Digital Transformation

Posts I've written about Digital Transformation. Subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you don't miss anything.
Google Home and Amazon Echo
Sometimes I walk into a room and say, “Alexa, what’s the temperature outside?” She answers by speaking the current temperature followed by an abbreviated weather report. She’s so human-like, I have to resist the temptation to say “Thank you” when she finishes. Importantly, Alexa is not a she; it is a component of Amazon's Echo natural language processing system. Amazon has anthropomorphized Echo with a female voice and a feminine name, which makes it easy to call Alexa a “she.” Should we be polite when we speak to it, or is it OK to be abrupt or even abusive? The device won’t care. It doesn't have feelings; but how will we teach our children to differentiate between machines that sound and act like people, and other disembodied voices that actually are people? Continue Reading →
Blue Disco Ball
A vice president at a very large company just sent me a purchase order for a "blue disco ball." That's my metaphoric name for a specific kind of middle management error that most vendors, suppliers and even solutions providers love most. What is a "blue disco ball?" It's every senior executive's worst nightmare and every vendor's holiday bonus all rolled into a budget-busting good time. Continue Reading →
react.js screenshot
We just used a few overeducated millennials and some open-source code to get a bunch of cognitive nonrepetitive workers fired. Which sucks! Incredibly, we didn’t use AI or machine learning to do it, just imagination and some free stuff. The bad news is that unless these people learn to do higher-value cognitive nonrepetitive work, they are not going to be employable. And the really bad news is that even if they do learn to do higher-value cognitive nonrepetitive work, when we start using machine learning and AI tools to do their jobs, they will actually be unemployable. Continue Reading →
Can the Data Poor Survive?
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of companies in the world: data rich and data poor. The richest of the data rich (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, etc.) are easy to name. But you don't need to be at the top of this list to use data to create value. You need to have the tools in place to turn information (data) into action -- that's what the data rich do that the data poor and the data middle class do not. Continue Reading →
Regression
Because the velocity of data is increasing and will always increase, the need for data literacy is increasing and will always increase. This does not mean that to be successful executive you have to become a data scientist -- quite the contrary. It means that in order to be a successful executive, you need to understand how data is turned into action, be familiar with the methods of data science and data scientific research, and be able to think strategically about how to use data to create value for your business. All other things being equal, there is a significant difference between being literate and being fluent. Continue Reading →
Samsung VR App Store
How soon will TV transform from wall-mounted 4K flat-screens to a 99-cent app in a VR/AR App Store? That's a question few will ponder this week as the National Association of Broadcasters gathers in Las Vegas for the NAB Show 2016. TV has both defined and enlarged mass communication for more than a half-century. No one in their right mind would suggest that big-screen TVs might go away – ever! Well, no one ever said I was in my right mind. Continue Reading →
Instagram
Instagram recently announced the inevitable – it will transition away from its pure, lovable, chronological feed to an algorithmically calculated feed. There is all kinds of goodness in this simple idea. On the other hand, posts that the algorithm scores as "less interesting to you" (whatever that content may be) will be demoted or ultimately not shown. Free social at scale is an endangered species (this is not news). But with the Instagram transition, it is more endangered than ever. Continue Reading →
AlphaGo
What made move 37 so interesting is that no one expected it. It was early in game two of the million-dollar Google DeepMind Challenge Match, and AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence (AI) system developed by Google, placed its 19th stone on a part of the game board that no human Go master would have considered. Some called it a "mistake." Others called it "creative" and "unique." But considering that AlphaGo went on to win its third game in a row against one of the strongest Go players in the world, the move should probably have been called what it really was: "intuitive." Continue Reading →
Encryption
Apple v. FBI has started a serious debate about the line between security and privacy. The FBI says this is a case about the contents of one specific iPhone 5c. Apple says this is a case about securing data for everyone. Since current vintage iPhones (5s, 6, 6s) can not be hacked the same way, we should not be talking about a particular phone; we should be talking about encryption writ large, and how it is used in our daily lives. Continue Reading →
Apple v FBI
Apple v. FBI is headed for the Supreme Court. The problem is, I don't want the Supreme Court (or any court) empowered to make policy – that's a job for the Legislative branch. Regardless of what you think of Congress, they’d better get this one right. What it means to be a digital citizen and identifying the border between security and privacy are two of the most important issues of our time. Continue Reading →

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