Enterprise hits and misses - Nvidia makes the accelerated computing case, digital identity sparks debate and AI security gets real

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed March 25, 2024
This week - Nvidia held an AI carnival - but what did we learn? Universal digital identity has an undeniable appeal - but red flags galore. AI's problematic role in cybersecurity comes into focus (ally, adversary, or both?) Your whiffs include a brush with greatness...


Lead story - Digital identity - is a ‘one size fits all’ ID a mistake?

Digital identity is a riddle not yet solved. In Digital identity - any ‘one size fits all’ ID would be a mistake, warns policy conference, Chris surfaces an essential debate.

The notion of a foolproof digital identity is appealing (e.g. no more passwords or tedious/hackable password "vaults.") But biometrics have their downsides, and universal IDs can become exclusionary very quickly - nevermind if you find yourself somehow locked out of one, unable to renew passports, etc. Chris quotes professor Ana Beduschi.

I think it's important to communicate all this in the field of digital identity. Digital ID systems should enshrine accountability. We should be looking at equality and questions of fairness – not just threats to privacy, but also broader and more holistic considerations of users’ rights.

Indeed. Because the bad scenarios, are, well, pretty bad. Beduschi:

If something [technical] goes wrong – if an individual cannot have their identity verified, while using an app on their phones – what happens to their access to other services they would normally use? We need to think in terms of what harm might be done to such an individual, and how they would obtain proper redress.

Digital identity policies can also widen the already-substantial digital divide. Beduschi urges transparency:

The second point I would make on these priorities moving forward, is to have clear provisions on transparency in complex mechanisms – transparency in how digital identity services will be provided, and what roles the public and private sectors would play.

Chris picks this up in part two, Digital identity - should bad behavior be flagged in reusable IDs? He concludes:

An important debate, and one that reveals that any headlong rush towards mandating portable, reusable digital IDs to access services carries risks – risks that demand consideration at the design, policy, and implementation stages, and not a mess of partial remedies after the fact.

Though this series was focused on the UK, you could easily apply these same concerns to the US or anywhere else.  My concern would be that policymakers would press on without considering the full spectrum of the issues raised here. Hashing them out now is a good start.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

  • Skillsoft CIO Orla Daly leads internal training culture - Mark Chillingworth on a CIO that puts culture first - and takes a stand against the industry's longstanding reluctance to invest in internal training versus external talent sourcing. "With a shortage of tech talent in every vertical or geographic market, the need to build up the capabilities of existing teams is essential. For the last two decades, digital leaders have, perhaps due to necessity, bought in skills as and when needed. There is a growing body of evidence that this model no longer works." Bingo!
  • Specsavers sees benefits from its remote access, AR vision - Mark Samuels brings AR back into the next-gen picture: "TeamViewer Tensor and Assist AR have helped Specsavers reduce the average handling time for each IT issue by about 15%. The technology has also helped drive up the first-contact resolution rate from 64% to 79%."
  • Not too big, not too small, but just right - size does matter when it comes to gen AI language models - Martin looks at the potential for smaller language models to deliver for the enterprise: "SLMs, new ranges of ‘lite' implementations of the leading LLMs, are now appearing from Microsoft, Meta, and  now Google with Gemma, the lite version of Gemini. For the majority of business users these are likely to be the tools they will eventually exploit. The two common sizes now are two billion and seven billion parameters, with specific reasons existing for those two sizes."

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2024 coverage - More than 12,000 attendees assembled in Paris to make sense of how AI impacts the cloud native development/engineering sensibility, as we shift from CPUs to GPUs. Chris is on the case, with wall-to-wall coverage, including:

Oracle CloudWorld London coverage - Oracle's CloudWorld road show hit London; Stuart and Derek were on the ground to document use cases, trends, and yes - gen AI customer readiness.

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Cath put out a notable series on ADHD in the workplace:

Finally, George looks at an envelope-pushing vendor in How Luminary is rethinking physics simulation for the cloud:

Luminary executives argue these legacy vendors are not taking advantage of recent innovations in GPUs or fairer and more transparent pricing models. If this is true, it will likely have as transformative an impact in simulations and digital twins as Snowflake has had on databases.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top six

  • Why adversarial AI is the cyber threat no one sees coming - Louis Columbus with another AI security wake-up call, via external threats: "Adversarial AI’s goal is to deliberately mislead AI and machine learning (ML) systems so they are worthless for the use cases they’re being designed for. Adversarial AI refers to “the use of artificial intelligence techniques to manipulate or deceive AI systems. It’s like a cunning chess player who exploits the vulnerabilities of its opponent."
  • AI is changing cybersecurity and businesses must wake up to the threat - Eileen Yu has a different angle on the same themes.
  • Nvidia's Huang lays out big picture: Blackwell GPU platform, NVLink Switch Chip, software, genAI, simulation, ecosystem - Nvidia has suddenly become not just a major tech company, but a vendor to watch closely to see where markets will turn next. Constellation's Larry Dignan has a GTC 2024 keynote roundup, re: "accelerated computing has reached the tipping point."
  • Nvidia Waves and Moats - a deeper Nvidia dive, via Ben Thompson: "The Nvidia frenzy over artificial intelligence has come to this: Chief Executive Jensen Huang unveiled his company’s latest chips on Monday in a sports arena at an event one analyst dubbed the “AI Woodstock.
  • AI and the Evolution of Social Media - another AI wake-up call, this one in the (potential) form of embedded AI ads/endorsements within generative AI output: "The biggest risk to users comes from advertising within AI chatbots. Just as Google and Meta embed ads in your search results and feeds, AI companies will be pressured to embed ads in conversations. And because those conversations will be relational and human-like, they could be more damaging. While many of us have gotten pretty good at scrolling past the ads in Amazon and Google results pages, it will be much harder to determine whether an AI chatbot is mentioning a product because it’s a good answer to your question or because the AI developer got a kickback from the manufacturer."
  • Just Jump - Lora Cecere has written many posts on why we need supply chains driven by demand signals, but in terms of connecting the dots between technical architecture and modern supply chains, this might be the best one.

Overworked businessman


I had some fun with Great Cuts:

 Reader Clive Boulton pointed me to some epic privacy policy whiffery by Glassdoor:

On a more serious note:

Finally, in the stranger-than-fiction category: Bakery Accused of Reselling Dunkin’ Doughnuts as Vegan, Gluten-Free. See you next time...

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.

Image credit - Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Leadership or Business Failure © ptnphotof - Fotolia.com - all from Adobe Stock.

Disclosure - Oracle, Workday, Confluent, SAP and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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