Thursday, October 5, 2023

Navigating Data Ownership: Unpacking Ownership Concerns


Data is undoubtedly the most valuable resource in the contemporary digital economy, serving as the cornerstone of information, knowledge, and strategic development across various sectors. This omnipresent asset is continuously generated, with every individual contributing to the data pool through various daily activities. Activities like swiping credit cards, updating ledgers, importing information, making calls, sending messages, engaging in virtual meetings, or pressing a device's “record” button all contribute to data generation.

However, not only do activities referenced above create data, but every transaction, purchase, or choice individuals make also does. This active data generation provides invaluable insights into consumer preferences, behaviors, and patterns by recording chosen, purchased, or transacted items. Even mundane activities like walking, driving, or browsing the internet generate data, establishing predictable behavior patterns. This digital footprint proves invaluable for businesses, marketers, and service providers.

In a digitalized society, systems actively process and utilize every bit of data—blatant or subtle—to enhance and tailor products, services, and experiences to individual preferences and expectations. Data actively fuels advancements, innovations, and the development of technologies designed to predict, understand, and respond to consumer behavior and demands, serving as the bedrock of the digital economy.

Understanding the intricate facets of data ownership becomes imperative as we navigate through a digitalized environment. While businesses may believe they own their data, various digital transactions and agreement elements whisper a different narrative, subtly shifting ownership.

Digital Ownership Considerations

As companies globally adopt cloud-based computing, access to vital applications from various locations becomes seamless. Tools such as Cloud Platforms, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) offer significant power without hefty initial costs, making them alluring to businesses of diverse sizes. Nevertheless, as companies immerse themselves deeper into these technologies, the facades of data ownership begin to fade.

Digital ownership is a problem wrapped in layers of complexity and misunderstanding. Firms must comprehend that utilizing cloud services implies entering a realm where data ownership lines aren't clear-cut, and assumptions can lead to significant pitfalls. In the dynamic landscape of the digital age, every piece of data stored or transacted over the cloud becomes subject to scrutiny, and businesses must remain alert.

The Changing Workforce

The growth of remote working has changed the employment landscape and intensified reliance on cloud-based systems. Once seen as peripheral supports, these systems have evolved into mission-critical structures, knitting together a fragile framework of dispersed workspaces. This reliance, while vital, beckons a series of concerns regarding data ownership.

During the surge of remote working, companies invariably found solace in cloud-based vendors, underpinning their operations with third-party services that promised efficiency and security. In this transition, there was an implicit understanding, perhaps an assumption, among businesses that the data generated, stored, and processed through these services would remain under their stewardship. However, this assumption often proves to be misplaced, leading to a precarious situation where the lines of data ownership are blurred and, at times, invisible.

As businesses navigate this new normal, the silent issue of data ownership in the cloud looms. It’s a topic that warrants attention, not in the future but now, as the ramifications of misunderstanding or overlooking data ownership are both immediate and potentially severe.

The End User License Agreement (EULA): The Silent Power Broker

EULAs, often lengthy and intricate, lie at the core of misunderstandings regarding data ownership. These documents, filled with legal jargon and clauses, require the average user to seek help deciphering. Users, eager to start using the desired software, often skim through EULAs without grasping their implications and inadvertently agree to terms not in their favor.

These agreements, contrary to widespread belief, are not drafted with the sole purpose of protecting the user. Instead, they are meticulously designed to shield the vendor, often at the user's expense. In the labyrinth of legal language, clauses that subtly shift the ownership and control of data from the user to the provider are embedded, often going unnoticed until a dispute arises.

Importance of Vigilance and Understanding

Businesses must be vigilant and understand the nuances involved to steer through the murky waters of data ownership successfully. Understanding and comprehending the fine print in agreements with cloud service providers or other 3rd party entities is vital.

This awareness and understanding are about reading the agreements, interpreting them correctly, grasping their implications, and making informed decisions. Companies need to invest time and resources in educating themselves and their employees about the intricacies of data ownership in the cloud or with a 3rd party vendor, fostering a culture of responsibility and vigilance. Remember, it’s essential to understand the landscape before signing a contract. It is important to ask these questions early in the vendor selection process.

Five critical questions you should ask regarding data ownership:

1. What Are the Specific Data Ownership Terms in the Contract?
  • Why Ask: Having clear contractual terms defining data ownership is vital. Understanding these terms helps know who owns the data generated, processed, or stored within the service.
  • Sub-Questions: Who owns the data once loaded in your system or cloud? Are there any conditions or exceptions to be aware of? How do these terms compare to industry standards and best practices?
2. Can You Clarify Data Access Rights and Responsibilities?
  • Why Ask: Understanding who has access to your data and for what purpose is essential for maintaining data security and integrity.
  • Sub-Questions: What level of access do we have to our data? Do you access client data, and if so, under what circumstances? Are you using my data for other purposes (metadata, summary, or other means)?
3. How Is Data Handled Upon Termination of Services?
  • Why Ask: Knowing how data is managed at the end of a contract or service term is crucial to ensure your data isn’t misused or unprotected.
  • Sub-Questions: Is data returned or destroyed? Can you provide certification of data destruction? Is there an initial cost to remove data from your service? What format is my data returned?
4. What Data Backup and Recovery Processes Are in Place?
  • Why Ask: This ensures robust mechanisms to prevent data loss and facilitate data recovery in case of accidental deletion, corruption, or other forms of data loss.
  • Sub-Questions: How often is data backed up? How long is backup data retained? How quickly can data be restored?
5. How Do You Ensure Data Security and Compliance with Privacy Laws?
  • Why Ask: With varying and strict data protection regulations globally, compliance is non-negotiable to avoid legal repercussions and protect your customers and organization’s sensitive information.
  • Sub-Questions: What security measures and certifications do you have? How do you comply with GDPR, CCPA, or HIPAA?
Understanding the answers to these questions will help you avoid any potential red flags and prevent you from signing a contract with a vendor that does not meet your data ownership and security requirements. The answers must be in writing to provide a reference point if any disputes arise.

Final Thoughts

Understanding data ownership in today's intricate digital landscape is not a luxury but a necessity. With unseen challenges and silent power shifts happening beneath the surface, businesses leveraging cloud computing and remote work should tread cautiously. Data ownership might seem straightforward, but the invisible strings attached can turn it into a complex, multifaceted issue. The silent shifts in the background, the challenges that go unnoticed, and the power dynamics that change subtly but significantly contribute to making data ownership in the cloud or 3rd party applications a topic that demands attention, understanding, and action.

Ensuring ownership remains with its creator is non-negotiable, as data flows freely yet invisibly across the internet in the digital world. Companies must stay vigilant, informed, and proactive, as these practices are essential for securing their data and confidently navigating the challenges of the digital age. Businesses can create better clarity with diligence and understanding, establishing secure data flows and unequivocal data ownership.  After all, it is your data.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Freedom of Speech: A Pillar of Democracy and Its Judicial Boundaries


Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democratic societies, emphasizing every individual's inherent dignity and worth. Rooted deeply in the history of Western civilization and codified in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, this right is celebrated for fostering creativity, facilitating informed public discourse, and acting as a check against government oppression. However, like all rights, freedom of speech is not absolute. Over the years, U.S. courts, primarily the Supreme Court, have navigated the delicate balance between preserving the sanctity of free expression and addressing concerns for public safety, individual rights, and societal harmony.

A Brief Historical Overview

Freedom of speech is not just a modern democratic ideal but is rooted in ancient civilizations. The value of free expression has been continuously recognized from the open forums of Ancient Greece to the pens of Enlightenment thinkers. In the U.S., the framers of the Constitution, influenced by the likes of John Locke, sought to protect this right from government infringement, resulting in the First Amendment, which promises that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech."

