Google Dings MSFT: Marketing Motivated by Opportunism

May 21, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

While not as exciting as Jake Paul versus Mike Tyson, but the dust up is interesting. The developments leading up to this report about Google criticizing Microsoft’s security methods have a bit of history:

  1. Microsoft embraced OpenAI, Mistral, and other smart software because regulators are in meetings about regulating
  2. Google learned that after tire kicking, Apple found OpenAI (Microsoft’s pal) more suitable to the now innovation challenged iPhone. Google became a wallflower, a cute one, but a wallflower nevertheless
  3. Google faces trouble on three fronts: [a] Its own management of technology and its human resources; [b] threats to its online advertising and brokering business; and [c] challenges in cost control. (Employees get fired, and CFOs leave for a reason.)

Google is not a marketing outfit nor is it one that automatically evokes images associated with trust, data privacy, and people sensitivity. Google seized an opportunity to improve Web search. When forced to monetize, the company found inspiration in the online advertising “pay to play” ideas of Yahoo (Overture and GoTo). There was a legal dust up and Google paid up for that Eureka! moment. Then Google rode the demand for matching ads to queries. After 25 years, Google remains dependent on its semi-automated ad business. Now that business must be supplemented with enterprise cloud revenue.


Two white collar victims of legal witch hunts discuss “trust”. Good enough, MSFT Copilot.

How does the company market while the Red Alert klaxon blares into the cubicles, Google Meet sessions, and the Foosball game areas.?

The information in “Google Attacks Microsoft Cyber Failures in Effort to Steal Customers.” I wonder if Foundem and the French taxation authority might find the Google bandying about the word “steal”? I don’t know the answer to this question. The title indicates that Microsoft’s security woes, recently publicized by the US government, provide a marketing opportunity.

The article reports Google’s grand idea this way:

Government agencies that switch 500 or more users to Google Workspace Enterprise Plus for three years will get one year free and be eligible for a “significant discount” for the rest of the contract, said Andy Wen, the senior director of product management for Workspace. The Alphabet Inc. division is offering 18 months free to corporate customers that sign a three-year contract, a hefty discount after that and incident response services from Google’s Mandiant security business. All customers will receive free consulting services to help them make the switch.

The idea that Google is marketing is an interesting one. Like Telegram, Google has not been a long-time advocate of Madison Avenue advertising, marketing, and salesmanship. I was once retained by a US government agency to make a phone call to one of my “interaction points” at Google so that the director of the agency could ask a question about the quite pricey row of yellow Google Search Appliances. I made the call and obtained the required information. I also got paid. That’s some marketing in my opinion. An old person from rural Kentucky intermediating between a senior government official and a manager in one of Google’s mind boggling puzzle palace.

I want to point out that Google’s assertions about security may be overstated. One recent example is the Register’s report “Google Cloud Shows It Can Break Things for Lots of Customers – Not Just One at a Time.” Is this a security issue? My hunch is that whenever something breaks, security becomes an issue. Why? Rushed fixes may introduce additional vulnerabilities on top of the “good enough” engineering approach implemented by many high-flying, boastful, high-technology outfits. The Register says:

In the week after its astounding deletion of Australian pension fund UniSuper’s entire account, you might think Google Cloud would be on its very best behavior. Nope.

So what? When one operates at Google scale, the “what” is little more than users of 33 Google Cloud services were needful of some of that YouTube TV Zen moment stuff.

My reaction is that these giant outfits which are making clear that single points of failure are the norm in today’s online environment may not do the “fail over” or “graceful recovery” processes with the elegance of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s tuning point solo move. Google is obviously still struggling with the after effects of Microsoft’s OpenAI announcement and the flops like the Sundar & Prabhakar Comedy Show in Paris and the “smart software” producing images orthogonal to historical fact.

Online advertising expertise may not correlate with marketing finesse.

Stephen E Arnold, May 21, 2024

E2EE: Not Good Enough. So What Is Next?

May 21, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

What’s wrong with software? “

I think one !*#$ thing about the state of technology in the world today is that for so many people, their job, and therefore the thing keeping a roof over their family’s head, depends on adding features, which then incentives people to, well, add features. Not to make and maintain a good app.


Who has access to the encrypted messages? Someone. That’s why this young person is distraught as she is escorted to the police van. Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Good enough.

