Euphemizing the Valley

July 1, 2019

The Guardian newspaper revealed the terms it associates with the wild, wonderful world of Silicon Valley. “How to Speak Silicon Valley: 53 Essential Tech-Bro Terms Explained” is “your guide to understanding an industry where capitalism is euphemized. I was hoping for a 21st century version of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary. No, and the Guardian is unlikely to cause Mr. Bierce to return from Chihuahua, Mexico, to enhance and sharpen the Guardian’s work.

Let’s look at an example of Mr. Bierce’s work:

“Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.”? Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary

Now the Guardian’s 21st century approach:

Facebook (n) Your mom’s favorite social media platform.

As Mr. Bierce noted:

Pitiful: The state of an enemy or opponent after an imaginary encounter with oneself.? Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary

Stephen E Arnold, July 1, 2019

Quote to Note: Google and Instilling Artificial Intelligence

October 11, 2018

Ah, ha. Another quote to note. This time from “Google Wants to Be Taken Seriously As Enterprise Player.” I highlighted this passage:

In the keynote address, speaking to Google Cloud customers, Diane Greene, Google Cloud CEO, said: “If you think about it, AI is everybody’s biggest opportunity, and cyber security is unfortunately everybody’s biggest threat, and Google has the best of both of these.” She said AI has been a priority at Google since the company was founded. “AI is instilled into everything we do. It is completely infused into G Suite, our  applications, which gives us extra insight into how to help you infuse it into your applications.”

So about that Google Plus security breach? Instilled? Perhaps there may be some skepticism that Google will stand behind its products for commercial enterprises? This list may suggest that caution is warranted.

Stephen E Arnold, October 11, 2018

Quote to Note: More Computing Power!

January 27, 2018

I read “Microsoft Boss: World Needs More Computing Power.” The idea is a variant upon “Technology will solve our problems.” I noted this passage in the article:

The world is rapidly “running out of computing capacity”, the head of tech giant Microsoft has warned.

He allegedly revealed:

“Moore’s Law is kinda running out of steam,” Mr Nadella told assembled delegates, referring to the maxim that the power of computer chips doubles every two years.

Yep, “kinda.” Hip World Economic Forum lingo.

Stephen E Arnold, January 27, 2018

Artificial Intelligence: Horse Feathers?

December 25, 2017

I read “Artificial Intelligence More Hype Than Reality: Narayana Murthy.” The individual expressing this view is Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy. I am not sure some of the folks at Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and the hundreds of other companies touting smart software agree with Mr. Murthy’s opinion.

I found this comment interesting:

“There is this whole thing about automation and artificial intelligence. That is much more hype than the reality, at least in the software services.”

Let’s ask IBM Watson, Cortana, and Alexa. Well, maybe not. Those systems are engaged in more substantive matters.

Stephen E Arnold, December 25, 2017

Quote to Note: Google and Its Red Herrings

March 9, 2017

I read “Google Makes Such a Big Deal Out of Everything But Its Search Business.” Wake up call. Google is going on 20 years of fun and excitement in online and content processing. It’s been running the same game plan for maybe 14, 15 years. It is good that CNBC is sort of thinking about the GOOG.

In the write up, there is a quote which I noted. The rest of the write up is pretty forgettable. Here’s the statement allegedly made by Peter Thiel, founder of Palantir Technologies and adviser to the new US administration. Here’s the comment:

If you have a monopoly, you will tell people you are in a super-competitive business. And if you are in a super-competitive business, you will tell people that you have a monopoly of sorts. So for example, if you have a search company in Silicon Valley that I will not name, if you were to go around to CEOs saying, ‘We have a bigger share of the market and higher profit margins than Microsoft ever had in the 1990s,’ you wouldn’t do that…You don’t even talk about search. You say, ‘We are a technology company with an enormous space called technology, and we’re competing with Apple on smartphones, and we’re competing on self-driving cars, and there’s competition in everything we’re doing except this one thing called search, and we never talk about that.'”

Stephen E Arnold, March 9, 2017

Quote to Note: Yahoo and Sunshine

March 1, 2017

Here’s a quote I highlighted. The source is, a real journalism type outfit. The quote appeared in “How Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk and 13 Other Leaders Start the Day.” Marissa Mayer allegedly said:

Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse and the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.

Yep, with a nice golden parachute, the world may look golden. About that Yahoo security breach. Must be sunshine.

Stephen E Arnold, March 1, 2017

Quote to Note: Technology Bummer

February 17, 2017

I was surfing through Canada’s online newspapers to see what’s hot and what’s not in the world center for artificial intelligence. (Yes, I believe the Industry Canada PR about Google and Microsoft setting up smart software shops in a land where some of my relatives live.)

I read  this uplifting article: “A Flare for Self-Destruction: How Technology Is the Means, Not the Cause, of Our Demise.”

