Late Hans Rosling’s “Factfulness: Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world – and why things are better than you think” should be mandatory reading for anybody working in development. It is a fun and educating book. It uses anecdotes from Rosling’s eventful life to illustrate the absurdity of widespread development beliefs shaped by the media and activists. Because it is good storytelling, it sticks with you. It also infects the reader with Rosling’s passion for exploring data and taking the long view. So even if you think you have seen his bubble graphs or heard his monkey survey story one too many times, go and get yourself a copy.
McKinsey Global Institute’s “Notes from the AI frontiers” analyzes 400 applications of AI in 19 industries. It has useful maps of analytical techniques and AI potential per industry and functional areas. It shows that AI is mostly used in combination with traditional analytics: AI augments more often than it replaces. And it estimates the potential annual value creation of AI around $3.5-5.8 trillion with greatest promises in marketing, sales, supply chains and logistics.
I liked Iman Ghosh’s “A world of languages” and wished I had the time to merge its data with demographics to see what it would look like in 2030 and 2050. With Africa doubling its population by mid-century, the size of French will grow significantly, “making it the most-spoken language by 2050”. Wait. What? I need to share this with my kids as they start packing to come join me in France soon.
My quote this week is from Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya: “We are entering a new era, when the center of gravity for social change has moved to the private sector. It’s business, not government, that is in the best position to lead today. It’s not government hiring refugees, it’s business. It’s not government cutting emissions, it’s business. It’s not government standing up to gun violence, it’s business. It’s not government that’s going to end inequality, or create opportunity. It’s business.”