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Democracy 2.1: when maths reinvent politics

Society September 29th, 2015, Karel Janeček / Mathematician, entrepreneur, and anti-corruption campaigner

Mathematics and technology are increasingly used in decision-making. The current trend is even to replace human decisions by machine decisions. But in some experiences, technological innovation helps to reinvigorate the most human of all decision process: democracy. This is the purpose of the Democracy 2.1 experiment, launched by the Czech mathematician Karel Janeček: a radical innovation of the voting system, based on mathematical intuitions derived from game theory.

Confidence and recognition: the alchemy of trust

Business September 28th, 2015, Francis Mer / Former Minister of Economy, France

Successful companies have one secret: trust. One that facilitates managerial relations, allows taking risks or difficult decisions, and also helps develop trade relations. But trust cannot be imposed from the top. How is it created? The heart of trust is recognition. Far from being a moral issue, it is a major managerial challenge, a key to the performance of firms today.

Making sense of the Uber economy – 1 – Share? Better talk of a market expansion

Society September 23rd, 2015, François Meunier / President, Alsis Conseil, Associate Professor of Finance, ENSAE ParisTech

Behind the proliferation of Uber stories hitting the headlines in many countries, the emergence of a sharing economy fascinates, and sometimes worries us, especially because of its blurry boundaries. From the perspective of an economist, it can be described as a market expansion. Exchanges that previously fell within the scope of informal economy are now an integral part of formal economy. It that good news? Yes it is. But this rapid and incomplete transition also raises many problems.

Making sense of the Uber economy – 2 – Competition vs. monopolies

Society September 23rd, 2015, François Meunier / President, Alsis Conseil, Associate Professor of Finance, ENSAE ParisTech

From the perspective of an economist, the sharing economy can be described as a market expansion. Among the downsides, which are now well identified, competition is stronger: but is it still fair competition? And don't the marketplaces that organize this competition find themselves in a situation of monopoly?

For industrial manufacturers, resources remain a huge financial and managerial cost. A change in perspective can lead to real breakthroughs in reducing resource consumption.

Mathematics of chaos

Science and Technology September 11th, 2015, Claire Chavaudret / Lecturer and Researcher, Laboratoire J. A. Dieudonné, Nice Sophia-Antipolis University

In many areas, decision-making is affected by the difficulty in producing reliable forecasts. The behavior of financial markets, consumers or weather phenomena, the evolution of an ecosystem or the movement of certain celestial bodies provide some examples of unpredictable events that have an impact on human activity. Some developments of mathematics can help reduce this unpredictability or, at the very least, analyze it from a strategic point of view. The theory of probability plays such a role but so do fluid mechanics in the study of turbulence, or dynamic systems in the study of so-called chaotic phenomena, which belong to a specific class of unpredictable phenomena.

From flowerpots to containers: a subtle anatomy of Internet of Things

Business September 8th, 2015, Sandy Verma / Senior Director of Asia Pacific for Internet of Things Solutions, AT & T

The Internet of Things (IoT) is essentially a network of physical objects connected via the Internet, a buzzword for a new technology landscape that is reshaping the way we live and work. But is its potential understood and are we prepared for a new wave of industrial revolution?

The Internet has revolutionized our access to knowledge. Education is on the verge of major changes. Nine recent pieces published in ParisTech Review try to make sense of this tsunami.

How an organization makes its people-related decisions has a huge impact on its success or failure. But traditionally, these decisions have largely been based on intuition and biases and therefore have been prone to error. But now, companies are starting to use data and sophisticated analysis in issues such as recruiting, compensation and performance evaluation because they believe it can help in better decision making. Cade Massey and Adam Grant, who lead Wharton’s people analytics initiative, spoke with Knowledge@Wharton about why a data-driven approach to managing people at work is gaining traction.

Tesla’s Powerwall: sustainable or not?

Industries July 10th, 2015, Vincent Champain & Vincent Schächter / COO France, General Electric & Vice-President R&D, Total New Energies

Tesla's PowerWall is the first mass-produced individual electric storage solution to hit the market. But does it offer any true ecological benefit? Is it cost-effective enough to be sustainable? Two specialists discuss these issues.

Articles analyzing why there's no Chinese innovation are all over the place. Meanwhile, the situation is changing at a rapid pace. How do Chinese entrepreneurs move from imitators to innovators? To better understand these issues, our Chinese edition invited a number of pioneers and observers at the front-line of domestic and international innovations.

Long-term investment: public banks at the center of the game

Business June 30th, 2015, Franck Silvent / Director of Finance, Strategy and Holdings, Caisse des Dépôts Group

In developed countries, particularly in Europe, investment has been sluggish since the 2008 crisis. And yet, money is abundant and there are many needs, especially in regard to long-term, growth-enhancing investments. But private investors are paralyzed. Is there any way out of this down-beat economic environment? Institutional investors are at the center of the game. Among them, public banks and deposits funds can play a significant role. How have these secular institutions returned in the spotlight?

The proven limits of individual efforts and the difficulty of managing collective dynamics make energy transition an extremely challenging task when approached through consumption. Fortunately, technologies can change the game: smart consumption is on the rise. But whose smartness is it: machines', electricity suppliers', or ours?

As noted in a previous article, the very notion of a responsible consumer faces certain limits. The truth is, significant changes in the energy mix cannot be achieved through the goodwill (or conversely, the guilty conscience) of individuals. Does that leave us with no other choice than following decisions from above or waiting for technological solutions from daring entrepreneurs like Elon Musk? If we wish a new, more sober way of life to emerge, we should also trust social imagination, based on the dynamics of sharing and pooling.

Connected goods will lead to 5 transformations in retail: digital shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, perfect trade promotions, optimal consumer engagement, drastic reductions in counterfeiting and food waste. All this by 2025? The biggest obstacle is the cost of change: technology is already mostly out there.

Who exactly will be the actors of a coming energy transition? Industry and the major power operators will naturally, of course, be prime contributors but the end-consumers themselves will also have a role to play. The question is: can the latter really tip the balance?

Six digital marketing traps that CMOs should avoid

Business June 18th, 2015, Gopi Kallayil & Suzie Reider / Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing & Managing Director of Brand Solutions, Google

Digital media is evolving rapidly and requires more than traditional marketing. Suzie Reider, Google's managing director for brand solutions, and Gopi Kallayil, Google's chief evangelist for brand solutions, highlight six common traps that new-age marketers must avoid.

In the same way it revolutionized creative industries, digital technology is revolutionizing higher education, an industry that can be traced back almost a millennium, with the creation of the University of Bologna in 1088. Digital technology has drastically altered the economic balance between the different players, making some models obsolete, allowing others to emerge, enabling economies of scale on one side and leading to additional costs on the other. Destruction, creation: is higher education to enter a Schumpeterian cycle?

Sharing economy: how the wind of trust has changed direction

Society May 28th, 2015, Monique Dagnaud / Research Director, French National Center for Scientific Research

The sharing economy has wind in its sails. Its proponents are growing in numbers and the utopian narrative disseminated by its promoters is currently in vogue. But there is another side to the coin.

The spread of civil drones in China: an industry was born… and the killer app is expected soon

Industries May 27th, 2015, PENG Zhongren / Professor, Center for ITS and UAV Application Research, School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiaotong University

China has joined the race. The rapid development of civil uses, such as monitoring pollution and transportation flow, has allowed new players to emerge, aside from large military programs. Applications will drive the growth of this industry, along with technology advances and falling prices. It is still too early to say whether UAVs can be applied on a large scale and overhaul the traditional industries. But some companies are already valued at US$10 billion. Shall we expect consolidation? What is going to be the killer application?

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