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Peter Singer on Burn-In

P. W. Singer is a strategist at New America and the author of a string of impactful and prescient books. His non fiction books (including Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, and LikeWar), have contextualized the new realities of the internet enabled conflicts we find ourselves in. His fiction, including Ghost Fleet, has provided interesting drama and stimulating entertainment while at the same time helping us all come to grips with hard issues we need to deal with. His latest book, Burn-In, is similarly a work of helpful fiction, providing entertainment and an enjoyable story that will keep you turning pages, while at the same time being helpful to all of us who seek to understand what tomorrow may bring so we can make better decisions about it today.

Burn-In is anchored in the realities we see all around us today. Artificial Intelligence is coming fast and changing the nature of many jobs, robots and automation are bringing tremendous new capabilities but also threatening humanity with loss of employment opportunities. Parenting in a world where everyone, including kids, are always connected is already changing how we raise the next generation. And citizens with employment, privacy and security concerns are already taking action to be heard and to have a voice in what happens next. P.W. Singer and his co-author August Cole have been tracking these megatrends for years and based their book on the realities of today extrapolated into the near future. They do so in a way that will help us all think through what we want of our future.

In our OODAcast discussion, we ask P.W. questions around how he thinks, how he researches, and how he observes reality. Our discussion dove deep into the many trends he has been tracking and how he used fiction to weave them all into a more comprehensive understanding of what the human impact of technology may be.

We promise no big spoilers, but plenty of actionable context you can apply to your own strategic thinking.

OODA members can purchase the Burn-In book with a 25% discount at this page:

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A Practitioner’s View of Corporate Intelligence

Organizations in competitive environments should continually look for ways to gain advantage over their competitors. The ability of a business to learn and translate that learning into action, at speeds faster than others, is one of the most important competitive advantages you can have. This fact of business life is why the model of success in Air to Air combat articulated by former Air Force fighter pilot John Boyd, the Observe – Orient – Decide – Act (OODA) decision loop, is so relevant in business decision-making today.

In this business model, decisions are based on observations of dynamic situations tempered with business context to drive decisions and actions. These actions should change the situation meaning new observations and new decisions and actions will follow. This all underscores the need for a good corporate intelligence program. See: A Practitioner’s View of Corporate Intelligence

Optimizing Corporate Intelligence

This post dives into actionable recommendation on ways to optimize a corporate intelligence effort. It is based on a career serving large scale analytical efforts in the US Intelligence Community and in applying principles of intelligence in corporate America. See: Optimizing Corporate Intelligence

Mental Models For Leadership In The Modern Age

The study of mental models can improve your ability to make decisions and improve business outcomes. This post reviews the mental models we recommend all business and government decision makers master, especially those who must succeed in competitive environments. See: Mental Models for Leadership In The Modern Age

An Executive’s Guide To Cognitive Bias in Decision Making

Cognitive Bias and the errors in judgement they produce are seen in every aspect of human decision-making, including in the business world. Companies that have a better understanding of these cognitive biases can optimize decision making at all levels of the organization, leading to better performance in the market. Companies that ignore the impact these biases have on corporate decision-making put themselves at unnecessary risk. This post by OODA Co-Founder Bob Gourley provides personal insights into key biases as well as mitigation strategies you can put in place right now. See: An Executive’s Guide To Cognitive Bias in Decision Making

OODA On Corporate Intelligence In The New Age

We strongly encourage every company, large or small, to set aside dedicated time to focus on ways to improve your ability to understand the nature of the significantly changed risk environment we are all operating in today, and then assess how your organizational thinking should change. As an aid to assessing your corporate sensemaking abilities, this post summarizes OODA’s research and analysis into optimizing corporate intelligence for the modern age. See: OODA On Corporate Intelligence In The New Age

Useful Standards For Corporate Intelligence

This post discusses standards in intelligence, a topic that can improve the quality of all corporate intelligence efforts and do so while reducing ambiguity in the information used to drive decisions and enhancing the ability of corporations to defend their most critical information. See: Useful Standards For Corporate Intelligence

In Business, Like In War, Data Is A Weapon

Broadly speaking, a weapon is anything that provides an advantage over an adversary. In this context, data is, and always has been, a weapon. This post, part of our Intelligent Enterprise series, focuses on how to take more proactive action in use of data as a weapon. See: Data is a Weapon

Fine Tuning Your Falsehood Detector: Time to update the models you use to screen for deception, dishonesty, corruption, fraud and falsity

The best business leaders are good at spotting falsehoods. Some joke and say the have a “bullshit detector”, but that humorous description does not do service to the way great leaders detect falsehoods. Bullshit is easy to detect. You see it and smell it and if you step in it it is your own fault. In the modern world falsehoods are far more nuanced. Now more than ever, business and government leaders need to ensure their mental models for detecting falsehood are operating in peak condition. For more see: Fine Tuning Your Falsehood Detector: Time to update the models you use to screen for deception, dishonesty, corruption, fraud and falsity


Additional Reading:

Top 10 Security, Technology, and Business Books of 2019

Best Security, Business, and Technology Books of 2018

Best Security, Business, and Technology Books of 2017

Best Security, Business, and Technology Books of 2016


Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of OODA LLC, the technology research and advisory firm with a focus on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity which publishes Bob is the co-host of the popular podcast The OODAcast. Bob has been an advisor to dozens of successful high tech startups and has conducted enterprise cybersecurity assessments for businesses in multiple sectors of the economy. He was a career Naval Intelligence Officer and is the former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Find Bob on Defcon.Social