Afraid a digital world means less human intelligence? Don’t be.
Last year’s highly publicised Artificial Intelligence (AI) debate, between tech giants Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and more recently, Bill Gates brought to the fore some questions at the back of everyone’s minds: how sustainable is humanity with AI ever encroaching? Is technology taking over? Is there cause for alarm?
The impact of technology is being felt in every aspect of our lives, almost unbeknownst to us. Last year’s Black Friday highlighted how dependent we have become on technology to get what we want, as systems and servers dropped like flies under the pressure of user demand. In fact, online shopping has become so prevalent that seemingly indestructible retail giants have fallen prey to its takeover. The Internet has become our on-demand source for everything, and connectivity to the Web is now seen as a basic human right, akin to water or electricity.
This pervasive reliance on technology lends a certain credence to fears that humanity is slowly being engulfed by technological innovation. Even cyber security, our defence against the rising tide of cybercrime, is consistently viewed with wariness, thanks to its association with Big Brother like controls and connected everything.
Fear, however apparently substantiated, is debilitating. Fear stems innovation and enables nothing. To avoid returning to the “dark ages” before the Internet; in order to drive rather than curb the transformation evolution we are experiencing; we need to figure out how to lean into this fear to create opportunities that enable us to surmount it.
Truthfully, this is not the first time we have faced radical technological changes that impact humanity with such pervasive force. This pace, depth and breadth of current changes, however, is unique. Innovation is happening at such a rate, the landscape constantly changes and we, as a people, have become more adaptable than ever before.
Proponents of the digital age, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Cognitive Learning, are all going to be such integrated parts of life that they will no longer be terms we speak of, but simply how we live. Business models will be forced to change, propelling organisations into the future through automation and IoT. This of course, catches on the fear around the impact on jobs.
The question of the impact on jobs is one which is raised time and again, particularly in the face of AI and robotics. These technologies, while replacing many of the more onerous and automatable functions, also serve to open up a world of new career possibilities. However, replacing people with machines is not where the growth is.
The answer becomes how to use technology to augment human capability, not replace it. To leverage innovation to enhance tasks where intuition or human experience are hindering the goals of zero defect quality and optimal efficiency. To supplement those daily responsibilities carried out by people that can better serve in areas where human intervention and activity is still critical. To focus on core business.
Many organisations are already embarking on upskilling their workforce, and retooling them to address functions that require more neural thinking and human interaction. In this way, people are uplifted and offered new opportunities to expand their capability. Organisations then engender an environment which is favourable towards - and not resistant to - innovation.
leads us to the question of intelligent technology creating a lazy and un-intelligent society. I believe the opposite is true. As technologies such as IoT, AI and analytics pave the way to a better way of life for us by removing our focus on those tasks which can easily be automated, it also promotes a society which centres on learning, innovation and developing elevated skills. When we no longer rely on people to carry out menial tasks, we can push them to move beyond the mundane - to transcend to a more effective, more efficient, more intelligent species.
We can fear. We can block change and stem the tide of innovation. Or we can embrace it, be proactive, and evolve.
Mpumi Nhlapo is the Head of T-Systems South Africa’s Marketing, Communications, IT Portfolio and Solution Sales.
NetNumber: Time for a cloud-native transformation
NetNumber is accelerating the transition in the telecom industry to 5G as it starts a shift to cloud-native architecture to address the fast-paced demands of global subscribers and businesses.
NetNumber is offering the industry’s first cloud-native platform designed to ensure InterGENerational™ network performance addresses both the legacy and next-generation requirements of telecom networks.
“NetNumber has developed the industry’s most robust cloud-native, InterGENerational platform that addresses both the legacy and 5G requirements of telcos,” said Matt Rosenberg, Chief Revenue Officer of NetNumber.
The platform provides vertical and horizontal scale-out with low latency, coupled with a suite of data replication capabilities, which provide flexible architectural options that can evolve with the changing network over time.
“Cloud-based solutions from other vendors tend to be limited in terms of supporting particular network generations or protocols. We’ve created our latest platform TITAN.IUM to allow customers to take any generation of applications, any generation of legacy services and protocols and move them into the new world of cloud-native architecture,” said Rosenberg.
“This is a really important part for a carrier to harmonise their network, bring data services together, bring legacy with new together in order to make a more effective and efficient network, as well as reduce their cost as they scale forward,” he said.
Established in 1999, NetNumber has fostered a strong team environment that leverages the industry’s best skills to offer software solutions tailored for carriers of all dimensions. Based outside of Boston and with presence in over 20 countries, the company delivers a range of products that address all generations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) of network functions in the core network, deep rooted security products and services, STIR/ SHAKEN and set of options around data services in more than 90 countries.
Steeped in experience in building telecom solutions, software, protocol stacks, and integration of third party tools, the company’s development organisation has proven to supply to the industry with the most reliable and flexible solutions on the market.
“At NetNumber, we focus on our core competencies – we are dedicated to providing industry expertise in signaling, routing, security, subscriber management and data services. We provide customers a strong ROI through platform-based solutions that reduce Capex and Opex in the long-term,” commented Rosenberg.
Five reasons why customers choose NetNumber:
- Expertise - NetNumber has experts with deep knowledge in signaling/routing, security, and subscriber database management.
- Integration - An industry-first platform brings together domain services, applications, security, and global data services.
- Scale - NetNumber has the ability to seamlessly increase network efficiency using vertical and horizontal scaling.
- Speed - World-class solutions have the power to help companies create new service offerings and accelerate time to ROI.
- Savings - Customers enjoy significant savings in capex and opex, flexible deployment models, and investment protection.
NetNumber and Virgin Mobile MEA
“We're very proud of our partnership with Virgin Mobile MEA as they've taken the concept of the InterGENerational platform into their regional network strategy,” commented Rosenberg. “That’s accelerated how they develop exceptional services across the Middle East and Africa region.
“We work with them hand-in-hand to deliver multiple applications onto our platform which has enabled them to provide exceptional, advanced and innovative services to their customers across the Middle East, who demand high quality services.
“What they've really taken advantage of is scale. What I mean by that is they are putting multiple generations of applications and services onto the same platform and distributing that data across their network. That has resulted in an advantageous position of time to market and operational savings.
“Rather than having different applications for many different vendors that cause operational chaos, they've been able to consolidate that and reduce their operating costs by having everything on one common architecture. We’ve had a long-term relationship with Virgin Mobile in Saudi Arabia, and recently signed an agreement with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait.”
Rosenberg says that with these solutions, Virgin Mobile MEA can take advantage of getting to the market much quicker and faster—which is what today’s discerning customer demands.