Archive for outubro \28\UTC 2010

RSA Animate- The Empathic Civilisation

outubro 28, 2010

Eis-me aqui novamente trazendo mais um fantástico vídeo da http://www.cognitivemedia.co.uk.  Desta feita o vídeo é sobre The Empathic CivilisationA Civilização Basead em Empatia, vídeo que transforma o pensamento de Jeremy Rikfin, escritor, palestrante, e autor de vários best-sellers internacionais em conceitos visuais.

Deleitem-se!

Anúncios

RSA Animate – The Secret Powers of Time

outubro 27, 2010

Hoje pela manhã postei um vídeo (logo abaixo) sobre motivação de pessoas. Agora, resolvi ir ao site da empresa que fez o vídeo (www.cognitivemedia.co.uk), e fiquei muito surpreso com o que vi. De fato, eles têm uma tecnologia muito interesse de mostrar as coisas.

Fiquei fã instantaneamente!  E vejam abaixo um dos vídeos que eles fizeram, e que antecedeu ao que postei na manhã de hoje!

RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

outubro 27, 2010

Vejam que vídeo interessante sobre como MOTIVAR AS PESSOAS:

Peguei a dica no twitter de Erick Schmidt, CEO do Google: http://twitter.com/#!/ericschmidt

Goolsbee, Deconstruted

outubro 26, 2010

Vejam só que vexame o Prof.  Austan Goolsbee, recém nomeado Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers do Presidente Barack Obama, está passando!

A dica veio do blog do Prof. Greg Mankiw (http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/).

É um verdadeiro atestado de que é preciso ter muito cuidado quando se assume um posto em governo, principalmente em sociedades democráticas bem informadas!

Dawn of a New Day

outubro 26, 2010

Ray Ozzie, quase ex-Chief Software Architect da Microsoft, cuja saida deste posto anunciamos aqui neste blog, escreveu uma carta-memorandum para seus diretores expressando o que pensa sobre o futuro. Eis abaixo o que ele escreveu no seu blog http://ozzie.net/docs/dawn-of-a-new-day/.

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Dawn of a New Day

To:           Executive Staff and direct reports
Date:         October 28, 2010
From:         Ray Ozzie
Subject:      Dawn of a New Day

Five years ago, having only recently arrived at the company, I wrote The Internet Services Disruption in order to kick off a major change management process across the company.  In the opening section of that memo, I noted that about every five years our industry experiences what appears to be an inflection point that results in great turbulence and change.

In the wake of that memo, the last five years has been a time of great transformation for Microsoft.  At this point we’re truly all in with regard to services.  I’m incredibly proud of the people and the work that has been done across the company, and of the way that we’ve turned this services transformation into opportunities that will pay off for years to come.

In the realm of the service-centric ‘seamless OS’ we’re well on the path to having Windows Live serve as an optional yet natural services complement to the Windows and Office software.  In the realm of ‘seamless productivity’, Office 365 and our 2010 Office, SharePoint and Live deliverables have shifted Office from being PC-centric toward now also robustly spanning the web and mobile.  In ‘seamless entertainment’, Xbox Live has transformed Xbox into a real-time, social, media-rich TV experience.

And in the realm of what I referred to as our ‘services platform’, I couldn’t be more proud of what’s emerged as Windows Azure & SQL Azure.  Inspired by little more than a memo, a few decks and discussions, intrapreneurial leaders stepped up to build and deliver an innovative service that, while still nascent, will over time prove to be transformational for the company and the industry.

Our products are now more relevant than ever.  Bing has blossomed and its advertising, social, metadata & real-time analytics capabilities are growing to power every one of our myriad services offerings.  Over the years the Windows client expanded its relevance even with the rise of low-cost netbooks.  Office expanded its relevance even with a shift toward open data formats & web-based productivity.  Our server assets have had greater relevance even with a marked shift toward virtualization & cloud computing.

Quite important to me, I’m also quite proud of the degree to which we’ve continued to grow and mature in the area of responsible competition, and the breadth and depth of our cultural shift toward genuine openness, interoperability and privacy which are now such key cornerstones of everything we do.

Yet, for all our great progress, some of the opportunities I laid out in my memo five years ago remain elusive and are yet to be realized.

Certain of our competitors’ products and their rapid advancement & refinement of new usage scenarios have been quite noteworthy.  Our early and clear vision notwithstanding, their execution has surpassed our own in mobile experiences, in the seamless fusion of hardware & software & services, and in social networking & myriad new forms of internet-centric social interaction.