This statement appears in “A Rant about Phone Messaging Apps UI.” But there are some more interesting issues in messaging; specifically, E2EE or end to end encrypted messaging. The current example of talking about the wrong topic in a quite important application space is summarized in Business Insider, an estimable online publication with snappy headlines like this one: “”In the Battle of Telegram vs Signal, Elon Musk Casts Doubt on the Security of the App He Once Championed.” That write up reports as “real” news:

Signal has also made its cryptography open-source. It is widely regarded as a remarkably secure way to communicate, trusted by Jeff Bezos and Amazon executives to conduct business privately.

I want to point out that Edward Snowden “endorses” Signal. He does not use Telegram. Does he know something that others may not have tucked into their memory stack?

The Business Insider “real” news report includes this quote from a Big Dog at Signal:

“We use cryptography to keep data out of the hands of everyone but those it’s meant for (this includes protecting it from us),” Whittaker wrote. “The Signal Protocol is the gold standard in the industry for a reason–it’s been hammered and attacked for over a decade, and it continues to stand the test of time.”

Pavel Durov, the owner of Telegram, and the brother of the person like two Ph.D.’s (his brother Nikolai), suggests that Signal is insecure. Keep in mind that Mr. Durov has been the subject of some scrutiny because after telling the estimable Tucker Carlson that Telegram is about free speech. Why? Telegram blocked Ukraine’s government from using a Telegram feature to beam pro-Ukraine information into Russia. That’s a sure-fire way to make clear what country catches Mr. Durov’s attention. He did this, according to rumors reaching me from a source with links to the Ukraine, because Apple or maybe Google made him do it. Blaming the alleged US high-tech oligopolies is a good red herring and a sinky one at that.

What Telegram got to do with the complaint about “features”? In my view, Telegram has been adding features at a pace that is more rapid than Signal, WhatsApp, and a boatload of competitors. have those features created some vulnerabilities in the Telegram set up? In fact, I am not sure Telegram is a messaging platform. I also think that the company may be poised to do an end run around open sourcing its home-grown encryption method.

What does this mean? Here are a few observations:

  1. With governments working overtime to gain access to encrypted messages, Telegram may have to add some beef.
  2. Established firms and start ups are nosing into obfuscation methods that push beyond today’s encryption methods.
  3. Information about who is behind an E2EE messaging service is tough to obtain? What is easy to document with a Web search may be one of those “fake” or misinformation plays.

Net net: E2EE is getting long in the tooth. Something new is needed. If you want to get a glimpse of the future, catch my lecture about E2EE at the upcoming US government Cycon 2024 event in September. Want a preview? We have a briefing. Write benkent2020 at yahoo dot com for restrictions and prices.

Stephen E Arnold, May 21, 2024

Dexa: A New Podcast Search Engine

May 21, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo (a small percentage) dominate US search. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms host and aggregate podcast shows. The problem is neither the twain shall meet when people are searching for video or audio content. Riley Tomasek was inspired by the problem and developed the Deva app:

“Dexa is an innovative brand that brings the power of AI to your favorite podcasts. With Dexa’s AI-powered podcast assistants, you can now explore, search, and ask questions related to the knowledge shared by trusted creators. Whether you’re curious about sleep supplements, programming languages, growing an audience, or achieving financial freedom, Dexa has you covered. Dexa unlocks the wisdom of experts like Andrew Huberman, Lex Fridman, Rhonda Patrick, Shane Parrish, and many more.

With Dexa, you can explore the world of podcasts and tap into the knowledge of trusted creators in a whole new way.”

Alex Huberman of Huberman Labs picked up the app and helped it go viral.

From there the Deva team built an intuitive, complex AI-powered search engine that indexes, analyzes, and transcribes podcasts. Since Deva launched nine months ago it has 50,000 users, answered almost one million, and partnered with famous podcasters. A recent update included a chat-based interface, more search and discover options, and ability watch referenced clips in a conversation.

Deva has raised $6 million in seed money and an exclusive partnership with Huberman Lab.

Deva is still a work in progress but it responds like ChatGPT but with a focus of conveying information and searching for content. It’s an intuitive platform that cites its sources directly in the search. It’s probably an interface that will be adopted by other search engines in the future.

