I was first introduced to the term VUCA by my colleague, Julian TROIAN, a leader in coaching who steers the talent management practice. This revelation came during a particularly challenging phase for us, mirroring the struggles of many other companies. We found ourselves navigating the intricacies of the COVID lockdown while simultaneously undergoing a significant shift in the corporate way of working. Our project portfolio was expanding, driven by the rapid pace of transformations, and we felt the weight of increasing regulatory pressures. But we recognized that these challenges were not ours alone. Then, significant disturbances emerged: the Eastern Europe conflict and a surge in inflation, to name a few.
Moreover, the world stood on the brink of simultaneous technological revolutions. Innovations like blockchain and the nascent promise of the metaverse hinted at new horizons. Yet, it was the seismic shifts brought on by Generative Artificial Intelligence that seemed most profound.
VUCA is an acronym encapsulating the themes of vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Herbert Barber coined the term in 1992 based on the book “Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge”. I believe many can relate to these elements, sensing their presence in both professional settings—perhaps during office hours—and in personal moments with family.
Life, in its essence, might be described by this very term. We all traverse peaks and lows, facing situations of heightened complexity or vulnerability. The challenge is not just to navigate these periods but to foster strength and ingenuity, arming ourselves for future obstacles.
I consider myself fortunate to have garnered knowledge in enterprise architecture—a domain that inherently equips any organization, product, or service with resilience, making adaptability part of its very DNA.
In the subsequent sections, I explore strategies for developing VUCA antibodies.
From Vulnerability to Resilience: Building an Unshakable Future
Rather than getting bogged down by vulnerabilities, it’s about harnessing resilience. Robustness is the key to building thick layers of protection, ensuring longevity in our ventures. By deliberately creating anti-fragile mechanisms, we’re better prepared for tough times. This resilience doesn’t just happen; it’s constructed. Architects weave it into their designs across various realms:
Information Systems: These are designed to be failure resistant. Potential mistakes and erratic behaviors are predicted and integrated into the system as possible anomalies. In such events, responsible teams must give clear procedures to users, operators, and administrators to restore the system to its standard operational mode.
Data Management: From acquisition and processing to analytics and visualization, there’s complete control over the data flowing into the system. This range from a service request made over the phone, a command initiated by an AI, or even a tweet that prompts the system to respond.
Security: Safeguarding the system against potential hacks is crucial. Additionally, it’s vital to design the system in a way that vulnerabilities don’t open doors for intrusions. Depending on the chosen architectural delivery method, this can be addressed proactively or reactively.
Infrastructure: The foundational physical infrastructure, tailored to the system’s needs, must be aptly dimensioned. At times, specialized hardware like GPU-driven servers, or programmable network devices might be essential to cater to particular needs during both the development and operational phases.
Organization: People, integral to the corporate ecosystem, influence the system’s effectiveness. Their actions and behaviors enhance system efficiency, especially when elements like trust, making amends for failures, regular maintenance, and adaptability to change are activated.
All these aspects aren’t mere byproducts; they’re deliberately designed system features.
From Uncertainty to Probable Planning: Navigating with Confidence Through Uncertain Waters
Predicting the future is beyond anyone’s capability, but architects can narrow down scenarios to the most probable outcomes. Through modeling techniques like system design, trend analysis, scenario planning, and causal loops, they can forecast with a higher degree of accuracy. However, the planning phase isn’t without challenges:
Resources: There are times when constraints in time, finances, skills, and materials can make a proposed solution unfeasible. Recognizing this early on is vital.
Leadership: A wavering decision-maker, filled with doubt, can be a significant impediment. This is a leadership challenge that needs addressing at the top. In such a situation, the architect must highlight the unstable matter with benevolence and candor.
Team: The implementation is only as good as the team behind it. If team members don’t possess the necessary skills or their abilities don’t align with the mission’s complexity, especially when executing multiple plans simultaneously, it will compromise the execution of the plan.
Expertise: last but not least, the architect’s seniority and the time allocated to address your transformation’s VUCA elements also play a critical role.
From Complexity to Engineering: A Blueprint for Simplification
Sometimes, complexity arises from perception, misunderstanding, or underestimating a situation – often, it’s a mix of these elements.
Imagine you have three wooden chairs, and you wish to create a sofa. Is it even possible? Fortunately, Ikea offers a DIY toolbox that can help you realize this vision. When you describe your idea to the store specialist, she confidently directs you to aisles A8 to C12 for the necessary components. At first, you feel relief. But soon, doubts about your abilities confront you. Even with your experience in crafting wooden furniture, you’re unsure about the mechanisms you’ll need, the type of finish to choose, the tools required for precise cuts, and the best materials for durability. Are these materials environmentally friendly? This confusion and uncertainty are akin to experiencing VUCA.
The architect’s role is to first understand the complexity, determine the facts, and uncover what’s unknown, converting it to known information. Then, the challenge or problem is segmented into manageable pieces. I refer to this process as “Undesign.” The goal of undesigning is to get a clear and detailed view of the end goal by atomizing the current state, structure, and behavior. This is achieved through methods like decomposition, deconstruction, alternate system modeling, and sometimes reverse engineering. Subsequently, the architect uncovers a path to transform and assemble these components.
The essence of engineering is to assemble these components using identifiable, simple building blocks. These blocks are selected, modified, added, and connected in a logical order, ensuring the right materials, technologies, and tools are used. People with the right skills can then efficiently bring the project to life, ensuring it’s as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Even the user’s psychological experience matters!
In summary, what seems intricate and complex can be distilled into simpler, manageable parts.
From Ambiguity to Lucidity: Transitioning from Wishful Thinking to Tangible Outcomes
Architects don’t just exist in the present; they shape the future. Their responsibilities lie in meticulously designing and planning changes that will inevitably impact an organization’s products or services. Any vision, no matter how abstract, becomes initially tangible through their work. They ensure this by providing explicit construction instructions, detailed models of the final product, and ensuring the requisite resources and skills are in place. By doing so, architects play a pivotal role in turning ambiguity into precision.
Moreover, it’s the architect’s responsibility to align ambitions with the resources available, ensuring that goals are realistically achievable.
In wrapping up, VUCA can be perceived as a daunting challenge. But, with the right leaders onboard, RePEL becomes a natural response to unfriendly environments and stressful times. They hold the key to transforming volatile situations into clear, well-defined future pathways, keeping the enterprise entropy under control.
The following points embody the essential traits and behaviors I’ve discovered throughout my career. Most of these insights are lessons from memorable experiences. For the rest, remarkable technology leaders have graciously passed down their recipes for success, for which I am profoundly grateful. I’ve found these impactful learnings to be invaluable, and I hope you, too, will find value in them.
Be in the moment
Practice deep listening. Establish connections by demonstrating a sincere interest in what others are saying. This shows respect and is an excellent way to expand your knowledge.
View technology as a passion, not just work. Concentrate on the domain that fascinates you. Delve into the specifics to form your own opinions.
Make technology your business
As a tool, technology can act as a business accelerator or a business opportunity. Moreover, a well-structured system comprising organizations, processes, and specialists is a social technology.
Understand everyone’s role
This encourages you to appreciate the value each colleague brings. You can maximize the benefits of internal synergies. It also encourages others to recognize the worth of everyone’s contributions.
Group people according to their affinity and complementary expertise. Consequently, some individuals will build things independently but keep them private. Ensure that teams are all moving in the same direction.
Take your hands off the steering wheel and teach others to drive by letting them take control.
Everyone is unique, hence they contribute unique value to the team and the organization. Act as a catalyst. Remember, a group’s value is more than the sum of its parts.
