car rear view mirror reflecting a roadBy Shawn Conrad, CAE

I recently had a flashback to the ’90s, when I and others were focused on how to fully use the data our new management system was generating. A colleague shared with me an article written by Philip Agre, a former UCLA professor. Dr Agre’s focus was artificial intelligence; he was later identified as a social scientist focused on the social and political aspects of networking and computing. While he recognized the potential of future breakthroughs and opportunities that come with technology, he was also a vocal critic who sent up warning flares about how these new technologies—and the data they collected—could be harmful in the wrong hands.

Fast-forward to the hot days of late summer 2021, and I find myself reading an interesting Washington Post article by Reed Albergotti: “He predicted the dark side of the Internet 30 years ago. Why did no one listen?” It covers Dr. Agre’s predictions as they relate to now, when computer systems and organizations are under attack by global hackers.

A reminder of Dr. Agre’s predictions came full circle when I heard Grant Dawson, VP of information technology at T2 Systems, conduct an IPMI online course on cybersecurity and the rapid shifts in technology that have created new opportunities for cyber criminals. Dawson provided examples of our industry’s vulnerabilities and emphasized how employees—not just security software—can play a significant role in keeping your data safe. It was an excellent session and one we plan to repeat in the months ahead.

Maybe as I was remembering Dr. Agre and listening to Grant’s webinar, I should have also been thinking of what baseball laureate Yogi Berra once said: “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.