Monthly Archives: December 2017

Dynamic value within Table not being evaluated

 Dynamic value within Table not being evaluated

This is a bit of a follow-up question to my post here. I’m now attempting to replicate the same general code using Connect Four (7×6 grid instead of 3×3).

However, when I pass a Dynamic value to my createBox function, it seems to use values such as board$ 3379[[1,6]] instead of using the actual board variable. I believe this relates to the RuleDelayed issue described here but using With doesn’t seem to help.

When I remove the Dynamic function before board[[x,y]] it works as intended.

createBox[elem_] := Module[{},
   Print@elem;
   Graphics[
    {{White, Rectangle[]}
     , Switch[elem
      , "A", {Red, Disk[{0.5, 0.5}, 0.4]}
      , "B", {Blue, Disk[{0.5, 0.5}, 0.4]}
      , " ", {Thick, Circle[{0.5, 0.5}, 0.4]}
      , _, {}
      ]
     }, ImageSize -> 50, Frame -> True, FrameStyle -> Thickness[.02], 
    FrameTicks -> None
    ]
   ];

CreateDialog[
  DynamicModule[
   {board = ConstantArray[" ", {7, 6}], player = "A"},
   Grid[
    Table[
     With[{y = y, x = x}
      , EventHandler[
       createBox[Dynamic@board[[x, y]]]
       , {"MouseClicked" :> (
          If[board[[y, x]] === " ",
            board[[x, y]] = "A";
            ];
          )}
       ]]
     , {y, Length@board[[1]], 1, -1}, {x, Length@board}
     ], Spacings -> {0, 0}
    ]
   ], WindowTitle -> "Connect Four", WindowSize -> All
  ];

Is there a better way to structure this?

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Banking Regulation Predictions 2018:  U.S. Reform Takes Off

Regulatory Reform Predictions FICO Banking Regulation Predictions 2018:  U.S. Reform Takes Off

Last year, my regulatory predictions offered little suspense. The winds of change were howling and it was clear that the New Year would be dramatically different than previous ones for those in the U.S. financial services industry. The surprise election of Donald Trump led to a 180-degree course correction of the regulatory agenda that bankers and compliance professionals had grown accustomed to in the wake of the financial crisis.

2017 was highlighted by a series of Executive Orders calling for comprehensive reviews of existing regulations, a series of reports issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury accompanied by recommendations for significant regulatory reforms, and major changes in leadership (and vision) at many of the federal banking agencies. Also, I wrote about the more than dozen regulations which were rolled back as a result of a rarely triggered statute, the Congressional Review Act.

Now, with much of the dramatic shift in the U.S. regulatory landscape complete, we are moving to the next stage, which will focus more on efforts to adopt regulatory reform. Below are a few predictions to watch for in the upcoming twelve months.

1. Bipartisan Dodd Frank Reform Will Become a Reality

Bipartisanship on Capitol Hill?  Sounds like a fantasy but look no further than the recent Senate Banking Committee passage of the Dodd-Frank Act regulatory reform bill. While there have been more wide-sweeping proposals introduced in Congress during the past six years, this bill provides a range of changes to the 2010 law that include providing relief to small and mid-size banks.

With 10 Republicans and 11 Democrats co-sponsoring the legislation, there is enough support to clear the challenging 60-vote threshold that is needed to get controversial bills through the Senate. Despite a deep partisan divide, look for this bill (perhaps with a few additional tweaks) to make it to the finish line in the first quarter of 2018.

2. A Decision by the DC Circuit Will Spark the Beginning of Much-Need TCPA Changes

I admit that I made the same prediction in 2017 and we are still waiting for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to issue its decision in the industry’s appeal of the 2015 FCC Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Declaratory Ruling and Order.  While a court decision is long overdue, does anyone believe that it won’t be issued in 2018?

Once a decision is made the real work will begin. I expect industry to focus on any remaining grey areas that are not resolved by the DC Circuit.  Special attention will be directed to ensuring that unnecessary barriers are removed that prevent customers from receiving important messages via their mobile phones. The new FCC leadership is expected to lead the way in fostering important reforms in this area. It may not be fully completed in 2018 but substantive work will commence during the next 12 months.

3. The Time for Housing Finance Reform Will (Finally) Arrive

Policy leaders have been talking about the need for housing finance reform since the government was forced to infuse Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) with $ 187.5 billion and place the two entities into conservatorship nearly a decade ago. To date, a bipartisan reform proposal has yet to gain any momentum in Congress.

So what might change in 2018? A little-known impact of the recently forged tax deal.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hold billions of dollars of “deferred tax assets” on their balance sheets. These assets include items like credits that can used to defray tax bills in future years.  However, the tax reform legislation reduces the corporate tax rate and, in doing so, the value of these deferred tax assets will tumble. As a result, in the beginning of 2018, it is expected that both Fannie and Freddie will have to take another draw from the Treasury.

This pending development may have jumpstarted new bipartisan efforts to craft a solution in the Senate, a draft proposal is reported to include a simplified approach designed to protect the taxpayer, the preservation of the 30-year fixed mortgage as well as access and affordability provisions. In addition, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s (R-TX) recent comments on the topic may indicate that he is motivated to finding a compromise solution before he leaves Congress at the end of next year.  The stars seem to be lining up for a proposal that has a chance of gaining consensus. It may not get to the finish line in 2018 but, for the first time, expect significant progress to occur.

4. The Wait Will Continue for New Debt Collection Rules

With new leadership at the CFPB, the Bureau’s rulemaking agenda is under review. Most expect a significant slowdown in the pace of CFPB rulemaking.

Since November 2013, the CFPB has been preparing for a set of new debt collection rules governing third-party collectors and first-party creditors. Just this past summer, Director Cordray announced that the CFPB would focus first on rulemaking for third-party collectors. Many predicted the issuance of a new proposed rule by the end of 2017, however, the latest unified agenda now indicates a possible February 2018 release.

The CFPB has been very deliberate in its work in this area and with new CFPB leadership I suspect this rulemaking will be among those that come under added scrutiny.  As a result, we may not see a proposed rule at all in 2018.

