Acronym Shadow: Good Enough Presages the Future of US Technical Capabilities

February 6, 2020

Apps are nothing but drag and drop programming. The database stuff? A no brainer for Shadow. What other half informed generalizations contributed to the technical, managerial, and political issues with the Iowa caucus app. The New York Times, definitely a paragon of technical acumen, analyzed the situation. Navigate to “The App That Broke the Iowa Caucus.” Remember the NYT was the outfit that fumbled its original online play, ably directed my Jeff Pemberton—what, 40 years ago?—and then lost revenue by pulling its “exclusive” from the LexisNexis service a few years later. Now the NYT is a techno master, happily pointing out that failure took place.

There was no mini failure. Maybe some underhanded activity, maybe some carelessness, and maybe some “we’re experts and know what to do” thinking going on.

DarkCyber believes that the misstep, if that’s what it was, was a reminder that technical expertise and excellence are not as easy as writing a proposal, pulling some influence strings, or assuming that code actually works in the real world.

Nope, the good enough approach is operating.

But the larger message is that if the US expects to maintain a place among technology leaders, a different mind set is needed.

What is that mind set? For starters, big thinkers and MBA types must recognize that planning, attention to detail, quality checks, live tests, and making software usable are necessary.

A failure in a core democratic process is a signpost. For anyone who believes the baloney manufactured about artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and advanced analytics—good enough is not.

Is this a bright signal that American technologists cannot deliver when it matters and when those who seek to disrupt America are getting the clown show of a lifetime.

Stephen E Arnold, February 5, 2020


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