business

AI, Modern Gov and the power of Networks

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Amid the recent bombing mayhem in Ankara, an ever escalating refugee crisis, a stagnated global economy and the EU-Turkey Summit of 17-18th, I picked up a few reads that you might find interesting or even intriguing and will probably take your mind off disturbing  headlines (at least for a while).
If you are in a hurry start from the links in BOLD.
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GoToVan, Science World, Flickr

Incredible Science: AI

The latest “Human vs. Machine” game has ended. Read what Google has to say about it, in their latest blog: What we learned in Seoul with AlphaGo by Demis Hassabis, CEO and Co-Founder of DeepMind (a google subsidiary focusing on AI).
  • If this AI thing is new to you, maybe a non technical video from DAVOS 2016 will enlighten you: Key people from academia and industry discuss “The state of Artificial Intelligence“.
  • Not everyone is partying with the prospect of more AI though. Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are not that thrilled. Read here why.

Looking for more?

Modern Government & data

In the era of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, ODI (the Open Data Institute, UK) is making a very important argument on Data Infrastructure. What is it and who owns it? This argument is even more important as UK government is thinking of privatising the Land Registry, as it recently announced in the 2016 Budget.

And if you wonder how local governments can benefit from digital technologies then Nesta  has a very comprehensive report for you: Connected Councils: A digital vision of local government in 2025. (Download the pdf here)

Nesta has also “5 ideas for renovating democracy“. May sound obvious but it’s governments we are talking about.

The power of Networks

Last but not least, a long but very concise presentation on Network effects (think Facebook, Airbnb, What’s App). What they are, why they are important, how they can help you in business. A highly suggested read.

I guess these are enough for the weekend!

So much to read, so little time!

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The abundance of information and news is a fact. The difficulty we now face is how to pick up the ones that matter (for each one of us). Every day I get about 10 news bulletins from various sources including: The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, TIME, DW, BBC (mainly through their excellent tech shows: Click & Tech Tent), TechCrunch and Crunchable and of course many Linkedin groups or twits from people or organisations I respect and follow.

Usually all this stuff is piled up in my inbox and I go through it early in the morning or late at night, trying to identify those reads that actually mean something to me. I’m fascinated from technology and science, entrepreneurship, innovation and of course International relations.

Thomas Hassel: reading, Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart
Thomas Hassel | reading, Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart | Flickr

 

So these are my picks for this week:

Intriguing Science

Deep Learning for Robots: Learning from Large-Scale Interaction; Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2016; by Sergey Levine, Research Scientist on Google’s Reseach Blog. It is a great piece on how interconnected robots can learn and improve their performance through repetition. Neural networks and AI is here.

Now, speaking of AI, I cannot but jump to another company promising amazing change in human computer interaction. Check out Magic Leap and put them on your radar. I think we’ll soon hear more about them.

New kids on the block

Another start up to follow is LightSail. They are developing an adaptive literacy software, and managed to raise $11 million in a Series B round. Among the investor was Scott Cook, the co-founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Intuit (leading the round) and the Bezos Family Foundation.

Open Access

This week the US government, announced a new initiative that gives access to local & federal datasets. The Opportunity Project, will allow developers to access under-utilised data to build new solutions. After Open Data maybe the next evolutionary step is the market of personal data. Although this is not new, Nesta (UK) has conducted some very interesting reports and they share their valuable insights. Read this post by John Davies to find out more.

Another report worth reading (only 26 well designed pages) would be Research Software Sustainability“, Report on a Knowledge Exchange Workshop, by Simon Hettrick, of The Software Sustainability Institute.

Never Stop Learning

If you are looking for an intriguing listening, you can listen to “Blitzscaling” podcasts. This was an entrepreneurship class at Stanford presenting  a strategy in which a company “pursues unusually high rates of growth in a way that’s tactically inefficient in terms of capital and other resources, but strategically essential to capitalizing on a large and attractive market opportunity.” You can find everything you may need here.

With so many examples of disruption in established sectors, we still haven’t seen any real revolution in education. Despite e-learning, MOOCs and so much tools, mainstream education (from K-12 to higher) still follows the same structure (lectures, assignments, exams). A new paper by Nesta discuss “The challenge-driven university: how real-life problems can fuel learning“. Inspiring food for thought.

In memoriam

It’s always good to remember people whose contribution to this world was far beyond their existence. One of them was Ray Tomlinson, who died on Sat March 5th, at the age of 74. He was the inventor of the email and of the @ symbol. He will not be forgotten. Read about how he died, but more importantly how he lived here.

We were all Agile: Agile Greece Summit 2015

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I spent last Friday in Athens in a conference taking place for the first time in Greece. Agile Greece Summit 2015 was the first of its series in Greece and I do hope that more will come. Not only the speaker roaster sounded very promising on the announcement, but it proved an exciting one indeed. From Spotify to Swiss Postal services and from Vodafone to IBM, every session proved revealing.

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Photo Courtesy of Jason Carter @Flickr

I did not have the chance to follow every speaker since the programme was deployed into two parallel sessions, but I did manage to have a full day of interesting discussions, provoking arguments and inspiring ideas.

