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Keeping Our Thoughts Private in the Age of Mind-Reading

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_color=”#f7f7f4″][et_pb_row custom_padding=”|||” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_post_title meta=”off” featured_placement=”above” text_color=”light” text_background=”on” text_bg_color=”#313a54″ admin_label=”Post Title” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ title_font=”Rokkitt||||” title_text_color=”#e6e5e9″ title_font_size=”63px” meta_text_color=”#727c86″ text_orientation=”center” custom_css_post_image=”margin-bottom: -15px;||padding: 0% 3% !important;”][/et_pb_post_title][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Section” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_color=”#f7f7f4″ custom_padding=”0px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Manahel-Thabet-circular-photo-e1495574003567.png” show_bottom_space=”off” align=”center” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ custom_margin=”-48px|||” animation=”off” sticky=”on”][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – Author name” _builder_version=”3.4.1″ text_font=”PT Sans||||” text_text_color=”#323232″ text_font_size=”18″ text_line_height=”1.4em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”14px||0px|”]

Manahel Thabet, PhD

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Brain expert

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – intro” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”24″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.4em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”40px||0px|”]With brain computer interfaces (BCIs) having become commercially available after extensive use in the medical sector, recent research has found that they can be used to hack our brains for PINs or mine our minds for data.
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What is an EEG, and what have studies concerning its security found?

Two new studies by the University of Alabama and the University of Washington have revealed the malicious possibilities lurking in the shadows of impressive promises of brain-computer interface (BCI) developers: the ability to access PINs and other private information.

Electroencephalograms (EEG) are tests that detect electrical activity in your brain using a skullcap studded with electrodes. This technology has been used in the medical sector for years — for example, to diagnose schizophrenia as far back as 1998. However it is now due to be used for far more commercial enterprises. Rudimentary versions, such as Emotiv’s Epoc+ have been released with the promise of far more sophisticated versions just around the corner, including examples being developed by Elon Musk and Facebook.

The University of Alabama’s study discovered that hacking into a BCI could increase the chances of guessing a PIN from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 20; it could shorten the odds of guessing a six-letter password by roughly 500,000 times to around 1 in 500. Emotiv has dismissed the criticisms, stating that all software using its headsets is vetted and that users would find the activity of inputting codes suspicious; but Alejandro Hernández, a security researcher with IOActive, claimed that the Alabama case is “100 percent feasible.”
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_width_px=”830px” use_custom_gutter=”on” gutter_width=”2″ custom_padding=”50px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” custom_padding_last_edited=”on|tablet” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”3_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/EEG-1-e1495576282265.jpg” show_bottom_space=”off” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ animation_style=”fade” animation_duration=”500ms” animation=”fade_in” sticky=”on”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ custom_css_main_element=”width:130px;” hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”16″ text_line_height=”1em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”20px||0px|”]EEG graph
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”12″ text_line_height=”1.2em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”6px|||”]Illustration
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 2″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]The test involved people entering random pins and passwords while wearing the headset, allowing software to establish a link between what was typed and brain activity. After data from entering 200 characters was gathered, algorithms could then make educated guesses what characters they would enter next. Nitesh Saxena, Research Director of the department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama, detailed a situation in which someone still logged on to a gaming session while checking their bank details could be at risk.

The University of Washington test focused on gathering data. In their study, subliminal messages flashed up in the corner of a gaming screen while EEG gauged the participant’s response. Tamara Bonaci, a University of Washington Electrical Engineer, said that “300 milliseconds after they saw a stimulus there is going to be a positive peak hidden within their EEG signal” if they have a strong emotional reaction to it. Howard Chizeck, Bonaci’s fellow electrical engineer who was also involved with the project, said, “This is kind of like a remote lie detector; a thought detector.” Potential uses of data could stretch from more targeted advertising than ever before to determining sexual orientation or other such personal information that could be used to coerce users.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – quote” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”37px” text_font_size_phone=”32px” text_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” text_line_height=”1.3em” header_font_size=”37px” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”900px” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]”This is kind of like a remote lie detector; a thought detector.”
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 3″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]

How serious is the threat?

While some BCIs are being used in extremely positive ways, like diagnosing concussions or allowing people with severe motor disabilities control over robotic aids, the threat to security and privacy posed by commercially available and mainstream BCIs is huge.

