Robot kills human, again. Expect more robots killing humans.

A robot crushed a worker at a Volkswagen production plant in Germany. A 22-year-old man was helping to put together the stationary robot that grabs and configures auto parts when the machine grabbed and pushed him against a metal plate. He later died from the injuries. Volkswagen did not release the man’s name. A spokesperson for the car company told the Associated Press that the robot can be programmed for specific tasks and that the company believes the malfunction was due to human error.

The first ever reported case of a robot killing a human was on 25 January 1979 in Japan. A 25-year-old Ford Motor assembly line worker was killed on the job in a Flat Rock, Michigan, casting plant. Williams died instantly when the robot’s arm slammed him as he was gathering parts in a storage facility, where the robot also retrieved parts. Williams’ family was later awarded $10 million in damages. The jury agreed the robot struck him in the head because of a lack of safety measures.

We should expect more such cases in the future. Robots are cheaper and considered more reliable than human workers, they do not belong to trade unions, neither they need pay raises nor holidays. And artificial intelligence is getting more and more advanced. So it is natural to expect that companies will invest in robots and AI development. One day a robot will be created that will dominate human intelligence, and not by 10 IQ points, buy by a factor of 100 times. What will happen then? Will humans be able to pull the plug, or will robots treat humans as we treat less intelligent than us home pets today. It is fun to have them, play with them, feed them and we are sorry when they die. And we breed pets and train them so that look nice and behave properly.

Today media are busy with Greek crisis. But Greek problems are peanuts compared to future challenges to humans in a robots-dominanted world. It is coming. Terminator in the real world.

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Ouzo crisis and its far reaching implications

More than five year ago I publicly warned in many Internet and traditional media that Greece should default on its debt and leave eurozone. Five years have passed, Greece had five-year long recession, unemployment at 30 percent. Had they followed a smart plan, they would have been growing fast now, with more competitive currency and cheap prices and wages attracting both tourism and foreign investment.

But five years ago such smart decision was not taken, as bankers that rule in eurozone decided to have a transitory period, that will allow them to sell bad Greed debt they owned to the taxpayer (via ECB controlled by bankers’ man). Now their wallets are fat and safe, so the Greeks can go. After five years of unnecessary recession they will have another two following default and Grexit.

Well, this is Greece some may say, its financial sector in now isolated from eurozone, the only connection is ELA, a wide pipe pumping money from ECB to Greek banks. But Spain, Portugal and Italy are in the queue, with similar problems everywhere, in fiscal, economic and political dimension. And their financial systems are strongly interlinked with the rest of Europe.

I would call it an ouzo crisis. The situation is crystal clear, as pure ouzo, and one knows what should be done. Then banksters come, pour in some water, and suddenly the liquid become like milk, you cannot see anything. Banksters use the situation to profit, at the expense of entire generation that suffers.

But anti-banksters parties are on the rise in Europe. The day of reckoning, Die Verdammten, is coming.

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What Europe should learn from Kazakhstan

In the past four months I lived and worked in Almaty, Kazakhstan, as a rector of New Economic University. There are several trends in Kazakhstan that should draw attention of EU decision-makers.

- In Kazakhstan there is a strong downward trend in usage of alcohol and tobacco, and at the same time fertility rate is going up and number of people declaring that they actively participate in religious activities is going up. And the drop in tobacco/alcohol usage is not caused by high taxes, as in the case of Europe. The price of pack of cigarettes in 1 dollar, while in Europe in 5 or 10 times more. So people choose to quit smoking, and are not forced to do it by high taxes. In Europe  the role of church and family is being depreciated rapidly and as a consequence fertility rates are sinking, with exception of counties where immigrants make a difference. Well, in Brussels Mohamed is the most popular name given to newly born boy. Welcome to new, tolerant Europe. Now you can understand the results of recent elections in Denmark and other countries.

- Homosexual activities are considered as sick by most people I talked to, while in Europe they are promoted as something better than then normal family.

