Upon reading a very short introduction of Game Theory, the following caught my attention:
"Similarly, companies aren't always run by great intellect, but the market is often just as ruthless as Nature in eliminating the unfit from the scene"
It's really not just innovation that companies have to focus on today. In the words of Andy Grove, "Only the paranoid survive"
There are different types of geniuses. But there is one specific type of super genius. A super genius that can master entire subjects within days and/or weeks, whose inventions would help create altogether new realities and who's actions would single-handedly end up re-writing the course of history and help save a lot of lives. Alan Turing was that super genius.
Yet in-spite of all of his achievements, the fate that Turing was meted with is extremely tragic. Alan Turing was gay and at that time, homosexuality was labelled as a crime in Great Britain. Thus, Turing's options were to either go to prison or be treated with hormones, a chemical castration. Turing chose the treatment with hormones. He was a victim of prejudice.
Turing died in 1954, two years from the date of his criminal prosecution. An act of suicide according to the coroner's report and an accident according to his family members.
It's a shame that in-spite of all of his achievements, Turing was treated as such. It's a shame that such a brilliant mind, left the world at a young age of 42.
Two days ago, Alan Turing was officially granted a pardon for his conviction. About time. We owe an awful lot to Alan Turing, across a wide spectrum.
Okay, this is interesting. This blog-post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a couple of weeks now. There was this thought in my mind, something to do with the idea that 'Robotics should go mainstream.' It was just a random question and I didn't even know what that meant. Obviously, I still don't. But I've had this gut feeling that the industry should start gaining traction in the near future.
Lo and behold, just a couple of hours ago I found out that Google has decided to acquire Boston Dynamics link.
Now, I'm pretty sure that Google has no intention of getting into the field of military robotics. I'm making an assumption here and if I happen to be wrong, then this is/will be quite a pivot for Google.
A more logical assumption, Google and potentially others want to be the first. The first pioneers when it comes to Robotics making a giant leap into the future of everyday robotics.
Now, that thought that I was referring to earlier on. I did spend a teeny weeny bit of time, thinking and wondering how Robotics could actually start making inroads into our daily lives. But as with everything, it starts with defining the problem first. Why create or spend time making something that nobody wants.
So, I think, there are a couple of key components here:
Now this spectrum that I was referring to, it's full of so many different possibilities and opportunities.
Imagine the possibilities that could open up when you have one robot that can do pretty much anything. Now the barrier to that happening would be one of programming the logic into the machine, for it to be able to conduct tasks a specific way.
The other barrier is one of security and reliability. We are not talking about software apps on a tablet anymore. We are talking about a device that has the ability to interact with your physical world. Things could go wrong even when they are not supposed to.
But, the possibilities are endless and the more you think about it, the more doable it seems.
I'd easily drop a couple of G's on a robot if it did do most of the things I have mentioned above and then some more. The amount of time that such a purchase would free up for me, would make it worth it.
I think one key ingredient for mass-scale manufacturing and adoption of robots is for the manufacturer to *not* try and program all of the logic into the machines themselves. This is precisely the reason why the price point for ASIMO is so high. Plus, even with a price tag of a couple of million dollars, I'm not sure if Honda is actually selling them. I don't think they are ready just yet. As they keep running into some kind of a glitch.
Hence the alternative would be to crowd-source as much of the development effort as possible. Again, the app-store model for mobile devices is a perfect example. Imagine if Apple or Google tried to create all the applications that the consumers wanted by themselves.
Hence, instead of working really hard to create a need for an Asimo in every house. Perhaps it would be better to start with an R2D2 that performs 40% of the tasks that we'd like a robot to perform. And we keep enhancing the product suite, as we continue making advances in machine learning.
Interesting move by Google. Very very interesting.
'Lords of Strategy' chronicles the evolution of the concept of 'Strategy'. Most of the content within this book is focused around key and influential figures like Bruce Henderson, Bill Bain, Frederick Gluck (McKinsey), Michael Porter and the pioneering work that these individuals performed. First at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and then with Bill Bain branching off and starting a venture of his own. Bain Capital, as you would have probaby guessed.