We’ve seen agile innovation playing out before a backdrop in which many dramatic changes have occurred across all aspects of our industry’s core infrastructure.  These myriad evolutions of our infrastructure have been predicted for years, but in the past five years so much has happened that we’ve grown already to take many of these changes for granted:  Ubiquitous internet access over wired, WiFi and 3G/4G networks; many now even take for granted that LTE and ‘whitespace’ will be broadly delivered.  We’ve seen our boxy devices based on ‘system boards’ morph into sleek elegantly-designed devices based on transformational ‘systems on a chip’.  We’ve seen bulky CRT monitors replaced by impossibly thin touch screens.  We’ve seen business processes and entire organizations transformed by the zero-friction nature of the internet; the walls between producer and consumer having now vanished.  Substantial business ecosystems have collapsed as many classic aggregation & distribution mechanisms no longer make sense.

Organizations worldwide, in every industry, are now stepping back and re-thinking the basics; questioning their most fundamental structural tenets.  Doing so is necessary for their long-term growth and survival.  And our own industry is no exception, where we must question our most fundamental assumptions about infrastructure & apps.

The past five years have been breathtaking.  But the next five years will bring about yet another inflection point – a transformation that will once again yield unprecedented opportunities for our company and our industry catalyzed by the huge & inevitable shift in apps & infrastructure that’s truly now just begun.

Imagining A “Post-PC” World

One particular day next month, November 20th 2010, represents a significant milestone.  Those of us in the PC industry who placed an early bet on a then-nascent PC graphical UI will toast that day as being the 25th anniversary of the launch of Windows 1.0.

Our journey began in support of audacious concepts that were originally just imagined and dreamed:  A computer that’s ‘personal’. Or, a PC on every desktop and in every home, running Microsoft software.

Windows may not have been the first graphical UI on a personal computer, but over time the product unquestionably democratized computing & communications for more than a billion people worldwide.  Windows and Office truly grew to define the PC; establishing the core concepts and usage scenarios that for so many of us, over time, have become etched in stone.

For the most part, we’ve grown to perceive of ‘computing’ as being equated with specific familiar ‘artifacts’ such as the ‘computer’, the ‘program’ that’s installed on a computer, and the ‘files’ that are stored on that computer’s ‘desktop’.  For the majority of users, the PC is largely indistinguishable even from the ‘browser’ or ‘internet’.

As such, it’s difficult for many of us to even imagine that this could ever change.

But as the PC client and PC-based server have grown from their simple roots over the past 25 years, the PC-centric / server-centric model has accreted simply immense complexity.  This is a direct by-product of the PC’s success: how broad and diverse the PC’s ecosystem has become; how complex it’s become to manage the acquisition & lifecycle of our hardware, software, and data artifacts.  It’s undeniable that some form of this complexity is readily apparent to most all our customers:  your neighbors; any small business owner; the ‘tech’ head of household; enterprise IT.

Success begets product requirements.  And even when superhuman engineering and design talent is applied, there are limits to how much you can apply beautiful veneers before inherent complexity is destined to bleed through.

Complexity kills. Complexity sucks the life out of users, developers and IT.  Complexity makes products difficult to plan, build, test and use.  Complexity introduces security challenges.  Complexity causes administrator frustration.

And as time goes on and as software products mature – even with the best of intent – complexity is inescapable.

Indeed, many have pointed out that there’s a flip side to complexity:  in our industry, complexity of a successful product also tends to provide some assurance of its longevity.  Complex interdependencies and any product’s inherent ‘quirks’ will virtually guarantee that broadly adopted systems won’t simply vanish overnight.  And so long as a system is well-supported and continues to provide unique and material value to a customer, even many of the most complex and broadly maligned assets will hold their ground.  And why not?  They’re valuable.  They work.

But so long as customer or competitive requirements drive teams to build layers of new function on top of a complex core, ultimately a limit will be reached.  Fragility can grow to constrain agility.  Some deep architectural strengths can become irrelevant – or worse, can become hindrances.

Our PC software has driven the creation of an amazing ecosystem, and is incredibly valuable to a world of customers and partners.  And the PC and its ecosystem is going to keep growing, and growing, for a long time to come.  But today, as I wrote five years ago, ”Just as in the past, we must reflect upon what’s going on around us, and reflect upon our strengths, weaknesses and industry leadership responsibilities, and respond.  As much as ever, it’s clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk.”