Experts have advised that we begin to think of means of protection now, rather than after the technology has become more widespread. Howard Chizeck told Motherboard over Skype that “There’s actually very little time. If we don’t address this quickly, it’ll be too late,” while scientists from the University of Basal and the University from Zurich have called for a “right to mental privacy” in response to the developments.

As with many technologies, the novelty and potential of BCI is headily seductive, but we must beware of the practical consequences their use may give rise to.Worryingly, there has been very little work towards providing protection against such attacks. The BCI Anonymizer, still in its propositional stages, aims to “extract information corresponding to a user’s intended BCI commands, while filtering out any potentially private information.” But aside from this, there is very little else.

References: MIT Technology ReviewMotherboardVenture RadarBCI AnonymizerFuturism

 
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Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?

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Brain expert

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – intro” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”24″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.4em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”40px||0px|”]We are living in the age of algorithms, and AI is the natural next step in this age’s evolution. We can’t excise the tech from our lives, but we can benefit from it more and protect even the most vulnerable from abuses by shaping how we use it.
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AI: The tool

Many people worry about artificial intelligence (AI) eliminating jobs and displacing workers, or even taking over human society. A February 2016 report from Citibank and the University of Oxford predicted that automation threatens 47 percent of U.S. jobs, 35 percent of U.K. jobs, and 77 percent of jobs in China. An August report from Forrester stated that customer service and transportation jobs will be gone by 2025, and that we’ll feel the impact of this change within five years.

These fears aren’t unfounded, but they may need refocusing. Few of us understand what algorithms are or how they work; to most of us, they are invisible. Like the electricity that flows unseen and taken for granted throughout our homes, offices, and cities, we don’t notice the many ways that algorithms already shape our experiences, large and small.

This is a problem, because the disconnect between understanding what algorithms do, how they work, and how we should be shepherding their use and our ideas about AI are artificially and unreasonably detached. Yes, algorithms control how AI works. However, they also control how we work to a large extent — and we made them that way because it saves us time and effort.

Algorithms run the internet and make all online searching possible. They direct our email along with us when using our GPS systems. Smartphone apps, social media, software: none of these things would function without algorithms. AI is also dependent on algorithms, and in fact is the next-level extension of our life in the age of algorithms; what we’ve done is teach algorithms to write other new algorithms, and to learn and teach themselves.

Just as we once feared that computers would put us all out of work, we now fear that AI will take all of our jobs away. We have seen the next level of our algorithmic age, and we’re not sure what to make of it. Evolution is never totally predictable and is often messy.

However, part of the way we navigate this transition successfully is by learning to see what it is that we’re concerned about, and what’s actually present around us right now. Pew Research Center and the Imagining the Internet Center of Elon University recently polled 1,302 scholars, technology experts, government leaders, and corporate practitioners about what will happen in the next decade. The respondents were asked just one question: will the net overall effect of algorithms be positive or negative for individuals and society?
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_width_px=”830px” use_custom_gutter=”on” gutter_width=”2″ custom_padding=”50px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” custom_padding_last_edited=”on|tablet” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”3_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Artificial-Intelligence-3-e1495573465171.jpg” show_bottom_space=”off” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ animation_style=”fade” animation_duration=”500ms” animation=”fade_in” sticky=”on”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ custom_css_main_element=”width:130px;” hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”16″ text_line_height=”1em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”20px||0px|”]Robot and human hands.
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”12″ text_line_height=”1.2em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”6px|||”]Illustration by Martin Ivan den Heuvel
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Net benefits

The canvassing of these respondents, which was non-scientific from a statistical perspective, found that 38 percent of the respondents predicted that the benefits of algorithms will outweigh the detriments for both individuals and society in general, while 37 percent felt the opposite way, and 25 percent thought it would be a draw. These results are interesting, but what was really significant were the respondents’ written comments elaborating their positions. There were seven general themes that emerged in the answers as a whole.

Almost all respondents agreed that algorithms are essentially invisible to the public, and that their influence will increase exponentially over the next decade. Barry Chudakov of Sertain Research and StreamFuzion Corp. breaks down the significance for Pew:

“Algorithms are the new arbiters of human decision-making in almost any area we can imagine. […] They are also a goad to consider [human] cognition: How are we thinking and what does it mean to think through algorithms to mediate our world? The main positive result of this is better understanding of how to make rational decisions, and in this measure a better understanding of ourselves. […] The main negative changes come down to a simple but now quite difficult question: How can we see, and fully understand the implications of, the algorithms programmed into everyday actions and decisions?”

