Thinking About Thinking

Book excerpt of the book “Problem Solver: Maximizing Your Strengths to Make Better Decision” by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn: How could knowing about ourselves as decision-makers impact, for example, the 200-plus food-related decisions we make daily? What happens when you check into a hotel and are greeted with a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie? If you’re an Adventurer, who likes to make decisions quickly and instinctively, you’ll likely grab the snack. But by recognizing that you tend to make decisions without cautionand that that’s not always the best way to make decisionsyou might more easily say no to the sweet snack sitting on the hotel lobby counter. If you’re a Listener, who tends to heavily weigh others’ opinions, you might hear those other voices and skip the cookie, especially if what you’ve been hearing is that you could shed a few pounds. But that may not be what you wantor even shoulddo. Understanding your Listener blind spots might help you learn to quiet those outside voices, better channel your own inner voiceand enjoy a delicious cookie!    

The consequences of grabbing the sweet treat at the hotel check-in counter may be minimal, but to decide on your next car purchaseor which hospital to go to for surgerywith the same “go from the gut” attitude has much greater consequences.

In our lives we face many high stakes decisionsones where the outcome is unknown, the decision is likely to have a long-term impact on our lives and the price for getting it wrong could be costly. Knowing more about our decision tendencies can be life-changing.

Do we want to do what we’ve done before? That’s the basic question we face for almost every decision because that is how our minds operate, from the reel of our past experiences. It’s all our mind knows and so it uses those memories to guide our future. Yet to answer that fundamental question about whether we want to repeat a prior decision requires several pieces of knowledge: How do we engage with our decisions? How have those decisions turned out? What can we do to make them better?    

The truth is, our decisions are the only thing that we really have control over: how we choose matters. Yet we often end up with choices that are made by others, because we’veknowingly or unknowinglyabdicated the control over a decision. And frequently, we simply didn’t notice that a decision is before us…(More)”.

Lifelines of Our Society

Book by Dirk van Laak: “Infrastructure is essential to defining how the public functions, yet there is little public knowledge regarding why and how it became today’s strongest global force over government and individual lives. Who should build and maintain infrastructures? How are they to be protected? And why are they all in such bad shape? In Lifelines of Our Society, Dirk van Laak offers broad audiences a history of global infrastructures—focused on Western societies, over the past two hundred years—that considers all their many paradoxes. He illustrates three aspects of infrastructure: their development, their influence on nation building and colonialism, and finally, how individuals internalize infrastructure and increasingly become not only its user but regulator.

Beginning with public works, infrastructure in the nineteenth century carried the hope that it would facilitate world peace. Van Laak shows how, instead, it transformed to promote consumerism’s individual freedoms and our notions of work, leisure, and fulfillment. Lifelines of Our Society reveals how today’s infrastructure is both a source and a reflection of concentrated power and economic growth, which takes the form of cities under permanent construction. Symbols of power, van Laak describes, come with vulnerability, and this book illustrates the dual nature of infrastructure’s potential to hold nostalgia and inspire fear, to ease movement and govern ideas, and to bring independence to the nuclear family and control governments of the Global South…(More)”.

Spectrum Auctions: Designing markets to benefit the public, industry and the economy

Book by Geoffrey Myers: “Access to the radio spectrum is vital for modern digital communication. It is an essential component for smartphone capabilities, the Cloud, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, and multiple other new technologies. Governments use spectrum auctions to decide which companies should use what parts of the radio spectrum. Successful auctions can fuel rapid innovation in products and services, unlock substantial economic benefits, build comparative advantage across all regions, and create billions of dollars of government revenues. Poor auction strategies can leave bandwidth unsold and delay innovation, sell national assets to firms too cheaply, or create uncompetitive markets with high mobile prices and patchy coverage that stifles economic growth. Corporate bidders regularly complain that auctions raise their costs, while government critics argue that insufficient revenues are raised. The cross-national record shows many examples of both highly successful auctions and miserable failures.

