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What I’m Reading: September 2018 – Science Fiction, Geopolitics, Tech, and Risk Assessment

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Here is what I found interesting in September 2018:

Science Fiction and the Strategist 2.0 – The Strategy Bridge, 8/27/2018

This link is an excellent list of science fiction reads. Sci-fi is very important to creativity and expanding the mind of a strategist. Reading other’s ideas of the future or different societies shakes us from our comfort zones and challenges our preconceptions.

Techno-nationalism could determine the 21st Century – BBC, 9/8/2018

A very interesting article that discusses two major future trends: power consolidating in tech companies in US and China and the fall of the Post-World War II world order. The article details Chinese government and tech cooperation as well as mentions the wildcard of Saudi investment. Lastly, it points out that China and Saudi Arabia are oppressive regimes known for stifling dissent. How the US government responds will determine the direction of the world in the 21st Century.

China’s Empire of Money Is Reshaping Global Trade – Bloomberg, 8/2/2018

A lengthy but very good report on the status of China’s global Belt and Road Project. Bloomberg writers visited various locations throughout the world to write the story of the progress, impact, and occasional dissent of the multi-billion dollar initiative.

The Middle East Doesn’t Take China Seriously – Foreign Policy, 9/13/2018

An interesting editorial on Chinese involvement in the Middle East. According to the author, China’s involvement thus far has been primarily economic, not political, and definitely not militarily. China is ok with letting the US try to solve the conflicts in the Middle East. With the Arab nations looking for security and defense cooperation, it will be interesting to see how much clout the Chinese are able to amass based on investments and business alone. The big players of the Middle East are already awash with cash. Can Chinese billions buy that much wasta?

In Cyber War, there are no rules – Foreign Policy, 9/12/2018

Cyber conflict currently lives in anarchy. There is little organization at the international level and even less at the local or individual level. This article discusses how the US has fallen behind cyber defense due to outdated legislation and inaction. It then covers international actions to define or restrain cyber attacks. But innovation moves too fast.

What’s behind the growing divide between tech and government – Silicon Angle, 9/23/2018

A report on the problems the American government has had connecting with the tech community. On one hand, they need each other (cybersecurity), on the other, government has to reign in tech as it seeps into every corner of citizens’ lives. Restrictions and regulations are necessary. Of course, there is also the generational gap between legislators and young tech savvy innovators.

DARPA Wants to Find Botnets Before They Attack – Defense One, 9/12/2018

Interesting article on a government contract funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects. This project would scan the web for computers infected with bot malware and diffuse the malware – all to the ignorance of the user. Botnets are a big deal and allow hackers to control the power of an army of computers. They can create cyber attacks such as Denial of Service. The DARPA effort is a good first step to blocking malicious syber activities.

Get ready for the “splinternet”: The web might not be worldwide much longer – Fast Company, 9/7/2018

Fast Company writes about the growing trend for national intranets, siphoned off from the World Wide Web. Nations from Iran to Brazil are creating intranets as a way to remove themselves from global cyber threats. These intranets are also a way from oppressive regimes to limit the amount of information that comes into a nation-state from outside. But intranets would hamper global economics and lose billions in production.

A Blueprint for a Better Digital Society – Harvard Business Review, 9/26/2018

This is a long but important article on the future of data. This article explores the importance of data in the global tech world then provides a highly detailed plan to hold tech companies responsible for their use of personal data. “Mediators of Individual Data” or MIDs will have users in mind, not corporations or governments. The article looks at developing attempts at MIDs and then outlines how they should best operate.

Anatomy of an AI System – Anatomyof.ai, 2018

An amazingly complex and well-researched article on Artificial Intelligence. This article explores everything about AI, from the minerals that make up its components to the data it processes to better serve its owner. The article dives into the labor, economics, and the global power structure behind AI. The historical analogies are also very interesting and they show the complexity of the history of technology in the world. While users freely speak into their home assistants, they rarely realize they are mere cogs in a long line of exploitative history.

The Shameful State of Online Advertising – Medium.com, 9/11/2018

Writer Mike Mallazzo discusses how the internet is not the catch-all for accurate data that many advertisers think it is. While in depth web use can often differentiate between men and women, most web sites usually get wrong every other point. The lone exception is Amazon, which collects data based on your purchases.

6 Dark Web Pricing Trends – Dark Reading, 9/24/2018

A look at pricing of stolen information and data on the Dark Web and some of the market changes driving the changes. Among the data looked at are credit card information, bank log-ins, PII (including medical), cloned ATM cards, passports, and fraudulent prescriptions.

Defending Forward: The 2018 Cyber Strategy is Here – War on the Rocks, 9/20/2018

An analysis of the US Government’s 2018 Cyber Strategy. This article looks at differences between the 2018 and 2015 strategies and how they have adapted to a changing cyber landscape and changing adversaries – from focusing on irregular actors to nation-states. According to the article, the 2018 strategy is also much more forward leaning in defense, meaning the Department of Defense will engage in preemption if needed. Doing so means a completely new way to act on risks.

Formalizing Cyber Threat Intelligence Planning: Part III – Secure Set Blog, 9/2018

A good article by the folks at cyber training school Secure Set. In this Part III, they discuss Intelligence Preparation of a Cyber Battlefield. A cyber analyst has to know the network, the ins and outs, as well as threat knows and unknowns, and identify gaps. This article takes a few military intelligence terms and processes and fits them to the cyber threat.

A 6-Part Tool for Ranking and Assessing Risks – Harvard Business Review, 9/21/2018

This article discusses a military tool called CARVER and how it can assist business risk assessment. CARVER stands for Criticality, Accessibility, Recoverability, Vulnerability, Effect, and Recognizability. For a decision, each risk is given a score of 1-5 in each topic. Scores are added up and that is the total CARVER risk score. While I am normally leery of incorporating military tools in business, CARVER may have some practicality.

Get Things Done With Smaller Teams – MIT Sloan Management Review, 9/7/2018

I am a big fan of small team studies. This article advocates using small teams for business projects. Small teams can communicate easier, innovate faster, and be more nimble. They often share ideas better and get jobs done faster. There is more emotional investment, teamwork, and learning. There are many case studies on small team success. This article explains how to make those teams happen.

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