Prediction #7 — 2018 will see the first Alexa virus

There’s a new Marvel superhero series on Fox called The Gifted that this week inspired my son Fallon, age 11, to predict the first Alexa virus, coming soon to an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show cloud device near you. Or maybe it will be a Google Home virus. Fallon’s point is that such a contagion is coming and there probably isn’t much any of us — including both Amazon and Google — can do to stop it.

The Gifted has characters from Marvel’s X-Men universe. They are the usual mutants but the novel twist in this series is that some of these […]

Prediction #6 — AI comes of age, this time asking the questions, too

Paul Saffo says that communication technologies historically take 30 years or more to find their true purpose. Just look at how the Internet today is different than it was back in 1988. I am beginning to think this idea applies also to new computing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). We’re reading a lot lately about AI and I think 2018 is the year when AI becomes recognized for its much deeper purpose of asking questions, not just finding answers.

Some older readers may remember the AI bubble of the mid-1980s. Sand Hill Road venture capitalists invested (and lost) about $1 billion in AI startups that were generally touted as […]

Amazon is Becoming the New Microsoft

Sorry for again having taken too long to return to work. Or in this case the better term might be to recover.  Eye surgery on November 2nd did not go well so I am still blind. In fact blinder than ever. We’ll try again on November 27th after I’m fully recovered from a drug side effect that nearly killed me. But I’m not dead yet!

My last column was about the recent tipping point signifying that cloud computing is guaranteed to replace personal computing over the next three years. This column is about the slugfest to determine what company’s public cloud is most likely to prevail. I reckon it […]

We’ve Reached the Cloud Computing Tipping Point

The past couple weeks have been a huge adventure for my family and me as we ran from the Santa Rosa fires. We spent the first week on the Mendocino coast where there are no computer stores. You can get a computer fixed, but can’t buy a new one in Gualala, Mendocino, or Ft. Bragg. So I bought an ancient IBM ThinkPad from MacDaddy Computer Repair only to learn that it wouldn’t produce text I could read. Hence the delay in filing this column — the first of two on the current state of cloud computing. The second column will appear sometime before Thursday when I have scheduled cataract surgery on both eyes. Provided nothing goes horribly wrong I should be back […]

The Cloud Computing Tidal Wave

The title above is a play on the famous Bill Gates memo, The Internet Tidal Wave, written in May, 1995. Gates, on one of his reading weeks, realized that the Internet was the future of IT and Microsoft, through Gates’s own miscalculation, was then barely part of that future. So he wrote the memo, turned the company around, built Internet Explorer, and changed the course of business history. That’s how people tend to read the memo, as a snapshot of technical brilliance and ambition. But the inspiration for the Gates memo was another document, The Final Days of Autodesk, written in 1991 by Autodesk CEO John Walker. Walker’s memo […]