Lead story - AI in the real world - the good, the bad, and the problematic
This was a week for maturing AI use cases - and
craptastic concerning ones as well.
Let's start on the good side, with Anthropology and AI - a winning combination for GainX CEO Angelique Mohring. Chris profiles an executive with a necessary goal: "GainX seeks to predict both the outcome and the hidden costs of executive decisions." Okay, so how can AI help?
Chris quotes CEO of GainX Angelique Mohring: "There's not a whole lot of anthropologists sitting at the executive level in the big companies that are driving our economies." So how can those learnings impact decision-making at scale? That's definitely a worthwhile AI goal. Meanwhile, Barb shares how the Marketing AI Institute helps marketers connect to AI resources in Marketer, meet machine! - helping marketers get a handle on AI.
On the not-so-sunny side, Neil raises serious questions in How did a proprietary AI get into hundreds of hospitals - without extensive peer reviews? The concerning story of Epic's Deterioration Index. It is troubling to see how far AI systems have made it into widescale production, without addressing fundamental questions of effectiveness and transparency. And as Neil points out, health care AI run amok is much more concerning that, say, a crappy recommendation engine:
The concerns surrounding this practice are its opacity. It is a proprietary system. What data, and what data preparation methods were applied, what algorithms, etc. are not known... What I find distressing is that Epic would develop a model, precise or not, that reduces a human being's course of treatment for a potentially deadly disease with a simple index of 1-10.
Next up: I usually mock the idea that AI will displace content creators. But in this slow burn missive, I explain why one piece got under my skin: Can AI displace content creators? For B2B content, the answer is no - but with a disconcerting asterisk. Can AI redefine content quality through "engagement" via content snacks? We shall see.
Bad or biased information has dire project consequences. That imposes its own content quality standard - and AI-created "content snacks" won't be enough.
This from a
chip-on-shoulder old school content guy like me - see what you think.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- As the cookies crumble, is first party intent data the solution companies need to explore? - Don't know about you, but I'm all set with fussing over when Google's cookie rules will change and how it helps or hurts them. Barb has a more compelling storyline: "The story is actually bigger than cookies. There is finally a recognition that it’s time to focus on the data you have to build better experiences."
- Vaccinated Retail - digital learnings from the COVID crisis hold firm at Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch - The impact of store re-openings on retailers is still early days. Will digital revenues take a hit? Stuart's on the case. So far, digital revenues seem to be holding up pretty well, but that's not the big takeaway. The bigger lesson from Stuart's analysis, as I read it, is the importance of modernizing the logistics back end, and pushing the front end further. Even if phrases like "Social Commerce" and "TikTok Influencer" scare me. Also see: Stuart's analysis of Urban Outfitters and Williams-Sonona.
- Edge computing - coming to eat your data center? Some CIO considerations - Will data centers be chewed up by the edge? Some will, some won't, says Martin - but there are issues for CIOs to deal with nonetheless.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Solid Q2 for MongoDB as cloud platform Atlas continues to drive growth - Derek on MongoDB's growth, and the half-billion run rate for the cloud-based platform Atlas. NoSQL databases for digital app building remain a factor.
- BI adoption problem? No, that's a user experience problem - Yellowfin's CEO on good (and bad) BI - If dashboards are overhyped, then what's a better approach? I get into the roots of BI problems - and solutions - with Yellow CEO Glen Rabie.
- Strong Q2 for Okta, as it accelerates integration with Auth0 - Derek on Okta's latest numbers, on the back of its $6.5 billion Auth0 acquisition in May.
- Zoom sees ‘pre-pandemic buying habits’ return as hybrid workplaces take hold - Can Zoom keep the investor infatuation going? Prognosis unclear, writes Derek: "We can't expect Zoom to continue to deliver the sort of results it did a year ago, as companies begin to assess how they think about their workplace strategies and consider their collaboration frameworks."
