Sunday, September 25, 2016

Aye, Aye Captain!

"Aye aye, sir" is a phrase commonly heard present day in naval language. It is derived from a duplicate of the word "aye" which came into the English language in the late 16th century and early 17th century, meaning "Yes; even so." It was common in dialect and is the formal word for voting "yes" in the English House of Commons. Its most common use is as a naval response indicating that an order has been received, is understood, and will be carried out immediately. It differs from "yes", which, in standard usage, could mean simple agreement without any intention to act. In naval custom, a reply of "yes sir" would indicate agreement to a statement that was not understood as an order or a requirement to do anything. 

The alternatives of "aye aye sir" and "yes sir" would allow any misunderstanding to be corrected at once. This might be a matter of life and death for a ship at sea. Basically, it means that the speaker understands and will obey a direct order.

Aye = Yes. Aye Aye = I understand, and I will comply.

In other words, it's the naval equivalent to the aeronautical difference between "Roger" and "Wilco." Roger = Message received. Wilco = Will comply. 

We now have AI.  AI = Artificial Intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. CEO Jeff Bezos says we're at the earliest days of artificial intelligence and the influence it will have on consumers' lives. "It's hard to overstate how big of an impact it's going to have on society over the next 20 years," Bezos said on stage at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. advisor Edward Hess, University of Virginia Professor of Business Administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence states: In the next five to 10 years, we will see businesses of all sizes impacted and challenged by a combination of technology advances, including artificial intelligence, global digital connectivity, the Internet of Things, Big Data, increasing computer power, Cloud AI SaaS Services, 3D manufacturing, smart robotics and the beginning of artificial emotional intelligence.

These technology advances combined will likely:

  1. Transform how most businesses are staffed, operated and managed
  2. Change the nature and availability of work in our society
  3. Infuse smart technology and data science into every business function
  4. Commoditize operational excellence
  5. Make innovation and human performance the primary value creation differentiators

The full article here

What once seemed to be many years away (pizza delivery via drones, self-driving cars, etc.) are now HERE. Today.

Self driving cars (and ships, buses, trains, aircraft?) are here now. And this means no more parking tickets, no more speeding tickets, and maybe even no more car accidents. What will this do to the economy? How many municipalities rely on income from parking and speeding tickets? If there are no more car accidents, what impact will that make on life-saving organ donations? Most organ donations are a result of car accidents.

A chatbot lawyer service set up by a teenage programmer to appeal parking tickets has helped overturn over $4m in fines since 2014. The DoNotPay bot is described by its 19-year-old creator Joshua Browder as “the world’s first robot lawyer” and has taken on 250,000 cases—winning 160,000 of them. Browder made the bot freely available and has described it as a tool to help prevent local governments taking advantage of their citizens.
Full article here

What does IBM Watson mean for the world? Will a medical doctor ever “go against” the advice given by IBM Watson? And if so, what will taking (or not taking) medical advice from Watson do to malpractice insurance? If Watson was available - and you don’t ask Watson for advice, is that alone negligence and/or a form of malpractice?

How far away are we from IBM Watson (Attorney, Doctor, Teacher) affecting the global economy, especially via replacing jobs?

Aye = Yes  
Aye Aye = I understand, and will comply.

Remember, the difference between "Aye" and "Aye Aye" could be life and death, to a ship at sea. And now, we have gone from Aye Aye, to just "AI”. 

Who is the master and who is the servant? 

The AI genie has been released from the bottle - much sooner than anyone predicted.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

What do you do?

My friend David Burkus ( does many things. One of them is running a really great podcast. He interviews cool people, and every podcast begins with the question: Who are you and what do you do? And everyone knows this question is coming, so they had time to prepare their answers. These people are some of the smartest people on the planet. And yet, many of them seem to struggle with their answer.

Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend and it is considered the unofficial end of summer. I write this blog on a Sunday, smack in the middle of the “end of summer” celebration.

When we were kids, we would be asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And we would shout out things like: Doctor! Fireman! Teacher! Policeman! Baseball Player! Nurse! Astronaut!

At such a young age, we could not know the difference in earning potential from one profession to another. As kids we answered this question based on pure emotion. What would it "be" like to become a Doctor? What would it “be” like to become a Fireman? What would it “be” like to become a professional athlete? We were too young to know or worry about little things like car payments and mortgages and student loans. Money had nothing to do with it.

Somewhere along the way, the questions went from “What do you want to BE when you grow up” to “What is your college major” and “What do you do for a living”.

The process shifted. It went from “being” something to “doing” something. And the money - exchanging our time on planet earth doing something - for money - entered the conversation.

When I was in High School in Boca Raton Florida, the Quarterback of the football team was - amazing. I knew him since the 7th grade. Every sport he played - baseball, track, basketball, everything - he just excelled. FAST! Oh, such a fast runner. He went on to college, and everyone knew that he was one day going to win the Super Bowl. It was going to happen! The talent, the skill was there - we just need to watch it all unfold! Then, there was an injury. And a few unlucky breaks.

There was no NFL career for my friend.

But he did pursue a career in football. The passion for the game was too strong. The love of the sport, the “fire in the belly” as they say, was too much to ignore.

Labor Day has become a holiday to celebrate and reflect on “what we do for a living” rather than what we do - since what we do is really who we are.

When we retire (if we ever CAN retire… that topic for another blog) we talk about our careers - as if once retired we have transformed into a different person. When we talk about our past work, when we reminisce about our past careers we are describing our identity, our purpose. The “thing” that we did for a living, the actions that we performed in exchange for compensation becomes everything.

As we celebrate the long holiday weekend, try to reflect on this interesting process. We go from “what do you want to be” to “what do you do” to “what did you do” - for a living

Don’t let the compensation (the money) that you exchange for your time on planet earth become your label. Parents: teaching moment for your kids!

What you do - and what you have done - should always match your passion. It should be your special purpose. Financial compensation has nothing to do with it. We all have bills to pay, we all have financial responsibilities. 

Passion needs to equal Profession.

The next time someone asks you “What do you do?” stop and ask yourself - do they want to know about my passion - or are they trying to figure out how much money I make? The secret to a successful life and career is to have “what do you do” and “what do you do for a living” have the same answer. 

Too often, the answer to these two questions are very different. And that is sad.

Mark Richt is the head coach of the University of Miami Hurricanes. Prior to Miami, Richt served as head coach at the University of Georgia for 15 years, Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach at Florida State University for 14 years, and as offensive coordinator at East Carolina University.