CREDIT: <a href="">Tjolo Photo</a> (<a href="">CC</A>).
CREDIT: Tjolo Photo (CC).

The Business of Peace

Jul 18, 2012

Is it possible to quantify peace? Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea found a correlation between peace and business and at Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab, researcher Mark Nelson and lab director Margarita Quihuis are looking to get businesses involved in encouraging peace.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Welcome to Just Business. I'm Julia Taylor Kennedy.

Peace studies are usually the domain of humanities departments, earnest advocacy groups, and nonprofits, the Carnegie Council among them. But today we'll look at two groups with tech sector roots who are looking to quantify and measure peace. Their ultimate goal? To use that hard data to make the case that the private sector should get into the peace business.

Let's hear first from Steve Killelea. He's an Australian surfer, IT entrepreneur, and poverty activist turned peace advocate. In the late 1980s, he started a very successful company that helps ensure secure ATM transactions. Then, in 2000, he set up The Charitable Foundation, which is one of Australia's biggest overseas aid providers.

A few years later, Killelea turned his attention to peace, founding the Institute for Economics and Peace. He brought his quantitative skills to bear by starting an indicator that measures the peacefulness of different countries. It's called the Global Peace Index.

STEVE KILLELEA: About seven years ago, I was just wandering through the Congo and I started to wonder what the most peaceful countries in the world were, and what could we learn from them to bring back into the projects we were doing. I searched the Internet and couldn't find anything. That's how the Global Peace Index was born.

And then, as I started to develop it, I realized the importance of it and started to see the interconnections with peace and just how little we actually knew about it. There's something really important in that, because if a simple businessman like myself can be wandering through Africa and wonder what are the most peaceful nations in the world and it hasn't been done, how much do we know about peace?

You could go into any major university in the world, you won't find a chair on peace economics. Yet, you speak to most business leaders and they'll tell you that their markets actually thrive in peace; their cost structures actually decrease.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: What goes into the Global Peace Index?

STEVE KILLELEA: What's key for the work we have done is actually to come up with a clear definition of peace which most people can agree on. If you look up in the dictionary, what you'll find is the definition of peace is the absence of war. But that's a bit like a light switch—either it's on or it's off. So it makes it really hard to measure.

What we did is we came up with a definition of peace as being the absence of violence. Now, what we decided to do, rather than just look at the external relationships of a country, look at the internal peacefulness as well, and then we bring that together to create a composite index.

We've got 23 measures in all, 12 which measure the internal levels of peace and 11 which measure external levels of peace. If we look internally inside a nation, what we measure is things like the level of homicide rates, the level of violent crime, state-sponsored terror.

Now, as we look externally, we might look at the number of conflicts which nations engaged in, troops per 100,000 population, percentage of GDP spent on the military, number of battlefield deaths—things like that.

So, as we bring that together, that's what creates a composite index.

Now, having 23 indicators, and as we're covering 157 nations, the data sometimes can get slightly sketchy. But by having a whole range of indicators, one will offset another. So where there might be slight data errors, that actually gets smoothed and aggregated out because of the number of different indicators we've got.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: On your ranking, it seems like Scandinavian countries do really well. Australia, your homeland, does really well. How does the United States do?

STEVE KILLELEA: The United States, from memory, I think it was 84 this year, or 82 [Editor's note: 88], on the Global Peace Index, which puts it at about a mid-ranking nation.

Now, what pulls the United States down on peace is the huge numbers of incarceration. The United States has the highest level of incarceration of any nation in the world. The two countries which come closest to it are China and Russia.

The other thing which affects the United States is the number of battlefield deaths it has, which are really high. The number of conflicts it's engaged in is only slightly higher than the European nations, because they tend to get engaged in the same conflicts. But because of the amount of extra resources which the United States puts in, they end up with more battlefield deaths.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Again taking a business perspective, what would be better about doing business in Scandinavia versus in the United States when you're looking at peacefulness? Do you see a difference?

STEVE KILLELEA: I think what we've got to do is be realistic about this. There are all sorts of decision points you make in starting a business. There's a whole range of them.

Now, what we can say is that countries which have got increasing peacefulness are more likely to be good places to invest. We can see in Asia as the peacefulness rises in Asia through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, we've seen the fueling of growth there. Similarly, we are seeing a similar sort of thing happen in Africa at the moment.

