Signals for the Future: January 2024

January 18, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Data points fly more rapidly than arrows in an Akiro Kurosawa battle scene. My research team identified several items of interest which the free lunchers collectively identified as mysterious signals for the future. Are my special librarians, computer programmers, and eager beavers prognosticators you can trust to presage the future? I advise some caution. Nevertheless, let me share their divinations with you.

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This is an illustration of John Arnold, a founder of Hartford, Connecticut, trying to discern the signals about the future of his direct descendant Stephen E Arnold. I use the same type of device, but I focus on a less ambitious time span. Thanks, MidJourney, good enough.

Enablers in the Spotlight

First, Turkey has figured out that the digital enablers which operate as Internet server providers, hosting services which offer virtual machines and crypto, developers of assorted obfuscation software are a problem. The odd orange newspaper reported in “Turkey Tightens Internet Censorship ahead of Elections.” The signal my team identified appears in this passage:

Documents seen by the Financial Times show that Turkey’s Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) told internet service providers a month ago to curtail access to more than a dozen popular virtual private network services.

If Turkey’s actions return the results the government of Turkey find acceptable, will other countries adopt a similar course of action. My dinobaby memory allowed me to point out that this is old news. China and Iran have played this face card before. One of my team pointed out, “Yes, but this time it is virtual private networks.” I asked one of the burrito eaters to see if M247 has been the subject of any chatter. What’s an M247? Good question. The answer is, “An enabler.”

AI Kills Jobs

Second, one of my hard workers pointed out that Computerworld published an article with a bold assertion. Was it a bit of puffery or was it a signal? The answer was, “A signal.”

AI to Impact 60% of Jobs in Developed Economies: IMF” points out:

The blog post points out that automation has typically impacted routine tasks. However, this is different with AI, as it can potentially affect skilled jobs. “As a result, advanced economies face greater risks from AI — but also more opportunities to leverage its benefits — compared with emerging market and developing economies,” said the blog post. The older workforce would be more vulnerable to the impact of technology than the younger college-educated workers. “Technological change may affect older workers through the need to learn new skills. Firms may not find it beneficial to invest in teaching new skills to workers with a shorter career horizon; older workers may also be less likely to engage in such training, since the perceived benefit may be limited given the limited remaining years of employment,” said the IMF report.

Life for some recently RIFed and dinobabies will be more difficult. This is a signal? My team says, “Yes, dinobaby.”

Advertising As Cancer

Final signal for this post: One of my team made a big deal out of the information in “We Removed Advertising Cookies, Here’s What Happened.” Most of the write up will thrill the lucky people who are into search engine optimization and related marketing hoo hah. The signal appears in this passage:

When third-party cookies are fully deprecated this year, there will undoubtedly be more struggles for performance marketers. Without traditional pixels or conversion signals, Google (largest ad platform in the world) struggles to find intent of web visitors to purchase.

We listened as our colleague explained: “Google is going to do whatever it can to generate more revenue. The cookie thing, combined with the ChatGPT-type of search, means that Google’s goldon goose is getting perilously close to one of those craters with chemical-laced boiling water at Yellowstone.” That’s an interesting signal. Can we hear a goose squawking now?

Make of these signals what you will. My team and I will look and listen for more.

Stephen E Arnold, January 18, 2024


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