A very interesting write-up of a talk given on superintelligence. The article is quite good in that it walks smartly through the reasoning that there is concern about artificial intelligence does have the real possibility to be a problem for mankind in the future. This is a well-reasoned approach on how to think about why this is possible. If you accept the stated ideas one-by-one, then the conclusion is a real possibility.  Most interesting.

Technology Moving Forward

Two interesting articles on Medium which I wanted to highlight.

One is a 270 Terraflop computing platform that you can run at home. Seems like a lot of computing power for the ‘home’ but amazing that such is available and can be applied to some computational ideas.

Another article is about seven technologies to watch in the next year. Yes, most of these are boring lists of things we’ve already heard about but was a good list so I thought I’d highlight it.  I’ve written about self-driving cars before and they seem to be on our doorstep. I’m anxious to get one myself.

And here is a great little article on blockchain and why it is meaningful and interesting.

I’m currently reading Principles: Life and Work by Dalio which I’m loving. At work a few years ago I did some work with the team on establishing principles to govern our decisions in IT. I’ll write more about that soon and this book once I’m done.

Best wishes to you in the new year. And to those of my friends dealing with disruption and change, press on. Sometimes change is a really good thing when you leave the bad to find the better.


IT and Boards

An article in the WSJ suggests that boards are getting more interested in cybersecurity. Actually the line just below probably says it all:

Facing threat of regulation

I doubt most boards are remotely able to carry on a meaningful conversation in this area. They don’t know what questions to ask and in general, they aren’t really interested. Likely, the reports they receive are just done to show that they’ve reviewed the matter.

Cybersecurity is hard.

Been Gone for a While

There is just so much going on.

Corporate stupidity on a huge scale is rampant where decisions are being made for the short-term that do not reflect the realities of the long-term.

Where leaders are ignoring the facts and instead focusing on their narrative or their story or their view of how things ‘ought to be’ instead of reality.

Where people are clinging to their positions despite facts and realities that do not align with their viewpoints or positions.

Look, we need to listen and think about the ideas we are hearing the positions that people are taking.

Corporate directors or trustees need to think and not just listen to the narrative of the ‘trusted’ executives.

All of us need to think more about the good of all instead of the good of us individually.

Trust but verify.


Much is being written about the Equifax data hack. You can read about it here or here or here if you’ve not yet read much about it.

I saw a post on Twitter the other day that cracked me up.

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 10.34.40 AM.png

One report in the NY Times suggested that Equifax doesn’t even know who is impacted.

Here is the deal, Equifax’s business is to gather this information and sell it to 3rd parties. When you need a loan or want a new credit card, the company extending credit to you goes to this company, or ones like it, to check on your credit. They gather this information from lots of different places and you have no options to tell them to stop doing this. They are creating this database of information about you and you have no control on how they protect this most sensitive information.

We are the ones impacted by their lack of security. We are the ones further impacted by the huge delay in telling us. What was stolen is about us and it impacts us. Equifax might take a stock hit, but not much more.


This company needs to be put out of business. The class action law suit should put them out of business. There should even be clawbacks on executive compensation and stock options.  

A year of credit monitoring is not even meaningful punishment for this poor stewardship and lack of property security protection.

Company and organization leadership teams need to take the protection of confidential information seriously.  There need to be examples, like here, where the company is put out of business because of their lack of proper attention and focus. Probably the CIO will be fired, but really, the board and the senior leadership team should be fired.


Interesting Findings This Week

The best article I’ve read in the past few days is about quitting. Namely, The Quitting Economy  which you simply must read. The economy, work, jobs, and careers are changing and this article perfectly captures how to think about it. Consider:

In general, to keep stock prices high, companies not only have to pay their employees as little as possible, they must also have as temporary a workforce as their particular business can allow. The more expendable the workforce, the easier it is to expand and contract in response to short-term demands. These are market and shareholder metrics. Their dominance diminished commitment to employees, and all other commitments but to shareholders, as much as the particular industry requirements of production allow. With companies so organised, the idea of loyalty receded.

I’ve recently shared several articles @brewerma on stock options, toxic work places, and how the increasing shareholder value paradigm in business is crushing employees and societies.

The idea of caring deeply about your work and standing out from the crowd is discussed in The Benefits of Living Like a Craftsperson:

Quality. It’s when someone is so completely present for and dedicated to his or her act that they become hard to separate; they become one.

There is a wonderful article about getting up early and getting things done and how that works. Take a look at The Simple Secret to Creating a Successful Morning Routine No One Ever Talks. The site is terrific and is sharing great content.

Some interesting out of the box thinking proposing that runways should be circular instead of straight. Take a look at their video here.

A great article about The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals.

And finally a nice article on information theory entitled How Information Got Re-Invented. One of my favorite books on the subject I wrote about here.


Challenges to Autonomous Control

Great article in the New York Times about the challenges with autonomous vehicles. I continued to be fascinated by solving this problem and the resulting impacts that will have on all of us. I’ve written about it here and here and other places.

This article highlights some of the very subtle but real challenges with having an automated system control all aspects of a complicated problem. It is these boundaries or edge kind of problems that are the hard problems to solve. Things on the edge. These are the issues and problems that will delay any automation moving into the mainstream. Having a car stay between two lines is not the hard problem.

And then in the decade after these problems are solved and these vehicles are the norm, we’ll all forget how to manually drive the car because we’ve turned that problem over to the machines. Just like pilots today who are so used to autopilots that when they have to take over in a complex situation, they may not be up to the task.