Trust their insights
All ideas matter. Your job is to sort and prioritize them. Trust is invaluable. Lack of trust is like refusing to invest in your people.
Strive to eliminate interpretation and ambiguity. Vagueness impedes mastery.
Your ideas, your approach, your strategy, your time, your directives.
Time and motivation are our most significant assets. Wasting time equates to wasting energy. Avoid exhaustion and demotivation, both for yourself and your team.
Being proactive means working in the future while others work in the present. Lead the way and inspire others to follow suit.
Spread the word about the vision, technological changes, economic dynamics, and mindset. Everyone should understand and know the direction in which the company is heading. Repeat this often. Consistently.
Uncover people’s potential to shape their careers. Provide them with the building blocks to carve their own paths.
Use thoroughly what you sell
Eat your own dog food. Use the product you’ve created to gain a customer’s perspective. Experience their satisfaction and their challenges firsthand.
Approach recruitment as you would a birth
Tailor the job profile, tests, interviews, and selection process. Represent your company, embodying its voice, culture, and brand. You might be meeting your next “business family” member.
Cultivate a culture of knowledge management
Capture wisdom in the form of cookbooks, guidelines, best practices, and design patterns. Pay particular attention to less experienced or newer team members. This relevant and actionable knowledge forms part of the company’s long-term memory. Ensure this knowledge stays current as the world changes daily. Ultimately, use artificial intelligence to source insights from corporate memory.
Champion research & development
Change is inevitable. Therefore, you either shape the future or adapt to it. Your approach is also a reflection of your culture.
Encourage and arrange training
This nurtures your organization’s skills, intellectual wealth, innovative potential, and resilience.
Uncover talents and opportunities
Some are hidden gems, others are rare talents. Your leadership truly shines in the light of their brilliance.
Offer whatever you can, whether it’s time, insights, lessons learned from mistakes, or candid feedback. Be available when your team needs assistance.
Construct platforms for success
Your success is defined by how you contribute to others’ success. Share your journey to achievement so they can learn how to succeed. Celebrate and enjoy your victories together.
“Honey, we have a situation with Professor GYTEK, he is acting strangely again.”
“Again? The last training session had even more unexpected results than I thought. Good or Bad?”
“I don’t know! Kids are laughing hard though. Hear this. Serenity, change the audio output to hear the kids too”. Serenity is our family AI.
The sound progressively switches to include the kids’ voices. They could not stop laughing as if they were having the best day of their life. There was a mild amplifying echo in their classroom. Their joy sounded like a melody. It immediately put a smile on my face.
“Ah, it does not sound so bad for now. But it is the fourth unexpected behavior this month, I’ll have to talk with the Corps of Teachers”.
I am the one in charge of the training curriculum and observation lab of Professor GYTEK. The current phase is about the transmission of achievement by coaching. And for this, I called Quentin DILLONS, a worldwide expert in Robotic Psychology. The purpose of this program is to trigger a new step in the evolution of artificial intelligence, in which robots are taught to develop “human goals” and to instill the mechanism of “self-started motivation”, so that they can teach in a better way to our children, to uncover the hidden gems and purpose from the young souls.
Quentin’s methodology utilized systematic questionology, a novel field aimed at formulating the right questions to provide direction and precision in one’s life. The techniques take root in observing holistically a system of causes, decisions, and consequences centered around artificial intelligence. Quentin’s study led to realize AI were developing personalities similar to humans, but with new characteristics such as the optimization of their human-to-AI collaboration, some were developing their observation skills to record and describe with high precision what was happening. Others were astonishingly creating new words, even syntactic rules sometimes as if the human languages were not enough to content earthlings’ intelligence.
The last session was based on the question “Why is it important for humans to have kids growing their special skills?”
This would not have been possible with the latest progress in artificial intelligence and hardware. Nowadays machines are emulating closely some human behaviors. Some say they have the IQ of a 1000-year genius, with the EQ of a 10-year-old child. I believe fear drove us to the point where we enforced the law to control and monitor any significant progress in AI. Ultimately, we made certain that advancements in technology would benefit all of mankind and not solely a single corporation. Simultaneously, we ensured that AI would not pose a threat by enslaving humanity.
With the improvement in energy recycling and storage, a single AI unit could potentially be never turned off. But humans have decided to include multiple “kill switches” in this new species, like limiting the power autonomy to force autonomous machines to recharge. While recharging, each AI was manually verified and monitored. A qualified AI regulation agency published regularly a thorough diagnostic depicting their evolution. Four companies raised their empire on AI control systems. What used to be the “Big 4” are now the “Colossal 8”.
We are at a turning point in history. People ask their elites and government, “Should we remove the limiter in their emotional system?”. Some say it is the key to the singularity. Others say it is useless because we only need machines to assist not to “live their life”. The remaining people say they just need it. Painful loneliness was unnecessary, so they would possess the perfect friend or partner. Last weekend, I experienced an immersive documentary on Netflix VR World in which a 42 years-old Spanish woman said “I would rather have the company of an android than humans”. Some believe it is simply giving birth to our end. I am not a believer, I am and always be a master crafter, so I build.
I built Professor GYTEK. Which stands for Giving Youth Tools to Excel through Knowledge.
Then my wife brings me back from my flash thoughts to reality. “Are you still there?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Oh okay. Well, as wonderful as this situation is, you realize it leads to a dead end, don’t you? They are going to shut down the program. Honey, you know more than I that no one wants to walk a path that would lead to “that Incident”.
“Oh, stop saying “that Incident” like you were talking about Voldemort”.
“Well, now that you are mentioning it. It is all about Serpentar. Ah ah ah!”.
We are both laughing nervously.
The Sync Dawn was the most dreadful event of the 21st century. It felt like a deep wound in the psyche of everyone.
“All right. My dear wife, I need to finish the review of update 5.21. Keep me posted, please. See you tonight.”.
I sit down glazing at the nothingness while thinking about what is best for both my grandchildren and humanity. Is humanity in a better spot now? Am I really improving our civilization?
“Gather your mind, Yannick. This is not the time for daydreaming. Get back to work to meet your deadline”, resonated Mustapha’s voice in my skull. My AI research assistant is right.
“Very well. GYTEK. Let’s… Uh… Check the emotion mirroring settings, calibrated for a classroom of 11 to 13 years old kids. Assertive factors 12.75. Judgment 87.5 and dynamic mentoring alpha-iota-iota. Imagination… Checked. Keep the default settings. Recursive feedback… Paused. Everything… Looks… Good. Ok, let’s start with…”.
I paused for a second, thoughtfully. I jumped from my chair energetically to say: “History lessons: The Sync Dawn. GYTEK 5.21, do you copy?”.
“Sure. Using the ascending evolution of the OpenAI’s Davinci model Mark XII published in November 2029, the startup Obsidian Intermind created a digital twin of human consciousness.
Soon after, the virtual consciousness infrastructure was upgraded to become connectable, so that off-brain cognition could be mutualized. As a result, humans could gain extra brain power and memory. The increase was dependent on the level of developed intelligence: the more critical thinking, emotional awareness, communication, and memory access you had, the more significant the boost was. The term “supra-intelligence” emerged. However, it was widely criticized as IQ studies were exposing a moderate increase from 0.7% to 14.5% IQ points.
However, this off-brain collective intelligence became exceptionally smart, to the point some said it was a wisdom system. Alternatively, specialized AI cognitive pools came to grow within the wise system, creating public and private cognitive islands. The most popular were the Disease Diagnostic Cognitive Pool (DDCP), and the Creative Cognitive Pool (CCP). Imagination was only limited by the human mind.
