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Last updated: 2 December 2015


History and Evolution of Technology

Developments in Information Technology

New Technology and Spy Wars

Geographical Clustering of Technology

Cities and Technological Skills

Urban Infrastructure

“Big Data” Technology

Earlier links are at the top of each section


History and Evolution of Technology


History and Evolution of Technology

Stella Papadopoulou, “Oceans to Contain More Plastic Than Fish by 2050,” Eurasia Review, 24 January 2016.  Available at: http://www.eurasiareview.com/24012016-oceans-to-contain-more-plastic-than-fish-by-2050-oped/. 
The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics [from the World Economic Forum] provides for the first time a vision of a global economy in which plastics never become waste and outlines concrete steps towards achieving the systemic shift needed.

John Cantwell and Giovanna Vertova, “Historical Evolution of Technological Diversification,” Research Policy, Vol. 33 (2004), pp. 511-529.  Available at: http://www.giovannavertova.it/JA06.pdf.  The authors examine “from an historical perspective the relationship between the degree of dispersion or focus of a country’s technological specialisation and that country’s technological size”.  They conclude that “government intervention could be used as a bridging mechanism between the economic side of new technological knowledge and the institutional side, thus supporting the introduction and diffusion of new technology within the appropriate social and institutional framework.”

Robert J Gordon, “Is US Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds,” National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 18315, August 2012.  Available at: http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/economics/gordon/is%20us%20economic%20growth%20over.pdf.  The authors suggests that “even if innovation were to continue into the future at the rate of the two decades before 2007, the US faces six headwinds that are in the process of dragging long-term growth to half or less of the 1.9 percent annual rate experienced between 1860 and 2007.  These include demography, education, inequality, globalisation, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt.  A provocative “exercise in subtraction” suggests that future growth in consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution could fall below 0.5 percent per year for an extended period of decades.”

James Manyika, Michael Chui, Jacques Bughin, Richard Dobbs, Peter Bisson, and Alex Marrs, “Disruptive Technologies: Advances That Till Transform Life, Business, and the Global Economy,” Report from McKinsey Global Institute, May 2013.  Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/disruptive_technologies?cid=disruptive_tech-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1305.  The report identifies 12 technologies that “could drive truly massive economic transformations and disruptions in the coming years.” It also examines the way in which these technologies could change our world, as well as their benefits and challenges.  The technologies are as follows:  mobile Internet, automation of knowledge work, Internet of things, cloud technology, advanced robotics, autonomous vehicles, genomics, energy storage, 3D printing, advanced materials, oil and gas exploration/recovery and renewable energy.

Jaron Lanier, “Fixing the Digital Economy”, The New York Times, 8 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/fixing-the-digital-economy.html?ref=global.  The article is a form of literary trailer for the book published by Lanier entitled, “Who Owns the Future”.  His main point in the trailer is: “the disruption and decentralisation of power coincides with an intense and seemingly unbounded concentration of power.  What at first glance looks like a contradiction makes perfect sense once one understands the nature of modern power.

Elizabeth W Dunn and Michael Norton, “Happier Spending”, The New York Times, 22 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/opinion/sunday/happier-spending.html.  The article describes how smart phones will soon be fitted with an app that connects directly to the online equipment of a store and allows buyers to state their names and allow their phones to manage payments by credit card or direct debit after the shop assistant confirms the photograph and other identification that will appear on the screen.  It makes buying easier – perhaps too easy.

Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAffee, “The Dawn of the Abe of Artificial Intelligence,” The Atlantic, 14 February 2014.  Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/02/the-dawn-of-the-age-of-artificial-intelligence/283730/.  The article is based a recently published book by the authors entitled, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.  They suggest that the artificial intelligence has now developed into a highly useful form to open the way to huge strides in the production and application of machine.

Thomas Schulz, “Tomorrowland: How Silicon Valley Shapes Our Future,” Spiegel Online, 4 March 2015.  Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/spiegel-cover-story-how-silicon-valley-shapes-our-future-a-1021557.html.  In the Silicon Valley, a new elite is forming that wants to determine not only what we consume, but also the way we live.  They want to change the world, but they don't want to accept any rules.  Do they need to be reined in?”

