Chris Meyer on the New Sciences, New IT
Futurist says IT is in for bumpy ride on the way to the 'adaptive enterprise.'
Computerworld - From 1995 through 2002, Christopher Meyer was director of the Center for Business Innovation, a think tank within Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. While there, he founded Bios Group Inc., a Santa Fe, N.M.-based venture that invests in business applications of complexity theory.
In 2002, he founded Nerve in Lexington, Mass., where he's now applying adaptive systems theory to understand how businesses can evolve autonomously in response to economic volatility. He's also researching the coming "molecular economy," to be driven by the rapidly developing fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology and materials science.
With Stan Davis, he has co-authored three books, most recently It's Alive (Crown Business, 2003). Computerworld's Gary H. Anthes recently asked Meyer about some of the concepts in the book, which looks 10 years into the future.
What does the maturing of IT plus the rise of the so-called adaptive enterprise imply for IT people? Aim as high in the value chain as you can. If IT is what you love, look at the world of autonomous agents, of pattern recognition, of globally distributed decision systems, where the next killer apps can come from. The economic value of the day-to-day IT jobs is going to decline and perhaps go overseas.
You cite companies such as John Deere, IBM and General Electric as using genetic algorithms (GA), in which rules in software evolve spontaneously, breeding better and better solutions. How important is that concept? It's the leading end of a wedge. GAs are one of a number of techniques under the category of nondeterministic programming, where the objective is not to create code that never has a bug and gives you the same answer every time, but to solve problems that, in some cases, may be impossible for us to understand because they are nonlinear and nondeterministic.
In some cases, if you run it twice, you won't get the same answer, but you might get equally good answers. The application of GAs is a pretty scarce skill.
What about agent-based simulations, another nondeterministic computing technique that your book says is used by Southwest Airlines, the U.S. Marines, Walt Disney and a few other organizations? It's so far used by a handful of people in very customized ways. It will have a profound impact on the social sciences. It's the right way to model systems of people, of consumer behavior, for example. The technique is pioneering today, but it's good enough that it's worth investigating, because it's a small expenditure for something that may yield new insights.
Christopher Meyer of Nerve
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Government Agency Webifies Outdated COBOL Applications Let this CTO tell you how his agency converted 1980s-era green screens into an e-filing portal for the 100,000 cases handled each year...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts