Today, I happened to drop by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lecture Series where visiting Prof. Srini Devadas gave a lecture on IT in the year 2020 – Building COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE. How real…. Internet has to a large extent change the way we go about our lives. And certainly, it is expected to evolve much more vigorously over the next 10 years. Where does this leads us? Can the human race be able to make good sense of this inherent development? The good professor felt this should not be a problem for the human race. But the most important is whether we are able to attain a much higher level of collective intelligence.
WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE? Suffice if we just focus on the phrase, “We just want to be smarter together!” How well we work together, and how coherent the result is. If we work together in ways that maximize synergy, where things fit well together, and we accomplish more together than apart, then Competitive Intelligent achieved can be much higher.
In order for us to get there… Prof. Srini felt we need to push into the development of these two major areas:
- Technological network –
- where the internet forms the backbone
- the power grid supplying electricity and power across the globe
- Social & Economic network
- email communication
- network of international trade
- network of social infrastructure, like facebook, twitter and blogs
Merging these two areas of development is a MUST to get us there, but challenges are aplenty. Among the more prominent ones would be those arising within the (re)construction of these two infrastructures:
- CLOUD computing
- anywhere, anytime
- Software as a service, thus helps towards reducing costs of implementation
- CROWD computing (aka human computation)
- looking at human brains as CPUs
HAVING SAID THAT…. WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?
Perhaps listening to the good ole professor, and also from my many conversations with techies and the geeks there (mostly young peoples and still in Uni), I tend to feel our industry lacks that technological bites to take it forward. Our current sets of technology peoples, or those who manned our IT department are not able to have a good grasp of what cloud computing is all about, not to mention what is crowd computing. Therefore, it is difficult to see how our industry is able to work on developing viable applications that can interact with the ecosystem or community of users and customers.
Implementing any IT project would then depend on what’s the IT vendors are selling to us – either we put technology as part of our value delivery chain processes or we work those processes around the vendor’s supplied technology. Adopting the former may not reduce the existing resources required although it tends to reduce processing time in specific work areas only to input them back in other areas…. example would be IT bugs developing somewhere within the value chain or making users do something extras as a result of the technological shortcoming.
On the other hand adopting the latter method that built around designated technological platform, means costs may overrun as major changes to the existing processes would drag the other value chain within other departments, thus necessitating major changes within the whole organisation. That’s what makes the adoption of technology in our operations extremely difficult.
Also, programming is becoming more and more complex, thus for most times, it is expected that we must have a constant source of programming wisdom, and definitely this has to come from the expert programmers.The best way to get them would be through the clouds….. where thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousand) of programmers, each contributing bits of codes, ideas and testing scenarios guided by predefined algorithms would be more able in expanding those cloud formations. “Have I got it right?” If I am correct, why then are our industry not investing resources to better understanding those clouds?
THE NEED TO MODEL OUR OPERATION CHAIN AND BUILDING BUSINESS MODEL WITH TECHNOLOGY…
Of course to do that effectively, it can only be achieved when the operational peoples are in better controls over how those models are being shaped. In the past, operation staff are not too proficient with IT matters so it is very natural that IT personnel drives tech adoption and their implementation. However, with today sets of Gen-Y workers coming in, things are thus made easier. They are more proficient with tech matters and able to understand better the intricacies of how the web works….
This new set of workers, although not IT trained but when properly trained in operations would be the enabling factor in helping operations shape technology adoption. Did I get it right here? Operations shaping technological adoption! Or was I being incorrect here – it should be technological adoption shaping operations? Rightly or not, I am a believer that technology is always playing the enabling role and operations are the one driving the reality of business, so it is really about OPERATIONS MUST BE ABLE TO SHAPE HOW TECH IS BEING ADOPTED.
TAKING A GLIMPSE OF WHAT’S INTERESTING ABOUT APPS, APIs AND BEING A DEVELOPER…..
By the way… have you tried amazonmechanical turk, the artificial, artificial intelligent? It is actually a marketplace for work – businesses and developers can have access to a 24/7 on demand scalable workforce and workers can select from thousands of tasks and works whenever it’s convenient! A great marketplace indeed…. and this is certainly a great illustration of what is meant by a CROWD of workers working on some problems for some chicken-feed remuneration.Chicken-feed or otherwise, this is all about micro-outsourcing.
You can download the Turkit, which is an open-source TOOL for running iterative tasks on Mechanical Turk. Try it, this is fun