We need to learn to see the ways we are thinking through algorithms so we can ensure we maintain oversight over our decisions and actions — and so we know their limitations and our own.

Another theme is that great benefits will keep coming, thanks to algorithms and AI: we will be processing and understanding far more data, and achieving more breakthroughs in science, technological conveniences, and access to information. This will mean healthcare decisions made with more of the whole picture in mind and decisions on bank loans considered with more context and detail. It might even mean an end to unfair practices like gerrymandering — which utterly depend on old-school ways of drawing up voting areas and disappear when algorithms draw them up instead.

Theme three is less rosy: advances in algorithms and big data sets will mean corporations and governments hold all of the cards and set all of the parameters. If algorithms are created to optimize and achieve profitability for a particular set of people without regard to the rest, AI and algorithms won’t correct this imbalance, but will make it worse. Clemson University assistant professor in human-centered computing Bart Knijnenburg told Pew: “Algorithms will capitalize on convenience and profit, thereby discriminating [against] certain populations, but also eroding the experience of everyone else. […] My biggest fear is that, unless we tune our algorithms for self-actualization, it will be simply too convenient for people to follow the advice of an algorithm (or, too difficult to go beyond such advice), turning these algorithms into self-fulfilling prophecies and users into zombies who exclusively consume easy-to-consume items.”

 
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – quote” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”37px” text_font_size_phone=”32px” text_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” text_line_height=”1.3em” header_font_size=”37px” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”900px” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]”I foresee algorithms replacing almost all workers with no real options for the replaced humans”
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog 3″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]The fourth theme has to do with biases that exist even in systems that are organized by algorithms. Even the most well-intentioned, inclusive, neutral algorithm creators build their own perspectives into their code, and there are even deficiencies and limitations within the datasets to which algorithms are applied.

Theme five centers upon the potential of access to algorithmically-aided living to deepen already existing cultural and political divides. Consider the differences that exist even now between groups of people consuming algorithmically-driven political news — more and more distinct ideological classes with less and less in common, and less empathy for each other. Algorithmic living makes it more possible for us to avoid and exclude each other; what will the end result of this separation be?

Or, as another example, consider the potential divide between the many highly-educated people who are learning to “biohack” or use nootropics to enhance their lives, and the numerous people of lower socioeconomic classes who lack education and the means or desire to engage in these activities — and lack access as well, even if they hoped to remain upwardly mobile in the algorithm age. Could this kind of progressively deepening division be enhanced by algorithmic living, and will it result in a kind of socio-biounderclass?

The sixth theme concerns unemployment, and many respondents do see the age of the algorithm as the age of mass unemployment. This unattributed response from one person surveyed reflects this overall theme: “I foresee algorithms replacing almost all workers with no real options for the replaced humans.” Other respondents emphasized the need for a universal basic income (UBI) to ensure that even those who have less access and ability to adapt to the changing economy have a basic means for survival.

The final theme from the report: the growing need for algorithmic oversight, transparency, and literacy.

Many respondents advocated for public algorithmic literacy education — the computer literacy of the 21st century — and for a system of accountability for those who create and evolve algorithms. Altimeter Group industry analyst Susan Etlinger told Pew, “Much like the way we increasingly wish to know the place and under what conditions our food and clothing are made, we should question how our data and decisions are made as well. What is the supply chain for that information? Is there clear stewardship and an audit trail? Were the assumptions based on partial information, flawed sources or irrelevant benchmarks? […] If there were ever a time to bring the smartest minds in industry together with the smartest minds in academia to solve this problem, this is the time.”
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Putting algorithms to work

One of the most important takeaways to glean from this report — and indeed, all reporting on AI right now — is that there is no way to excise algorithms and the advances that are coming with them, such as AI, from our lives. Even if we wanted to, for example, live without all computer technology, it’s too late. That means that strategic planning for the future isn’t about pointlessly trying to ban things that are already coming. The smarter course is to find ways to make algorithms and AI technology work for us.

