Italy state role in Telecom Italia could solve network tiff: PD's Orfini

ROME (Reuters) – Italy should play a role in resolving the gridlock over Telecom Italia’s (TIM) network assets, possibly by involving state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), president of the ruling PD party said in a position paper.

Italian politicians have been calling on and off since 2006 for TIM’s network to be transferred to a state-controlled entity as Rome considers it a strategic asset that should be a neutral platform open to all phone companies.

The heavily-indebted company has been criticized for putting off costly upgrades to its ageing copper network and is now facing competition from Open Fiber, jointly controlled by utility Enel and CDP.

The network issue returned to the forefront of political debate when French media group Vivendi built a 24 percent stake in TIM, becoming its top investor and increasingly calling the shots at Italy’s biggest phone group.

In the document published by online magazine Key4Biz, Matteo Orfini said the state needed to push for the creation of a single integrated network company and eliminate infrastructure rivalry which he called “unsustainable in the long term”.

“The status quo is not an option,” he said.

Listing a series of scenarios to resolve the network tiff, Orfini said a public or private Italian investor could flank Vivendi as a shareholder in TIM, to help sharpen the Italian phone group’s business focus.

He added that CDP could propose to buy part or all of Vivendi’s stake in TIM.

Orfini said Vivendi should be given the opportunity to give up control of Italy’s biggest phone group and instead focus on its plan to build a European media powerhouse, by involving broadcaster Mediaset, in which it has built a stake of just under 30 percent.

Plans to spin off TIM’s network, which according to some estimates could be worth up to 15 billion euros ($ 17.7 billion), have foundered in the past over its valuation and because TIM insisted on hanging onto the business.

Orfini said that while a spin-off might be difficult in the short term, the network could be separated into a regulated newco, fully controlled by TIM but legally distinct.

That move, along with some state participation in TIM, could facilitate a later integration with network rival Open Fiber.

TIM shares rose more than 3 percent after the position paper came out. The stock was up 2.1 percent at 0.77 euros by 1153 GMT.

TIM, which considers its network a strategic asset, declined to comment. Vivendi could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Ken Ferris


IDG Contributor Network: How the disruptive power of Blockchain could impact the digital economy

Throughout time, the single greatest creator of wealth in human history has been global trade, and market friction has been the greatest inhibitor to create wealth. Over the years, as businesses and processes have evolved and become more automated, the industry has overcome many different sources of friction.

The emergence of tools, institutions and rules of trust have mitigated potential business transactions risks, as well as technology innovations helped companies to eliminate their inefficiencies, although many business transactions remain inefficient, expensive and vulnerable until today. That’s where Blockchain comes to the life. This innovative technology, which creates a permanent, safe and transparent record of transactions, brings an incredible potential to obviate intractable inhibitors across many, if not all, industries.

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Apple’s Echo rival could make Siri the master of your home


Amazon is sitting pretty on top of the smart home with its Alexa voice-controlled Echo devices, and Google will close in later this year with its own Home assistant device. But what about Apple?

While iOS 10’s much-needed Home app for controlling all your HomeKit-compatible smart home devices is a step in the right direction, the company may need an Echo rival of its own.

Apple is reportedly working on an Echo-like smart home device according to Bloomberg

This report corroborates a earlier one from The Information earlier this year that Apple was developing its own Echo-like product based around Siri.  Read more…

More about Voice Assistant, Smart Home, Siri, Apple, and Google Home

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Software Pumps $1 Trillion A Year Into US Economy, But Could Hit Limits

It may seem intuitive logic that software is a major part of the economy. A couple of years ago, venture capitalist Marc Andresseen famously wrote that “software is eating the world,” observing that every business, on some level, is becoming a software business. So, how big is the software sector?

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Robot CEO: Your next boss could run on code


A report shown at the 2016 World Economic Forum in January says millions of jobs will be lost to robots in the next few years. When thinking about who is most vulnerable, factory workers, drivers, and pilots come to mind. Surely the jobs requiring a human touch, such as artists, entertainers, and managers, will stick around, right?

Maybe some of those jobs will be safe. Managers, not so much; very soon, robots will be replacing humans in top management positions, even up to the CEO level. And that may happen much sooner than expected.

Robots are improving faster than we think

The Web is full of articles prophesizing which professions will remain unaffected by robotization. Two years ago, the most common were lawyer, doctor, and financial analyst. The surprising fact is not how wrong these articles turned out to be, but how rapidly our perceptions of which jobs can and will be automated are being eroded.

In 2004, the best self-driving vehicle in a DARPA challenge could not even navigate eight miles before getting stuck. Eight years later, Google autonomous vehicles had driven 300,000 miles without a single accident.

The world watched in awe 20 years ago as a computer beat the chess world champion Gary Kasparov. While amazing, the chess program (IBM’s Deep Blue) used a set of brute force and predefined rules to win, not real machine intelligence. At the time it was predicted that it might take another hundred years until computers would beat top human players at the boardgame Go.

