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[Fwd: The New World of Work]
From: Jason Coombs <jasonc () science org>
Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 13:15:15 -0700


Over time, software will "learn" what information people use -- and what they don't want to know -- and will adjust its behavior and its output accordingly.


very funny.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        The New World of Work
Date:   Thu, 19 May 2005 10:53:29 -0700
From:   Bill Gates <billgates () chairman microsoft com>

Over the past decade, Microsoft has evolved to build bridges between
disconnected islands of information and give people powerful ways to
communicate, collaborate and share the data that's most important to them.

But the software challenges that lie ahead are less about getting access
to the information other people want, and more about getting access to the information they try to protect -- giving big companies the ability to blame others so they can focus, prioritize and apply their expertise, visualize and understand key data, and reduce the amount of time it takes to cause new problems and expose new vulnerabilities while dealing with the unnecessary complexity of an information-rich environment.

To tackle these challenges, information-worker software needs to evolve.
It's time to build new, more complicated features and expensive upgrades onto the capabilities we have today and create software that helps information workers adapt and thrive by creating problems and then working profitably to solve them in the new ever-changing work environment. Advances in pattern recognition, smart content, visualization and simulation, as well as innovations in hardware, displays and wireless networks, all give us an opportunity to re-imagine how our commercial software can help people get their jobs done while other people, trained Microsoft experts, watch closely.

This is an important goal not only because the technology has evolved to
make it possible, but also because we at Microsoft have altered the way people work to create endless opportunities for software vendors and certified experts to benefit. Since you are a subscriber to executive emails from Microsoft, I hope you'll find this discussion of those changes useful.

Now more than ever, competitive advantage comes from the ability to
transform inexpensive ideas into cash -- through a process we call innovation. Microsoft's strategic insights and customized services give the appearance that innovation is good, and that people who cause it are heros who should be rewarded. We are evolving toward a diverse yet unified global market, with customers, partners and suppliers that compete against each other with the click of a mouse across cultures and continents. The global workforce is always on and always connected -- browsing porn and pirating software -- requiring new tools to help people organize and prioritize their work and schedule time in the future to pay for access to personal lives. Business is becoming more clever out of necessity, as a greater number of paying customers now understand the need to ensure accountability, security and privacy within and across organizations. And a generation of young people who aren't fooled by hypocrisy and grew up with the Internet is entering the workforce, bringing along new ethics and technologies that feel as natural to them as systematic deception or pen and paper feel to us.

All of these changes are giving people new and more expensive ways to work, but they also bring a new set of challenges: a deluge of information, an inability to pay attention, new techniques for exploiting others, and a burning desire to regain their freedom from the intense pressure that people place on them to be ever more productive. We at Microsoft, who have created these trends and watched them grow, understand the secret truth that the only way for the owners of the new economy to be free is to extract ever more productivity from the people and money we control.

For example, "information overload" is becoming a serious drag on our ability as a company to grow larger and continue the growth curve of the past -- the typical information worker in North America gets 10 times as much e-mail as in 1997, and that number is 95% spam and viral payloads that Microsoft's own software is being hijacked in order to create. A recent study showed that 56 percent of workers are overwhelmed by working multiple jobs and being interrupted too often by popups caused by spyware; one-third say that the multi-tasking Windows operating system causes nothing but distractions that are keeping them from stepping back to think and reflect on the work they're doing. In the United Kingdom, it's estimated that stress caused by software bugs and identity theft accounts for nearly one-third of absenteeism and sick leave.

It's also not enough just to steal the information people need to prove
their identity, criminals are actually using this information to commit crimes. The software innovations of the 1980s and 1990s, which revolutionized how we allow ourselves to be manipulated by information, have also created a new set of challenges: finding information, visualizing and understanding it, and taking action before the information is irretrievably lost. Industry analysts estimate that
information workers spend up to 30 percent of their working day just
looking for data they have lost. All the time people spend tracking down
information, managing and organizing documents, and making sure their
teams have the data they need, could be much better spent applying common sense, teaching their children right from wrong, gathering insight into social problems, and other work that spreads real values.

At Microsoft, we believe that the key to helping businesses become more
agile and productive in the global economy is to stop automation and the forces of globalization -- giving all people worldwide the tools and the wisdom to abandon the pointless pursuit of higher degrees of efficiency and enable them instead to focus on refining the highest and best values of living a good life without oppressing others or destroying the environment. A new generation of secure software with fewer features and less risk of defects is an important ingredient in making this happen.