- In Kazakhstan we have more than 150 nationalities living together in peace. You can be part of any religion: Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox, Jew, … you can freely practice it. In Europe some religions are considered better than others, and the tolerance is understood in a pathological way.

- During recent EFMD conference in Brussels I found that all universities struggle to promote women to top ranks. They make 20-40 percent of high ranked positions. I stood up and said that in our university in Kazakhstan all vice-rectors are women, 50 percent of deans are women, and 90 percent of chair heads are women.  In Kazakhstan society is dominated by men, and it has root in history and tradition. And despite this tradition our university has managed to promote women to top positions, which probably make us the most feminist university in the world.

I suggest to my European colleagues that they come to Kazakhstan to understand the positive societal trends that can be observed here. European model is faulty, and recent election choices suggest that European Union values imposed by Hollywood and banksters are causing a massive backlash among societies. Look at Kazakhstan experience to understand how you can make the EU survive.

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Ludzie nie mają pojęcia o programach wyborczych, kierują się przekonaniami, uprzedzeniami, memami, cechami liderów. I pewno słusznie, bo od strategii i programu ważniejszy jest dobór właściwych osób, bo inteligentna drużyna wypracuje dobrą strategię. PO kona, tak jak kiedyś UW, przyszłość polskiej polityki leży w rękach PiS i ruchu Kukiza. Czy oba ugrupowania porozumieją się w interesie Polski, czy rak z  Magdalenki będzie ciągle niszczył polską politykę?

Mam nadzieję, że niezależnie od frekwencji referendum w sprawie JOW w dniu 6 września, koalicja PiS i ruchu Kukiza (KuPiS?) utworzy jesienią dobry rząd dla Polski.  Współpracowałem z prof. Glińskim i współtworzyłem z Kukizem Zespół Ekspertów Niezależnych (ZEN). Wiem, że obie strony mogą się porozumieć  dla dobra Polski. W czasach gdy stare podziały na tych co byli bici przez ZOMO i tych którzy stali razem z ZOMO na dobre znikną z polskiej sceny politycznej, można i trzeba wypracować wspólne wartości i wspólną wizję. O takich wartościach od lat mówi się na konferencji Polska Wielki Projekt, na tej bazie można i trzeba zbudować nową koalicję ludzi mądrych.

Na stałe mieszkam w Kazachstanie, gdzie jestem rektorem największej uczelni ekonomicznej, ale na krótko byłem w Polsce. Wyczuwa się dużo dobrej energii,  widać wolę działania i silnie rozbudzone nadzieje na pozytywne zmiany w Polsce. Trzeba tę pozytywną energię dobrze wykorzystać!

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Nowy ciekawy świat

Dzisiaj ukazał się mój artykuł w Rzeczpospolitej pt. Nowy ciekawy świat. Pokazuję w nim nowe tredny w ekonomii, finansach i edukacji które zmieniaja nasz świat.

My article “New interesting world” appeared today in Rzeczpospolita daily (in Polish). It is about new trends in economics, finance and education that change our world.

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10,000 wasted hours

Do you remember Malcolm Gladwell example of 10,000 hours from the Outliers book. What makes you a great master, a top professional? Talent? Nope. You need to practice 10,000 hours and you become one, think about The Beatels, Bill Gates or top pianists.

There is a debate going on whether it is true or not, see this study for example.

But irrespectively of the scientific debate, people seem to believe in a magic of 10,000 practice hours. Now think about the education. We can assume that K-12 education is about forming a rational citizen, a person that can function in the 21st century complicated world. Right? But college/university education is a different story, higher education establishment should form a specialist, prepare one to become successful on the labor market, a lawyer, marketer, engineer, economist, bankster. Let’s take an average person that spend five years to graduate from college, studies for 10 hours per day for 20 days per month. This is 200 hours per month, or 2,000 hours per 10 study months per year, or 10,000 hours in college.