But a few days ago, Google’s AlphaGo beat the world’s champion Go player in a five-game series. The amazing fact is not that a computer is now the world champion but that AlphaGo is essentially self-taught and mimics what we call intuition.

An invisible rise

For a long time humans thought Earth was at the center of the universe. At least we still have the illusion that everything in modern life has a human goal. The reality is our world is becoming optimized by, and for, robots.

Online content, written mostly by humans, is already designed for machines. Any article you read on the Web has been optimized with enough key words and relevant links and phrases to be crawled by Google’s algorithm and achieve a high “pagerank” score. Google’s success in the online search industry proves that robots do a better job deciding when, and where, information should be presented to be most effective.

This idea that computers are better at making decisions extends to the physical world as well; the automation of fast-food chains has already begun. Not yet with the installation of burger-flipping-robots — human handling is still cheaper — but with software making staffing decisions about who will work and when.

Employees may not like it, but computerized staffing decisions are more efficient. This is because human managers have a limited perspective of the workspace, whereas a robot can monitor the data generated from hundreds of human beings at once. Even more importantly, robots are much better at optimization, and software can be easily scaled to more locations through cloud technology. Once a new scheduling method shows an improvement in a factory’s productivity, the new strategy can be replicated within seconds to hundreds of locations and immediately implemented. Without expensive training seminars. Without resistance to change.

Ironically, we have already reached the point where some humans have a more unpleasant job than their robot colleagues. Next time you are speaking to an automated phone system, try swearing; you’ll be immediately redirected to human operators because they are the ones handling rude clients.

What a CEO does, a robot would do (mostly) better

When imagining a CEO, you might think of an overpaid ruler behind a mahogany desk in a large, glass office, staring down at tens of thousands of minions. Reality is quite different: 89.56% of U.S. businesses have fewer than 20 employees, according to the 2012 US Census Bureau. While small companies are less at risk of a board voting to replace them with a robot, the small business CEO will see his/her duties and decisions being slowly “optimized” with big data and predictive analytics, whether they like it or not.

Business books and management consultants commonly list six functions that a CEO is responsible for: determine the strategic direction, allocate resources, build the culture, oversee and deliver the company’s performance, be the face of the company, and juggle with everyday compromises. For most CEOs, developing objective, data-driven decisions is advantageous for the success of the company.

Imagine the owner of a small construction company contemplating the purchase of an additional truck. Yesterday, the decision was entirely his. Today, real-time analytics of his company’s numbers begins to shape how much loan interest he would pay. Tomorrow, analytics will determine the location of his building sites and his employees’ trips. It will even monitor local economic trends to come up with a financial proposition. Soon after that, a computer will tell him “I’m sorry, Bob, I’m afraid can’t let you buy that truck.” Computers first help humans to be more efficient. Then they make them redundant.

Allocating resources is a job best done by computers. Not only can a computer take more parameters into account at once, but the output is both neutral and reproducible. That makes the decisions harder to dispute. Rules are followed persistently and consistently. For employers who are scared of legal risks, algorithmic management is the ultimate solution: Discrimination lawsuits are reduced to auditing software source code. Software can also bring the benefits of optimization to non-technical business owners. A contractor will not need to be fluent in linear programming to choose which project to work on next.

Computers are not smarter than humans, but they can make better decisions by taking into account factors beyond human sight. For example, Waze can show you the best path, even for your daily commute, because it knows if cars are currently stopped a few miles down the road.

Investors and shareholders may ultimately push algorithmic management into mainstream use. Not only does this type of management provide more transparency, it also prevents favoritism, embezzlement, and whimsical actions. Office politics soon become irrelevant. The robot ensures its decisions will always follow the board’s strategy. Human managerial decisions will switch focus to the “why” rather than the “how” as data-driven decisions slowly creep from scheduling to resource allocation to performance measurement and reporting, and finally to daily management tasks.

Some innovative companies already do without central leadership, or at least define it differently. Even company culture is best defined by a set of rules and incentives, rather than loosely based on a CEO’s mantra du jour. Valve Software has no managers or bosses and laid down its company culture in a short employee handbook (a fascinating read). “Nobody reports to anybody else,” the handbook states. “We do have a founder/president, but even he isn’t your manager.”

Crisp, a boutique consultancy company in Sweden, is made up of approximately 30 people, but none of them are truly “employees.” They have zero managers; not even a CEO. Decisions are made through consensus, and instead of relying on some manager to allocate tasks, Crisp developed its own protocol detailing the chain of responsibilities when a new task appears.

The role left for human CEOs will be to deliver the company’s gospel. In other words, CEO will become first and foremost storytellers. Companies will be like a country where all the decisions follow a protocol predefined by congress; a country where the president is only a press secretary.

