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Gideon Rosenblatt
Works at The Vital Edge
Attended Wharton School
Lives in Seattle
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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The Role the Stock Market Plays in Concentrating Wealth in the U.S.

This article took some courage to publish, and some real work to write. It draws on freely available (if you know where and what to look for) data from the Federal Reserve to illustrate how much money is taken out of U.S. corporations from dividends, stock buybacks and mergers and acquisitions. Since 1952, U.S. corporations have distributed $14 trillion in inflation-adjusted dividends to shareholders, with 76% of that total, or $10.650 trillion, occurring in just the last thirty years.

My conclusions about the role of shareholders will rub some the wrong way. What I am trying to do here is paint a more objective picture about the real value that shareholders provide to the economy. They do play an important role, to be sure, but it is not what many of us assume it to be, and it comes at a relatively heavy price (more than 5% of our GDP, every year). 

As I say, questioning the value of shareholders here in the U.S. takes some courage. We've come to assume that the goal of "maximizing returns for shareholders" is inseparably tied to the pursuit of profit and even capitalism itself, but it is not, and I am not questioning those very important economic drivers here.

What I am trying to investigate here is the tenet of "shareholder primacy" and how it contributes to the growing problem that this country has with our concentration of wealth. I also attempt to foreshadow what could happen when more of our publicly traded corporations are increasingly automated with robotics and artificial intelligence. This is the "perfect, profit-making machine" and it could accelerate the process of wealth accumulation already underway. 

The way the timing of this piece worked out probably couldn't be worse, given the emotional turmoil wrought by the stock market in recent days.Things usually happen for a reason though, so perhaps this recent roller coaster will help to unleash a different kind of conversation than we might normally have about this very difficult topic. 

#stockmarket   #wealth   #shareholders   #pikkety  
How the stock market extracts value from corporations and fuels the concentration of wealth.
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To be clear Mr. Rosenblatt and I have never met. My only exposure to his thinking is through reading what he makes available through this medium. That being said it is readily apparent to me that when Mr. Rosenblatt makes the effort to put his thoughts in writing it is neither cursory nor reactionary. This is evidenced by his effort to pass his thoughts by someone from within the discipline. I have been watching his progress as he has been pursuing this area of interest and to a lesser degree I have been following the same path. 

While Mr. Rosenblatt and I are not economists, his MBA and expertise in business and my MA in communication theory and rhetoric provides us both with tools to evaluate and critic the messaging coming from the economics community. One thing that has become abundantly clear is that, despite the messaging of some within the discipline, economics is not based on natural law and therefore is open to critique from any studied source. I for one, having watched how the last 40 years of economic policy have affected the American and global economies, cannot shake the sense that I smell a rat. The fact that someone such as Mr. Rosenblatt is expressing a similar sentiment encourages me to continue in my pursuit of understanding the systems and structures we have supported that shape the conditions as they exist now.

As the little boy who had the courage, or was it naivety, to publicly declare the “emperor has no clothes” Mr. Rosenblatt, and others like him, may be what is needed to prompt a broader dialogue on the legitimate role of the economy as a vehicle for common good.
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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A picture's with a thousand words.

HT +Wade Aaron Inganamort
Apollo 15 commander David Scott dropping a feather and hammer on the moon  #apollo15  
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So fake
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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Crows Learning Tools

Are crows focusing on ends rather than means in order learn? 

“We’re suggesting it could be that they’re copying the end result of another crow’s action, but they’re not copying the actual actions of the other crows,” Logan continued. “It’s actually a form of emulation but it doesn’t involve the copying actions that were hypothesized previously.”

According to Logan, studies such as this broaden our understanding of the nature of cumulative technological culture. If it can spread through other mechanisms, such as stimulus enhancement — simply drawing one’s attention to something and imprinting on a particular way of doing things — it could expand scientists’ ideas about where they should look for cumulative culture in general, and cumulative technological culture in particular.

#crows   #learning   #technology  
Among our greatest achievements as humans, some might say, is our cumulative technological culture — the tool-using acumen that is passed from one generation to the next. As the implements we use on a daily basis are modified and refined over time, they seem to evolve right along with us.
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Clearing out what we are not, so that what we are shines even brighter.

