2015 September

We’ve been working on nudges, randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews for years. Now, with big data, we’re proposing experimentation. This is what governments in the developed economies are doing. Perhaps even more than new ideas, the behavioral group is bringing a new approach to government. Experimentation is the key: Different nudges are tried systematically, results are quantified and, even after the best approach is selected, the team goes back to see how things are working.
We have taught with sequential and simultaneous interpretation in Myanmar. But our Marawila course was the first in terms of handling three languages. We were still feeling our way, but we did get into stride by Day 3. The above picture shows the interaction that this fostered. The picture below shows our team of interpreters who made it possible.
The story in Live Mint starts with revenue shares. The Big Three (Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea) now have 70 percent of revenues. But what caught my eye was what was going on on the data side. Again the numbers can be used to illustrate this: As the uptake of data, the next growth driver for the industry, increases, the big three GSM incumbents are again poised to gain disproportionately. All three players have over 90% active customers, and also enjoy subscribers of higher quality, as reflected in their average monthly revenue per user numbers, which are higher than their peers in the industry.
The four-day course on how to engage in broadband policy and regulation included as one of its most important elements a team project. Each team was asked to make evidence-based presentations that we hoped would form the basis for a public consultation organized by the Ministry of Telecom and Digital Infrastructure. The teams were assigned different aspects: 1. Affordable broadband of adequate quality throughout Sri Lanka 2. Services and applications that are of value to Sri Lankan users 3.
We’ve been promoting time-sensitive tariffs to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka since 2013. They were available to commercial customers, but we wanted them made available to residential customers as well. Three years down the road, it looks like the dam has broken. CEB is offering a low-user tariff effective from 2230 to 0530. This will help address CEB’s baseload problem but of course it will also help those who run electric cars.
India has withdrawn a really stupid piece of legislation. But can you imagine what would have been the outcome if informed and articulate experts such as Pranesh Prakash of the Center for Internet and Society were not there to tell the government the dangers of following the advice of its house “experts”? Responding to a chorus of criticism, Indian officials on Tuesday hastily withdrew a draft policy on encryption that would have required users of social media and messaging applications to save plain-text versions of their messages for 90 days so that they could be shared with the police. The proposal, which many condemned as both draconian and impractical, came as an embarrassment days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Silicon Valley to try to attract investment and promote India as an emerging market for digital technology. Mr.
It was a long way to come for a one-day workshop so I was hoping it would be a good event. It was. The Joint Research Center is described as the European Commission’s in-house science service. Within it exists an Institute for Prospective Technological Studies. I guess it was inspired by the Office of Technology Assessment that the US created in 1972 and shut down in the Gingrichian frenzy in the mid 1990s.
Pakistani researchers have developed a solar-powered portable mobile phone network that can be used when the regular mobile phone networks are down due to natural disasters. Dubbed as the Rescue Base Station (RBS) for Pakistan, the system has been jointly developed by a team from the Information Technology University (ITU) in Lahore and the University of California. “When the RBS is installed in a disaster-struck area, people automatically start receiving its signals on their mobile phones. They can manually choose it and then call, send messages and even browse (internet) data free of charge,” said Umar Saif, ITU vice chancellor and an adviser to the project. The RBS is a lightweight, compact rectangular box fitted with an antenna, a signal amplifier and a battery, which can be carried easily and even dropped by helicopter in hard-to-reach disaster zones.

Coding for a cause

Posted by on September 21, 2015  /  0 Comments

While the rest of the Sri Lanka slept peacefully, a considerable number of young and enthusiastic programmers gave up sleep this weekend – but for a good cause. Anyone dropping in to the WSO2 offices in Colombo the early hours of Saturday or Sunday morning would have been greeted by the sight of exhausted but determined coders hunched over laptops, tapping away. Among them were three teams working on a problem put forward by LIRNEasia. This was the scene of the Code4good hackathon which started on Friday evening (18th) and ran non stop until Sunday evening. Though the intense work happened this weekend, preparation began much before.
Maldeniya, D., Kumarage, A., Lokanathan, S., Kriendler, G., & Madhawa, K.
Madhawa, K., Lokanathan, S., Samarajiva, R., & Maldeniya, D.
Madhawa, K., Lokanathan, S., Maldeniya, D., & Samarajiva, R.
China Unicom has built the US$50 million China-Myanmar International (CMI) terrestrial link. But it is yet to be activated for unknown reasons and Myanmar keeps suffering from outages. Now Beijing has ceremoniously announced its plan to build a Sino-ASEAN submarine cable network without revealing any details. South Asia and Southeast Asia has become the hotbed of Sino-Japanese rivalry, especially after the formation of AIIB. This new development bank has gained unprecedented global membership at a lightning pace.
The European Union Joint Research Center-Institute of Prospective Technological Studies is convening a workshop in Sevilla on Big Data for the analysis of Digital Economy and Society on 22 September 2015. LIRNEasia has been invited to speak on Big data for development: New opportunities for emerging markets. The slideset is here.
It has been estimated that submarine cables carry traffic associated with over US$10 trillion in transactional value globally per day. It is being also claimed that submarine cables transport 99% of the international data worldwide. These are largely true, yet exaggerated marketing pitch. Terrestrial cables also carry huge volume of international data traffic across the borders, especially within Europe and across the Eurasian routes. It, however, makes no difference with the consumers as long as they remain online.
The Doing Business Report, published annually by the World Bank, analyses laws, regulations and administrative requirements affecting various aspects of private enterprise in 189 countries. Lawyers, judges and notaries are the main data sources for this report due to its focus on legal and regulatory arrangements. This data is used to create a composite index to rank countries based on how pro-business their legal environment is. However, do de jure processes adequately represent the true functioning of an economy? This question is addressed by Mary Hallward-Driemeier and Lant Prichett in their paper, How Business is Done in the Developing World: Deals vs Rules.