Competition: Then and now

This week’s blog deals with competition – but not with the competitors you might imagine!

The Practitioner loves competition! And even if you’re not a fan of sports, it’s hard to avoid the topic right now. First, there’s the FIFA investigation, then there’s the just finished US Open with some family business stories embedded in it — and currently underway is the Rugby World Cup.

And then… there’s what some well-known people have had to say on this topic:

  • Number one, cash is king… number two, communicate… number three, buy or bury the competitionJack Welch
  • Competition is a sin.  John D. Rockefeller
  • An artist is someone who enters into competition with God.  Patti Smith
  • It is better for a woman to compete impersonally in society, as men do, than to compete for dominance in her own home with her husband, compete with her neighbors for empty status, and so smother her son that he cannot compete at all.  Betty Friedan
  • There are two kinds of people: Those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group because there is less competition there.  Indira Gandhi

But…what if the competition isn’t yourself, other people or even teams or countries or companies? What if it’s the “super intelligence of things?”

With that in mind The Practitioner recommends these articles, books, blogs and interviews on Artificial Intelligence (AI).  One way or another, AI is either already here or right down the road, and no advisor, academic, family or family business can afford to be “out of the loop,” so to speak. So here’s a primer!

  • Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies which describe the prospect of machine superintelliegence

    Oxford University futurist Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute, argues that when machines exist which dwarf human intelligence they will threaten human existence, unless steps are taken now to reduce the risk. Go here for an LSB interview with Nick Bostrom (on page 24).
  • Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era

    James Barrat documentary filmmaker for National Geographic, Discovery, PBS, says:“Artificial Intelligence helps choose what books you buy, what movies you see, and even who you date. It’s in your smart phone, your car, and it has the run of your house. It makes most of the trades on Wall Street…” from an Interview with James Barrat, author of “Our Final Invention.”
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to collect and exchange data. See what Daniel Burrus, one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and innovation experts, a former FFI conference keynote! St. Louis in 1995 has to say in “The Internet of Things is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes.”
  • Last but not least, the minority report from another FFI Keynote (1996) Sherry Turkle in her new book, Reclaiming Conversation.