The Dot Com Revolution, Asset Accounting, the Techno future for Banks, Telecoms Companies and Real Time Regulation


Market conditions change so fast senior management in large companies cannot respond with consensus through discussion of quarterly and annual reports. Management is overloaded with complexity goes the now almost classical argument. The ritual discussion to avoid personal responsibility takes so long any agreements will likely be inapplicable by the time they are ready.

The Solution from management cybernetics is to redistribute the autonomy necessary for adaptation to change. Development initiatives are encouraged by all organisational participants by giving them the data they need, real-time performance feedback, to formulate new development policy for their component.

The recent recession was caused largely by this same failure to adapt. The Telecommunications sector unable to adapt to reducing its exorbitant tariffs and a Banking Sector that refuses to adapt its charges in line with costs and diligently still subtracts, rather than adds value to its service. They are vulnerable to emerging peer-to-peer wireless technology and anybody with a desktop computer and a fair to middling understanding of open encryption and identification technology.

To complete the picture Computer companies attacked Microsoft on grounds that to say were doubtful would be polite (to keep them out of banking and telecommunications? but trivial via a slightly enhanced Passport/Hotmail). Gates it was who opened up huge markets hitherto unknown to the industry by improving ease of use. And do not forget Gates warned that his company was over valued before dot com craziness peaked. If Bill got his Video Netmeeting to actually work he could take over the world, as they say. Unfortunately the dinosaurs, in their death throes, might unleash a volley of nuisance suits that would make the Netscape fiasco look like the (expensive) picnic it actually was. There would be a small but subversive risk of a return to the dark days of the "Carterphone" decision which sought to separate telecommunications and computing companies. But it's probably too late. The cheaper informatics genie really is out of the bottle. The means for distributing control have arrived.

Ease of use and peer-to-peer technologies could bring down the old clearing banks and old telephone companies who arrogantly treat their customers like idiots adding unnecessary complexity and mostly ashamed to say what they really do (and why real-time credit transfer to anyone anywhere isn't freely available). Anyway we go on suffering incompetent wasteful and expensive blundering and the cashless Information Society in the Third world is on hold for another five, maybe ten years- unless Bill, Intel or the Open Community and you reading this gets serious.

But without Microsoft cell phones and the new cheap high quality "do-it-yourself" multimedia could decrease African mortality yet maintain cultural identity. Cell phones are actually cheaper to run than land line instruments yet now unlimited calls in UK for 25.00 per month on a land line are at last available- too late. Telephone companies naturally would like to make video phone the new cash cow- but nobody wants them at the price telcos think it their right to charge. Meanwhile Bill still drags his feet on perfecting his free video service on Netmeeting (and the real time protocol so desirable for telcons and vidcons) Who can blame him? Teledesic goes live in 2005.(Bill's 30 low earth orbit telecommunications satellites with "several terabytes per day capacity") For today's Industry leaders market expansion means Western domestic market tariff structure could not be maintained. So the dot commies had the rug pulled and the vast potential for future growth in appropriate world trade temporarily denied as the lies of the virtual asset holders were exposed. Despite the tiny risk of the small overseas investment needed to maintain domestic growth the value slide of US Stocks has seen pensions slashed.  There is justice in a Free Market and inaccurate feedback distorts it as recent events prove. (Is this Stafford Beer's "triage pump" at work?- p11 World in Torment: A Time Whose Idea has Come Certainly his Category C is the Socially Excluded of Blair's "Third Way") The price of computer and telecommunication components continues to fall because science says it can.

At this the Nanotechnologists giggle and say "You ain't seen nothing yet" and talk of a 'Three Week Revolution'. Once the first general purpose assembler is made it will first replicate itself, again and again until everyone has one: "Napster" for things. Real Time Reporting will be essential because of the ecological implications of this. Blue goo to catch rogue gray goo is one of the negative scenarios.  Technology chasing technology to deal with side-effects is not good design but we may have to set a gene to catch a gene if we are not properly, real-time, precautionary in our regulation of Genetic Engineering. The new dimension of unaccountable nihilistic suicidal fanatics seeking paradise with unconventional attack provides yet another imperative for real-time environmental monitoring.

So all in all it is just possible Senior management in Banking and Information Industries have missed the boat. Deficient in the vision thing, as some have it. Frozen in the glare of oncoming truck lights as others have suggested.

Meanwhile MIT's Project Oxygen continues to develop products for give away informatics.

How would the rolling mill function if operations were managed with all this ritual inactivity and delay? The Management would be fired.

The people on the ground could not function while kept in the dark, victims of "mushroom" management, (and, yes, fed the fertiliser meaningless to the technologically incompetent) but deliberately prevented from knowing the results of their labours. Dangerous Stone Age nonsense Proper timely feedback is what defeats the Tribe of the Unaccountable in the Global Village.

We commend to you the work of the Real Time Study Group.

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