If we can collaborate with it, AI has the potential to make our working lives better, giving us higher levels of job satisfaction, relieving us of more dangerous and less interesting work. It can also ensure that the best candidates get jobs, and otherwise work to equalize the playing field — if we can ensure that’s how it learns to operate. We are deeply flawed teachers, considering that workplace discrimination, for example, persists. However, with self-awareness and algorithmic literacy, we can also teach ourselves.
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Chess as a thinking strategic metaphor

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_color=”#f7f7f4″][et_pb_row custom_padding=”|||” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_post_title meta=”off” featured_placement=”above” text_color=”light” text_background=”on” text_bg_color=”#313a54″ admin_label=”Post Title” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ title_font=”Rokkitt||||” title_text_color=”#e6e5e9″ title_font_size=”63px” meta_text_color=”#727c86″ text_orientation=”center” custom_css_post_image=”margin-bottom: -15px;||padding: 0% 3% !important;”][/et_pb_post_title][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Section” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_color=”#f7f7f4″ custom_padding=”0px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/RDK-foto-circular-e1495565621347.png” show_bottom_space=”off” align=”center” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ custom_margin=”-48px|||” animation=”off” sticky=”on”][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – Author name” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Sans||||” text_text_color=”#323232″ text_font_size=”18″ text_line_height=”1.4em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”14px||0px|”]

Raymond Keene OBE,  Chairman,  World Brain Academy

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – Author info” _builder_version=”3.4.1″ text_font=”PT Sans|on|||” text_text_color=”#363636″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”0px|||”]

Chess Grandmaster

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”24″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.4em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”40px||0px|”]In mid 17th century Japan Miyamoto Musashi, the invincible Samurai warrior, wrote Go Rin No Sho, A Book of Five Rings, a penetrating analysis of victorious Samurai strategy. For over three centuries this martial arts masterpiece remained a Japanese secret, but in 1974 it was discovered by the West. Almost overnight, the new translation sold more than 120,000 copies in hardback, catapulted to best-seller status in paperback and drew lavish praise from leading newspapers around the world. Musashi’s central message is one of ‘wider application’, of ‘transferability’. Achieving mastery in one-discipline arms you with the weapon to transfer those skills to all other areas of life.
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Strategy – Decision – Action

Although on the surface Musashi’s book is specifically a guide to Samurai swordsmanship, at deeper levels it provides a blueprint for strategy, decision and action in the home, on the battlefield, in the corporate boardroom – in fact, wherever you choose to apply it. Musashi summarized its essence thus, stating and re-stating his theme throughout the book: ‘From one thing, know ten thousand things. When you attain the Way of strategy there will not be one thing you cannot see … If you know the Way Time Magazine wrote: ‘On Wall Street, when Musashi talk, people listen.’ The New York Times added that Musashi’s strategy was ‘suddenly a hot issue on Wall Street’.

Musashi’s central message is one of ‘wider application’, of ‘transferability’. Achieving mastery in one-discipline arms you with the weapon to transfer those skills to all other areas of life. Although on the surface Musashi’s book is specifically a guide to Samurai swordsmanship, at deeper levels it provides a blueprint for strategy, decision and action in the home, on the battlefield, in the corporate boardroom – in fact, wherever you choose to apply it. Musashi summarized its essence thus, stating and re-stating his theme throughout the book: ‘From one thing, know ten thousand things. When you attain the Way of strategy there will not be one thing you cannot see … If you know the Way broadly you will see it in everything.’
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_width_px=”830px” use_custom_gutter=”on” gutter_width=”2″ custom_padding=”50px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” custom_padding_last_edited=”on|tablet” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”3_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_image src=”https://worldbrainacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Chess-3-e1494335468463.jpg” show_bottom_space=”off” admin_label=”Image” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ animation_style=”fade” animation_duration=”500ms” animation=”fade_in” sticky=”on”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ custom_css_main_element=”width:130px;” hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”16″ text_line_height=”1em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”20px||0px|”]The Chess Pieces.
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”12″ text_line_height=”1.2em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”130px” custom_margin=”6px|||”]Photograph by Martin  Ivan den Heuvel Unsplash
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The mind sports metaphor

