Why isn't talking tech as simple, quick, and agile as its innovations promise to be?
Technology Untangled is just that - a show that deciphers tech's rapid evolutions with one simple question in mind: what's really going to shape our future (and what's going to end up in the bargain bin with the floppy disc)?
Join your host Michael Bird as he untangles innovation through a series of interviews, stories, and analyses with some of the industry's brightest brains. No marketing speak, no unnecessary jargon. This is real tech talk from the people who know it inside and out.
Discover which tools and systems are revolutionising the way we do business, what's up next on the endless innovation agenda, and, most importantly, how you can future-proof and get ahead of the curve.
Can international collaboration help to fight cybercrime?
We’ve spoken before on this podcast about cyber security and protecting yourself from cyber crime - but what is being done to tackle the phenomenon internationally? That’s what we’re looking at in this episode. We’ve bought together some of the most senior global figures on cyber crime to find out how international collaboration and public/private partnership is taking the fight to the criminals.
It’s a big task. It is predicted that cybercrime will cost the global economy over 9.2 trillion dollars in 2024. The number of firms targeted by ransomware attacks has increased by almost 20% in the last five years, with 72% of organisations being hit in 2023.
Deepak Verma is Head of Product for HPE Data Protection. He says it’s not just the big financial players who are being targeted; in fact education and healthcare are the main victims of cyber attacks. Because cyber criminals don’t have to contend with geographical borders, attacks can be instigated from anywhere, to target anywhere.
Which is why, as Joanna Bouckaert, from the Centre for Cybersecurity of the World Economic Forum says, bringing governments and organisations together from across the world is imperative to protecting ourselves from the growing complexity of cyber attacks; as is increasing awareness within the private sector.
But there’s more to reducing the number of cyber attacks than prevention alone. Craig Jones is a law enforcement official working for Interpol as Director of Cybercrime. He says building a network of co-operation with different countries has been a key part of bringing down gangs of cyber criminals across the world.
Sources and statistics cited in this episode:Cybercrime global cost - https://www.statista.com/forecasts/1280009/cost-cybercrime-worldwide20th anniversary of the Budapest Convention - https://www.coe.int/en/web/cybercrime/20th-anniversary-budapest-conventionBank thwarting billions of pounds worth of cyber attacks - https://www.ft.com/content/cd287352-cb3b-48d8-a85b-668713b80962Schools hit by cyber attacks - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/cyber-security-breaches-survey-2022/educational-institutions-findings-annex-cyber-security-breaches-survey-2022Stuxnet malware - https://www.cfr.org/cyber-operations/stuxnetNIS2 Directive - https://www.nis-2-directive.com/#:~:text=What%20is%20the%20NIS%202,cybersecurity%20across%20the%20European%20Union.Cyber security spending prediction - https://www.statista.com/outlook/tmo/cybersecurity/worldwide#:~:text=Revenue%20in%20the%20Cybersecurity%20market,US%2492.91bn%20in%202024.HPE logs 2.6 billion events every day - https://www.hpe.com/us/en/newsroom/blog-post/2023/04/hpe-showcases-data-security-initiatives-via-the-2023-cybersecurity-report.html
Can you make AI sustainable?
In this episode we are looking at the challenges AI technology faces when it comes to becoming, and then remaining sustainable.The benefits of AI are unquestionable: from improved medical assistance and increased efficiency in the workplace, to autonomous transportation and next-level gaming experiences. But the more expansive the abilities of AI become, the more data storage that’s required.
That data storage uses a lot of energy. In fact, it has been predicted that AI servers could be using more energy than a country the size of the Netherlands by 2030.
For HPE Chief Technologist, Matt Armstrong-Barnes, the rate at which AI has grown in recent years has had an environmental impact, and he believes that’s down to people rushing into training large language models without thinking about longevity, or the need for future change. And that, in turn, has led to data being stored that is no longer needed.
The sustainability issue is something that is also a main focus of Arti Garg, Lead Sustainability & Edge Architect in the office of the CTO at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Like Matt, Arti has kept a keen eye on the exponential growth of AI data storage and the effect that is having on the environment, and agrees that the key to a more sustainable future is in how we train models.
However, whilst training models well is important, the tech itself is a key component in more efficient AI. Shar Narasimhan is the director of product marketing for NVIDIA's data center GPU portfolio. He believes that a combination of openly available model optimisations and chipsets, CPUs, GPUs and intelligent data centers optimised for AI is a key piece of the puzzle in avoiding energy wastage, and making AI more sustainable all round.