Anand Giridharadas, ”Innovation Isn’t Making World Equal,” The New York Times, 13 April 2015.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/world/americas/innovation-isnt-making-world-equal.html.  “Is technological innovation the handmaiden of progress?  People tend to use the two concepts interchangeably.  But it’s possible that we live in a peculiar age that, in America at least, is innovation-rich and progress-poor. Just as we came to learn that democracy and liberalism don’t necessarily go together [   ] perhaps we are starting to discover something we might call regressive innovation.

Chris Mooney, “What Backing Up Your Home with Telsla’s Battery Might Be Like,” The Washington Post, 1 May 2015.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/05/01/what-backing-up-your-home-with-teslas-battery-might-be-like/?tid=hpModule_88854bf0-8691-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394&hpid=z19.  The article describes the way in which Tesla’s Powerwall works and comments on its likely cost with installation in the USA.  Somewhat higher prices can be expected in Australia.”

L Rafael Reif, “A Better Way to Deliver Innovation to the World,” The Washington Post, 22 May 2015.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-better-way-to-deliver-innovation-to-the-world/2015/05/22/35023680-fe28-11e4-8b6c-0dcce21e223d_story.html.  “According to Reif, who is president of MIT: “Today, our highly optimised, venture-capital-driven innovation system is simply not structured to support complex, slower-growing concepts that could end up being hugely significant — the kind that might lead to disruptive solutions to existential challenges in sustainable energy, water and food security, and health.”

Adam Thierer and Andrea Castillo, “Projecting Growth and Economic Impact of the Internet of Things,” Research Summary, Mercatus Centre, George Mason University, 14 June 2015.  Available at: http://mercatus.org/publication/projecting-growth-and-economic-impact-internet-things.  “The next big wave of data-driven technological innovation will connect physical devices embedded with tiny computing devices to the Internet in an effort to seamlessly improve the measurements, communications, flexibility, and customisation of our daily needs and activities.”

Jeffrey Sachs, “How to Live Happily with Robots,” The American Prospect, 4 August 2015.  Available at: http://prospect.org/article/how-live-happily-robots.  “It takes extensive government intervention to assure that gains of automation are broadly shared.”

Charles Arthur, “Artificial Intelligence: ‘Homo Sapiens Will Be Split into a Handful of Gods and the Rest of Us” The Guardian, 8 November 2015.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/07/artificial-intelligence-homo-sapiens-split-handful-gods.  “A new report suggests that the marriage of artificial intelligence and robotics could replace so many jobs that the era of mass employment could come to an end.”

Cung Vu, “Future of Maritime Security: Role of Science, Technology and Space,” Eurasian Review, 28 November 2015.  Available at: http://www.eurasiareview.com/28112015-future-of-maritime-security-role-of-science-technology-and-space-analysis/.  “No single country is seen as being able to secure the maritime domain alone. Collaboration and information sharing with partner nations can help to detect, identify, track, and interdict nearly all vessels approaching coastal areas.”



Information Technology


Developments in Information Technology

Quentin Hardy, “Active in Cloud, Amazon Reshapes Computing,” The New York Times, 27 August 2012.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/technology/active-in-cloud-amazon-reshapes-computing.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120828.  The author suggests that w
ithin a few years, “Amazon.com’s creative destruction of both traditional book publishing and retailing may be footnotes to the company’s larger and more secretive goal: giving anyone on the planet access to an almost unimaginable amount of computing power.

Steve Lohr, “IBM Mainframe Evolves to Serve the Digital World,” The New York Times, 28 August 2012.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/technology/ibm-mainframe-evolves-to-serve-the-digital-world.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120828.  The article gives a briefing on recent developments in the use of mainframe computers.  These computers costs more than $1 million, and “higher-performance models with peripheral equipment often cost $10 million or more. Yet even young companies and emerging nations, analysts say, find the expense worth it for some tasks,”

Mark Raymond, “The Internet as a Global Commons?” Centre for International Governance Innovation Series - Governing the Internet: Chaos, Control of Consensus? 26 October, 2012.  Available at: http://www.cigionline.org/publications/2012/10/internet-global-commons.  Mark Raymond describes the Internet as a set of nested clubs and gives attention to the need to think explicitly about the rules for the three most basic types of clubs: the club of all Internet users, the clubs comprised of each individual Internet service provider (ISP) and its clients and the clubs of national users.