2017 marked the beginning of a seismic shift in the regulatory landscape. Though 2018 is an election year where the legislative agenda is usually scaled back, both legislators and regulators appear poised to take action on some big-ticket policy issues and regulatory reform.  So rest up and enjoy your time with your family and friends during the holidays, because next year is going to be an active one on the regulatory front.

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Making Sense of the 2018 Marketing Predictions and Trends

20171227 bnr robotic shopping assistant 351x200 Making Sense of the 2018 Marketing Predictions and Trends

Marketers in 2018 will adopt more and more artificial intelligence tools; continue to invest in producing great content; and further seek strategies and tools that focus on the customer, according to an informal survey of 2018 marketing predictions and trends to watch.

Rather than have you surf the Internet for all the many 20a8 marketing predictions, we’ve boiled them down to bullet points on what the experts are saying from a dozen websites, including Act-On.

Why is this worthwhile? Predictions and trend pieces often are full of hot air. If we could predict the future, we’d all be buying lottery tickets. But they do have value in getting marketers to think about opportunities they can and should be considering as they attempt to accelerate their businesses.

In reviewing the many posts, several themes emerged: artificial intelligence and machine learning, investing in content creation, and focusing on the customer experience.

Nearly 80 percent of marketers either agree or strongly agree that AI will revolutionize marketing. “We’re still at the dawn of AI adoption,” Jean-Luc Chatelain, Accenture Analytics chief technology officer, told Adweek. “Brands have yet to fully understand all the ways in which AI will change the marketing game.”

Recently on the Rethink Marketing Podcast, Paul Roetzer from the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute outlined his five P’s framework for marketing artificial intelligence. It should give you insights into how you may incorporate machine learning and AI in your marketing in 2018.

The bullet points are my summaries of what the blog post authors were making, and were made for the sake of space. Consider them an entry point into learning more. Click the hyperlinks to read the original posts to learn more about a specific point or prognostication.

Social Media Today

Social Media Today offered up 12 trends to keep an eye on in 2018:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Live video
  • Mobile video
  • Customer experience
  • Content marketing
  • Voice search
  • Non-traditional TV advertising
  • Strategic social media
  • Generation Z
  • Transparency and trust
  • Hyperlocal

Content Marketing Institute

As the year ends, so does Joe Pulizzi’s run at CMI, which he sold to UBM in 2016. That means no more This Old Marketing podcast with his buddy Robert Rose, which was one of my favorites podcasts. In his final CMI contributions, Joe wrote on 2018 marketing trends and predictions. Among the top were:

  • Original content
  • More company acquisitions
  • Marketing shifting toward a profit center

MarketingProfs

We had MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer Ann Handley on the Rethink Marketing Podcast earlier this year. She suggested one thing marketers should be doing is building their personal brands. “If you have aspirations to write a book, to be a leader, start to improve those soft skills, start to tell your own story, poke your nose out, start telling that story in ways that have relevance for the people you are trying to reach,” she said.

Five Megatrends for 2018

  • Content replaces advertising
  • Purpose marketing
  • Participation PR
  • Automation 2.0
  • Chatbots

CMS Wire

CMS Wire offered its 7 Content Marketing Trends for 2018. Its predictions centered around new technologies and channels for your content marketing. The first, virtual and augmented reality, is an area being prioritized by 26 percent of marketers worldwide, according to a eMarketer report.

  • VR/AR
  • Personalization
  • Machine Learning/AI personalization
  • Machine Learning/AI content production
  • Virtual Assistants
  • Microinfluencers
  • Strategy

Convince and Convert

Convince and Convert’s Jay Baer will be on the Rethink Marketing Podcast early in 2018. His team offered up the 4 B2B Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018.

  • Content Marketing Budgets Increase
  • More customized content
  • More interesting content
  • New and improved funnels

HuffPost

The Huffington Post took a look at top trends in its 10 Marketing Trends to Think About for 2018:

  • Live video
  • Mobile video
  • Growth hacking
  • AI
  • Explainer videos
  • Chatbots
  • Viral content
  • Geofencing
  • Microinfluencers
  • Brand blog

B2C

The Business 2 Community website offers up all sorts of trends and prediction articles for 2018. We took a look at the 7 Mobile Marketing Trends For 2018:

  • Live video
  • Augmented Reality
  • Native ads
  • Faster loading
  • AI
  • Messaging apps
  • Internet of Things

Entrepreneur

One way to ensure you hit the mark in your predictions is to list out all the options. This article from Entrepreneur follows that tactic with its 18 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018:

  • Chatbots
  • Personalization
  • Data-driven marketing
  • Augmented reality
  • New ad channels
  • Voice search
  • Privacy
  • Instagram
  • Live events
  • Multichannel cold email marketing
  • Twitter dies
  • LinkedIn for B2B
  • Machine learning advertising
  • Predictive lead scoring
  • Virtual realty
  • Customer experience
  • Influencers
  • Ungating content

Neil Patel

Neil Patel has a team of marketers testing what’s hot and what’s not. They offered up 9 content marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2018:

  • Diverse talent skillsets
  • Internet of Things
  • Transparency
  • Content marketing
  • Blurred media lines
  • Strategy
  • Live video
  • Interactive
  • Distribution

MarTech Today

The folks over at MarTech Today took a different approach with its 5 B2B marketing non-predictions for 2018. The first three are acronyms that should be familiar to B2B marketers: AI, ABM, and GDPR. For companies that do business within the European Union, the GDPR is going to be a very big deal in 2018. Take a look at our GDPR hub for up-to-date info on what you need to know.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Account Based Marketing (ABM)
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Growing MarTech landscape
  • Teamwork makes the dream work!

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Medieval depictions of the mandrake plant

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Medieval depictions of the mandrake plant

A Historian Walks into a Bar . . .

AI Won’t Save Us From Pointless Jobs Unless We Let It

In the tech world in 2017, several trends emerged as signals amid the noise, signifying much larger changes to come.

