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On December 1, 2017, Andrea Mihic commented on Closing Borders May Create a Wall That Boeing Can’t Fly Over :

Thanks I think this is very interesting. In my mind, Boeing is enough of a “government-supported-monopoly” that it could easily make the argument to the administration that if isolationist regulations go through, it will no longer be able to conduct business. Because if Boeing were to go out of business, who would take its place? Surely it is in the interest of the administration to not lose a US counterpart to Airbus that’s both a flag carrier for the country as well as a massive employer. I can imagine the US government would not put isolationist policies on hold simply for Boeing, but Boeing could probably negotiate for some policy-related subsidies.

On December 1, 2017, Andrea Mihic commented on For Some, Finding A Match Is About Life And Death :

Very interesting piece. Thanks very much. The 40% is shocking!

I think one fascinating concept linked to this debate around whether AI can reduce mistakes is the concept of ethics itself; namely, if AI reduces mistakes but then still commits some … who do we blame? Are we at a point in society where we can tell people, “sorry your relative was killed due to machine failure”? Our current legal structure isn’t equipped to “blame machines;” instead we would be trying to figure out, was it the person who wrote the code, who pressed the button to start the algorithm, was it the hardware itself? As AI becomes more integrated, do we need to develop new legal systems that deal with consequences of AI’s failures? But, if we indeed introduced a sense of accountability for AI … do we get closer to that line where we ask, what’s human and what’s machine? The two are clearly defined now, but inevitably the lines are starting to blur.

On December 1, 2017, Andrea Mihic commented on Foxconn: Out-Foxing Protectionism :

Thanks for an interesting post. I think if Trump’s rhetoric on international trade holds, the business model as it relates to exports will be truly challenged and I don’t know how much in such a scenario could be done, short of taking the model away from relying on exports to the US (and exports generally – as an investor I really would not like this business as its lifelife of being able to export is basically out of the company’s control!). I would want them to decouple their corporate survival from exports – do they have scale and efficiency such that they could maybe supply parts to technology giants in China that don’t want to integrate vertically? It’s a challenging situation no doubt; there’s no reason really for a China-based technology giant to pay margin to Foxconn rather than integrating vertically.

On December 1, 2017, Andrea Mihic commented on Augmented Reality – a Game Changer in DHL’s Logistics? :

Interesting article. I struggle with the concept of using a combination of AR and humans; I think it will be more efficient to right away transition into full automation. There’s a similar debate around electric and electric + autonomous vehicles; many car manufacturers are skipping the electric-only step and focusing on leaping to the electric + autonomous approach right away. One of the comments though I think rightly points out that in areas where a lot of human subjectivity is needed, AR + humans could be interesting. Healthcare jumps to mind. Regardless of whether we’re talking AR + humans, or full automation, I think the impact on employment will be disastrous.

On December 1, 2017, Andrea Mihic commented on Victoria, Don’t Keep a Sustainable Supply Chain Story a Secret :

Thanks for the post Marie! I think this is really interesting. First off, it strikes me that as a consumer, I actually had no idea that Victoria was doing this. One could see that either as them not taking advantage of a marketing / branding opportunity, or of them ethically not “abusing” this concept of sustainability for the sake of marketing – as some of the comments above seem to suggest. The question I want to pose is, if Victoria can raise its image and benefit financially from publicizing its sustainability efforts, as long as those efforts are actually being undertaken, what is wrong with that? I think we too often equate sustainability with “selflessly” doing the right thing. Why selfless? All that matters is achieving sustainability, and if we can do that and at the same time boost our brand and sales, all the better, because it brings sustainability to the very concept of sustainability.

On December 1, 2017, Andrea Mihic commented on Fuel Sustainability at Alaska Airlines: Good for the environment and good for business? :

I am a big fan of Alaskan airlines simultaneous focus on financial profitability & sustainability. I think often times when focusing on environmental sustainability, organizations do so with an ethics-focused mindset, implementing policies that cannot be truly lasting in nature. Alaska airlines approach is admirable and in my mind very forward-thinking.

In addition to the biofuel approach mentioned in your piece, I think another recent focal area of interest are battery-powered solar planes. On the one hand, the weight of such a mega battery would pose natural challenges to a flying object (and whether it would even be feasible to get it charged in time is a different question) – but it’s my understanding that there’s something scientifically attractive about the plane potentially receiving solar radiations directly in the atmosphere, making incidence more powerful. It’s early days, but I think this is an interesting technological development to watch. I’d be interested in seeing whether Alaskan is spending any R&D in this area, especially given that the “true sustainability” of biofuels is debated (CO2 emitted in corn production, as well as the fact that there’s ethics concerns around burning nutrition in a world where people die of starvation).