Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Yeshim Deniz, SmartBear Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Ahmad's War Provides Chance to Discuss Cloud

IT's Benefits Are Highest in the Most Forbidding Places

I had a chance to read the book, Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace, recently, published in 2005 and written by longtime NPR international correspondent Micahael Goldfarb. It is the story of a writer and teacher, Ahmad Shawkut, who suffered greatly under Saddam Hussein, then thought he had achieved intellectual freedom when Hussein was ousted, only to be murdered during the early days of the US occupation in Iraq.

The book had nothing to do with Cloud Computing, or technology for that matter, other than to offer brief descriptions of the satellite phones in use there and to note that Iraqi police stations had no computers. Its author generally maintained a measured tone throughout, with occasional bursts of rage when describing the gulf between what supercilious commentators in the US say happened versus what really did happen to many ordinary Iraqi citizens during this war.

Yet it struck me as another example of a place where IT could and should be used as a true liberating force.

IT Irony in the US and UK
There is appalling irony, and lots of it, in the US and UK today regarding how IT has been turned into a weapon by these countries' governments against their people. Ubiquitous cameras throughout London have now given the British government a perpetual view of its citizens acts and perhaps intentions, at least in their public lives. Meanwhile, in the US, domestic spying revelations no doubt form only the tip of an iceberg, and it turns out to be true that thousands of images of people's junk have been saved for future reference and who know what else.

Whatever one's opinion of Julian Assenge and WikiLeaks is, it seems that most would agree that Attorney General Eric Holder is being ludicrous with his "this is not saber rattling" threats to arrest a foreign citizen who published material at a foreign-based website. The US got to experience life as the world's lone superpower for a 12-year period from 1989 to 2001; it demonstrated that it was not the sort of imperium that would try to enslave the part of the world it couldn't obliterate, but also showed the world that it could not function as either the world's policeman or beacon of ethics.

Failure is the Only Option
The lost decade of the "aughts," precipitated financially by the Clinton administration's pursuit of Microsoft in court (go back and look, you'll see the dot-com crash started when Redmond was perceived as the evil empire), then socially by a mission that was not accomplished quite as expeditiously as the Bush administration thought, left the United States in an amazing financial mess, and seemingly toothless in international affairs.

The President flies to Denmark to try to convince sneering Euros to let Chicago have the Olympics. Fail. The Vice-President gets insulted by the country's Israeli allies in unprecedented fashion, only to accede to ever more demands. Fail. The President goes to India, begging for business from a nation with an average wealth 2% of the US. He moves onto South Korea, unable to secure the most basic trade agreement. He continues to Japan, where no one remembers even now that he was there. Fail, fail, and fail.

This is not a commentary on the President, but rather, the parlous situation the United States finds itself in today. These failures follow several decades of foreign misadventure, an increasingly obese and uneducated public that doesn't really like to vote much, and a debased media that thinks it's being destroyed by the Internet rather than by its own irrelevance.

Don't Abandon All Hope, Ye
But the great hope of IT as liberation technology lives elsewhere. It chips away at a priggish Chinese government's attempts to control it utterly. It serves as an invaluable tool for on-the-spot reporting of social disruption from Toronto to Bangkok. It is a key contributor to increased standards of living throughout the world, especially in those countries that are the most aggressive in its adoption, from Morocco and Senegal to Ukraine and Poland to Malaysia and Vietnam.

And Iraq. Ahmad Shawkut, in the book about him, was a dreamer, and an argumentative one, a guy who couldn't (wouldn't) put a lid on his opinions to save his own skin. He is not presented as wholly heroic, as the author notes the stress he put on his family and the futility of much of his utopian thinking. Mr. Shawkut loved the metaphysical, not the practical.

But he was undone by a place in which secrets and gossip pass quickly and unendingly through dark alleyways, as they have for thousands of years. If the police did, in fact, have some computers, if the populace did have wide access to the Web, if people were able to see beyond the limited horizon of the local ridgeline, then the Ahmad Shawkuts of the world could gain the influence they simply don't have today. Yes, in my opinion, Cloud Computing's potential to transform societies is even greater than its potential to transform datacenters.

One can only wish that the citizens of the US and UK can someday better restrain the power of their governments to misuse IT, just as other governments of the world can better bring IT's advantages to their citizens.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Chris Matthieu is the President & CEO of Computes, inc. He brings 30 years of experience in development and launches of disruptive technologies to create new market opportunities as well as enhance enterprise product portfolios with emerging technologies. His most recent venture was Octoblu, a cross-protocol Internet of Things (IoT) mesh network platform, acquired by Citrix. Prior to co-founding Octoblu, Chris was founder of Nodester, an open-source Node.JS PaaS which was acquired by AppFog and ...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...