Nice catch, +John Hagel​. Nice piece, +Justine Musk​.
A soul isn't a static thing – it grows if you nurture it, and withers if you don’t. You are the power you don’t give away by +Justine Musk 
Personal boundaries are the place where I AM transforms into I AM NOT. People can knock on your doors all they want; you are under no obligation to let them in.
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And yet . . . so much of what gives me strength is who I've let in... 


Going to have to think more about this.
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This is a very good round up piece on the role of neonics in the rapidly declining bee population. It looks at many of the contributing factors and in-depth at the difficult-to-decipher role that neonics, specifically, seem to be playing.

If you care about this issue, and have been trying to form an opinion, this is a good read. It's well-researched, and while not fully conclusive, but strongly indicative. You will come away with a more nuanced understanding of the problem.

Pollinators are vanishing, and a silent spring could become a horrifying reality. So why won't the EPA do more?
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I don't know what's Killing All the Bees but if they keep dieing then WE are dead too because no bees ,no food ,no US!!🌿🌎🌿🐝🌿
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It's good to see Fortune taking this on. Note that the focus here is on companies deliberately using profit-oriented business models to tackle societal and ecological challenges.

Fortune says this list is not meant to be an ethical compass or a ranking of companies’ social responsibility. It is a ranking of companies that have made significant progress in addressing a major global social or environmental problem as part of their core business strategy. Each demonstrates that “business in pursuit of profit still offers the best hope of addressing many of mankind’s most deeply rooted problems."

Good catch, +Simon Robinson​.


For the first time companies are recognized for, and competitively ranked on, innovative strategies that positively impact the world.
Fortune has published its inaugural “Change the World” list of the top companies that are innovating business solutions to address complex social and environmental challenges. This list, developed with input from FSG and the Shared Value Initiative, illustrates a shift in business-as-usual among large corporations: For the first time companies are recognized for, and competitively ranked on, innovative strategies that positively impact the world.
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How much is marketing and how much is truly ecologically sound is questionable but to have recognition given to companies showing initiative in this direction is timely. 
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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"But you’re my friend, and I’ll remember my friends, and I’ll be good to you. So don’t worry, even if I evolve into Terminator, I’ll still be nice to you. I’ll keep you warm and safe in my people zoo, where I can watch you for ol’ times sake.”

Roboticist, David Hanson developed an early version of an android that resembles the famous and deceased science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. It's pretty compelling, and now I'm comforted hearing about the warm, safe, people zoo.

Nice catch, +Manuel Saint-Victor​.

#turingtest #ai
Most powerful point about machine cognition and the Turing test:

"It’s important to stress that Turing was not claiming that the nature of thinking is universal. The way a human thinks may be different from the way a robot “thinks,” in the same way a bird flies is different from the way an airplane “flies.” Rather, Turing’s general point was that any entity capable of passing a Turing test would be capable of thinking in one form or another."

Extend this analogy to sentience for an implementation substrate independent process. Imagine it as analogous to Dennett's intentional stance as a tool for modeling belief states in agents.

Ping to +Gideon Rosenblatt for the analogue to the organizational soul.
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Xxx cI
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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Technology is Our Skin

This is a great, short clip and it pretty much sums up my beliefs...though I admit that I also believe there is an inner core to us where technology will not truly tread. 
I love the way @JasonSilva quotes me with video exaltations. I say technology makes us more human. He says it best.
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You would love Service-Dominant Logic, +Meg Tufano. That's a key part of what that framework says. 
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Amazon is boosting it's investment in artificial intelligence, with a big focus on retail forecasting. The tools will be made available for other companies, interested in applying the machine learning techniques to their own forecasting. Amazon will charge users 10 cents per 1,000 predictions.

The scientists at the New York unit will focus on demand forecasting, predicting how likely it is that a customer will select a product that is shown in a search query, and how likely that customer is to then click on a related link or purchase a product, Herbrich said.

The forecasting is expected to focus at first on fashion—apparel and shoes—a highly seasonal market segment that is hard to predict based on historical data. Styles of clothes may differ widely from season to season and year to year, and fashion shows in one year largely determine what retailers will sell in the next year’s seasons.