Sources and statistics cited in this episode:Global AI market prediction - https://www.statista.com/statistics/1365145/artificial-intelligence-market-size/#:~:text=Global%20artificial%20intelligence%20market%20size%202021%2D2030&text=According%20to%20Next%20Move%20Strategy,nearly%20two%20trillion%20U.S.%20dollars.AI could use as much energy as a small country report - https://www.cell.com/joule/fulltext/S2542-4351(23)00365-3?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2542435123003653%3Fshowall%3DtrueIndustry responsible for 14% of earth’s emissions - https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JICES-11-2021-0106/full/htmlNumber of AI startups - https://tracxn.com/d/explore/artificial-intelligence-startups-in-united-states/__8hhT66RA16YeZhW3QByF6cGkAjrM6ertfKJuKbQIiJg/companiesAI model energy use increase - https://openai.com/research/ai-and-computeEuropean Parliament report into AI energy usage - https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2021/662906/IPOL_STU(2021)662906_EN.pdf
The future of storage tech: Can the tech of the past influence the tech of tomorrow?
In this episode, we’re taking a look at how the explosion in our demand for data storage has led to needing more capacity than ever before, and whether long-vanished ideas from our computing past could influence technological innovation in the future.
In 2022 the world generated 97 Zettabytes of data. It has been predicted that, by 2025, that number will almost have doubled to 181 Zettabytes. Although at the rate generative AI and machine learning is expanding, that figure could be even higher.
As the Head of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise storage division, Senior Vice President Patrick Osborne has storage at the forefront of everything he does. He sees just how much his customers' needs are growing every year and is always actively looking for new methods and fabrics to meet those needs.
Alongside those requirements for greater data storage also sits the need for faster data processing - and there are a number of technologies nearing maturity which could revolutionise the space. Aidong Xu is Head of Semiconductor Capability at Cambridge Consultants, and is keeping a close eye on these technologies, especially in the memory space. For him, the big challenge is combining performance with efficiency.
However, whilst we’re looking at the future of data storage, it’s hard not to draw parallels with the past. Colin Eby from the National Museum of Computing knows a thing or two about that, guiding us through the history of the storage technologies which marked our pathway to today - some of which, in the decades since they fell out of favour, may have come round once more.
But what if the future of data storage isn’t data at all, but something more organic. Mark Bathe is a professor of biological engineering at MIT, specialising in DNA storage, and what that can mean for the future of our digital archiving needs.
Sources and statistics cited in this episode:Zettabytes usage - https://www.statista.com/statistics/871513/worldwide-data-created/Sales of storage units - https://www.statista.com/forecasts/1251240/worldwide-storage-unit-sales-volumeHard drive shipment figures - https://www.statista.com/statistics/398951/global-shipment-figures-for-hard-disk-drives/Random access DNA memory using Boolean search in an archival file storage system - https://www.nature.com/articles/s41563-021-01021-3
Is technology changing the way we speak?
In this episode, we'll explore how technology is changing the way we communicate. But much more than that, we're going to be looking at how it's actually changing our relationship with language itself.
Ever since the first pictograms which date way back over 5000 years, we've been searching for technologies to communicate with each other in more widespread, more efficient ways. The printing press, the telegram, the telephone, and the internet have all evolved into what we're now using today: live streaming; chatbots; VR and AR technologies and, of course, social media. The thing is, the pace of change has grown remarkably in recent decades. We're more connected than ever.
And nothing is changing that faster than AI, in particular generative AI. It’s a core area of interest for HPE Chief Technologist, Matt Armstrong-Barnes. He can see the incredible potential for globe-spanning communication that AI brings, from instant translation to live captioning, but he’s also wary of taking the human out of the loop and losing the important context, nuance and difference that makes language so special and effective.
That’s also a challenge for Courtney Napoles. She’s Linguistic Engineering Director at Grammarly, an AI-enabled software platform which aids human writing. Despite being a tech firm with a strong machine learning underpinning, they rely on humans in the loop to ensure that communication remains effective for us, rather than trying to pull us towards homogenised, machine-learning inspired writing styles.
The rise in assistive technology is having unintended benefits, too – in particular, it’s opening up the door to greater representation in the workplace, and bridging communication barriers when it comes to accessibility needs. Rob Koch is a data engineer and principal at Slalom Build, and heads the group Deaf In The Cloud Dot Com. He’s seen a remarkable breaking down of barriers in the last few years as technology has enabled him to communicate more effectively with colleagues and customers. There’s a way to go, but he’s optimistic about the future.
And speaking of the future, where are we headed next? Leslie Shannon is Nokia’s head of trend scouting. She’s keeping a keen eye on the way we communicate and the language we use, and is seeing a stark generational shift away from text and towards video and augmented reality solutions, embracing the additional context that body language and gesture can add to traditional, ‘flat’ conversations – and changing the way we speak to our tech and the language we use in the process.
Statistics and sources cited in this episode:Global communications market value: https://www.statista.com/outlook/tmo/communication-services/worldwideUS communcations market value: https://www.statista.com/outlook/tmo/communication-services/united-statesSize of the Digital Acessibility market: https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/digital-accessibility-software-market
Connectivity in sports: How are connectivity and bandwidth creating the venues of the future?
Sports and data are closely intertwined – and that’s especially true for spectators. So how can data, analytics, IoT and connectivity create better experiences fans? In this episode, we’re taking a look at how major sports venues and events are using technology to create the perfect experience for their customers.