Associated Press, “UN Group Favours Greater Government Roles in Internet Despite Western Objections,” The Washington Post, 14 December 2012.  Available at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/un-group-favors-greater-government-roles-in-internet-despite-western-objections/2012/12/13/d2f48076-44f5-11e2-8c8f-fbebf7ccab4e_story.html.  Although the current debate concerns proposals for a non-enforceable treaty, it is useful to note the line up for greater governmental control versus a free and open World Wide Web.

Editorial Board, “Europe Moves Ahead on Privacy,” The New York Times, 3 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/opinion/europe-moves-ahead-on-privacy-laws.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130204&_r=0.  The European Union is considering far-reaching privacy regulations that would give the citizens of its member countries significant control over how Web sites and marketing companies collect and use data about them. 

Reviews of the book, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, by Erick Schmidt and Jared Cohen, published by Alfred A Knopf, 2013 include:  

Jandt Maslin in The New York Times, 26 April 2013, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/books/the-new-digital-age-by-eric-schmidt-and-jared-cohen.html.

John Naughton in The Guardian, 28 April 2013, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/29/digital-age-schmidt-cohen-review

Matt Warman in The Telegraph, 29 April 2013, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/10018193/The-New-Digital-Age-by-Eric-Schmidt-and-Jared-Cohen-review.html

Evgeny Morozov, in The New Republic, 27 May 2013.  Available at: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113272/eric-schmidt-and-jared-cohenthe-new-digital-ages-futurist-schlock.  Note that Morozov suggested that “this book could have been written by a three-handed economist.

Barto Gellman and Laura Poitras, “US, British Intelligence Mining Data from Nine US Internet Companies in Broad Secret Program,” The Washington Post, 8 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-data-from-nine-us-internet-companies-in-broad-secret-program/2013/06/06/3a0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html.  The article provides substantial detail about the program, code-named PRISM, of the US National Security Agency for tapping directly into the central servers “of leading US Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, emails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets”.  This came from a “top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.”  Other related articles:

Editorial, “Surveillance in the US and UK: Spreading National Insecurity,” The Guardian, 10 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/09/surveillance-us-uk-national-insecurity.

Michael Gerson, “A Power of Conviction,” The Washington Post, 11 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-gerson-samantha-power-is-a-superb-choice-for-un-ambassador/2013/06/10/2f2ee872-d1ff-11e2-8cbe-1bcbee06f8f8_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines.

The Editorial Board, “Surveillance: A Threat to Democracy,” The New York Times, 11 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/opinion/surveillance-a-threat-to-democracy.html?ref=global-home

Elizabeth Farrelly, “We’re Not So Safe Behind Our Firewall,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/were-not-so-safe-behind-our-firewall-20130612-2o48t.html.

Note also that the eavesdropping capability of NSA was reported in detail in March 2012 by Wired at: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1.

Ross Douthat, “Your Smartphone Is Watching You,” The New York Times, 8 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/douthat-your-smartphone-is-watching-you.html?ref=global.  Douthat states: “the motto ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ — or, alternatively, ‘abandon all privacy, ye who enter here’ — might as well be stamped on every smart phone and emblazoned on every social media log-in page.” Because genuinely dangerous people are likely to be more easily caught with their government’s potential access to email logs, phone records, video chats, etc., many citizens will be willing to give up privacy for security.  But it is a forfeiture of civil liberties and, as he reiterates, just make sure you have nothing to hide.  Additional commentary by Maureen Dowd, “Peeping Barry,” The New York Times, 8 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/dowd-peeping-president-obama.html?ref=global.

Editorial Board, “Debate Over Government’s Use of Electronic Data Has Been Helpful”, The Washington Post, 23 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/debate-over-governments-use-of-electronic-data-has-been-helpful/2013/06/22/329d5dde-d931-11e2-9df4-895344c13c30_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines.  The editorial board commented on the clarification of the two main issues by the White House and congressional hearings.  They expressed the view that “we don’t see an argument for anti-government hysteria in these considerations.  We do, however, want as informed a debate as possible about how the government is balancing security and privacy.

