IT, leap-frogging, technology

Three Sides of the Same Coin

Late last week, while engaging in my routine news perusal, I came across a few items that while very different, struck me as being somehow connected:

Getting a facial ( – UK)

Reversing Poor Data Management Culture (This Day Live – Nigeria)

Coriander, son of Pulao, Aadhaar No 499118665246 (DNA India)

In order, they are: a high-level interview with a computer scientist interested in quantifying the behavior of the human face at both the macro and micro levels; a litany of failures to even bring order to — much less make the most of — a developing country’s IT investments; and a high-profile case of how one individual can make an entire national effort look bad.

But this summary is, well, more summary: They are a visionary’s perspective, a cat-herder’s lament, and an embarrassing insubordination.

Each piece captures a slice of the dramatic interaction of humans and IT-based technologies (in these cases, biometrics and biostatistics) designed to identify people or interpret their physical state.

Together they inform some of the themes I’m always banging on about here. “ID management is about people.” “It’s not the tech, it’s the people.” “Technology is an management tool, but it can’t run an organization by itself.” “ID management systems are an amazing leap-frogging technology for the developing world.” “ID perfection is not the proper metric, Return on Investment (ROI) is.”

A closer examination of each article follows in…
A Visionary’s Perspective,
The Cat-Herder’s Lament – IT and Organizational Culture and
An Embarrassing Insubordination – It Takes a Human To Give Coriander an ID

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