So what's important is not necessarily the level of peacefulness but the velocity of peace. That actually gives us an idea, because as the peace dividend comes through, then you are actually going to get stronger growth in GDP.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: And there might even be a plateau at some point. But there are a lot of countries, as you point out, that have yet to reach that plateau.


JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: How much does your Buddhist faith or your affiliation with Buddhism, do you think, impact your world view?

STEVE KILLELEA: That's a really difficult question. I'd call myself a 50 percent Buddhist. When I look at Buddhism, I really strip it down to really very, very basic philosophical concepts.

For me, I think the key thing is to work at two levels. One is on your own personal peace, because out of that I think you get a lot of energy. As your negative emotions stop, you actually have more energy to do to the things you want to do. You also, as a human being, live a happier and better life.

I think some of the Eastern concepts about taking the mind and stilling it—as you do that, you've actually got the ability then to get some control over your emotions and your thoughts and your feelings. So you actually at that point, when you've got things which you don't like or a negative you don't want, you have the ability to stop them and then change what you're actually thinking and feeling. Now, I'm only semi-good at it, but it certainly helps.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: When did you discover Buddhism?

STEVE KILLELEA: I've been meditating now for about 40 years. I do a lot of it. I do at least an hour a day.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Were you surfing full-time when you discovered it?

STEVE KILLELEA: No, I started surfing at 13. In Sydney I grew up on the beaches, so I started at 13. I'm sort of in the mid-60s now, but I'm still surfing and still love it.


Then how did you transition from surfing to being this entrepreneur?

STEVE KILLELEA: In my life I've really just focused on doing what I want to do. Like there's something sort of maybe a little bit selfish in it, but there's another thing, which is quite profound, because it means I'm doing the things I like to do.

Now, I have a lot of perseverance, so when the going gets tough I can actually still keep going through really a lot of difficulty.

A lot of people ask me "Why is your life successful?" The first thing I'd say is simply because I've done things I've really enjoyed doing. If you do things which you really enjoy, generally you're picking things where you've got good skills. Because you like doing them, you put a lot more energy and effort in it than others. So you've got this virtual cycle, because you've got something you're good at, you're putting more energy into it, and so you just end up doing thing better than others.

But having said that, you still need to push yourself through doing the technical things you may not like to do, and also have the perseverance to just keep going to the end, even when things are really, really difficult.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: When it comes to Internet technology, I think there's a barrier there for a lot of people, because it has the reputation, "Well, that's a growth field," but a lot of people think, "Oh, that's too technical, it's too specific." So how did you discover, "Oh, this is something I really like; let me do it"?

STEVE KILLELEA: I just got to it intuitively. I just thought I wanted to get into computing. Something about the concept—I think the mental agility which one had to do to do it, because I've always loved math. I was just attracted to it. But as it turned out, it was the right thing to do.

But what's interesting about it—that's all measurement, isn't it? So if we look at the work I'm doing on peace with the Global Peace Index or the U.S. Peace Index, we're back to metrics and measurement.

Do you realize it was only 12 months ago I realized the similarity?

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: I wanted to ask you about that, because obviously you're someone who is willing to jump both feet into completely new worlds. I read this—correct me if I'm wrong—but I read in a profile of you that you left school to become a surfer because you knew you were really passionate about it, right? So you did that. Then you kind of left surfing and leapt into the business world.

STEVE KILLELEA: One of the offshoots of meditation is your fears become less, so your inhibitions are less, so you worry less about what can go wrong and you just focus on actually the execution. It's sort of being in the present now.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Do you think that having these strong instincts and being able to listen to them has helped you make ethical choices?

STEVE KILLELEA: Ethics is very determined by culture and by the conditioning and breeding which you've got. In ethics, one has to be very, very careful. It's a bit like peace. There are very, very many different definitions. But I think for your audience there would be some basic concepts of ethics which we would all share in common.

So I do believe that we're part of an interconnected whole. It's a Buddhist concept, the concept of dependent arising, which means we are really dependent on everything else around us.

So I'm sitting here having an interview. Why am I here having an interview? Because you know someone who knew me who said, "You should come here," and someone built this table, and we've got 1,000 years of technological advancement to create the headsets which we've got on. So ethics is about really respecting that interdependency. So for me that's a basis of it.

Ethics for me is, where practical, to try to all alleviate others' sufferings. So I think for me, again, that comes back to somewhat of an empathetic response to people. That would be just touching simply on a couple of aspects which I'd have.