Whitney Grace, May 21, 2024

AI and Work: Just the Ticket for Monday Morning

May 20, 2024

dinosaur30aThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Well, here’s a cheerful essay for the average worker in a knowledge industry. “If Your Work’s Average, You’re Screwed It’s Over for You” is the ideal essay to kick off a new work week. The source of the publication is Digital Camera World. I thought traditional and digital cameras were yesterday’s news. Therefore, I surmise the author of the write up misses the good old days of Kodak film, chemicals, and really expensive retouching.


How many US government professionals will find themselves victims of good enough AI? Answer: More than than the professional photographers? Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Good enough, a standard your security systems seem to struggle to achieve.

What’s the camera-focuses (yeah, lame pun) essay report. Consider this passage:

there’s one thing that only humans can do…

Okay, one thing. I give up. What’s that? Create other humans? Write poetry? Take fentanyl and lose the ability to stand up for hours? Captain a boat near orcas who will do what they can to sink the vessel? Oh, well. What’s that one thing?

"But I think the thing that AI is going to have an impossible job of achieving is that last 1% that stands between everything [else] and what’s great. I think that that last 1%, only a human can impart that.

AI does the mediocre. Humans, I think, do the exceptional. The logic seems to point to someone in the top tier of humans will have a job. Everyone else will be standing on line to get basic income checks, pursuing crime, or reading books. Strike that. Scrolling social media. No doom required. Those not in the elite will know doom first hand.

Here’s another passage to bring some zip to a Monday morning:

What it’s [smart software] going to do is, if your work’s average, you’re screwed. It’s [having a job] over for you. Be great, because AI is going to have a really hard time being great itself.

Observations? Just that cost cutting may be Job One.

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2024

Hoot Hoot Hoot: A Xoogler Pushes the Help Button

May 20, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

The Daily Express US (?) published a remarkable story: “Former Google VP Issues Horror AI Warning As Technology Set to Leave Millions Jobless.” That’s a catchy assertion. Who is the Xoogler (that’s a former Googler for those who don’t know) that is mashing the Redder Alert siren? It is Geoffrey Hinton, who is a Big Wheel in the Land of AI.


Like a teacher with an out-of-control class, help is needed. Unfortunately pressing the big red button is performative. It is too late to get the class under control. Does AI behave like these kids? Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Good enough.

He believes that some entity has to provide a universal basic income to those people who are unable to find work because AI ate their jobs. The acronym UBI in the vernacular of a dinobaby means welfare. But those younger than I will interpret the UBI idea as something that “they” must provide.

The write up quotes the computer and AI wizard as opining:

"If you pay everybody a universal basic income, that solves the problem of them starving and not being able to pay the rent but that doesn’t solve the self-respect problem."

I like the reference to self-respect. I have not encountered too many examples in the last day or so. I have choked off the flood of “information” about the assorted trials of a former elected official, the hooligan trashing of Macy stores, and the arrest and un-arrest of a certain celebrity golfer. That’s enough of the self-respect thing for me.

The write up continues:

He added: "I am very worried about AI taking over lots of mundane jobs. That should be a good thing. It’s going to lead to a big increase in productivity, which leads to a big increase in wealth, and if that wealth was equally distributed that would be great, but it’s not going to be. "In the systems we live in, that wealth is going to go to the rich and not to the people whose jobs get lost, and that’s going to be very bad for society, I believe. It’s going to increase the gap between rich and poor, which increases the chances of right-wing populists getting elected."

Okay, that’s an interesting moment of insight from one of the people who assisted in the creation of this sprint to societal change.

I find it interesting that technology marches forward in a way that prevents smart people from peering down the road from a vantage point defined by their computer monitor and lab partners. The bird’s-eye view of a technology like AI is of interest only when the individual steps away from a Google-type outfit.

AI can hallucinate. I think it is clear that the wizards “inventing” smart software also hallucinate within their digital constructs.

What happens when the hallucinogenic wears off? For Dr. Hinton it is time to call for help. I assume the UBI help will arrive from “the government.” Will “the government” listen, get organized, and take action. Dr. Hinton, like some smart software, might be experiencing what some of his AI colleagues call hallucinating. Am I surprised? Nope. Wizards are quirky.