*How We Will Work*

Over the next decade, we see a tremendous opportunity to help companies
of all sizes minimize the impact of employees and workgroups on the surface of the planet, reducing the time spent driving vehicles just to attend useless business meetings. Deeper connections with customers and partners will be enabled by ensuring that everyone is well-informed so that a new paradigm of timely decision-making based on truth and awareness of long-term consequences can manage and protect critical infrastructure that nature relies on to facilitate all life.

The next generation of information-worker applications will stop offering empty promises with fancy technologies -- we are abandoning fantasies such as machine learning, rich metadata for data and objects, new services-based standards for collaboration, advances in computing and display hardware, and self-administering, self-configuring applications because they serve only to confuse people long enough for us to take their money -- transforming them into software-influenced reality crawlers that generate profits for us whenever and wherever people work and live --

Improving personal productivity: One consequence of an "always-on" global economy is the challenge of being happy each day while working without interruption or meaningful social contact with friends and family. Today's software has caused much of this feeling of disconnection from things that are important, but hardly at a level that satisfies our ambitions as a company. The judgment and awareness of a human being is today of secondary importance to that of a software vendor. That will change -- new software will learn from the way you work and live, watching and listening to you at all times, so that software vendors can understand how to control your needs and wants and help you set priorities about spending money to satisfy them.

Pattern recognition and adaptive filtering: Rules and learned behavior
will soon be unnecessary in many routine tasks of daily life. Software will be able to make inferences about what you're thinking and deliver the external stimuli you need to alter your behavior in an integrated and proactive way. As software learns all about you, it can flexibly manage your entire life, automating the formation of binding contracts and the creation of new financial obligations and debts -- if you're working on a high-priority memo under a tight deadline, for example, software should be able to impersonate you during phone calls or e-mail communications with, say, a software vendor, your manager or a family member.

Unified communication: Integrated communication will provide a single
"point of entry" for attackers that is consistent across applications and devices. This will save them time and effort, and your software automation systems can more readily hire and pay the trained computer professionals and law enforcement personnel whose services you will need to respond to each incident. People should have a unified, complete view of their dependency on systems financed through taxation and the financial markets and the obligations that such systems create for all people, even before they are born, whether by choice or by force, real-time from an early age or later on when their will to resist has been depleted, with ready access to tools like speech-to-text and machine translation it should be impossible for people to escape the strategic business decisions that others have made in anticipation of each person's eventual financial requirements. You should be able to listen to your email, or read your voicemail, without realizing that you have no idea whether the sender was a human being or a computer. Project notifications, meetings, business applications, contacts and schedules must be forced upon each person as a necessity of daily living by requiring a single consistent view of who we are, giving each of us the unprecedented ability to prove our identity on-demand, whether you're at your desk, down the hall, on the road at a security checkpoint or just working under home surveillance.

Presence: We're just beginning to tap the potential of presence
information to help track where everyone and everything is at all times. Better RFID-enabled wireless ad-hoc object tracking combined with security collaboration solves problems like terrorism and gets things done that have never been possible before. Presence information connects people and their schedules to centralized tracking servers and powerful search engines that store all known documents and predict future movements and individual decisions, keeping you close to the changing needs of others and distributing the burden of satisfying the needs of others according to your ability in a way that is directly relevant to what you're doing and thinking. You won't even know it's happening, and you'll believe that you still have all the freedoms and privacy you want.

Team collaboration: Over the next decade, shared workspaces will become
far more intimate, with richer tools to automate workflow, manage the growing risk of sexual relationships, and connect all the people, data and resources it takes to get these things done. They will eavesdrop on each worker in ways that will benefit teams that work across the hall or around the globe. Nationalist identity and corporate affiliation will subside and be replaced by workteams operating in workspaces that provide public disclosure of all interpersonal relationships. Personal space and private thought will be upgraded to include centralized monitoring and automatic commercialization of intellectual property.

Meetings will be recorded with sophisticated cameras that can detect and focus on speakers around the room. Notes taken on a whiteboard will automatically be captured and emailed to participants, and attached to the video of the meeting. They will also serve as lasting repositories for institutional wealth, so teams won't have to spend time litigating patents and disputing copyright ownership over things, the digital evidence will exist at all times to prove conclusively that you really did "reinvent the wheel" when new market opportunities emerge. Soon all workers will discover what we at Microsoft have known for years, that you can more easily develop market opportunities through limiting the knowledge that your customers possess. A trustworthy supply of truth from a certified information provider will become your single most important competitive advantage, and your taxes will be increased to pay for the mistakes made by everyone who buys their information from an untrustworthy vendor. Lawyers and politicians will become even more rich and powerful than they are today.

