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A spectre or the real thing?

Stuart White

I wonder how many of you watch the American television drama ‘Suits’?  It’s a high-powered, high-octane American television drama set in the high-stakes world of corporate law in New York, the main protagonists all belonging to the prestigious and prosperous firm of Pearson Hardman Spectre . 

The settings epitomise everything that us hoi polloi imagine such a world to be played out in – lavish offices with views to die for, only everyone is far to busy cutting corporate throats to look out and enjoy; the characters are all dressed to the nines, the men in understated, overpriced suits from Armani, the women in clothes so classic they scream haute couture of the sort that if you have to ask ‘how much’ you can’t afford them; and the plotlines all revolve around huge conglomerates hitting their competitors or enemies with billion-dollar lawsuits which PHS inevitably wins but only after some serious legal back-stabbing, depositions and injunctions flying around for a few weeks.

Here’s how IMDB sums up the backdrop to the series:

While running from a drug deal gone bad, Mike Ross, a brilliant young college-dropout, slips into a job interview with one of New York City's best legal closers, Harvey Specter. Tired of cookie-cutter law school grads, Harvey takes a gamble by hiring Mike on the spot after he recognizes his raw talent and photographic memory. Mike and Harvey are a winning team. Even though Mike is a genius, he still has a lot to learn about law.

And while Harvey may seem like an emotionless, cold-blooded shark, Mike's sympathy and concern for their cases and clients will help remind Harvey why he went into law in the first place. Mike's other allies in the office include the firm's best paralegal Rachel and Harvey's no-nonsense assistant Donna to help him serve justice. Proving to be an irrepressible duo and invaluable to the practice, Mike and Harvey must keep their secret from everyone including managing partner Jessica and Harvey's arch nemesis Louis, who seems intent on making Mike's life as … Written by USA Network

The series premiered in 2011 and is now in its 6th season, airing locally on MNet Channel 101 and recently MNet scored something of a televisual coup by securing the services of Suits lead actor, Gabriel Macht, who plays the suave, unflappable, genius lawyer Harvey Spectre.

Macht recorded several adverts for both MNet and DSTV which are currently airing, in which he appears as his character but also appears to stand aside from, and above the role by acknowledging the power of such drama over its viewers and the close bond that an audience, their disbelief willingly suspended as they buy into the artificial world created by the scriptwriters, director, cast, set dressers, set designers and everyone involved in the lavish fairytale conjure up.

In the most striking of all the promotional clips, Macht, in costume and character, has images of other heroes both real and fictional superimposed over his face as speaks lines comparing himself to those others who have gone before him. 

So for example, over a clip of champion boxer Cassius Clay, later Mohammed Ali, reminding us of his prowess, Macht asks (..when you look at me…) ‘Do you see a fighter? That’s because I’ve watched other fighters who’ve gone before me’ and over a clip of Russel Crowe in Gladiator, telling the audience ‘My name is Maximus Deciumus Meridius’ while Macht asks ‘Do you se someone who never quits?  That’s because I’ve watched others who refused to quit.’

It’s an interesting blurring of fact and fiction, real and unreal, actor and part and is possible for several reasons;  the first is the impeccable acting of Macht who is so believable, it’s hard to credit that he is not in fact a s—t-hot New York lawyer in real life, only an actor reading his lines and playing the part; second is the quality of the scripting and overall production which brings the law firm to life; and the third is the desire on us, the audience, to buy into the fiction, to wish it were fact and above all, to wish that we could become part of it; that we could land a job at Pearson Hardman Spectre, work alongside our small-screen heroes and heroines and be a part of the all the glitz, the glamour, the drama and oh, the big, big money!

Because although deep down we know that the world of corporate law is mostly dry, dusty legal legwork with colourless characters, everlastingly postponed cases, endless hours dredging through dusty tomes, hours and hours of incomprehensible legal hair splitting and regurgitation of facts from this and countless previous cases if the case ever finally comes to court and culminating in a Phyrric victory at best, a compromise between parties if the judge can’t decide or an outright loss (with costs) at worst, nonetheless we want to believe that it’s more like the scripts out of Suits.  

Moreover that if we pay close enough attention to the case law quoted and the conduct of the fictional legal team, some of their success and cleverness will rub off on us in our corporate dealings; or at the very  least, we can pretend to ourselves we’re Harvey or Mike or the ball-breaking Jessica or the all-seeing, all-knowing desirable Donna.

So yes, it is a fiction with a little faction thrown in for authenticity but for aspiring young lawyers or corporates, there are worse role models than Harvey Spectre or Jessica Pearson and if you pick up nothing more useful than their sense of style and boardroom manner, you may still go far, even though possibly not to the top floor of a prestigious office block in Lower Manhattan.  Suits me.

STUART WHITE is the Managing Director of HRMC and they can be reached on 395 1640 or at

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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