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On November 15, 2018, publius commented on Ford Races Ahead in Additive Manufacturing :

“what is the right balance between investing here vs. other emerging technologies, like autonomous driving?”

This quote really stood out to me – is there any intersection between the two? Can Ford invest in emerging technologies that are at the forefront of 3D printing/additive manufacturing and autonomous driving? What would that look like? In addition to questions like these, how does this new form of manufacturing intersect with Ford’s push into urban mobility? They have made a number of acquisitions ( over the years, and that leads me to think that they’re trying to shift their business model itself. Is there a role for additive manufacturing? Could it be more important, ie prototyping new kinds of scooters/bikes/etc.?

On November 15, 2018, publius commented on Machine Learning in the Fragmented Construction Industry :

“How can companies share data, remain competitive and capture value, without giving up their market share to technology firms?”

To a large extent, I think this problem is unavoidable. Consumers and other businesses suffer from giving up their data to technology firms. It only becomes a problem when technology firms (1) suffer from breaches or (2) use that data to enter brand new businesses, ie Amazon. Given capital requirements and overall complexity in the construction industry, tech companies are probably further out from entering the space, giving construction businesses more space to adopt ml techniques and remain innovative. The technical challenges still remain, and it’s incumbent on major players to hire the right technical talent and start to instill the cultural change they need to remain competitive.

On November 15, 2018, publius commented on Irrational Exuberance: Machine Learning at the Federal Reserve :

“In its role as a regulator, are there other ways that the Fed can deploy ML to provide stronger macroprudential supervision of financial markets?”

I found this quote particularly interesting and it got me thinking that the Fed should actually go one step further than establishing a national task force. They should work with the European Central Bank and others from the very onset. This can help (1) make sure banks are collecting global data from global organizations and (2) establish meaningful oversight of companies that operate an increasingly globalized world. I suspect there may be some pushback from multinationals but there’s a role for government and international organizations to step in and ensure that banks get access to data in a privacy-compliant way.

On November 15, 2018, publius commented on It’s all open at Wikimedia Foundation :

“How will the Wikimedia community respond to competing knowledge platforms (like Quora and Medium) that are also based on open innovation?”

I think Quora/Medium should worry more about the Wikimedia community than the other way around. They struggle with similar issues around content quality, moderation, bias, etc. whereas the Wikimedia community is largely past these, mostly because of the scale at which it operates. Wikimedia should actually consider broadening how it thinks about open innovation, possibly competing or partnering with the Quoras/Mediums of the world. If their goal is to make knowledge universally accessible, they can make significant strides by partnering with other content platforms.

Amazon’s biggest risk is a combination of increased customer expectations (that they’ve created) combined with increased pressure on their logistics operations. While I like the approach they’re using to solve some of their logistical problems, I worry that they’re not ambitious enough. If Amazon wants to continue transforming its business, they need to reimagine how they do warehousing to begin with. Amazon needs to start with a blank slate and see if there is a better way to get a package from one location to another to ultimately a box that gets shipped out to a customer. If they don’t, they risk ceding their lead to Walmart or a number of other well capitalized competitors.

“What obligations (if any) should be placed on multinational companies like Siemens to provide solutions for smaller companies to adapt to changing technologies?”

I think Siemens has a significant obligation to provide these solutions, not just for societal reasons but strictly business ones. If Siemens is too far ahead, they may leave smaller, less sophisticated companies behind. At the same time, if they’re too far behind, they risk ceding their competitive edge to others in the market. The best way to position themselves is to strike partnerships with smaller, influential players that can benefit from their strengths in additive manufacturing. This can help transition Siemens from a thought leader to a valuable partner in the space.