This right was seen as a bulwark against tyrannical rule and an essential component of an informed and active citizenry. Over time, it has played a pivotal role in advancing civil rights, promoting political change, and fostering cultural evolution.

Court Cases Shaping the Boundaries

Despite the reverence for freedom of speech, U.S. courts have delineated several boundaries, primarily based on concerns for public safety, order, and other compelling societal interests. A few landmark cases provide insights into these limitations:

1. Incitement: In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the Supreme Court established a standard wherein speech can be penalized if it is "directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to achieve that result."

2. Defamation: The New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) decision requires public figures seeking to win defamation suits to prove statements were made with "actual malice."

3. Obscenity: The "Miller test" from Miller v. California (1973) helps differentiate between protected speech and obscene material lacking "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

4. Child pornography: New York v. Ferber (1982) permits the prohibition of child pornography, emphasizing the state's interest in protecting the well-being of minors.

5. Threats: Virginia v. Black (2003) clarified that states could categorize certain forms of expression as threats, particularly when used as symbols of intimidation.

6. Time, Place, and Manner: In Ward v. Rock Against Racism (1989), it was affirmed that the government could regulate the time, place, and manner of speech to maintain public order, given these regulations are content-neutral.

7. National Security: In the Pentagon Papers case (New York Times Co. v. United States) (1971), the court prioritized the right to publish over concerns of potential threats to national security, emphasizing the role of the press in holding the government accountable.

Final Thoughts

Throughout American history, freedom of speech has been an instrumental right in shaping democracy. In addition to empowering social movements, it has challenged oppressive norms and enriched cultural dialogue. However, as society evolves, so do its challenges. In their wisdom, the courts have attempted to strike a balance, ensuring that the freedom of speech remains robust while acknowledging the genuine concerns that occasionally necessitate its limitation. As history has shown, this balance is delicate, dynamic, and essential for the continued flourishing of democratic ideals.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Wirelessly Making the Impossible, Possible

Innovative Wireless Technologies (IWT) - A Proven Wireless Solution for Non-Traditional Sectors

In a world increasingly reliant on connectivity, the challenge lies in delivering wireless solutions to non-traditional spaces such as mining, underground construction, transportation, and shipping. Due to their inherent complexity and hard-to-reach locations, these areas often challenge traditional wireless technologies. Innovative Wireless Technologies (IWT) is breaking the mold with its robust and reliable wireless solutions, proving that no space is too challenging and no situation too complex.

The Specific Challenges of Wireless Solutions in Non-Traditional Spaces

Wireless solutions in non-traditional spaces face several unique challenges, including:

The non-traditional wireless spaces often operate in complex and challenging environments, such as underground mines, ships, and tunnels. In these environments, wireless signals may be interfered with by weather conditions or other environmental factors.

The infrastructure of many companies in these sectors is limited. As a result, wireless solutions can be difficult to deploy and maintain.

Non-traditional sectors often have security concerns, such as the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information. Wireless solutions must be highly secure to meet this requirement.

How IWT's Solutions Address These Challenges:

  • IWT's solutions are designed to address the specific challenges of wireless solutions in non-traditional wireless spaces. The IWT solutions features
  • Its solutions are robust and reliable, able to handle the harsh conditions of non-traditional wireless spaces.
  • The solutions offered by IWT are flexible and scalable, allowing them to be customized to suit the needs of each organization.
IWT's solutions are secure and compliant, focusing on industry standards.

Pioneering Work in Non-Traditional Wireless Spaces

Mining and underground construction are fraught with safety concerns and operational challenges. Traditional wireless solutions often fall short in these demanding environments. IWT, however, has effectively risen to the challenge by delivering customized wireless solutions that provide seamless connectivity, enhanced safety protocols, and operational efficiency.

The intricate structure of large ships and the vast open seas also pose significant challenges for wireless technology. But with IWT's state-of-the-art solutions, even these hard-to-reach areas are no longer a barrier to comprehensive coverage. IWT's wireless technologies ensure real-time communication, location tracking, and monitoring, which are crucial for efficient operations and safety in this sector.

Unparalleled Professional Services and Advanced Analytics

Beyond providing reliable wireless connectivity, IWT's solutions offer an array of services that can significantly optimize operations. Their advanced wireless technology offers exceptional location services and tracking capabilities. This improves operational efficiency and significantly enhances safety measures by allowing real-time tracking of assets and personnel, which is crucial in emergencies.

IWT's solutions also offer incredible potential for supply chain optimization. Organizations can achieve granular visibility into every supply chain link with near real-time data analytics. This enables informed decision-making, precise forecasting, identification of potential bottlenecks, and improved inventory optimization, thereby enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, IWT's advanced analytics offer valuable insights into the movements and activities of an organization's most critical assets, including personnel. These insights enable organizations to allocate resources better, mitigate risks, and make data-driven decisions that enhance overall operational efficiency.


Innovative Wireless Technologies (IWT) is a beacon of innovation and reliability in delivering high-performance wireless solutions to non-traditional sectors. With a proven track record in overcoming the most challenging scenarios, IWT is undoubtedly a trusted partner for any organization seeking to enhance its operations and safety protocols through state-of-the-art wireless technology.

IWT's ability to deliver seamless connectivity, world-class location services, tracking capabilities, supply chain optimization, and advanced analytics sets it apart in the industry. As the world continues to evolve, IWT's commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction ensures it remains at the forefront, providing tailored wireless solutions that cater to the unique needs of every organization.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The Call of the Airwaves - Amateur Radio Field Day

I’ve received several notes from non-Amateur Radio friends about local activities in their community this past weekend. Every year in June, radio operators, affectionately known as "hams," come together to celebrate and uphold the longstanding tradition of amateur radio. For these individuals, Field Day is much more than a casual gathering; it is a testament to the importance of communications, a way to promote public awareness, and an opportunity to reinforce their preparedness for any situation. 

They began by setting up stations, running off generators and solar power. The objective wasn't to make the most contacts or score the highest points but to demonstrate that even in unfavorable conditions, amateur radio operators can set up functioning networks in a matter of hours. In a real-life disaster scenario, when all other lines of communication may fail, these hams will be the beacon of hope, facilitating life-saving communications. 

Field Day is a testament to the amateur radio community's spirit and resilience, demonstrating their readiness to serve as a crucial communication link when required. It brings the community together, ignites interest in the younger generation, and reinforces the importance of being prepared. 

As the sun rose on Monday, the operators packed away their equipment, their faces flushed with exhaustion and satisfaction. They had once again proven the power and relevance of amateur radio (even in a digital world). It wasn't about competition but unity, service, and readiness, qualities at the heart of the ARRL Field Day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Transforming Manufacturing in Go Virginia Region 2: The Promises and Potentials of Additive Manufacturing


Additive Manufacturing (AM) represents one of our era's most significant technological advancements. Its genesis traces back to the 1980s when Dr. Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute published the concept of a rapid prototyping system, marking the conceptual birth of this transformative technology (Kodama, 1981). Charles Hull's invention of stereolithography in 1984 followed, making it possible to create 3D objects layer by layer from a digital file (Hull, 1986). The authors, first in-depth introduction to the technology was at General Electric. In 2016, GE acquired two AM companies for 1.4 billion to streamline and reduce product costs. Since then, the technology's various use cases have continued to expand.

The applications of AM span a wide range of sectors due to its inherent benefits. AM is notable for its ability to produce complex geometries that are otherwise difficult or impossible to create using traditional manufacturing processes. This quality allows for unprecedented flexibility in design and has significant implications for industries where customization and precision are key. Notable sectors include healthcare, aerospace, automotive, energy, and construction. AM can create personalized medical devices, implants, and prosthetics in healthcare. AM's capacity for producing lightweight yet complex structures offers a new paradigm in part design and production in aerospace and automotive.