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2024

Germany Has Had It with Some Microsoft Products

May 20, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Can Schleswig-Holstein succeed where Munich and Lower Saxony failed? Those two German states tried switching their official IT systems from Microsoft to open source software but were forced to reverse course. Emboldened by Microsoft’s shove to adopt Windows 11 and Office 365, informed by its neighbors’ defeats, and armed with three years of planning, Germany’s northernmost state is forging ahead. The Register frames the initiative as an epic battle in, “Open Source Versus Microsoft: The New Rebellion Begins.”

With cries of “Digital Sovereignty,” Schleswig-Holstein shakes its fist at its corporate overlord. Beginning with the aptly named LibreOffice suite, these IT warriors plan to replace Microsoft products top to bottom with open source alternatives. Writer Rupert Goodwins notes open source software has improved since Munich and Lower Saxony were forced to retreat, but will that be enough? He considers:

“Microsoft has a lot of cards to play here. Schleswig-Holstein will have to maintain compatibility with Windows within its own borders, with the German federation, with Europe, and the rest of the world. If a change to Windows happens to break that compatibility, guess who picks up the pain and the bills. Microsoft wouldn’t dream of doing that deliberately, no matter how high the stakes, yet these things happen. Freedom to innovate, don’t you know. If in five years the transition is a success, the benefits to the state, the people, and open source will be immeasurable. As well as bringing data protection back to those charged with providing it, it will give European laws new teeth. It will increase expertise, funding, and opportunities for open source. Schleswig-Holstein itself will become a new hub of technical excellence in an area that intensely interests the rest of the world, in public and private organizations. Microsoft cannot afford to let this happen. Schleswig-Holstein cannot back down, now it’s made it a battle for independence.”

See the write-up for more warfare language as well as Goodwins’ likening of user agreements to the classic suzerain-vassal relationship. Will Schleswig-Holstein emerge victorious, or will mighty Microsoft prevail? Governments depend on Microsoft. The US is now putting pressure on the Softies to do something more than making Windows 11 more annoying and creating a Six Flags Over Cyber Crime with their security methods. Will anything change? Nah.

Cynthia Murrell, May 22, 2024

Googzilla Versus OpenAI: Moving Up to Pillow Fighting

May 17, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Mike Tyson is dressed in a Godzilla outfit. He looks like a short but quite capable Googzilla. He is wearing a Google hat. (I have one, but it is soiled. Bummer.) Googzilla is giving the stink eye to Sam AI-Man, who has followed health routines recommended by Huberman Lab and Anatoly, the fellow who hawks supplements after shaming gym brutes dressed as a norm core hero.


Sam AI-Man asks an important question. Googzilla seems to be baffled. But the cane underscores that he is getting old for a thunder lizard selling online advertising. Thanks, MSFT Copilot. How are the security initiatives coming along? Oh, too bad.

Now we have the first exhibition: Googzilla is taking on Sam AI-Man.

I read an analysis of this high-stakes battle in “ChatGPT 4o vs Gemini 1.5 Pro: It’s Not Even Close.” The article appeared in the delightfully named online publication “Beebom.” I am writing in Beyond Search, which is — quite frankly — a really boring name. But I am a dinobaby, and I am going to assume that Beebom has a much more tuned in owner operator.

The article illustrates a best practice in database comparison, just tweaked to provide some insights into how alike or different the Googzilla is from the AI-Man. There’s a math test. There is a follow the instructions query. There is an image test. A programming challenge. You get the idea. The article includes what a reader will need to run similar brain teasers to Googzilla and Sam AI-Man.

Who cares? Let’s get to the results.

The write up says:

It’s evidently clear that Gemini 1.5 Pro is far behind ChatGPT 4o. Even after improving the 1.5 Pro model for months while in preview, it can’t compete with the latest GPT-4o model by OpenAI. From commonsense reasoning to multimodal and coding tests, ChatGPT 4o performs intelligently and follows instructions attentively. Not to miss, OpenAI has made ChatGPT 4o free for everyone.

Welp. This statement is not going to make Googzilla happy. Anyone who plays Foosball with the beastie today will want to be alert that re-Fooses are not allowed. You lose when you what the ball out of the game.

But the sun has not set over the Googzilla computer lab. The write up opines:

The only thing going for Gemini 1.5 Pro is the massive context window with support for up to 1 million tokens. In addition, you can upload videos too which is an advantage. However, since the model is not very smart, I am not sure many would like to use it just for the larger context window.

I chuckled at the last line of the write up:

If Google has to compete with OpenAI, a substantial leap is required.

