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Fidget spinning and the ‘big brain’ syndrome.

May 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Looking ahead into the future, some forward thinking people might ask what key skills the younger generation should develop in order to survive, thrive and succeed in tomorrow’s world. There is no doubt in their minds that the skills, qualifications and advantages of the present day will no longer suffice in the technology infused world of tomorrow.

 

image4-edit-smFor obvious reasons, any answers to this question should be taken with a pinch of salt, therefore I shan’t even venture into that minefield, but suffice to say that judging from current trends in tech (e.g. biotech, AI, IoT, data analytics, and even Blockchain), the future will be something far more dynamic and fluid than we currently imagine and it’ll challenge even the best of us to compete. However, the ability to adapt to change is probably humanity’s greatest asset, and in this case, that ability resides in mankind’s evolutionary weapon of choice – the brain. It’ll require a big enough brain to recognise, comprehend and grasp the opportunities that present themselves in a post human transition.

I say post human transition because we’ll likely need superhuman abilities to engage effectively with even a mere subset of the predicted changes to come. The enabling technologies in place today only hint at possibilities beyond which we cannot easily envisage. A few weeks ago I came across someone with the big brain outlook, and based on our conversation, I came away with a few key characteristics that can help define the big brain advantage, as follows:

  1. It’s a lonely existence – having a big brain means stepping out on a limb. Even when others are busy fretting about current and future ghosts or bogeymen, they’ll often go out alone into the dark to explore the extent of an unfolding phenomenon.
  2. It takes guts – in order to be able to step out into the unknown, you’ll need a pair of big brass balls to scare any real or perceived demons in the dark. Innovators and pioneers meet this challenge head-on and forge ahead where others fear to tread.
  3. An eclectic worldview is essential – the ability to appreciate the big picture in all its variety, diversity and pervasive interconnectedness is crucial to this mindset. Look for it in those with atypical backgrounds and experiences, e.g. that well-travelled outlier in a homogenous group.

So what has this go to do with the humble, if irritating fidget spinner? Well a fidget spinner requires some manual dexterity as well as sensory input and feedback, and it apparently helps those with certain forms of attention deficit disorders, but it has gone viral and become a fad with school age kids (& some adults) everywhere.

Bipedal locomotion, opposing thumb digits and accompanying manual dexterity are adaptions that contributed to the evolution of ‘big brained’ Homo sapiens, aka thinking man. This evolutionary advantage led to the dominance of human beings on earth. In much the same light, it could be argued that those heads-down, hunch-shouldered, smartphone-wielding people you find everywhere these days are merely taking human cultural evolution to the next level by mastering necessary digital dexterity and information processing skills required to gain that digital advantage. So next time you see a fidget-spinning, smartphone-messaging kid, be rest assured this is a fine specimen of the next phase in human evolution – Lord help us all!

Predicting the (near) Future

December 22, 2015 Leave a comment
The future is always tricky to predict and, in keeping with Star Wars season, the dark side is always there to cloud everything. But as we all know in IT the ‘Cloud’ can be pretty cool, except of course when it leaks. Last month saw the final edition of Gartner’s Symposium/ITxpo 2015 in Barcelona, and I was fortunate to attend (courtesy of my Business Unit) and bear witness to some amazing predictions about the road ahead for our beloved / beleageured IT industry.
 
Judging from the target audience, and the number of people in attendance, it is safe to say that the future is at best unpredictable, and at worst unknowable, but Gartner’s Analysts gave it a good go; making bold statements about the state of things to be, within the next 5 years or so. The following are some key messages, observations and predictions which I took away from the event.
 
1. CIOs are keen to see exactly what lies ahead.
Obviously. However, it does confirm to my mind that the future is highly mutable, especially given the amount of change to be navigated on the journey towards digital transformation. I say ‘towards’ because, from all indications, there is likely no real end-point or destination to the journey of digital transformation. The changes (and challenges / opportunities) just keep coming thick and fast, and at an increasing pace. For example, by 2017, Gartner predicts that 50% of IT spending will be outside of IT, it currently stands at 42% today, therefore CIOs must shift their approach from command and control style management to leading via influence and collaboration.
 
