HBR Blog Network has an interesting article today, "Capitalism’s Future Is Already Here". The thesis of the article is that we should reject Milton Friedman's dictum,"the purpose of the corporation is to maximize shareholder returns", which first appeared in the New York Times in 1970. This type of thinking lead to a now outdated set of management practices according to the author because Friedman does not recognize the growing needs of society.
The focus of management should now be the customer and by serving the customer well, you serve the shareholder's best interest. This concept was first presented by Roger Martin, an academic who I have a great deal of respect for. Martin's special talent, in my opinion, is that he always finds the perfect balance between sound theory and workable practice. However, this time I think he got it wrong. Yes, a corporation should always make the customer the priority and the focus of management. (As I tell my students, if it does not affect the customer or put you out of business, it is not an important decision.) Focusing on the customer gives the corporation the flexibility (opening) to consider societal issues, but what is the framework for selecting the issues. Simon Synek of Golden Circle fame would probably say to pick the societal issues and let the customers pick your corporation/product to identify with. The problem with this logic is that homeless dogs and homeless children would be equally valid social objectives for a corporation. Perhaps we should have corporations commit to the UN Millenium Development Goals (UN MDG) or at least one goal. Probably no large corporation would have the courage to pick "human rights" but maybe startups could make that commitment and eventually we would have large corporations committed to human rights. Corporate support in the U.S. for the UN is almost non-existent so the UN MDG is probably not a workable model, but it points us in the direction to address Martin's shortcoming.
This closing comment from the article sums up the important point very well:
"It’s a shift in what society demands of the managers of its most powerful institutions: from narrow definitions of their owners and decisions that serve their short-term interests, to broad acceptance of the responsibility that comes with power and leadership concerned with what is best for society. In the shift, we are learning that an argument about the proper activities of managers can be logical, can be strongly argued, can influence decades of practice in the world’s largest corporations – and can still be plain, flat, dead wrong."
Changing the way that corporate managers think about society in the context of their decisionmaking is one of the objectives of the modern business education. Eventually everyone will realize that Friedman actually did leave us the room to be good corporate citizens.
HBS Working Knowledge has an interesting article today, "Food Stamp Entrepreneurs: How Public Assistance Enables Business Bootstrapping". A controlled study shows that people on public assistance opt for self-employment, start new businesses and increase family income from such activities in greater numbers than another group of equally poor people that do not qualify for government assistance.
One's first reaction might be that government assistance has a real economic and social value, as shown by this study. However, a study in Sweden shows that undergraduate students who exit an entrepreneurship program where venture funding is guaranteed for selected businesses are more likely to opt to start new businesses. Do you recognize the similarity between U.S. public assistance and the program in Sweden?
In each case the program reduces the economic risk of cash flow uncertainty sufficiently for the individual to start a new business. Government assistance is not really relevant. Any program that reduces cash flow risk is likely to spawn new business entrepreneurs.
Recently I met some "do gooders" who advocate for "social entrepreneurship" to solve social problems. In their minds the term looks like this.
They believe that social entrepreneurship is the solution to the lack of morality in capitalism. I prefer to think about the shortcomings of capitalism, whatever they might be, as an education problem. If we train the next generation of capitalists and business owners to be more socially concerned in their business decisionmaking, the supposed shortcomings of capitalism may not be so onerous. If we merely taught a framework wherein the bottom of the pyramid was just considered a high growth market where returns needed to match risks, many social problems would be quickly addressed by those capitalist "dogs". Such a framework would probably mobilize a much larger group of problem solvers than the small current group of social entrepreneurs and the new entrants would bring their own capital and access to capital markets.
Just one more observation. In the 1960s the best business school graduates went into manufacturing and the economic growth in the U.S. was spectacular. In the 1980s the best business school graduates went into banking, investment banking and hedge funds and they nearly wrecked the world financial system in 2008. The good news is that the best B school grads today are starting new technology companies, which hopefully means that the dummies will become the bankers as it was in the prosperous period starting in 1960. Many B school grads are interested in social entrepreneurship, which is a great temporary soloution until we educate enough people to realize that capitalism and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive.
There are two ways to improve your Excel skills:
The annual Financial Modeling World Championships (www.modeloff.com) start first round competition October 25. To practice for the competition they make available a series of questions and answers called the Modeloff Questions. These are Excel questions that appeared in prior year competitions.
