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Networked Intelligence- Building the digital nervous system

Imagine the traffic lights closing the roads as soon the waterlogging starts, not after a mile-long traffic jam has already held up the movement; or your phone alerts you to take it slow and connects you to the doctor even before you start feeling the fatigue; or the computer searches and tags the references for your possible response even before you read the mail. Call it singularity, call it AI, call it networked intelligence, it is coming together of the holy trinity of a digital world–hyper compute, hyper storage and hyper connectivity.

The concepts of programmability and distributed computing are garnering traction across industries. As the systems, workflows and processes start to operate on a digital fabric, the flow of information becomes more granular and sharper. The “analytics” from the “big data” gets curated for relevance toward the business need and becomes more action oriented. This is where the digital rubber hits the road and the term “going digital” ceases to be an aspiration, or a vision, or even a transformation program. It becomes a reality wherein digital moves to a larger part of the organization, its processes and activities rather than getting presented in quarterly workshops.

One of the biggest advantages of “networked intelligence” is the concept of collective and sustainable wisdom. The amalgamation of pooled intelligence, both domain centric and tribal, makes the underlying algorithms ever evolving and always learning. The real time updation and contextual nature of data processing helps correlate and synthesize prodigious amounts of data across axes of time, space, people, patterns and things.

The core pillars of such “informed and relevant decision making” are the availability of three moving parts in a common space-time framework–the right expert who can understand, process and cull out insights from a data set; the right set of data itself; and finally the accessibility of the data to the expert.

Scaling up the expertise
Imagine a scenario where the ability of an expert decision making can be translated into an algorithm which literally clones the expert mind and multiplies the processing power a million times. This means the way the best experts look at a business problem can now be scaled by exponential orders of magnitude. The experts can now focus on upping the expertise of the algorithms and making them increasingly more formidable, perfect and scalable.

The most able sales administrators, the best distribution experts, supply chain specialists, auditors, town planners, medical and engineering professionals can now have their span of influence replicated across geographies, time zones and on such quanta of data in seconds which would have otherwise taken them a lifetime to process.

Connecting the subject matter to the experts
The compute intensive algorithms are only effective when the data sets and the business tasks are presented to them in real time. Dated and post-mortem analysis can only be used as a future advisory but processing the data live can drive quality decisions and actions. Hyper-connectivity comes to aid here. Information superhighways, sensitive to time needs, aware of the data sets they are carrying and distributing the visibility to right set of processing algorithms will ensure decisions are pro-active, data driven and based on a domain expertise that is distilled from the collective wisdom of best experts.

The new converged connectivity layer will rise to the occasion beyond just being ubiquitous. Connectivity will also offer significantly more elastic and flexible ways to authenticate, encrypt, share, exchange, validate and slice the data basis geographies, verticals and use cases.

Components of actionable intelligence
The components of this seemingly know all and magical world may appear to be simple but behind this elegant simplicity lies the heavy lifting–an all-encompassing ether of connectivity; an all-elastic and distributed processing grid; and a cloud of storage which is location and size agnostic. As smallest of connected devices to largest of data processing systems perpetually churn attributes which are seemingly innocuous, the distributed intelligence picks and chooses the ones to use. Aided and enabled by a connectivity layer which never fails to connect. These insights are used then, to trigger digital actions, which either resolve or manage on their own or pass the insights with so much clarity to individuals that the resultant action would merely be the physical manifestation of a digital trigger.

Closing the digital deal
This change, wholesome and significant, is itself a tricky process. Critical and hugely impacting issues about data privacy and security loom large to be addressed. Defining the ownership of data attributes, generic and specific to people and transactions is the first step. This then can be wrapped in a digital security and access control framework with appropriate consent mechanisms baked in. Underlying infrastructure is the other big lever which will enable the anchoring, hosting and flow of this digital energy. The energy flow in turn will light up the right centers of intelligence leading to digital and physical actions in time–and the digital world will keep spinning.

In this new digital world where programmability becomes the ruling force, the Jedi motto will be rewritten–May the source be with you!

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