Tim Hsia and Jared Sperli, “How Cyber Warfare and Drones Have Revolutionised Warfare”, The New York Times, 17 July 2013.  Available at: http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/how-cyberwarfare-and-drones-have-revolutionized-warfare/.  The authors discuss the latest developments in advances in miitary weaponry, communications and technology.  They conclude that “like other major technological changes facing society today, the problem will not be whether or not technology can accomplish a certain feat but whether our nation’s leaders fully understand the moral, social and political consequences of utilizing such technologies.

Vikas Bajaj, “Pay-Per-Like,” The New York Times, 7 January 2014.  Available at: http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/pay-per-like/?ref=opinion.  Most internet users know that deception-on-the-web is easy to be found, but Vikas’ leading sentences may nevertheless come as a surprise:  It turns out you can buy love, after all.  Well, at least affection on social media sites. For a price as low as half a cent per click, companies, government agencies and entrepreneurs can get a small army of people in developing countries to ‘like’ their Facebook page, endorse them on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter.”

David Brooks, “What Machines Can’t Do,” The New York Times, 3 February 2014.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/04/opinion/brooks-what-machines-cant-do.html?hp&rref=opinion&_r=0.  David Brooks considers that certain mental skills will become less valuable because computers will take over these tasks, while other skills will increase in human value terms because computers will be less effective in doing them.   He notes, especially “the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind” that many humans possess.

Hilmar Schmundt and Gerald Traufetter, “Digital Independence: NSA Scandal Boosts German Tech Industry,” Spiegel Online, 4 February 2014.  Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/german-it-industry-looks-for-boom-from-snowden-revelations-a-950786.html.  The authors report that “the German IT sector is hoping to profit from trust lost in American technology firms in the aftermath of the NSA spying scandal.  But critics warn that plans to create a European routing system could affect the openness of the Internet.”

Jeremy Rifkin, “The Rise of Anti-Capitalism,” The New York Times, 15 March 2014.  Available at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-anti-capitalism.html?src=rechp.  The author’s opening remarks are as follows:  “We are beginning to witness a paradox at the heart of capitalism, one that has propelled it to greatness but is now threatening its future.  The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods and services are becoming nearly free, abundant, and no longer subject to market forces.  Note that Rifkin is the author of the soon-to-be-released book entitled: The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons and the Eclipse of Capitalism.

Jeff Sommermay, “Defending the Open Internet,” The New York Times, 10 May 2014.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/business/defending-the-open-internet.html.  The author observed that despite the fact that nearly everyone agrees with the notion that the Internet should be open and free (net neutrality), considerable differences of opinion exist as,to the precise way of achieving it.

Nicole Perlroth and David Gelles, “Russian Gang Amasses Over a Billion Internet Passwords,” The New York Times, 5 August 2014.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/technology/russian-gang-said-to-amass-more-than-a-billion-stolen-internet-credentials.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=LedeSum&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0.  A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion username and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses, security researchers say.

Sue Halpern, “The Creepy New Wave of the Internet,” The New York Review of Books, 20 November 2015.  Available at: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/creepy-new-wave-internet/.  This is a review of four Internet-related books with a moderate degree of diversity with reference to the books’ objectives: interconnectivity (sometimes referred to as the Third Industrial Revolution, .The “Internet of things, sensing devices and privacy and finally the potential economic impact of the evolution of the Internet.

David Leyonhjelm, “Everyone Has Something to Hide If Universal Data Retention Becomes Law in Australia,” The Guardian, 22 January 2015.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/22/everyone-has-something-to-hide-if-universal-data-retention-becomes-law-in-australia.  “Metadata can provide an alarming amount of information about an innocent individual’s activities, friends and beliefs.  It’s simply not necessary.”




New Technology and Spy Wars

Editorial, “NSA, France and Spy Wars.” Los Angeles Times, 22 October 2013.  Available at: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/22/opinion/la-ed-france-surveillance-20131022.  The editorial comments on “another wave of shock and outrage, this time by the French, who are playing the same game.”

