Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Category: Op-Eds (page 1 of 8)

A Lynching in the Digital South

 The fervour of the lynch mobs was largely facilitated by social media, which efficiently delivered rumours to solidify a “common cause”. Among these, WhatsApp is the prime carrier, with over 200 million Indian users in a given month. WhatsApp, of course, is an important part of the largest digital media enterprise on earth: Facebook. It has captured the attention of Indian users like no other app, has become an addictive and efficient spreader of forwarded “good morning” cheer, Santa-Banta jokes, pictures of newborn grandchildren — and, without question, venomous rumours that can whip up a digitally orchestrated frenzy.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Technology May Seek To Flatten The World, But The “Digital South” Will Chart Its Own Course

With trade wars, anti-globalization rhetoric and nationalist politicians hogging headlines around the world, mercifully, there are two things that can still bring the world together: viral messages on digital media and the FIFA World Cup. In fact, the real magic happens when the two global obsessions intersect. A quarter of the world’s active Internet users had planned to watch the games online; with over 4 billion online, that counts for a lot of people who are then poised to instantaneously pour their emotions onto social media. Once the World Cup final gets done on Sunday, July 15th, however, we might be back to digital virality carrying the flag solo to battle the forces of de-globalization.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

Growth in the Machine

Without question, the race for AI dominance is between the US and China. However, despite its junior status — and this might come as a shock to some — there are, indeed, AI-relevant advantages unique to India. Three are particularly worth noting and give me reason for hope.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

The Future Of Work Isn’t All Bleak For Women. Here’s Why.

Many workers who have been displaced are experiencing the early signals of how technological change will transform the way we work, what work we do and who gets to work. With AI and automation creeping into our daily existence in that Macbethian “petty pace from day to day”, if all the tech chatter is right, humans will be handing tasks over to machines at a scale that boggles the mind. The degree to which the mind is boggled depends on which pundit you believe. While the OECD projects that only 14 percent of current jobs will be affected, the European think tank, Bruegel places the displacement factor at 54 percent. The McKinsey Global Institute offers a more nuanced view: 60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent work activities that could be automated with variations across geography and occupation; about 15 percent of activities on average would be displaced by 2030, with some occupations at risk of a third of all constituent work activities being automated.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

Why the Rest of the World Can’t Free Ride on Europe’s GDPR Rules

The digital industry is riding an important—and turbulent—wave of change right now. As Facebook and others grapple with tough questions about data privacy and security practices, trust in social platforms appears to be plummeting. Companies and analysts are scrambling to figure out how to make privacy rules clear, protect user data, and evolve the business models that made them successful in the first place.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

One Misstep Too Many: Facebook has Egg on its Face Again, and This Time it Might Stick

Zuckerberg has confidently promised to fix Facebook, but it will be far from easy. The ultimate social network is a victim of its own success and eye-watering revenues. When Facebook’s 2 billion users around the planet log in every month and share or swipe past some slice of the human condition as offered up by friends, family and others, the users and their contexts are bound to vary widely. To get a sense of the spread of contexts that Facebook must straddle, consider the two most important markets for the company: India, which has the largest number of Facebook users and is among its fastest-growing markets; the home market of the US. Now, add Brazil and Indonesia as the next two markets behind these two dominant ones. To manage a social network spanning this much disparity of socio-political contexts and levels of digital trust would call for Zuckerberg to re-enroll at Harvard and get a degree in what I might call “digital anthropology.”

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

The Countries that Trust Facebook the Most are also the Most Vulnerable to its Mistakes

Whatever solutions the good folks at Facebook devise – or have thrust upon them by regulators and lawmakers – must work not just for the more recently outraged American or the already skeptical European user. The solutions must work for the world from where Facebook picked up its second billion users, and is looking to pick up its third.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Conversation

Bhaskar Chakravorti in Quartz – “How Facebook can really fix itself”

How Facebook Can Really Fix Itself

Company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to win back users’ trust. But his company’s efforts so far have ignored the root causes of the problems they intend to fix, and even risk making matters worse. Specifically, they ignore the fact that personal interaction isn’t always meaningful or benign, leave out the needs of users in the developing world, and seem to compete with the company’s own business model.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Quartz

The 4 Dimensions of Digital Trust, Charted Across 42 Countries

by Bhaskar Chakravorti, Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, and Ajay Bhalla

Read the full piece in the Harvard Business Review

The year 2018 is barely underway and, already, digital trust initiatives have captured headlines. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has said his platform will de-prioritize third-party publisher content to keep users focused on more “meaningful” posts from family and friends. Google has led off the new year by blocking websites that mask their country of origin from showing up on Google News. And the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect every organization around the world that handles personal data for EU residents. The regulations will also, no doubt, inform data protection laws and corporate trust-building strategies elsewhere.

Even China’s opaque behemoths have started the year with unprecedented acknowledgements of the need to address trust concerns: Tencent had to publicly deny that it collects user WeChat history after it was openly challenged; Alibaba’s Ant Financial apologized to users of its mobile-payment service for automatically enrolling them in its social-credit scoring service.

 

What these stories underscore is that our digital evolution and our productive use of new technologies rests on how well we can build digital trust. But is it possible to measure digital trust and compare it across countries? Are there countries where guaranteeing trust is a more urgent priority and will draw a larger share of trust-building resources and regulations? The Fletcher School at Tufts University and Mastercard have a launched a research initiative to address these questions by studying the state of digital trust across 42 countries. Here are some of our initial findings, drawn from the study, “Digital Planet 2017: How Competitiveness and Trust in Digital Economies Vary Across the World.”

Read the full piece in the Harvard Business Review

America’s Digital Infrastructure Is Crumbling, Too

But in the 21st century, infrastructure is more than concrete and metal. Equally important is the digital infrastructure that underlies America’s economy and governments. In an era when goods, services and ideas are increasingly transported via the internet, the strands of fiber, routers, servers and seemingly endless lines of code that compose our digital highways and hubs are quickly becoming the backbone of U.S. infrastructure — and it too is crumbling.

Read the full op-ed from Fletcher School Dean James Stavridis

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