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What I’m Reading: October 2018 – Global Problems, Business Intelligence, Trolls, Media, and Black Markets


Here are the articles I found most interesting in October 2018:

What Is Globalization? – Peterson Institute for International Economics, 10/29/2018

Good primer on the history, benefits, and complications of Globalization. Excellent information as it pertains to job creation, job loss, and how nations can better position their workforce. It also discusses how the US is falling behind due to pushback to globalization and job retraining.

Fueling Middle East Conflicts – Or Dousing the Flames – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 10/23/2018

A long and expansive deep dive into the geopolitics of the Middle East. There are some very disturbing trends mentioned here, but the two I found most worrisome: the Middle East is the most militarized region in the world and there is a lack of peace and diplomacy mechanisms. These factors have both led to an increase in security dilemmas and are very bad for neighbors and international powers hoping for stability.

The Quest for Business Intelligence – LinkedIn, 10/23/2018

Interesting article on the strategy of developing a data-savvy organization. Many companies are using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to see patterns in data and customer interaction. This analysis has provided cost efficiencies in health care, marketing, and even some government agencies (few and far between, unfortunately). While there are obstacles such as cost and fear of failure, companies have to be looking ahead on how to use big data before their competition is light years ahead of them.

Your Data Literacy Depends on Understanding the Types of Data and How They’re Captured – Harvard Business Review, 10/23/2018

Good article on the basics of data: what it is and how it is collected. This article discusses basics of “the cloud” and how data falls into tabular, image, or unstructured buckets. A good primer for those just learning.

The Trouble With Cybersecurity Management – MIT Sloan Management Review, 10/8/2018

Interesting article on training cybersecurity managers to be more responsive to threats. When the scope of a threat is not known, it often best to assume the worst. And I love this line:

“Research shows that humans do not have strong intuition when it comes to low-probability, high-consequence scenarios”

Here is how much Bots drive conversation during media events –, 10/20/2018

Fantastic article about a tool developed that helps understand how much twitter traffic on a certain story is generated by bots. As it is very difficult to ban bots, at least we can now know how they are influencing the overall conversation. As for impact, that is a very different story.

To Curb Terrorist Propaganda Online, Look to YouTube. No Really. – Wired, 10/23/2018

A look at how ISIS and al Qaeda have decreased their footprint on YouTube. On one hand, I am worried that not seeing them on youtube means they are still broadcasting on less visible platforms. But on the other, less visible platforms does mean less views and less potential to sway new adherents. I would also like to see the data on domestic (right or left) terrorism.

Leveraging Regional Expertise to Counter Influence Operations – Strategy Bridge, 10/3/2018

This article discusses the concept of Foreign Area Officers in the US Military. According to the author, FAOs are a temporary position, however, he suggests they should be permanent and assist in the Information Operations battle.  Personally, I disagree and think the military should be using academics and contractors in the foreign area officer position. Academics and contractors not only bring in expertise on the region/area, but also bring a fresh non-military perspective to planning.

Saudis’ Image Makers: A Troll Army and a Twitter Insider – New York Times, 10/20/2018

Interesting article on Saudi Arabia’s efforts to control speech on twitter. While this article does discuss a disturbing trend and shows how authoritarian governments use the internet, it has too many anonymous sources for my taste. I know sources would not want repercussions, but not one solid name is used as a basis of the key information. That makes for troublesome reporting.

Lessons learned: Seven ways news outlets can rebuild trust and sustainability – Poytner, 10/22/2018

As distrust of media grows and news agencies become more and more divided and catering to specific audiences, media oversight groups like Poytner become increasingly more important. This article discusses how local media such as newspapers can build new trust with their audiences. What it does not discuss however, is how every media needs a team of fact checkers to debunk fake news pushed by other, more dishonest, news platforms.

Why are African governments criminalising online speech? Because they fear its power. – Global Voices, 10/12/2018

An article on free speech in many African countries. While they have grown economically, and in many cases written free speech into their laws, they have not acted as such, often jailing or persecuting writers and other free  speech advocates.

The World’s Most Dangerous Black Markets – Yale Global Online, 10/9/2018

Well-written and well-researched report on global black market oil trade. Billions of dollars every year are made from illegal oil trade and used to support crime, terrorism, and oppressive governments.

From Pizza To Lambos: Charting Bitcoin’s First Decade – Bloomberg, 10/3/2018

Fantastic chart depicting the value of 10,000 Bitcoins from 2008 to 2018. While the long-term viability of cryptocurrency is still in question, the underlying technology of secure, anonymous transactions is not going away anytime soon.

Think Like An Attacker: How a Red Team Operates – Dark, 9/20/2018

In order to best create a defensive strategy against hackers and other malicious actors, it helps to simulate attacks. This article discusses how cyber security red teams operate and how companies can learn from their actions.