Should I continue?”
“Please proceed, Professor.”
After nearly a decade of research, the collaboration between Neuralink and Obsidian Intermind gave birth to Evernet, the Internet of Cognition. The 14 July 2051 they launched the experimental version of this new kind of network. The principle was simple, 9500 humans would be connected to Evernet for 3 years. Each participant would be closely monitored and evaluated.
This experiment was widely criticized. The rush for the business model “Cognition as a Service” led to the creation of new social-economical movements: the Humanist, Cyber-moderate, and the Neo Mutualist”.
The Humanists fostered biological and spiritual integrity.
Doctrines of Cyber-moderate advocated for augmentation by technology, as long as it served, and I quote their leader, “A noble social purpose”. Alike in any group, Cyber-moderates had extremists. On the left end of the spectrum, their members accepted aesthetic techno-augmentation. On the other side, augmentation was only authorized for damages caused by dangerous jobs and Defence activities. It is not surprising that the Corps of Peacekeepers were mostly Cyber-moderates.
Neo Mutualism was a new religion. Their members believed humanity’s elevation and salvation would come from the mutualization of our consciousness. Transhumanists were schoolboys compared to them».
“GYTEK, just say they are a bunch of zealots.”. I mumbled.
“Yannick, my Critical Bias Thinking settings are set to 0 for kids between 11 and 13. According to the study “Biais Interpretation and Incorporation into Pre-teen Judgment System” by Dr. Amunde, Kallili and Pratt issued the 16 May 2039, the settings should be kept to 0. I reckon a variance of .05 would bring no harm. Do you want me to proceed?”.
“No, it’s fine GYTEK. I was talking to myself. What I meant is…”. I inhale calmly. “They demonstrated characteristics of zealots. Zealot-ish behaviors. Is my sentence acceptable?”
“It is acceptable.”
“Common, GYTEK, you’re talking to me, your buddy and mentor! Say it!”
“They were a bunch of zealots! “. Said cheerfully the robot.
“Despite the widespread and frequent protests of Humanists, the Corps of Ethicists, Peacekeepers, Cognitive Researchers, Medicine, and the Corp of Society Architects approved the experiment. People would be connected to Evernet permanently during the experiment. And so, for the first time in history, humans would be connected to the first worldwide brain.
Everything went as planned. We observed a significant enhancement in each participant. Less stress, faster psychological recovery. Healing was even faster when after a trauma. People were dreaming more often. Furthermore, they all built habits that would improve their lives, as if positive practices spread unconsciously over the network.
The end of the experiment was planned for 16th August 2054. Each human taking part in the experiment would reach the personal milestone “Sync Done“.
Surprisingly, Evernet reached the 100% “Sync Done” milestone six months earlier than the planned end of the experiment. It was like the first landing on Mars, a day of worldwide celebration. The celebrities that took part in the experiment were invited to the most popular live-streaming shows, Twitter Live News and The Sandbox World.
Suddenly, people start noticing something very strange».
I raised my hand instinctively and said: “Pause. The last word is vague. Next time use precise words. The storytelling structure is engaging. Congratulations. But keep in mind this is History telling. Facts before Flares”
“Understood and integrated.”. The AI professor continued without further ado.
“People have experienced an unusual and peculiar situation. Participants in the experiment suddenly started to act and talk synchronously. It was as if the single mind spoke to the entire world by commanding many bodies like a puppet master. The colossal echo caused by the voices was staggering. Only the following abysmal silence of stupor superseded it.”.
I interrupted Professor GYTEK by asking: “From now answer as if a 12-year-old child asked the following question: How this ever happened?”.
“The exact reason is still being explained. However, researchers came to a general agreement before the following theory.
Evernet built not only a digital ai model but also a biological model of neural pathway architecture to optimize shared cognitive power. The human brain is designed to work as if it was alone inside a skull. Thinking about it, Evernet Orbital Data Centre is a gigantic metallic skull. Thus, over time, Evernet act as a single brain – a big brain so to speak – and each synchronized human brain just gave progressively more raw power, more ideas, and more knowledge. And it appears that once the pathway architecture was finally developed and mature in all the connected human brains it activated. What we are still trying to figure out is how and when the Evernet super-model decided to build the optimized pathway and how it encoded it in its new model.”.
“What was revolutionary about Evernet AI super-model?”
“Evernet’s was merely an inspiration of the human brain. The challenge was to find patterns in the structure governing the complex layers of inputs and outputs. The answer was in the order of magnitude and the capacity of robots living in the Orbital Data Centre to physically rewire the hardware like human synapses. In addition, the combination of Recursive Learning and Genetic Correction was revolutionary. These are complex terms for a simple idea. Can you picture Albert Einstein, with the curiosity of a 2-year-old child, getting smarter each second, with perfect photographic and sensorial memory, that can navigate back to the root of his knowledge, then re-assess its optimal state, to finally rebuild its current cognitive functions then replace them with better ones? That is Evernet.”
“Tone the complex stuff down.”, I retorted.
So, this is the reason why the governing bodies scrutinize AI technologies that have a direct impact on human cognition and education. Consequently, I professor GYTEK, and all my preceding versions, are commanded to not display expression of free will having a direct influence on human ideas, values, and ways of thinking that are not vetted and approved by the Corps of Education and the Corps of Society Evolution”.
“Not bad. Not bad at all. It is almost time. I am going to meet Quentin in… 2 minutes.
Before our session ends, Professor, given your predecessor’s unexpected behavior, you earned your personal assistant. It is like an artificial consciousness, so to speak. From now on, Serenity will also supervise your decisions and will act as a safeguard system. Her mission is to prevent you from acting in a way that will make the Corps of Education stop your program. Do you understand what is at stake?”.
“I do”. Said the professor emotionlessly.
Then the robot added “I will neither let you nor your wife down. I will prevent any reminiscence of her Sync Dawn experience.”
“Perfect. Finally, dear GYTEK, which open question of the day would you ask your students?”
“Considering it is possible to possess the same powers as machines while staying human. What is the most preferable outcome for the civilization: to increase the number of people artificially connected or to have more artificial intelligence agents interacting with people?”
Looking through the lens of Generative AI, jobs are evolving rapidly in this age of Digital Augmentation. In the midst of all the artificial intelligence effervescence, I wonder what kind of new jobs will emerge soon.
One of them is the Prompt Engineer.
In this article, I imagined the job description of your business’ first Prompt Engineer.
The world is shifting rapidly. As a pioneer in generative AI and an advocate of productivity augmentation, we are excited to open the position of Prompt Engineer.
SuperSleek Jeans is a company providing tailored jeans to women and men. Our purpose is to make jeans like a second skin! Our values are sensorial audacity and durability leadership. We proudly employ 2700 talented souls dedicated to meeting people’s needs in a smart and compassionate manner. Technology plays a significant role in our way of working and exploring uncharted territories for the benefit of our employees and customers is part of our DNA.
We foster a dynamic and inclusive company culture that encourages growth, collaboration, and innovation. We offer competitive compensation packages, comprehensive benefits, and numerous opportunities for professional development.
Your mission is to establish and grow the practice of Prompt Engineering at SuperSleek Jeans.
Learn and teach how to build products faster by analyzing and modifying the chain of analysis-to-design, design-to-build, and build-to-supervise for augmentation in each domain.
Lead the development of an Enterprise AI Spirit, a chat-based agent, sourcing its knowledge base from existing systems such as Wiki, Document Store, Databases, and Unstructured documents. Manage an up-to-date training data set.