Christopher Joye, “Chinese Spies May Have Read All MP’s Emails for a Year,” The Australian Financial Review, 28 April 2014.  Available at: http://www.afr.com/p/technology/chinese_spies_may_have_read_all_sBngugTM3JvSXFkcjgo4cN.  The author reports that the Chinese intelligence agencies that penetrated Australia’s parliamentary computer network in 2011 may have been inside the system for up to a year and had access to documents and emails that reveal the political, professional and social links across the political world, according to seven sources with knowledge of the breach.

Fareed Zakaria, “China’s Cyber-Espionage Presents a 21st Century Challenge,” The Washington Post, 23 May 2014.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fareed-zakaria-chinas-cyberespionage-presents-a-21st-century-challenge/2014/05/22/5983aaa4-e1f3-11e3-9743-bb9b59cde7b9_story.html?hpid=z3.  The author states that “the Sino-Russian gas deal reminds us that traditional geopolitics is alive and well. Washington knows how to work its way in that world with its own alliances and initiatives.  But cyber-espionage represents a new frontier, and no one really has the ideas, tools or strategies to properly address this challenge.  For additional comment see Editorial, “America, China and the Hacking Threat,” The New York Times, 24 May 2014.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/opinion/sunday/america-china-and-the-hacking-threat.html?_r=0.

Edward Wong, “American Businesses in China Feel Heat of a Cyberdispute,” The New York Times, 31 May 2014.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/world/asia/american-businesses-in-china-feel-heat-of-a-cyberdispute.html?hp&_r=0.  Chinese officials are ramping up political and economic pressure on the United States government and large technology companies following the Justice Department’s announcement on May 19 of indictments against five members of the Chinese Army on charges of economic cyberespionage.  Prominent Chinese officials, agencies and commentators have announced or called for measures that are widely seen as retribution for Washington’s latest charges as well as earlier related accusations, raising the spectre of a trade war and stoking anxiety among American companies that do business here.

Nicole Perlroth and David E Sanger, “US Embedded Spyware Overseas, Report Claims,” The New York Times, 16 February 2014.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/technology/spyware-embedded-by-us-in-foreign-networks-security-firm-says.html.  Apparently we now need to worry about bugs in our firmware.  What’s next?  Contaminated terrafirmware?


Geographical Clustering


Geographical Clustering of Technology and Innovation

M Hosein Fallah, “Technology Clusters and Innovation,” Current Issues in Technological Management, Stevens Alliance for Technology Management, Vol. 9, No. 4 (Fall 2005).  Available at:
http://howe.stevens.edu/fileadmin/Files/research/HSATM/newsletter/v09/v9i4.F05/Fallah.pdf.  The article views a functioning technological cluster as a number of players working in concert to create a highly innovative and productive environment for the growth of the existing businesses and for the creation of new businesses in the cluster.  Examples are given of such clusters reasons for their successes are briefly described.

Aaron Chatterji, Edward L Glaeser and Willirm R Kerr, “Clusters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation,” NBER Working Paper No. 19013, May 2013.  Available for purchase at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19013.  The authors discuss rationales for the agglomeration of entrepreneurship and innovation activities and the economic consequences of the resulting clusters.  They also identify policies that are being pursued in the United States to encourage local entrepreneurship and innovation, though they admit to having limited as to what specific policy supports works and how it works.



Cities and Technological Skills

Edward L Glaeser and David C Maré, “Cities and Skills,” Journal of Labor Economics, Vol.19, No. 2 (April 2011), pp. 316-342.  Available at: 
http://cdi.mecon.gov.ar/biblio/docelec/chicago_univ/cities.pdf.  It is generally known that workers in cities earn substantially more than their nonurban counterparts.  The research reported in the article suggests that this premium is partly due to the capacity of cities to accelerate the rate of accumulation of human capital through various means.

