Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The In-Between

 I feel pretty conflicted about IT these days. Much of my time and effort is spent trying to eliminate IT (at least in the busywork sense). This is a pretty noble goal in my opinion and the natural technological progression. As +Chris Dancy has pointed out: The robots are coming. Technical folks have been replacing mundane tasks with small scripts for ages. A lot of IT needs the same treatment.

Now here's the conflict: We can't automate all of IT. The technical folks are important and fill a vital role in an organization. If nothing else, many times they're a gatekeeper to the company's coffers when software salespeople come a-knocking.

So where does that leave me?

Good question. I don't know. I believe we need to get rid of the IT department. The purely technical cloistered environment is going away. It has to. Its self-serving, isolated, expensive, and often blind.

In my mind I see a more distributed technical team embedded within the various business units of the organization. That team works along side the people doing the work of the business, they might even have non-IT duties. The usefulness of pure IT is diminishing and the value of technical prowess will be in be in the way it can transform the way people work.

I have a great appreciation for helpdesk, systems, network, operations, all the back of house IT. I have filled all those roles simultaneously for nearly a decade now. It is Tech for Tech's sake and it will need to end for us to bring about the next era. Its time to do away with IT monks.

But while we retool, its time to reprogram a LOT of users.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Neural Networks

Since I'm a systems sort of guy it tends to flavor my thinking on topics. A challenge posed in the Back2ITSM group on G+ brought me back to an artificial intelligence course from college. Only, now with a few years separating me from it I realized AI is "us".

If we designed all our technology tools and information storage around the idea that it is a data storage pool with the purpose of warehousing data until it can be uploaded to the next neural network (someone else) how would that change the way we create technology? We still haven't built computer systems more powerful than the human brain, and even if we had we're still held back by lousy operating systems. The billions of neural networks walking around the Earth are specially built to ingest data, spot trends and patterns, and make creative decisions based on its analysis.

Sure, initializing a bunch of these neural nets takes years. But once you've got them to a certain state they're practically self programming!

I think that's the real beauty of the "social" web. Its the start of a massive neural net interface beyond what the internet started years ago. Now we need to focus on the data storage and data upload problems.