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Tag: IT

Killing The Butterfly

Friday, 12 January, 2018 0 Comments

The language used by today’s innovators and entrepreneurs is continually evolving, often drawing on metaphors from the worlds of IT, consulting, R&D, enterprise, academia, social media, product development and culture. Throughout the year here, we’ll be looking at some of the more colourful terms and we’re starting with “Killing The Butterfly”.

When a startup is acquired by a bigger company that then crushes the startup’s culture, often resulting in mass employee departures, the move is called “killing the butterfly.” The said butterfly can also come to a bad end when startups and corporations collaborate on projects.

Lepidoptera, the order of insects that includes butterflies, is popular with the jargon makers. The Chrysalis Effect, for example, is used to describe the process of maturation for startups.


WTF?

Monday, 3 July, 2017 0 Comments

That’s the question Tim O’Reilly asks in his new book, which will be on shelves in October. WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us comes at a time when we’re being told that 47 percent of human tasks, including many white collar jobs, could be eliminated by automation within the next 20 years. And we’ve all heard those stories about how self driving cars and trucks will put millions of middle-class men out of work. Tim O’Reilly does not shy away from these scenarios, which have the potential to wreck societies and economies, but he’s positive about the future. Sure, we could let the machines put us out of work, but that will only happen because of a failure of human imagination and a lack of will to make a better future. As a tech-optimist, who breathes the enthusiasm of Silicon Valley, Tim O’Reilly believes that what’s impossible today will become possible with the help of the technology we now fear.

The tech thing we’re most afraid of has a name. AI.

AI, Tim O’Reilly claims, has the potential to turbocharge the productivity of all industries. Already it’s being used to analyze millions of radiology scans at a level of resolution and precision impossible for humans. It’s also helping doctors to keep up with the tsunami of medical research in ways that can’t be managed by human practitioners.

Consider another of our coming challenges: cybersecurity. The purpose of the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge was to encourage the development of AI to find and automatically patch software vulnerabilities that corporate IT teams cannot to keep up with. Given that an increasing number of cyberattacks are being automated, we will need machines to fight machines and that’s where Machine Learning can protect us.

Tim O’Reilly is a hugely successful entrepreneur, but he’s also a Valley idealist and he wants a future in which AI is not controlled by a few corporations but belongs to the Commons of mankind. For this to happens, he says we must embed ethics and security in the curriculum of every Computer Science course and every data training program. The rest of his ideas will be available in October when WTF? goes on sale.

WTF

Note: Just to show that life need not be taken too seriously, this site enables you to create your own O’Reilly book cover.


Industry four point oh/zero

Sunday, 3 January, 2016 0 Comments

Backgrounder: For people learning English, the pronunciation of the number 0 can be a challenge. Consider: tennis 30–0 (“Thirty love”); phone number 504 7721 (“five oh four double seven two one”; soccer: 3–0 (“Three nil”); temperature 0C (“zero degrees”), and, of course, the number 0.4 (“zero point four” or “nought point four”).

This brings us to what Germany calls “Industrie 4.0,” which is going to be big in 2016, especially in Davos later this month. By the way, Industrie 4.0 can be translated and pronounced as “Industry four point oh” or “Industry four point zero”, depending on one’s preference. Then there are the #hashtag rules: because spaces or punctuation in the words preceding or following a hashtag will break the link, we’re left with “#Industry40,” which looks awfully like “forty”. Oh dear.

So what is this Industry 4.0 that everyone is talking about? The German Academy of Science and Engineering, acatech, offers this definition:

“The first three industrial revolutions came about as a result of mechanisation, electricity and IT. Now, the introduction of the Internet of Things and Services into the manufacturing environment is ushering in a fourth industrial revolution. In the future, businesses will establish global networks that incorporate their machinery, warehousing systems and production facilities in the shape of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). In the manufacturing environment, these Cyber-Physical Systems comprise smart machines, storage systems and production facilities capable of autonomously exchanging information, triggering actions and controlling each other independently. Smart factories that are already beginning to appear employ a completely new approach to production. Smart products are uniquely identifiable, may be located at all times and know their own history, current status and alternative routes to achieving their target state. The embedded manufacturing systems are vertically networked with business processes within factories and enterprises and horizontally connected to dispersed value networks that can be managed in realtime ā€“ from the moment an order is placed right through to outbound logistics.”

A shorter definition might go like this: “The next stage in the organization and management of the entire manufacturing value chain process.”