Voices in AI – Episode 72: A Conversation with Irving Wladawsky-Berger

MIT Sloan Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger

MIT Sloan Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger

From GigaOm

Episode 72 of Voices in AI features host Byron Reese and Irving Wladawsky-Berger discuss the complexity of the human brain, the possibility of AGI and its origins, the implications of AI in weapons, and where else AI has and could take us. Irving has a PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago, is a research affiliate with the MIT Sloan School of Management, he is a guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and CIO Journal, he is an agent professor of the Imperial College of London, and he is a fellow for the Center for Global Enterprise.

Here is the podcast transcript:

Byron Reese: This is Voices in AI, brought to you by GigaOm, and I’m Byron Reese. Today our guest is Irving Wladawsky-Berger. He is a bunch of things. He is a research affiliate with the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a guest columnist for the Wall Street Journaland CIO Journal. He is an adjunct professor of the Imperial College of London. He is a fellow for the Center for Global Enterprise, and I think a whole lot more things. Welcome to the show, Irving.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Byron it’s a pleasure to be here with you.

So, that’s a lot of things you do. What do you spend most of your time doing?

Well, I spend most of my time these days either in MIT-oriented activities or writing my weekly columns, [which] take quite a bit of time. So, those two are a combination, and then, of course, doing activities like this – talking to you about AI and related topics.

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Join the #MITSloanExperts “Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life” Twitter chat, December 4

Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life

MIT Sloan’s Hal Gregersen and Rachel Botsman, lecturer at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, will discuss Gregersen’s new book, Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life, which challenges leaders and entrepreneurs to find and ask the questions that will solve problems, effect changes, and push their organizations in new directions and to new levels of success.

Hal Gregersen is Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center and a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management where he pursues his vocation of executive teaching, coaching, and research by exploring how leaders in business, government, and society discover provocative new ideas, develop the human and organizational capacity to realize those ideas, and ultimately deliver positive, powerful change.

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Keep quarterly reporting – Robert Pozen

From CFO

On August 17, President Trump waded into another complex area by a short tweet. He had apparently asked several top business leaders how to “make business (jobs) even better in the United States.” He then directed the Securities and Exchange Commission to study one business leader’s reply: “Stop quarterly reporting and go to a six-month system.”

Trump’s tweet reflects the belief of many corporate executives and commentators that quarterly reporting pushes public companies away from attractive long-term investments. However, the long-term benefits of semi-annual reporting are doubtful, while its costs are significant.

Shifting company reports to every six months does not meet anyone’s definition of the long-term. An extra three months to announce financial results would not induce American executives to take off the shelf the hypothetical stockpile of long-term, job-creating projects — now allegedly stymied by quarterly reporting.

For years, public companies like Amazon have achieved large market capitalizations by following long-term strategies, as investors waited patiently. Indeed, most biotechs go public successfully without any history of profits, so investors must be endorsing their plans for completing clinical trials and marketing their drugs.

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Axial shift: The decline of Trump, the rise of the greens, and the new coordinates of societal change – Otto Scharmer

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Otto Scharmer

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer

From Medium

Yesterday’s midterm election results demonstrate that the United States continues to be divided and moving to the extremes of left and right. This widely shared analysis, I believe, is wrongheaded, because it looks at a 21st-century reality through a 20th-century lens (i.e., left vs. right). Instead, we are dealing with a profound axial shift that is redefining the coordinates of the political, economic, and cultural space.

By axial shift, I mean a new system of coordinates that shapes the intellectual discourse. The axial shift is not only at display here during the US midterms, but also around the world, as the recent election results in Brazil, Germany, and Italy, among other countries, demonstrate. In all these places, the main axis of political conflict is no longer primarily between left and right, as it was in the last century, but between open and closed.

And this shift is not limited to politics. The coordinates of the economic discourse are shifting from the old debate between more government vs. markets, to more GDP vs. well-being. A third axial shift concerns the educational system, where we see the debate of public vs. private shifting to memorizing old knowledge vs. whole child, whole systems learning through cultivating generative social fields.

These three axial shifts are replacing the traditional 20th-century public discourse with a new axis of conversation and thought that supports a new avenue for societal renewal. The campaign strategy of the Democratic Party during the 2018 midterms, as I explain below, is a clear example of missing a historic opportunity by looking at a new situation through an old lens.

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On the environment, China steps up while the US retreats – Valerie Karplus

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Valerie Karplus

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Valerie Karplus

From Ejinsight

Under President Donald Trump, the United States has seen an impressive run of climate change denial. The rollback of signature climate and environmental initiatives, including Trump’s abrogation of the Paris Climate accord, unsettles those who think scientific and economic consensus should guide policy. Many Americans take a clean environment for granted, ignoring its origins in sound science and responsive policy.

At the same time, China is taking a page from the US playbook – our research shows that China is making independently verifiable progress in reducing sulfur dioxide from coal power plants – and this is good news for the world. Meanwhile, the US has signaled its indifference and even disdain for global environmental progress. How much should we worry?

We focus on recent trends in environmental policy by the two biggest national players: the US and China. Here, the US and China are moving in opposite directions. We argue China’s improved policies are real and, moreover, more newsworthy and significant than the US retrenchment insofar as global emissions are concerned.

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