One of the most dramatic examples of the gaps between the world's technological progress and moral rectitude is nuclear weapons. The material tools of destruction have become so powerful that the world now lives under the constant shadow of total annihilation. The stakes are enormous, and mistakes never carried a higher risk. It is no longer a question of self-defense. It is a question of self-preservation. Nuclear war is not a military problem. It is a moral dilemma. The nuclear race involves not only a negation of law, but a negation of morality. The problem cannot be solved by practical expediency. Its only resolution lies in the application of the moral imperatives on which our religions and your nation was founded. This problem will be one of your generations' greatest challenges. How well equipped you are to handle it will determine your destiny.
King Hussein (1935 - 1999)
Source: Commencement Forum speech, graduation of his son Prince Feisal, Brown University, May 1985
The hard part is keeping it simple. Says Farmer, "The more complex the problem is, the simpler the models that you end up having to use. It's easy to fit the data perfectly, but if you do that, you invariably end up just fitting to the flukes. The key is to generalize." Prediction machinery is ultimately theory-making machinery -- devices for generating abstractions and generalizations. Prediction machinery chews on the mess of seemingly random chicken-scratch data produced by complex and living things. If there is a sufficiently large stream of data over time, the device can discern a small bit of pattern. Slowly, the technology shapes an internal ad hoc model of how the data might be produced. The apparatus shuns "overfitting" the pattern on specific data and leans to the fuzzy fit of a somewhat imprecise generalization. Once it has a general fit -- a theory -- it can make a prediction. In fact, prediction is the whole point of theories. "Prediction is the most useful, the most tangible, and, in many respects, the most important consequence of having a scientific theory," Farmer declares.
Source: Wired, Interview with Doyne Farmer, “Cracking Wall Street“
Today's newest breed of employee is the self-manager. These workers are the ones who survived the recent. waves of downsizing, both by seeking and capitalizing, on new opportunities and by learning new skills. Because these employees increasingly possess the skills and technological tools to supervise themselves-individually or in teams-they are eliminating the need for layers of management. More executives will soon find their jobs redundant, while self-managing frontline workers become highly valued and virtually fire-proof. Everyone should strive to become self-managed. It is clearly the direction business is taking.
What are most people hungry for? I believe it is spiritual and moral leadership. Increases in technology, scientific inventions, and medical miracles have been marvelous and incredible. But we must use them properly to bring us joy, and that requires spiritual and moral leadership.
IBM'S Basic BELIEFS AND FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES Our beliefs, which should be well known to every IBMer, are: 1. Respect for the individual. 2. A desire to have the best customer service of any company in the world. 3. The conviction that an organization should pursue all tasks with the idea that they can be accomplished in a superior manner. In addition to these, there is a set of fundamental principles which guide IBM management in the conduct of the business. Each manager should consider them as a basis for his decisions. They are: 1. To provide intelligent, aggressive capable management. 2. To serve our customers as efficiently and effectively as possible. 3. To continually improve our products and our technology. 4. To provide a maximum degree of satisfaction on the part of our employees in their assigned tasks. 5. To recognize the obligation to our stockholders to provide an adequate return on their investment. 6. To play our part in furthering the progress of the communities in which our facilities are located.