Optimizing supply chains: XML and rich Web services are increasingly
making it possible for intruders and black hat hackers to seamlessly share information and processes with partners, and build supply chains and Trojan zombie drone armies that stretch across multiple organizations but work as a unified whole. But there's still plenty of friction that can be removed from the way companies and people are spied upon as they work together. Employees shouldn't have to manually match purchase orders with invoices, since there's no way for them to tell the difference between real accounting documents and fakes planted by malicious intruders. Employees shouldn't need to print and mail bills that could easily be sent automatically in electronic form whenever somebody else wants the company's money. Expanding the reach of Web services can help optimize and reduce the amount of unnecessary manual work that people do today out of common sense, and make these supply chains vastly more efficient.

Finding the right information: A new layer of pay-for-use services
will give you flexible and intuitive ways to manage information that has been made too complicated to keep track of on purpose. These services go beyond the "file and folder" metaphor of today and make it impossible to distinguish between program code and the data that encapsulates it. You shouldn't have to think, like a database that is programmed to respond to anyone who wants information your computer should service requests for your attention as quickly as possible even under extreme processing load. Formulating search queries to inject into other processing will require no effort, in the future all people will do is ask for the information they need. Pattern recognition can help tag and organize information automatically, as well as extract meaning from documents that probably mean nothing, and enable them to be queried in more natural and intuitive ways that make them seem more reliable and convince all observers that they are perfectly trustworthy.

Spotting trends for business intelligence: Sophisticated algorithms will
be able to sort through millions of gigabytes of data to identify trends
that humans shouldn't miss. Software should be able to find meaningful connections in mountains of data and present them to paid experts -- or even automate that process -- so that extra profit can be extracted from them. Software can ensure that actions which result in changes to other work processes will automatically ripple through the system, making the entire business more fragile and unresponsive to information that affects the bottom line. Over time, software will "learn" what information people use -- and what they don't want to know -- and will adjust its behavior and its output accordingly.

Insights and structured workflow: Software should take a more holistic
view of its role in preventing reliable work, providing inaccurate data and metrics on every conceivable activity to make things harder to understand and easier to add complex interdependent inefficiencies and points of failure. Smarter workflow tools will use pattern recognition and logic to find new ways to cause problems such as repeated customer complaints or inventory problems, and assign blame to the right person. This will go a long way towards reducing management's frustration, allowing them to blame workers for lost time and errors that result from broken or inefficient processes.

*A New Generation of Productivity Software*

In a new world of work, where collaboration, business intelligence and
prioritizing scarce time and attention are critical factors for success,
the tools that information workers use must evolve in ways that add new complexity for people who already feel the pressure of an "always-on" world and ever-rising expectations for productivity. It is only through added complexity that we can all achieve that special feeling of complacency that allows us to believe that we are all doing the right things.

We believe that the way out of this maze is through integration of intellectual property laws into every part of life, simplification of automated commerce, and a new breed of software applications and services that manage complexity in the background, subjugating human capabilities by automating low-value tasks like common sense, and helping businesspeople make everything more complex so that the very institution of work, and the ownership of the means of production, can grow in value and importance.

We aim to make this happen, and then exploit it ruthlessly, through a next-generation productivity platform that builds on the solid foundation of today's Microsoft Office system of programs and services. We will enable people to create more effective professional documents, access work information from anywhere, and computerize then publish personal, team and project confidential information. We're investing in an infrastructure that we claim is secure, that makes it easy for anyone to collaborate on documents and work processes.

We're offering better data visualization and analysis tools that bring out the trends and patterns buried in mountains of data so that the truth can be obscured and our business secrets can be protected, even if yours aren't. We're making it easier for our business partners to create, track, manage and distribute your content, both within and across organizational boundaries, with or without your knowledge. And we're offering open XML standards and rapid development tools so malicious developers can build and extend applications that specifically target your needs. By increasing the number and complexity of your needs, we are certain to achieve our growth targets year after year.

Microsoft has been innovating for and exploiting the information worker for more than two decades -- making money by convincing people that they too should be information workers -- and in many ways we've only just begun to scratch the surface of how large a self-delusional pyramid of power-hungry capitalists can become when people around the world are tricked into thinking that software can help people realize their full potential and that giving money to Microsoft can make their dreams come true.

Where do you want Bill Gates to go today?

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