I think if we draw on that a little bit further, we'll build on a Buddhist tenet of independent origination. Independent origination—and this is probably how human beings suffer—is we sit here think that we are independent of everything around us and we are manipulating it to get the outcomes we want, whereas in actual fact we are part of an interconnected reality. If we can find our place in it and move in it, we are likely to be more successful.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: So it sounds like what you're saying to me, based on the distinction you made at the beginning of your answer, is that it's a combination of something that is inherent, that you are an empathetic person, and that guides some of your ethical behavior, and also these learned principles of Buddhism working together.


JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: That's a really interesting answer.

STEVE KILLELEA: But on ethics I never think about what is ethical behavior on my part. I just act.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: What impact do you hope this Peace Index has in the future?

STEVE KILLELEA: Well, it's interesting at this point in time. If you had asked me three years ago, I would have answered the question. But at this point in time it's actually the impact I can see it having, not what it's going to have in the future. So I can see now it is getting picked up and used by all sorts of organizations, ranging from, let's say, the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] through to the UN and many, many, many, many more organizations.

It's getting regularly used as a benchmark to rank and rate countries. It's used in risk analysis, to help people better understand the risks associated with the countries. After six years of it, now you start to see the momentum of peacefulness in different countries and in different regions. So I think it is having an impact now.

But if there's one thing which I'd want, it's for people to actually realize that there is real economic value associated with improving peacefulness, and that can be quantified, which will then make us better at being able to make intelligent decisions about trying to increase peacefulness.

The origins of that thought may lie with studies of Buddhism, because it is really about finding out and accentuating the positive, building that within yourself, so that you actually become a person who's more peaceful. I don't mean that in the sense of being a pacifist; I mean that in the sense of just being calm and relaxed.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Very interesting.

We're sitting here in an institution founded by Andrew Carnegie on the eve of World War I to try and establish world peace. So that's another successful businessman who envisioned world peace and wanted that to be part of his legacy.

Do you think we're making progress and do you think it's possible to get to a peaceful world?

STEVE KILLELEA: What I'd say is that even in the most violent part of the world there are points of time and people who are peaceful. They are there.

Similarly, you can take the most peaceful country town in America and there will be points of violence within that society too. So it's a little bit nebulous to say "a peaceful world."

But what I would say is, as we're sitting here today, we're probably living—in fact I'm quite sure we are—living in the most peaceful point in human history, even though we can't see it ourselves. We can see that through the study of history.

If we went back to prehistoric times, we look at the bones which we find from people there, 15 percent of them died violently. Now, as we move through history—and there is a whole range of reasons for it —today is probably as peaceful as it has ever been. You can see that through the number of global conflicts, the number of civilians killed in conflict, or the number of soldiers killed in conflict as well.

So look at America. It has just been through 10 years of horrific wars, which it is pulling out of the back of. Those have been shockingly expensive. There have been lots of lives lost, but compare it to the number of people who were killed in the Vietnam War, and that was a much, much shorter war. So even in that period of time we can see the changes.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Great. Steve Killelea, you have given us a lot to think about. I really appreciate your time today. Thank you for joining me on Just Business.

STEVE KILLELEA: It has been my pleasure.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Entrepreneur Steve Killelea is founder and chair of the Institute for Economics and Peace, which publishes the Global Peace Index.

Steve Killelea has found a correlation between the peacefulness of a country and the health of its business environment. At Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab, researcher Mark Nelson and lab director Margarita Quihuis are looking to get businesses involved in encouraging peace. The way they see it, if members of conflict-ridden groups interact in a positive way, it gets easier for businesses to operate safely and profitably. So Nelson and Quihuis have started tracking positive interactions across conflict borders on Facebook and other social media, and they are looking for models to get business owners involved on the ground.

MARK NELSON: In Cairo at the moment, with the instability there, in a particular neighborhood where there is a lot of tension between Coptic Christians and Salafi Muslims, a local bank might have a very large interest in not having riots break out in that area because they might have a large chunk of their property portfolio, their mortgage portfolio, in that neighborhood. So that bank might have really high stakes in maintaining the peace in that neighborhood.

They would be able, in a peace market context, to issue a commodity contract saying, "We would be willing to pay, for example, a dollar per verified greeting across that group boundary between a Salafi Muslim and a Coptic Christian in that neighborhood on these dates," for example, or, "We'd pay $2.00 if people would buy each other a cup of coffee, or we'd pay 50 cents for every instance of two people from those different groups having their photo taken with their arm around each other and posting it on Facebook, for example."