I particularly enjoyed the presentation from Spotify, on “Why autonomy is at the heart of agility”. Kristian Lindwall & Cliff Hazell talked about Spotify and the autonomy of every worker. You can get an idea of their talk from a previous presentation you can find here.

I liked the approach of Gunther Verheyen, from Scrum.org for scalling scrum, although before we scale scrum we first have to impelment it successfuly and to really hone it. If you are new to agile and scrum by the way, Scrum.org is an excellent starting point, which also offers a range of Scrum Courses and Certifications.

Ben Linders, a world class agile expert, showed how using different exercises can help you to get more value out of agile retrospectives. You can find his presentation along with other very useful material in his web site.

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Niels Pflaeging at Stage

Claudio Perrone, another speaker with many capacities and even more skills, presented PopcornFlow, his new model for continuous evolution through rapid experimentation. His web site is full of interesting information and tools.

But probably the real revelation (at least for me) was Niels Pflaeging. It wasn’t just his relaxed American style, nor his humour and provoking (to some) language. More than that, it was his profound ideas and fascinating arguments that engaged the whole audience. Niels is worth reading. His short and nicely illustrated book that we got as a freebie proved a great companion in my way home. Niels has a whole universe of books, white papers, videos and presentations and it’s worth looking at every one of them. (Start here).

All in all, it was a great workshop and I hope we’ll have the chance to build further the agile community and knowledge. Maybe some day we’ll manage to even actually use it in Greece.

One last hope

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Photo by Rania Hatzi @Flickr The Greek Parliament behind bars

Ι recently read a great article in HBR by Michael G. Jacobides entitled “Greece’s Problem Is More Complicated than Austerity“. I’d like to urge my FB friends (especially non-Greek ones) to read it carefully and give it some serious thought if they want to really understand what is taking place in Greece.

After the latest Greek deal in July, the parliament indeed voted for some (not all) prior actions necessary to re-start negotiations on a new long term bailout program (the third since 2010). Nevertheless, the ruling party is (as most of us expected) heavily divided between more than one of its political components. The most influential of which are the radical neo-communists led by the Former Minister of (non) Development, P. Lafazanis, who believe that the new Drachma is the solution to all our problems. Unfortunately, they are not offering any solid justification of how leaving the Euro will actually help the country and not their own political nomenclature. Read the rest of this entry »

A European in China

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IMG_0332It was my first time in China. Many years ago, I had gone as far as Singapore for a business opportunity that never took off. Back then, I was impressed by the tall, shiny skyscrapers, the smells and the colour of a modern far east. I tasted food I had no idea what it was, I walked in exotic places and I saw things completely new to me. I also experienced the exhausting humidity of the tropicals and the extreme difference between indoor and outdoor climate. No wonder they call it the air-conditioned nation.

Last month, more than 15 years after that first encounter I found myself wandering in Beijing. The journey to arrive there involved 3 different planes, one delay, a missed flight, 4 airports, a car, a train and 2 taxis. Cut the long story short I arrived at my hotel exhausted after a journey that lasted more than 24 endless hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Why We Humblebrag About Being Busy

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There was a time I was so proud of working endless hours and being on a constant run. I thought it was a prerequisite to success. Well, after a few fails (some epic ones) I realised that being always busy doesn’t necessarily make you more productive. It doesn’t make you better and it definitely doesn’t make you more successful. It makes you more tired.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that success comes without hard work and dedication. But before overloading your schedule think what really matters in this life.
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How Facebook and Twitter built the best employee training programs in Silicon Valley

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Training people is absolutely necessary, regardless of the size, sector, industry or the age of a company. Especially in the ICT world were 6 months seem like a lifetime we realise that without training we are just working with out producing or without reaching our full potential.
I don’t believe anyone disagrees on the above. The hard part is to built a program in a small company that will be sustainable, productive and create more than knowledge, a culture of learning and collaborating.

This is an excellent piece by Max Nisen  originally posted on Quartz.

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#Launch me up

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Well you know what this is.

It’s been a couple of days since we were in San Francisco, participating in an event that was both inspiring and awakening. How else can you describe the speed and abundance of information you are called to absorb in just a few days ? The people that you want to meet in person (any single one of them)? The teams that want to share their passion with you, and most of them manage to do so quite successfully? Read the rest of this entry »

PERICLES project wins Best Poster Award at IDCC 2014

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This post was originally published to Pericles Project web site. Visit it for more on Pericles Project.
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(c) All rights reserved by Digital Curation Centre (DCC)

San Francisco is a beautiful city. With at least 2 to 3 major tech events taking place here every week and a whole bunch of other exciting stuff from business meetups to live jazz, you never get bored. From Monday the 24th to Thursday 27th it hosted the 9th International Data Curation Conference with the eloquent title “Commodity, catalyst or change-agent? Data-driven transformations in research, education, business & society”. A well established conference which attracted this year about 230 delegates from libraries, university labs and research institutions from all over the world including some heavy names like The British Library, Microsoft Research, Elsevier, NSF and top universities from N. America, Europe and Australia.

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