“You’ll never have to hear the word ‘no’ if you keep all your friends on the payroll,”

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Business Leaders Better Understand Brain and Behavior Science, duh…

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If the “C-suite” executives don’t understand the basic of biology, the brain and behavior – covered ONLY in B3 – they will be flying blind and spinning their wheels.
from Article| McKinsey Quarterly
“The Dawn Of Marketing’s New Golden Age
…we are, in fact, on the cusp of a new golden age for marketing. At the core of the new era (is) science…Leading marketers are using research and analytics to shed light on who buys what, and why; who influences buyers; and when, in the consumer decision journey, marketing efforts are likely to yield the greatest return….
 
Science
Advances in data, modeling, and automated analysis are creating ever more refined ways of targeting and measuring the returns on marketing investments, while generating powerful new clues about why consumers behave as they do….explaining what drives choice at each stage of the journey. These insights are now being used to change brand strategy, product-portfolio design, and marketing campaigns. The potential impact runs into billions of dollars in additional revenue.
 
More scientific marketing means that CMOs and other senior leaders need enhanced analytical skills to exploit data possibilities more fully and stay ahead of the whirl of developments…”
 

“…wider access to resources likely afforded by the more affluent may lead to differences in a child’s brain structure”

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“Specifically:

  • among children from the lowest-income families, small differences in income were associated with relatively large differences in surface area in a number of regions of the brain associated with skills important for academic success, ”
  • Conversely, among children from higher-income families, incremental increases in income level were associated with much smaller differences in surface area.
  • Higher income was also associated with better performance in certain cognitive skills – cognitive differences that could be accounted for, in part, by greater brain surface area.
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Astronomers Debate: “How Long Can a Technology-Based Civilization Last?” (Weekend Feature)

 

“We have no idea how long a technological civilization like our own can last,” says University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank. “Is it 200 years, 500 years or 50,000 years? Answering this question is at the root of all our concerns about the sustainability of human society. Are we the first and only technologically-intensive civilization in the entire history of the universe? If not, shouldn’t we stand to learn something from the past successes and failures of other species?”

Human-caused climate change, ocean acidification and species extinctions may eventually threaten the collapse of civilization, according to some scientists, while other people argue that for political or economic reasons we should allow industrial development to continue without restrictions. In a new paper, two astrophysicists argue that these questions may soon be resolvable scientifically, thanks to new data about the Earth and about other planets in our galaxy, and by combining the earth-based science of sustainability with astrobiology.

 

In their paper, which appears in the journal Anthropocene, Frank and co-author Woodruff Sullivan call for creation of a new research program to answer questions about humanity’s future in the broadest astronomical context. The authors explain: “The point is to see that our current situation may, in some sense, be natural or at least a natural and generic consequence of certain evolutionary pathways.”

 

To frame these questions, Frank and Sullivan begin with the famous Drake equation, a straightforward formula used to estimate the number of intelligent societies in the universe. In their treatment of the equation, the authors concentrate on the average lifetime of a Species with Energy-Intensive Technology (SWEIT). Frank and Sullivan calculate that even if the chances of forming such a “high tech” species are 1 in a 1,000 trillion, there will still have been 1,000 occurrences of a history like own on planets across the “local” region of the Cosmos.

 

“That’s enough to start thinking about statistics,” says Frank, “like what is the average lifetime of a species that starts harvesting energy efficiently and uses it to develop high technology.”

 

Employing dynamical systems theory, the authors map out a strategy for modeling the trajectories of various SWEITs through their evolution. The authors show how the developmental paths should be strongly tied to interactions between the species and its host planet. As the species’ population grows and its energy harvesting intensifies, for example, the composition of the planet and its atmosphere may become altered for long timescales.

 

The image below is a schematic of two classes of trajectories in SWEIT solution space. Red line shows a trajectory representing population collapse whereby development of energy harvesting technologies allows for rapid population growth which then drives increases in planetary forcing. As planetary support systems change state the SWEIT population is unable to maintain its own internal systems and collapses. Blue line shows a trajectory representing sustainability in which population levels and energy use approach levels that do not push planetary systems into unfavorable states.

 

Frank and Sullivan show how habitability studies of exoplanets hold important lessons for sustaining the civilization we have developed on Earth. This “astrobiological perspective” casts sustainability as a place-specific subset of habitability, or a planet’s ability to support life. While sustainability is concerned with a particular form of life on a particular planet, astrobiology asks the bigger question: what about any form of life, on any planet, at any time?

 

We don’t yet know how these other life forms compare to the ones we are familiar with here on Earth. But for the purposes of modeling average lifetimes, Frank explains, it doesn’t matter.

 

“If they use energy to produce work, they’re generating entropy. There’s no way around that, whether their human-looking Star Trek creatures with antenna on their foreheads, or they’re nothing more than single-cell organisms with collective mega-intelligence. And that entropy will almost certainly have strong feedback effects on their planet’s habitability, as we are already beginning to see here on Earth.”

 

The image below is a plot of human population, total energy consumption and atmospheric CO2 concentration from 10,000 BCE to today. Note the coupled increase in all 3 quantities over the last century.

 

“Maybe everybody runs into this bottleneck,” says Frank, adding that this could be a universal feature of life and planets. “If that’s true, the question becomes whether we can learn anything by modeling the range of evolutionary pathways. Some paths will lead to collapse and others will lead to sustainability. Can we, perhaps, gain some insight into which decisions lead to which kind of path?”

 

As Frank and Sullivan show, studying past extinction events and using theoretical tools to model the future evolutionary trajectory of humankind–and of still unknown but plausible alien civilizations–could inform decisions that would lead to a sustainable future.

The Brain, Behavior and Business: B3 Book Project Proposal

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“Attending the World Economic Forum this past week, I was struck by two trends. The first was that brain research has emerged as a hot topic. Not only was brain science or brain health a new theme at the meeting, research on the brain emerged in discussions about next generation computing, global cooperation, and even models of economic development as well as being linked to mental health or mindfulness. In a meeting frequented largely by economists and business leaders, I was surprised by the number of non-scientists who have become enchanted by brain science. Clearly this is the era of the brain, with mental health now part of a much broader discussion.” Head of The National Institutes of Mental Health

The Problem
In the aftermath of the global financial meltdown the British government did fairly extensive study of the causes of the massive financial losses. The findings: (mainly) young men did impulsive and compulsive behaviors that were harmful to themselves, their employers, and the industry, country and world economy!
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