Manu

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Thanks for a great post.It is astounding to think about the breadth of impacts that mobile money can have on sub-Saharan African countries, where financial inclusion has historically been so low. The impacts of mobile money extend far beyond the private sector: governments and non-profit organizations are increasingly relying on the vast number of mobile money users to carry out their programs. For example, in Kenya, M-Pesa has been used to deliver cash transfer programs to poor households; this has dramatically increased the efficiency of these programs, as the physical distribution and collection of cash was time-consuming for both the provider and the recipient, and the transaction opened the door for money to be taken along the way. With mobile money, the transfer is instant, regular and there is a clear record of the amount sent and received.

On November 20, 2016, Manu commented on Digitizing the Tube :

I have taken the tube thousands of times and benefited from many of these innovations but have never really stopped to think about the digitization strategy or performance of the London Underground – thank you for your fascinating analysis! Another interesting innovation to consider would be driverless trains. Some lines have partially automated driving systems, and the Docklands Light Railway tram line is driverless. However there has been extensive debate about the extent to which driverless trains should be adopted by the Tube as a whole. Former London Mayor The Boris Johnson promised in 2012 that there would be driverless Tube trains within 10 years, but shifts in this direction have caused heavy backlash, both from those supporting labor unions and from those with concerns about the safety of a driverless system. Given the progress towards self-driving cars, it seems increasingly likely that self-driving tubes will be the norm of the future.

On November 20, 2016, Manu commented on 360° View of the Citizen: Digitally Enabled Social Services :

It was really interesting to hear about the work that has taken place in British Columbia to digitize case management. I know that in the UK there has recently been a shift in the health and social care sectors towards person-centred planning for public service users, and integrated case management. However, while some progress has been made, the stumbling blocks that you mentioned for ICM in Canada have also emerged in the UK: the level of familiarity with technology use is often low, and the confidentiality requirements in the NHS and social care systems are high so it is complicated for them to share service user data even among departments within the same health service or council. Progress is gradually being made but in the meantime, it results in large inefficiencies and extensive frustration for service users who have to repeat and re-enter the same information about themselves each time they interact with a different government department.

Thank you ART for a really well-written and insightful post on a very important topic. As you point out, human trafficking is incredibly difficult to track but it is encouraging to think about the ways in which technology and big data can start to improve tracking effectiveness and prosecution rates. Here is a Forbes article written on Human Trafficking Awareness Day earlier this year that highlights seven technological advances that are aiding the fight against human trafficking – the NHTRC’s fantastic work that you described is mentioned in there, as are a few others including a tool called ‘Spotlight’ which was introduced in 2014 by the Thorn: Digital Defenders Taskforce (founded by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher). Spotlight is available to law enforcement agencies across the US and is designed to aggregate data from online commercial sex advertisements. Law enforcement agencies using Spotlight have reported a 43% reduction in their investigation time. But as you point out – trafficking is a global challenge so the next step will be expanding domestic tech initiatives to relevant agencies across borders, to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of global anti-trafficking efforts.

On November 20, 2016, Manu commented on Uber’s Bet on Self-Driving Car :

Thanks for this post Peter. I find the possibility of self driving cars very fascinating because of some of the benefits you have mentioned in your post such as increased productivity, better for the environment, cost savings, could save lives (with some researchers estimating that up to 300 lives a year could be saved if autonomous cars are widely adopted – http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/09/self-driving-cars-could-save-300000-lives-per-decade-in-america/407956/) etc. But it can also be a contentious issue with some interesting ethical dilemmas. For example, this Business Insider post – http://www.businessinsider.com/new-study-reveals-people-want-self-driving-cars-to-sacrifice-passengers-during-emergencies-2016-6 – describes a recent survey in which respondents had conflicting thoughts on what an autonomous cars should be designed to do in an emergency, with many preferring that the car protect them at all cost during an emergency, even if it meant harming pedestrians or other drivers. It will be interesting to see how such ethical issues are reconciled with the design of self-driving cars.

On November 7, 2016, Manu commented on U.S. Department of Defense: A War on Climate Change :

I found this a really interesting and insightful piece. The relationship between climate-related disasters and increased conflict has been a rising concern in recent years, for example with former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon describing the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region as the world’s first climate change conflict. Research is still ongoing to establish to what extent climate change could increase conflict in vulnerable regions, but the findings to date suggest that it will not be insignificant; for example Stanford-led research suggests that a 1% increase in temperature leads to a 4.5% increase in civil war in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is interesting to think about how the US Armed Forces fits into the conflict-climate change picture. On the one hand, the DoD is clearly a major contributor to global carbon emissions, but on the other hand it is also likely to play a significant role in responding to the impact of climate-related disasters globally.

On November 7, 2016, Manu commented on Chocolate Endangered :

This was a great analysis of a very important issue for several African economies. Cocoa makes up an enormous proportion of a country like Ghana’s exports, and climate change is therefore a major threat to sustaining economic growth. It is vital that the governments of cocoa-producing countries work with the key private sector players as well as research institutions to develop a more complete picture of different regions’ vulnerability, identify mitigation strategies and implement innovative techniques to switch to a more robust production system. Your point about the dominance of small farmers is also key; for these farmers to survive and adapt to new environmental challenges, they need much better access to information, training and agricultural inputs, as well as more comprehensive insurance schemes to encourage them to think long-term and invest in their operations.

On November 7, 2016, Manu commented on Change the game :

Great post, thanks for sharing. I completely agree with you that Nike can do more to make being green and environmentally friendly be cool. I spent most of my childhood in one of the countries where football ‘is religion’, similar to what your post references, and I believe that there will be a great impact if Nike uses its brand image or sports celebrity promoters to more actively the ‘coolness of being green’. Adidas, Nike’s main competitor, has made a bit more progress on the idea of using its brand to promote the ‘coolness of being green’, and now sells ‘Climacool’ apparels endorsed by sports stars such as Lionel Messi (http://www.adidas.com/us/climacool)

I like that you have taken a somewhat balanced approach with Uber in your post and like you I am skeptical that Uber can be a driving force for reduction in climate change. It will be good (from the environment’s point of view) to get to a point where consumers are driven to not drive their individual cars but instead share uber rides because of climate change concerns, rather than because of the convenience or price advantage that Uber currently provides.

Interesting post, thanks for sharing. I also admire the 360 degree nike has taken on it’s sustainability efforts, and I especially like the fact that they have proven that a business can still be very profitable while being committed to sustainability. One other aspect I found interesting was Nike’s involvement in the Sustainability Apparel Coalition – this article discusses some of the challenges the coalition hopes to meet (https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jun/14/sustainable-apparel-coalition-factory-environment-water-textiles)

On November 7, 2016, Manu commented on Can ThinkEco Help Users Reduce their Electric Consumption? :

Very interesting post Laura, thanks for sharing. Great piece of innovation with the products. The industry, as you know, is growing significantly and becoming more competitive. Amazon’s Alexa is another example of a similar product. I believe consumer purchase is mainly driven by desire to save on electricity and get ‘an assistant’ rather than desire to be ‘green’. Have you given any thought as to whether this will change going forward as the impact of climate change becomes more severe?