And so at this juncture, given all that has transpired in computing and communications, it’s important that all of us do precisely what our competitors and customers will ultimately do: close our eyes and form a realistic picture of what a post-PC world might actually look like, if it were to ever truly occur.  How would customers accomplish the kinds of things they do today?  In what ways would it be better?  In what ways would it be worse, or just different?

Those who can envision a plausible future that’s brighter than today will earn the opportunity to lead.

In our industry, if you can imagine something, you can build it.  We at Microsoft know from our common past – even the past five years – that if we know what needs to be done, and if we act decisively, any challenge can be transformed into a significant opportunity.  And so, the first step for each of us is to imagine fearlessly; to dream.

Continuous Services | Connected Devices

What’s happened in every aspect of computing & communications over the course of the past five years has given us much to dream about.  Certainly the ‘net-connected PC, and PC-based servers, have driven the creation of an incredible industry and have laid the groundwork for mass-market understanding of so much of what’s possible with ‘computers’.  But slowly but surely, our lives, businesses and society are in the process of a wholesale reconfiguration in the way we perceive and apply technology.

As we’ve begun to embrace today’s incredibly powerful app-capable phones and pads into our daily lives, and as we’ve embraced myriad innovative services & websites, the early adopters among us have decidedly begun to move away from mentally associating our computing activities with the hardware/software artifacts of our past such as PC’s, CD-installed programs, desktops, folders & files.

Instead, to cope with the inherent complexity of a world of devices, a world of websites, and a world of apps & personal data that is spread across myriad devices & websites, a simple conceptual model is taking shape that brings it all together.  We’re moving toward a world of 1) cloud-based continuous services that connect us all and do our bidding, and 2) appliance-like connected devices enabling us to interact with those cloud-based services.

Continuous services are websites and cloud-based agents that we can rely on for more and more of what we do.  On the back end, they possess attributes enabled by our newfound world of cloud computing: They’re always-available and are capable of unbounded scale.  They’re constantly assimilating & analyzing data from both our real and online worlds.  They’re constantly being refined & improved based on what works, and what doesn’t.  By bringing us all together in new ways, they constantly reshape the social fabric underlying our society, organizations and lives.  From news & entertainment, to transportation, to commerce, to customer service, we and our businesses and governments are being transformed by this new world of services that we rely on to operate flawlessly, 7×24, behind the scenes.

Our personal and corporate data now sits within these services – and as a result we’re more and more concerned with issues of trust & privacy.  We most commonly engage and interact with these internet-based sites & services through the browser.  But increasingly, we also interact with these continuous services through apps that are loaded onto a broad variety of service-connected devices – on our desks, or in our pockets & pocketbooks.

Connected devices beyond the PC will increasingly come in a breathtaking number of shapes and sizes, tuned for a broad variety of communications, creation & consumption tasks.  Each individual will interact with a fairly good number of these connected devices on a daily basis – their phone / internet companion; their car; a shared public display in the conference room, living room, or hallway wall.  Indeed some of these connected devices may even grow to bear a resemblance to today’s desktop PC or clamshell laptop.  But there’s one key difference in tomorrow’s devices: they’re relatively simple and fundamentally appliance-like by design, from birth.  They’re instantly usable, interchangeable, and trivially replaceable without loss.  But being appliance-like doesn’t mean that they’re not also quite capable in terms of storage; rather, it just means that storage has shifted to being more cloud-centric than device-centric.  A world of content – both personal and published – is streamed, cached or synchronized with a world of cloud-based continuous services.

Moving forward, these ‘connected devices’ will also frequently take the form of embedded devices of varying purpose including telemetry & control.  Our world increasingly will be filled with these devices – from the remotely diagnosed elevator, to the sensors on our highways and throughout our environment.  These embedded devices will share a key attribute with non-embedded UI-centric devices:  they’re appliance-like, easily configured, interchangeable and replaceable without loss.

At first blush, this world of continuous services and connected devices doesn’t seem very different than today.  But those who build, deploy and manage today’s websites understand viscerally that fielding a truly continuous service is incredibly difficult and is only achieved by the most sophisticated high-scale consumer websites.  And those who build and deploy application fabrics targeting connected devices understand how challenging it can be to simply & reliably just ‘sync’ or ‘stream’.  To achieve these seemingly simple objectives will require dramatic innovation in human interface, hardware, software and services.