Over 3,000 students and young finance professionals are expected to compete in Hong Kong, London, NY, Sydney and other regional cities for the US$ 100,000 first prize.
The Modeloff folks asked me to support their worldwide competition by promoting the event on this blog. Happy to do it.
Quick, tell me the difference between poverty capitalism and social entrepreneurship. Have not heard of poverty capitalism, then read this opinion piece from The New York Times, "The Expanding World of Poverty Capitalism". NYT approved for-profit services provided to the poor are probably social entrepreneurship. When the NYT does not approve, the services are poverty capitalism.
For a long time I have thought that lawyers and accountants were going to be disrupted by technology. The value of such a professional service has been reduced in many cases to a license issued by a state government . The recent controversy surrounding Airbnb and the car sharing services is similarly a regulatory issue. Technology is allowing for not only services to be provided in new ways but for trust to be established between user and provider without the need for government licensing.
Banking is a highly regulated industry where I think alternative service providers are emerging. Several examples support this trend.
Stellar makes it possible for anybody to take deposits using their open source code. Such an organization could then lend the money to a hedge fund to lend to small businesses. We just duplicated most of the value of a bank with out any regulation. Imagine if Google or Facebook took the deposits in Gibraltar or Cayman islands and promised significant new jobs there in return for no local regulation. Perhaps we have more confidence in those organizations than in Citibank or Wells Fargo.
A related HBS Working Knowledge story, "Why Small-Business Lending Is Not Recovering".
Thankyou to @john_menezes for the Stellar heads up.
Ars Technica had a fascinating article today, "Algorithm predicts US Supreme Court decisions 70% of time". Ars reports that "Josh Blackman, a South Texas College of Law scholar, wrote on his blog Tuesday":
"While other models have achieved comparable accuracy rates, they were only designed to work at a single point in time with a single set of nine justices. Our model has proven consistently accurate at predicting six decades of behavior of thirty Justices appointed by thirteen Presidents. It works for the Roberts Court as well as it does for the Rehnquist, Burger, and Warren Courts. It works for Scalia, Thomas, and Alito as well as it does for Douglas, Brennan, and Marshall. Plus, we can predict Harlan, Powell, O’Connor, and Kennedy."
What the model can do is to determine with 70% accuracy how former Chief Justice Earl Warren (1953-1969) would have voted on a recent Supremem Court Decision such as "AMERICAN BROADCASTING COS., INC., ET AL. v. AEREO, INC., FKA BAMBOOM LABS, INC. "
So here is what we could do. No longer does the President nominate and the Senate confirm Justices and Chief Justices of the Supreme Court. Instead we have an election where citizens can pick any of the 30 Justices in Blackman's study for the eight Justice positions and any former Chief Justice could be picked for Chief Justice. Then for a new Supreme Court case we run the algorithm against the Justices picked by the people. One benefit is quicker decisions by the Supreme Court. Not sure we would get opinions but at least the decisions would be made. (No further updating of the algorithm.)
The fun would be in the campaigning for mostly dead justices to serve on the new Supreme Court. I suppose that someone like the ACLU or Heritage Foundation would propose their slate of extremist liberal or right wing Justices and nobody would advocate for a collection of centrist Justices. And there in lies the problem with politics today. Most advocates support positions at the edges of the political spectrum and nobody represents most of us who are liberal on some issues, conservative on other things and "don't care" about a third group of issues.
Vivek Wadhwa's Washington Post op-ed piece, "We’re heading into a jobless future, no matter what the government does", has gotten a lot of pick up on the Internet. Wadhwa is a professor at Stanford with a distinguished academic career. The article basically discusses the dramatic decline in employment opportunities due to technologies such as AI, automation and robots. I particularly like the joke about a factory:
“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.” Carl Bass, CEO Autodesk
Wadhwa makes a more serious point when he discusses the role of government in addressing the lack of future jobs. In the industrial age government could manage policy to create enough work for people to provide for their families and maintain self-respect. Wadhwa believes that government can no longer manage policy to create sufficient jobs. The current efficiency of production and the expected increase in productivity will result in government policy being ineffective to create new jobs faster than existing jobs are eliminated.
If Wadhwa is correct, which I think he is, then what is the role of government. If government cannot manage the economy to satisfy individual economic needs then what role is left for government. This is perhaps the bigger question raised by Wadhwa. Why do we need a government with 2.7 million government employees, excluding the military, if the government cannot satisfy the most fundamental economic well being of people. Maybe government should be re-thought.