It's something that’s been a recurring goal for clients of HPE Aruba Networking over the last few years. Simon Wilson is their Chief Technology Officer for the UK, and helps clients bring exceptional connected experiences. He explains that, in part, the demand has been driven by our own improved connectivity: In particular, smartphones are now used for everything from payments to ticketing. And thousands of devices means there’s a demand for rock-solid Wi-Fi and private 5G networks.
And that’s particularly important over large, outdoors sporting arenas where connectivity can be naturally spotty. Michael Cole is the Chief Technology Officer for the European Tour Group and Ryder Cup Europe. Not content with being responsible for laying tens of kilometers of cabling and fiber optic lines for golf’s marquee events, he’s been developing the concept of an Intelligent Course – a vast network of connected sensors and IoT devices which allow central control over every aspect of the event, from assessing queue length to measuring wind speed to account for wayward golf balls and moving spectators out of the way.
Daniel Brusilovsky is on a similar mission. He’s the vice president of technology for the Golden State Warriors and Chase Center in San Fransisco. Their campus contains over 700 Wi-Fi access points, connecting upwards of 18,000 devices at key points. These devices not only provide seamless access, they allow the Chase Center to use intelligence and insight to perfect the flow of people through their site. Insight and analytics from the data they collect is being used for everything from stocking concession stands to streaming fans’ phones right onto the largest score screen in North America.
And that idea of fan experience is what really excites Leslie Shannon. She’s Nokia's head of trend and innovation scouting, and is impressed by some of the connected fan experiences that sports teams are trying out, from 3D cameras positioned on top of the goal posts, to apps using Augmented Reality to overlay a player’s stats and map their previous performance whilst they are playing.
Routes into STEM – Could apprenticeships solve the tech talent crunch?
Routes into STEM – Could apprenticeships solve the tech talent crunch?
There’s an acute shortage of candidates for tech jobs – in fact, research suggests tens of millions of potential roles are going unfilled. In a poll with global technology chiefs conducted by MIT’s ‘Technology Review’, a majority found that they weren’t getting enough candidates for roles, and those who did apply lacked necessary skills.
Clearly, there’s a problem here. So what can tech companies do to bring more talent through the door? Could building a baseline of investment in new, or even unqualified, talent be a solution?
Maninder Randhawa believes so. He’s the Early Careers Leader for Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the UKIMEA region, and spends his time building programmes to upskill the organizations new talent. He believes that, whilst there’s absolutely a place for old hands, the fresh ideas and ability to adapt and mould that new talent brings makes them more than worth the investment.
A case in point is Stu Franks of Alces flight, an HPC services provider. He began at the firm at age 18 as a school leaver, and now heads a team building and marketing services and solutions. He believes apprenticeships, like his own, offer a route to great talent that’s not suited to academia but has all the practical talent and intelligence needed to excel in the field, and values demonstrable skills, personality and attitude above degrees and certificates.
In order to attract young people into the STEM fields, though, they need to know about it. That’s where outreach groups like Stemettes come in. They are a UK-based organization dedicated to reaching out to underrepresented groups in schools across the country, with programs to engage young people in STEM careers as an option, and provide mentoring and support for them to take their first steps. Floriane Fidegnon got into tech through the work of the group and now sits on the board, something her employer encourages as it creates a virtuous cycle of bringing in new talent, and encouraging existing talent like Floriane to become engaged ambassadors for the field.
But what about the kind of soft skills that come with a degree – just not one in STEM topics? Erin Young is a case in point. She’s a lead researcher for the Alan Turing Institute, which is dedicated to solving societal problems with technology. She came into the field from a background in classics, where her skills in research, reasoning and analytics, combined with a love of data analytics, made a move into tech a great – if seemingly disconnected – jump.
Sources cited in this episode:
85 million unfilled tech roles by 2030: https://www.kornferry.com/insights/this-week-in-leadership/talent-crunch-future-of-work
MIT Technology Review poll with tech leaders on talent shortages: https://www.technologyreview.com/2023/09/21/1079695/new-approaches-to-the-tech-talent-shortage/
STEM apprenticeships in the UK increased by over a quarter in the last decade: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships
The National Science Foundation report on the STEM workforce between 2011 and 2021: https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf23315/report/the-stem-workforce#:~:text=The%20size%20of%20the%20STEM,2011%20to%2024%25%20in%202021
UK government report into diversity and inclusion in STEM: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/34531/documents/190060/default/
Untangled At Last!
Michael, Aubrey, and their incredibly knowledgeable guests are changing what it means to be a techie in the current industry climate. Composed of all the traditional things that make a tech show fabulous (innovation, problem-solving, etc.) coupled with authenticity and insight you won’t find anywhere else. Thanks for putting out such a wonderful show, Michael and Aubrey - keep up the great work!
I am really looking forward for this podcast, specially during this unprecedented times!