2. Algorithmic business is the future of digital business
A market for algorithms (i.e. snippets of code with value) will emerge where organizations and individuals will be able to: licence, exchange, sell and/or give away algorithms – Hmmm, now where have we seen or heard something like that before? Anyway, as a result, many organisations will need an ‘owner’ for Algorithms (e.g. Chief Data Officer) who’s job it’ll be to create an inventory of their algorithms, classify it (i.e. private or “core biz” and public “non-core biz” value), and oversee / govern its use.
 
3. The next level of Smart Machines
In the impending “Post App” era, which is likely to be ushered in by algorithms, people will rely on new virtual digital assistants, (i.e. imagine Siri or Cortana on steroids) to conduct transactions on their behalf. According to Gartner, “By 2020, smart agent services will follow at least 10% of people to wherever they are, providing them with services they want and need via whatever technology is available.” Also, the relationship between machines and people will initially be cooperative, then co-dependant, and ultimately competitive, as machines start to vie for the same limited resources as people.
 
4. Platforms are the way forward (and it is bimodal all the way)
A great platform will help organisations add and remove capability ‘like velcro’. It will need to incorporate Mode 2 capability in order to: fail fast on projects / cloud / on-demand / data and insight. Organisations will start to build innovation competency, e.g. via innovation labs, in order to push the Mode 2 envelope. Platform thinking will be applied at all layers (including: delivery, talent, leadership and business model) and not just on the technology / infrastructure layer.
 
5. Adaptive, People Centric Security
The role of Chief Security Officer role will change and good security roles will become more expansive and mission critical. In future, everyone gets hacked, even you, and if not then you’re probably not important. Security roles will need to act more like intelligence officers instead of policemen. Security investment models will shift from predominantly prevention based to prevention and detection capabilities, as more new and unpredictable threats become manifest. Also organisations will look to deploy People Centric Security measures (PCS) in order to cover all bases.
 
6. The holy grail of business moments and programmable business models
The economics of connections (from increased density of connections and creation of value between: business / people / things) will become evident especially when organsiations focus on delivering business moments to delight their customers. Firms will start to capitalise on their platforms to enable C2C interactions (i.e. customer-2-customer interactions) and allow people and things to create their own value. It will be the dawn of programmable business models 
 
7. The Digital Mesh and the role of wearables and IoT
One of the big winners in the near future will be the ‘digital mesh’, amplified by the explosion of wearables and IoT devices (and their interactions) in the digital mesh environment. Gartner predicts a huge market for wearables (e.g. 500M units sold in 2020 alone – for just a few particular items). Furthermore, barriers to entry will be lower and prices will fall as a result of increased competition, along with: more Apps, better APIs and improved power.
 
The above are just a few of the trends and observations I got from the event, but I hasten to add that it will be impossible to reflect over 4 days of pure content in these highlight notes, and that other equally notable trends and topics such as: IoT Architecture, Talent Acquisition and CIO/CTO Agendas, only receive honourable mentions. However, I noticed that topics such as Blockchain were not fully explored as might be expected at an event of this nature. Perhaps next year will see it covered in more depth – just my prediction.
In summary, the above are not necessarily earth shattering predictions, but taken together they point the way forward to a very different experience of technology; one that is perhaps more in line with hitherto far-fetched predictions of the Singularity, as humans become more immersed and enmeshed with machines. Forget the Post-App era, this could be the beginning of a distinctly recognisable post human era. However, as with all predictions only time will tell, and in this case, lets see where we are this time next year. I hope you have a happy holiday / festive season wherever you are.

A Chat with Hargreaves

June 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to chat with Professor Hargreaves, mainly about the aftermath of his IP Review / recommendations, including proposals for a Digital Copyright Exchange, as well as his thoughts on how best to leverage the UK’s amazing Creative Economy. It certainly provided plenty of food for thought.