Of course, many, including Hayek and Wadhwa, have said that government cannot manage complex problems. Doubtful government will redefine its role and equally unlikely government will develop economic policies that counterbalance the natural job loss from new technologies.
Image credit: http://markingourterritory.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/my-favorite-quotations-about-dogs/
In a Timothy Lee interview of Marc Andreesseen, Andreessen says:
“…growth companies go public much later. Microsoft went out at under $1 billion, Facebook went out at $80 billion. Gains from the growth accrue to the private investor, not the public investor”
Tomasz Tunguz in a post, “The Five Forces Shaping The Fundraising Market”, reports that:
“Startups require 50% of the capital of 12 years ago to become publicly traded companies or reach twice the revenue on the same dollars invested.”
Putting these two ideas together we realize that the capital efficiency of recent tech investments has enabled the private investors (venture capitalists and private equity) to manage capital requirements more easily and keep for themselves a large amount of the value that used to accrue to public company investors. So what was the factor to explain the emergence of crowd funding for equity?
Crowd funding permitted investors not able to secure limited partnership interests in VC and PE funds the opportunity to invest and garner the returns of high growth companies that were no longer available in public market listings. While many, myself included, have found fault in recent years with financial markets, market makers do demonstrate an amazing ability to innovate to provide the desired returns to a specific group of investors.
Reuters reported today that a group of tech leaders have banned together to attempt campaign finance reform. The group call themselves "Mayday", as in "the ship is sinking". The ship sinking is the American democratic process, subborned by large campaign financiers. Given this news it seemed appropriate to share a post I wrote several months ago but never published til today.
I have been concerned by the popularity of social media such as Facebook, Pinterest and Reddit for several years. I see it as serving no real purpose. I do not think it is a product or a service in the traditional economic sense. I understand that social media is responsive to our fundamental needs for community and collaboration and research even shows that it increases self-esteem in men (and probably dogs). I think of social media like financial derivatives, of limited value and a huge diversion of capital away from productive investment in products and services. But both activities are widespread and I cannot understand social media except in a historical context.
Social media dates back to the Roman times of Cicero (106 BC), according to Tom Standage’s new book, Writing on the Wall: Social Media-The First 2000 Years. Standage makes two important points in the course of tracing the history of social media through to today.
What Standage helps us to realize is that all the social media we see today is perhaps the smoke and not the fire. The popularity and increase in social media, facilitated by new technology, are most likely the indicators of another momentous social change comparable to the German Reformation or the French Revolution. We know from many sources including Standage’s examples that a momentous social change is either religious or political. There could be a religious movement emerging but I think not. For many people religion is irrelevant today and another significant group are religious extremists unlikely to lead mainstream social movements.
I think that the social change must be political, perhaps 10-20 years in the making or perhaps 50 years will be required. The change that is coming is:
I do not come to this conclusion because I am a Republican or a Democrat, which is irrelevant.
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke defined modern democratic government in the 1600s. The purpose of government was to prevent untoward interference in the lives of the citizenry. As people increasingly benefit from existing and future IT tools they will become more and more sole practitioners and independent contractors rather than paid employees. As this trend accelerates people will become comfortable with less and less federal government and a return to a state of "self-reliance" similar to the way the U.S. was pre-1930. People will increasingly wish to reduce their payment of taxes for a government that provides what will be considered unnecessary, overpriced or outdated services. The fact is that today most working people need very limited services from the federal or state government, perhaps only the armed forces, law enforcement, courts, FDA, CDC, research funding, financial instrument regulation and a collection system (taxes) to pay for such services. Other services, including social services for the disadvantaged, could be privatized if desired. National parks might be an example.
Government is slower than slow [to recognize] and particularly at times when the status quo is dramatically changing. Therein lies the risk in government and the reason, in part, that environmental, urban and educational issues have received inadequate attention. Fortunately there are many examples where individuals and private sector companies have taken over the “traditional” role of government, which provides the early evidence for the change in the scope of government I foresee:
The last point of evidence for my prediction both troubles me and gives me hope. The Snowden disclosures of secret NSA information made public the scope of U.S. government surveillance worldwide. I do not condone in any way the Snowden disclosures, but I understand the widespread anger at the scale of the surveillance. Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan, was one of the first writers to point out that we are outraged by the federal government’s behavior but no one complains about Google’s collection of so much private data related to our Internet behavior. Effectively, we have more trust and confidence in a Google or a Facebook than in the U.S. government. Whether Google or Facebook warrant the trust may still need to be determined, but they portend a new future of more limited government and greater reliance on individuals and the private sector.