Drawing on experience from the UK and other countries, senior regulator Geoffrey Myers explains how to optimise the regulatory design of auctions, from initial planning to final implementation. Spectrum Auctions offers unrivalled expertise for regulators and economists engaged in practical auction design or company executives planning bidding strategies. For applied economists, teachers, and advanced students this book provides unrivalled insights in market design and public management. Providing clear analytical frameworks, case studies of auctions, and stage-by-stage advice, it is essential reading for anyone interested in designing public-interested and successful spectrum auctions…(More)”.

Unsupervised: Navigating and Influencing a World Controlled by Powerful New Technologies

Book by Daniel Doll-Steinberg and Stuart Leaf: “…examines the fast-emerging technologies and tools that are already starting to completely revolutionize our world. Beyond that, the book takes an in-depth look at how we have arrived at this dizzying point in our history, who holds the reins of these formidable technologies, mostly without any supervision. It explains why we as business leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, educators, lawmakers, investors or users and all responsible citizens must act now to influence and help oversee the future of a technological world. Quantum computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, decentralization, virtual and augmented reality, and permanent connectivity are just a few of the technologies and trends considered, but the book delves much deeper, too. You’ll find a thorough analysis of energy and medical technologies, as well as cogent predictions for how new tech will redefine your work, your money, your entertainment, your transportation and your home and cities, and what you need to know to harness and prosper from these technologies…(More)”.

Liar in a Crowded Theater

Book by Jeff Kosseff: “When commentators and politicians discuss misinformation, they often repeat five words: “fire in a crowded theater.” Though governments can, if they choose, attempt to ban harmful lies, propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation, how effective will their efforts really be? Can they punish someone for yelling “fire” in a crowded theater—and would those lies then have any less impact? How do governments around the world respond to the spread of misinformation, and when should the US government protect the free speech of liars?

In Liar in a Crowded Theater, law professor Jeff Kosseff addresses the pervasiveness of lies, the legal protections they enjoy, the harm they cause, and how to combat them. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections and the January 6, 2021, insurrection on the Capitol building, Kosseff argues that even though lies can inflict huge damage, US law should continue to protect them. Liar in a Crowded Theater explores both the history of protected falsehoods and where to go from here.

Drawing on years of research and thousands of pages of court documents in dozens of cases—from Alexander Hamilton’s enduring defense of free speech to Eminem’s victory in a lawsuit claiming that he stretched the truth in a 1999 song—Kosseff illustrates not only why courts are reluctant to be the arbiters of truth but also why they’re uniquely unsuited to that role. Rather than resorting to regulating speech and fining or jailing speakers, he proposes solutions that focus on minimizing the harms of misinformation. If we want to seriously address concerns about misinformation and other false speech, we must finally exit the crowded theater…(More)”.

Sharing Health Data: The Why, the Will, and the Way Forward.

Book edited by Grossmann C, Chua PS, Ahmed M, et al. : “Sharing health data and information1 across stakeholder groups is the bedrock of a learning health system. As data and information are increasingly combined across various sources, their generative value to transform health, health care, and health equity increases significantly. Facilitating this potential is an escalating surge of digital technologies (i.e., cloud computing, broadband and wireless solutions, digital health technologies, and application programming interfaces [APIs]) that, with each successive generation, not only enhance data sharing, but also improve in their ability to preserve privacy and identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks. These technological advances, coupled with notable policy developments, new interoperability standards (particularly the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources [FHIR] standard), and the launch of innovative payment models within the last decade, have resulted in a greater recognition of the value of health data sharing among patients, providers, and researchers. Consequently, a number of data sharing collaborations are emerging across the health care ecosystem.

Unquestionably, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a catalytic effect on this trend. The criticality of swift data exchange became evident at the outset of the pandemic, when the scientific community sought answers about the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus and emerging disease. Then, as the crisis intensified, data sharing graduated from a research imperative to a societal one, with a clear need to urgently share and link data across multiple sectors and industries to curb the effects of the pandemic and prevent the next one.