Jon's grab bag - Mark shares tips from the early stages of health care digitization in Lincolnshire NHS Trust CIO kicks off role with digitization of patient letters. Phil filed a instructive use case in How IT and business work together - a business systems case study from SXM Media. Winning business user trust in automation stands out: "Once people see that the outcome frees up their time, it relieves some of the anxiety they may feel that automation will take away their jobs."
Finally, Chris nabs the tell-us-how-you-really-feel award in a tight race this week, via Why urban drone deliveries are an insane idea - flying above the hype:
One pilot per drone to deliver a single low-cost packet is economically unworkable. Far more likely is a single pilot overseeing a fleet of autonomous or semi-autonomous aerial vehicles, working long shifts for the lowest acceptable wage.
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- Faced with COVID Challenges, Enterprises Increase Security Spending - Yes, well, remote work cloudholes, identity issues and malware scams do have a way of opening wallets.
- Bosses turn to ‘tattleware’ to keep tabs on employees working from home - The Guardian reports on the dark side of our remote work futures. Just how mainstream will work surveillance tools get?
- How Headless Revolutionized Content Management - Constellation's Dion Hinchcliffe shares instructive points from his headless CMS research. I take issue with the "revolutionized" part though - I don't think the underlying content being delivered by headless is good enough to justify a "revolution." Yes, you can dazzle with your "content anywhere" delivery, but if your enterprise content is stale, so will your headless system be.
- Don’t let digital burn-out kill your career - Phil Fersht of HfS struck a chord with this tonic for video hangovers everywhere. As I posted on LinkedIn, I'd add one more: "#11 develop your own IP. Share widely to burnish your industry reputation. Don't confuse horsing around on social media with real influence - real influence comes from IP."
- What is the ROI of Organizational Change Management and How to Develop a Business Case - Eric Kimberling on his valiant quest to quantify change management, before more techno-wonderful projects hit the skids.
- Dynamic talent allocation and the future of work - "'Flow to work' operating models match scarce skills to high-priority work." Sounds good McKinsey, but is it working? To their credit, they bring real-world examples: "Designing an operating model around groups of skills, it brings into sharp focus where gaps exist." Unfortunately, in the US, we still have the rough contradiction of millions of job openings, and millions of workers looking. As per hits/misses reader Clive Boulton, The Wall Street Journal points the finger at automated screening systems.
- Musk says Tesla's self-driving software update 'not great' - A for honesty, at least - but maybe this belongs in the whiffs section...
About that Tesla thing:
Musk says Tesla's self-driving software update 'not great' https://t.co/blRhzqAHbP
"Tesla had recently come under the scrutiny of U.S. safety regulators... because of accidents where its cars crashed into stationary police cars and fire trucks."
-> no biggie... lolz
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 4, 2021
Tesla isn't the only AI tomfoolery this week. Facebook just can't avoid stepping in it. Jokes aside, AI and bias is obviously difficult to root out. Why else is Facebook still stepping in the algorithmic doo-doo after all this time?
Did I mention I'm not a fan?
Windows 11 FAQ: Release date, requirements, price -- plus when and how to upgrade https://t.co/Gnm447kftA
"For starters, there's a new user experience, with refreshed colors and icons, major changes to the Start menu and taskbar"
-> as far as when to upgrade, how 'bout never.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 4, 2021
Yeah, go ahead and make major changes to the taskbar and start menu, even though no one complained about that. Meanwhile, embed OneDrive further into Windows, even though a chorus complained about that... Who thought the memory of
no-embedded-ads-from-Hades no-frills Windows 7 would one day induce crippling nostalgia?
Oh, and in keeping with our ongoing Vaccine Economy logistics snafus, this API-driven map of McDonald's ice cream outages, via Clive Boulton, is a keeper...
Finally, shoutout to Michael Williams. You made your mark...
For me, Michael Williams was always more than Omar Little and the Wire. He was a beautiful soul, icon, and once-in-a-generation talent. Goodbye, Michael 🖤🖤🖤🖤 pic.twitter.com/SPNXEU3hJi
— Mohammed Soliman (@ThisIsSoliman) September 7, 2021
If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.