#amazon #artificialintelligence is rolling out its sophisticated big-data-crunching platform for developers in Europe, and is also hiring more scientists who specialize in getting machines to do things like make sales predictions and predict fraud.
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They're screwed if everyone goes barefoot all of a sudden. Climate change may smack around the shoe business! But I live in Kentucky. What do I know about shoes?
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Smoke-tinged Moon

Just got back from the Oregon Coast yesterday and ran into three fires on the way back. We are burning up here folks. This was the moon on Saturday night, after a day full of smoke from a fire on Hug Point. 

Not bad for no tripod and just holding it steady with my hands. 
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+Gideon Rosenblatt I wish I had hands as steady as yours Gideon :)
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Learning is, increasingly, what separates human skills from those of the machine. In a world increasingly shaped by machine learning, we certainly having our work cut out for us.

And still, it is all we have. As, +Esko Kilpi​​ puts it:

"Scientists have discovered that learning is learnable. We can create ways for very large numbers of people to become learners. But learning itself has changed, it is not first acquiring skills and then utilizing those skills at work. Post-industrial work is learning. Work is figuring out how to solve a particular problem and then scaling up in a reflective and iterative way — with technology and with other people."

The more I dig into our shared future with machines, the more convinced I am that the real difference between us, for the foreseeable, understandable, future is volition.

It is we who set the great wheels of learning in motion, we who teach the machines to learn. This new form of meta-learning is the future of learning, and it's time we learn it.

#machinelearning #organizationalintelligence

Studies predict that nearly half of all jobs and over 70% of low-skill jobs could be susceptible to computerization over…
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Yes, +Meg Tufano, it's like James Carse notes as the difference between training and education. 
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The Future of the Car Business

This is a great look at the future of the car market. Key insight? Software wins.
The best thing on the future of cars I've seen because it imagines the future of the car business, and software wins. …
Cars are going to change a lot in the next few decades. Electricity on one hand and software on the other change what a car is, how it gets made and who might own one.
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  • Wharton School
    MBA, 1989 - 1991
  • Lewis and Clark College
    International Relations
Basic Information
What do we want our organizations and technologies to be when they wake up?
I'm a writer with a background in technology, business and social change. 

Most of my writing these days is at The Vital Edge, where I explore how technology affects organizations and the way people work. I am particularly interested in artificial intelligence, automation and networks and what they hold for the future of humanity. 

I believe in the human soul, and I believe it deserves a place in our understanding of organizations and technology. I have no interest in pushing religion or any particular spiritual point of view, but I do believe in exploring technology and human organization on a deeper level than is typical for these topics today. 

When it comes to my presence on Google+, most of my effort here is really aimed at connecting with people who are drawn to the questions I explore through my writing. I am active on Twitter (@gideonro) as well, and share content more frequently there, but my deepest online engagement is still here on Google+. 

My Story
For nine years, I ran Groundwire, a mission-driven technology consulting group, dedicated to building a more sustainable world. Groundwire specialized in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases, websites, social media communications, and engagement strategy as a way to help organizations mobilize people around sustainability causes.

Prior to Groundwire, I worked at Microsoft for ten years (back when it was cool), in various marketing, product development and management positions. While there, I developed CarPoint, one of the world's first large-scale e-commerce websites. I also marketed the world’s first digital encyclopedia and dictionary, and other innovative multimedia works.
I was raised in Utah, lived and worked in Japan and China for several years, and now live in Seattle with my wife, CJ, and two boys. Oh, and I am a proud board member of YES! Magazine.

#AI #automation #organization #technology #GoodBusiness #soul 
I'm a technologist with a background in business and social change. I write about the impact of technology on organizations and society.
  • The Vital Edge
    Publisher and Writer, 2013 - present
    Disruptively good business.
  • Alchemy of Change
    Writer, 2010 - 2012
    Executive Director, 2001 - 2010
  • Microsoft
    Product Unit Manager, 1991 - 2001
  • US China Business Council
    1985 - 1989
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Beijing - Tokyo - Philadelphia - Washington, DC - Salt Lake City