Despite its undoubted brilliance, Musashi’s book has two draw backs for a modern audience. First, Musashi frequently expresses himself in a sometimes obscure and often impenetrable Zen terminology. Secondly, the 21st century reader will find it difficult, if not impossible, to participate at any meaningful level in Musashi’s prime metaphor, that of Samurai swordsmanship, when with a real blade you face an opponent whom you must kill before he kills you. We are not likely to wield a Samurai sword in a life or death situation. Samurai swordsmanship will always remain beyond our personal experience. Accordingly, this presentation turns to the easy-to-learn game of chess, already well established as an important thinking and business metaphor. It re-interprets and updates Musashi’s martial arts message, and extends it through a new dimension, a martial art of the mind. In its various manifestations (Western, Japanese and Chinese) chess is the world’s most popular mind sport, with Time Magazine wrote: ”On Wall Street, when Musashi talk, people listen”. well over 400 million devotees. Chess is also at the cutting edge of the quest for artificial intelligence. Six times World Champion Garry Kasparov regularly faced off in matches against IBM’s Deep Blue super-computer in which million dollar prize funds were at stake.

Victory without killing

Most importantly though, chess offers the experience of real victory, without killing, and the parallel experience of real defeat, without having to die. Playing chess, you face pressure of time, you must assess risk accurately, and you must think globally and locally: in other words, it is all down to you. You truly win or you truly lose.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – quote” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”37px” text_font_size_phone=”32px” text_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” text_line_height=”1.3em” header_font_size=”37px” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”900px” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]”From one thing know ten thousand”
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]

No accidental results

There are no accidental or chance results in chess. The ethos of entitlement and the syndrome of blaming others for setbacks are both alien to the game. Indeed, it is the qualities of personal enterprise and self-reliance that distinguish chess. The chessplayer should not blindly accept the pronouncements of authority. Thinking for yourself is what counts. At the chessboard, real situations beckon and, as Musashi would have put it, in mastering chess, you master in microcosm all forms of combat and strategy, for any application you may choose. After absorbing this message, you will learn an approach to winning based on martial arts’ principles. And whether you are a novice or an experienced player, you will come to enjoy a unique metaphor for success in business and life. As you learn the objectives, basic strategy and tactics you will also be guided to begin thinking like the greatest strategists of all time – the Samurai.
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Lessons and benefits

We remind serious students of the old Japanese saying, ‘When you have completed 95 per cent of your journey, you are half way there.’ As you climb the mountain of chess the air gets thinner and progress can seem elusive. This disquisition offers an insight into mental fitness to liberate your full potential as a mental warrior. If chess were a game only, chess would never have survived the serious trials to which it has, during the long time of its existence, been often subjected. By some ardent enthusiasts chess has been elevated into a science or an art. It is neither; but its principal characteristic seems to be – what human nature mostly delights in – a fight. Not a fight, indeed, such as would tickle the nerves of coarser natures, where blood flows and the blows delivered leave their visible traces on the bodies of the combatants, but a fight in which the scientific, the artistic, the purely intellectual element holds undivided sway. ‘ Emanuel Lasker, World Chess Champion 1894 to 1921.
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Developing memory power

International Grandmasters can play many opponents simultaneously and remember all the moves from each game. They were not born with this skill—they developed it through intense practice and concentration. Memory is the cornerstone of intelligence and the database for creative thinking. All creative thinking is the result of new combinations of recalled ideas. As you learn chess openings and basic patterns of play, you begin to flex and strengthen your memory muscles. I have, for example, challenged 107 opponents placed in a giant square around me, at Oxford 1973, and in three hours lost just one game, winning 101 and drawing 5. After the display, I could remember all the moves of every single game.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – quote” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”37px” text_font_size_phone=”32px” text_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” text_line_height=”1.3em” header_font_size=”37px” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”900px” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]”Chess is open to everyone, regardless of age, gender, physical or economic status, and offers many specific and profound benefits”
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – blog” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”20″ text_font_size_last_edited=”on|tablet” text_line_height=”1.5em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”620px” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]

Slow the aging process

According to Leonardo da Vinci, ‘Iron rusts from disuse, water that does not flow becomes stagnant, so it is with the human mind.’ Much of what passes for mental decline with age results from ‘disuse’. Research has shown that individuals who regularly play mental sports are less susceptible to Alzheimer’s and other diseases associated with advancing years. Chess keeps your mind agile, strong and clear as you get older.