How It Might Happen

From the perspective of living so deeply within the world of the device-centric software & hardware that we’ve collectively created over the past 25 years, it’s understandably difficult to imagine how a dramatic, wholesale shift toward this new continuous services + connected devices model would ever plausibly gain traction relative to what’s so broadly in use today.  But in the technology world, these industry-scoped transformations have indeed happened before.  Complexity accrues; dramatically new and improved capabilities arise.

Many years ago when the PC first emerged as an alternative to the mini and mainframe, the key facets of simplicity and broad approachability were key to its amazing success.  If there’s to be a next wave of industry reconfiguration – toward a world of internet-connected continuous services and appliance-like connected devices – it would likely arise again from those very same facets.

It may take quite a while to happen, but I believe that in some form or another, without doubt, it will.

For each of us who can clearly envision the end-game, the opportunity is to recognize both the inevitability and value inherent in the big shift ahead, and to do what it takes to lead our customers into this new world.

In the short term, this means imagining the ‘killer apps & services’ and ‘killer devices’ that match up to a broad range of customer needs as they’ll evolve in this new era.  Whether in the realm of communications, productivity, entertainment or business, tomorrow’s experiences & solutions are likely to differ significantly even from today’s most successful apps.  Tomorrow’s experiences will be inherently transmedia & trans-device.  They’ll be centered on your own social & organizational networks.  For both individuals and businesses, new consumption & interaction models will change the game.  It’s inevitable.

To deliver what seems to be required – e.g. an amazing level of coherence across apps, services and devices – will require innovation in user experience, interaction model, authentication model, user data & privacy model, policy & management model, programming & application model, and so on.  These platform innovations will happen in small, progressive steps, providing significant opportunity to lead.  In adapting our strategies, tactics, plans & processes to deliver what’s required by this new world, the opportunity is simply huge.

The one irrefutable truth is that in any large organization, any transformation that is to ‘stick’ must emerge from within.  Those on the outside can strongly influence, particularly with their wallets.  Those above are responsible for developing and articulating a compelling vision, eliminating obstacles, prioritizing resources, and generally setting the stage with a principled approach.

But the power and responsibility to truly effect transformation exists in no small part at the edge.  Within those who, led or inspired, feel personally and collectively motivated to make; to act; to do.

In taking the time to read this, most likely it’s you.

Realizing a Dream

In 1939, in New York City, there was an amazing World’s Fair.  It was called ‘the greatest show of all time’.

In that year Americans were exhausted, having lived through a decade of depression.  Unemployment still hovered above 17%.  In Europe, the next world war was brewing.  It was an undeniably dark juncture for us all.

And yet, this 1939 World’s Fair opened in a way that evoked broad and acute hope: the promise of a glorious future.  There were pavilions from industry & countries all across the world showing vision; showing progress:  The Futurama; The World of Tomorrow.  Icons conjuring up images of the future:  The Trylon; The Perisphere.

The fair’s theme:  Dawn of a New Day.

Surrounding the event, stories were written and vividly told to help everyone envision and dream of a future of modern conveniences; superhighways & spacious suburbs; technological wonders to alleviate hardship and improve everyday life.

The fair’s exhibits and stories laid a broad-based imprint across society of what needed to be done.  To plausibly leap from such a dark time to such a potentially wonderful future meant having an attitude, individually and collectively, that we could achieve whatever we set our minds to.  That anything was possible.

In the following years – fueled both by what was necessary for survival and by our hope for the future – manufacturing jumped 50%.  Technological breakthroughs abounded.  What had been so hopefully and optimistically imagined by many, was achieved by all.

And, as their children, now we’re living their dreams.

Today, in my own dreams, I see a great, expansive future for our industry and for our company – a future of amazing, pervasive cloud-centric experiences delivered through a world of innovative devices that surround us.

Without a doubt, as in 1939 there are conditions in our society today that breed uncertainty: jobs, housing, health, education, security, the environment.  And yes, there are also challenging conditions for our company: it’s a tough, fast-moving, and highly competitive environment.

And yet, even in the presence of so much uncertainty, I feel an acute sense of hope and optimism.

When I look forward, I can’t help but see the potential for a much brighter future:  Even beyond the first billion, so many more people using technology to improve their lives, businesses and societies, in so many ways.  New apps, services & scenarios in communications, collaboration & productivity, commerce, education, health care, emergency management, human services, transportation, the environment, security – the list goes on, and on, and on.

