingly dropped. One can only imagine what will happen once ageing can be arrested, if not outright reversed!

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Mar 18, 2016

Who’s Afraid of Existential Risk? Or, Why It’s Time to Bring the Cold War out of the Cold

Posted by in categories: defense, disruptive technology, economics, existential risks, governance, innovation, military, philosophy, policy, robotics/AI, strategy, theory, transhumanism

At least in public relations terms, transhumanism is a house divided against itself. On the one hand, there are the ingenious efforts of Zoltan Istvan – in the guise of an ongoing US presidential bid — to promote an upbeat image of the movement by focusing on human life extension and other tech-based forms of empowerment that might appeal to ordinary voters. On the other hand, there is transhumanism’s image in the ‘serious’ mainstream media, which is currently dominated by Nick Bostrom’s warnings of a superintelligence-based apocalypse. The smart machines will eat not only our jobs but eat us as well, if we don’t introduce enough security measures.

Of course, as a founder of contemporary transhumanism, Bostrom does not wish to stop artificial intelligence research, and he ultimately believes that we can prevent worst case scenarios if we act now. Thus, we see a growing trade in the management of ‘existential risks’, which focusses on how we might prevent if not predict any such tech-based species-annihilating prospects. Nevertheless, this turn of events has made some observers reasonably wonder whether indeed it might not be better simply to put a halt to artificial intelligence research altogether. As a result, the precautionary principle, previously invoked in the context of environmental and health policy, has been given a new lease on life as generalized world-view.

The idea of ‘existential risk’ capitalizes on the prospect of a very unlikely event that, were it to pass, would be extremely catastrophic for the human condition. Thus, the high value of the outcome psychologically counterbalances its low probability. It’s a bit like Pascal’s wager, whereby the potentially negative consequences of you not believing in God – to wit, eternal damnation — rationally compels you to believe in God, despite your instinctive doubts about the deity’s existence.

However, this line of reasoning underestimates both the weakness and the strength of human intelligence. On the one hand, we’re not so powerful as to create a ‘weapon of mass destruction’, however defined, that could annihilate all of humanity; on the other, we’re not so weak as to be unable to recover from whatever errors of design or judgement that might be committed in the normal advance of science and technology in the human life-world. I make this point not to counsel complacency but to question whether ‘existential risk’ is really the high concept that it is cracked up to be. I don’t believe it is.

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Feb 11, 2016

Defend Your Research: What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women — By Anita Woolley and Thomas W. Malone | Harvard Business Review

Posted by in categories: science, strategy

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“The finding: There’s little correlation between a group’s collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises.”

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Dec 31, 2015

Lunar Leap: Europe Is Reaching for a Moon Base by the 2030s — By Leonard David | Space.com

Posted by in categories: space, space travel, strategy

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“There is growing interest in Europe to prioritize the moon as humanity’s next deep-space destination.”

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Dec 17, 2015

5 Steps Toward Gender Diversity Every Company Can Take Right Now — By Claudia Chan | Fast Company

Posted by in categories: business, governance, human trajectories, innovation, strategy

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“Plenty of forward-thinking companies have innovation divisions that try and predict the future, disrupt old models, and develop cutting-edge products. They don’t nest those divisions inside their human resources departments. So why shouldn’t gender diversity efforts be a part of corporate innovation?”

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Dec 16, 2015

Carlota Perez: In the midst of ICT revolution: next revolution 30 years out | vimeo.com

Posted by in categories: business, computing, economics, finance, governance, innovation, policy, robotics/AI, science, strategy

Economist Carlota Perez talk about the future of ICT.

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