Aesthetics

Chess is beautiful. The artist Marce Duchamp believed that: ‘Every chess player experiences a mixture of two aesthetic pleasures: firstly, the abstract image, linked with aesthetic ideas; secondly the rational pleasure of ideographically implementing this image on the chessboard. Not all artists may be chess players, but all chess players are artists.’ Chess is a sensual as well as a ‘purely mental’ delight.’ A good chess set is a work of art. As you play and learn in this vibrant universe of black and white squares, you come to love the feel of the pieces in your hand, and to revel in the dramatic diagonal sweep of the bishop, the delightful leap of the knight, and the powerful thrust of the rook.
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Self-knowledge and insight into others

For those given to reflection, chess offers a mirror to self-understanding. Can you follow through when you have made a plan? How do you hold up under pressure? Are you impatient? Are you mentally lazy? Can you manage time? Do you play to win or to draw? Does fear of making mistakes prevent you trying something creative? Do you attend to details? Are you a gracious winner, a sore loser? As well as teaching you about your own strengths and weaknesses, chess can develop your ability to understand others. To succeed at chess, you must learn to. Think like your opponent, even if your opponent’s style of thinking is very different from your own. ‘Life is like a game of chess: we draw up a plan; this plan, however, is conditional on what—in ichess, our opponent, in life, our fate—will choose to do. ‘ Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, 1851.

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Stronger decision-making and accountability

In many areas of life, one can get by with waffling, finger pointing and obfuscation, but not on the chessboard. Chess is a game of decision-making. The root of the word ‘decide’ means ‘to kill the alternatives’. In chess, you must decide on a move in a given time, make it, and be prepared to live with the consequences. As World Champion Emanuel Lasker commented, ‘On the chessboard, lies and hypocrisy do not survive long.’

Sharpening analytical and strategic thinking

Asked what use chess was, the German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz replied that it provided ‘practice in the ability to think and innovate. Wherever we must make use of reason, we need an elaborate method to reach our goals. And moreover: a person’s resourcefulness is most apparent when playing.’

Innovation and ‘resourcefulness’ are even more important today. The ability to analyse a problem, plan its solution, and then carry out that plan is life’s most important skill. Chess hones this ability in a unique and dramatically effective fashion. ‘Improvement of … endeavour, the prevention of idleness, and the training of far-sighted, logical mental enjoyment. ‘ Jacobus de Cessolis writing in about 1300 about the invention of chess. De Cessolis was a Dominican monk who employed chess allegories in his sermons.

And one more thing, join the mental elite: 600,000,000 people around the world play chess. ‘Arabian writings of the 10th century AD not only praised the beauty of chess, the authors of the period also recommended chess as an educational aid in the development of logical thinking. They also held the opinion that chess could lead to an insight into things to come, could enhance friendships, and protect against loneliness. The Arabs became enthusiastic players and all classes of society were enchanted by the game. Even the Caliphs played and were very generous to the masters, the best of whom was As-Suli, showering them with gold and gifts. As-Suli’s fame was so great that he was later credited with having invented the game. Almost 300 years later it was still considered a great honour for a master to be likened to As-Suli.‘ Finkenzeller, Ziehr and Buhrer, Chess: a Celebration of 2000 Years.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” admin_label=”Divider” _builder_version=”3.2″ hide_on_mobile=”off”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text – quote” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_text_color=”#363636″ text_font_size=”37px” text_font_size_phone=”32px” text_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone” text_line_height=”1.3em” header_font_size=”37px” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” max_width=”900px” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]”On the chessboard, lies and hypocrisy do not survive long”
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Applying chess-based skills

Ask any top headhunter what kind of person they seek to hire for senior management positions. They will tell you that, besides the basics of strong analytical and decision-making skills, they need people with superior strategic-thinking abilities who are willing to be accountable for their actions: people with insight into others, who can plan and act under pressure, especially in the face of uncertainty. There is no better way to develop these abilities than through chess and other mind sports.

Risk and reward

A background in chess may prove better preparation for business success than even an MBA or a PhD. In 1990 Bankers Trust, a leading US financial institution, ran advertisements in Chess Life, the world’s widest-read chess magazine, seeking talent for its trading division. The advertisements generated over 1,000 resumes; the bank interviewed 100 respondents and hired five, two of them Grand masters, the other three International Masters.