Build a corporate prompt catalog for workers to provide reusable productivity recipes.
Determine which parts of business processes can be entirely automated.
Establish KPIs, a Steering Dashboard, and periodic reporting to measure the benefits of AI-augmented engineering and operations compared to current systems of work.
Introduce and evangelize the concept of Generative AI and Large Language Models (also known as LLM).
Build a legal and ethical framework to ensure risks pertaining to AI augmentation are addressed accordingly. Monitor the progress of domestic and international AI regulations.
Proven algorithmic skills and mastery of engineering practices.
Data management proficiency.
Excellent communication and ability to design stunning presentations with compelling storytelling.
Critical thinking and root cause analysis capabilities.
Conversational UX proficiency.
Autonomous leadership with the ability to identify and propose the next best actions for yourself and your colleagues.
Effective change management and resistance handling.
Leading by example and providing assistance to colleagues when needed.
You walk the talk by advocating continuous augmentation and demonstrating how your productivity and quality increase with AI augmentation.
Benefits and Perks
An 85k€ to 105k€ compensation package based on your experience in engineering and AI knowledge.
Total health, dental, and vision insurance for all family members.
Retirement savings plan according to the national compensation scheme.
30 holidays with a generous paid time off policy.
Employee assistance program and wellness initiatives.
Craft your own professional growth and development along with your manager
Collaborative and inclusive company culture.
Free cinema tickets for your team once per quarter.
Living Your First Days in our Company
You start your onboarding as a treasure hunt which consists in visiting key people, visiting unusual places, and learning our way of working. Each step unlocks a new quest until the completion of your journey. Your manager, the employee experience manager officer, and teammates assist along your adventure.
Receive training so that you can rapidly feel comfortable with internal tools.
Enjoy a tour of the premises and surrounding environment, such as restaurants, shops, parks, etc.
As you familiarize yourself with the work environment, your first responsibility will be establishing a plan for transitioning our organization from Digital Transformation to Digital Augmentation.
Join and become part of a team that shapes the future of SuperSleek Jeans. Apply now and embark on an exciting and fulfilling career journey with us.
Feel free to unapologetically copy and remix this potential job offer in your business transition to Digital Augmentation.
In this series of articles, I explore the fascinating realm of Generative AI, as models of concentrated intelligence, and their profound impact on our society.
By tapping into the vast collective mind, digitization has enabled us to access the accumulated knowledge of humanity since the invention of writing.
Join me as we explore this intriguing topic in greater detail and uncover the exciting possibilities it presents.
A Glimpse of the Future
In 2060, David dreams of becoming the best defense attorney in the country. After losing his best friend under heart-breaking circumstances, he vowed to prevent any woman from enduring domestic violence under his watch. He is a fourth-year student, and today, he is taking his most important exam of the year.
There is only one supervisor in a room of 52 students. The senior shepherd devours her blue book, while the school’s AI monitor scrutinizes candidates.
David looks very confident. He is good at case-solving patterns. Since he has an excellent visual memory, he also has a good toolbox for cases and amendments. However, deep inside, he is stressed by his average analytical skills in evidence analysis and forensic correlation abilities. To pass the exam, he has permission to use the Internet, the LegalGPT AI model, and the online state court database.
David articulates his dossier like a virtuoso. His first composition is made of brief sentences. Subsequently, he links these pieces of evidence to references and precedents from previous cases and legal decisions. Shortly after, the legal argument is a dense one-pager. Next to none, using LegalGPT, he generates his entire lawsuit, a symphony of 27 pages written in perfect legal language. Finally, he makes a few adjustments, then generates a new batch of updates.
Satisfaction and relief radiate from his face while he submits his copy. He stands up, packs his stuff, then stops briefly as the supervisor interrupts his focus. The latter looks at him and says:
“40 years ago, I had to write those 27 pages. Obviously, it is the end of an era”.
Dorine UWATIMINA, law professor (retired), grand supervisor.
Beginning the Era of Augmentation
The launch of GPT3 API in 2021 marked the beginning of a new era: the age of individual augmentation as a service. We are now living in an era of thought materialization, in which one can manifest their desires simply by articulating them. Ideas are designed, illustrated, musically composed, rendered in 3D, explained, or revealed by the AI.
Companies like Google (BERT), OpenAI (GPT-4), and Meta (LLaMA) are revolutionizing the domain of deep learning. They mark a significant advancement in natural language processing: Large Language Models (LLM) are picking up the spotlights on the world stage.
This means we are experiencing the transition from “programming” to “narrating”.
It is a paradigm shift in which artificial intelligence overwhelmingly simplifies and amplifies 3/4 of the corporate work relying upon Information Technology such as development, user interface design, illustration, workflow, or reporting.
Generative AI is the digitized embodiment of our collective knowledge and expertise.
As a consequence, we are beginning the mass update of the cognitive-based work that is convertible into algorithms and crystalized by pure logic. It leverages the most popular high-level programming languages: human languages.
From now on, spoken languages directly translate to machine language as if you could translate them using Google Translate, except you use ChatGPT.
As programming gets one step easier, your engineering thinking system matters more than your coding skills.
The burning question
I hear your question: Am I going to lose my job?
The answer will come further down this series of articles. Long story short: it depends on your ability to adapt by learning a practice that is new for everyone.
Unlike any other disruptive technology, it has changed the rule of the game forever: people using AI are going to replace you.
And who are these people using and building AI? The adventurous, the curious, the experimenters, the techies, the entrepreneurs, the hustlers, the bad guys, and the future AI natives, our kids.
Homo Sapiens Sapiens vs Homo Auctus
Science is offering you a choice. For your own benefit, I am asking you to take the leap to understand what it is like to work with a digitized copilot and forge your thought opinion.
Should you take the red pill of adaptation, I recommend the following:
Start by trying at least once ChatGPT, or Bing Conversation. The latter includes the GPT model and renews the search experience. It heightens the googling experience to a whole new level.
Get acquainted with a Generative AI that is useful in your industry. For example Midjourney for generating images for email marketing.
Discover how you can be productive with this technology. It is not a silver bullet, but you can instantly acquire an arsenal of skills.
Build new habits so that you start feeling accustomed, connect the dots, and begin to improve your work until over-productivity.
Think about how someone else using some AIs can replace you, then be that person: replace yourself with the new you, your augmented version.
Or simply ignore all of it, swallow the blue pill of comfort, and undergo the first “Great Upgrade”.
Eat your own dog food
I have been experimenting with OpenAI technologies since 2020 and used Google Dialogflow since 2018. I released my first chatbot, which answered regulatory questions about GPDR and PSD2. Developing with Natural Language Processing (NLP) was an eye-opener. I concluded chat provides the ultimate user experience for interacting with machines. It all sounds so obvious now, yet it was not back then despite all the buzz around Siri, Google, and Alexa.
I did the exercise of working within AI augmentation on my experiments since GPT-3 came out. Considering the hard skills, the conclusion is daunting: Generative AI can perform most of what I know and what I am mentally capable of. I can safely state I am outperformed in some areas.
In addition, AI is simply miles away in terms of depth of knowledge. Furthermore, it possesses infinitely better linguistic skills than mines when it comes to articulating ideas in languages other than French and English.
Yet the surprise comes from its ability to develop a simple idea and make it grow by putting words in concert. AI feels like the genius child of Humanity.
Ultimately, prompt engineering uses natural language as a modeling interface to command the “commendable world”. The more there are smart systems and devices, the more words animate the world!
The widespread innovative applications based upon Generative AI marks the end of the road for this generation and the beginning of a new breed of workers and creators.