Over the years, the technology has continuously evolved, with advancements in materials and techniques expanding its potential. Today, AM encompasses a multitude of techniques, including Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), each catering to different materials and applications.

AM offers many benefits to Region 2, the State, and our Nation

It empowers the creation of intricate parts that are otherwise challenging or impossible to produce through traditional means (Berman, 2012). For example, AM is capable of generating parts with complex internal structures or multi-material components.
  • AM promotes an on-demand production model, mitigating the cost and time associated with mass production and storage of excess inventory (Weller, Kleer, & Piller, 2015). As such, AM has the potential to significantly reduce the cost and logistical constraints of maintaining large inventories.
  • AM can offer a high level of customization, which is particularly relevant in industries such as healthcare that require personalized medical devices. Similarly, AM can be applied to consumer products, enabling the customization of items such as shoes and prosthetic limbs (Laplume, Petersen, & Pearce, 2016).
  • AM is already employed across various industries, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, energy, and construction (Laplume et al., 2016). In the aerospace industry, for example, it produces complex engine components and airframe structures. In healthcare, it assists in creating medical devices like implants, prosthetics, and surgical instruments.
Other benefits of AM include reduced waste, improved efficiency, higher quality of parts, and increased flexibility (Weller et al., 2015). As AM technology matures, we can anticipate its continued expansion across a broader range of sectors, heralding a new manufacturing era.

Additive Manufacturing in Region 2

Leading companies such as Framatome and BWX Technologies (BWXT) have recognized the potential of AM, implementing it to enhance the safety and efficiency of nuclear reactors (Framatome, 2017; BWXT, 2019).

Framatome, a French-based company specializing in designing, producing, and maintaining nuclear reactors, has utilized AM in component production for several years. In 2017, the company installed the first 3D-printed fuel assembly into a commercial nuclear reactor, demonstrating the benefits of AM, including enhanced safety, efficiency, and cost reductions (Framatome, 2017). This fuel assembly was produced using selective laser melting (SLM), an AM process that facilitates the creation of complex, internally intricate components.

Similarly, BWXT, an American corporation focused on designing, producing, and servicing nuclear components, has embraced AM for various applications. The company's scope includes the creation of fuel assemblies, control rods, and safety systems. In 2019, BWXT announced the development of a novel 3D-printed fuel assembly resistant to radiation damage. This assembly is produced using electron beam melting (EBM), an AM process capable of creating durable, high-strength components (BWXT, 2019).

Framatome and BWXT are using AM to enhance nuclear reactor safety and efficiency. They invest in research and development to advance AM technologies and their applications. As AM technology evolves, its innovative applications within the nuclear industry will likely expand.

Another noteworthy company in additive manufacturing is MELD Manufacturing, based in Christiansburg, VA. MELD has a game-changing process that redefines the metal fabrication industry, offering many capabilities and overcoming the limitations posed by conventional fusion-based processes. At its core, MELD is an innovative technology that facilitates various applications, from additive manufacturing and metal joining to component repair, coating applications, and custom alloy and metal matrix composite billet fabrication.

The fundamental aspect of MELD technology presents a host of benefits. It contributes to high-quality output with reduced residual stresses and full-density materials, achieved with significantly lower energy requirements than its fusion-based counterparts. The nature of MELD also eliminates the risk of common issues associated with melt-based technologies, such as porosity and hot cracking. Furthermore, MELD is a single-step process that eliminates the necessity for time-consuming subsequent processes such as hot isostatic pressing (HIP) or sintering to improve the material quality, enhancing its efficiency.

Perhaps one of the most impressive traits of MELD is its capacity to print large-scale metal parts - a capability yet unseen in the metal additive market. This scalability leap is attributed to MELD's freedom from the constraints of small powder beds or expensive vacuum systems that traditionally limit other additive processes. The MELD process operates in an open atmosphere, demonstrating an impressive insensitivity to the operating environment or material surface condition. These characteristics position MELD as an efficient and feasible solution for real-world manufacturing applications.

The benefits of MELD technology extend even further to its impressive speed and flexibility in material selection. With the ability to deposit material at least ten times faster than fusion-based metal additive processes, MELD offers a significantly expedited production timeline. Moreover, unlike other additive technologies that may limit material choices to a handful of expensive proprietary alloys, MELD offers extensive flexibility. MELD can deposit various metal alloys, from aluminum to steel and nickel-based superalloys, ensuring high-quality output with the same machine and process.

The MELD process represents a promising leap forward in metal fabrication technology. MELD is well-positioned to revolutionize the sector and redefine our approach to metal manufacturing by providing superior quality, efficiency, and versatility in a real-world manufacturing context.

The Future of Additive Manufacturing

Looking forward, the promise of AM is vast. It is positioned to drive the fourth industrial revolution, radically reshaping manufacturing, supply chains, and consumption patterns (Weller, Kleer, & Piller, 2015). As the technology matures, it's expected to be more sustainable by minimizing waste and reducing the energy usage associated with production. The potential for localized production could also reduce the carbon footprint associated with the long-distance transportation of goods. In a more distant future, with developments in materials science, we could see the use of AM in producing smart materials and structures that can self-repair or adapt to their environment.

Whether through the creation of intricate components, the reduction of excess inventory, or the provision of highly personalized products, AM has demonstrated a wide range of capabilities. These already enhance diverse sectors, from aerospace and healthcare to construction and nuclear power. Companies like Framatome, BWXT, and MELD Manufacturing exemplify the transformative impact of AM technology. Their innovative work in nuclear reactor safety and directed energy deposition offer compelling case studies of AM's potential in Go Virginia Region 2.

Moreover, the AM revolution does not stop at the boundaries of these sectors. The inherent advantages of AM, such as reduced waste, improved efficiency, higher quality, and increased flexibility, suggest an inevitable expansion into other industries. As AM technologies continue to mature, it is reasonable to anticipate that their innovative applications will broaden, heralding a seismic shift in manufacturing processes.

Given these developments, it is clear that Region 2 of Virginia stands at the cusp of a manufacturing renaissance. Integrating AM technologies like those offered by Framatome, BWXT, and MELD Manufacturing within local industries presents an unprecedented opportunity for growth, economic development, and global competitiveness. Embracing this transformation will undoubtedly position Region 2 as a vanguard of this new manufacturing era.

This revolution in manufacturing extends beyond economic benefits, signifying a broader societal transformation. The promise of AM technology for increased personalization and sustainability has the potential to vastly improve the quality of life in Region 2 and beyond. As such, the rise of AM in Region 2 is not only a story of economic and technological advancement but also one of societal progress.


The rise of additive manufacturing in Region 2 of Virginia illuminates a future filled with promise and potential. It is a future where manufacturing is no longer defined by traditional limitations but instead characterized by innovation, flexibility, and precision. As this future unfolds, Region 2 stands poised not just to witness this revolution but to lead it, embodying the promises and potentials of additive manufacturing.


Berman, B. (2012). 3-D printing: The new industrial revolution. Business Horizons, 55(2), 155-162.

Campbell, T., Williams, C., Ivanova, O., & Garrett, B. (2011). Could 3D Printing Change the World? Technologies, Potential, and Implications of Additive Manufacturing. Atlantic Council.

Gebler, M., Uiterkamp, A. J. M. S., & Visser, C. (2014). A global sustainability perspective on 3D printing technologies. Energy Policy, 74, 158-167.

Gibson, I., Rosen, D. W., & Stucker, B. (2010). Additive manufacturing technologies. Springer.

Hull, C. (1986). U.S. Patent No. 4,575,330. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Kodama, H. (1981). Automatic method for fabric

Laplume, A. O., Petersen, B., & Pearce, J. M. (2016). Global value chains from a 3D printing perspective. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(5), 595-609.

