The Manifestations of Fear

Late last year, I was driving south out of Tucson, Arizona to see a relic of the Cold War. Hidden in the stretches of the Sonoran desert is a small facility housing one of the most destructive creations of the US nuclear weapons program — the Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Digital Vulnerability

Do you trust your smartphone? Is there anything you would refrain from communicating or recording on your phone? If so, how do you decide where the threshold is? Each time we consider disclosing information online, we are faced with an ambiguous and dynamic tradeoff. One which we generally avoid even contemplating. And yet there are implications associated with the totality of our disclosure, especially when the Internet never forgets.

Surveillance By Default

In our hyperconnected world, does privacy even exist any longer? It’s hard to argue in the affirmative as networked devices permeate all aspects of our lives. What I find concerning is how we accept this condition. Many of the services we use are recording our digital lives en masse. Yet the details of these arrangements are constantly shifting as disclosures make clear. User privacy expectations are routinely violated and the cumulative implications of those violations are increasingly difficult to fathom.

Future Perfect

“How can we accelerate our progress toward the singularity?” After hearing this opening question, I shifted in my seat and shot up my hand. I could barely contain myself. “I want to object to the underlying premise of the question — that accelerating our progress toward the singularity is even desirable. Why do we want to endow machines with artificial general intelligence? To what end?” I scanned around the room, pausing for responses. None immediately came. I continued.

The Illusions of Understanding and Control

With the latest shooting in San Bernardino, it feels like our society is awakening to a new normal — one where the term active shooter becomes common parlance in our everyday conversation. While the senseless deaths are tragic in their own right, it is similarly tragic to watch the paralyzing and polarizing effects of fear unfold in our society.

Framing Ambiguity, Incentives, and Actions

In the mid 90s, while working in government, I was given an invaluable bit of advice from an Air Force colonel who would become a trusted advisor and a dear friend. He said: “Perspective is elusive… I’ve worked with countless Ph.D.’s that would obsess over details which did not matter in the grand scheme of things. You seem to have the ability to operate on multiple levels. Don’t lose the ability to see the bigger picture."

Understanding the Now - The Role of Data in Adaptive Organizations

It was 2005. The war in Iraq was raging. Many of us in the national security R&D community were developing responses to the deadliest threat facing US soldiers: the improvised explosive device (IED). From the perspective of the US military, the unthinkable was happening each and every day. The world’s most technologically advanced military was being dealt significant blows by insurgents making crude weapons from limited resources. How was this even possible?

Uncovering Emergent Collaboration Through Community Sensemaking - Part 4

The challenge of uncovering substantive collaborations stems from the fact that we are searching for clustering across relationship structure, social context and time. As we discussed in the previous post, our representational choices constrain the types of questions we can answer. By constructing a global interaction network, aggregating interaction activity across all locations in a Jive community, we conflated interactions occurring across a number of social contexts. This eliminated our ability to uncover clusters of interaction activity occurring in a particular social context.

Uncovering Emergent Collaboration Through Community Sensemaking - Part 3

In my previous post, we discussed the core problem of identifying groups of users engaged in substantive collaboration and began to formulate a solution based on interaction graph analysis. At the end of the post, we examined the first global interaction graph I rendered for a large multinational corporation. While it was exciting to see this global view for the first time, the global interaction graph provides negligible practical insight without additional processing.

Uncovering Emergent Collaboration Through Community Sensemaking - Part 2

In my previous post, I introduced a central question organizations ask after the deployment of a new social collaboration platform: What business value is the platform delivering for our organization? Let’s take a moment to reflect on factors that affect the resulting business value. Without question, general usability will have a significant impact. If the savviest users cannot accomplish their work in a more efficient manner, the platform has little hope of offering additional value. Users must ultimately discover how best to map their work into the platform to realize efficiency gains.