Building the Virtual Echo Chamber

[Note on the author: Elma Jenkins works in project support for the RHEA Group. Elma is currently a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course which started in May 2018. She wrote this blog as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

Society is addicted to new media – Google, newsfeeds, tweets and targeted ads – which have been widely blamed for creating more dividing lines in society. Certainly they have brought the psychology of human decision making into politics. No doubt there are groups out there who are being paid to explore this realm. But can new media really manipulate, or is it just clever PR?

More people are sharing their data online than ever before, and the growth is projected to continue into 2020 (Statista, 2017):

Increasingly local knowledge is being digitized, with a proliferation of data portals such as Wikipedia; digital literature collections such as Project Gutenberg; crowd sourcing sites such as Quora; and open data sites such as data.gov.uk. They show a trend towards digitization in government and society but the general public has very little understanding as to how and what gets digitized and, crucially, who decides. A lot of what gets put online is not really useful: it can even be outright misleading. The battle for our attention online has only just begun.

More Than Just An Assistant: Should We Be Concerned About Google Duplex?

[Note on the author: Daria Kravchenko is Group Digital Marketing Manager at Hays Recruitment. Daria is currently a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course which started in May 2018. She wrote this blog as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

Whether you personally are a loyal fan of virtual assistants, trusting Alexa to set your alarm and handle Amazon shopping, or a sceptic avoiding Artificial Intelligence (AI) at all costs, the fact remains that a substantial amount of global effort is going into developing technology that can interact with humans seamlessly, in the same way that we do with each other.

Despite all the technological advances, progress in this field has remained limited so far. Sure, quizzing Siri on the meaning of life can bring on some giggles, but the overall language processing capabilities of existing chatbots are far from advanced. We would never assume there’s a living and breathing person on the other end of the line, when it’s just a machine providing scripted answers in a stilted computerised voice. Right?

Well, that might have been true up until now, but it looks like things have begun to change.

A Capital Choice: The Joys and Nuances of Capitalisation

There are lots of good articles out there on capitalisation including this one by my friend and professional colleague Julian Maynard-Smith.

Why make room for another in the packed internet content stall?

The answer is that, of all the style conundrums, whether or not to capitalise is one of the trickiest and most intractable, especially in the grey areas.

And one that is evolving rapidly. Internet anyone? Only a short while ago capital ‘I’ was the norm: no longer.

So I have no shame adding the Prism-Clarity view to the capitalisation fray. There are so many idiosyncrasies that it might be empowering to know that we can in some circumstances even if others don’t or we feel we shouldn’t.

I will follow the approach I have used for other style conundrums: Always Never Sometimes.

FRTB: Defining A Target Operating Model

The Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB) is still a long way away – January 2022 at the latest estimate. But the time will pass quickly. Banks with trading activities need to be planning towards it now or soon.

This blog is derived from a piece of work I did recently for a potential client. It suggests an approach to defining a Target Operating Model (TOM) for implementing the FRTB.

In truth this will be mainly of interest to banks which have not yet started their FRTB planning. For example subsidiaries, smaller banks, and banks with marginal trading activities but exceeding the de minimis exemptions.

Most large banks are well under way with FRTB implementation, and have been for some time, participating in industry groups, Basel Quantitative Impact Studies (QIS) and routine monitoring, getting buy-in from their business leaders, corporate program leaders and strategic IT planners.

But smaller banks, in my experience, are not. Understandably, they prefer to wait and see. There are no real advantages to being first movers in this initiative, which has already evolved far – though not beyond recognition – since 2012.

With so many uncertainties along the path, including Brexit and the strategic regulatory and policy intentions of the US Administration, being in mid-pack is a smart play.

Still, it is worth having a long-term think ahead about how you might eventually implement these rules if you haven’t already.

*** Note: This blog does not constitute advice, but please contact Prism-Clarity for further information, including where to get the best advice. ***