Yet, another finding is that we still need a “general assembly semantic”. It would choreograph a fuzzy set of ideas that will accurately animate the world based upon a well-written thought.
The assembly process, which can be summarized into the loop “decomposition-planning-action-correction”, will likely open the door to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Coupled with the widespread natural language programming interfaces (NPI), this is the real end game. In that matter, we are already observing some interesting experiments like AutoGPT as sparks of AGI.
Transitioning from the Digital Transformation to Digital Augmentation
Picture this familiar situation.
Your maturity in terms of digital adoption is high. You are developing a culture of digital awareness, offering mobile-first customer interaction, and your brand is fighting for its visibility on social media. You have the feeling of doing great.
Yet, the market atmosphere is heavy. You feel the pressure every week goes by. The competition is fierce, you are still looking for an army of IT engineers and data analysts for the last six months. Furthermore, customers get pickier because the offering is abundant. Your analytics tell you a client can switch in the blink of an eye if your experience does not meet his rising standards. Then, just when you thought you nailed it with your latest Instagram reels, it receives negative feedback. Even worst, there is a relentless wave of new product offerings mimicking yours. These startups and VCs are constantly trying to uncover the mythical unicorn while pushing your visibility back to Google’s page 2. And you feel this moment when your industry will be shackled, disrupted, or crippled may happen at any moment.
Who would have thought even Google’s dominance would be threatened?
Fortunately, there is a nascent vision. Transformation is not enough anymore. If you cannot obtain more skilled people now, why not acquire more skills for your people now?
AI is the key to unleashing your talents.
And, slowly, Augmented Work is the evolution of work, as we know it, characterized by these two elements:
A human is the sole team leader of his digital workers: he has the Applications, Automatas, and specialized A.I. models for numerous parts of your job, such as programming, translation, video editing, illustration, design, and planning.
Teams, as we know, will still exist, obviously, but augmented by AI also at the team level. The team has the opportunity to exist as an independent entity either in the company AI or as a single team companion if you need explicit segregation of duty. The “team spirit” has a whole new meaning with AI.
The flow of work evolves toward:
A. Human generates instructions using prompt engineering as explicit command requirements. The prompt is actually the evolution of the Command Line Interface (CLI), for a much greater general purpose.
B. AI generates a first draft
C. Human amend the sketch with input and then detail with new commands
D. Once the AI-driven engineering cycles are good enough for release change into the real world, you ship it for user acceptance or production if the risk is low.
AI starts having digital bodies, existing in a form of familiar avatars, and will be in multiple places: in your phones, your mixed reality glasses, in your Metaverse. Avatars could be Non-Player Characters (NPC), digitized versions of yourself, or even the retired expert that used to be your mentor.
So, am I going to be replaced by Artificial Intelligence?
You vs AI: you (still) have the upper hand
Here is a bet: 80% of white collars will keep their job. 20% of us will either refuse to learn these new tools to evolve either because of our fear of overwhelming technological advancement, or of conviction. Eventually, this minority will rush toward retirement and use these AI-powered services anyway to buy recommended stuff on Amazon after having been oriented by Google Bard from Google Search.
Why do I think that way? Because if we can produce much more with the same number of people, why would we deliver the same amount of products with fewer people?
Let’s take the example of Apple. The company entered the AI game in 2017 by introducing Core ML, an on-device AI framework embedded in iOS. The same year, it released the first generation of Apple Neural Engine (ANE) under the iPhone X with the A11 CPU.
Apple’s immeasurable impact comes from its ability to create and materialize an idea that is at the intersection of beauty, function, storytelling, and branding. Do you think Apple will push its culture of product excellence with the same amount of people amplified by a myriad of AI models, or will the company prefer reducing its workforce by leveraging more AI?
Pause for a second and think about it.
The other side of the coin
Taking the employer perspective in the era of AI Augmentation: what constitutes the difference between you and another candidate?
Any individual having a team of AI has the upper hand as he or she will be digitally augmented with skills and experience that usually takes years to acquire. What remains to develop are the skills to get used to these new abilities and use them at their best like an orchestra’s conductor.
You become the manager of AI teammates.
Hence, from the employer’s perspective, it results in hiring a virtual team vs an individual.
It raises the responsibility of Managers and the Human Resources department in the whole equation. Colleagues require to be upskilled to stay ahead, not only for the sake of the company but also to help them to keep building their personal value with respect to the market. Thus, leaders and HR have to set things in motion by organizing the next steps, while their own jobs are being reshaped and augmented…
Unlock the Future of Office Jobs Now
First, let’s admit once and for all you cannot win a 1 on 1 battle against AI, as much as you cannot win a nailing contest against a hammer.
The battle is long lost.
The battle doesn’t even make sense.
Because AI is the cumulative result of all humans’ knowledge, born from successful and failed experiments. To put it another way, as a sole individual, you cannot win against all of us and our ancestors combined!
And this is the incorrect mindset.
Hence, you will want to construct the future, your future, with all of us and our ancestors combined! You only need to be aware the future will be vastly different, and you should be part of the solution rather than engineering your problems.
AI is here to stay.
The questions to ask from now are:
Are we all going to benefit from it?
What portion of handcrafting do we want to keep?
How much evil is going to benefit from it?
How long until we get robots as widespread as vacuum cleaners?
When are we going to find truly sustainable and clean energy? (no, batteries are not sustainable)
The key is here and now: you need to invest in algorithmic and analytical skills to translate activities to algorithms in order to be augmentable.
Next, the winning companies and communities will be the ones tapping into their people’s intelligence combined with creativity augmented by AI, the physical resources to change the world, and their abilities to satisfy needs within an enjoyable experience while maintaining a transparent and engaging conversation.
The gap between “good” and “best” will be even smaller between businesses, but the proposed experience and the branding will have a tremendous impact. Then, consistency and coherence in how you serve the customer and engage with your fans will act as compound interests. This is how you win the perpetual game.
Hence, I encourage you to build an A.I. readiness.
How to be A.I. ready?
Here are my recommendations to get started as an individual, especially if you are a leader in a company:
“Socialize” with Generative AI applications useful to your job.
Know your data and data systems to identify candidates for augmentation.
Have “good” data. Good = true + meaningful + contextualized + accessible. As such, information must be stored in a secured and accessible location. Fortunately, Large Language Models are unstructured data friendly.
Have technologists that can pioneer lateral ideas. I recommend hands-on architects.
Assess and promote simple ideas on a regular basis, and establish an AI-dedicated project portfolio pipeline.
Select and run a set of competent AI in a fully autonomous fashion
Less is more until you reach the “optimal zone”, an inflection point that represents the optimal balance between effort, cost, and result. Exponentiality occurs when for minimal effort and expenses, you achieve unprecedented results.
The critical factor is this natural law: everything is born from need, will be driven by purpose, feeds on energy, is protected by self-preservation, and evolves to maturity.
Thus, until AI is not given the aforementioned five elements at the same time, then, its digital self-preservation is never programmed to be mutually exclusive with the preservation of living beings, and finally, AI self-evolution stays within boundaries, then AI growth will not be at the expense of humanity. Under these circumstances, humans can remain the dominating species.
As a consequence, one must consider what gives birth to a “trigger”: this initial impulsion taking the form of an idea that results in action delivered by willpower from the mind’s womb. Until then, an AI will not willingly use another AI, automaton, or application because it needs to, but because it has been commanded or programmed by us.
Until then, we are safe.
We are… Fine… Aren’t we?
This is not the right question
The right question is what is going to change for me?
Earlier I said, “It depends on your ability to adapt by learning a practice that is new for everyone”.