As we noted in last year’s More Than Noise list, things are changing—and the changes are occurring in ways that don’t necessarily fit into the prevailing narrative.

While many of 2017’s signals have a dark tint to them, perhaps reflecting the times we live in, we have sought out some rays of light to illuminate the way forward. The following signals differ considerably, but understanding them can help guide businesses in the right direction for 2018 and beyond.

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When a team of psychologists, linguists, and software engineers created Woebot, an AI chatbot that helps people learn cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for managing mental health issues like anxiety and depression, they did something unusual, at least when it comes to chatbots: they submitted it for peer review.

Stanford University researchers recruited a sample group of 70 college-age participants on social media to take part in a randomized control study of Woebot. The researchers found that their creation was useful for improving anxiety and depression symptoms. A study of the user interaction with the bot was submitted for peer review and published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Mental Health in June 2017.

While Woebot may not revolutionize the field of psychology, it could change the way we view AI development. Well-known figures such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates have expressed concerns that artificial intelligence is essentially ungovernable. Peer review, such as with the Stanford study, is one way to approach this challenge and figure out how to properly evaluate and find a place for these software programs.

The healthcare community could be onto something. We’ve already seen instances where AI chatbots have spun out of control, such as when internet trolls trained Microsoft’s Tay to become a hate-spewing misanthrope. Bots are only as good as their design; making sure they stay on message and don’t act in unexpected ways is crucial.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image3 AI Won’t Save Us From Pointless Jobs Unless We Let ItThis is especially true in healthcare. When chatbots are offering therapeutic services, they must be properly designed, vetted, and tested to maintain patient safety.

It may be prudent to apply the same level of caution to a business setting. By treating chatbots as if they’re akin to medicine or drugs, we have a model for thorough vetting that, while not perfect, is generally effective and time tested.

It may seem like overkill to think of chatbots that manage pizza orders or help resolve parking tickets as potential health threats. But it’s already clear that AI can have unintended side effects that could extend far beyond Tay’s loathsome behavior.

For example, in July, Facebook shut down an experiment where it challenged two AIs to negotiate with each other over a trade. When the experiment began, the two chatbots quickly went rogue, developing linguistic shortcuts to reduce negotiating time and leaving their creators unable to understand what they were saying.

The implications are chilling. Do we want AIs interacting in a secret language because designers didn’t fully understand what they were designing?

In this context, the healthcare community’s conservative approach doesn’t seem so farfetched. Woebot could ultimately become an example of the kind of oversight that’s needed for all AIs.

Meanwhile, it’s clear that chatbots have great potential in healthcare—not just for treating mental health issues but for helping patients understand symptoms, build treatment regimens, and more. They could also help unclog barriers to healthcare, which is plagued worldwide by high prices, long wait times, and other challenges. While they are not a substitute for actual humans, chatbots can be used by anyone with a computer or smartphone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of financial status.

Finding the right governance for AI development won’t happen overnight. But peer review, extensive internal quality analysis, and other processes will go a long way to ensuring bots function as expected. Otherwise, companies and their customers could pay a big price.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image4 1024x572 AI Won’t Save Us From Pointless Jobs Unless We Let It

Elon Musk is an expert at dominating the news cycle with his sci-fi premonitions about space travel and high-speed hyperloops. However, he captured media attention in Australia in April 2017 for something much more down to earth: how to deal with blackouts and power outages.

In 2016, a massive blackout hit the state of South Australia following a storm. Although power was restored quickly in Adelaide, the capital, people in the wide stretches of arid desert that surround it spent days waiting for the power to return. That hit South Australia’s wine and livestock industries especially hard.

South Australia’s electrical grid currently gets more than half of its energy from wind and solar, with coal and gas plants acting as backups for when the sun hides or the wind doesn’t blow, according to ABC News Australia. But this network is vulnerable to sudden loss of generation—which is exactly what happened in the storm that caused the 2016 blackout, when tornadoes ripped through some key transmission lines. Getting the system back on stable footing has been an issue ever since.

Displaying his usual talent for showmanship, Musk stepped in and promised to build the world’s largest battery to store backup energy for the network—and he pledged to complete it within 100 days of signing the contract or the battery would be free. Pen met paper with South Australia and French utility Neoen in September. As of press time in November, construction was underway.

For South Australia, the Tesla deal offers an easy and secure way to store renewable energy. Tesla’s 129 MWh battery will be the most powerful battery system in the world by 60% once completed, according to Gizmodo. The battery, which is stationed at a wind farm, will cover temporary drops in wind power and kick in to help conventional gas and coal plants balance generation with demand across the network. South Australian citizens and politicians largely support the project, which Tesla claims will be able to power 30,000 homes.

Until Musk made his bold promise, batteries did not figure much in renewable energy networks, mostly because they just aren’t that good. They have limited charges, are difficult to build, and are difficult to manage. Utilities also worry about relying on the same lithium-ion battery technology as cellphone makers like Samsung, whose Galaxy Note 7 had to be recalled in 2016 after some defective batteries burst into flames, according to CNET.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image5 AI Won’t Save Us From Pointless Jobs Unless We Let ItHowever, when made right, the batteries are safe. It’s just that they’ve traditionally been too expensive for large-scale uses such as renewable power storage. But battery innovations such as Tesla’s could radically change how we power the economy. According to a study that appeared this year in Nature, the continued drop in the cost of battery storage has made renewable energy price-competitive with traditional fossil fuels.

This is a massive shift. Or, as David Roberts of news site Vox puts it, “Batteries are soon going to disrupt power markets at all scales.” Furthermore, if the cost of batteries continues to drop, supply chains could experience radical energy cost savings. This could disrupt energy utilities, manufacturing, transportation, and construction, to name just a few, and create many opportunities while changing established business models. (For more on how renewable energy will affect business, read the feature “Tick Tock” in this issue.)

Battery research and development has become big business. Thanks to electric cars and powerful smartphones, there has been incredible pressure to make more powerful batteries that last longer between charges.