If 10,000-hour rule is true, time spent in the college should be enough to produce a specialist. Not an average one, but a top world professional in a given field. So how come we have crowd of graduates that are unemployed and face huge debt mountain.

How come so many millions of students waste their 10,000 hours? What is wrong with higher education? And how to change it for the better?

We are trying to come with the solution in Kazakhstan. Stay tuned.

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Aftershocks in Polish politics

Last Sunday Poland chose new president, 43 years old Andrzej Duda, who was unknown to Poles six months ago. But with the support of the main opposition party he did win. The third in the race was a rock star Pawel Kukiz. Two weeks later, Kukiz shows up in ranking and the most trustworthy politician and his new party comes second in opinion polls, PiS with 36 percent, Kukiz with 25 percent, ahead of ruling PO with 20 percent.

During the first two years of PO ruling I believed they wanted to change the country for the better. I advised four ministers in PO government and coauthored many strategic documents. But it was all fake, PO leadership did not care. I soon understood that there will be no real reforms, that it is only about the power and nepotism. I wrote more than 200 articles in Polish newspapers and one book warning about PO government, including the worst finance minister in the history of Poland, you know who. Nobody listened, or very few. Then the tapes came out and people found out the real face of PO. And finally, the nation woke up and gave PO the thumbs down.

Of course PO will fight, they are scared that the truth about Smolensk will see the daylight, as five members of the ZEN wrote in the article in Rzeczpospolita in the first anniversary of the tragedy.

But it is the past. Hopefully villains will be prosecuted and punished. But the more important is the future. Every change begins with hope, that new elites will create new, powerful vision of Poland, that meets the aspirations of the nation. PiS has managed to create a strong group of experts, many of them young, well educated, who have been discussing the future of Poland in the past few years and designing new reform, under the brand Polska Wielki Projekt . So ideas are ready, team is prepared. As we all know the most important year is 2016, first year after elections. Later, starting from 2018 demographic tsunami will hit Poland hard, so reforms will have to be fast and well designed.

Lets hope the new elites after winning 2015 presidential and general elections  will use their window of opportunity wisely. Polish nation should no longer hear the PO narrative that our biggest chance are handouts from Brussels. Our biggest strength should be powerful vision and leadership, our talent, our entrepreneurship DNA developed in the past 500 years and our resolve to become the great nation that we once were.

The time has come. Now or never.

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Poland and Europe after presidential elections

Think about it. Country is growing at 3,5 percent, jobs are created, billions of euros are puring into new highways, sidewalks and various handouts, eurocratic propaganda is in full swing, mainstream media shout “we love EU” louder than German capos in German death camps, and yet Poles have chosen the eurosceptic president.

Think about it again. What does it say about the modern model of the European Union? Why nation after nation reject the power of banksters emanating from Brussels and Frankfurt? Why millennia-old policy of “bread and circuses” stopped working? Is frozen bread not tasty anymore? Is circus  – let’s fine the bankster equivalent of his monthly profit – boring?

Political spring is coming in Europe: Poland, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Greece, Hungary, …


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Higher education in the 21st century

Below is my speech prepared for the Astana Economic Forum.

Higher Education in the 21t Century: The Quest for Talent

Higher education model in the 19th century can be described in a simplified way as follows. Professor meets high students in  the classroom and shares his wisdom with them during the lecture.  They listen, take notes and memorize. As sponge absorbs water, their brains absorb knowledge. Then they are tested how much they memorized. The best student is the one that memorized most. In symbolic words in 19th century higher education model universities taught students what is the “hammer” and how it is built.

In the 20th century some universities understood that this 19th century model was wrong. Many graduates found that this theoretical knowledge they memorized was of little use in the real life. So universities started to change, they investigated what competences were necessary on the labor market and they designed curricula in such a way, that students could acquire these competences during the education process. Competences included knowledge, skills and attitudes. Graduates of these universities were competent and they could find good jobs, make good money and have good life. In other words, universities not only taught how the hammer is build, but also that it can be used to hammer nails, and how to use the hammer efficiently. Employers were happy, they no longer had to spent time and money teaching new young workers how to use the hammer, they already knew it. And graduates of best universities could even use hammers more efficiently then the employers themselves.

