Lead story - the creepification of gamification and the crypto corruption of blockchain - where do we go from here?
This week, George Lawton unloaded on much-beloved
wildly overrated aspects of enterprise tech discourse: gamification and blockchain. George lost his first gasket (or two) in The 'creepifacation' of gamification - a killer app for generative AI to tackle the problem?:
Something creeped me out one recent week when two separate PR sources pitched me on new gamification approaches powered by Metaverse technologies.
Even the tech we once fancied can creep too far into our lives:
These days gamification seems to be creeping into every aspect of our technology, fueled by likes, notifications, badges, streaks, levels, points, miles, and dark patterns. Business leaders are clamoring to gamify the work experience and retailers to make the shopping experience more fun – or at least more profitable.
As someone who howls into the wind as frequently as anyone, I don't want to be the one to break it to George - already on edge from bad Ryan Air flights - that this particular tech train has left the station. Our attention is too fleeting, and too important, not to be constantly sought after via incessant notifications, reward incentives, and - increasingly - real-time 'opportunities' as we enter new physical locations.
But you don't have to drive your own customers bonkers. Personal example in my case: Southwest "Rapid Rewards." These rewards have material impact. Therefore I don't have to be pestered. If companies do this gamification thing right:
- It's easy to opt-out.
- It's easy to turn off notifications.
- The "rewards" are materially helpful, ensuring our buy-in.
George's notion that fighting off gamification is the "killer app" of generative AI is a fun premise, and perhaps not too far off: generative AI could be enormously helpful allowing users dictate their own preferences, without having to dig into the bowels of app settings to turn off gamification blight. For now, if you ask me, the killer app of generative AI remains generating code, with generating images in a firm second place and content in third (I'm excluding generative AI's two biggest black hat use cases, search engine gaming and disinformation-at-scale, from consideration).
George had some spleen leftover for our crypto-blockchain pals in Why blockchain is BS - calling out the crypto-mania! It's ironic that the crypto-scammers who helped to popularize blockchain, for better and worse, are also sullying it. As a relentless blockchain critic myself, it might surprise that I'm with George: the biggest loss from this crypto-scourge is losing track of a sober review of blockchain's valid use cases:
The fundamental issue is that the casino mentality driving the cryptocurrency mania completely overshadows any real value of blockchain tech innovations.
Indeed. I can vouch that out there, under the radar, some very interesting enterprise blockchain use cases do persist; some are more accurately described as distributed ledger pursuits than blockchain per se. Outside the hype cycle is often the best place to bear down on problems anyhow.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- President Biden lays out plans for implementing US National Cybersecurity Strategy - a major step forward? Time will tell. Derek: "Eighteen agencies are leading initiatives and each initiative has been assigned to a responsible agency, with a timeline for completion."
- UK Parliament calls for evidence as it launches Large Language Models investigation - the outcome of generative AI lawsuits and regulatory pressures are uncertain, but it's safe to say the temperature in the room is hot; Derek's on the case.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my top choices from our vendor coverage:
- RPA is too narrow for today's enterprise - co-CEO Rob Enslin explains how UiPath moved from RPA to an automation platform - my virtual sitdown with Enslin is a deep dive on how/why RPA needs to change, with Enslin set to assume a sole CEO role at UiPath next year.
- PagerDuty CEO - ‘With generative AI, we will go slow to go fast’ - Derek on a CEO with a different kind of generative AI message: "It was refreshing to have a CEO talk about the complexities and risks of generative AI, recognizing that perhaps caution is a competitive advantage when it is still so early in the game."
- "Not just another pane of glass" - TIBCO's no pain roadmap for large enterprise customer needs - Martin breaks down TIBCO's next moves, including "the introduction of a higher-level, single-pane management and control environment."
- Workday EMEA President Angelique de Vries on its quest for growth in Europe - Phil interviews Workday's EMEA President, including the role of Workday Extend for localization/industry needs.
