Friday 28th July 2017

  • With AI, the roles of consultants, lawyers, and accountants will evolve from analysis to judgement!

    Although many strategic leaders tout their keen intuition, hard work, and years of industry experience, much of this intuition is simply a deeper understanding of data that was historically difficult to gather and expensive to process. Not any longer. Artificial intelligence is rapidly closing this gap, and will soon be able to help human beings push past our processing capabilities and biases. These developments will change many jobs, for example, those of consultants, lawyers, and accountants, whose roles will evolve from analysis to judgement. Arguably, tomorrow's elite consultants already sit on your wrist (Siri), on your kitchen counter (Alexa), or in your living room (Google Home). More here

  • The growth of the storytelling economy!

    A little over century ago, most of the economy was devoted to producing food. A half century later, the economy had shifted to making and consuming things: the golden age of mass production. Today, we live in an economy that primarily produces services. So, what's next? Signs point toward an unlikely commodity: stories. Like traditional commodities, stories require labor to produce and can be bought and sold. But story production will shape our economy in new and different ways. More here

  • The war against HIV

    A South African girl child became only the third to be effectively in remission from HIV, a study said. As per the study, the girl, whose name is kept anonymous, was part of a clinical trial in which HIV-positive born babies were treated within the first few weeks of their lives. She was given a ten-month course of anti-Aids medicine till she was one year old, which were later taken off as part of the trial. Still off medications, the girl has yet not showed any symptoms of AIDS eight years and nine months after the treatment, the research team at International AIDS Society conference on HIV science in Paris said. Usually, patients suffering from HIV normally need to stay on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for the rest of their lives to prevent AIDS. More here

  • Inside Zoho's unique talent pipeline!

    Not inclined to pursue his studies beyond high school, 17-year old Abdul Alim dropped out of school in 2013. Unable to find a job in his hometown in northeast India, Alim moved to Chennai with nothing more than Rs 200 in his pockets. He spent months job-hunting before fate finally brought him to the gates of Zoho Corporation, a software products maker, as a security guard. Four years down the line, Alim still works at Zoho, but he no longer mans the gates. He is part of the company's reports team, and spends his days using code to create charts and data visualisations. Alim isn't alone. Several high school graduates and dropouts like him are today part of the Chennai-based software firm, catering to global customers. More here

  • The future of capitalism: There's an Apple way and there's a Google way!

    The paths taken by Apple and Google manifest alternative answers to one of the main questions facing capitalism today: What should public companies do with all of the money that they're making? Even as corporations have brought in enormous profits, there has been a shortage of lucrative opportunities for investment and growth, creating surpluses of cash. This imbalance has resulted in the pileup of $2 trillion on corporate balance sheets. As companies continue to generate more profits than they need to fund their own growth, the question becomes: Who will decide what to do with all those profits - managers or investors? At Google, where the founders and executives reign supreme, insulated by their governance structure, the answer is the former. At Apple, where the investors are in charge because of the absence of one large manager-shareholder, it's the latter. More here

  • An early sign GST is working: Happy truck drivers!

    Until recently, truck driver K Shaji often waited for hours at various checkpoints to pay state taxes on his cargo as he journeyed from India's south to the country's financial capital, Mumbai. No more. Such dragnets disappeared this month after the government overhauled its tax system, allowing Mr. Shaji and millions of truck drivers to motor past what used to delay their trips by hours. The delays and tax fees-plus widespread bribes-drove up costs and added to inefficiencies in the economy. The result is an early success for GST. Some economists say GST may eventually add nearly 1 percentage point to GDP growth. More here

  • Google Glass is back!

    - Google Glass is back! The original Glass designers had starry-eyed visions of masses blissfully living their lives in tandem with a wraparound frame and a tiny computer screen hovering over their eye. But the dream quickly gave way to disillusionment as early adopters found that it delivered less than it promised - and users became the target of shaming from outsiders concerned about privacy. Within three years, Alphabet (the parent company of Google and its sister company, the "moonshot factory" called X) had given up Glass for good - or so people assumed. What they didn't know was that Alphabet was commissioning a small group to develop a version for the workplace. The team lives in Alphabet's X division, where Glass was first developed as a passion project of Google cofounder Sergey Brin. Now the focus was on making a practical workplace tool that saves time and money. Announced today, it is called Glass Enterprise Edition. More here

  • Modi's dream is coming true in China

    There is an audacious economic phenomenon happening in China. It has nothing to do with debt, infrastructure spending or the other major economic topics du jour. It has to do with cash - specifically, how China is systematically and rapidly doing away with paper money and coins. Almost everyone in major Chinese cities is using a smartphone to pay for just about everything. At restaurants, a waiter will ask if you want to use WeChat or Alipay - the two smartphone payment options - before bringing up cash as a third, remote possibility. Just as startling is how quickly the transition has happened. Only three years ago there would be no question at all, because everyone was still using cash. Is this the trend the government is hoping will take hold in India? More here

  • Process goals and Outcome goals

    In 'Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience', Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi refers to large goals as 'outcome' goals and small goals as 'process goals'. The beauty of process goals is that they are always in your immediate power to achieve. For example, you might set a process goal of making 5 important sales calls before lunch. Process goals give you total focus. When you are constantly setting process goals, you are more in control of your day, and feel a sense of self-motivation. At the end of the week, you can check your progress towards your outcome goals. It is also important to tweak your process goals to take you closer to your outcome goals and keep them in harmony.

  • Low job mobility across generations is worrisome for India's future!

    There is only a 33% chance that a son born to a father who was either a farmer or an agricultural labourer or a construction worker moves out of these three occupations in India. In this analysis, even a job as a factory worker is counted as an improvement. Moreover, this probability has not improved much for sons born in recent decades compared to those who were born in the 1950s, suggesting a high degree of stagnation in society. An obvious solution to countering such inequality would have been to ensure quality education for all, hoping that it would improve the chances of those at the bottom of the ladder to move up. However, education levels too are influenced to a large extent by family history. The challenge for policymakers in India is not only to create enough jobs now, but to ensure greater mobility within society in the coming years, in order to stave off potential social or political strife. There are no easy answers here. More here


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