We’ve got so far to go before we even scratch the surface of what’s now possible.  All these new services will be cloud-centric ‘continuous services’ built in a way that we can all rely upon.  As such, cloud computing will become pervasive for developers and IT – a shift that’ll catalyze the transformation of infrastructure, systems & business processes across all major organizations worldwide.  And all these new services will work hand-in-hand with an unimaginably fascinating world of devices-to-come.  Today’s PC’s, phones & pads are just the very beginning; we’ll see decades to come of incredible innovation from which will emerge all sorts of ‘connected companions’ that we’ll wear, we’ll carry, we’ll use on our desks & walls and the environment all around us.  Service-connected devices going far beyond just the ‘screen, keyboard and mouse’:  humanly-natural ‘conscious’ devices that’ll see, recognize, hear & listen to you and what’s around you, that’ll feel your touch and gestures and movement, that’ll detect your proximity to others; that’ll sense your location, direction, altitude, temperature, heartbeat & health.

Let there be no doubt that the big shifts occurring over the next five years ensure that this will absolutely be a time of great opportunity for those who put past technologies & successes into perspective, and envision all the transformational value that can be offered moving forward to individuals, businesses, governments and society.  It’s the dawn of a new day – the sun having now arisen on a world of continuous services and connected devices.

And so, as Microsoft has done so successfully over the course of the company’s history, let’s mark this five-year milestone by once again fearlessly embracing that which is technologically inevitable – clearing a path to the extraordinary opportunity that lies ahead for us, for the industry, and for our customers.

Ray

US Shadow Banking System- Federal Reserve Bank of New York paper

outubro 25, 2010

Escrevo nesta oportunidade para apontar um texto que está sendo muito comentando entre os especialistas (economistas) mundiais como base para as discussões acerca da atual crise financeira, e da ainda nebulosa saída dela (baixar o texto aqui).
Trata-se de uma primeira robusta “radiografia” do que se convencionou chamar de “Shadow Banking System“, ou seja, o sistema que foi criado nos EUA nos últimos 20 anos e que está no epicentro desta crise.
Para vocês terem uma idéia, no início da crise este Shadow Banking System estava intermediando um volume de crédito da ordem de US$ 20 trilhões, enquanto o Traditional Banking System estava intermediando US$ 11 trilhões. Este números são hoje, respectivamente, US$ 16 tri e 13 tri.
A leitura é um festival de “zooms e un-zooms” no pdf indicado, para poder entender as “REDES” que o sistema financeiro (americano em particular) criou.
Anyway, é só mergulhando no texto que a gente percebe como pouco sabemos sobre o papel do setor financeiro no mundo contemporâneo, tese que compartilho com o Prof. Greg Mankiw (ver vídeo sobre seu novo livro em https://jccavalcanti.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/a-new-approach-to-intermediate-macroeconomics/).
Sds,

O Envelhecimento e as TICs (Parte 2)

outubro 25, 2010

Já está no site a nova newsletter da Creativante, intitulada “O Envelhecimento e as TICs (Parte 2)“, e que você pode acessar aqui!

Ela traz um panorama geral das TICs que estão sendo colocadas à disposição dos idosos para um envelheicmento mais independente!

Boa leitura!

Rebalancing the Global Economy: A Primer for Policymaking

outubro 23, 2010

Um novo livro sobre os desbalanços da economia global (do think tank http://www.voxeu.org)!

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This new eBook aims to provide policymakers and their advisers with up-to-date, comprehensive analyses of the central facets of global economic imbalances and to identify and evaluate potential national and systemic responses to this challenge.

Rebalancing the Global Economy: A Primer for Policymaking

Edited by Stijn Claessens, Simon Evenett and Bernard Hoekman

Published 23 June 2010

Click here to download the PDF of this ebook free of charge.
Vox Talks with Bernard Hoekman

Bernard Hoekman talks to Viv Davies about the recent Vox eBook on rebalancing the global economy. Drawing from the contributions of the authors, Hoekman discusses why imbalances persist, what can be learned from history and the need for a more collective responsibility in responding to the current problem. Hoekman highlights the importance of supply-side factors as well as the implications of imbalances for developing countries. Regarding the current debate on austerity versus stimulus, Hoekman maintains that the real issue is more about timing and coordination.

