Thank you for writing about this – fascinating topic and assessment of the potential problems at hand!
I agree with those who have commented above on the major risks associated with relying too heavily on crowdsourced intelligence information to take real actions in the world of security. I agree with Hill that this information could serve as a great component of the top-of-the-funnel; however, I do worry that even this would ultimately result in intelligence officers having to weed through more irrelevant data, resulting in less time spent on actual pieces of relevant information. Additionally, I worry about civilians being able to fully internalize what relevant intelligence information could even be – especially given our global political climate, would paranoia drive civilians to start reporting on random acts that they witness? Further, similar to other open innovation feedback loops, I am concerned with how the public would react if their input was not acted upon – would that discourage them from participating in the future? Unlike Waze, there would likely be no immediate gratification and I imagine that that would create some dissatisfied participants. Overall, I’m really curious to see how organizations like IARPA continue to grow this capability.
I am really glad to see an example of open innovation in the development and humanitarian sector – most examples have focused on the tech industry, so this perspective is quite refreshing. I completely agree with your concerns regarding UNICEF’s mandate/goals moving forward. In addition, I have two concerns:
-First, what is the right balance of depending on data vs. being on the ground, from UNICEF’s perspective? By focusing on sources such as Facebook and other networking/social platforms, will UNICEF get complacent in its strategies and neglect some of its more hands-on initiatives across various global communities? This is something that UNICEF should absolutely consider as it determines the best course of action for all new problems/areas of focus.
-Second, I worry about telling communities that UNICEF will crowdsource ideas from them without actually showing those communities that further implementation will also happen on some of their ideas. In the city of Boston, an “open innovation” system was set up for individuals to reach out to the Mayor’s office with ideas for how to improve the city, where to put in new technologies, etc. However, it was unclear whether many of the suggestions by the community were acted upon/even discussed. In order to maintain its credibility and good standing, UNICEF will need to assure global community members that it will use their inputs.
What an interesting use of additive manufacturing/3D printing! Prior to reading this, I had never thought about how the technology could be used to help small scale artisans. The benefits mentioned in this article are massive for the individual owner of this type of organization – decreasing production time and increasing source inputs drastically are both non-trivial metrics, especially for someone whose primary source of income likely comes from this venture. I do worry about two key areas that were briefly touched upon in this article: quality and differentiation.
In terms of quality, it does seem that additive manufacturing is relatively limited in the types of materials it can incorporate – how will Gantri be able to keep up with the demand of non-plastic, more custom products if the only material it can use in this process is plastic? I am not sure how quickly this technology will advance, or if Gantri will choose to supplement more traditional products with small components from 3D printing, but it is a big risk in this environment, when consumers are likely focused on purchasing well-crafted, one-of-a-kind items.
In terms of differentiation, the key question I have is how will Gantri stop others (both companies and individuals) from completely replicating its designs? Will these types of items become commodities if others are able to afford the 3D printing technology and its related parts? I worry about where Gantri will get its competitive edge if this technology becomes more readily available to the general public.
As a sometimes-user of Pinterest, I find the information in this article both highly interesting and also generally concerning. I completely agree with the author that in order to scale its operations and provide trusted, relevant information to users, it needs to rely heavily on its machine learning capabilities. Additionally, in order to continue to expand, I imagine that more emphasis will need to be placed on suggestions such as the one the author has shared above – a “pin not relevant” button. Each time I use Pinterest, I am pleasantly surprised by how accurate and relevant the pins are to whatever topic I am researching/learning about – overall, the company seems to have understood my likes and dislikes through past interactions with the interface.
On the other hand, I am worried that Pinterest will share my data (or has already shared my data) to further increase its revenue. The data and interactions on Pinterest are very valuable to many companies, especially those that need to understand the types of advertisements to show consumers to encourage them to purchase goods. We are already inundated with advertisements and buttons stating “click here to purchase” – I am worried that Pinterest will continue to grow this space and will ultimately become an online shopping portal itself. I think one of the only ways to discourage this from happening is to highlight the true value proposition of Pinterest to its management team – that it is best for browsing, finding ideas, getting inspired – and not for shopping and ad-blocking.
This is really interesting – I know that virtually all sales organizations use some form of CRM software (if not Salesforce), but I was not aware that Salesforce was the first to develop these advanced AI capabilities. To your question regarding AI services becoming commoditized, I do agree that that is a concern – however, it seems as if Salesforce has already gotten ahead of the curve by making a “chunk” of Einstein available to all of its users [https://www.wired.com/story/inside-salesforces-quest-to-bring-artificial-intelligence-to-everyone/].
I think that this move – bringing its internal knowledge to external clients – is bold, but brilliant. Not only will their clients get used to the (hopefully) success that AI drives in the sales process, but they will also become used to the intricacies of how Salesforce’s specific AI system works. I think that users will not want to incur the switching/training/development costs that come with moving to a new AI service (and one that is likely not free), so I do believe that Salesforce has a first-mover advantage in this space.
The larger concern for me here is whether Salesforce’s AI service is convincing clients to perform sales-related activities that could end up being harmful to the growth of their organizations or to end-consumers down the process – I would be really curious to see whether the AI service encourages clients to be more “aggressive” in their tactics without being completely aware of the social dynamics of sales. If Salesforce is able to figure out that complexity, then I do think it will be continue to be highly successful in this space.