Credit: Warner Brothers

As I learn more about artificial intelligence (AI), excitement and nervousness intermingle to create feelings of fascination, optimism, and dread. Already entrenched in many aspects of society and business, AI is a game-changer, a disruptive technology with profound economic, social and military significance. It is also more pervasive than is apparent to most of us.

Considering the magic and mystery of AI, I’m reminded of the ‘man behind the curtain’ scene near the end of The Wizard of Oz. Having completed their quest, Dorothy and her gang finally meet the ‘great and powerful’ wizard. Initially coming across as inaccessible, arrogant…

Imagine the movie trailer:

In a galaxy far, far away…nefarious forces, under orders from a mysterious leader, hold the country hostage in their efforts to quell the election of a new President. Rebel forces, led by a sage master and his protégé — a warrior from a distant land — collaborate to repel an invisible enemy, rescue fallen comrades, and restore freedom and justice to the country.

America has been cleaved in two, psychologically and politically. Over the past few months, two versions of reality have duked it out on the country’s political stages. …

Autumn is my favourite season. It offers a beautiful example of how nature transforms, and life can ‘shift gears’. During a year Queen Elizabeth may again describe as annus horribilis, fall has also become a season of mixed feelings as my father — who would have turned 89 on October 20th — recently passed away rather suddenly.

Happiness and awe have become mixed with sadness and solemnity. As I lament the end of my dad’s life, his passing has provided some beautiful lessons about life, loss, and hope.

Shine brightly

Toronto in September and October sees summer’s greenery give way…

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

This quote, often misattributed to Yogi Berra — a baseball player made famous for his various malapropisms — is a troubling truism in a world of unpredictability and an increasing prevalence of Black Swan events.

With a deluge of scary statistics from the media, this week has felt like the start of the apocalypse. With the largest wildfire in California’s history raging and more than 900,000 people killed by COVID-19 since the WHO made the coronavirus pandemic official six months ago, there is no shortage of bad news.

Amid such pessimism…

Ocean’s Eleven: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould & Don Cheadle © 2001 — Warner Bros.

Apparently the average time spent per month on LinkedIn is just 17 minutes. I probably spend at least that amount of time on the platform before 9am!

At the centre of my world over the past few months, LinkedIn has become like a second wife to me. With algorithms feeding me a steady diet of posts from people and organizations I follow, the platform keeps me up-to-date on the world of work, various companies, and topics of interest. Jobs for which I’m qualified float onto my homepage and into my emails like the sweet smell of homemade muffins, tempting me…

“The future is made by those who can go forth with courage, with adaptability, open minds, learning to discover, to agitate and instigate, and to collaborate and build, always with a bias for action.”

These are the wise words of Beth Comstock, the first female vice chair of GE and the author of Imagine it Forward. I read her book about a year ago and it still sits with me, especially now in this time of lingering uncertainty and change. A “bias for action” is the bit I really appreciate in the above statement. Throughout her career, Comstock stood up…

I struggle with the term “race” as much as I do “African” or “European”. For as much as an Italian and an Irishman may be considered European, these countries’ citizens are incomparable in culture, language, and generally, physical appearance. As for the term “African”, how can one lump a continent’s peoples into one group when its massive geography boasts 55 nations and almost 2,000 Indigenous languages?

And then there’s the slippery matter of race. It’s a ball of wax wrapped in an enigma, covered in a conundrum, and bound by history, societal forces, classism, and a hierarchy of influences ranging…

What COVID-19 has taught me about life, love, and work

‘Bridge’ by David Pellettier (2002) — on High Park Avenue, Toronto

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

This quote is often mistakenly attributed to Victor Frankl, the famed author of Man’s Search for Meaning. Whether or not he wrote or spoke these words, they hold great meaning, especially during this time of social isolation and physical distancing.

The statement refers to the difference between reacting and responding to a stimulus or situation. To respond, is to analyze and consider a number of factors before acting. Reacting, on the other hand…

Two months from today, James Lovelock, a maverick British scientist and a controversial icon in the environmental movement, will turn 101-years-old. He is most famous for co-developing the Gaia Hypothesis, the belief that our planet is a massive self-regulating organism affecting various interconnected systems — like the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere — that maintain life on Earth.

With COVID-19, some argue that Gaia is sending us a strong signal to re-evaluate our fundamental values, including to what extent we respect and care for the planet. …

Jonathan Yeo’s portrait of Kevin Spacey as Richard III

“Now is the winter of our discontent” begins Shakespeare’s Richard III (basically the Sixteen Century version of Game of Thrones). Whether living in the northern or southern hemisphere — all of us are experiencing a ‘global winter of discontent’ as we face down the devastation caused by COVID-19.

However, before our species sees a ‘Global Spring’, we have some important decisions to consider. If the coronavirus has given us anything positive, it is a necessary break to reflect and re-examine ourselves, our economic systems, and our values. …

Andrew Fletcher Cole

Canadian Capetonian living in Toronto trying to be a good father and husband as I navigate through life on this mysterious planet.

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