Rebalancing the Global Economy: A Primer for Policymaking

1 Editors Overview
Stijn Claessens, Simon Evenett and Bernard Hoekman
PART 1 How large are contemporary current account imbalances? Why do they persist?

3 Adjustment in global imbalances and the future of trade growth
Caroline Freund

3 On the causes of global imbalances and their persistence: Myths, facts and conjectures
Joshua Aizenman

4 Rebalancing in East Asia
Linda Y.C. Lim
PART 2 What are the systemic costs of imbalances?

5 The costs of global imbalances
Richard Portes

6 External imbalances: Costs and consequences of unsustainable trajectories
Catherine L. Mann

7 International imbalances balance risk
Michael Dooley and Peter Garber
PART 3 What are the lessons from previous attempts to rebalance the global economy?

8 The history of tackling current account imbalances
Harold James

9 Surplus reversals in large nations: The cases of France and Great Britain in the interwar period
Christopher M. Meissner

PART 4 What would rebalancing entail? Which policies must change? Is collective action needed?

10 Does the rise of the BRICs and the credit crisis make it easier to rebalance the world economy? Yes!
Jim O’Neill

11 Exchange rates to support global rebalancing
John Williamson and William R. Cline

12 Why exchange rate changes will not correct global trade imbalances
Ronald I. McKinnon

13 This time will be different? Addressing the unsound post-crisis drivers of global imbalances
Kati Suominen

14 Asia’s role in global rebalancing
Jong-Wha Lee

15 Prospects for rebalancing growth in East Asia
Yung Chul Park

16 Global rebalancing: An Indian perspective
Suman Bery

17 Rebalancing the global economy: A view from the BRICs
Ilan Goldfajn

18 Rebalancing the Eurozone and national competitiveness
Filippo di Mauro, Katrin Forster

19 A commercial policy package for rebalancing the global economy?
Przemyslaw Kowalski and Molly Lesher

20 Rebalancing will require supply side policy changes, but pitfalls abound
Vinod K Aggarwal and Simon J Evenett

PART 5 The political viability of rebalancing

21 The political economy of rebalancing
Jeffry A Frieden

22 China-US imbalances and Europe’s fiscal crisis: Plus ça change?
Geoffrey Garrett

PART 6 Are new system-wide accords needed to promote rebalancing or to discourage persistent imbalances?

23 Global governance: Pre and post crisis
Mohamed A El-Erian and Michael Spence

24 Keynes, global imbalances, and international monetary reform, today
Vijay Joshi, Robert Skidelsky

25 Rebalancing: A lesson from the 1940s
Ann Capling

26 Persistent global imbalances
Anne O Krueger

27 International financial safety nets and global imbalances
Olivier Jeanne

28 Managing global imbalances: Is it time to consider some form of sanctions?

Heribert Dieter and Richard Higgott

Putting heads together

outubro 23, 2010

Deu no MIT News (http://web.mit.edu)!

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Putting heads together

New study: groups demonstrate distinctive ‘collective intelligence’ when facing difficult tasks

Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office

October 1, 2010

When it comes to intelligence, the whole can indeed be greater than the sum of its parts. A new study co-authored by MIT researchers documents the existence of collective intelligence among groups of people who cooperate well, showing that such intelligence extends beyond the cognitive abilities of the groups’ individual members, and that the tendency to cooperate effectively is linked to the number of women in a group.

Many social scientists have long contended that the ability of individuals to fare well on diverse cognitive tasks demonstrates the existence of a measurable level of intelligence in each person. In a study published Thursday, Sept. 30, in the advance online issue of the journal Science, the researchers applied a similar principle to small teams of people. They discovered that groups featuring the right kind of internal dynamics perform well on a wide range of assignments, a finding with potential applications for businesses and other organizations.

“We did not know if groups would show a general cognitive ability across tasks,” said Thomas W. Malone, the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, one of the authors of the paper. “But we found that there is a general effectiveness, a group collective intelligence, which predicts a group’s performance in a lot of situations.”

That effectiveness, the researchers believe, stems from how well the group works together. Groups whose members had higher levels of “social sensitivity” — the willingness of the group to let all its members take turns and apply their skills to a given challenge — were more collectively intelligent. “Social sensitivity has to do with how well group members perceive each other’s emotions,” said Malone. “In groups where one person dominated, the group was less intelligent than in groups where the conversational turns were more evenly distributed.” Teams containing more women demonstrated greater social sensitivity and in turn collective intelligence, compared to teams containing fewer women.

