Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Study Proves Power corrupts even the honest - Video

When appointing a new leader, selectors base their choice on several factors and typically look for leaders with desirable characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness.

However once leaders are in power, can we trust them to exercise it in a prosocial manner?

New research published in The Leadership Quarterly looked to discover whether power corrupts leaders. Study author John Antonakis and his colleagues from the University of Lausanne explain,

"We looked to examine what Lord Acton said over 100 years ago, that 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'"

To investigate this the authors used experimental methods to distinguish between the situational and individual component; and determine if power corrupts or if corrupt individuals are drawn to power.

After completing psychometric tests to measure various individual differences, including honesty, participants played the 'dictator game' where they were given complete control over deciding pay-outs to themselves and their followers.

The leaders had the choice of making prosocial or antisocial decisions, the latter of which resulted in reduced total pay-outs to the group but increased the leader's own earnings.

The findings showed that those who measured as less honest exhibited more corrupt behaviour, at least initially; however, over time, even those who initially scored high on honesty were not shielded from the corruptive effects of power.

"We think that strong governance mechanisms and strong institutions are the key to keeping leaders in check," concludes Antonakis. "Organisations should limit how much leaders can drink from the seductive chalice of power."

More information: This article is "Leader corruption depends on power and testosterone" DOI: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.07.010 and appears in The Leadership Quarterly, published by Elsevier.

Monday, May 5, 2014

TNW: Building Habit Forming Products - Nir Eyal

In Amsterdam, Nir Eyal (author of “Hooked“) was one of many speakers at the Next Web Europe 2014 Conference. His keynote on ‘building habit forming products’ is very interesting.

A video of this keynote talk is shown here It will hopefully make you realise how our buttons are being pushed by very smart developers who have studied human behaviour and habits.

Read more at Nir Eval's website.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Barry Schwartz: TED Talk on Our Loss of Wisdom - Video

A wise person knows when and how to make the exception to every rule…

A wise person knows how to improvise…

Real-world problems are often ambiguous and ill-defined and the context is always changing. A wise person is like a jazz musician, using the notes on the page, but dancing around them, inventing combinations that are appropriate for the situation and the people at hand.

A wise person knows how to use these moral skills in the service of the right aims. To serve other people, not to manipulate other people.

And finally, perhaps most important, a wise person is made, not born. Wisdom depends on experience, and not just any experience.

You need the time to get to know the people that you’re serving. You need permission to be allowed to improvise, try new things, occasionally to fail and to learn from your failures. And you need to be mentored by wise teachers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Are people willing to take orders from a non-human, robotic boss? - Video

A study conducted by a team of researchers at Human Computer Interaction (MCI) Lab in Manitoba Canada, has revealed evidence that suggests that people can be prodded into doing something they don't want to do, by a robot.

They've posted a blog entry on their web site describing an experiment they carried out to learn more about how people might respond to a robot boss, versus a human one, and the results they found.

The experiment consisted of asking volunteers to complete different tasks, some fun (singing songs they liked), some tedious and boring (changing file name extensions for a very large number of files).

Some of the volunteers were asked to perform the tasks by a human being, others were asked to do the same tasks by a small friendly-looking Aldebaran Nao humanoid robot.

The volunteers and their taskmasters were set up in an office-type environment, with desks set apart from one another.

The participants were filmed as they carried out the experiment and the researchers analyzed the results afterwards.

All of the volunteers were told repeatedly before the experiment that they could stop any task they chose at any time, with no negative consequences.

In studying the video, the researchers found that 46 percent of the volunteers (both male and female) complied with a request to perform a task (which took 80 minutes) they didn't want to do, when asked to do so by the robot, compared to 86 percent compliance when asked by a human "boss."

The researchers note the lower percentage but also point out that nearly half of those who participated complied when asked to do something they didn't want to do, when asked by a robot.

The research is being carried out to learn more about how future humans might interact with future robots in real workplace environments.

The team's initial findings indicate that humans will not summarily dismiss a robot authority figure, and many will do as it asks.

The team plans to continue with its research, no doubt, looking to find the limits of such interactions.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman on de-biasing thinking in decision-making - Video

How do you increase the chances that the thinking behind a decision is valid? Daniel Kahneman discusses the Pre-Mortem, a simple technique for "de-biasing" the thinking that goes into a decision before it is locked in.

In just three minutes, Kahneman makes the case for shining a light on the thinking that has led to a decision before there is no turning back.

Prof. Daniel Kahneman: "Thinking, Fast and Slow" - Video

Public Lecture by Prof. Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Aula, University of Zurich

Friday, March 7, 2014

DARPA MUSE: Deep program analysis, and big data analytics, create public database

DARPA's MUSE seeks to leverage deep program analysis and big data analytics to create a public database containing mined inferences about salient properties, behaviours and vulnerabilities of software drawn from the hundreds of billions of lines of open source code available today.

The program aims to make significant advances in the way software is built, debugged, verified, maintained and understood, and to enable the automated repair of existing programs and synthesis of new ones.

During the past decade information technologies have driven the productivity gains essential to U.S. economic competitiveness, and computing systems now control significant elements of critical national infrastructure.

As a result, tremendous resources are devoted to ensuring that programs are correct, especially at scale.

Unfortunately, in spite of developers' best efforts, software errors are at the root of most execution errors and security vulnerabilities.

To help improve this state, DARPA has created the Mining and Understanding Software Enclaves (MUSE) program.

MUSE seeks to make significant advances in the way software is built, debugged, verified, maintained and understood.

The collective knowledge gleaned from MUSE's efforts would facilitate new mechanisms for dramatically improving software correctness, and help develop radically different approaches for automatically constructing and repairing complex software.

Suresh Jagannathan
"Our goal is to apply the principles of big data analytics to identify and understand deep commonalities among the constantly evolving corpus of software drawn from the hundreds of billions of lines of open source code available today," said Suresh Jagannathan, DARPA program manager.

"We're aiming to treat programs—more precisely, facts about programs—as data, discovering new relationships (enclaves) among this 'big code' to build better, more robust software."

Central to MUSE's approach is the creation of a community infrastructure that would incorporate a continuously operational specification-mining engine.

This engine would leverage deep program analyses and foundational ideas underlying big data analytics to populate and refine a database containing inferences about salient properties, behaviours and vulnerabilities of the program components in the corpus.

If successful, MUSE could provide numerous capabilities that have so far remained elusive.

"Ideally, we could enable a paradigm shift in the way we think about software construction and maintenance, replacing the existing costly and laborious test/debug/validate cycle with 'always on' program analysis, mining, inspection and discovery," Jagannathan said.

"We could see scalable automated mechanisms to identify and repair program errors, as well as tools to efficiently create new, custom programs from existing components based only a description of desired properties."

Diversity at CERN: Great science needs great people

Great science needs great people, a look at diversity at CERN. 

A word from the DG: Strength in diversity 

The CERN Diversity Programme 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Panel Discussion: Opening Up Network Hardware

OCP Summit V - January 29, 2014 - San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California "Opening Up Network Hardware" - Najam Ahmad (Director, Infrastructure, Facebook); JR Rivers (Co-founder and CEO, Cumulus Networks); Martin Casado (Chief Architect, Networking, VMware); Matthew Liste, (Managing Director, Core Platform Engineering, Goldman Sachs); Dave Maltz (Partner Development Manager, Microsoft)