The proof of this is in the R&D funding pudding. A Brookings Institution report notes that both the Chinese and U.S. governments offer generous subsidies for lithium-ion battery advancement. Automakers such as Daimler and BMW have established divisions marketing residential and commercial energy storage products. Boeing, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and General Electric are all experimenting with various electric propulsion systems for aircraft—which means that hybrid airplanes are also a possibility.

Meanwhile, governments around the world are accelerating battery research investment by banning internal combustion vehicles. Britain, France, India, and Norway are seeking to go all electric as early as 2025 and by 2040 at the latest.

In the meantime, expect huge investment and new battery innovation from interested parties across industries that all share a stake in the outcome. This past September, for example, Volkswagen announced a €50 billion research investment in batteries to help bring 300 electric vehicle models to market by 2030.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image6 1024x572 AI Won’t Save Us From Pointless Jobs Unless We Let It

At first, it sounds like a narrative device from a science fiction novel or a particularly bad urban legend.

Powerful cameras in several Chinese cities capture photographs of jaywalkers as they cross the street and, several minutes later, display their photograph, name, and home address on a large screen posted at the intersection. Several days later, a summons appears in the offender’s mailbox demanding payment of a fine or fulfillment of community service.

As Orwellian as it seems, this technology is very real for residents of Jinan and several other Chinese cities. According to a Xinhua interview with Li Yong of the Jinan traffic police, “Since the new technology has been adopted, the cases of jaywalking have been reduced from 200 to 20 each day at the major intersection of Jingshi and Shungeng roads.”

The sophisticated cameras and facial recognition systems already used in China—and their near–real-time public shaming—are an example of how machine learning, mobile phone surveillance, and internet activity tracking are being used to censor and control populations. Most worryingly, the prospect of real-time surveillance makes running surveillance states such as the former East Germany and current North Korea much more financially efficient.

According to a 2015 discussion paper by the Institute for the Study of Labor, a German research center, by the 1980s almost 0.5% of the East German population was directly employed by the Stasi, the country’s state security service and secret police—1 for every 166 citizens. An additional 1.1% of the population (1 for every 66 citizens) were working as unofficial informers, which represented a massive economic drain. Automated, real-time, algorithm-driven monitoring could potentially drive the cost of controlling the population down substantially in police states—and elsewhere.

We could see a radical new era of censorship that is much more manipulative than anything that has come before. Previously, dissidents were identified when investigators manually combed through photos, read writings, or listened in on phone calls. Real-time algorithmic monitoring means that acts of perceived defiance can be identified and deleted in the moment and their perpetrators marked for swift judgment before they can make an impression on others.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image7 AI Won’t Save Us From Pointless Jobs Unless We Let ItBusinesses need to be aware of the wider trend toward real-time, automated censorship and how it might be used in both commercial and governmental settings. These tools can easily be used in countries with unstable political dynamics and could become a real concern for businesses that operate across borders. Businesses must learn to educate and protect employees when technology can censor and punish in real time.

Indeed, the technologies used for this kind of repression could be easily adapted from those that have already been developed for businesses. For instance, both Facebook and Google use near–real-time facial identification algorithms that automatically identify people in images uploaded by users—which helps the companies build out their social graphs and target users with profitable advertisements. Automated algorithms also flag Facebook posts that potentially violate the company’s terms of service.

China is already using these technologies to control its own people in ways that are largely hidden to outsiders.

According to a report by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, the popular Chinese social network WeChat operates under a policy its authors call “One App, Two Systems.” Users with Chinese phone numbers are subjected to dynamic keyword censorship that changes depending on current events and whether a user is in a private chat or in a group. Depending on the political winds, users are blocked from accessing a range of websites that report critically on China through WeChat’s internal browser. Non-Chinese users, however, are not subject to any of these restrictions.

The censorship is also designed to be invisible. Messages are blocked without any user notification, and China has intermittently blocked WhatsApp and other foreign social networks. As a result, Chinese users are steered toward national social networks, which are more compliant with government pressure.

China’s policies play into a larger global trend: the nationalization of the internet. China, Russia, the European Union, and the United States have all adopted different approaches to censorship, user privacy, and surveillance. Although there are social networks such as WeChat or Russia’s VKontakte that are popular in primarily one country, nationalizing the internet challenges users of multinational services such as Facebook and YouTube. These different approaches, which impact everything from data safe harbor laws to legal consequences for posting inflammatory material, have implications for businesses working in multiple countries, as well.

For instance, Twitter is legally obligated to hide Nazi and neo-fascist imagery and some tweets in Germany and France—but not elsewhere. YouTube was officially banned in Turkey for two years because of videos a Turkish court deemed “insulting to the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” father of modern Turkey. In Russia, Google must keep Russian users’ personal data on servers located inside Russia to comply with government policy.

While China is a pioneer in the field of instant censorship, tech companies in the United States are matching China’s progress, which could potentially have a chilling effect on democracy. In 2016, Apple applied for a patent on technology that censors audio streams in real time—automating the previously manual process of censoring curse words in streaming audio.

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In March, after U.S. President Donald Trump told Fox News, “I think maybe I wouldn’t be [president] if it wasn’t for Twitter,” Twitter founder Evan “Ev” Williams did something highly unusual for the creator of a massive social network.

He apologized.

Speaking with David Streitfeld of The New York Times, Williams said, “It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that. If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.”

Entrepreneurs tend to be very proud of their innovations. Williams, however, offers a far more ambivalent response to his creation’s success. Much of the 2016 presidential election’s rancor was fueled by Twitter, and the instant gratification of Twitter attracts trolls, bullies, and bigots just as easily as it attracts politicians, celebrities, comedians, and sports fans.

Services such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are designed through a mix of look and feel, algorithmic wizardry, and psychological techniques to hang on to users for as long as possible—which helps the services sell more advertisements and make more money. Toxic political discourse and online harassment are unintended side effects of the economic-driven urge to keep users engaged no matter what.