Note: I think the U.S. is probably headed for a prolonged period of slow or modest growth in the economy. Such an event will slow the growth in tax revenues available to the federal government and exacerbate the over borrowed state of federal finances. Such a situation will reduce the government’s ability to pass on benefits to the citizenry and most likely lead to a reluctant reduction in benefits. Such a reduction in government benefits will contribute to the reduced scope of federal government I foresee.
Now this analysis might be entirely wrong. Perhaps there is another momentous social change afoot. Since the time of Franklin Roosevelt, the federal government has been expanding its power as it increasingly provided non-traditional services. What Roosevelt did was re-interpret the constitution such that what was not prohibited was permitted rather than the earlier interpretation that found that only what was stated was permitted. Many Presidents after Roosevelt followed his interpretation of the constitution and federal powers expanded.
At the same time the power of businesses and especially financial institutions was expanding. For example, the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 greatly expanded the scope of businesses that were permitted for various financial institutions. We can argue about whether this legislative change directly led to the Financial Crisis of 2008, but the near collapse of the world financial system would suggest that financial institutions probably had too much discretion about products and/or risk.
Of course, the increased power of the financial institutions was permitted by the federal government, which brings me to a point. The federal government and business have both increased their power over the last eighty years to the point where we now probably have an unhealthy oligarchy of government and business. Both Karl Marx and Friedrich Hayek, perhaps the two writers who define the limits of the political spectrum, both predicted that businesses would eventually suborn democratic government. I do not know if I am ready yet to state that business has suborned government, but an oligarchy composed of financial institutions and federal government may be correct.
How does one go about challenging an oligarchy? Who is available to work toward re-balancing power, to restoring a more even-handed society consistent with the original tenets of Locke or Hobbes? There are three choices:
As stated earlier, religious organizations have lost much of their effectiveness as agents of social change as people increasingly see religion as less important to their lives. Academia may also have little power to bring about social change given the decline in public intellectualism, the de-emphasis of social science curriculum and the job preparation orientation of many universities. Which brings us to the media.
For most of human history, individuals created the information and arranged for its distribution to their community. With the advent of newspapers and then radio and television, the model changed. Information was centrally prepared and then disseminated to the individual. What the IT-based social media of today has done is allow us to return to the historical approach where individuals prepare and disseminate much of the information they wish to consider.
However, the social media remains the smoke and not the fire. The increased social media today still only signals a momentous social change. The momentous social change might be a re-balancing of power in society and the start of a breakup of a government-finance oligarchy. Facebook, Pinterest and Reddit might be just practice for the real battle to breakup an oligarchy.
On various fronts efforts are being made to reduce the scope of federal government. We must be wary that we do not leave businesses or financial institutions as the sole power brokers in society. From totally different perspectives, the considerable intellects of both Marx and Hayek predicted that business would eventually control a democratic society. Restoring the power of the individual in society should be the ultimate objective and the social media of today may be the only remaining way to reach that end. Reading more Hobbes and Locke might also be beneficial.
I commend the people looking to scale back campaign contributions. Please feel free to share this post as a sign of support for Mayday.
Karen R. Lawrence, the President of Sarah Lawrence College, recently wrote an article for Forbes, "The Six Critical Abilities Students Need for Success After College". The six abilities are:
These abilities look very similar to the way I was educated at Hamilton College and to the educational objectives there since its founding in 1814. I can think of another twenty excellent, small liberal arts colleges where the objectives are the same as Sarah Lawrence and Hamilton and have been for 200 years (plus or minus). One can conclude that the objectives for the well educated graduate have not changed in the last 200 years.
If we look at how Ms. Lawrence framed the question, we see she had three questions:
If I were asked to frame the question in order to guide the education of future college students, I would ask these questions
I am reasonably certain that we need for our children to have a different set of skills than in 1800, 1900 or Ms Lawrence's analysis. Computer automation, AI and IOT combined is a technology tipping point probably more dramatic than the automobile.
