The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 266 - 16 June 2020
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In This Issue
Business, IT, and Race
IBM Shuts Down Facial Recognition
Microsoft Teams Webinars
The Women of Athena
Bridging the Digital Divide in Colombia
DDDP-20 Goes Virtual
Seen Recently
Claude Baudoin

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Business, IT, and Race

Are the IT profession in particular, and business in general, doing all we can to fight racial injustice? The next article will focus on a momentous recent decision by IBM. Hiring practices in our industry must also improve, but even with the best intent recruiters are stymied by a system that allows too few people of color to get out of schools with the right degrees. And while the spotlight is on the U.S. right now, this is not a uniquely American problem, as worldwide protests have pointed out. For a useful discussion by a publication, the Economist, that can hardly be suspected of radical leftist leanings, see "Bosses say they want to tackle racial injustice."  

IBM Shuts Down Facial Recognition Work

Arvind Krishna, who succeeded Ginni Rometty as IBM CEO a couple of months ago, did not wait long to make his mark on a key company policy decision related to current events. On June 8, Krishna sent a letter to the U.S. Congress, supporting its efforts to curb the excessive use of force by police (disproportionately aimed at black citizens). He wrote that "IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency." IBM announced that they would no longer develop or offer general-purpose facial recognition or analysis software. See more details in this Digital Trends article

Microsoft Teams Webinars
Windows Management Experts (WME) offers three short webinars related to remote team collaboration over the next month and a half:
All webinars take place from 12:00 to 12:30 pm US Eastern time (9:00-9:30 Pacific, 16:00-16:30 GMT, 18:00-18:30 Continental Europe Time).

Note: at the time of this writing, the third-party registration web site is very slow.
The "Women of Athena"
In an article published on May 5 in the online edition of Forbes Magazine, Carolina Milanesi describes the role played by a team of women at Intel (Melissa Gregg, Wendy March, and Sudha Ganesh)  to design a "laptop of the future" as part of the company's Project Athena. The team combines ethnographic research on personal identity, the melding of personal and professional lives (especially in a work-from-home context), and creating "engineering metrics that match user-centric goals."
Bridging the Digital Divide in Colombia
The government of Colombia has embarked on an ambitious project to remedy the digital isolation and education inequality of small towns and rural communities. First, it helps that Colombia has a Ministry of Information Technology and Communication. Next, the Ministry has launched a "Digital Centers" program, with a budget of 2 billion Colombian pesos or about USD 530 million, to connect 9,699 rural schools to the Internet between 2022 and 2030. Providers will be selected through competitive bids this year. For more information in Spanish, click here.
DDDP-20 Goes Virtual
As the weeks pass, the horizon at which conferences may be held in person again keeps receding. It's a bit like driving through fog. In keeping with these necessary measures the Data Driven Drilling and Production (DDDP) conference, a prime venue to discuss IoT and machine learning in the Upstream Oil & Gas industry, has moved its 2020 edition to a virtual format on October 20-21.

Here is the good news: the event will be free. So if you are in the O&G industry (even if you currently don't have a job given the current massive layoffs) and you wonder how to reduce costs, improve operations, enhance safety, monetize the data you collect, or simply augment your skill set, visit this page to learn more and register.
Seen Recently...
"Work is something you do, not somewhere you go."
-- Nimesh Jaspal, consultant, during a recent (virtual)
meeting of the Golden Gate Consultants Net
"We've all basically been on Zoom lately, and I've noticed there's all kinds of 'Zoom'ers out there. Which one are you?"
-- "VidGuy4" on Reddit, with a link to