In spite of these evolving attitudes toward data sharing and the ubiquity of data-sharing partnerships, barriers persist. The practice of health data sharing occurs unevenly, prominent in certain stakeholder communities while absent in others. A stark contrast is observed between the volume, speed, and frequency with which health data is aggregated and linked—oftentimes with non-traditional forms of health data—for marketing purposes, and the continuing challenges patients experience in contributing data to their own health records. In addition, there are varying levels of data sharing. Not all types of data are shared in the same manner and at the same level of granularity, creating a patchwork of information. As highlighted by the gaps observed in the haphazard and often inadequate sharing of race and ethnicity data during the pandemic, the consequences can be severe—impacting the allocation of much-needed resources and attention to marginalized communities. Therefore, it is important to recognize the value of data sharing in which stakeholder participation is equitable and comprehensive— not only for achieving a future ideal state in health care, but also for redressing long-standing inequities…(More)”

Who Wrote This? How AI and the Lure of Efficiency Threaten Human Writing

Book by Naomi S. Baron: “Would you read this book if a computer wrote it? Would you even know? And why would it matter?

Today’s eerily impressive artificial intelligence writing tools present us with a crucial challenge: As writers, do we unthinkingly adopt AI’s time-saving advantages or do we stop to weigh what we gain and lose when heeding its siren call? To understand how AI is redefining what it means to write and think, linguist and educator Naomi S. Baron leads us on a journey connecting the dots between human literacy and today’s technology. From nineteenth-century lessons in composition, to mathematician Alan Turing’s work creating a machine for deciphering war-time messages, to contemporary engines like ChatGPT, Baron gives readers a spirited overview of the emergence of both literacy and AI, and a glimpse of their possible future. As the technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and fluent, it’s tempting to take the easy way out and let AI do the work for us. Baron cautions that such efficiency isn’t always in our interest. As AI plies us with suggestions or full-blown text, we risk losing not just our technical skills but the power of writing as a springboard for personal reflection and unique expression.

Funny, informed, and conversational, Who Wrote This? urges us as individuals and as communities to make conscious choices about the extent to which we collaborate with AI. The technology is here to stay. Baron shows us how to work with AI and how to spot where it risks diminishing the valuable cognitive and social benefits of being literate…(More)”.

Computing the Climate: How We Know What We Know About Climate Change

Book by Steve M. Easterbrook: “How do we know that climate change is an emergency? How did the scientific community reach this conclusion all but unanimously, and what tools did they use to do it? This book tells the story of climate models, tracing their history from nineteenth-century calculations on the effects of greenhouse gases, to modern Earth system models that integrate the atmosphere, the oceans, and the land using the full resources of today’s most powerful supercomputers. Drawing on the author’s extensive visits to the world’s top climate research labs, this accessible, non-technical book shows how computer models help to build a more complete picture of Earth’s climate system. ‘Computing the Climate’ is ideal for anyone who has wondered where the projections of future climate change come from – and why we should believe them…(More)”.

The Coming Wave

Book by Mustafa Suleyman and Michael Bhaskar: “Soon you will live surrounded by AIs. They will organise your life, operate your business, and run core government services. You will live in a world of DNA printers and quantum computers, engineered pathogens and autonomous weapons, robot assistants and abundant energy.

None of us are prepared.

As co-founder of the pioneering AI company DeepMind, part of Google, Mustafa Suleyman has been at the centre of this revolution. The coming decade, he argues, will be defined by this wave of powerful, fast-proliferating new technologies.

In The Coming Wave, Suleyman shows how these forces will create immense prosperity but also threaten the nation-state, the foundation of global order. As our fragile governments sleepwalk into disaster, we face an existential dilemma: unprecedented harms on one side and the threat of overbearing surveillance on the other…(More)”.

Data Is Everybody’s Business

Book by Barbara H. Wixom, Cynthia M. Beath and Leslie Owens: “Most organizations view data monetization—converting data into money—too narrowly: as merely selling data sets. But data monetization is a core business activity for both commercial and noncommercial organizations, and, within organizations, it’s critical to have wide-ranging support for this pursuit. In Data Is Everybody’s Business, the authors offer a clear and engaging way for people across the entire organization to understand data monetization and make it happen. The authors identify three viable ways to convert data into money—improving work with data, wrapping products with data, and selling information offerings—and explain when to pursue each and how to succeed…(More)”.