Monday, July 24, 2017

The rule is..., unless an exception applies and the rule is different

The bar exam starts tomorrow. Best of success to all taking it. Congratulations to all having survived it in the past and hope to meet all of you someday in a courtroom or outside of one simply simply contracting or just learning from each other. 

Attorney (in Court, towards witness): How many children were of the marriage?
Witness: Three.
A: How many boys?
W: None.
A: How many girls?
W: Your Honor, can I please get another attorney?

The joke aside, the right continuation is of course:

A: Your Honor, please strike the Witness's answer as unresponsive, and I ask this Court to instruct the Witness to answer the questions as asked.

But of course, it depends. 

The bar exam asks to show your work. Just as real life attorney work asks. As in math or science all the time. 

At issue is addition. 
The rule is to show you the two twos before you add them. Here, the first of the twos is a two because it looks like a two and the facts show that to us.
The second two is there. We can notice that another two is present. We see it because it is pointed out to us. 
Now we can add the first two to the second two. 
When you add two twos the answer is the addition of the two twos. 
Here, the answer is 2+2=4
Hence, our answer is four. 

Also at issue is the numeral system.
All of the above is applicable in base 10 numeral system, unless another numeral system (or system of numeration) applies. If one of the two is not a merchant than the two twos do not add up as between merchants. For a two to be a non-merchant, the number of fingers a counting species has combined on their two hands or frontal limbs  must be the same as the smallest figure expressed with two digits in the numeral system considered. Here, the smallest number is four, and it can be expressed as 10. Thus our species is a non-merchant species and the non-merchant rule applies. 
The rule between non-merchants is that you add on the presumed fingers on the species in front of you. 
Here, 2 (max fingers on one non-merchant hand) + 2 (max fingers on the other non-merchant hand)=10 (lowest number that can be expressed with two digits in the numeral system)

Therefore, our answer must be:

Leave professional work to professionals. They know why!

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Speaking truth to power has never been easy

Speaking truth to power has never been easy. It also gets harder every day.  

In the 1950s RAND corporation was established by US Air Force to help with answering strategic research questions the service had at the height of the cold war. Think about it: intentionally created in Santa Monica CA, one block away from the beach, in part so that the best minds the country had could be inspired by the serene atmosphere and would not be disturbed by Washington DC politics. 

One of the first questions RAND was asked by the AF was the placement of the runways at the US military occupied Tempelhof Airport in West Berlin in such way as to get fighter planes up in the sky fastest and still be able to win a dog fight with the Soviets upon early warning that Soviet planes were attacking. 

RANDs correct answer was that there was no feasible way for it. It had to be done very differently. US planes had to be in the air 24/7 or else they'll always loose on early warning that the Soviets were already up in the air. The answer was air-to-air refueling. 

Now that's a staple in today's AF. Back then it took 173 meetings at highest levels to convince those who asked what the correct answer was. 

In turn, Ronald Reagan pushed SDI on his generals himself, against their telling him it was impossible. Just as the AF and White House had been telling RAND scientists air-to-air refueling was impossible. 

The story doesn't end there. Of all people, the expert advisers to the services and the White House during those days in the 1950s were the most likely to understand air-to-air refueling and its benefits. Yet, they didn't. You must sit and wonder why. 

[I thank late Professor Paul Y Hammond, RAND Corporation pioneer, for part of the story and his great mentorship.]

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Artificial Intelligence is coming? Let's not loose our human touch.

So many see now that AI is coming and jump up scared that the robots will take away jobs and leave good people homeless and hungry in the streets. 

First, this is not new. The Ludites fought against machines too. Nobody in their right mind would want those pre industrial revolution days back. Jobs were created. Many of them. New categories of them in an ever accelerated fashion. 

Second, AI has been here for a long time already. It is present even when we don't see it. Moreover, we depend on it for so many things that many have not even seen it for decades, but it's been there helping us do things we otherwise wouldn't know how to anymore. Remember VCRplus? But are we thinking Auto mode on your Nikon DSLR, with all its 51 focus points? Anyone wants to start measuring all the light on all of those one by one with an exponometer? To monitor in real time all the sensors of their vehicle, from electronic injection to airbag deployment? OK, maybe those robots are not that scary. Yet. Let's wait and see;)

Third, we have human characteristics that are hard to replace and we've lost some of them already. Empathy and compassion are human traits that should not go away ever. Yet they already play tricks on us, when only computers and not full AI help us in our work.

4. Let's embrace things of the future in partnership with AI while we stay human and may even return to being more human than what we've become lately. Let's not ever loose our human side in the overwhelming dependency on AI but that we partner with AI looking ahead so that we stay and become more human with its help, and not even less, as we have already built in a lot of this dehumanizing uncaring. 

