I was able to finally reach Aleksander Poniewierski SPEED book in my queue of books to read. if you don’t know Aleksander, you should - and this book will give you a lot of good answers for “why?”.
I can finally attest that indeed that’s great, short, and to the point piece providing high level view of what and how drives fourth revolution, and what exactly is that revolution about.
blockchain, AI and cloud
good book should made you think, and invite (or force) you to revisit opinions you may already had formed up about on specific topics. that’s what we call “stimulating” book :)
obviously if you know me, I could argue that Aleksander focus on Blockchain role is too optimistic. for now, generally, it doesn’t solve problems in a way that we wouldn’t be able to solve otherwise. at the same time is massive waste of energy (and created market problems with getting good video cards by the way ;) ). sure, there’s digital currency part (for now with a lot of problems) that’s interesting, yet still falls short on effectiveness, agility and anonymity. there’s also whole “secure” ledger story, currently used in rather limited role as private tool for enterprises (for example, Atende blockchain-based digital document processing workflow system) vs truly open and “distributed” as originally envisioned. so while technologically interesting (I did even some investigation about state of blockchain in routing, but it seems current implementations promise way more that they can deliver - at least for now), I’d call it out more as such, rather than something truly revolutionary.
you could also argue, that cloud coverage is pictured in a bit too high level fashion. while the jump between cloud and edge computing is well described (bravo for that, writing with clarity requires good understanding and this part and the whole book in general is VERY clear), I’d argue that some of the benefits of moving to the cloud are not listed, and some portrair cloud market back as it was circa around 2016.
in my humble opinion, AI coverage (while short, and again - to the point) is overrated. in my view we’re still doing massively overrated, overmarketed and oversold machine learning, and “intelligence” is still too lacking to be effective on a scale that’s represented in the book. on the other hand, as the title of the book says - with current SPEED, that could change any moment now. again, kudos for Aleksander for making this transition real possibility very clearly and numerous times in the book. many technology authors fall for believing their predictions will be eternal or at least “for long decades”.
while I can’t argue on points with regards to security overall, I find this part of the discussion too short. maybe it’s just me, but security implications for 4th revolution overall, and IoT/edge computing are collosal. while IPv6 at this point doesn’t yet solve anything, some of the IoT vendors are already moving to IPv6-only stacks for their products, as they expect developing, securing and maintaining dual-stack code would be simply way more expensive (and consume more energy, even if on a minimal scale). I’d agree however (which is the point author makes) that indeed scale of addresses available will help in asserting identity of sensor or “thing” that’s doing some more or less important work for you.
however, in my opinion crypto that’s covered only briefly, is key to making sure we can drive through 4th to 5th industrial revolution. it’s not only about securing of our communication, but also making sure we can authenticate it and defend ourselves from denial of service attacks, while still staying in world and constraints of low-powered, long-lived devices.
again - topic is so broad that I suspect Aleksander given his extensive IT security background made a lot of edits here, just to keep chapters short, and we could see more about it in next books. the topic comes back again (rightly so, but unfortunately again - only briefly) when covering wider implications of security within frames of fourth revolution - like AI-assisted (yeah) detection and response focused on higher-level, data-driven security within very real scope of our daily lives.
good points and some extras
but don’t get me wrong. I like a lot of points Aleksander makes.
for example, coverage of patents is interesting and could be extended. that’s one of inhibitors of 4th revolution and patent wars are far from over. there’s some creative thinking required here, and partnerships are not universal answer (just like author makes it clear with example of Apple and BMW later on).
there are couple of simple (again - clarity!) but insightful charts providing quick reference to topics covered. they are accompanied with some observations on evolving business models along with commentary. they’re spot on, and if you’ve heard thousands of consulting firms delivering powerpoints or “insights”, that part of the book can actually benefit you. after reading it, you should be able to immediately spot familiar patterns, but also learn new things - and then skip at least 60 or 90 minutes of boring presentation by asking presenter to go to specifics instead of dealing with generalities.
I believe given time, this book could grow into multiple separate ones (was that the idea?) with much deeper coverage of those topics. as SPEED is Security, Partnerships, Emerging Technologies, Economy and Digital Transformation (and again, I very much like this simplification of huge complex world into something bearable even for non-techies) - it covers everything current business leaders working in technology world should know by heart.
in summary - go buy it for yourself and maybe as a gift from Santa to those that could benefit from it. there’s still time to get onboard - this book will help you face direction of the ride.