Category Archives: decision making

IBM Gives Watson a New Challenge: Your Tax Return

Description:  In its first steps toward commercialization, IBM’s Watson took on grand, science-laden challenges like helping doctors diagnose cancer. But that is changing as IBM strives to build its artificial intelligence technology into a multibillion-dollar business.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 1, 2017

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Today, companies including Geico, Staples and Macy’s are adding the Watson technology to answer customer questions or to improve mobile apps that guide shoppers through stores.

Now in its broadest deployment so far, Watson will be assisting H&R Block’s 70,000 tax professionals this filing season at 10,000 branch offices across the country, where 11 million people file taxes.

The H&R Block partnership with Watson, announced on Wednesday, is being presented to a wider audience with a 60-second television ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

For IBM, the collaboration with H&R Block underlines its strategy in the emerging market for artificial intelligence technology. Watson will touch consumers, but through IBM’s corporate clients.

READ REST OF STORY

 

 Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel that that IBM’s strategy of using Watson’s AI to touch corporate clients and not consumers will succeed?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of Watson AI that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?

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5 Tech Trends That Will Change How We Work Forever

Description: To you and me, the transformation seems gradual. Your business acquires more sophisticated tools, walls begin to disappear and fax machines vanish.

Source: Inc.com

Date:May 27. 2016
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First, your workforce trades in their pressed suits for business casual khakis, then jeans and, now, occasionally even shorts. On any given workday, only about two-thirds of your team is working in the office. The change is steady, like most sustainable paradigm shifts.

But imagine for a moment plucking your grandfather out of his mid-century office and dropping him in the middle of an ultramodern workspace. Would he even know he was at work? Would he recognize anything? Or would he spend hours searching for his Rolodex, typewriter and carbon paper?  read rest of story

Questions:
1.  What do you feel are the two most important trends?  Why?

2.  How do theses trends relate to the income statement paradigm that was discussed in class?

Internet of Things Changes Almost Everything

Description: Currently in the business world we are witnessing something like the epic collision of two galaxies — a rapid convergence of two very unlike systems that will cause the elements of both to realign. It’s all thanks to the Internet of Things.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Date: May 7, 2013

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If you are not familiar with the term, the Internet of Things refers to a dramatic development in the internet’s function: the fact that, even more than among people, it now enables communication among physical objects. By 2015, according to my own firm’s projections, not only will 75 percent of the world’s population have access to the internet. So will some six billion devices. The fact that there will be a global system of interconnected computer networks, sensors, actuators, and devices all using the internet protocol holds so much potential to change our lives that it is often referred to as the internet’s next generation.
For managers, this development creates challenges both long-term and urgent. They need to envision the valuable new offerings that become possible when the physical world is merged with the virtual world and potentially every physical object can be both intelligent and networked. And, starting now, they must create the organizations and web-based business models that can turn these ideas into reality.  READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:
1. What is the INTERNET of THINGS and why is it important?
2. List some market technologies that you see around you that are part of this INTERNET of Things

The Real Threat Posed by Powerful Computers

Description: Elon Musk called artificial intelligence “our greatest existential threat,” and equated making machines that think with “summoning the demon.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com

Date: July 11, 2015

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But if the human race is at peril from killer robots, the problem is probably not artificial intelligence. It is more likely to be artificial stupidity. The difference between those two ideas says much about how we think about computers.

In the kind of artificial intelligence, or A.I., that most people seem to worry about, computers decide people are a bad idea, so they kill them. That is undeniably bad for the human race, but it is a potentially smart move by the computers.    Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

1.Should ethical standards be put in place before we allow industry to develop A.I. any further? Why or Why Not??

2. What benefits can you see with using A.I. as a company?

3.  If your company decided on a tactic of using A.I.  would it give your firm a competitive advantage?  Explain why or why not?

 

Internet of Things Changes Almost Everything

Description: Currently in the business world we are witnessing something like the epic collision of two galaxies — a rapid convergence of two very unlike systems that will cause the elements of both to realign. It’s all thanks to the Internet of Things.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Date: May 7, 2013

internet_of_things-578-80

If you are not familiar with the term, the Internet of Things refers to a dramatic development in the internet’s function: the fact that, even more than among people, it now enables communication among physical objects. By 2015, according to my own firm’s projections, not only will 75 percent of the world’s population have access to the internet. So will some six billion devices. The fact that there will be a global system of interconnected computer networks, sensors, actuators, and devices all using the internet protocol holds so much potential to change our lives that it is often referred to as the internet’s next generation.
For managers, this development creates challenges both long-term and urgent. They need to envision the valuable new offerings that become possible when the physical world is merged with the virtual world and potentially every physical object can be both intelligent and networked. And, starting now, they must create the organizations and web-based business models that can turn these ideas into reality.  READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:
1. What is the INTERNET of THINGS and why is it important?
2. List some market technologies that you see around you that are part of this INTERNET of Things.

How cities are searching for solutions among massive mounds of data

Description: In mid-2011, New York found itself gripped by a series of horrible tragedies: Five people, including several children, had died in blazes that broke out in overcrowded, decrepit apartments that were literally disasters waiting to happen.

Source: theglobeandmail.com

Date: February 5, 2015

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Mr. Flowers, now a visiting scholar at New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, is at the forefront of what he rightly describes as a “revolution” in the way local governments deliver services.

By making smarter use of their vast storehouses of operational information – everything from traffic counts and readings gathered by air-quality sensors to date stamps on business-licence applications – municipalities may be able to prevent deaths, boost quality of life, improve their operations, and reduce costs. In such sprawling city-regions as Greater Toronto, planners are trying to go a step further by using extensive transportation surveys, granular census data and sophisticated computer forecasts to model demand for multibillion-dollar transit lines.     Read the rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:

1.  What type of problems or opportunities do you see municipal governments being able to improve or resolve as a result of using data they already have?

2.  Should municipal govt. allow outside organizations access to this data or keep it in-house?

How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

Description: When Microsoft stock was at a record high in 1999, and its market capitalization was nearly $620 billion, the notion that Apple Computer would ever be bigger — let alone twice as big — was laughable.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Jan 29, 2015

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Mr. Gates “couldn’t imagine a situation in which Apple would ever be bigger and more profitable than Microsoft.”
“He knows he can’t win,” Mr. Gates said then of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
But less than two decades later, Apple has won. How this happened contains some important lessons — including for Apple itself, if it wants to avoid Microsoft’s fate. Apple, after all, is now as dependent on the success of one product line — the iPhone accounted for 69 percent of its revenue — as Microsoft once was with Windows. The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But Apple’s was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person’s desk, a radical idea when IBM mainframes took up entire rooms. But Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket. That computer also just happened to be a phone, the most ubiquitous consumer device in the world. Apple ended up disrupting two huge markets. Read the rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:
1. How did Apple overtake Microsoft in becoming more valuable?
2. How would you describe Apples strategy using one of Porter’s generic competitive strategies?