There is even mention of individuals like Clay Christensen and C K Prahalad. Hence, it was enlightening to know that a lot of these really intelligent individuals, share the same common background.
I randomly picked up this book during my trip to our local library and a couple of chapters in, I was thoroughly engrossed. So much so, that all the items in my existing queue (reading) were put on hold.
To start with, it was shocking to find out that there was no concept of 'Strategy' prior to the 60's. And while the book does is not a written record of the entire history of Strategy. It does manage to go into a fair bit of detail of what it was like to be the consultants, who would fundamentally end-up redefining the essence of Strategy.
The first part of this book is focused on the consultants themselves. The individuals and the groups that made BCG, well BCG. It goes into a fair bit of detail into the methods and processes that BCG employed. It's full of interesting examples that this consulting company employed. The very heavy focus on the power of ideas, which literally defined the core philosophy of BCG.
The second part of the book focuses on the history of the evolution of thinking on corporate strategy. It's really interesting to see how Strategy, has evolved as a subject. It's one thing to listen to or read what Michael Porter has to say on HBR. But only after going through this book, did I begin to understand where all of this started. That's not to say that the entire second part of the book focuses on the work that Michael Porter has performed.
I enjoyed going through this book and I believe it serves as a good framework for anyone who is interested in the history of Strategy throughout the recent past. And I say that in-spite of the fact that a lot of topics mentioned in the book were alien to me. So I found myself stopping from time to time to Google what these terms actually meant.
Although, I wish there was a workbook that came along with the text. Kind of like the workbook they had for the Fifth Discipline. That would have been beneficial for a newbie (to Strategy) like me. And it would have allowed me to retain the information and understand the concepts a bit better.
I went through this book last month, almost as if by chance . This month I got the results for my Strengths Finder test , scoring decently under the 'Strategic Thinking' theme. Interesting co-incidence.
Recently, I took the Strength-Based Leadership Assessment by Gallup.
The results indicate that 4 out of my top 5 strengths are under the theme of "Strategic Thinking".
Now I did take the Strength Finder 2.0 assessment earlier in the spring. At that time my top 5 strengths were spread across 4 different themes.
Making a stronger pivot towards one specific theme feels good. It feels right. I think my most recent scores, or themes is a more accurate assessment of my strengths. As a significant percentage of my cognitive cycles are governed by thinking in general, thinking of ideas, learning, thought experimentation and I just love solving problems. And with this cycle of self-analysis coming to an end, with it also comes clarity of thought.
This tool, the science behind it and the methodology makes sense. It's common sense really. Why try to patch up all your weaknesses. Why not play to your strengths? But first you need to find out what your strengths are.
Speaking of autonomous vehicles, Amazon has been in the news recently. And two news items related to Amazon and autonomous (semi) vehicles that really caught my attention:
Now, there is this area in my mind that leads me to believe that the commercial market for drones is pretty big. I haven't done enough research to be able to a) think of the different ways that drones could be leveraged for day to day use and b) That being said, I also wouldn't know how big the market could be in dollar value evaluations. But when I hear of pizza being delivered through drones and obviously Amazon Prime. These kind of news items only strengthen my gut feeling about how the drone market is going to take off (pun intended).
Everything considered, I think the urban landscape needs to be re-designed to be able to accommodate an entire fleet of autonomous and semi-autonomous devices and machines. This would include, self driving cars, drones, robots e.t.c There are the obvious concerns relating to safety, security (theft) and privacy. Also, considering the fact that different modes of autonomous transportation will be travelling through different mediums (land, air, sea) and at different speed. You need to set standards and classifications, so that these very standards can be built as part and parcel for any new urban development.
I think, doing so would also expedite the initiative for having these autonomous devices out in the public. As all the problems and solutions to them would be thought through and the standards that control the operations would have been defined.
Want your pizza delivered by a drone. 5 years, is too long of a time for anyone to wait for this to turn into a reality. That is timeline being projected for Amazon Prime Air at the very least.