Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Tag: technology (page 1 of 2)

Leap of Faith: Reimagining the Relationship Between Technology and Human Understanding With MasterCard’s Ajay Bhalla

Mastercard’s Chief Security Solutions Officer Ajay Bhalla was on campus on Wednesday, March 28, to discuss the ways in which companies need to reimagine the relationship between technology and human understanding to stay relevant.

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean of International Business & Finance at The Fletcher School and the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Business in the Global Context, introduced Bhalla to the audience of students, faculty, and administrators. Chakravorti and the team at IBGC have been working with Bhalla and Mastercard since 2011 developing the Digital Evolution Index, a measure of digital change and trust across the globe. The issue of trust is a key one for Bhalla, who is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of every payment for the over two billion cardholders using the Mastercard network.

During his talk, Bhalla compared the rapid change in technology throughout the past few decades to a rollercoaster. “Riders are comfortable in one moment and then the rollercoaster flips upside down,” he said. He went on to note that in combining rapid technological innovation with the pace at which human knowledge is expanding globally, changes in technology can be expected to create some uncertainty.

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Trust in digital technology will be the internet’s next frontier, for 2018 and beyond

After decades of unbridled enthusiasm – bordering on addiction – about all things digital, the public may be losing trust in technology. Online information isn’t reliable, whether it appears in the form of news, search results or user reviews. Social media, in particular, is vulnerable to manipulation by hackers or foreign powers. Personal data isn’t necessarily private. And people are increasingly worried about automation and artificial intelligence taking humans’ jobs.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in the San Francisco Chronicle

There’s a Gender Gap in Internet Usage. Closing It Would Open Up Opportunities for Everyone

We have all heard about a gap when it comes to participation of women in the tech industry. Facebook, Google, and Apple have 17%, 19% and 23% women in their technology staffs, respectively. Multiple surveys, such as the “The Elephant in the Valley,” have documented systematic discrimination against women. And there’s a continuous barrage of news stories regarding the challenges that women face across a raft of iconic Silicon Valley firms. No more than a quarter of U.S. computing and mathematical jobs are held by women, consistent with the data that around 26% of the STEM workforce in developed countries is female. In developing countries, those differences are even greater.

But the gender gap problem doesn’t stop there. There’s also a shortage of women using some of the industry’s products. The International Telecommunications Union reports that the proportion of women using the internet is 12% lower than the proportion of men; this gender gap widens to 32.9% in the least developed countries. And even when a woman gets on a phone or is online, she might face additional hostility. A World Wide Web Foundation report says “women around the world report being bombarded by a culture of misogyny online, including aggressive, often sexualized hate speech, direct threats of violence, harassment, and revenge porn involving use of personal/private information for defamation.”

What this speaks to is an opportunity for the tech industry — both to address internal diversity issues and to address how companies think about the products they create around the world.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

GE Chief Digital Officer John Gordon Talks Technology Advances with Fletcher Students

“It’s a pretty exciting time for you all to be coming out of Fletcher,” John Gordon told an audience of Fletcher students. After all, the technology field is developing rapidly, and ideas once-considered “crazy” are driving major industry progress. Gordon knows a thing or two about noteworthy technology developments; he’s the Chief Digital Officer of Current, powered by General Electric  (GE) — an energy company that integrates GE’s LED, Solar, Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle businesses to deliver cost-effective, efficient energy solutions.

Understanding how technology evolves and the “implications of new technology trends” is of the utmost importance, Gordon told students. He referred to GE as a “big industrial company in transition” and said staying on top of the latest technology is one of the ways it stays current and drives progress.

John Gordon, Chief Digital Officer at GE, speaks as part of the IBGC Speaker Series (Photo Credit: Anthony Schultz)

Case in point? GE is known for building locomotives and engines, but at a certain point the company realized they needed to update the way they approach technology to better understand how their systems actually perform. “We decided that we needed a different type of technology that would allow us to service things better,” he explained. So GE sought out additional data to teach them how various machines, like airplanes, were operating, then started the process of analyzing.

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“Our Digital Planet: Technology’s Global Impact on Lives and Livelihoods”

Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti spoke on the Digital Planet as part of Tufts University’s “Tufts Talks NYC” in December 2016.

View the video on YouTube

Thiel Warms Up The Throng For Trump: When Silicon Valley Becomes Political

Silicon Valley, famously, is as much about that over-used notion of disruption as it is about over-stated claims to making the world a better place. Both goals have the power to stir up the millennial mind, which is good for recruiting. Both, however, also have strong political overtones: disruption pulls the rug out from under the powerful; as for making the world a better place…well, isn’t that what politicians are supposed to be doing when they aren’t politicking? No wonder, despite the commonly held belief that politics and technology are like oil and water, technology, without question, is increasingly tied to political expression. In the past, this expression used to occur in subtle ways. In the present political season, that subtlety has gone out of the window. Technology seems to have embraced politics like never before.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

What the Next Silicon Valley CEO Traveling to India Must Read to Avoid a Dusty Downfall

In case you had any doubts that the Valley sees India as its next Valhalla, witness the parade of tech titans coming through. Apple’s Tim Cook was only the latest, following in the footsteps of Messrs Bezos, Ma and Zuckerberg, among so many others, along with the homegrown lads, Nadella and Pichai. India is a market like no other; here lies seemingly endless opportunity.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

PayPal, Facebook, Apple, and More: 12 Days at Fletcher

March and April are always a busy time at Fletcher. Mid-terms give way to the semester’s final crescendo, warm spring  weather lifts everyone’s spirits, and, of course, calendars fill with scores of exciting events across campus. This year, the two weeks from March 28th through April 8th brought a seemingly non-stop flow of fascinating speakers and prestigious celebrations, from the IBGC Speaker Series to Tufts University-wide events. Many focused on technology and entrepreneurship, but others brought high-profile visitors to discuss a wealth of other issues.