Lipson, H., & Kurman, M. (2013). Fabricated: The new world of 3D printing. Wiley.

Weller, C., Kleer, R., & Piller, F. T. (2015). Economic implications of 3D printing: Market structure models in light of additive manufacturing revisited. International Journal of Production Economics, 164, 43-56.

MELD Manufacturing. (n.d.). MELD technology. Retrieved from

BWXT. (2019). BWXT explores 3D printing for nuclear reactors. Retrieved from

Framatome. (2017). Framatome to install first 3D-printed fuel assembly. Retrieved from

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Startup Spotlight - KlariVis: Shaping the Future of Data Analytics in the Financial Industry

KlariVis: Shaping the Future of Data Analytics in the Financial Industry

Financial analytics company KlariVis has emerged as a disruptor in the banking community. Founded by Kim Snyder in February 2019, KlariVis addresses the longstanding data difficulties in the financial industry.

As the CFO of a regional bank, Kim Snyder was bombarded with data from disparate sources. A sea of numbers and figures from various systems came pouring into her office, and her task was to transform this data into a meaningful, unified vision of her bank's overall performance. The process was tedious, time-consuming, and fraught with potential for error.

She often wondered, "Why is it so difficult to access a single, integrated view of our financial position? Why are we not using technology more effectively to simplify this process?" From her perspective, it was clear that traditional banking systems and processes needed to align with financial executives' evolving needs in the digital age.

Fueled by her discontent, Kim left her position as CFO and embarked on a journey to create a solution. She founded her own consulting firm, dedicated to helping bank officials tackle the same problems she had encountered. Her clients ranged from small community banks to major regional institutions, but they all faced the same fundamental issues.

The more banks she worked with, Kim realized how prevalent this problem was. Banks were spending thousands of dollars building bespoke systems to try and manage their data. But these systems were costly, fragile, and hard to maintain. They were, in essence, patchwork solutions – not the robust, streamlined systems banks needed.

Kim knew there had to be a better way. Armed with her experience and insight into the industry's pain points, she envisioned a unified software system designed specifically for banks. A platform that could be trusted to provide a reliable, transparent, and efficient view of financial data. A tool that could not only simplify data management but also enhance decision-making. Thus started her journey to create KlariVis.

Kim's vision extends beyond just creating a useful tool. She wanted to create a solution built for banks by banking experts. A team of financial industry veterans joined her, combining their knowledge with cutting-edge software development practices. They understood the complexities and the unique needs of the sector, which guided their development of KlariVis. She partnered with various industry partners and worked with the Financial Services Group at Microsoft on bringing the solution to Azure.

KlariVis was designed as a cloud-based software system, ensuring accessibility and security. Its innovative design allowed it to draw data from various systems, integrate it, and present it in a clear, secure, easy-to-understand format. It was the unified vision that Kim had always craved in her CFO days.

Today, Kim is on a mission to redefine banking analytics. Banks nationwide are adopting her pioneering software, transforming how they view and interact with their financial data. They can rely on something other than disjointed systems or make substantial investments in fragile, bespoke solutions.

Kim's journey from frustrated CFO to innovative tech entrepreneur is an inspiring example of how industry-specific pain points can be the birthplace of revolutionary ideas. KlariVis, under Kim's leadership, is not just a tool – it is a testament to the power of industry-specific knowledge and the limitless potential of technology.

In a world where data is king, KlariVis is setting itself apart as a revolutionary solution that directly empowers financial institutions to compete with mega-banks. As they continue to grow and innovate, it's clear that KlariVis is not just another software product – it's a game-changer in the financial institution industry. So, it’s time to reconsider: is it better to bear the brunt of software development or to harness the power of a transformative data analytics solution like KlariVis? The answer is crystal clear. Learn more at

Monday, June 5, 2023

Making a Difference: Fostering Civil Discourse through the Roanoke Collaboration Project

Our public square has become a battleground of toxic divisiveness, where civil discourse is rapidly vanishing. Yet, amidst this alarming trend, a beacon of hope has emerged in the Roanoke Valley: The Roanoke Collaboration Project (RCP).

The RCP is a group of civic-minded volunteers in Virginia's Blue Ridge Region who believe collaboration across diverse stakeholders is the key to making our communities more resilient in the years ahead. The mission is to promote collaboration and empower our communities to address the serious problems we face together.

Civil discourse is a fundamental part of this mission. It means being respectful of the other person and their views. Everyone in a civil discourse is entitled to their own opinions and should be treated with respect and dignity. It's the foundation upon which constructive dialogue and understanding can be built.

Here are some additional thoughts on civil discourse:
  • It is essential for a healthy democracy. When people can engage in respectful dialogue, finding common ground and working together can solve problems.
  • It helps to build trust and understanding between people. When people can listen to each other's stories and perspectives, they are more likely to see each other as human beings with shared values.
  • It is a powerful tool for social change. People can make a real difference when they come together and speak out.
However, fostering civil discourse in the digital age is a challenging task. The challenges of social media, the ease of seclusion in echo chambers, and the speed at which misinformation can spread all add significant hurdles. To navigate these challenges, may I suggest some guiding principles:
  • Be open-minded: Listen to differing perspectives and strive to understand them.
  • Maintain respect: Disagree without resorting to personal insults or attacks.
  • Be an active listener: Truly engage with the points the other person is making.
  • Recognize your biases: Everyone has them; the key is not letting them interfere with fair conversation.
  • Compromise: Sometimes, finding a middle ground is the best way to resolve disagreements.
During their initial research, the RCP made a crucial discovery. Contrary to common belief, our country is not as divided as it seems. Only around 14% of Americans identify as "far Right" or "far Left," leaving a significant majority of 86% somewhere in the middle.  Remember, the 14% focuses on items like creating outrage, which is as addictive as heroin, or focuses on activities like being "conflict entrepreneurs" who manipulate emotions and attempt to deepen the divide. 

The RCP stands as a counterforce to the culture of outrage, advocating for the restoration of civil discourse as a cornerstone of our democracy. Its members, who represent a broad spectrum of faith, race, gender, and political views, embody the belief that no single individual holds all the answers to the complex problems we face.

As part of the strategy, the RCP has introduced the Collaboration Pledge - a commitment to uphold respect, understanding, and civility in public discourse. They believe that through such a pledge, we can cultivate a community better able to withstand challenges and adversity.

Community collaboration holds many benefits. It fosters increased efficiency, better decision-making, stronger relationships, and resilience. These outcomes emphasize why we must rise above divisiveness and prioritize understanding and collaboration. Though focused on the Roanoke Valley, the RCP's mission carries a message of universal relevance. We can make a real difference in our communities and the world by embracing civil discourse.

I encourage anyone interested in making a difference in their community to get involved with the RCP. The project's website offers information on how to participate, resources, and upcoming events. You can learn more about the project and sign up to volunteer on the website, Let's champion the cause of collaboration and civil discourse together.  
We invite everyone to join us, and let's look for common solutions by collaborating as a community.

As always, comments, feedback, and suggestions are encouraged. 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Cloud Computing: The Mainframe of Our Generation?

Embracing the Cloud

As a passionate cloud computing enthusiast and a user of two of the three leading cloud providers, with deployment experience on the third, I have come to appreciate the multitude of benefits offered by this technology. The elimination of burdensome hardware management, the ease of software upgrades, and the freedom from concerns over heating, cooling, and physical security have made cloud computing an attractive choice for businesses and individuals alike. However, my recent experiences have led me to delve into some intriguing parallels between the rise and fall of mainframes and the present trajectory of cloud computing.

