The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 253 - 2 December 2019
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In This Issue
Security of Cloud Deployments
Want to Model? Use Modeling Tools!
Automation: Opportunity or Threat?
Ethical Issues with People Recognition
Seen Recently
Claude Baudoin

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Security of Cloud Deployments
Container technology has seen a rapid adoption as a preferred "portable" deployment technology in the cloud. This was described, together with other approaches, in the OMG Cloud Working Group's Practical Guide to Cloud Deployment Technologies.

Every solution begets a problem (and vice versa) and the security of containers is a concern. Kubernetes is very popular but suffers from vulnerabilities (as almost everything else, to be fair). Fei Huang, CEO of NeuVector, described in a recent eWeek article "five key trends steering container security into the future." Caveat lector: as every article contributed by an interested party, the assessment may be intended to sell the company's products and services.
Want to Model? Use Modeling Tools!
This is another reference to an article written by people who have skin in the game, but which makes an excellent point in our opinion.

Enterprise architects, or people who model requirements or designs of software and systems, know about certain types of graphical models used to capture relationships between systems, information, processes, etc. After the "back of the envelope" stage of creating simple models, many organizations switch to what BizzDesign called the "ineffective trinity of Visio, Excel, and PowerPoint" in a webinar given on October 29. Some organizations see this as a cheap first step, but BizzDesign's Mark Lankhorst explained why enterprise architects need to focus from the start on "modeling vs. just drawing pictures, analysis vs. looking at pictures, real collaboration vs. mere publication, integration vs. copy-paste, and more." Watch the replay here.
Automation: Opportunity or Threat to Society?
In an opinion piece for the Government Technology journal (GT), entitled "The US is Unprepared for Workplace Automation," Prof. Ramesh Srinivasan of UCLA paints a dystopian view of the impact of automation on society. He starts with a forecast from Oxford University that within the next 25 years, 47% of the jobs in developed nations will disappear. He then correlates this with the disparities between salaries of blue-collar workers in the US vs. the income of the top 1%, using Amazon as an example.

The solutions he proposes include paying social media users for the data they share, giving worker councils (i.e., trade unions) more say in technology deployments, using worker co-op models for new companies, guaranteeing a basic income... and since most of these approaches, except perhaps the first one, run against the tenets of the laissez-faire economy, this gets us away from technology and into politics.

On the other hand, every technology introduction has raised the same concerns, at least since the silk weavers of Lyon smashed many of Jacquard's punch card-driven looms 200 years ago. Same issues with the steam engine, telephone, and computer. Each time, new jobs were created, the economy shifted a bit more toward services, society rearranged itself, and the average life of the resident of Lyon is surely better now than it was in 1800.

We cannot promote IoT, AI and machine learning, social media, etc., without thinking about ethical and societal issues. But viewing automation as a threat to be dealt with through what many would call "socialist" policies is probably not a winning proposition, especially in the US -- precisely the object of the article. Tell us what you think!
Ethical Issues with People Recognition
Since we just opened a can of worms about the ethical and social implications of new technologies, why not continue with a Cutter Advisor article from Curt Hall, "Thoughts on AI's Potential for Social and Economic Disruption." Curt says in the article summary that while facial recognition is gaining the most attention in terms of its potential harm, "voice recognition, gait detection, and emotion detection have similar issues associated with their deployment."

The full article requires a Cutter client login. Click on the orange "Become a Guest" button at the bottom of the page at the above link, or if you prefer, ask us to get you a copy.
Seen Recently...
"For substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources."
-- Mark Twain, tweeted by Guillaume Sempé ( @tx)
...reminding us of a colleague who was fond to say that knowledge
management consists of "stealing with pride" what someone else knows
(and that there's nothing wrong with that)