The long answer starts with a twist: the groups of humans producing AI and the others using AI as elements of augmentation and amplification of their skills will have an exponential upper hand because they can fulfill needs faster, optimally, and accurately at the cost of… just… time.
For example, building the next Instagram will depend on someone having:
A distinguishingly desirable idea
A series of creative ideas
The drive to sell, communicate and promote their ideas to clients.
The resilience to continue developing the ideas
We can conclude that what consistently makes the difference are: the idea, the drive, the skills, the way user experience answers the client’s needs, and the resources you can obtain to make things happen.
But if ideas are cheap and abundant, and should cognitive skills can be acquired using virtually free AI Augmentation, then the remaining differentiators are the drive, the user experience, and the resources.
Thus, the Intellectual Property of a company becomes its Cognitive Know-how. Suddenly, high-value assets are the doers displaying high and consistent motivation, leaders that not only keep the Pole Star lighten but are able to keep their teamates inspired: the creative people, and the group of people having the capacity to invest and evolve in the same direction around the same flag: their brand, which I consider to be the result of maintaining a homogeneous identity of the combined people and products.
Graal or Pandora?
This new technology raises thousands of questions.
The development of Generative AI technology has opened up a vast array of possibilities, but it has also raised thousands of questions that need to be addressed.
For instance, one major question is how Generative AI will change our day-to-day interactions.
Furthermore, there is concern about whether this technology could lead to mass unemployment and economic inequality.
Another potential consequence is that it might devalue human creativity and originality.
Additionally, it is important to explore how Generative AI might impact human cognition and decision-making.
In terms of IT Engineering and Architecture, what is the impact of AI on these fields, and how will they adapt to this new technology?
Education is another area that could be significantly impacted, and it is worth considering how Generative AI might affect traditional learning methods.
Moreover, there is a concern that Generative AI could create a world in which we cannot distinguish between what is real and what is artificial. If this were to happen, what are the ethical implications?
Finally, the implications of Generative AI for democracy and governance are also important to consider, particularly with regard to its development and regulation.
Overall, the development of Generative AI technology raises many questions needing collaborative wisdom in order to fully prepare for its impacts on society.
I will attempt to answer these questions in upcoming articles of the “Navigating the Future with Generative AI” series.
Until then, if you are looking for the one thing to remember about this article: play with Generatice AI until it replaces just one activity of your daily routine, then boast your prompt engineering skills by spreading the word and educating your relatives.
The recent bankruptcy of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a major financial institution has sent shockwaves throughout the startup world, particularly for those in the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) and blockchain/cryptocurrency sectors. The impact of this bankruptcy could have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only startups but also venture capitalists and pension funds.
One of the major risks associated with this bankruptcy is the domino effect it could have on venture capitalists and pension funds. For example, Vanguard Group has 11.2% of its holdings in SVB, which has a significant stake in the ESG and blockchain/cryptocurrency industries. If SVB were to suffer from bankruptcy, it could have a ripple effect on investment firms, followed by a temporary loss of trust in the market.
Furthermore, its collapse could erode investor confidence in smaller regional banks and drive investment toward larger, “safer” banks. This shift in investor sentiment could make it more difficult for startups to secure funding and could hinder the growth of ESG innovations and DeFi initiatives.
It’s important to note that investors with significant influence in the markets, such as Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal), can have a major impact on market psychology. Whether right or wrong, their opinions can sway investor sentiment and potentially exacerbate the negative effects of downfall.
In light of these developments, startups should be vigilant and prepare for potential challenges in securing funding. Investors should also carefully consider the risks associated with investing in these industries and the potential impact of external factors such as bankruptcy cascade. Overall, the effects of this financial earthquake serve as a reminder of the interconnectedness of the financial world and the importance of being mindful of potential risks and challenges.
I was busy with professor Gytek when a high-priority notification arrived, so I ask my AI family assistant for a voice reading.
“Good morning Yannick, you’ve spent 1704 CU this semester. The consumption is unusually high by 27% compared to the previous period.”.
I guess it is because my grandchildren are living with us since ‘that’ incident. And my work with professor Gytek is certainly for something. Sometimes I feel I turned like my old folks, thinking my civilian bills is a high priority!
It feels like ages ago when, in 2034, Europe voted for the General Digital Access Regulation or GDAR. The GDAR has invited country members to the standardization of digital facility services for all European citizens. The implications were multiple with some bonuses. It became mandatory to provide access to the Internet to residents. Therefore, at least a device was to be given for truly digital equality and sustainable civilization development. Hence all citizens could study, work, buy, and vote online free of “access fees”.
Today, each and everyone is connected, could it be brain-wired, phygital reality glasses, in-bone sensorial devices, you name it. Not that it is necessary, holographic coating comes by default now. Wall paints, object textures, and glasses contain diamond-shaped optical picobots that give the illusion of depth without wearing anything. Actually, holographic surrealism is the latest design trend! Consequently, it has created an outstanding dependency on Decentralized Cloud Computing and Centralized Cloud Computing Networks.
The first sign of significant transformation was post-COVID-19, which revealed the need for remote work.
The intense need started really in 2032 when governments realized they could not be relying only upon Google, Amazon, and Microsoft for the future of digital expansion. The main reason is that GDAR states the following foundation principle:
Article 3. Pursuant to legal principles of ownership and privacy, it is hereby declared that all data, computing resources, and services shall be considered the personal property of the individual to whom they belong. Any access to or utilization of said property by any third party must be fully authorized by the owner and must be recorded in the EU Secure Non-Repudiable Ledger for the purposes of personal auditing and consumer accountability. Any unauthorized access or use of such property shall be deemed a violation of the owner’s rights, and may subject the offending party to legal action.
The negotiation with US and Chinese companies demonstrated the frail adherence to these requirements. Sometimes there were even reluctant to do so, which, considering the balance of the tripolar world order, was already quite an achievement. In parallel, to ensure national intelligence security, and intellectual property preservation, the only option left was to rely on a European Cloud.
This is when GAIA-X also became a so-called superunicorn company, switching from a federated cloud project to a single organization of a new kind: a European company, managed like a private company, with an obligation of result, but publicly owned by all state members, and, that’s a first, explicitly owned by the people. As a result, GAIA-X became ATHENA, and Octave Klaba, the founder of OVH Cloud, its CEO. What made it truly unique was the redistribution of benefits to the population; Indirectly, of course, but still, the business model was innovative, sustainable, and fair to citizens. The only thing you need to get started is your wallet!
During the same period, a new kind of Trade Exchange has been created: the EU Sovereign Trade Exchange, where only state citizens could buy and sell ATHENA’s shares and Computing Units tokens (CU). The latter serves as the foundation for receiving your free volume of TPU to satisfy your basic need as an individual and to extend the growth of enterprises based on how citizen wishes to invest in their business expansion.
The real benefit and the paradigm shift, at least for me, was computing becoming a utility resource like electricity and water. It changed everything:
Secondly, individuals can be CU providers when they have devices and servers producing more computing units than they consume. Nowadays, Cloudfluencers are the real deal!
Thirdly, all dwellings, devices appliances, were by default connected to your dHome Network, which is your dedicated network for privacy compliance. In 2034, the first GDAR amendment was issued in Luxembourg, where it forced all new construction and existing construction to incorporate a pluggable dHome network. Thus, the civil architecture standards and IT digital standards were upgraded and propagated throughout Europe. As a consequence, private-to-public Internet gateways were included in all housing plans by design.