One skill I am certain that is required, but absent from Ms. lawrence's list, is collaboration. Globalization, networking, understanding not knowledge, design thinking, customer experience, all of these require collaboration much more so than individual efforts.
I am also reasonably certain we need a concept of "economic self-sustainability" wherein the individual rather than the employer is expected to provide for a "family's" well being. Probably everybody needs a course(s) in 21st century "marketing", which includes, story telling, branding, video communications, etc. Perhaps we teach writing in the branding seminar and oral communications in story telling. We could analyze Aristotle and then brand him and develop his business model. I vote for "father of artificial intelligence".
I think every university and college should undertake an analysis similar to Sarah Lawrence. If the answer looks the same as 200 years ago, I respectfully suggest the paper be redone.
Thanks to @John_Menenzes for the link to Forbes.
Courtesy of the fine thinkers at Marginal Revolution, I came across this article--"Machines v. Lawyer". The article documents the decline in the number and earning power of lawyers over the last few years. Applications to law schools have declined 40% since 2004 and small law firms are particularly hard hit.
Harvard Business School (HBS) has long been the worldwide leader in business and management education. I think that they deserve much of the credit for the awareness and development of advances in strategy, process management and productivity improvement. However, these fields are now almost completely developed and understood.
For HBS to maintain their leadership position they must find a new field to explore, study and document. Such a field must also be of interest to the readers of the several HBS publications or else that publishing empire is also under threat. I think the new field that HBS has chosen is the "role of the corporation". Many of the most prominent and the newer faculty are taking old concepts such as creating value, morality and economics and applying it to better explain the role of the corporation in a new world with large social and environmental problems. Perhaps another way to explain where HBS looks to be going is "what is the role role of the corporation in sustainability".
In a new working paper, "The Role of the Corporation in Society: An Alternative View and Opportunities for Future Research", HBS Assistant Professor George Serafiem explores several interesting issues about the 1000 largest corporations. First, these large multinational corporations are states unto themselves. Serafiem:
"The combination of larger corporations that exert more power over society and the separation of ownership and control led to shareholders surrendering their right that the corporation should be operated for their sole interest (Berle and Means 1932). In the words of Walter Rathenau (1918), ‘The depersonalization of ownership, the objectification of enterprise, and the detachment of ownership from the possessor leads to a point where the enterprise becomes transformed into an institution which resembles the State in character.’ "
The concept that these large corporations are accountable to their shareholders is no longer valid. These corporations are accountable to their management, but Serfafiem and I would both prefer that these corporations have responsibility to society. However, Serafiem goes to great lengths to explain that this is not a normative point but in fact just good business.
Eleven pages into the article Serafiem comes out of the closet, with this definition of sustainability:
"While there are many definitions of sustainability, broadly speaking it represents a portfolio of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations upon which company performance can be evaluated. " [my emphasis]
Serafiem concludes the article by showing that there is a positive correlation for large corporations between support for sustainability and financial performance. In other words, supporting sustainability does not lower financial returns. Serafiem:
"At this point, a conversation is warranted about whether sustainability has a positive, negative, or irrelevant effect on future financial performance. If it is the case that sustainability destroys financial value, then an implication from the previous discussion is that large firms are at a competitive disadvantage compared to smaller competitors. .....The evidence seems to support a positive relationship between sustainability and future financial performance (Orlitzky, Schmidt, and Rynes, 2003). Very little evidence exists to suggest that sustainability can be an impediment to corporate profitability."
I think the type of research Serafiem is doing is in the early days but very interesting and worthwhile. Proving that saving the world produces better financial returns ties in perfectly with this post on social entrepreneurship from yesterday (just a coincidence), "Another reason to explain social entrepreneurship". The Corporate 1000 can provide the capital for social entrepreneurship to accelerate addressing social problems...and it will improve their financial performance....according to HBS. Sounds perfect!
Earlier writing by Serafiem on large corporations on Bloomberg.com, "Top 1,000 Companies Wield Power Reserved for Nations".
I have some concerns about the notion that the 1000 largest corporations are "states" unto themselves. I have known this for a long time, but now I need to really think about what it means for society and the role of government.
Social entrepreneurship, using commercial business models to solve social problems, emerged about ten years ago and became very popular in the last 2-3 years. Reasons for the emergence of social entrepreneurship might include:
While all of these reasons sound logical and perhaps admirable, maybe they were all just a coincidence.