Several observations:

  1. Who knows the names of the “new” products Google rolled out?
  2. With numerous “new” products, has Google a grand vision or is it one of those high school stunts in which passengers in a luxury car jump out and run around the car shouting. Then the car drives off?
  3. Will Google’s management align its AI with its staff management methods in the context of the regulatory scrutiny?
  4. Where’s DeepMind in this somewhat confusing flood of “new” smart products?

Net net: Google is definitely showing the results of having its wizards work under Code Red’s flashing lights. More pillow fights ahead. (Can you list the “new” products announced at Google I/O? Don’t worry. Neither can I.)

Stephen E Arnold, May 17, 2024

IBM: A Management Beacon Shines Brightly

May 17, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

To be frank, I don’t know if the write up called “IBM Sued Again for Alleged Discrimination. This Time Against White Males” is on the money. I don’t really care. The item is absolutely delicious. For context, older employees were given an opportunity to train their replacements and then find their future elsewhere. I think someone told me that was “age discrimination.” True or not, a couple of interesting Web sites disappeared. These reported on the hilarious personnel management policies in place at Big Blue during the sweep of those with silver hair. Hey, as a dinobaby, I know getting older adds a cost burden to outfits who really care about their employees. Plus, old employees are not “fast,” like those whip smart 24 year olds with fancy degrees and zero common sense. I understood the desire to dump expensive employees and find cheaper, more flexible workers. Anyone can learn PL/I, but only the young can embrace the intricacies of Squarespace.

59 old time football

Old geezers and dinobabies have no place on a team of young, bright, low wage athletes. Thanks, ChatGPT. Good enough in one try. Microsoft Copilot crashed. Well, MSFT is busy with security and AI or is it AI and security. I don’t know, do you?

The cited article reports:

The complaint claims that in the pursuit of greater racial and gender diversity within the Linux distro maker, Red Hat axed senior director Allan Kingsley Wood, an employee of eight years. According to the suit, that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative within Red Hat “necessitates prioritizing skin color and race as primary hiring factors,” and this, and not other factors, led to him being laid off. Basically, Wood claims he was unfairly let go for being a White man, rather for performance or the like, because Red Hat was focused on prioritizing in an unlawfully discriminatory fashion people of other races and genders to diversify its ranks.

The impact? The professional has an opportunity to explore the greenness on the side of the fence closer to the unemployment benefits claims office. The write up concludes this way:

It’s too early to tell how likely Wood is to succeed in his case. A 2020 lawsuit against Google on similar grounds didn’t even make it to court because the plaintiff withdrew. On the other hand, IBM has been settling age-discrimination claims left and right, so perhaps we’ll see that happen here. We’ve reached out to Red Hat and AFL for further comment on the impending court battle, and we’ll update if we hear back.

I will predict the future. The parties to this legal matter (assuming it is not settled among gentlemen) will not get back to the author of the news report. In my opinion, IBM remains a paragon of outstanding personnel management.

Stephen E Arnold, May 17, 2024

Allegations about Medical Misinformation Haunt US Tech Giants

May 17, 2024

Access to legal and safe abortions also known as the fight for reproductive rights are controversial issues in the United States and countries with large Christian populations. Opposition against abortions often spread false information about the procedure. They’re also known to spread misinformation about sex education, especially birth control. Mashable shares the unfortunate story that tech giants “Meta And Google Fuel Abortion Misinformation Across Africa, Asia, And Latin America, Report Finds.”

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and MSI Reproductive Choices (MSI) released a new report that found Meta and sometimes Google restricted abortion information and disseminated misinformation and abuse in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Abortion providers are prevented placing ads globally on Google and Meta. Meta also earns revenue from anti-abortion ads bought in the US and targeted at the aforementioned areas.

MSI claims in the report that Meta removed or rejected its ads in Vietnam, Nigeria, Nepal, Mexica, Kenya, and Ghana because of “sensitive content.” Meta also has a blanket advertising restrictions on MSI’s teams in Vietnam and Nepal without explanation. Google blocked ads with the keyword “pregnancy options” in Ghana and MSI claimed they were banned from using that term in a Google Adwords campaign.