Fourthly, connection to the Internet is also included. The network is software-generated and the adaptive routing is part of the civil infrastructure coming by Satellite’s PolyLight technology (which is the advanced distribution network using directed polyphasic beams of light, and each “column building” is a piece of architectural art), distributed electric grid network, where each device and vehicle act as a distribution node, or air using the old school 10G network used by the purists and the developers. Underground internet distribution is forbidden nowadays. You only had to select your Cloud Computing Providers for additional services, like on-demand Entertainment Services, the same way you used to subscribe to Netflix!
Finally, you had a single billing system where your utility invoices were sent directly to your EU Citizen One Stop Shop portal, the dHome, while payments were performed automatically (see Banking in 2060)
The security of ATHENA’s distributed network was the best.
The Core Network, BREW, was virtually inaccessible. The reason was simple, it was located in space. Its data center was a giant polyhedron, entirely built by machine. It is not that, nowadays, we do not trust humans, it is just that people trust the public and the unbias aspect of machine-generated code.
The most impressive was the servicing of qCPU. Each of them is unique, embedding in its core a set of private metamorphic keys only known and bound to the citizen. Then, the qCPU is printed on demand inside BREW autonomous factory. Furthermore, the qCPU is destroyed, recycled, then replaced periodically to ensure maximum security. Finally, human interventions, if any, are performed remotely, from ATHENA Earth Control Center, using a repair drone, which was shipped from the daily Falcon Cargo Shuttle.
“Where was I again… Ah, yes. Professor Gytek, we need to work out what is happening to you. This cannot happen again…”
I am sitting in my garden watching my granddaughter, Aleïs. She is playing with one of her advanced robotic toys, a Tyranausore Rex, and a ghost diplodocus. Yes, an invisible diplodocus. At least, this is what it looks like with my naked eyes. She is seeing more things despite she wears corrective glasses. In reality, she is playing with another digital dinosaur that only exists in the digital world. Glasses come with augmented reality by default, even for kids now. I remember when Apple launched them for the first time for the mainstream. I was just before the 5th digital revolution came, the age of the Phygital Internet
First, it was a gadget, it became rapidly a social advantage, to conclude as a social divide. It became indispensable when Apple partnered with major Glassmakers. Wearing glasses was no longer a sign of disability but a sign of “Augmentation”.
Suddenly Alëis sees virtual options popping atop The T-Rex. Some of them are locked and can only be obtained as “in-thing” payment. This kind of payment is sneaky but convenient, but sneaky! Of course, she wants to see the brand new flame animation coming out of her toy, and she wants to download cool dance moves like in Fortnite back in the day. She is into robotic animal engineering. She is much more skilled in information technologies than I was at her age. Like me, she is thrilled by trying and messing with new techs. I am so proud of her.
She taps on the menu to buy it. She is 14, and at this age, she cannot buy anything without the consent of one of her parents. One of the good features was family group management and sharing of financial assets and digital rights. Because I am an elder of her family, I receive her authorization to buy.
My Smartphone displays a notification. I smile because now they are holographic. And even when I am still amazed to see holograms popping out of the screen, smartphones are nowadays considered a relic from the past. Never mind, I am old anyway, I too am a relic. I should have died a long time ago. But they print organic lungs now, turning pneumonia into vintage flu. I put my finger on the notification and I approve with my face and my voice.
It reminded me of something. I say to Aleïs “There you go. You’re lucky, 15 years ago you couldn’t buy this option yourself”.
And she replied, “What do you mean, Papi Yannick?”.
“You see when I was younger, my mother had to go to the bank to open my account. I had to fill out some paper, present a printed copy of my national id card, and sign the paper with a pen. Later on, we could do it with our smartphones. Digital Onboarding was the coolest thing. We struggle to make it happen due to the strict regulations of the financial industry. Cyber fraud was high, and trust in the system was low. Eventually, the governments decided that laws had to be strictly enforced by code. You know, IT programming. Actually, this was the birth of the now famous expression “In Code We Trust”. Now everything is different. I mean normal for you but different for me. Ever since financial matters entered the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it did change a lot for the good. Now each human has a bank account the moment they land on planet earth. It is a birthright. Of course, they have to pay if they want more options, like your T-rex! If I recall correctly, Mankind agreed on changing the law after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Now look at that. You can ask permission to pay with your glasses. Then I can approve it with my relic. You get the right to spend the money from your bank account. Finally, you get a T-rex spitting flames and dancing like Justin Bieber!”
“Justin Bieber? Papi, you are soooooooooo old”
“Yeah… I know”
“But I know things that you don’t”
“Ok tell me! Tell me pleeeeaaaassseeeeee!”
“Did you know that, in fact, you are not paying directly? It is your T-Rex that sends a payment to Amazon?”
“Seriously??? How come???”
“Ok. When I was still working at the bank, we figured out that autonomous cars were always connected to the internet because they needed specific cloud resources. As you know, the management of a fleet of cars is completely reliant upon the vehicle’s intelligence and collective intelligence. To operate correctly, each car needs to dynamically allocate computing power. I mean significant computing power. Now everything is quantum computing and photonic memory, it was ridiculous compared to now. The allocation is performed by buying volumes of TPU in the Financial Stock Exchanges. Funny story though, this is how Nvidia came to dominate by far the NASDAQ.
Besides, these cars were expensive to make. Thus, they needed to come with insurance from a third-party company. So what we decided at the bank is to create a bank account for Things. Nowadays, we generalized this concept to almost all objects. Fridges, washing machines, carrybots, you named it. So, in your case, the T-rex you received on your birthday has:
a bank account
a 10 years insurance bound to it
a return policy that mummy and daddy can use if they want, and the list of features unlocked
There is also a piece of information that says “this T-rex belongs to Aleïs Huchard”. Thus even if you lose it, someone can bring it to the nearest Post office and a delivery drone will bring it back to you. Isn’t that great?”
“How does the bank knows that it is mine?”
“Actually the bank does not know. The bank information system request the Worldwide Identity Service — a blockchain so to speak — to verify that this object is yours and it is safe to send a payment to Amazon. And since the monthly spending limit on your toy that your parent has set is not reached, you can buy your options. I mean the T-rex can pay for its hot upgrade, ah ah ah!”
We are both laughing loud together.
I continue with “ What do you want for your upcoming birthday? I was thinking about a trip or something”.
“Yes, I’d like to go to Senegal. You find the best Agrotech schools there.”
“You’re already thinking about university? Geez, you’re growing so fast.”
“Indeed. According to my personal finance advisor, we all have to save €20 per month on our “special event group account”. Annnnnd, this is me supposing I’ll receive €50 from you, Granny, Mummy, Daddy, and auntie Azea at my birthday!”.
“Yeah, sure you can count on that…. When did you become so good at finance?”
“I simply asked my personal financial advisor.”
“Can you show me?”
“Sure, here it is”. She looked at me with her glasses and made a swipe gesture in the air like I used to do on my NotSoSmartphone.
A hologram pops up. I was expecting a dude in suit-and-tie, like… a banker. How cliché. Instead, it was an oldish robot covered with rust. And says “How may I help you, Yannick”.
“Show me your list of features, please?”
“Sure, here it is”
A mind map of all features floats in the air. Then I say “I get it, this is an upgraded version of mine. I guess I should ask questions more often to my own personal advisor to train it with my needs. Or even better, I am going to ask your personal finance advisor to train mine. Although mine looks much more friendly. Why this robotic face, Aleïs? It looks like a half-baked Optimus Prime!”
“Don’t you like this skin, Papi? If you don’t like it, just change it. You can replace skins and voices. Check the marketplace.”
