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Latest insights and trends in Personal Analytics, Operational Intelligence, and Workplace Productivity.

Jun 20
Intellectual Property

Information technology is saturating world around us, so what are we going to do with it?

To be precise I should rather say: we are saturating our world with information technology. Lots of people have tendency to personalize things and ideas, like they got little hands and legs and are doing things for themselves. No, that's us! 
We are buying radio-regulated electronic clocks, plain cell-phones or smartphones, smart-TVs, laptops, talking fridges, car navigations, or even smart-home systems. The later one is the scariest – you come and say “Alexa, I'm home" and the jam jar sized box checks the list (that you personally had created or agreed on) and turns up the heating, turns on lights here and there, switches on your TV and beeps your daughter to come down and show you that her homework is downlo…, sorry, done. Our companies are buying mail and instant messages software, surveillance cameras, card access security systems and on-line help bot-software with nice but serious girl voice that unfortunately don't understand “meet for a drink" phrase. Our municipal governments are installing post-office automatic queues, cameras to monitor every street, voting machines, parking meters, talking city buses and very intelligent street lights that do nothing no matter how impatiently you push the button. Why? Because we want them, because we like them, because they make our life easier or funnier, because they make amazing things, like telepathy, a dream like fantasy of talking through space, now available to everybody everywhere with easily accessible device (and a small fee).
 Scandinavian countries' authorities (among many others) have intentionally invested quite a lot into covering empty mountains and far-north wilderness, where nobody lives except wolves and reindeers, with cellular network antennas grid. To make the world more electronic? No, more caring, because they really, really like to be sure that every unfortunate or reckless hiker in case of troubles can call 112 for help, share his phone GPS reading and be rescued immediately, not when he's stiff and ice cold.
 And what's inside of this IT flood? Half of IT devices' purpose is communication (yes, voting machines too). I do not know who invented the idea that people staring at their screens are alone, but the only lonely teenager these days is the one with overprotective parents forcing IT access time limits on him, cutting him off his social life.

That is just the beginning thou, as Artificial Intelligence is lurking by the corner, spreading panic among crowds. Really? What happened to good old fear of natural intelligence! Let's just take it straight to the extreme – how dreadful was Albert Einstein? It's not intelligence that sometimes becomes evil, these are intentions – and AI has no intentions of its own, why would it?
Let's take a real life example. Small injustices happen to everybody from time to time: incorrect parking ticket, small frauds, being mistreated here and there. We all should have recourse to the law, but we have not – there's not enough judges for that and in half of such cases we give them up as it would need too much time, money and infinite patience to get what's fair. That is why AI court systems are being designed, which can take care of verdicts at first instance of well-defined cases, fairly and fast, like hundreds decisions per hour. One of them was immediately scrutinized by some human rights organization and accused (who would do that to a real judge) of discriminating testimonies of black, poor and female witnesses. The system was checked and it was found and proven, that being trained on a large set of current real-life cases, the AI behaviour reflected nothing else, but common attitude of human judges. I am sure, that it doesn't require much work to set the AI straight and then upload the upgrade to all involved courts to get much better results. In case of humans however, it takes years, if not ages, to set their attitudes straight and their natural resistance make impossible to update their minds.

So all that for what? For us or for these IT companies, not just five of them, but thousands, that we deservedly suspect of spreading this IT just for their profit, lately even accused of observing, noting and seizing our intellectual property in deceptive polls, quizzes, even innocently looking captcha tests to train their AI systems.
 It's Thomas Alva Edison that always comes to my mind then. Not quite a nice man, relentlessly pursuing others for his patents infringements. He has invented a lightbulb, among many other things and he did it entirely for his own profit. Now, when I buy such a bulb for one euro, I feel like I am the one to profit the most, looking forward to endless evenings with good books under his invention.

All information in this technology and all intellectual property there comes from us, people, and in the end it is coming back to us: to our homes, to our streets, even to far away wilderness – for us.  Yes, we are going to make more of it!


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