How big is your robot?

What do you get when you combine cloud computing, social networking, big data and modern day engineering? You get a kick-ass robot. This was my first thought when I finished reading a published whitepaper by the Atos scientific community on the topic of robots.

Central in the paper is the question: “Where is the mind of the future robot?”, and by outlining the concept of a robot that can utilize everything that is available in cyberspace you may find it difficult to answer that question.

Today it is hard to predict where on earth all of the data about you is stored in the cloud and we have never been able to communicate more easily. It is easy to see that robots will be everywhere, able to utilize all available information.
This will lead to a new class in robot persona’s and capabilities.

Once the robot is part of a social network, it could virtually interact with humans as well and thus start truly mimicking human behavior.

When I was (much) younger we had a program on our home computer that was called ‘Eliza’. This program would behave as an electronic psychiatrist. It had some limited learning capabilities and some clever language skills to ‘trick’ you in having an actual conversation.

If you would type things like “I hate talking to a computer”, Eliza would answer with “Hate seems to be important to you, can you explain that?”

If we now multiply the capabilities of this ‘Eliza’ by a thousand or more (using cloud computing scalability) and bring in the analytics of all of your ‘likes’ or ‘diggs’ or even the behaviour of your friends, combined with knowledge about your locations and multiply that by analysing all the things you did 5 years ago, 10 years ago and today …. Well I think you get the picture.

The more a future robot knows or has access to, the more it will be able to fulfil his role in supporting us. This may not sit well with everybody, but if we utilize this capability in a clever way, I believe we can benefit.

Especially if we also take into account that a robot can take different forms, could exist virtually or maybe even be in multiple locations at the same time, with access to the right information and computing power to use that to our benefit. The whitepaper describes some of these scenarios and puts it in the perspective of the role of IT providers and systems integrators.

Based on my reading of the whitepaper I was thinking that maybe the statement ‘I cannot be in two places at the same time’ will soon become a thing of the past.

[This blog post is a repost of ]


6 reasons why Open Innovation is happening now

When is the last time you watched Sesame Street?

I was thinking about a wonderful song that has been going around a long time on collaboration and co-operation. (see Sesame Street – "Cooperation Makes It Happen" – first performance in episode 2040 / March 1985).

It seems that this way of creating new things is already promoted very early in our childhood and part of our collective memory of positive actions.

So, if Open Innovation is about collaboration and co-operation, you would think we should be doing it more often? Well, an upcoming whitepaper by the Atos Scientific Community explores this question and comes to some interesting conclusions.

"…innovation in the 21st Century is increasingly open, collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and global, resulting in greater opportunities, and challenges for traditional R&D approaches."

Apparently there are a couple of changes in the current society that enable Open Innovation to be a more natural way of doing things (together).

Firstly there is the increased pressure on cost and the need to go to the market with new products and services much faster than before; having access to a bigger pool of knowledge without having to invest a lot of time building that same pool, supports the adoption of Open Innovation.

"The key limitation of Closed Innovation is the lack of leverage of external knowledge and expertise in unknown emerging fields for internal innovation processes."

Secondly we now see new business models emerging that allow for support of joint development of new products and services. Previously it was quite difficult to do so, but there are more and more support companies that will take care of the groundwork – Amazon for flexible compute power and SalesForce for flexible marketing activities just to name a few well known examples, but there are multiple other services available that take care of the basic services in a flexible, pay-as-you-go, get-the-size-you-need delivery models.

Number three is better approaches to intellectual property and protection of ownership. This takes away the need to keep things secret and allows for more sharing between companies. In addition the understanding and broader agreement on the different ways in which we can apply Open Source is also helping companies to take a more relaxed attitude towards collaboration.

At number four we see the increased capabilities in social networking and easy communication between different locations and companies. Setting up meetings and long distance virtual teams has become much easier.

"The walls of the enterprise are (therefore) no longer solid; ideas can filter into the innovation funnel via a ‘bi-directional, semi-permeable membrane’."

And at number five we see the increased understanding that each company holds the key to greatness hidden somewhere deep in the fabric of the organization, waiting to be discovered. While at the same time we know that we need a fresh new perspective to get this to the surface and we need the additional intelligence of somebody outside that will make it grow.

Or, probably most of all, at number six, the generation that loved, watched and learned from Sesame Street is now grown up; they know about this great song “co-operation … makes it happen” and are now putting it into action.

This blog post is a repost of