During World War Two the British Government code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park hired all the strongest UK chess masters. One of them, two times British Chess Champion, Hugh Alexander, was portrayed prominently in the recent smash hit film about the breaking of the Nazi codes – The Imitation Game.

One of the gurus behind the Bankers Trust programme was international chess master Norman Weinstein, who became the bank’s top foreign exchange trader, before moving on to Odyssey Partners. Weinstein attributes his success to his chess background. In an interview in 1994 with Forbes, Weinstein emphasized: In chess, you learn to plan variations of play, to make a decision tree. One thing I find myself better in than most people is developing a strategy and implementing it. I’ll say, ‘If he does this, we’ll do that,’ whereas many very, very bright people will talk in generalities. As an example, Weinstein discussed his approach to analysing the possible break-up of the European monetary system. To make a play on this involved shorting several currencies, which is very expensive to do. So I … did a poll of traders and economists, asked them to guess the probabilities of a break-up, and ran these through the risk-return analysis. The results made it clear that it would be profitable to keep on shorting the market, despite the day-to-day losses. It paid off in about one month. He added that chess develops talent for rapidly calculating probabilities – spotting opportunities and balancing risks against rewards. At the same time, it also cultivates willingness to stick to a strategy, even when it produces losing streaks in the short run, an essential trait for investment managers and business leaders.

SKANDIA, the international finance giant, used a powerful chess theme throughout its 1995 report on value creating processes and intellectual capital. Michael Becker, a champion mental athlete and trader on the American Stock Exchange, told Forbes that chess is the ideal way to develop analytical ability. He recruits and trains traders and always looks for accomplished chess players. One of his most successful trainees is Ronald Henley, a Grandmaster who now runs his own firm. Becker says that traders with a background in mental sports consistently out-perform their colleagues.

As part of an intensive three-week leadership training course, the top 250 managers of LGT, the international banking and Investment Company, all receive daily tuition in chess and other mental sports. Gerard Quirke, European Operations Director for LGT’s asset management business, told Raymond Keene: We now have a thriving LGT International Chess Group, with people playing every day, even on electronic mail, with colleagues from all over the world. Learning to play chess as part of the course acted like aerobic exercise, but on the mind. It was like a personal fitness regime for the brain.
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Notable chess players

Alexius Comnenus, the 11th-century Byzantine Emperor, was allegedly playing chess when he was surprised by a murderous conspiracy. Being a good chess player, he managed to escape! In real life, the Aladdin of the fairy tale was a chess player, a lawyer from Samarkand in the court of Tamburlaine, the 14thcentury conqueror of much of Asia. Tamburlaine himself loved to play chess; he named his son Shah Rukh, for he was moving a rook when the birth was announced. Goethe was an avid chess player and believed that the game was essential to the cultivation of the intellect. Benjamin Franklin, another genius, was also an enthusiast – his Morals of Chess, was the first ever book on chess published in the USA. Other notable chess enthusiasts were Queen Elizabeth I, Russian Czar and founder of the Russian Navy, Peter the Great, and the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, as documented at length in Napoleon the Great, published this year by noted historian Andrew Roberts.

The rage of New York

It is a grave mistake to think that chess, the intellectual game of profound concentration and Trappist silence, is an anti-social game, or that its players are all drawn from social elites. Throughout the world its appeal is deep-rooted, and it shows that intelligence—like a cultured foot or fist—is no respecter of conditioning or class. In New York’s parks, games are played at lightning speed (only wimps need time to think), with resident hustlers pocketing an endless flow of bets. To chess traditionalists, this is startling enough. Even more significant, chess has proved itself a game, like football or boxing, that can lift poor kids out of the ghetto.

In London and Berlin, for example, the amazing new sport of Chess boxing (combining the two activities in alternate bouts) has begun to flourish. The Raging Rooks, a team from Adam Clayton Powell Junior School in Harlem, are an example. In April 1991, four students from this school in one of the most deprived areas in the whole of New York, wiped the board with teams from 60 other schools – some private and elite, and just about all of them better off than themselves – to win the US Chess Federation’s National Junior Championships. They had hardly been out of Harlem before. One of them had never even ridden in an elevator. Yet suddenly they had to get used to the full and questioning glare of the public and the media.
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