Workspace decentralization will accelerate the transition

While the large, centralized offices and production facilities of our not-too-distant past required the careful planning of managers (those non-productive workers who greased the wheels of production), that has changed over the last 20 years.

Physical gathering has become less important, and monumental companies and offices are being replaced by ad-hoc networks of independent contractors. Even Apple, the world’s most valuable traded company, doesn’t own a single factory.

With the increased importance of the software economy, the impact of a business becomes uncorrelated with its size. The largest messaging application in the world, WhatsApp, was acquired by Facebook for $ 19 billion. The company was five years old and had only 55 employees when it was purchased. AirBnB is now the largest hospitality company in the world. Yet it doesn’t own a single hotel room and employs not even a one cleaning lady. Robot-managers are particularly suited to this new kind of scale-free organization, because they can adapt and grow these organizations instantly.

Ready for your robo-boss?

Today, every day, millions of people already follow schedules or instructions created by software. We may not call these instructions “orders” just yet, but that time will come as the realm of big data and analytics-driven decision moves up in the corporate hierarchy. One robot is already exercising “direct managerial control,” including performance evaluation, over more than 200,000 workers: Uber’s automated management system.

The sad news is, your next boss will have even less empathy than your current one. The good news is, it won’t have anything against you personally.

Emmanuel Marot is the CEO of LendingRobot, a robo-advisor for peer lending.

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Cloud computing – Best example/description of what cloud computing could represent 100+ years ago(for a paper)?

Question by Tech: Cloud computing – Best example/description of what cloud computing could represent 100+ years ago(for a paper)?
Anytime period of at least a 100 years ago. So back then what would be the best example of how cloud computing works. Need help for my paper. So again what can cloud computing best be depicted as from history.

Thank you for your help

Best answer:

Answer by David Z
Cloud computing is like an automatic, always-where-you-go, synchronized backup. So if one of your computers fail, your data is still intact on another computer hooked up the the cloud.

Back then, what was most similar to cloud computing was copying books from 1 single book, and those books are updated about every 6 months or a year. (not seconds, but years! :D)

Give your answer to this question below!

I need some literary help. Could anybody help me?

Question by Zizz01010101: I need some literary help. Could anybody help me?
I have to write this but I’m not sure what to write. Could somebody help?

1.In a response of no fewer than two paragraphs, discuss the mood and theme of James Stephens’s poem as it compares to the mood and theme of Walter de la Mare’s “The Storm.” In your answer, be sure to discuss the impact of each poet’s language and use of poetic devices such as personification and figurative language.

by James Stephens
The Night was creeping on the ground!
She crept and did not make a sound,
Until she reached the tree: And then
She covered it, and stole again
Along the grass beside the wall!
—I heard the rustling of her shawl
As she threw blackness everywhere
Along the sky, the ground, the air,
And in the room where I was hid!
But, no matter what she did
To everything that was without,
She could not put my candle out!
So I stared at the Night! And she
Stared back solemnly at me!

“The Storm”
by Walter de la Mare

First there were two of us, then there were three of us,
Then there was one bird more,
Four of us–wild white sea-birds,
Treading the ocean floor;
And the wind rose, and the sea rose,
To the angry billows? roar–
With one of us–two of us–three of us–four of us
Sea-birds on the shore.

Soon there were five of us, soon there were nine of us,
And lo! in a trice sixteen!
And the yeasty surf curdled over the sands,
The gaunt grey rocks between;
And the tempest raved, and the lightning?s fire
Struck blue on the spindrift hoar–
And on four of us–ay, and on four times four of us
Sea-birds on the shore.

And our sixteen waxed to thirty-two,
And they to past three score–
A wild, white welter of winnowing wings,
And ever more and more;
And the winds lulled, and the sea went down,
And the sun streamed out on high,
Gilding the pools and the spume and the spars
?Neath the vast blue deeps of the sky;

And the isles and the bright green headlands shone,
As they?d never shone before,
Mountains and valleys of silver cloud,
Wherein to swing, sweep, soar–
A host of screeching, scolding, scrabbling
Sea-birds on the shore–
A snowy, silent, sun-washed drift
Of sea-birds on the shore.

Best answer:

Answer by bluesy muse
Check I think means checking or stopping death, as a personification, from entering your space and taking you. The poem fears death. The Storm could be a metaphor for dying, which has a different tone than Check. Death in this poem is looked at romantically where once you pass over, the sun shines and it’s a positive experience.

Add your own answer in the comments!

Q&A: Cloud computing – Best example/description of what cloud computing could represent 100+ years ago(for a paper)?

Question by Tech: Cloud computing – Best example/description of what cloud computing could represent 100+ years ago(for a paper)?
Anytime period of at least a 100 years ago. So back then what would be the best example of how cloud computing works. Need help for my paper. So again what can cloud computing best be depicted as from history.

Best answer:

What do you think? Answer below!