Maybe social entrepreneurship emerged because of robots. No, robots are not yet managing society. I would have heard at MIT if that were true. Rather, as robots, automation and AI increasingly take over routine low value-added jobs there will still be work to be done by many. many humans both in the U.S. and abroad. Humans will still be required to solve complex problems such as social issues. Complex social problems do not lend themselves to resolution through computational approaches, even assuming the data were available and correct.
Social problems lend themselves to the types of approaches that are being tried in social entrepreneurship. By the time we refine our understanding of effective social entrepreneurship, there should be a large workforce displaced by robots ready to work on social problems. Social entrepreneurship may have emerged because humans need a new model to work from. So the bad news is that you are most likely going to lose your job to a robot. The good news is that you are going to be paid to save the world.
This post was inspired by an article at RobotEnomics, "Robots may take your job but it could lead to a more humane society". I love the blog tagline, "Tracking the march of the robot economy". I recommend you subscribe to the blog. Until the robots start blogging, this is the next best read on the subject.
What does a hotel chain do well?
Everything else in hotel management is not a core competency or outsourced.
What does Airbnb do well?
What would happen if Airbnb bought a hotel?
Following this strategy, Airbnb would strip out much of the "overhead" in hotel operations. This additional cash flow could flow to the investor and/or to the guest in reduced room rates. Such a strategy would also give Airbnb better control over its available room inventory and the ability to predictably grow that "asset".
Selling services to consumers using under utilized assets (rooms, cars, etc.) may just be in its early stages. But selling off all those hotel rooms to investors suggests that investment bankers may become the driving force in this trend.
Also, the investment bankers need a new class of real estate asset--hotel rooms--to play with.
Recently there have been some significant changes in the way people think about social entrepreneurship (SE):
All of this talk would make one think that the do gooders have become entrepreneurs. However, these folks still miss one important concept--focus. If you read an article say about solving world hunger, somebody always mentions:
None of these issues actually put any food in anyone's stomach, but the do gooders seem to think they are equally important...at least to them. To avoid this recurring lack of focus in social organizations, I have found a solution. No, it is not robots. The solution is rocks. Yes rocks.
After researching over 120 countries I cannot find one NGO, non-profit foundation or government agency that cares about or advocates for rocks. Therefore, I am starting a worldwide movement "Rock the Rock". Here's how the movement works. Whenever you have a problem in your social project, consider rocks.
Rocks are extremely flexible in their application to social problems and they will allow you to focus on the real problems-- hunger, healthcare and education.
So to understand where social entrepreneurship has evolved to, we just need to remember "Rock Entrepreneurship" or "focus" in other words.
My very old friend @suzyhut sent me this article from HBR Blog Network, "The Two Questions Every Manager Must Ask". The article discusses Aravind Eye Care in India, an organization that specializes in cataract surgery and treats 70% of the patients for free. Aravind is a classic example of “doing well by doing good”.
The article explains that because of the large number of patients, Aravind has broken the entire procedure of outpatient services and surgery into steps, developed experts to deliver each step and tasked everyone to focus on ways to reduce cost in each step of the procedure. Effectively, the scale of the operation, which is largely free patients, prompts a focus on efficiency that enables Aravind to succeed financially with only 30% paying patients.
The lesson to be noted here is that every medical services company should constantly be working to reduce costs, especially marginal costs, because an Aravind-like competitor could be right around the corner. Labor costs as a percentage of medical revenue are much higher in the U.S., but if we substitute robots for medical technicians Aravind could be done in the U.S. Just the process of designing and developing the robots would probably improve medicine and lower costs in the U.S.
Maybe this is the solution to robots replacing human workers. Free medical care for 70% of the people who no longer have jobs. Seems fair that the robots should provide free medical care. Haha.
You may recall last week's post, "An Observation on Thinking", in which I speculated on the way thinking evolves. My hypothesis was mathematics--computer science--artificial intelligence--cognitive learning, based on examining the lives of several great thinkers.
Today I came across this story, "What is Computational Creativity?" The author defines "computational creativity" using a definition from the Computational Creativity Conference Steering Committee :
"Computational creativity is a multidisciplinary endeavour that is located at the intersection of the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, philosophy and the arts....The goal of computational creativity is to model, simulate or replicate creativity using a computer, to achieve one of several ends.."
Not surprising, the computers are being programmed to think in ways very similar to the founders of AI, Minsky and Simon.