Google offered an explanation:

“Speaking to Mashable, Google representative Michael Aciman said, ‘This report does not include a single example of policy violating content on Google’s platform, nor any examples of inconsistent enforcement. Without evidence, it claims that some ads were blocked in Ghana for referencing ‘pregnancy options’. To be clear, these types of ads are not prohibited from running in Ghana – if the ads were restricted, it was likely due to our longstanding policies against targeting people based on sensitive health categories, which includes pregnancy.’”

Google and Meta have been vague and inconsistent about why they’re removing pregnancy option ads, while allowing pro-life groups the spread unchecked misinformation about abortion. Meta, Google, and other social media companies mine user information, but they do scant to protect civil liberties and human rights.

Organizations like MSI and CCDH are doing what they can to fight bad actors. It’s an uphill battle and it would be easier if social media companies helped.

Whitney Grace, May 17, 2024

Flawed AI Will Still Take Jobs

May 16, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Shocker. Organizations are using smart software which is [a] operating in an way its creators cannot explain, [b] makes up information, and [c] appears to be dominated by a handful of “above the law” outfits. Does this characterization seem unfair? No, well, stop reading. If it seems anchored in reality, you may find my comments about jobs for GenX, GenY or GenWhy?, millennials, and Alphas (I think this is what marketers call wee lads and lasses) somewhat in line with the IMF’s view of AI.


The answer is, “Your daughter should be very, very intelligent and very, very good at an in-demand skill. If she is not, then it is doom scrolling for sure. Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Do your part for the good of mankind today.

Artificial Intelligence Hitting Labour Forces Like a Tsunami – IMF Chief” screws up the metaphor. A tsunami builds, travels, dissipates. I am not sure what the headline writer thinks will dissipate in AI land. Jobs for sure. But AI seems to have some sticking power.

What does the IMF say? Here’s a bit of insight:

Artificial intelligence is likely to impact 60% of jobs in advanced economies and 40% of jobs around the world in the next two years…

So what? The IMF Big Dog adds:

“It could bring tremendous increase in productivity if we manage it well, but it can also lead to more misinformation and, of course, more inequality in our society.”

Could. I think it will but for those who know their way around AI and are in the tippy top of smart people. ATM users, TikTok consumers, and those who think school is stupid may not emerge as winners.

I find it interesting to consider what a two-tier society in the US and Western Europe will manifest. What will the people who do not have jobs do? Volunteer to work at the local animal shelter, pick up trash, or just kick back. Yeah, that’s fun.

What if one looks back over the last 50 years? When I grew up, my father had a job. My mother worked at home. I went to school. The text books were passed along year to year. The teachers grouped students by ability and segregated some students into an “advanced” track. My free time was spent outside “playing” or inside reading. When I was 15, I worked as a car hop. No mobile phones. No computer. Just radio, a record player, and a crappy black-and-white television which displayed fuzzy programs. The neighbors knew me and the other “kids.” From my eighth grade class, everyone went to college after high school. In my high school class of 1962, everyone was thinking about an advanced degree. Social was something a church sponsored. Its main feature was ice cream. After getting an advanced degree in 1965 I believe, I got a job because someone heard me give a talk about indexing Latin sermons and said, “We need you.” Easy.

A half century later, what is the landscape. AI is eliminating jobs. Many of these will be either intermediating jobs like doing email spam for a PR firm’s client or doing legal research. In the future, knowledge work will move up the Great Chain of Being. Most won’t be able to do the climbing to make it up to a rung with decent pay, some reasonable challenges, and a bit of power.

Let’s go back to the somewhat off-the-mark tsunami metaphor. AI is going to become more reliable. The improvements will continue. Think about what an IBM PC looked like in the 1980s. Now think about the MacBook Air you or your colleague has. They are similar but not equivalent. What happens when AI systems and methods keep improving? That’s tough to predict. What’s obvious is that the improvements and innovations in smart software are not a tsunami.

I liken it more like the continuous pressure in a petroleum cracking facility. Work is placed in contact with smart software, and stuff vaporizes. The first component to be consumed are human jobs. Next, the smart software will transform “work” itself. Most work is busy work; smart software wants “real” work. As long as the electricity stays on, the impact of AI will be on-going. AI will transform. A tsunami crashes, makes a mess, and then is entropified. AI is a different and much hardier development.

The IMF is on the right track; it is just not making clear how much change is now underway.

Stephen E Arnold, May 16, 2024

Next Page »

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta