Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lunch Talk: Moral Tribes (Joshua Greene gives a talk at Google)

Note how his experiments show the relationship b/w physical distance and psychological distance. A similar effect happens when inventors are trying to explain their ideas to investors. I also like his analogy between Kahneman's System 1 vs System 2 on one the hand, and point-and-shoot and SLR cameras on the other: the former is set on automatic, while the latter on manual.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Stanford CSP 74 Principles of Invention and Innovation (BUS 74). Session 2 Quiz 1

In a recent MIT Technology Review article, Antonio Regaldo describes a new genetic engineering approach that promises to eliminate malaria:
Malaria kills half a million people each year, mostly children in tropical Africa. The price tag for eradicating the disease is estimated at more than $100 billion over 15 years. To do it, you’d need bed nets for everyone, tens of thousands of crates of antimalaria drugs, and millions of gallons of insecticides.
A gene drive is an artificial “selfish” gene capable of forcing itself into 99 percent of an organism’s offspring instead of the usual half. And because this particular gene causes female mosquitoes to become sterile, within about 11 generations—or in about one year—its spread would doom any population of mosquitoes. If released into the field, the technology could bring about the extinction of malaria mosquitoes and, possibly, cease transmission of the disease.

Question 1: Using the "Divergeng-Exploratory-Convergent" thinking technique,
a) list lots of benefits and problems that the new approach creates;
b) create an explicit criteria for selecting top benefits and problems;
b) according to your criteria, what are the most important short- and long-term benefits/problems (at least one each)?

Question 2 (optional): What dilemma did the researchers solve, while trying to create their genetically modified mosquito?

Question 3 (optional): What's the difference between system levels that the existing and the new malaria solutions target?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Stanford CSP 74 Principles of Invention and Innovation (BUS 74). Session 1 Quiz 1

Research shows that online privacy remains a controversial topic. For example, a review article from the Science Magazine states*:

If this is the age of information, then privacy is the issue of our times. Activities that were once private or shared with the few now leave trails of data that expose our interests, traits, beliefs, and intentions.
Both firms and individuals can benefit from the sharing of once hidden data and from the application of increasingly sophisticated analytics to larger and more interconnected databases (3). So too can society as a whole—for instance, when electronic medical records are combined to observe novel drug interactions (4). On the other hand, the potential for personal data to be abused—for economic and social discrimination, hidden influence and manipulation, coercion, or censorship—is alarming. The erosion of privacy can threaten our autonomy, not merely as consumers but as citizens (5). Sharing more personal data does not necessarily always translate into more progress, efficiency, or equality (6).

Question: How would an IDEAL privacy system would change the situation.

*Science 30 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6221, pp. 509-514
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1465

Direct link to the article (pdf) on