Bulletin March 23 2018. The more that things change…

It’s hard not to be a cynic as an independent industry analyst. Indeed, you are given little choice: the nature of the beast is that a bandwagon will appear, over the brow of a nearby hill, proclaiming something that (you swear) you have seen many times before as new, improved and indeed, the answer to everything. 

No, it isn’t, you say. But even in doing so, you somehow validate it. “Artificial Intelligence isn’t as straightforward as that,” one might argue, in the process helping to spin up the flywheel still faster. “AI? Thanks, I must take a look at that.” And thus, the job of the marketer is done. 

This isn’t a bad thing in itself — tech needs its greek chorus — but at the same time, it uses up bandwidth that might be spent on the things that aren’t earning the PR dollars. Most readers will remember the Green IT wave which took up so much attention in the Noughties. Hey, guess what? Sustainable IT is still a thing, it just isn’t a marketing topic. 

It also distorts reality. We are, indeed, in a wave of machine learning excitement, caused by the fact that previously unachieveable tasks are now both affordable and timely. Real-time delivery of new insights really is a thing, as are voice recognition and computer vision. 

Less so is what has been termed AI, for a stack of reasons: not only that learning and inference models still need to be scoped pretty tightly, but also because they deliver useful gen to humans, not to autonomous virtual beings with the power of reason. As per a couple of recent conversations, what we currently call AI lacks the ability to discern.

But round we go. I’ve not been against taking the marketing dollar to help vendors clarify their stories, with a shrug as I face a reality in which I’m not setting the agenda. My only advice would be, sure, acknowledge the noisy topics under discussion right now, but don’t let these obscure the ones just past. Second-mover advantage really is a thing, whatever the marketers might say. 

Lambda is an AWS internal efficiency driver. So why no private serverless models?

Continuing on the analyst theme, it can be tricky sometimes to discern what really is a big thing, from what’s actually just a cool thing. Functions as a Service (FaaS) is the latter, but some are dressing it up as the former. Between the lines of this article, I’m trying to square that circle. 

What have we learned about Facebook that we didn’t already know? 

I’ve got an ongoing train of thought about silences. By its nature, it’s a bit tricky to get one’s head around but essentially, it’s the information you can get from when people don’t comment on things, or say things… is that an endorsement or a senior moment? To whit, not wanting to leave a gap in my governance narrative, I thought I’d better say something about Facebook even though it’s been said many times. 

In other news… Plucking Different just keeps going

Still loving singing and playing in what has become an indie-focused folk ensemble… I honestly don’t know how this happened, yes, honestly: let’s face it, I’m on the other side of half way to a century and it took me by surprise. After a stonking gig on Saturday night at the Marlborough Arms in Cirencester, we’re now 19 away from 1,000 likes on Facebook. I’m not quite sure what Cambridge Analytica would make of that! Oh and the photo is taken from where we were playing. No sleep till Lechlade Festival!

On the subscription front, I have had a cull of anyone who (a) didn’t opt into this explicitly and (b) has never opened any of the newsletters. I’m left with 434 sterling folk. I thank you for reading this far, and I welcome any feedback you may have positive or otherwise.  

Until next time, Jon

Bulletin March 23 2018. The more that things change…

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