Towards the end of the 20th century and in the 21t century we all understood that it is not enough. Countries develop and prosper when young generation is curios, creative, innovative and as a result creates new business models, new innovative products and services that be sold on the global market.  So best universities once more redesigned their curricula. Now the goal is not to form a proper set of competences but to help students to find their talent.  Every young person has a talent, but very few people are able to discover it and have successful professional career based on this discovered talent. Someone can have a talent to become a great salesman, but he would not know it if he never tried to sell anything. Someone may have a talent to become a great and famous speaker, but he will not know it he never tried to speak in public. So the modern 21st century university curricula are designed in such a way, that students do have the opportunity to find their talents and develop them. In symbolic terms we no longer teach students how to use the hammer, but how to invent new tools, much more efficient that the hammer. And if some student strengths are not related to the usage of the hammer we no longer teach them how to use it, but try to develop their natural strengths. This is how the quest for talent in the 21st century has started.

We have around 600,000 students in Kazakhstan. In the next couple of years they will begin their professional life. If we offer them 19th century style education, we will have 600,000 young people who learned theory and will have problems finding jobs. If we offer them 20th century style education, they will find jobs and perform them well, but little innovation will follow and country development will not meet the aspiration of the Kazakh nation. But if we offer them 21st century style education hundreds of young Kazakhs will transform exiting companies and create many new ones, and the Kazakh economy will thrive. Imagine that only 10 percent of students find their talent and strengths, it will be 60,000. And imagine that only 10 percent of those will use their talent and strengths to create new companies that will succeed in the global market place. It would still mean that 6000 new companies will be created, they will sell their products and services in many countries, they will be listed on stock exchanges across the globe and they will create hundreds of thousands of well paid jobs in Kazakhstan. Would it not be good for the country, for the future of the Kazakhstan?

This is the path we have chosen at the New Economic University, known in Kazakhstan as Narhoz. In order to help students to find their talent and strengths we no longer require them to write their diploma thesis in a form of a long paper. We invite them to form teams and work on real projects that we source from university business partners. We encourage students to come up with new business ideas and if they are good we offer to students access to vast network of entrepreneurs cooperating with our business incubator, so that new, innovative companies can be created. To give student access to best ideas on the global scale we now incorporate MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by world best universities to our curriculum, so that student can listen to world best professors and be inspired by them. The meeting between students and our professors is no longer a lecture, when student memorize the course. Professors are now coaches and mentors of students and help them develop new ideas, help them find their strengths and talent.

What is necessary to make this quest for talent process more efficient? Best universities in Kazakhstan need more freedom to design their curricula. Kazakhstan needs new and more diversified programs that will be offered to students. Kazakhstan needs more business practitioners to participate in the education process. Kazakhstan needs that official bachelor and master degree requirements recognize that multiple choice testing was good in 19th century education model, but is not suitable for 21st century higher education model. Imagine that you have a horse, a dolphin and a monkey and you give them the same standardized test, to climb a tree. One should not be surprised that monkey passes this test with ease, but horse and a dolphin will fail this test.  But if you ask the dolphin to swim fast, and a horse to run fast, they will perform with excellence.

I have worked in many countries across the globe. And I can say that Kazakh students that I met at our university are among the best talented in the world. They are smart, creative, full of energy. If we create a proper environment so that their talents are discovered and developed they will thrive and prosper, and with them the whole nation will prosper as well.

This should be our mission.

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Can cows fly – or have central bankers forgotten their economics 101

In the special issue of Emerging Markets magazine on the occasion of EBRD annual meetings there is an article of mine about 21st century central banking. Link is here.

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