I recently conducted an experiment using the free tiers offered by two of the big three cloud providers. I provisioned a small instance of a virtual environment running just OS basic functions—no workloads. Surprisingly, the cost exceeded the free tier benefit, even without running any workloads. While I understand that the free tier is primarily for experimenting and testing rather than deployment, it struck me that the vendors are likely making “some” funds even on the free or reduced-price tiers and may be missing opportunities for creative use cases that provide for more robust adoption and upsell opportunities.

This led me down a path of reflection, reminiscing about my days at Microsoft when we had COBOL.Net and could run decent workloads akin to mainframes on a simple laptop (small and medium-range MIP machines). Could IBM and Unisys have been in the same position and not realized they were killing the golden cow? There are a LOT differences in the technology stacks, but the underlying business principle is the same, sell more compute cycles and lock customers into long-term agreements. Let’s explore the future.

Taking a Walk Down Memory Lane

Historically, mainframes have had their time of glory, earning a reputation for reliability, performance, and robust security. However, over time, high costs and vendor lock-in became significant barriers to their use. Multiple CIOs I've spoken with cited these factors as significant reasons for wanting to shift away from mainframes. Fast-forward 20 years, we stand at a junction where we must ponder: Could cloud computing suffer a similar fate? Now, let's take a more profound look into the parallels between the rise of mainframes and cloud computing, the challenges and opportunities that cloud computing faces, and the possibilities that the future holds. The objective here is not to draw definitive conclusions but to fuel a thoughtful discourse on the subject.

Specific innovations have triggered massive shifts in technology and computing, molding how businesses operate and engage with their IT infrastructure. Today, the spotlight is on cloud computing, likened to the mainframes of yore for its transformative impact. This comparison is striking and underlines cloud computing's revolution in the IT landscape, echoing the influence of the mainframe era.

Mainframes have been the cornerstone of computing for decades, lauded for their superior reliability, robust security, and exceptional performance. The main selling points for many organizations were constant availability, high transaction speed, and the capability to handle an enormous amount of data. However, these colossal systems also brought challenges. The significant investment required, the complexity of their operation and management, and vendor lock-in were often prohibitive factors for many businesses.

The decline of mainframes was predominantly spurred by the rise of personal computers and the client-server computing model. The increased popularity of these alternatives and the advent of cloud computing put a substantial dent in the mainframe's dominance.

Cloud Computing Today

Cloud computing platforms, championed by providers such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services, offer an innovative alternative to mainframes. Like its predecessor, cloud computing provides reliability, security, and high performance, coupled with additional advantages that are particularly appealing in today's fast-paced business environment.

The most significant advantage lies in scalability. With cloud services, businesses can scale their resources up and down as per their needs—a sharp contrast to the mainframes that require significant upfront investment and have rigid scalability. The shift from the capital expenditure (CAPEX) model to the operational expenditure (OPEX) model has also made cloud computing attractive. It allows companies to pay for the resources used, eliminating the need for heavy upfront investments.

The introduction of various new services and the constant evolution of capabilities offered by cloud providers have become a catalyst for business innovation. The flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing needs and market conditions is a boon in today's volatile business landscape.

However, with these advantages come potential risks. Issues related to data security and privacy are a major concern in the realm of cloud computing. Dependence on a single vendor and the need for robust network connectivity are other challenges that businesses often need to grapple with.

While parallels can be drawn between the rise of cloud computing and the mainframe era, it's essential to acknowledge the stark differences in technological and market conditions. The rise of personal computers and client-server architecture marked a shift towards decentralization, away from the centralized control of mainframes. In contrast, the transition from on-premise servers to cloud computing signifies a return to centralized control, leveraging advancements in networking, virtualization, and other technologies.

Based on this discussion and my experiences, here are recommendations to help ensure that you avoid the pitfalls encountered with mainframes when transitioning to cloud computing:

  • Embrace a Multi-Cloud Strategy: To avoid vendor lock-in, consider adopting a multi-cloud strategy. Using services from multiple cloud providers can offer better resilience and allow you to take advantage of the best offerings from each vendor. This also gives you leverage when negotiating contracts, potentially leading to better terms and pricing.
  • Focus on Cost Management: As cloud usage grows, costs can spiral out of control if not managed effectively. Make sure to monitor and optimize your cloud usage regularly. Utilize cost management tools provided by the cloud vendors, and consider implementing auto-scaling to scale your resources up and down based on demand.
  • Prioritize Data Security: While cloud providers invest heavily in security, you should still prioritize your own data security measures. Regularly review access controls, encryption, and security configurations. It's also worth considering employing a third-party security audit to evaluate your cloud security posture.
  • Continually Upskill Your Team: With the pace of technology evolution, it is essential to have a workforce that can keep up with the changing cloud landscape. Train your IT teams to ensure they understand how to use and manage cloud services effectively. Familiarity with multiple cloud platforms can also help avoid vendor lock-in.
  • Plan for Your Exit Strategy: Although you may not plan to leave your cloud provider, it's still prudent to have an exit strategy. Understand the terms of your contract, especially how data can be moved out from your provider and what costs might be associated with such a transition. This prepares you for unforeseen circumstances and ensures you aren't unknowingly locked in with a vendor.
  • Avoid Sales Gimmicks: It's essential to approach sales pitches with a discerning eye. Sales teams are often driven to close a deal and might make promises that are not always feasible. When such commitments are made, insist on formally including them in the contract, complete with specific dates, milestones, and penalties for non-compliance. If you encounter resistance citing reasons such as revenue recognition constraints, push back. You must ensure accountability for promises made during the sales process. If a vendor consistently refuses to commit contractually to their promises, it might be a red flag and a sign to consider other providers. This practice allows you to control the partnership, ensuring the services are aligned with your business requirements and expectations. This cautious approach can shield you from being swayed by attractive but empty promises.
  • Understand Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategies: GTMs offered by cloud providers can present significant benefits. However, it's vital to remember that you could be one among hundreds or even thousands of businesses in the same program. Therefore, unless your product or service offers a unique value proposition, it might be challenging to stand out from the crowd and gain your desired attention.
  • When considering a provider's GTM program, ensure you understand what it entails and how it will help your business. Leverage your unique selling points to differentiate yourself within the program. However, remember that these programs should not be the sole deciding factor when choosing a cloud provider. A robust, tailored, and scalable cloud solution that meets your business needs should remain the top priority.
  • Maintain Ownership of Your Data: While cloud providers may store and manage your data, it's crucial to remember that you should retain ownership. Ensure that this principle is explicitly stated in your contracts. Data sovereignty and compliance with data protection laws and regulations should also be key considerations. Understanding how your data is handled, where it's stored, and the data retrieval and deletion procedures is essential.
  • Balance Flexibility and Control: Cloud services offer unprecedented scalability and resource management flexibility. However, this should not come at the expense of losing control over your IT environment. It's crucial to maintain visibility and governance over your cloud resources. Use cloud management and monitoring tools to ensure that you retain control over your cloud environment.
  • Continual Innovation: The world of cloud computing constantly evolves, bringing new services, tools, and technologies. It's vital to stay open to innovation to avoid the stagnation that affects mainframes. Be prepared to adapt your cloud strategy as new opportunities arise. This includes trying new services, migrating to more efficient architectures, or switching providers. Staying nimble and being open to change can help you get the most out of your cloud journey.

Following these recommendations ensures you get the benefits of cloud computing without falling into the pitfalls common in the mainframe era. Remembering that cloud computing isn't a silver bullet like any technology is crucial. It's a tool that, when used wisely, can provide significant benefits.

What About The Road Ahead?

As we gaze upon the horizon of cloud computing, numerous factors stand to sway its trajectory. Challenges in the form of increased competition, security breaches, rapidly evolving technology, government regulations, economic downturns, and natural disasters could potentially hinder the growth and adoption of cloud technology. However, cloud providers' dynamic nature and ability to adapt and evolve can enable them to meet these challenges head-on.