Nicola Gennaioli, Rafael La Porta, Florencio Lopez-de Silanes and and Andrei Shleifer, “Human Capital and Regional Development,” National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 17158, June 2011.  Available at: http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/shleifer/files/human_capital_qje_final.pdf.  The authors use a database of more than 1,500 sub-national regions from 110 countries to examine the factors that influence differences in regional development.  The evidence points to “the paramount importance of human capital in accounting for regional differences in development, but also suggests from model estimation and calibration that entrepreneurial inputs and possibly human capital externalities help understand the data.”



Urban Infrastructure

Impact and Control of New Technology: Urban Infrastructure
Rajni Bakshi, “Creating Sustainable Infrastructure,” Eurasian Review, 30 November 2015.  Available at: http://www.eurasiareview.com/30112015-creating-sustainable-infrastructure-analysis/.  “Many of the building blocks [for sustainable infrastructure] are already in place. The challenge now is to focus on macro public policy issues, and ask if the short-term compulsions of governments and the private sector will continue to create infrastructure that is unsustainable.”



“Big Data” Technology


“Big Data” Technology

Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui and James Manyika, “Clouds, Big Data and Smart Assets: Ten Tech-Enabled Business Trends to Watch,” McKinsey Quarterly, August 2010.  Available at:
http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/clouds_big_data_and_smart_assets_ten_tech-enabled_business_trends_to_watch.  The article discusses how advancing technologies are upending traditional business models, with senior executives forced to think strategically about how to prepare their organisations for the changing new environment.  Equally important is the need to assist their personnel in adjusting to these changes.

Kenneth Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger, “The Rise of Big Data: How It’s Changing the Way We Think About the World,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 92, No. 3 (May/June 2013), pp. 28-40.  The authors suggest that “big data” is about more than communication.  It is about learning more by distilling comprehensive information from very large data sets than could normally be acquired from a sample of data.  Its objective is to carry description to the point of approaching the universe of information in the hope that insights will emerge from massive sets of sometimes messy data.

Martin U Müller, Marcel Rosenbach and Thomas Schultz, “Living by the Numbers: Big Data Knows What Your Future Holds,” Spiegel Online, 17 May 2013.  Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/big-data-enables-companies-and-researchers-to-look-into-the-future-a-899964.html.  The lead-in to the article states:  Forget Big Brother.  Companies and countries are discovering that algorithms programmed to scour vast quantities of data can be much more powerful.  They can predict your next purchase, forecast car thefts and maybe even help cure cancer.”  But there is a down side.

Chrystia Freeland, “Some Cracks in the Cult of Technocrats”, The New York Times, 23 May 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/24/us/24iht-letter24.html?src=rechp.  Chrystia examines the recent research by work by Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson (“Economics Versus Politics: Pitfalls of Policy Advice”, available for purchase at http://www.nber.org/papers/w18921).  She notes the Acemoglu-Robinson critique is not the “standard technocrat’s lament that wise policy is, alas, politically impossible to implement.  Instead their concern is that policy which is eminently sensible in theory can fail in practice because of its unintended political consequences.  In particular, they believe we need to be cautious about ‘good’ economic policies that have the side effect of either reinforcing already dominant groups or weakening already frail.”

Matthew M Aid, “Inside the NSA’s Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group”, Foreign Policy, 10 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/10/inside_the_nsa_s_ultra_secret_china_hacking_group.  The article states that “according to a number of confidential sources, a highly secretive unit of the National Security Agency (NSA), the US government's huge electronic eavesdropping organisation, called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People's Republic of China.  Apparently the scale of hacking has grown so large that Chinese authorities became aware of it so TAO became too big to be secret. 

Henry Kautz, “There’s a Fly in My Tweets,” The New York Times, 21 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/opinion/sunday/theres-a-fly-in-my-tweets.html?hp.  The author describes how a research group at the University of Rochester analysed Twitter postings from millions of mobile phone users in New York City to develop a system to monitor food-poisoning outbreaks at restaurants.

Xinhua, “Commentary: Snowden Case Vindicates Need for Global Cyber Security Rules,” People’s Daily, 1 July 2013.  Available at:  http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90777/8306550.html.  The article states: “With the Snowden case being further exposed to the entire world, it is crystal clear that cyber security is a problem that confronts almost every nation on the surface of the planet and needs collective efforts.