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On November 20, 2016, SophieK commented on How Many People Are Killed by Police? :

To build on Jason’s point, I think the best way to demonstrate the value of data to officers is to use it to help them prevent violence. Today, most major PDs use early warning systems to flag officers who might be at risk for committing violence. But these systems aren’t particularly sophisticated (often relying on supervisor’s recommendations) and get mixed reviews on effectiveness. However, by collecting better data from departments, data scientists can more accurately predict which officers are at risk of violence and divert them into training or counseling. You can read more about these efforts here:

Ultimately, efforts to promote transparency in policing are often stymied by police unions, which are notorious for fighting any innovation that risks members’ job security. Since they are not going away any time soon, we should continue to demand specific changes (such as body cameras) – while progress may be painfully slow, the trend is clearly toward more transparency.

On November 20, 2016, SophieK commented on The Role of Robots in Warfare :

Well, this is terrifying. I’d add that this is only the newest edition of what is a very old debate over the tradeoffs associated with distancing troops from battle. We’ve had this debate over guns, cannons, and submarines, to name a few developments. My hope is that this time around, the ethics of how and when semi-autonomous weapons are being used isn’t drowned out by the discussion over their existence. Hypothetically, we wouldn’t have a problem with autonomous or semi-autonomous weapons that do the right thing, every time. It’s only when such weapons are used in unethical ways that we start to see problems.

On November 20, 2016, SophieK commented on Fighting the counterfeit drugs market, one text at a time :

What an awesomely simple solution to a really important problem! In thinking about digitization, it’s easy to focus only on the latest and coolest innovations. Sproxil shows the importance of focusing on making sure existing technology is adapted to fit applications in all corners of the world. And there are so many potential applications: beauty products, electronics, and packaged food, to name a few. But Sproxil’s real competitive advantage will come from its ability to harness data for use both in counterfeit intelligence and in marketing – I’m curious to see what they do!

On November 20, 2016, SophieK commented on The Berliner Philharmoniker’s Digital Forte :

I agree with you and the commenter that the Berliner Philharmoniker will likely have to innovate beyond high-quality streaming in order to break even. As it plans for the future, it may want to look to LA. The LA philharmonic is combining VR with Beethoven by giving its audience Samsung VR headsets during a special performance ( The LA Phil also brought its VR app into the community, creating a mobile viewing station that reached over 10,000 Angelenos ( Moving forward, orchestras will have to innovate their content as well as their outreach.

On November 20, 2016, SophieK commented on Industry Luminary :

Wow – this is a great example of a company embracing the digital era and diving headfirst into change. This does seem like a significant & quick transformation for Acuity, moving from manufacturing to energy management software to, as you suggest, more complex analysis. With three new acquisitions to integrate, a restructuring of production and the workforce, and a sales force to train, I wonder if Acuity has taken on too much at once. I’ll be curious to see how quickly they can move on this total transformation.

On November 6, 2016, SophieK commented on Will climate change spell disaster for FEMA? :

I would also love to see more of a focus on planning for and ameliorating the long-term effects of natural disasters. If climate change continues unchecked, certain coastal areas may become uninhabitable. While it seems like climate change is pushing FEMA to take a more proactive approach (rather than reacting to individual disasters), I would love to see FEMA take the lead on understanding the impact of population displacement in the longer term – though in response to previous comments, they may simply be too cash-strapped to do what we expect them to.

Wow – I had no idea fast fashion was such a “dirty” industry! While it’s nice to see the company making sustainability more of a priority, given the risks involved I think Zara should start thinking about challenging their reliance on fast fashion. For example, I would love to see Zara introduce a premium-priced capsule collection of timeless, durable pieces. While I don’t expect that Zara would abandon its business model entirely, even shifting a small piece of its sales to “slower” items could go a long way.

On November 6, 2016, SophieK commented on Ratings agencies and climate change: The next financial crisis? :

This is a great post – I hadn’t previously thought about the scale of the impact of ratings agencies’ actions here. I’m curious, what do you think would motivate S&P to make these changes? I worry that the same conflict of interest that fueled the mortgage crisis – in which ratings agencies’ future profits depend on maintaining customer relationships and providing favorable ratings – would prevent S&P from incorporating climate risk before its competitors do. Given that lower ratings would lower valuations, is this a step S&P would be willing to take on its own? What do you think needs to happen to incentivize the agencies to accurately reflect climate risk in their ratings?

I completely agree that NPS should take on a more active role in educating the public about climate change. Taking it one step farther, it would be even more effective if the park could help visitors understand the changes they can make in their own lives to protect the climate. For example, NPS staff could use signage to tie educational information on the effect of climate change on parks to actions visitors can take, such as using energy-efficient products or conserving water. With an annual audience of 300M, NPS has a particularly strong platform for reaching diverse populations.

Great post! I wonder if McDonald’s can also capitalize on synergies between evolving consumer tastes and sustainability priorities. Since both call for using less beef and dairy, McDonald’s should be able to reduce its exposure to climate risk by serving more produce & poultry. As you note, McDonald’s has the scale to influence its suppliers – I think the same could be said of its customers. I’d love to see McDonald’s “nudge” diners into eating more sustainable foods by changing the makeup of its menu.