Each one of those tiny, little micro-behaviors in the aggregate can perhaps do more to change the tension role in that neighborhood and also do more to help the bank manage risk in that neighborhood than any sort of large-scale intervention might.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: So this is a pretty new, almost radical, idea to try and commoditize peace.

I'm wondering, Margarita, if you can tell me more about how the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab is working to make it a reality.

MARGARITA QUIHUIS: The Stanford Peace Innovation Lab—it's interesting, because everything at Stanford is entrepreneurial and innovative. So it could be the history department, it would be entrepreneurship and innovation. When we look at peace and conflict, we're looking at it through that engineer and design and entrepreneurial lens.

We work with entrepreneurs in the field and we support them through the insights, the behavior frameworks that we have and the research that we've done in the field where we look at the intersection of behavioral psychology and computer science and entrepreneurship to make this stuff scale. That's what we provide to the world. We are really interested in supporting this emerging class of entrepreneurs.

One of the big projects that we have that we've been working on is this social data network. We are reaching out to technology companies and any companies that aggregate lots of data on human behavior to look at how we can create a sensor network. Actually Mark is the lead on that, so I'm going to let him have the spotlight on that.

MARK NELSON: You should think of that as like the kinds of giant telescopes that NASA builds, a giant sensor array telescope, but instead of pointing at outer space it's pointing at social space, and instead of looking for interesting interplanetary events or those kinds of things, it's looking for interesting interpersonal events.

That allows us over time to build the baseline data set to then, as peace entrepreneurs deploy, for them to be able to measure "How effective is my intervention, how well is it working?" and for their customer to be able to see, going back to the bank example in the neighborhood in Cairo, for example, if a bank can see, "Okay, wow, you got 10,000 Salafis and Copts to smile at each other or to greet each other during the last week in this neighborhood," the bank can verify that either created this much new value or that helped precisely this much in managing risk. So this is really a global risk management approach.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: How do you count how many greetings people give each other?

MARK NELSON: Imagine what has become the trademark of the Arab Spring and so on, the hand raised holding an iPhone or some smartphone with a camera on it filming somebody.

If you create the incentives and you just say, for example, "Copts and Salafis have as much incentive as anybody to have a nice safe neighborhood to live in"—and so if the contract in this case says that the entrepreneur who enables this app gets a slice of this value and the Copt and Salafi also get a slice of it, you can imagine a situation where you have an iPhone app, for example, you are able to deploy it out to a neighborhood, get lots of people excited about participating, people can greet each other, take a picture, post it on Flickr or post it on Facebook and tag it with the name of the campaign, and then with their own names as well. Then you've got verification. The photo itself has the GPS data, it has the date, it has been tagged by the participants, and those participants can be verified across the network, and so on.

I would be interested in being able to deploy this kind of stuff in refugee camps or in conflict situations where local citizens could actually be the peacekeepers that we send in, and they could be earning good money for it, rather than having to spend way more money to send in UN troops, for example, as peace monitors and so on. We could literally break down a menu of these are peace behaviors that anyone on either side of this boundary could do and could earn well for doing good in this situation. It would save the world a ton of money on peacekeeping troops, and it would save neighborhoods, and it would be a great economic development into those neighborhoods.

MARGARITA QUIHUIS: So it's a bit of a flipped model, because there are line items in government budgets for this. People already pay for this, but it is in the form of blue helmets, it's in the form of Blackwater, all these things.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: There's the famous soccer game example, right?

MARGARITA QUIHUIS: Exactly. So, instead, we're democratizing it and we're crowd-sourcing it.

But the other interesting thing about it, as we talk to people in the military and so on, is that they are talking to us about creative models because the current system of waging peace doesn't work anymore. It's broken. They can't afford to do it. It has to do with economics.

So now we're talking to people about, "If we were going to design weapon systems, how would we do them differently?" So there's this notion that has bubbled up in the lab of positive payload weapons and how would you design these systems. Mark has had the deepest conversations with people in the military about developing this idea.

MARK NELSON: This is where we're trying to disrupt the defense industry, because we're saying, "What we really need defense from is not other people; what we really need defense from is conflict itself and some of the underlying things that create conflict."

Then, when we look at what's the real outcome we're trying to get whenever we're into a compromised security situation or where we need to invoke defense, the real outcome we want is a safer world, a happier world, a better world, a higher trust world, where people don't want to be bad to each other.