Cloud providers ' investments in bolstering security measures are substantial, providing a robust shield for user data. The intensifying competition among cloud providers, far from being a disadvantage, has proven to be a catalyst for innovation, continually pushing the boundaries and improving services for users.

Over the past decade, the winds of change have significantly favored cloud computing, fostering its growth and widespread adoption. However, like any technology, the longevity of its success is intrinsically tied to its adaptability. How it navigates the ever-changing currents of market needs, technological advancements, data security, privacy concerns, competition, and potential regulatory changes will determine its future.

Reflecting on the shared journey through the world of mainframes to the current cloud computing era, we must remember that every technology cycle presents unique challenges and opportunities. In the face of these realities, businesses must strategize for the present and prepare for potential future scenarios. A balanced approach, leveraging the benefits while mitigating the risks, will ensure we ride the wave of cloud technology successfully without falling into the dilemmas encountered in the era of mainframes. As we proceed on this exciting journey, the underlying principle should be to harness the power of technology as an enabler rather than becoming captive to its constraints.

Comments, feedback, and suggestions are always encouraged.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Influential Role of Community Engagement in Technology Innovation

 The Influential Role of Community Engagement in Technology Innovation 

This article underscores the crucial role of community participation and investment in underpinning and preserving local innovation economies. It places a particular emphasis on initiatives such as GO Virginia, The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), RAMP, and the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA). These organizations, through their facilitation of community engagement, financial resource mobilization, collaborative co-creation, and enactment of supportive policies, substantially reinforce the regional innovation economy, societal cohesion, and overall well-being.

Integration of Specific Initiatives into the Local Innovation Economy

RBTC plays a critical role in fostering a culture of support for innovation and entrepreneurship in the local community. Through its active role in promoting emerging technologies and educational initiatives, it helps cultivate an atmosphere conducive to risk-taking and creative problem-solving.

Mobilizing financial resources for the innovation economy is a cornerstone of initiatives like GO Virginia. This state-funded initiative provides a platform for collaboration between private sector leaders, local government, and higher education institutions, leading to job creation and the promotion of private sector growth.

RAMP, as a technology-focused startup accelerator, exemplifies the promotion of collaborative co-creation and knowledge sharing. It fosters dynamic collaboration among community members, entrepreneurs, researchers, and policymakers, leading to the generation of innovative solutions tailored to local and regional challenges.

VIPA plays an instrumental role in the development of supportive policies and incentives that encourage community participation. Through resources like early-stage capital, strategic consultation, and entrepreneurial support, VIPA helps to empower communities and promote growth in the local innovation economy.

Call to Action

While initiatives such as GO Virginia, RBTC, RAMP, and VIPA are laying the groundwork for a thriving local innovation economy, the broader community's participation is crucial for continued success. Community members are strongly encouraged to invest in the startup community, become actively involved, and participate in various events supported by these organizations. Your contribution, as an integral part of the community, will be instrumental in shaping our future.

The success and sustainability of local innovation economies hinge significantly on active community engagement and investment. Organizations such as GO Virginia, RBTC, RAMP, and VIPA exemplify the transformative power of community participation in fostering a supportive culture, enabling financial resource mobilization, promoting collaboration, and aligning policies with community interests. This paper serves as a call to action, urging all community members to contribute actively to these collective efforts. Together, we can induce lasting change in our local innovation ecosystems and shape a future that benefits us all.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Embracing the Unconquerable: Understanding the Complexities of Change

Human history is filled with transitions, disruptions, and transformations driven by technological advancements. The shift from horse and buggy to cars, gas lamps to electricity, slide rulers to calculators, pen and paper to word processors, and gas-powered vehicles to electric cars change how society functions. While these advancements often bring inarguable benefits, there is often a general reluctance to change. In this paper, we explore the reasons for such reluctance and offer strategies to facilitate smoother transitions. We also discuss the potential impacts of such changes.

Resistance to Technological Change: An Evolutionary Perspective

Technological advancements can increase efficiency and convenience. However, it has been repeatedly observed that individuals and societies resist these shifts. This resistance can be attributed to various factors, including fear of the unknown, loss of control, and disruption of routines.

When Henry Ford introduced the Model T automobile, many individuals were skeptical. The horse and buggy were a familiar, controllable, and predictable mode of transport. On the other hand, cars represented an unknown entity, raising fears about safety and reliability. Similarly, the shift from gas lamps to electricity was met with resistance due to concerns about safety, unfamiliarity with the new technology, and disruption of established routines.

Additionally, technological changes often bring a sense of lost control. For example, the transition from pen and paper to word processors was about more than just changing the writing medium. It represented a shift in how individuals interacted with their work, managed their time, and even perceived their roles. With computers came the digital sphere's possibilities and vulnerabilities, making many lose control over their information.

What Role Does Partisanship Play in Technological Changes

Partisanship, or strong political alignment, can significantly impact the acceptance and adoption of technological change. Advancements in highly polarized societies may be viewed through a partisan lens, leading to differing attitudes and resistance levels.

Partisanship can both help and hinder technological change. On the one hand, partisan support or endorsement from influential political figures or parties can bolster the acceptance and promotion of technological advancements. It can provide a platform for advocacy, resources, and policy support, accelerating the implementation and diffusion of new technologies (Clegg, 2017).

An example of positive political influence was the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union in the mid-20th century. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union fueled a competition to achieve technological superiority. The space race was a direct result of this rivalry, with each superpower vying to be the first to achieve significant milestones in space exploration, such as launching satellites, sending humans to space, and eventually landing on the moon.

The intense partisanship between the two nations served as a catalyst for significant advancements in aerospace technology. Governments on both sides invested heavily in research and development, leading to breakthroughs in rocket propulsion, materials science, computing, and many other fields. The partisanship-driven desire to outpace the opponent resulted in remarkable advancements and laid the foundation for modern space exploration.

On the other hand, partisanship can also create obstacles and resistance to change. Political divisions and ideological differences can lead to skepticism and opposition to innovations supported by rival parties. In such cases, the resistance may be driven by political motivations rather than a genuine evaluation of the technical merits or drawbacks (Clegg, 2017).

An example can be found in climate change and renewable energy in contemporary political debates. The issue of climate change has become highly polarized in many countries, with differing political ideologies and vested interests influencing the policy decisions and public discourse surrounding this topic.

Partisan divisions can sometimes impede the development and implementation of technological solutions to combat climate change. For example, suppose a political party or group is financially aligned with fossil fuel industries. In that case, they may resist policies and investments in renewable energy. The prioritization of short-term economic interests over long-term environmental concerns can hinder the adoption of innovative technologies and impede progress in tackling climate change.

What is the Impact of Technological Change

Change has a profound and multifaceted impact, affecting society as a whole and the lives of individuals. It brings about transformative shifts in various aspects of society, influencing infrastructure, productivity, education, work practices, and even personal identities. However, it is important to consider both the pros and cons of technological change to understand its full impact.

Societal Impact:

The shift from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles exemplifies the transformative power of change on a societal level. This transition revolutionized transportation, leading to the construction of extensive road infrastructure, changes in urban planning, and the emergence of the modern automotive industry. Automobiles brought increased mobility, changed travel patterns, and facilitated the development of suburban areas (Wachs, 1984). While providing convenience and efficiency, these changes also had downsides, such as increased traffic congestion and environmental concerns related to pollution and carbon emissions.

The transition to electricity had a profound impact on domestic life and productivity. It enabled the widespread use of electric appliances, lighting, and machinery, improving living conditions, increasing convenience, and enhancing productivity in various sectors. The availability of electric power transformed industries, such as manufacturing and agriculture, leading to significant advancements in production processes (Nye, 1992). However, it also raised concerns about safety, particularly during the early stages of adoption, as people had to adapt to new electrical systems and understand potential risks.

