Day 8: Lectures and Shipping

Today, we met with to different ship management companies, Fleet Management Limited and Mediterranean Shipmanagement Company, in addition to receiving two lectures from two professors at the University of Nicosia.

The ship management companies discussed their global reach. Both companies work internationally but have offices in Cyprus. Fleet Management Limited also discussed their PARIS software. This software is in charge of autonomously managing different shipping routes worldwide for their boats. They were considering packaging and selling it to other companies, but they figured it would be more profitable for them to keep it to themselves and make their own shipping more efficient.

The part that really excited me were the two lectures from UNIC. Mr. Antonis Polemitis, who is also the CEO of the university, gave us a lecture on blockchain and cryptocurrency. He wanted to get across to us the idea that blockchain was not just for cryptocurrency, but it was a tool for decentralized databases that limited the tools for bad actors. He seemed to project a libertarian (with a lower case L) world view for the future in which governments and private entities could not silence anyone. He exemplified this through discussing Twitter. He believes that a future in which a CEO could not block someone from using Twitter, like what happened with Donald Trump, is on the horizon through the use of blockchain. He also projected some trans-humanist ideals where we will all have a piece of technology that acts much like the Google Glass was supposed to on us at all times. Despite my limited experience in predicting the future, I would err more on the side of caution with my predictions. However, I was definitely convinced about the future of blockchain in decentralized technologies.

The second lecture, given by Dr. Spyros Makridakis, was on data forecasting. He discussed a competition he runs, the M Competition for his last initial, in which anyone is allowed to participate and attempt to forecast based on data. This year’s competition, the M Six Competition, will run on live data, which is a change from the previous years. He discussed how he got to this idea from the previous years’ competitions. Initially, he started with data from companies and other sources that provided it to him. However, as data analysis has gotten more sophisticated over the years with the inclusion of machine learning amongst more traditional forecasting methods, he needed to provide more of a challenge. Thus, he is using live data. Notably, he also mentioned that the winner of the M Five Competition was a senior in college, giving a nod to the idea that anyone can do the competition and that people with more limited experience in forecasting may actually be better at it.

Overall, I really enjoyed the company visits and lectures. The company visits were able to give us a very practical view on the global supply chain and how what we have discussed previously about how cargo ships work in ports and how boats operate works in tandem globally. The lectures also provided a nice amount of theory of supply chain that broke up all of the practical knowledge, which I found interesting.

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