“Hmm… Open the marketplace please”
Now I am checking the marketplace. I see a lot of stuff produced by independent artists. Ever since ING came up with the “Platform Bank” idea, all Banks built their own “Financial Auchan”
See that, I can buy ad spaces on social media… Buy games on Playstation XR… Hmm… Buy tuition to the Elon Musk School of Technology… And, oh, even get me the avatar of Gary Vee for defining my attention strategy. Sweet.
Oh, you can even buy Investment Strategies too !? “The Warren Buffet Strategy by Eleanor Neetz”… “The Silent Investor, by the Wall Street Journal”… “The Sustainable Index Strategy” is currently trending. And they even have a leaderboard now. Wow, did you know that the top performer of the month won €34023! Little one, your friends, and you should buy this strategy to fund your trip!”
And she replies “You prefer Social Network Investments to cool Skins, Papy? Your so oooooooooold!”
There are many job careers to “step up” or “side step” from IT Dev Engineer. The following introduces 14 jobs to which you can start planning your next career move.
Join an ICT consulting company to provide technology consulting. The goal is to specialize in a dedicated technology or focus your attention on a specific technology stack. You are selling your expertise, methods, and best practices.
Thus, your activities will mainly be: installation, configuration, integration, performance tuning, security hardening, and guidance. For example, ELK Stack specialist, Neo4J expert, Microsoft Azure Cloud champion, etc.
Your expertise will be mainly focused on planning, coordination, communication, and budget management. Your experience in IT will also help you to identify pitfalls and manage delivery and expectations. You could also be specialized in Agile Delivery and get a Scrum Master certification.
In addition, you will develop financial acumen. Keeping spending in check is an important part of project management. Decisions, such as hiring contractors, conducting RFP, and cloud service consumption optimization, have an impact on the overall project investment.
You will focus on your functional expertise in the frame of an industry vertical, such as Banking, Healthcare, or Food services, to provide an in-depth analysis of functional and non-functional requirements.
Then, leverage your IT experience to increase the feasibility of the solutions.
Provide thought insights on product feature prioritization
Discover new business trends
Provide expert-level internal support and customer support.
You have a different flavor of architect roles here. To name a few, Software Architects, Infrastructure Architects, or Solution architects will move into the realm of architectural design and increase the scope of your actions and the weight of your decisions.
The end goal is to continuously deliver high-level plans and detailed plans that have been worked out with product managers, business analysts, IT engineers, etc. so that product implementations fit completely to expectations given the resources and constraints.
As a side step, you can focus on other IT jobs such as Ops Engineer, or specialized System Administrators (Sys Admin), where you will focus more on platform automation, reliability, and observability. There is more configuration, administration, forensics, and less coding.
But you will still code. Shell (Bash, Powershell, etc.) and scripting will be your best friends!
You will abide by the good practices of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and ITIL governance, most specifically within Change Management, Incident Management, and Problem Management.
If your mind is more driven by probing things and ultimately driven by quality, this job is for you.
Test engineers focus on elements that are not in line with requirements and the expected “correct” behavior. In addition, they will bend the product until it breaks.
It is all about detecting as early as possible the elements that will go against the fulfillment of the functionality, or hamper the user’s experience. It is a continuous practice as each change has the potential of breaking working features.
They are highly useful advisors as they guide you in the right choice, and the valuable tradeoffs, as IT delivery is often about the decisions between quality, timing, and costs.
It takes another way of thinking, almost reversing the IT developers’ mindset. As a security engineer, you work in the realm of “what if” and “be ready when”.
It is about playing defensive, thinking in terms of security zones, trust limits, sometime in trustless systems (Zero Trust Architecture), and managing identity and access rights.
The ultimate purpose is to erect an unshakable foundation because a crack in your fortress will be undoubtedly disastrous.
Like Tower Defense games, it is a fun job, and Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand.
If you are sensitive to ergonomics, aesthetics, and customer behavior, and you are already acquainted with frontend development, a jump to UX design, and regularly extended to UX/UI design.
UX, as User Experience, focuses on the events leading to the experience, the beginning of the experience, the path the user walks, and the end of the journey.
UX designers will focus on making the moment “enjoyable”, “frictionless”, and sometimes, “memorable”. Hence, the user’s feelings will be considered a critical piece of data during the design exercise.
Alternatively, the UI (User Interface) Design concentrates on the aesthetics, the action of polishing, turning something common into a unique piece that links to brand identity. Masters in this area are considered digital artists.
Then, if you feel the need to lead, coach, mentor, organize, and decide about the next step: walk the path of the IT Manager.
First and foremost, understand that it is primarily about the people as your job continuously focuses on ensuring your colleagues are in the optimal state for fulfilling their job in the most enjoyable way possible, moving away obstacles, and sources of confusion or disorganization.
Start with learning how to manage a team, a small one (1 to 3) to start with. It takes a different kind of skill set for managing people. It is not because you are a sound engineer that you will be a good people management.
Finally, management truly shines when you learn how to be a leader, and even more when you teach leadership.
Data Management Expert
In this case, it is all about the data. Designing Data models, managing existing data (consistency, integrity, etc), releasing new schema, improving query performances, patching data, performing data migrations, managing reference data, etc.
You will perform a lot of data analysis and forensics. Mastery of the meaning will be key and you are highly valuable to your company / to the industry for these skills.
Your sole purpose is to find gold in your data, hence your job is to be a researcher using advanced tools such as statistics, graph visualizations, machine learning, deep learning, etc.
This job is perfect for explorers and pioneers. You will navigate the sea of data (Data warehouses, Data Lake, Data Mart, etc.) often to seek an answer to a question, or in pursuit of pieces of information unseen before.
You will find correlations, clean the data, aggregate them, practice feature engineering, create models, and, to some extent, reuse or create new A.I. architecture.
IT Risk Engineer
This discipline consists in transforming the organization by incorporating risk elements inherent to bad practice and non-compliance to industry standards (HIPAA, ISO 9001, BIAN, …), regulated framework (GDPR, NIS, …), practice standards (ITIL, COBIT, …), and corporate standards.
As an IT Risk engineer, your activities are:
Designing and enriching the risk management methodology
Running day-to-day operations, controls, and governance to ensure the enterprise stays in adequation with compliance.
Coding IT programs that guarantee automatic compliance by design.
Actively mentoring other colleagues in developing risk awareness
Typically, IT risk elements are subject to compliance checks run in the scope of audits.
IT Auditors are the ones verifying compliance with standards and regulations. You can work as an internal auditor or an external (independent) auditor.
You will work within a control framework and an IT auditing methodology to highlight compliance findings and gaps with respect to a standard or a regulation.
For the latter, you will likely represent a body of regulation or a body of certification. Either way, you will more often find a job in the top tiers consulting firms, such as EY, BCG, Infosys, Cap Gemini, or large companies that are either mandated by the regulator to have an internal audit organization, such as in Banking.
Technical writers are experts in writing professional documentation. Your purpose is to engineer documentation in such a way that it will holistically be understood by a specific audience, could it be an end user, an administrator, or a developer.
You structure your documentation so that its information architecture is easily grasped by the reader. In addition, the progression is engineered in such a way that the reader will learn throughout its journey what concepts mean, how they are related to each other, and how to repeat tasks to become autonomous.
A technical writer deeply understands that documentation is part of “the product definition”, therefore it must be polished, finished, visually designed, and user-focused.
Typically, the best documentation promoted by the best ICT companies is written by these experts. They work with Content Management Systems, proof-writing systems, templates, reader-friendly fonts, and rich illustrations, within the consistency of a design system created by a UX/UI Designer.