Change has also reshaped educational practices and the nature of work. The shift from slide rulers to calculators and from pen and paper to computers revolutionized how mathematics is taught and performed. Calculators and computers increased computational speed, accuracy, and the ability to handle complex calculations. They facilitated data analysis, streamlined tasks, and transformed how individuals interact with information (Cuban, 1986). However, these changes also raised concerns about over-reliance on technology, the potential loss of manual calculation skills, and the need to adapt to digital platforms and software.

Individual Impact:

Change directly impacts individuals' daily lives, influencing their routines, professional skills, and personal identities. For example, transitioning to electric cars requires individuals to adjust their driving habits, plan for the availability of charging infrastructure, and potentially adopt a new identity as an environmentally conscious consumer. This transition offers benefits such as reduced reliance on fossil fuels, lower carbon emissions, and potential cost savings. However, it also requires adapting to new technologies, understanding charging mechanisms, and potentially overcoming range limitations (Schuitema et al., 2013). Furthermore, individuals may need to acquire new knowledge and skills to maintain and operate electric vehicles, impacting their professional development and employability.

Pros of Technological Change:
  • Increased efficiency and productivity: Advancements often increase efficiency, allowing faster and more accurate completion of tasks and processes. This can lead to higher productivity levels and improved overall performance.
  • Enhanced convenience and quality of life: Innovations frequently aim to provide convenience and improve the quality of life for individuals. From labor-saving devices to digital services, these advancements offer new ways to accomplish tasks, access information, and connect with others.
  • Improved access to information and resources: Technology has made information accessible and available at our fingertips. The internet and digital platforms have democratized knowledge, allowing individuals to access vast amounts of information and resources from anywhere in the world.
Cons of Technological Change:
  • Disruption and adaptation challenges: Technological change often disrupts established routines, processes, and job roles, requiring individuals and organizations to adapt. This can lead to temporary disruptions, resistance, and the need for reskilling or upskilling to navigate the changes effectively.
  • Job displacement and economic inequality: Automation and technological advancements can lead to job displacement in specific sectors as machines and AI systems take over repetitive or routine tasks. This can result in economic inequality and job insecurity if individuals are not adequately prepared for the changing job landscape.
  • Ethical and social implications: Technological change raises ethical considerations, such as privacy concerns, data security, and the impact on social dynamics. Issues related to data privacy, algorithmic biases, and the concentration of power in the hands of technology companies require careful attention and regulation.
Change has a profound impact on society and individuals, bringing both benefits and challenges. Understanding the multifaceted nature of this impact is crucial for navigating transitions effectively, addressing potential drawbacks, and maximizing the benefits of technological advancements. By considering the societal and individual implications, we can shape the trajectory of change to align with our values, priorities, and aspirations.

Can we Overcome Resistance to Change?

Understanding resistance to change is crucial in mitigating its impacts and facilitating successful transitions. Strategies for overcoming resistance often involve education, communication, and a gradual transition process. By addressing concerns, providing information, and allowing individuals to adapt at their own pace, resistance can be minimized, and acceptance can be fostered.

One powerful approach to overcoming resistance is through education and communication. By providing comprehensive information about the nature of technological change, its benefits, and its ethical use, individuals can better understand and dispel fears and uncertainties. For instance, in the early 20th century, public demonstrations were organized to showcase electric lights' safe and effective use. These demonstrations helped alleviate concerns about the safety of electricity and played a crucial role in accelerating its acceptance (Nye, 1992). Similarly, educating the public about the benefits of electric vehicles and the environmental risks associated with fossil fuel reliance can reduce resistance to the transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric cars in contemporary scenarios.

A gradual transition is another effective strategy for overcoming resistance. By introducing new technologies in a phased manner, individuals can adapt at a manageable pace, reducing resistance and facilitating smoother transitions. For example, the gradual introduction of calculators in educational institutions allowed students and teachers to adapt to the new tool slowly, mitigating resistance and incorporating calculators into everyday practice (Cuban, 1986). Similarly, in the context of transitioning to electric cars, providing opportunities for individuals to gradually adapt, such as through the availability of hybrid vehicles, can facilitate acceptance and reduce resistance.

Additionally, it is essential to address the specific concerns and fears that individuals may have regarding the change. Resistance can be minimized by providing reassurance, addressing potential drawbacks, and highlighting the long-term benefits. For instance, when transitioning to electric cars, addressing concerns about range anxiety and the availability of charging infrastructure can help alleviate resistance. Emphasizing the environmental benefits, such as reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality, can also create a more positive perspective and garner support for the transition (Schuitema et al., 2013).

Overcoming Resistance to Change and Fear: Call to Action

To navigate technological transitions effectively and overcome associated fears, the following call to action can be adopted:

1. Education and Communication: Informing people about the nature of change, its benefits, and its ethical use helps dispel fear and uncertainty. Education was pivotal in overcoming initial resistance to electricity and can be equally impactful in promoting AI (Nye, 1992; Rogers, 2003).

2. Gradual Implementation: Gradual integration of new technology, as seen with the calculators' introduction, allows individuals to adapt at a manageable pace, thus reducing resistance. This phased approach can be equally effective with AI (Cuban, 1986).

3. Empowerment: Providing individuals with the tools to understand and engage with new technology can help alleviate the sense of lost control. Empowerment can come through training, resources, or platforms for dialogue (Marakas & Hornik, 1996).

4. Highlighting Benefits: Focusing on the potential benefits of the new technology can create a more positive perspective. For example, emphasizing the environmental benefits of electric cars was instrumental in promoting their acceptance (Schuitema et al., 2013). Similarly, highlighting the potential for AI to increase efficiency and productivity can help garner support (Bughin et al., 2018).

5. Addressing Job-related Concerns: Addressing job-related fears head-on by providing skill upgrade opportunities and demonstrating how AI can complement rather than replace human work can help mitigate resistance (Arntz, Gregory, & Zierahn, 2016).

Overall, overcoming resistance to change requires a combination of education, communication, and a gradual transition process. By providing information, addressing concerns, and allowing individuals to adapt at their own pace, resistance can be reduced, and the acceptance of new technologies can be facilitated.

The Next Chapter of Resistance - Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI, the frontier of current technological progress, is a field that faces its own unique challenges when it comes to resistance. As with previous technological transitions, the introduction of AI is met with various forms of resistance driven by fear of the unknown, loss of control, and potential disruption to jobs and routines (Bughin et al., 2018). The transformative capabilities of AI, mainly its capacity for autonomous decision-making and its potential to replace human jobs, contribute significantly to these concerns (Arntz, Gregory, & Zierahn, 2016).

Fear of the unknown plays a substantial role in resistance to AI. The advancement of AI technology introduces concepts such as machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks that may be unfamiliar and perceived as unpredictable. This lack of understanding can create apprehension and skepticism, as individuals may find it challenging to comprehend the inner workings of AI systems and the implications of their decisions.

Loss of control is another significant factor contributing to resistance. AI's ability to make autonomous decisions and learn from data can lead to concerns about relinquishing control to machines. Individuals may fear the potential consequences of AI systems making critical decisions without human oversight and worry about the potential biases or errors embedded in the algorithms.

Furthermore, the potential disruption to jobs and routines generates substantial resistance. The automation capabilities of AI raise concerns about job displacement and unemployment, particularly in industries where machines can efficiently perform repetitive or rule-based tasks. Workers worry about their future employability and the need to acquire new skills to adapt to the changing job landscape driven by AI technology.


Resistance to change is an inherent part of the human experience when faced with technological transitions. However, by adopting strategies rooted in understanding, gradual implementation, and strategic communication, we can effectively address this resistance and pave the way for a more positive future. The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities that require us to apply these strategies with even greater urgency and thoughtfulness.

