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Wide-eyed believer, arguer, mocker: which one are you?

  • April 10, 2018
Wide-eyed believer, arguer, mocker: which one are you?

When it comes to dealing with big, long-range risks, people tend to fall into one of those three groups. Global climate change, the rise and eventual dominance of artificial intelligence over its human creators, rampaging Terminator machines, human population collapse, nuclear warfare... These are examples of potentially huge risks that could take place this century. Even as I raise those subjects, some listeners will be experiencing different, but similarly powerful reactions to them: “Oh my gosh, what can we do!” “Hang on a minute, it’s too early to say!” “Don’t be an idiot,...

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Three Tech Stories in this week’s news revealing weird risk thinking

  • March 29, 2018
Three Tech Stories in this week’s news revealing weird risk thinking

There are 3 tech stories in the news this week that show just how weird our risk thinking can be. Number 1. Chinese Space Station plummets to Earth. We are easily distracted by unusual stuff. Our imaginations are taken captive by the bizarre, the dramatic and we our brains seem unable to resist such stories. Some time in the next week, the Chinese Space Station Tiangong-1 – or “Heavenly Palace”, will become entangled with Earth’s atmosphere. At a speed of 27,000 km/h, over 8 tonnes of 'science' is headed towards us for an uncontrolled re-entry. It might hit something on the way down;...

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Uber automation fatality is a bad decision

  • March 20, 2018
Uber automation fatality is a bad decision

“Was a matter of time. Can we agree this is a stupid idea? #Uber @Potus” ….cried out the Tweet from Bill (and doubtless the thousands like him, soon to follow). It didn’t take long for the indignation to turn up, the “I told you so” attitudes that had been waiting for just this moment. Around 10pm on Sunday 18th March 2018 in the Tempe district of Phoenix, Arizona, Elaine Herzberg was pushing her bicycle along then stepped out into the road. In terms of physics, she was no match for the large Volvo CX90 SUV travelling at 40mph (64km/h). As soon as she committed to crossing the road,...

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Risk Management and the ‘Brexit’ Referendum: what to do before the sky falls down?

  • June 1, 2016
Risk Management and the ‘Brexit’ Referendum: what to do before the sky falls down?

Eight ways in which risk management discipline can help you make a complex decision. The last few months, since the British referendum campaign began in earnest, have revealed some familiar patterns with how I see risk management being pursued in the business world. Companies, like the citizens of the United Kingdom, often face huge decisions which could propel them forward into profit and success, yet simultaneously expose them to disaster. So what can we learn from the practice of Enterprise Risk Management when it comes to facing down a difficult dilemma? 1) Panic is not a countermeasure Panic...

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Brussels Lockdown: Keep Calm and Carry On

  • November 23, 2015
Brussels Lockdown: Keep Calm and Carry On

I live just on the outskirts of Brussels. I've just returned from two weeks working in the Middle East to find my home city has suddenly become a hotbed of terrorist activity and that the government is playing tough, shutting down schools, metro systems, public events - pretty much warning people against doing anything inside the city. It has become like a weird ghost town. It would probably be a great time to make a zombie movie. Someone has just said that they think it is a great example of risk management being done, but I don't really agree. My social media feed has been going crazy; people...

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Moscow Rules for CISOs

  • October 30, 2015
Moscow Rules for CISOs

During the Cold War, CIA operatives considered Moscow to be the agency's most difficult and hazardous assignment - "Wimbledon, center court," according to former CIA member Jonna Mendez. "It's the place where reputations were made, and was also the most dangerous." There is wisdom that can be extracted from these rules which were developed in that harsh environment, which can be adopted by today's Chief Information Security Officers in large organisations, who are facing unprecedented threats. Here for reference is a full list of The Moscow Rules.

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VW: a Ghost in the Machine?

  • September 22, 2015
VW: a Ghost in the Machine?

The breaking news this last week that Volkswagen has been caught red-handed cheating their way through emissions tests, has much bigger implications for regulators and consumers alike.

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