When ‘groupthink’ is good

To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers conducted two studies in which 699 people were placed in groups of two to five and worked on tasks that ranged from visual puzzles to negotiations, brainstorming, games and complex rule-based design assignments. The researchers concluded that a group’s collective intelligence accounted for about 30 to 40 percent of the variation in performance.

Moreover, the researchers found that the performances of groups were not primarily due to the individual abilities of the group members. To determine this, many of the participants also performed similar tasks individually. The average and maximum intelligence of individuals did not significantly predict the performance of their groups.

The paper’s lead author was Anita Woolley, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. The other researchers in the study were Christopher Chabris, an assistant professor of psychology at Union College in New York; Malone; Alexander Pentland, the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts & Science at the MIT Media Lab; and Nada Hashmi, a doctoral candidate at MIT Sloan. The study received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office and Cisco Systems.

To record the interactions of people, the researchers equipped study participants with wearable electronic badges — designed by Pentland’s Media Lab group — that provided a complete record of a group’s conversational patterns and revealed a group’s propensity to take turns. “When you do that, it’s possible to get patterns you’ve never seen before,” said Pentland.

Only when analyzing the data did the co-authors suspect that the number of women in a group had significant predictive power. “We didn’t design this study to focus on the gender effect,” Malone said. “That was a surprise to us.” One implication is that the level of collective intelligence should keep rising along with the proportion of women in a group. To be sure, as Malone said, that gender effect is a generalization. “Of course some males have more social skill or social sensitivity than females,” Malone acknowledged. “What our results indicate is that people with social skills are good for a group — whether they are male or female.”

Thomas Malone discusses collective intelligence.
Video: Melanie Gonick

Malone said he believes the study applies to many kinds of organizations. “Imagine if you could give a one-hour test to a top management team that would allow you to predict how flexibly that group of people would respond to a wide range of problems that might arise,” he said. “That would be a pretty interesting application. We also think it’s possible to improve the intelligence of a group, by either changing the members of a group, or teaching them better ways of interacting.”

How universal is it?

Colleagues in the field found the results intriguing. Jeremy Gray, an associate professor of psychology at Yale University, said the study “was very well done,” adding that “the key point is great, that features of the group can be more important than features of the individuals that make up the group, for determining outcomes.”

However, Gray, responding to questions by e-mail, noted that the study raises additional questions for further investigation. Beyond the relatively routine tasks used in the study, he wrote, “high-stakes or high-risk situations would also be very important to understand. There is no guarantee that the same pattern of results would hold, for example, for a jury deliberating a death-penalty case, a corporate board facing a hostile-takeover bid, criminal gangs battling a rival gang, and so on. We just don’t know yet.” Moreover, he added, “clarifying the conditions under which the proportion of women makes a difference would be interesting.”

Malone said the co-authors “definitely intend to continue research on this topic,” including studies on the ways groups interact online, and are “considering further studies on the gender question.” He added that “collective stupidity,” the failure of a group to perform to the abilities of its members, exists along with collective intelligence. “Part of the research agenda for this field is to understand better the conditions that lead to one rather than the other,” Malone explained. “Many factors can affect a group’s intelligence, including the social sensitivity, norms, and motivations of group members, as well as the composition of the group.” For now, Malone said his group has identified a general principle indicating how the whole really can be greater than the sum of the parts.

“Having a bunch of smart people in a group doesn’t necessarily make the group smart,” concluded Malone.

The Day After Tomorrow: A Handbook on the Future of Economic Policy in the Developing World,

outubro 20, 2010

Um novo, e interessante, livro publicado pelo Banco Mundial (detalhes aqui), editado por Otaviano Canuto (brasileiro, ex-colega nosso aqui do Depto. de Economia da UNICAMP) e Marcelo Guigale.

A tese defendida no livro é interessante e merece ser lida por todos aqueles estudantes de Economia!

WASHINGTON, September 27, 2010—While the rich world puts its house in order, developing countries are becoming a new engine of global growth and a pulling force for advanced economies, says a new book by World Bank economists.

According to The Day After Tomorrow: A Handbook on the Future of Economic Policy in the Developing World, almost half of global growth is currently coming from developing countries. As a group, it is projected that their economic size will surpass that of their developed peers in 2015.


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