Oh, Technology. It’s Not You, It’s Us

AI can now lie to us.   Saw this item in a recent news feed:

At CEO Daily, we always try to send you into the weekend with some uplifting thoughts. But some days are harder than others (and Friday 13th is a prime example). To wit: in a poker contest in Pittsburgh right now, a machine developed by Carnegie Mellon University is beating some of the U.S.’s best human players. “The reason this…is important and not just scientifically interesting is that it will show we can program computers to be deceptive,” says professor Tuomas Sandholm. Exhibit B: Facebook is posting job ads for “neural imaging engineers” to bolster its efforts to read users’ minds. Breathe deeply and recite into the mirror – no technology is inherently either good or bad. And enjoy the weekend. Fortune

Summaries by Geoffrey Smith Geoffrey.smith@fortune.com;

Great news for those that are worried about AI taking over.

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The Content Trap

I recently listened to an interesting HBR Ideacast on a new book The Content Trap.   Essentially it is saying that “Content is King” is a myth and a trap.   Instead, we need to understand how content connects with the users/consumers of that content.

The author believes that the key is to focus on the demand side of content, not the supply side.   A twist on the Zig Ziglar’s “tuning in to radio station WIIFM”  that you should be answering  “What’s In It For Them.”  by providing content that helps them do “X”.

Gave the example of Schibsted, a Norwegian media company during the 2011 Icelandic volcano eruption that disrupted European travel.   Rather than produce content, they created created an app called Hitchhiker’s Central.

What they noticed very early on during the travel disruption was people posting messages on the website saying, how do I get from point A to point B? Is anyone going? Essentially, people just wanted to figure out ways to get from point A to point B.  They were using the website as a way to connect.

Similarly, newspapers were not “content centers”,  they were classified ad listing services connecting people.   The demise of newspaper was not that it content was free on line. Rather is was the rise of services like Craigslist.  Newspapers had derived 50% of their profits from classified revenue.

 

The book has three main premises for content:

  1. Success comes not just from creating content, or the “best content”, but from creating content that connects users. In other words, success comes from recognizing user connections.
  2. Success increasingly comes not from preserving your content at all costs, but from unearthing related opportunities close by. In other words, success comes from recognizing product connections.
  3. Success comes not from viewing content decisions or mimicking competitors’ content choices in isolation, but from recognizing them as part of a connected whole. In other words, success comes from recognizing functional connections.

Fortune- Will tech titans stand up to Trump?

Fortune Data Sheet has a report about Donald Trump’s reported invitations to a high-tech summit. The question of the day: Will any of the guests stand up to Trump or will they defer to him because of the enormous power he will soon have?

While they run through a series of potential confrontation scenarios,  the author sums up at the end the most likely scenario:  When there’s a new sheriff in town, probably better to start out on his good side. Silicon Valley is nothing if not pragmatic.

 

 

Embracing ‘Industry 4.0’

From my Fortune CEO Daily briefing:

There’s a interesting new report out from BCG this morning on “Industry 4.0” – the German’s preferred term for how big data, cloud computing, sensors, advanced analytics, augmented reality and improved robotics are dramatically changing the world of manufacturing (known in GE land as the “Industrial Internet”).

BCG surveyed 380 U.S.-based manufacturers, and found that a majority – 53% – see Industry 4.0 as a priority, but not yet a “competitive threat” to their business. The main focus for now seems to be cost reduction, and change is happening fastest in the most cost sensitive industries: semiconductors, electronics, oil and gas. The potential for product innovation, improved client service, increased revenue, etc., is so far taking a back seat.

The BCG folks argue many manufacturers are “moving too slowly to adopt Industry 4.0” and that companies taking a “wait-and-see” approach do so at their peril. The report highlights some interesting examples – for instance:

–A manufacturer of truck engines that has managed to reduce tooling time from 20 weeks to 2 weeks, and tooling costs from $10,000 to $770, by using a 3D printer to create prototypes for a water pump housing used to perform heat and pressure tests on new engines.

-A tire manufacture that has installed wireless sensors on its tires to gather data on temperature, speed, fuel consumption, and location, and will ultimately sell “tires as a service” – where customers pay by the mile, rather than the tire.

You can read the full report here.  

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

Contrast this with the hot news topic making the rounds emphasising on “saving US manufacturing jobs”.   Sounds like that more “manufacturing” will be returning, thought it will be done with fewer people than when it left or is being done offshore.