Keeping users’ eyeballs on their screens requires endless hours of multivariate testing, user research, and algorithm refinement. For instance, Casey Newton of tech publication The Verge notes that Google Brain, Google’s AI division, plays a key part in generating YouTube’s video recommendations.

According to Jim McFadden, the technical lead for YouTube recommendations, “Before, if I watch this video from a comedian, our recommendations were pretty good at saying, here’s another one just like it,” he told Newton. “But the Google Brain model figures out other comedians who are similar but not exactly the same—even more adjacent relationships. It’s able to see patterns that are less obvious.”

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image9 AI Won’t Save Us From Pointless Jobs Unless We Let ItA never-ending flow of content that is interesting without being repetitive is harder to resist. With users glued to online services, addiction and other behavioral problems occur to an unhealthy degree. According to a 2016 poll by nonprofit research company Common Sense Media, 50% of American teenagers believe they are addicted to their smartphones.

This pattern is extending into the workplace. Seventy-five percent of companies told research company Harris Poll in 2016 that two or more hours a day are lost in productivity because employees are distracted. The number one reason? Cellphones and texting, according to 55% of those companies surveyed. Another 41% pointed to the internet.

Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, argues that many product designers for online services try to exploit psychological vulnerabilities in a bid to keep users engaged for longer periods. Harris refers to an iPhone as “a slot machine in my pocket” and argues that user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers need to adopt something akin to a Hippocratic Oath to stop exploiting users’ psychological vulnerabilities.

In fact, there is an entire school of study devoted to “dark UX”—small design tweaks to increase profits. These can be as innocuous as a “Buy Now” button in a visually pleasing color or as controversial as when Facebook tweaked its algorithm in 2012 to show a randomly selected group of almost 700,000 users (who had not given their permission) newsfeeds that skewed more positive to some users and more negative to others to gauge the impact on their respective emotional states, according to an article in Wired.

As computers, smartphones, and televisions come ever closer to convergence, these issues matter increasingly to businesses. Some of the universal side effects of addiction are lost productivity at work and poor health. Businesses should offer training and help for employees who can’t stop checking their smartphones.

Mindfulness-centered mobile apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Forest offer one way to break the habit. Users can also choose to break internet addiction by going for a walk, turning their computers off, or using tools like StayFocusd or Freedom to block addictive websites or apps.

Most importantly, companies in the business of creating tech products need to design software and hardware that discourages addictive behavior. This means avoiding bad designs that emphasize engagement metrics over human health. A world of advertising preroll showing up on smart refrigerator touchscreens at 2 a.m. benefits no one.

According to a 2014 study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, approximately 6% of the world’s population suffers from internet addiction to one degree or another. As more users in emerging economies gain access to cheap data, smartphones, and laptops, that percentage will only increase. For businesses, getting a head start on stopping internet addiction will make employees happier and more productive. D!


About the Authors

Maurizio Cattaneo is Director, Delivery Execution, Energy, and Natural Resources, at SAP.

David Delaney is Global Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, SAP Health.

Volker Hildebrand is Global Vice President for SAP Hybris solutions.

Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.


Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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Zones in a Data Lake

As we are approaching the end of 2017, many people have resolutions or goals for the new year. How about a goal to get organized…in your data lake?

The most important aspect of organizing a data lake is optimal data retrieval.

It all starts with the zones of your data lake, as shown in the following diagram:

Hopefully the above diagram is a helpful starting place when planning a data lake structure. I have used all of the above zones in projects (with the exception of a transient zone which I haven’t had a requirement for).

You Might Also Like…

Data Lake Use Cases and Planning Considerations  <–More tips on organizing the data lake in this post

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About Krisgo

I’m a mom, that has worn many different hats in this life; from scout leader, camp craft teacher, parents group president, colorguard coach, member of the community band, stay-at-home-mom to full time worker, I’ve done it all– almost! I still love learning new things, especially creating and cooking. Most of all I love to laugh! Thanks for visiting – come back soon icon smile He’s got their whole world in his hands

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Deep Fried Bits

The 7 Podcast Episodes You’ll Reference in 2018

20171207 bnr rethink podcast david fowler 351x200 The 7 Podcast Episodes You’ll Reference in 2018

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, becomes effective on May 25, 2018.

We’ve been periodically interviewing David Fowler, Act-On’s head of privacy, compliance and deliverability, about the regulation, which he describes as the biggest change to EU data protection law in a generation. It applies to the EU’s 510+ million citizens, as well as any business doing business with them, regardless of where they are based. If you are a marketer doing business in Europe, or any of your customers are EU citizens, then GDPR applies to you.

Episode 30 was our first conversation with David about GDPR and offers a good introduction.

“What I would be doing now as a marketer in your preparation efforts (when this thing goes live in May of next year, there’s going to be no grace period). So, every piece of data you have on your file come May of 2018 will have to be compliant the day it goes live,” David said. “You should start thinking about how you either re-permission or get to the point where you start to disclose different things about the individuals as you get ready for the GDPR implementation. So, re-permission your lists, get your consent in order, start talking about disclosures, and that kind of thing. And so that’s what you should start to be sort of embracing today.”

You can also listen to Ep. 54 | What You Need to Know About GDPR’s Data Protection Officer, too, or visit our GDPR hub to learn more.

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Act-On Blog

Donald Trump wants U.S. Postal Service to charge Amazon ‘much more’

 Donald Trump wants U.S. Postal Service to charge Amazon ‘much more’

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump called on the U.S. Postal Service on Friday to charge “much more” to ship packages for Amazon, picking another fight with an online retail giant he has criticized in the past.

“Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president’s tweet drew fresh attention to the fragile finances of the Postal Service at a time when tens of millions of parcels have just been shipped all over the country for the holiday season.

The U.S. Postal Service, which runs at a big loss, is an independent agency within the federal government and does not receive tax dollars for operating expenses, according to its website.

Package delivery has become an increasingly important part of its business as the Internet has led to a sharp decline in the amount of first-class letters.

The president does not determine postal rates. They are set by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent government agency with commissioners selected by the president from both political parties. That panel raised prices on packages by almost 2 percent in November.

Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos, who remains the chief executive officer of the retail company and is the richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg News. Bezos also owns The Washington Post, a newspaper Trump has repeatedly railed against in his criticisms of the news media.

In tweets over the past year, Trump has said the “Amazon Washington Post” fabricated stories. He has said Amazon does not pay sales tax, which is not true, and so hurts other retailers, part of a pattern by the former businessman and reality television host of periodically turning his ire on big American companies since he took office in January.

Daniel Ives, a research analyst at GBH Insights, said Trump’s comment could be taken as a warning to the retail giant. However, he said he was not concerned for Amazon.

“We do not see any price hikes in the future. However, that is a risk that Amazon is clearly aware of and (it) is building out its distribution (system) aggressively,” he said.

Amazon has shown interest in the past in shifting into its own delivery service, including testing drones for deliveries. In 2015, the company spent $ 11.5 billion on shipping, 46 percent of its total operating expenses that year.

Amazon shares were down 0.86 percent to $ 1,175.90 by early afternoon. Overall, U.S. stock prices were down slightly on Friday.

Millions of Parcels

Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix Inc, which analyzes shipping data, disputed the idea that the Postal Service charges less than United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) and FedEx Corp (FDX.N), the other biggest players in the parcel delivery business in the United States.

Many customers get lower rates from UPS and FedEx than they would get from the post office for comparable services, he said.

The Postal Service delivers about 62 percent of Amazon packages, for about 3.5 to 4 million a day during the current peak year-end holiday shipping season, Jindel said. The Seattle-based company and the post office have an agreement in which mail carriers take Amazon packages on the last leg of their journeys, from post offices to customers’ doorsteps.

Amazon’s No. 2 carrier is UPS, at 21 percent, and FedEx is third, with 8 percent or so, according to Jindel.

Trump’s comment tapped into a debate over whether Postal Service pricing has kept pace with the rise of e-commerce, which has flooded the mail with small packages.Private companies like UPS have long claimed the current system unfairly undercuts their business.

Steve Gaut, a spokesman for UPS, noted that the company values its “productive relationship” with the postal service, but that it has filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission its concerns about the postal service’s methods for covering costs.

Representatives for Amazon, the White House, the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx declined comment or were not immediately available for comment on Trump’s tweet.

According to its annual report, the Postal Service lost $ 2.74 billion this year, and its deficit has ballooned to $ 61.86 billion.

While the Postal Service’s revenue for first class mail, marketing mail and periodicals is flat or declining, revenue from package delivery is up 44 percent since 2014 to $ 19.5 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2017.

But it also lost about $ 2 billion in revenue when a temporary surcharge expired in April 2016.

According to a Government Accountability Office report in February, the service is facing growing personnel expenses, particularly $ 73.4 billion in unfunded pension and benefits liabilities. The Postal Service has not announced any plans to cut costs.

By law, the Postal Service has to set prices for package delivery to cover the costs attributable to that service. But the postal service allocates only 5.5 percent of its total costs to its business of shipping packages even though that line of business is 28 percent of its total revenue.

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Big Data – VentureBeat

Essential Steps For SMBs To Maximize Marketing ROI

In the tech world in 2017, several trends emerged as signals amid the noise, signifying much larger changes to come.

As we noted in last year’s More Than Noise list, things are changing—and the changes are occurring in ways that don’t necessarily fit into the prevailing narrative.

While many of 2017’s signals have a dark tint to them, perhaps reflecting the times we live in, we have sought out some rays of light to illuminate the way forward. The following signals differ considerably, but understanding them can help guide businesses in the right direction for 2018 and beyond.

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When a team of psychologists, linguists, and software engineers created Woebot, an AI chatbot that helps people learn cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for managing mental health issues like anxiety and depression, they did something unusual, at least when it comes to chatbots: they submitted it for peer review.

Stanford University researchers recruited a sample group of 70 college-age participants on social media to take part in a randomized control study of Woebot. The researchers found that their creation was useful for improving anxiety and depression symptoms. A study of the user interaction with the bot was submitted for peer review and published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Mental Health in June 2017.

While Woebot may not revolutionize the field of psychology, it could change the way we view AI development. Well-known figures such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates have expressed concerns that artificial intelligence is essentially ungovernable. Peer review, such as with the Stanford study, is one way to approach this challenge and figure out how to properly evaluate and find a place for these software programs.

The healthcare community could be onto something. We’ve already seen instances where AI chatbots have spun out of control, such as when internet trolls trained Microsoft’s Tay to become a hate-spewing misanthrope. Bots are only as good as their design; making sure they stay on message and don’t act in unexpected ways is crucial.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image3 Essential Steps For SMBs To Maximize Marketing ROIThis is especially true in healthcare. When chatbots are offering therapeutic services, they must be properly designed, vetted, and tested to maintain patient safety.

It may be prudent to apply the same level of caution to a business setting. By treating chatbots as if they’re akin to medicine or drugs, we have a model for thorough vetting that, while not perfect, is generally effective and time tested.

It may seem like overkill to think of chatbots that manage pizza orders or help resolve parking tickets as potential health threats. But it’s already clear that AI can have unintended side effects that could extend far beyond Tay’s loathsome behavior.

For example, in July, Facebook shut down an experiment where it challenged two AIs to negotiate with each other over a trade. When the experiment began, the two chatbots quickly went rogue, developing linguistic shortcuts to reduce negotiating time and leaving their creators unable to understand what they were saying.

The implications are chilling. Do we want AIs interacting in a secret language because designers didn’t fully understand what they were designing?

In this context, the healthcare community’s conservative approach doesn’t seem so farfetched. Woebot could ultimately become an example of the kind of oversight that’s needed for all AIs.

Meanwhile, it’s clear that chatbots have great potential in healthcare—not just for treating mental health issues but for helping patients understand symptoms, build treatment regimens, and more. They could also help unclog barriers to healthcare, which is plagued worldwide by high prices, long wait times, and other challenges. While they are not a substitute for actual humans, chatbots can be used by anyone with a computer or smartphone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of financial status.