Here’s the quote I noted:

Technologies are just the enabling routes to self-destruction, not the cause.

The write up includes some comments about the cloud, offering this insight to letting other people handle one’s data:

Many computer users go along with this [cloud]  promise, because cloud storage is cheap, convenient and seemingly infinite. But this means that the company has access to our confidential information. Moreover, there is no guarantee that it will keep its side of the deal. It may get taken over, or it may go bankrupt. Moreover, if we stop our payments – or, for that matter, die – the company may render our data inaccessible, or even delete it. Perhaps “cloud computing” should be renamed “cloud-cuckoo computing.”

Let me point out that the newspaper is not pushing negativism. The article is a book review of Peter Townsend’s The Dark Side of Technology. Sounds like a fun read. Tip: Read Jacques Ellul’s Technological Bluff. It’s a spirit lifter too.

St4ephen E Arnold, February 17, 2017

Quote to Note: Google Glass Not Working Very Well

January 28, 2017

Here’s a quote to note. I have zero idea if the wizard Sergey Brin actually said what “Google Co Founder Sergey Brin: I Didn’t See AI Coming” said. Here’s the passage I highlighted:

Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google and one of the most successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, says he did not foresee the artificial intelligence revolution that has transformed the tech industry. “I didn’t pay attention to it at all, to be perfectly honest,” he said in a session at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos. “Having been trained as a computer scientist in the 90s, everybody knew that AI didn’t work. People tried it, they tried neural nets and none of it worked.”

I liked this statement as well:

“What can these things do? We don’t really know the limits,” said Brin. “It has incredible possibilities. I think it’s impossible to forecast accurately.”

I thought Google owned a stake in Recorded Future, an outfit which specializes in predictive analytics. So Google’s fancy math, its own engineering wizards, its economists, and its own promising investments provided no alerts, insights, or prognostications?

Or, and this is interesting, did Mr. Brin, the champion of Google Glass, see through them darkly?

Stephen E Arnold, January 28, 2017

Quote to Note: Forget Mobile. It Is Now Artificial Intelligence

December 2, 2016

I stumbled upon an interesting quote which I found noteworthy. Here’s the statement:

We have moved from a mobile first to an AI first world.

The statement appeared in “IT Life: Victor Lamburt, CTO Yandex Zen.” The write up references Yandex’s effort to expand its international business. The Zen project is a personalized news feed.

Stephen E Arnold, December 2, 2016

Is IBM Watson Like Microsoft Windows and Google Android? What? Huh?

November 16, 2016

Short honk. As we approach the end of 2016, I am paying attention to the prognostications for the future. I noted a stunner which I want to highlight. The source is Data Science Central’s “What Can Modern Watson Do?” (This is a heck of a question by the way. I will comment about the article in more detail next week.) For today, I want to present this statement from a mid tier consulting firm’s guru wizard savant human. Here’s the statement made in reference to IBM Watson:

David Schubmehl, an analyst at IDC compares IBMs new playbook in AI with Microsoft’s Windows in personal computing and Google’s Android OS in mobile. “IBM is trying to do the same thing with Watson,” he said, “open up a platform, make it available for others, and democratize the technology.”

Dave Schubmehl, IDC, allegedly compared IBM’s “playbook” to Microsoft Windows in personal computing and Google Android’s operating system in mobile. The hedge is the word “trying.” Yep, trying includes paying mid tier consultants to toot the Watson tuba. The premise strikes me as something a day worker in Harrod’s Creek might say; for example, the democratization of technology makes IBM Watson’s future great, maybe huge, or Number One. Yep, a day worker says this stuff frequently in rural Kentucky.

A couple of observations.

  • A playbook is not what Microsoft Windows or Google Android are. But for the fact that a “playbook” is not widely used software for consumers, the IDC logic warrants the creation of a new word for this type of logical misstep: Schubmehlian. I like that word Schubmehlian.
  • Windows has revenue. Watson does not have Windows-scale global reach, a comparable “brand,” or a subscription revenue model producing real billions every quarter. The lawyers use the phrase “but for” to help explain this type of logic. Watson is great “but for” its lack of scale, brand value, and revenue. The metaphor looks shaky, Mr. Mid Tier Consultant guru.
  • Google Android OS has market reach. The last figure I recall is that Android is the operating system on more than 80 percent of the world’s mobile devices. (The source for this magic number is none other than IDC, the same folks who generate pretty crazy numbers like how much time a professional spends looking for information each day.) Watson is great “but for” its lack of market share.

Yep, those “but fors” can be a problem. However, mid tier consultants are not paid to be right, just to sound right. Tuck this away for future reference. Watson is the new Windows AND the new Google Android OS.

Will the anti trust issues tag along? Not for a while. You can hire IDC and get this type of logic by filling out the form at this link. The result will be — how can I say it? — Schubmehlian.

Stephen E Arnold, November 16, 2016

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