A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- No more frantic timestamp hunting! How Zappos overhauled planning with Planful - Alex
- Holland & Barrett reaps healthy rewards from pivot to modern data management with AWS - Gary
Jon's grab bag - The NHS has 86 live AI projects, says NHS England AI Director - Chris filed an AI health care adoption update: "Handled ethically and appropriately, that data could be a boon for citizens, as long as the government focuses on positive outcomes rather than on monetising its greatest asset." Meanwhile, Madeline continued "What I'd say to me back then" series - Zendesk SVP Global Marketing, Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, on hiring a team to win the ‘Champions League’ of technology.
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- Oracle, SUSE Tussle with Red Hat over the Business of Open Source - On one level, Oracle and Red Hat fighting over open source is cheeseball PR popcorn drama. But on a deeper level, the stakes are more subtle, and arguably higher. Via The New Stack: "The big question on the table, then, is what this all means for the future of open source development."
- On-prem data centers are hanging in, but cloud capacity is growing much faster - Amidst media attention to 'cloud backlash' and rising cloud costs, Ron Miller reports on data that points to an underlying trend: "While on-prem data centers aren’t going away anytime soon, they are beginning to diminish as a percentage of IT spending and data center capacity, and that trend seems unstoppable."
- Network, IAM, cloud are 2023's top cybersecurity spend priorities - Louis Columbus breaks out the shifts in cybersecurity spending, and why.
- 'The world is running out of developers', says Salesforce exec - as Joe McKendrick explains, the impact of AI and automation is currently driving the need for savvy developers, not eliminating them.
- Train AI models with your own data to mitigate risks - A notable ZDNet piece includes examples of industry-based generative AI, such as agriculture. But it also calls attention to areas where data sets are limited. Can LLMs deliver strong results with smaller data sets? It's one of the bigger questions for (some) enterprise AI use cases that vendors are going to need to answer.
- Learning from Mistakes That Cost Digital Transformation Project Managers Their Jobs - Eric Kimberling finds the soft underbelly of transformation projects yet again. I'll go with poor management of vendor relationships as an underrated gotcha.
- A CIO and CTO technology guide to generative AI - A useful overview, but not without flaws:
Technology’s generational moment with generative AI: A CIO and CTO guide https://t.co/fx15vVofvU
-> Good, but I'm quite surprised "develop a precise understanding of the pro/cons of this tech as it is today, versus vendor hype" is not on here. Understanding tech is your job.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) July 16, 2023
Also seeing signs of a board vs CIO difference in agenda - boards being very careful on risk management and CIOs wanting to move with rapid speed. It's a fascinating time in tech for sure
— Vijay Vijayasankar (@vijayasankarv) July 17, 2023
Yeah, "AI appreciation day" is a thing. It happened yesterday, in case you missed the excitement:
It is beyond embarrassing that "AI appreciation day" is actually a thing but I must say I'm enjoying the valiant attempts by PR folks to get me to write about it before it's too late.
Keep trying maybe one of these will lure me in somehow... not sure though pic.twitter.com/9eBIvacQr1
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) July 14, 2023
Air taxis have hit a few snags. Now it's more like a rooftop bus terminal:
3 Challenges to Solve Before We Can Commute by Air Taxi https://t.co/UE0XPwuWxH
-> 3 small tiny challenges lol
I would call this air "mini bus" not taxi. "Air taxi" strongly implies door to door service and that is not in these plans.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) July 8, 2023
But let's just keep calling them "air taxis" because "rooftop airbus terminals" isn't all that energizing... Via Clive Boulton, some cloud backup whiffery, followed by PR whiff pile-on:
"I realize that it's not ideal that we've shut down this system"
-> if you're a customer that lost their data I'm sure "less than ideal" feels like a bit of an understatement
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) July 15, 2023
Finally, if you've been on a Zoom call with me you've met my charming/skeptical pink flamingo:
— Alex Lee 🏳️🌈 (@AlexLeeComms) July 14, 2023
Hey, at least it's more interesting than a green screen. 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.