Very interesting post. I think this is a perfect example of how inherently the algorithms are biased/flawed given the inputs are man-made. I am curious about the stat above that says “over 1.2 million people die worldwide from vehicular accidents, and in the US 94% of these are caused by human error”. How much of the human error is likely to be reduced by self-driving cars? In other words, will the benefits outweigh the cons of having autonomous vehicles on the road? I agree with your point about redefining vehicular laws. I certainly hope the policies that will be enacted to govern the algorithmic design and incentive structures will be for the good of all people impacted. Another social issue that will arise due to the rise of autonomous vehicles is what will happen to the millions of drivers who will lose their jobs? This article published a year or so ago discusses trucking-related drivers (over 8.7 million trucking-related jobs as of the article’s publication): https://medium.com/basic-income/self-driving-trucks-are-going-to-hit-us-like-a-human-driven-truck-b8507d9c5961#.njzy9tgu6
Interesting post. I actually have a friend who goes to a college that uses Handshake and based on their experience of the tool, I am not sure whether Handshake is truly valuable to the students currently. From my friend’s perspective, it is not too different from LinkedIn or any other website that offers job postings. Perhaps the tool is more valuable to schools that do not already have their own software to deal with career-related items or for schools that do not have the resources to invest in a similar tool. Moreover, how is student-employer matching improved? What criteria is the company using to differentiate from competitors? Finding the right talent appears to remain a challenge for employers. Therefore, assuming Handshake has a competitive advantage to solve such a challenge, I agree with your suggestion on the pricing model change. I actually think the biggest value resides in the “employer value” portion. Per your post, employers have the benefit of using only one interface to search and find potential student candidates for jobs, and have the added convenience to post positions across all the schools. So I think Handshake should’ve charged employers instead of using a freemium model (their current pricing model seems backwards to me).
“a Harvard dropout sends the same signal to marketplace as Harvard graduate” LOL
Interesting post. I’ve actually taken a variety of courses through Udacity – very cool content. However, one of the problems I found with MOOC programs in general is that student engagement is not necessarily on par with the required level of engagement at universities, especially when most MOOCs allow students the flexibility to complete lessons at their leisure. Also, employers are perhaps too reluctant to hire non-university grads since they would need to trust that the candidate has all the relevant skills they would expect a comparable university grad to have. Consequently, it is a risk for employers which may not provide the required return from their lens. But I do think the MOOCs’ use of project portfolios definitely serves as proof of the candidate’s potentially and is a great way to signal credibility.
A lot of people obtain a college degree, usually in their field of career interest, to obtain a job. So one recommendation for a way these MOOCs can increase their relevance is to build deeper relationships with hiring companies. I think until companies acknowledge that a “certificate” from Coursera or a “nanodegree” from Udacity, candidates will still need a college degree as a “stamp of approval”. Companies have the most influence in changing their hiring “eligibility” criteria to enable MOOCs grads to use their MOOC degrees.
It is great to see that you’ve touched on the biases and low-quality input issues. To further elaborate, simply, these algorithms were created by humans, thus the “inputs” to the algorithms are man-made and inherently that means they are limited in their capabilities, and potentially flawed/biases as you pointed out above. In general, I am all for technology to improve our lives. However, aside from the issues above, my overall problem with using digitization to replace human beings is that I’m not convinced that these technologies will be able to fill in for our human’s blindspots. When it comes to the criteria used in building these algorithms, there is the potential that the filtering elements of the algorithms may suffer from some of the negatives of quant screening. For example, in quant screening, greater than 10% may prove to be too limiting if the stock’s value is 9.99%. Perhaps if there was a fundamental overlay on the output of quant models in 2007, the quant crisis may have been avoided or its negative impact minimized?
Overall, I think there is a synergy between technology and humans, in the same way that there is research showing evidence that there is a synergy between quant and fundamental investing strategies (http://www.barrons.com/articles/SB50001424052748704567604578410611617451922). We should see both options as complements. For example, in this case, instead of replacing reporters, the output of the software could be used as a starting draft by reporters who would then make edits to address the “Pleasant to Read” flaw readers found in the study you mentioned in your post. This could potentially lead to juicier content for readers.
I definitely agree with you on your point about Whirlpool increasing its focus on security. Increasingly connected devices are currently at the mercy of hackers and there have been recent reported incidences of hacking through IoT devices (see one example in this article: http://www.npr.org/2016/10/22/498954197/internet-outage-update-internet-of-things-hacking-attack-led-to-outage-of-popula)
One general concern I have about products that leverage IoT, and technology in general, is that it could potentially lead to the human race becoming dumber. I read this article a couple of years ago highlighting ways the internet/tech is potentially messing up our brains: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/25/technology-intelligence_n_5617181.html
For example, us relying on GPS can prove dangerous if we ever find ourselves without access to the technology and need to find our way.
Overall, great post! It also brings back memories from my Disney Channel Original Movie days, especially watching the movie Smart House. One question that popped in my head since watching the aforementioned movie is related to the level of control consumers would have, especially in case of system failure or generally what happens when things go awry? Will it be possible for machines to turn against us and we become colonized by machines in the future? 😉
Fascinating post. Agree that this is an area of great potential for high environmental benefits (aka lower GHG emissions), and I think you’ve highlighted the key challenges to the product’s mass diffusion. As a steak-lover, one of my concerns while reading your post was the taste element which you’ve rightfully highlighted as a big hurdle. I kept thinking back to the “veggie burger”, which I personally don’t consider a burger. It will be interesting to see this concept’s evolution in the future, especially when you consider the general consumer trend toward healthy, and socially-responsible food consumption.
Interesting post. I found the “dry shampoo” to be quite remarkable. It’s very bold for a CEO of a multi-billion dollar market cap company to tell investors not to invest in its company if they disagree with the strategy. It is impressive, especially when you consider the stock price performance, and shows great leadership in its industry. However, a couple of key areas the company should work on, according to this oxfam report (http://www.behindthebrands.org/en-us/brands/unilever/ben-and-jerrys), is related to land and gender issues linked to its supply chain activities. Would love to see further investments in the aforementioned areas from the company.
Very interesting article, and love the almond picture. Surprising stat about a single nut’s water consumption. It is clearly noticeable that water availability will pose significant challenges to people nutritionally as a result of climate change. It is encouraging to see enterprises such as Paramount Farming are investing and leveraging innovative technologies to make positive impact related to this issue and wish other companies would follow suit. I am curious about the decomposition of the other 90% of California’s water consumption.
Wow, I was unaware of the amount of clean water that is wasted to produce 1 liter Coke in 2005! 2.6 liters to make 1 liter?! What a stat. I am curious to know what percentage of the company’s annual capital expenditures goes toward their current efforts to mitigate climate change risks (what amount of capital is dedicated to water neutral program and to their sustainable agriculture program)? Assuming the 1.6 billion servings per day quoted above, it seems to me that Coca-Cola should be investing a meaningful amount toward minimizing the potential damage from climate change – perhaps R&D to develop new innovative water efficiency technologies or alternative energy sources?
Interesting post, Max. After reading this, I couldn’t help but wonder about Munich RE’s pricing power – will/can its customers ultimately bear the majority of the costs related to climate change? In other words, insurance companies with high exposure to extreme-weather prone areas are at the mercy of climate change, and as you pointed out above, Munich RE’s slim margins will force the company to raise its premiums, unless it finds a way to minimize weather-related damages. Or will insurance companies need to change their business model to share the costs of climate change and remain solvent?