Learn more about these exciting two weeks at Fletcher:

Legal Seafoods CEO Roger Berkowitz

Monday, March 28: Legal Seafoods CEO Roger Berkowitz spoke about the sustainability and the global supply chain as part of the IBGC Speaker Series. He punctuated his perspective on the fish business by noting, “”At the end of the day, if we’re not conservationists, we’re not going to be in business!” Later that same day, Dan Schulman, President & CEO of PayPal, spoke alongside Hewlett Foundation cyber-security expert Eli Sugerman in a discussion entitled, “21st Century Cybersecurity: Challenges and Opportunities.” Read more about the event here

Tuesday, March 29: Tuesday took a deeper dive into the world of financial technology, as CEME Senior Fellow Arthur Sculley hosted an intimated lunchtime round table discussion on “The Future of FinTech 2.0.”

Wednesday, March 30: The Murrow Center, Hitachi Center, and Cyber Working Group came together to welcome Andrea Glorioso, Counselor for the Digital Economy  from the Delegation of the European Union to the US, for a talk on future prospects for markets and transatlantic relations in a digital context.

Thursday, March 31: The second IBGC Speaker Series event of the week brought the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (better known as DARPA), Dr. Arati Prabhakar to campus for a luncheon lecture to discuss “Technologies to Bend the Arc of the Future.” You can read a write-up of the event here

Monday, April 4: The following week showed no let up in great evemts around Tufts University as Jeff Rothschild, former VP at Facebook, came to campus to discuss his observations on entrepreneurship and technology in his talk titled, “From Punched Cards to Social Media.”

Wednesday, April 6: Presented by the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Fouad Siniora, former Prime Minister of Lebanon, gave a talk on the risks and opportunities presented by “The Emerging Middle East.”

DARPA Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar

DARPA Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar

Thursday, April, 7: Day 2 of the Tufts Entrepreneurial Showcase featured the finalists for the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition, with two Fletcher-led teams — Blue Water Metrics and Uliza — placing in the Top 3.

Friday, April 8: The busy and exciting 12 days at Fletcher came to a close, wrapping up the week with yet another IBGC Speaker Series event. “The Future of Innovation” was the topic, as former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley spoke to a packed house over lunch, full of inspiration and insight. There was plenty to dig into about the future of technology, but to him, innovation boils down to one thing: “It’s all about having insatiable curiosity.”

These events are just a small sampling of the wonderful happenings at Fletcher ever semester. Be sure to check out the Fletcher Calendar, IBGC Speaker Series, and Fletcher Features, as well as right here on this blog.

The Future of DARPA: New Technologies for New Security Challenges

by Sean Silbert (MALD 2017)
Originally published as part of “Fletcher Features”

Imagine the future: self-driving cars, bionic limbs and commercially viable spaceports. These are all technologies that DARPA, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is working to create, explained its director, Dr. Arati Prabhakar, in a packed Chase Center on March 31 as part of the IBGC Speaker Series.

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DARPA Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar at Fletcher

The talk, “Technologies to Bend the Arc of the Future,” showcased some of the new projects that DARPA is currently working on and the challenges that it faces. The world has changed from the days of Sputnik, said Prabhakar, and new technologies are needed to maintain America’s primacy in technology. The national security environment has changed, and evolving threats from terrorism and the rise of great powers is forcing the U.S. to think of fresh ways to deal with new security challenges.

“Over time, [our investments] have created such a mass of new products and companies in various industries,” said Prabhakar. “And through all of this we’ve changed how we fight, of course, but also how we live and work.”

Prabhakar outlined some of the general technologies that are being developed to address the security challenges. While DARPA is known for creating technologies such as self-driving cars, they are now working on a self-driving boat that can go unmanned for months at a time. To replace satellites that can be taken out of orbit, the agency is developing an experimental spacecraft that can launch new satellites within a day.

DARPA is also working on building the groundwork for “a third wave of artificial intelligence,” according to Prabhakar. She demonstrated the utility of machine learning – systems that can take results from huge amounts of data and adapt themselves accordingly — through examples of facial recognition software to programs that can instantly detect and translate foreign transmissions.

Prabhakar has been the director of DARPA since 2012. She began working for the agency in 1986 as a program manager, managing programs in advanced semiconductor technology and flexible manufacturing. In 1993, she was appointed by President Clinton as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Between 1997 and her return to DARPA, she worked in Silicon Valley as a technology officer and later as a venture capitalist.

The Next Big Thing

While the historian Arnold Toynbee may have started popularising the idea of the industrial revolution back in the 19th century, these revolutions — all three of them — are not widely distributed even in the 21st century. My suggestion to our world’s visionaries for the next Davos agenda: Let’s put more innovative energy against getting industrial revolutions, one through three, and their spread to the next six billion.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in the Indian Express

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