MARGARITA QUIHUIS: So it's really about looking at the intervention and saying, "Oh gosh, disaster is about to hit so we better be punitive and proactive and bomb them," but move up the time line a little bit saying we want to help, if it's not stable to get it closer to being stable, closer to being resilient, so that way the conflict doesn't bubble up in the first place. So it's a preventative defense strategy.

The economic benefit to that is that you don't have to incur the additional cost of post-conflict reconstruction.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Or a conflict itself. That's pretty expensive too.

MARK NELSON: Or the breakage in conflict.

MARGARITA QUIHUIS: One of the things that defense departments around the world are grappling with—and we've talked to a number of governments about this, and they always bring up Afghanistan —is that, well, you have the costs of the conflict, and they go, "Yeah, okay, we've got that, but then we have the cost of the reconstruction."

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Right, and all of that gets completely blurry, as we're watching now.

MARGARITA QUIHUIS: Exactly. And it just goes on and on and on and on, because there are all of these indirect, intangible costs that are associated with it, and it's very hard to get your arms around it. But it is, as Colin Powell said, the Pottery Barn thing—"You broke it, you paid for it," right? And so there's just no end to the pain for it.

So they're fundamentally saying like, "Gosh, you know, that strategy might be good for politicians who want to be out there looking tough and saber rattling, but from a practical tactical standpoint it's breaking the bank."

So we need to be smarter about this. Just as technology has disrupted all these other industries in ways that were totally unexpected by the incumbents, how is technology going to disrupt the defense industry?

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: So give me an example.

MARK NELSON: Well, we've got a lovely recent one from the news. We're working with a delightful gentleman in Israel named Ronny Edry and his wife, who started a campaign on Facebook called Israel-Loves-Iran. They're essentially love-bombing Iran with messages from Israeli people and from other people all over the world sent to individual Iranians saying, "We love you, we don't want to bomb you, we don't want a war," et cetera. People in Iran are responding in kind.

It's exciting for us because we can measure exactly how many people are engaging and participating in the project, exactly how many people who have never spoken to an Iranian before, for example, are sending messages to Iranians and exactly how many Iranians who have never had contact with people on the other side of that boundary now not only have contact but have friends together and have virtually had coffee together and so forth.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Mark, why don't you tell us about that Facebook involvement?

MARK NELSON: B.J. Fogg, who's the director of the Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab, invited Mark Slee, who's a senior engineer at Facebook, over and said—and I think maybe Mark thought we were going to ask for a large donation, because B.J. had taught the Psychology of Facebook class the year before and made large impact on the Facebook platform.

But we sat him down and said, "We're interested in doing this peace project with Facebook." Mark is an engineer, and I saw his eyes kind of begin to glaze a little bit. But when we said, "You think you're building a great communication network and a great way for people to share more with each other. We think you're also increasing world peace, and we can help you measure it."

It was, I think, the measurement aspect that really got him, because his eyes instantly lit up. We've consistently found that when we talk to engineers about the quantifiable aspect, they begin to re-engage with this concept that otherwise seems sort of squishy.

He said, "What do you mean?"

We said, "Well, you've got all this data where people have created a profile on Facebook and told you some of the different group identities they have, which different groups they belong to. They tell you what language they speak, they tell you what religion they are, they tell you what country they're from, and a bunch of other group identities. Then you can see who they're friending and you can see every time one of those friendships goes across one of those boundaries, and you can see especially when one of those boundaries is an active conflict boundary. That's actually really interesting peace data. We can infer that some of those friendships wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Facebook enabling it."

Mark got very excited. He emailed us back two days later and said, "We built it, we built it, here's a prototype, what if it looked like this?"

You can go to PeaceTalks Facebook today and look at what he and his team put together. There's a graph there where you can see, for example, how many Israelis and Palestinians friended each other on Facebook yesterday and how that compares to the week before and last month and last year and so forth.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: What does that data tell you? Are there increasing numbers of friendships across that border or decreasing?

MARGARITA QUIHUIS: The interesting thing about the data when people look at it, the big "Aha!" they have is, "I had no idea." So one of the big things that—a colleague of ours from Finland says "the Internet of behaviors"—that provides is that we can see for the first time what people are really doing. So you have this preconceived notion or you have this stereotype, because of the media, that all Israelis hate all Palestinians and vice versa, that they're in mortal conflict. And yet we see this data that contradicts that.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: But from the international relations perspective, what would be interesting would be to watch correlations, to see if there's a certain agreement, what happens the next day with the data. I mean, obviously, it's hard to make a causal relationship there, but to see if there are correlations.

