Editorial

Thinking Ahead – What a difference a decade makes

Head of EMC, Roberto Vila, looks back at 100 editions of ‘Thinking Ahead’, and wonders what topics the next 100 might have to tackle. As 2017 draws to a close, a year battered by hurricanes and geopolitical risk emanating from such diverse quarters as North Korea and Spain, we can also celebrate the occasion with a remarkable anniversary. This December marks the 100th issue of ‘Thinking Ahead’.

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Artificial horizons

When in 1940 Isaac Asimov wrote the first in a collection of stories which was later published as ‘I, Robot’ he could barely have dreamed how far we would advance in the subsequent decades. One of the biggest economic and social challenges of the coming years will be how to deal with the rapid surge in automation which will benefit those with access to the right skill set but threatens to destroy jobs on an unprecedented scale.

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Tech: Much loved and much feared

Tech stocks have been investors’ darlings in recent years. Undoubtedly, the development towards increasing digitalisation of almost all aspects of our everyday life has fed through to financial markets as well. However, with some tech stocks climbing to new highs lately, memories of the tech bubble in the late-1990s have been rekindled. We look at several metrics to gauge whether IT might once again be the sector that will cause the global economy – and in turn financial markets – to plunge.

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Data: The raw material of both computing and finance

Finance has always been at the forefront of advances in computing. This was the case with the advent of enterprise resource planning (allowing greater oversight of a company’s finances), big data (most notably in the context of risk management), and recently blockchain technology (enabling a raft of new online financial transactions hitherto impossible). The burgeoning potential of artificial intelligence (AI) looks set to continue this trend.

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Artificial intelligence – the three laws or many laws?

What does artificial intelligence really mean? It has long since been a feature film staple that in our deepest, darkest future the machines will rise up and take over the world, ending civilisation as we know it. From Arnold Schwarzenegger and the ‘Terminator’ films to Will Smith in ‘I Robot’, the ultimate results of any truly intelligent advancement have always been disastrous for us. Artificial intelligence (AI) became front-page news around the world more recently when Vladimir Putin stated that whoever becomes the leader in this field would become the ruler of the world.

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