It’s not everyday that the things I do and think about at work mix with the national news, but today is one of those days.
The actions of the NSA is being carefully scrutinized these days, but when it comes to portraying IT, computers, and automation, they can quickly paint a different picture of the world than the true reality of the situation.
A great article from O’Reilly tackles a couple key myths and does a good job explaining the reality of the situation, which I can confirm to be true in my day job as well. The article explains that “automation is about gaining leverage–it’s about streamlining human tasks that can be handled by computers in order to add mental brainpower”. In other words, we automate things with computer to free up us clever humans to do even more complicated (and useful) tasks. “You still need smart people to think about and solve hard problems”
The article further explains that “automation increases consistency”. Letting computers do the work allows for more effective auditability, but automation by itself does not improve security. Choosing how to make things secure requires “human tasks” that require”human judgement”, which is how a human such as Snowden is able to access the files.
The bottom line is that you can’t automate humans out of the equation if you want to do anything of value. Humans create things. Humans can think. Humans can feel. If you can do at least one of those things, then there is no need to worry that a computer will automate your job away. So, go out there and be human. Create. Think. Feel.