MARK NELSON: Exactly. And we should be very clear that this is raw data. This was our provocation to our colleagues in the social sciences, that we actually can measure this stuff. This means we can start modeling peace in terms of engagement across conflict boundaries. We left that data open for anybody to do anything they wish with.

The thing that strikes, I think, everybody right away, and this has been shown to everybody, from the president of Israel, to—Mark Zuckerberg frequently references it—the surprise for everybody is how big the numbers are. We read about the latest bombing or the latest rocket attack or whatever, and 27 people were killed or 40 people were killed, or whatever. There is consistently every day more than 10,000 Israelis and Palestinians who friend each other, and those are new friendships.

So we never see the context. We never see the little acts of violence, the tiny percentage of the population, in the context of lots of positive things, in spite of how bad that situation is, happening between lots of people on both sides of that boundary. Once we can start to quantify it, we can start to design for it. So we can start saying, "Okay, the outcome we'd all like here would be to have more high-quantity engagement across these conflict boundaries so that either the conflict goes away or the conflict never happens in the first place."

What the higher forms of engagement typically look like is trade, where we make economic investments in each other or we create sort of mutual value-creating partnerships.

That's where business really comes into this in a way that typically business has not realized they have had a role here in the past. The two traditional approaches have been either a political approach, which is policy and diplomacy, or a philanthropical approach, some sort of charity.

The issue is that as far as resource allocation is concerned, neither of those approaches has had anything like the resources to address how big the problem is. The problem is by comparison huge, and the resources they have by comparison are fractional.

What we're discovering is that there is this broad middle way that is peace as a for-profit service industry that allows us to harness the engines of capital and point them in a good direction that we all want to see them go.

What some of this comes down to, Julia, is effectively how do we deploy the equivalent of a Marshall Plan for Germany or for Japan after the Second World War, but how do we deploy that proactively, preventively, in advance, into an area where a conflict is just beginning to simmer so that we can prevent it from ever simmering? How can we get directly to great trade partners before the war ever happens?

MARGARITA QUIHUIS: So again, you want to incentivize people to trade, to interact across boundaries. So that's why having this sensor network of all this social data that we can monitor—it can tell us where the dark spots are in the network, where there's no interaction going on, or where it's thriving, where it's increasing or it's decreasing. It helps us to just get some sort of predictive sense of what might be going on, what could happen, and then put an intervention in if the numbers aren't going in the direction that they need to.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Well, it sounds like everyone on the East Coast could use some time in Silicon Valley to think as broadly and innovatively as you two are thinking.

I really appreciate your joining me and kind of blowing my mind a little bit with some of these ideas. Best of luck in the future.

MARK NELSON: Thank you, Julia. It has been a pleasure. And thank you for your interest in our work.

MARGARITA QUIHUIS: Thank you. It has been a privilege. We're just two nerds out of Silicon Valley.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: It's great to have you on, and I can't wait to see what happens with the project.


MARK NELSON: Thanks much.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: That was researcher Mark Nelson and director Margarita Quihuis of Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab. They look for ways to encourage peace through technology and business.

That wraps up this week's look at peace in the private sector. I'm Julia Taylor Kennedy.

Thanks to Terrence Hurley and Emil Chireno for their contributions to this week's podcast. Thanks to Tony Higgins and Jiony for this week's music. And thanks to you, our listeners, for joining us. We are happy to hear from you. Please do send questions and comments to [email protected].

You may also like

MAR 13, 2023 Podcast

C2GTalk: How can companies ensure carbon dioxide removal has a positive impact? with Amy Luers

New thinking is needed to ensure high-quality nature-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR) offers genuine and long-lasting benefits to the climate and biodiversity, says Amy Luers, ...

JUN 18, 2021 Podcast

The Doorstep: Cryptocurrencies & Global Decentralization, with NYU Stern's David Yermack

Cryptocurrencies are dominating headlines with El Salvador recently announcing Bitcoin as the country's legal tender and Biden and Putin discussing ransomware and crypto at their ...

MAY 26, 2021 Podcast

Creative Reflections on the History & Role of AI Ethics, with Wendell Wallach

How is the new global digital economy taking form? What are the trade-offs? Who are the stakeholders? How do we build “participatory intelligence”? In this ...

Not translated

This content has not yet been translated into your language. You can request a translation by clicking the button below.

Request Translation