2019- What Do We See?

Here are 3 areas of key importance for next year!

This is the first headline I read this morning:  Nvidia’s Alcan can generate fake human faces that look 100% real. 

With my coffee in one hand and the iPAD in the other, I contemplated for a long time what this meant. Here’s where I arrived:  Couple this capability with AI assistant-like solutions (think Alexa or Siri) and suddenly the science fiction of last century is today’s reality.

We can have computer generated individuals, who interact with us via Skype and provide answers to our service questions. With AI, they will learn from their experiences with us and be smarter each time we call.

We may never interface with a living, air breathing human being. And, unless we are told, we will probably never know it.

So, my pause over the headline was to react to the question that loomed large:  Are we ready for this?

Let’s look back at 2018 and ask ourselves what might lead us to doubt our readiness:

  • Our laws are not keeping up with technology.

Even, our lawmakers who are making laws for this new age of technology don’t know how Facebook generates its revenue.

Those same lawmakers will soon have to grapple with whether to tax robots as they begin to replace certain repetitive jobs such as a burger flipper at Caliburger in California or the barista at Café X in San Francisco. As robots take these low-end jobs, how does the government recover taxes and social security dollars generated from these replaced workers?

New technologies such as robotic processing automation (RPA) are using AI and machine learning capabilities to handle high-volume, repeatable tasks previously performed by humans.

This next wave of technology fueled by AI and ML will cause huge waves in both government and corporate infrastructures and put great pressure on all our systems.

  • Our personal data is at risk.

Corporate breaches of data sources reached an all-time high in 2017 in the US with over 1500 breaches recorded and 178 million records exposed.1   

In 2018, the number of breaches and exposed records were both trending down for the first half in the US.  In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25. On that day, both Facebook and Google were sued by a privacy advocate in Austria for $8.8B.

With more stringent regulations and higher fines at stake, companies are spending more time and money controlling data related to individual privacy and the movement of personal data across Europe.

But the requirement to protect personal data is not confined to Europe. In July, California signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act that mimics the European Union’s GDPR.  How we keep our identities and our personal data private is a challenge for everyone.

  • We are a vulnerable society.

If the Russian manipulation of our 2016 election has shown us anything, it’s that our technology has made us highly susceptible to being guided and misguided.

As a society, we no longer trust our sources, and conclude that most data are suspect.  Just look at how many fact-checking organizations check the “facts” that are communicated daily.

Despite this gloomy backdrop, there are signs of positivity for 2019, bolstered by new and old ways of managing ourselves and our businesses.

Here are 3 areas that are important for next year…