Finding the right governance for AI development won’t happen overnight. But peer review, extensive internal quality analysis, and other processes will go a long way to ensuring bots function as expected. Otherwise, companies and their customers could pay a big price.

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Elon Musk is an expert at dominating the news cycle with his sci-fi premonitions about space travel and high-speed hyperloops. However, he captured media attention in Australia in April 2017 for something much more down to earth: how to deal with blackouts and power outages.

In 2016, a massive blackout hit the state of South Australia following a storm. Although power was restored quickly in Adelaide, the capital, people in the wide stretches of arid desert that surround it spent days waiting for the power to return. That hit South Australia’s wine and livestock industries especially hard.

South Australia’s electrical grid currently gets more than half of its energy from wind and solar, with coal and gas plants acting as backups for when the sun hides or the wind doesn’t blow, according to ABC News Australia. But this network is vulnerable to sudden loss of generation—which is exactly what happened in the storm that caused the 2016 blackout, when tornadoes ripped through some key transmission lines. Getting the system back on stable footing has been an issue ever since.

Displaying his usual talent for showmanship, Musk stepped in and promised to build the world’s largest battery to store backup energy for the network—and he pledged to complete it within 100 days of signing the contract or the battery would be free. Pen met paper with South Australia and French utility Neoen in September. As of press time in November, construction was underway.

For South Australia, the Tesla deal offers an easy and secure way to store renewable energy. Tesla’s 129 MWh battery will be the most powerful battery system in the world by 60% once completed, according to Gizmodo. The battery, which is stationed at a wind farm, will cover temporary drops in wind power and kick in to help conventional gas and coal plants balance generation with demand across the network. South Australian citizens and politicians largely support the project, which Tesla claims will be able to power 30,000 homes.

Until Musk made his bold promise, batteries did not figure much in renewable energy networks, mostly because they just aren’t that good. They have limited charges, are difficult to build, and are difficult to manage. Utilities also worry about relying on the same lithium-ion battery technology as cellphone makers like Samsung, whose Galaxy Note 7 had to be recalled in 2016 after some defective batteries burst into flames, according to CNET.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image5 Essential Steps For SMBs To Maximize Marketing ROIHowever, when made right, the batteries are safe. It’s just that they’ve traditionally been too expensive for large-scale uses such as renewable power storage. But battery innovations such as Tesla’s could radically change how we power the economy. According to a study that appeared this year in Nature, the continued drop in the cost of battery storage has made renewable energy price-competitive with traditional fossil fuels.

This is a massive shift. Or, as David Roberts of news site Vox puts it, “Batteries are soon going to disrupt power markets at all scales.” Furthermore, if the cost of batteries continues to drop, supply chains could experience radical energy cost savings. This could disrupt energy utilities, manufacturing, transportation, and construction, to name just a few, and create many opportunities while changing established business models. (For more on how renewable energy will affect business, read the feature “Tick Tock” in this issue.)

Battery research and development has become big business. Thanks to electric cars and powerful smartphones, there has been incredible pressure to make more powerful batteries that last longer between charges.

The proof of this is in the R&D funding pudding. A Brookings Institution report notes that both the Chinese and U.S. governments offer generous subsidies for lithium-ion battery advancement. Automakers such as Daimler and BMW have established divisions marketing residential and commercial energy storage products. Boeing, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and General Electric are all experimenting with various electric propulsion systems for aircraft—which means that hybrid airplanes are also a possibility.

Meanwhile, governments around the world are accelerating battery research investment by banning internal combustion vehicles. Britain, France, India, and Norway are seeking to go all electric as early as 2025 and by 2040 at the latest.

In the meantime, expect huge investment and new battery innovation from interested parties across industries that all share a stake in the outcome. This past September, for example, Volkswagen announced a €50 billion research investment in batteries to help bring 300 electric vehicle models to market by 2030.

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At first, it sounds like a narrative device from a science fiction novel or a particularly bad urban legend.

Powerful cameras in several Chinese cities capture photographs of jaywalkers as they cross the street and, several minutes later, display their photograph, name, and home address on a large screen posted at the intersection. Several days later, a summons appears in the offender’s mailbox demanding payment of a fine or fulfillment of community service.

As Orwellian as it seems, this technology is very real for residents of Jinan and several other Chinese cities. According to a Xinhua interview with Li Yong of the Jinan traffic police, “Since the new technology has been adopted, the cases of jaywalking have been reduced from 200 to 20 each day at the major intersection of Jingshi and Shungeng roads.”

The sophisticated cameras and facial recognition systems already used in China—and their near–real-time public shaming—are an example of how machine learning, mobile phone surveillance, and internet activity tracking are being used to censor and control populations. Most worryingly, the prospect of real-time surveillance makes running surveillance states such as the former East Germany and current North Korea much more financially efficient.

According to a 2015 discussion paper by the Institute for the Study of Labor, a German research center, by the 1980s almost 0.5% of the East German population was directly employed by the Stasi, the country’s state security service and secret police—1 for every 166 citizens. An additional 1.1% of the population (1 for every 66 citizens) were working as unofficial informers, which represented a massive economic drain. Automated, real-time, algorithm-driven monitoring could potentially drive the cost of controlling the population down substantially in police states—and elsewhere.

We could see a radical new era of censorship that is much more manipulative than anything that has come before. Previously, dissidents were identified when investigators manually combed through photos, read writings, or listened in on phone calls. Real-time algorithmic monitoring means that acts of perceived defiance can be identified and deleted in the moment and their perpetrators marked for swift judgment before they can make an impression on others.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image7 Essential Steps For SMBs To Maximize Marketing ROIBusinesses need to be aware of the wider trend toward real-time, automated censorship and how it might be used in both commercial and governmental settings. These tools can easily be used in countries with unstable political dynamics and could become a real concern for businesses that operate across borders. Businesses must learn to educate and protect employees when technology can censor and punish in real time.