Understanding the sources of resistance to change is crucial to navigating technological transitions' complexities. Fear of the unknown, loss of control, and concerns about job displacement are common factors that contribute to resistance. By acknowledging and addressing these concerns through education and open dialogue, we can alleviate fears, dispel misconceptions, and foster a deeper understanding of AI's potential benefits.

As we navigate the path forward, embracing AI and technological advancements, we must do so with a commitment to inclusivity, equity, and shared prosperity. This requires concerted efforts from policymakers, industry leaders, educators, and individuals to address the potential risks and ensure that the benefits of AI are accessible to all segments of society. By fostering an environment that encourages collaboration, lifelong learning, and responsible innovation, we can create a future where technology empowers us to tackle the grand challenges of our time and build a more inclusive and sustainable world.

Resistance to change is a natural response to technological transitions, but it can be overcome through understanding, gradual implementation, and strategic communication. Embracing the potential of AI and other emerging technologies requires us to apply these strategies with unwavering commitment and foresight. By doing so, we can navigate toward a future that harnesses the transformative power of technology for the betterment of humanity, ensuring that no one is left behind.


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Kosel, J. C. (2002). The Automobile and Society. Transport Reviews, 22(4), 477-496.

Nye, D. E. (1992). Electrifying America: Social Meanings of a New Technology. MIT Press.

Marakas, G. M., & Hornik, S. (1996). Passive Resistance Misuse: Overt Support and Covert Recalcitrance in IS Implementation. European Journal of Information Systems, 5(3), 208-219.

Cuban, L. (1986). Teachers and Machines: The Classroom Use of Technology Since 1920. Teachers College Press.

Bughin, J., Hazan, E., Ramaswamy, S., Chui, M., Allas, T., Dahlström, P., Henke, N., & Trench, M. (2018). Artificial Intelligence—The Next Digital Frontier? McKinsey Global Institute.

Arntz, M., Gregory, T., & Zierahn, U. (2016). The Risk of Automation for Jobs in OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis. OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 189, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition. Free Press.

Wachs, M. (1984). Autos, Transit, and the Sprawl of Los Angeles: The 1920s. Journal of the American Planning Association, 50(3), 297-310.

Rosen, E. (2000). The Transformation of Work in the New Economy. Sociological Quarterly, 41(1), 81-103.

Schuitema, G., Anable, J., Skippon, S., & Kinnear, N. (2013). The Role of Instrumental, Hedonic, and Symbolic Attributes in the Intention to Adopt Electric Vehicles. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 48, 39-49.

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Ford, J. D., Ford, L. W., & D'Amelio, A. (2008). Resistance to Change: The Rest of the Story. Academy of Management Review, 33(2), 362-377.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Virginia's Lost Appalachian Trail

I had the privilege of attending a great lecture on the Lost Appalachian Trail, with a special focus on the Meadows of Dan area. The lecture shed light on a forgotten piece of our hiking history. One standout feature was a National Geographic article from 1949! It offers a deep dive into the history of the trail, especially from page 233, which talks about the trail through the Meadows of Dan. If you're interested, you can find the article here:

If this piques your curiosity, you should definitely check out "Virginia's Lost Appalachian Trail" by Mills Kelly. Mills, a history professor at George Mason University, is not only an accomplished historian and a lifelong hiker but also has personal roots in the region - he was born at the old Roanoke Memorial Hospital (now Carilion Clinic) and lived briefly in Franklin County. His book offers an in-depth look at a 300-mile section of the Appalachian Trail that most hikers today still need to remember.

Exploring the Lost Appalachian Trail is such a unique way to connect with our history, culture, and nature. So, why not delve into these resources or even go on a walk on the trail? You never know what fascinating insights you might discover along the way!

#AppalachianTrail #HikingAdventures #HistoryLovers #MillsKelly

Here’s What Happens When Your Lawyer Uses ChatGPT - A cautionary story

From the New York Times -

This incident illustrates AI's potential and limitations in the legal field. While AI technologies like ChatGPT can be powerful tools for aiding in legal research or drafting tasks, it's crucial to remember that they are not infallible and must be used responsibly.

ChatGPT, being a language model, generates responses based on patterns it learned from a large text dataset. However, it doesn't "know" anything in the traditional sense. It doesn't have access to a database of specific documents or cases, and it doesn't have the ability to verify the truth or validity of the information it generates. Hence, it's expected that it would not be able to correctly cite court decisions, as this requires access to a current and specific database of court cases, which it does not have.

It appears that in this situation, the attorney relied on ChatGPT to provide and verify legal information without fully understanding how the technology works or its limitations. This is a cautionary tale for other professionals who may wish to use AI tools in their work. While AI can help automate certain tasks and improve efficiency, it is not a substitute for professional judgment, expertise, or the necessary checks and balances in legal work.

It's also important to note that AI tools, such as ChatGPT, continually evolve and improve, with updates aiming to enhance their reliability and usefulness. I think ChatGPT’s last model update was around September 2021; even the most sophisticated AI tools should not be relied upon for critical tasks without human supervision and verification.

As Stephen Gillers, the legal ethics professor at New York University School of Law, indicates, there is an ongoing debate among lawyers about the value and dangers of AI software. This incident will likely serve as a key example in that debate, highlighting the need for user understanding and caution when using these technologies. It also underscores the importance of continual learning and adaptation in professions like law as new technologies become increasingly prevalent.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Concerns Regarding Lack of 5G Service by Verizon in Roanoke and Lynchburg - Isn't 750,000 Potential Customers Enough?

Federal Communications Commission 

445 12th Street SW 

Washington, D.C. 20554

May 27, 2023

Dear Commissioners,

I hope this message finds you in good health. I am writing to express a serious concern on behalf of the residents of Roanoke and Lynchburg, Virginia, pertaining to the apparent lack of commitment by Verizon to upgrade its service to 5G in our region.

The transformative potential of 5G technology is no secret. It is understood and eagerly anticipated by consumers and businesses alike. However, in our region, we are yet to experience the benefits of this technology due to the lack of implementation by Verizon, one of the leading telecom providers.

While other areas are making strides toward a technologically advanced future, we find ourselves being left behind. This disparity in services, particularly in an era of such rapid technological progression, is disappointing and detrimental to our communities' social and economic development.

Please allow me to remind the FCC that the bandwidth Verizon and other carriers use for these services comprises public airwaves. As such, we, the public, have a right to voice our concerns regarding how these resources are utilized or in Verizon's case, how they are noticeably absent.

The citizens of Roanoke and Lynchburg are more than mere subscribers; we are stakeholders in this digital landscape and should, therefore, expect more from our telecom providers. This expectation extends beyond the boundaries of customer service to include the provision of advanced and equitable infrastructure.

Therefore, the FCC should call for all major telecom providers utilizing these public airwaves to publish their deployment schedules transparently. This initiative will not only foster accountability but also give the public an understanding of the progress made in providing 5G services.

Furthermore, it would be reasonable for the FCC to consider imposing sanctions on carriers who have held licenses for three or more years and have made no progress in upgrading their services in the areas for which they hold the licenses. A possible sanction could be the forfeiture of the license for the under-served area.

I sincerely hope that the FCC, as a guardian of public interests in the realm of telecommunications, will take our concerns into account and make the necessary interventions. The residents of Roanoke and Lynchburg eagerly await the realization of a 5G future and trust that the FCC will assist us in holding our telecom providers accountable.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Amos

P.O. Box 39

Union Hall, Virginia 24176

cc:  Senator Mark R. Warner 703 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510

Senator Tim Kaine 231 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

Representative Morgan Griffith 2202 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515

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