Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003

Nicole Hayley Bilder

What if AI Fails?

Image result for self-driving cars

Despite artificial intelligence capabilities dating back to the 1940s, we still know very little about these technologies. Of course, AI from back then is far different than what we refer to as AI now; think IBM Watson, self-driving cars, etc. AI has certainly come a long way, but our understanding of it has lapsed. In fact, we know so little that we’re not quite sure how to fix it when things go wrong. When an AI technology needs debugging, technologists aren’t quite sure what to do. After all, “debugging is based on understanding,” so to debug something one doesn’t truly understand, is fairly impossible.

To complicate the issue even further, bugs in AI technologies may not make themselves apparent until it’s already done damage. With AI infiltrating our lives at a rapid pace and in drastic ways, its important that we identify bugs and fix them quickly to avoid harm. Imagine a self-driving car that had an unidentified or misunderstood bug, which cause the car to crash. It is imperative that we work on this debugging issue before AI is allowed to make fatal mistakes. How cautious should we be with AI in the meantime? Do you agree that, as some are saying, we should halt the use of autonomous cars after Uber’s crash in Arizona?




Brexit as a Potential Nonmarket Force on Innovation

With the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, “Brexit”, approaches, it is impossible for Europeans to ignore the potential benefits and costs. Perhaps one of the most ignored impacts, however, is how Brexit will affect innovation. Previously, the U.K. enjoyed simple easy collaboration with the residents of all European countries via many common regulations and reciprocities. Although the details and terms of Brexit have not yet been officiated, it is possible that the U.K. may remove itself from some or all EU designations and unions. One of the most potentially impactful memberships could be the European Economic Area. If the U.K. denounces this relationship, the movement of products, services, and people could be made much more difficult. Currently, the European Economic Area allows three non-E.U. countries the privilege of the Economic Area, so this may also be a beneficial option for the U.K. Similarly, movement of data and information may be made troublesome if the EU does not recognized the UK as a safe third country. The EU only allows personal data to be transferred outside of the EU if this designation is given. If not granted, the U.K. may be at the disadvantage of losing this information, potentially valuable to innovators. The U.K. would also be restricted from exporting personal data to the EU in this circumstance.

Other possible new inefficiencies and inconveniences include subsidiaries operating in the EU may no longer be privy to the same benefits currently granted under common regulations, and a number of EU consumer protection directives may be removed, strengthened, or weakened. Brexit could play out in many different ways, including both improving innovation and hurting innovation inside the U.K. The uncertainty regarding the details of Brexit itself could be seen as a negative nonmarket force, as uncertainty typically stifles investment, and the innovation that follows. Do you think Brexit will hurt innovation within the U.K.? Within the EU?



Why IT Shouldn’t Be a Cost Center

To realize the benefits of an efficient and innovative IT department, organizations must not look at IT as a cost center. Cost center IT is holding IT back by limiting budgets, discouraging change, and keeping the focus on back-room operations. Organization leaders are not valuing IT departments as they should be: IT should be a profit center, IT should be strategic, IT should be moving the business forward. However, as long as organizations view their IT department as a cost center, IT will not be given the funds, attention, or power to be transformative, and the organization will not realize the true value of their IT department. An IT department that is seen as a cost center is not only of little value to the organization, but it is also demotivating to the people who work in it. IT Individuals in these types of environments are unlikely to feel empowered to be innovative, and will therefore be less likely to drive change to reduce costs or increase profits. IT departments are up for the challenge of supporting their organization’s strategic objectives actively, not by just passively following commands from higher ups. If organizations allow themselves to look at their IT departments as profit centers, they will surely find value and not just high costs.

What do you think about organizations viewing IT as a cost center? Do you agree that if they shifted their view from cost center to profit center, that there would be profit to be recognized? Does this only apply to certain industries/organizations?

Source: Stop Looking at Your IT Department as a Cost Center

Where and when do we meet?
Alter Hall 603
12:30-1:50 Tuesdays and Thursdays
Office Hours
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:00 PM