Indeed, the technologies used for this kind of repression could be easily adapted from those that have already been developed for businesses. For instance, both Facebook and Google use near–real-time facial identification algorithms that automatically identify people in images uploaded by users—which helps the companies build out their social graphs and target users with profitable advertisements. Automated algorithms also flag Facebook posts that potentially violate the company’s terms of service.

China is already using these technologies to control its own people in ways that are largely hidden to outsiders.

According to a report by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, the popular Chinese social network WeChat operates under a policy its authors call “One App, Two Systems.” Users with Chinese phone numbers are subjected to dynamic keyword censorship that changes depending on current events and whether a user is in a private chat or in a group. Depending on the political winds, users are blocked from accessing a range of websites that report critically on China through WeChat’s internal browser. Non-Chinese users, however, are not subject to any of these restrictions.

The censorship is also designed to be invisible. Messages are blocked without any user notification, and China has intermittently blocked WhatsApp and other foreign social networks. As a result, Chinese users are steered toward national social networks, which are more compliant with government pressure.

China’s policies play into a larger global trend: the nationalization of the internet. China, Russia, the European Union, and the United States have all adopted different approaches to censorship, user privacy, and surveillance. Although there are social networks such as WeChat or Russia’s VKontakte that are popular in primarily one country, nationalizing the internet challenges users of multinational services such as Facebook and YouTube. These different approaches, which impact everything from data safe harbor laws to legal consequences for posting inflammatory material, have implications for businesses working in multiple countries, as well.

For instance, Twitter is legally obligated to hide Nazi and neo-fascist imagery and some tweets in Germany and France—but not elsewhere. YouTube was officially banned in Turkey for two years because of videos a Turkish court deemed “insulting to the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” father of modern Turkey. In Russia, Google must keep Russian users’ personal data on servers located inside Russia to comply with government policy.

While China is a pioneer in the field of instant censorship, tech companies in the United States are matching China’s progress, which could potentially have a chilling effect on democracy. In 2016, Apple applied for a patent on technology that censors audio streams in real time—automating the previously manual process of censoring curse words in streaming audio.

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In March, after U.S. President Donald Trump told Fox News, “I think maybe I wouldn’t be [president] if it wasn’t for Twitter,” Twitter founder Evan “Ev” Williams did something highly unusual for the creator of a massive social network.

He apologized.

Speaking with David Streitfeld of The New York Times, Williams said, “It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that. If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.”

Entrepreneurs tend to be very proud of their innovations. Williams, however, offers a far more ambivalent response to his creation’s success. Much of the 2016 presidential election’s rancor was fueled by Twitter, and the instant gratification of Twitter attracts trolls, bullies, and bigots just as easily as it attracts politicians, celebrities, comedians, and sports fans.

Services such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are designed through a mix of look and feel, algorithmic wizardry, and psychological techniques to hang on to users for as long as possible—which helps the services sell more advertisements and make more money. Toxic political discourse and online harassment are unintended side effects of the economic-driven urge to keep users engaged no matter what.

Keeping users’ eyeballs on their screens requires endless hours of multivariate testing, user research, and algorithm refinement. For instance, Casey Newton of tech publication The Verge notes that Google Brain, Google’s AI division, plays a key part in generating YouTube’s video recommendations.

According to Jim McFadden, the technical lead for YouTube recommendations, “Before, if I watch this video from a comedian, our recommendations were pretty good at saying, here’s another one just like it,” he told Newton. “But the Google Brain model figures out other comedians who are similar but not exactly the same—even more adjacent relationships. It’s able to see patterns that are less obvious.”

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature1 Image9 Essential Steps For SMBs To Maximize Marketing ROIA never-ending flow of content that is interesting without being repetitive is harder to resist. With users glued to online services, addiction and other behavioral problems occur to an unhealthy degree. According to a 2016 poll by nonprofit research company Common Sense Media, 50% of American teenagers believe they are addicted to their smartphones.

This pattern is extending into the workplace. Seventy-five percent of companies told research company Harris Poll in 2016 that two or more hours a day are lost in productivity because employees are distracted. The number one reason? Cellphones and texting, according to 55% of those companies surveyed. Another 41% pointed to the internet.

Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, argues that many product designers for online services try to exploit psychological vulnerabilities in a bid to keep users engaged for longer periods. Harris refers to an iPhone as “a slot machine in my pocket” and argues that user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers need to adopt something akin to a Hippocratic Oath to stop exploiting users’ psychological vulnerabilities.

In fact, there is an entire school of study devoted to “dark UX”—small design tweaks to increase profits. These can be as innocuous as a “Buy Now” button in a visually pleasing color or as controversial as when Facebook tweaked its algorithm in 2012 to show a randomly selected group of almost 700,000 users (who had not given their permission) newsfeeds that skewed more positive to some users and more negative to others to gauge the impact on their respective emotional states, according to an article in Wired.

As computers, smartphones, and televisions come ever closer to convergence, these issues matter increasingly to businesses. Some of the universal side effects of addiction are lost productivity at work and poor health. Businesses should offer training and help for employees who can’t stop checking their smartphones.

Mindfulness-centered mobile apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Forest offer one way to break the habit. Users can also choose to break internet addiction by going for a walk, turning their computers off, or using tools like StayFocusd or Freedom to block addictive websites or apps.

Most importantly, companies in the business of creating tech products need to design software and hardware that discourages addictive behavior. This means avoiding bad designs that emphasize engagement metrics over human health. A world of advertising preroll showing up on smart refrigerator touchscreens at 2 a.m. benefits no one.

According to a 2014 study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, approximately 6% of the world’s population suffers from internet addiction to one degree or another. As more users in emerging economies gain access to cheap data, smartphones, and laptops, that percentage will only increase. For businesses, getting a head start on stopping internet addiction will make employees happier and more productive. D!


About the Authors

Maurizio Cattaneo is Director, Delivery Execution, Energy, and Natural Resources, at SAP.

David Delaney is Global Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, SAP Health.

Volker Hildebrand is Global Vice President for SAP Hybris solutions.

Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.


Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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