After all, "Our computers are down so you can't see the doctor because I can't schedule you to see him" is something that happened for real twenty+ years ago. 

So you sit and wonder what was the doctor doing... And whatever happened to a pen and paper appointment book? You know, for life threatening emergencies...

The nurse in the story was still human. Was she mis-programmed?;) Are some of us sometimes already mis-programmed? A lot of us, after all, may be. Before the end of today 25000+ people would have died of hunger. Will AI start to help us feel better human feelings and think better to come up with solutions to this issue?

Or we're ready to trash fellow humans simply because we don't see the bigger issues out of fear for our own self?

Let's remember that for every case the new guy, Watson, fixes, from grapes to airplanes to taxes, there have been already hundreds of thousands of misses of the kind described above, when humanity left us because the computers were down or they don't let us do what we know we should...

Let's fight to stay human. While we use innovation to be more human. Not less. 

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Time to advance in a paradigm shift across millenia

After much thought, I dare to Kuhn-Popper correct Sun Tzu. It's not your enemy. It's: 

"know your energy balance, & you will win a thousand wars"!

More to come in our book, with Ovidiu Panea, of Previews and work in progress at

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy" (Sir Ernest Benn)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The world can lead itself. Better. Distributed leadership leads to more creative solutions. We've known it a while.

They ask who is leading the world. Not to worry. The world can self-lead in amazing complex adaptive systems ways. Always had. Always will. It's just the way of the world. 

Back in 2000 we wrote in a NATO mandated report that more equal footed participation in NATO and global decisions may be a great thing:

"Available knowledge about decision-making mechanisms, and characteristics and management needs, applied to top level national decision settings, i.e. the U.S. President, or international settings that may parallel those leads to recommending organizational adaptation and/or policy solutions for minimizing negative effects of the participation and communications differential affecting the core of international decision making mechanisms."

At the 20th anniversary of the NATO-Ukraine accords, and when we face a potentially ultra-dangerous crisis, we may remind about lessons from "decision-making in six cases: the Bosnian crisis, NATO enlargement, the Gulf I Case, the 2+4 agreement, the Yugoslav Crisis, and Kosovo (as it was happening at the time of the writing). All the six cases combined make a useful set together. They had sufficient differences to account for interesting variance, but they shared many more similarities than one would normally expect given the very diverse types, characteristics, time frames and content of the six cases. The analytical framework used combines knowledge and methodological tools from a rich interdisciplinary domain. 

Major post Cold War international decisions are taken in concentric circles and stages tailored by status and relative power of the participants. An integrated comparative analysis of all the six cases, using multiple advocacy framework of Alexander George, and Organizational Structures, Strategies and Processes of Thompson and Tuden, and other connected models, shows an increase in optimality of decisions taken in cooperative international settings."

Recommendations were "(1) macro level measures for maintaining the overall cooperative nature of internationally taken decisions, and (2) identifying new roles for international leadership within institutions and regimes in the post Cold War era."

We may just be there now. Let's make every crisis into an opportunity. Like it used to be from the mid 1950s at Rand Corporation. Those days led to air-to-air refueling in spite of all of the Pentagon and all of the Administration opposing the brilliant but not fully undressed idea. 

The study: "Conditions for International Cooperative Decision Making The Case of an Enlarged NATO: New Roles for International Leadership Post the Cold War;" NATO Office if Press and Information, NATO HQ, Brussels Belgium, 2000

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Question the knowledge you rely on. Build strong knowledge!

If the findings of an innovation study seem like a joke, it's because most likely the study may be a joke. 

Most _new_ customer needs today may need to be discovered and thus nurtured before awareness about them crystallizes. 

We ought to question even a traditionally credible source's very capability to design a meaningful study. That comes from a larger systemic problem of superficiality and inertia of analytical depth and method in our education, then hiring, and human capital nurturing and promotion systems. 

Years back I was in Brussels working with Gallup and European Commission data on European innovation. They didn't collect data from SME firms smaller than 10 employees. Commission's excuse was cost and too high failure rate among those. Gallup was just doing what they were paid to do. 

Scientists on both sides recognized the terrible error per Schumpeter (ignoring Mark I innovation by creative destruction, that happens primarily from ultra-small firms) but the political principals decided on cost-saving grounds alone. What makes another study different?

Thomas Kuhn and others teach that on future most often only the underfunded under-disseminated rarely spoken about findings have a much better chance at accuracy based on thorough design and good caring execution;)

Mind the knowledge you rely on. Build strong knowledge!

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.