Our conversation took place at NESTA’s head office, where Hargreaves is a Research Fellow and can be found working, at least once a week, with colleagues on further research activities. This, in addition to his Chair at Cardiff Business School, keeps him pretty busy, and so I came prepared with three key topics / questions around which the conversation revolved, as follows:

Q1. What’s really happening with implementation of the IP Review recommendations?

Following the successful publication of the IP Review Report, plus subsequent adoption and support by Government, various pre-legislative activities / initiatives have been set in motion to help provide more detail around the definitive steps to be taken in order to implement the recommendations.

Q2. What about the Digital Copyright Exchange?

A feasibility study, led by Richard Hooper, is currently in progress and will help to determine the realistic potential for creating a Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) capability. They recently concluded the diagnostic first phase of the study and published a report which more or less confirms, among other things, the existence of a real problem. The next phase, which started back in April is focused on identifying potential DCE solutions that can be used to address the identified issues .

Q3. What is really driving the Digital / Creative Economy?

Several things will have an impact on the digital economy, and various trends exist that will ultimately help to shape the creative economy both in the UK and abroad, including:

  • Some of the larger creative industry players are becoming more pro opportunities, as opposed to being largely focused on anti-piracy.
  • There exists a tension between global vs. nationalistic views of the Internet. However, the Internet is really a global platform, with varying levels of access / applicability, and most people will just have to learn to live with “the internet”, as well as increased transparency and the acceleration of technology-led change. E.g. HD video will eventually become as fast and easy to transfer as music or text, due to increasing bandwidth and processing power.
  • There are many opportunities for the UK creative economy, but first we’ll need to find more effective ways of measuring the real value of the creative industry. For example, one of the 13 identified creative economy sub-sectors (i.e. Craft) was reported somewhere as having zero-to-minimal economic value, despite employing some 0.4 percent of the UK’s working population. Such constraints must be overcome in order to appreciate the real impact of the digital/creative economy

These points (as well as other observations / anecdotes / insight) made this a great way to spend 45 minutes, and a key takeaway for me was that UK’s creative economy is in great shape (when compared to the rest of the world), but there is no room for complacency, and an urgent need to figure out how to take full advantage of the digital opportunities for the benefit of an increasingly critical creative economy. To do this properly, it will be absolutely necessary to achieve a proper / better understanding of the real value (not just monetary) of creativity to the UK / global economy.

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Copyright & Technology: For info: I’ll be chairing a panel at the Copyright & Technology 2012 conference which is taking place in London on Tuesday 19th of June. The topic is: Content Security Challenges in Multi-Platform Distribution, and it should provide some good insights from the panel of experts. Do register and attend, if you can make it, else I will be covering highlights of the event right here on this blog, as well as on Twitter (just follow me via @judeumeh and/or the conference hashtag: #ctlondon201

2011 in review

January 1, 2012 Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for Judeumeh’s blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Oh, and I promise to try and do better this year 🙂

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Business of Facebook

June 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Facebook is undeniably a phenomenal success given it’s ever expanding membership and mindshare of all the social networks, but even that has not provided it with the same money making prowess as Internet rivals like Google. So how and when can Facebook hope to start making some real money, or has that boat sailed already?

This and other similar hot topics were discussed by the panel at a Digital Breakfast NYC event which I attended off the back of my participation at the recent Copyright and Technology 2010 conference in New York (more on that here). The highlight of this event for me was the presence, on the panel, of David Kirkpatrick, Author of “The Facebook Effect”, a book which provides a fascinating insight into just how Mark Zuckerberg and co. formed Facebook, and the subsequent rapid journey it underwent to become the behemoth of social networks. The ensuing discussions between audience, panel, and chair touched on the many challenges confronting Facebook in its quest to become a ubiquitous platform. It also explored sore topics like privacy (“which means different things to different people and different generations”, according to panelist, Elend ), as well as Facebook’s difficulty getting into China and its huge user base of potential Facebookers.

My Verdict: Excellent event, great panel, stimulating conversation and a pleasant location (at the Madison Avenue office of the event host and sponsor), plus breakfast and an autographed copy of the book! Now that’s what I call an excellent start to the day.