Every now and again, I receive a request for one particular data set from my research career. I last used it about 15 years ago, and it takes time to dig it out of my archives*. The same thing happens with many of my other electronic assets (old files, old photos, etc). This simply shouldn’t be so complicated. Why is this hard? It’s all been committed to disk, but spread across backup mediums, different cloud storage, etc. Part of the problem is that I still need to know where to look. But why is it up to me? Shouldn’t the system, my computerized memory be able to help? Why are we so far from my computer just helping me out on these things? I’d much prefer or expect it to be closer to an ‘Augmented Intelligence’ – where all my systems provide frictionless ‘increased productivity.’

Augmented Intelligence?

I used to work in the field of Artificial Intelligence, and it’s an area seeing tremendous interest right now, However the term brings tremendous baggage and confusion. (Check Jaron Lanier’s Edge article and the discussion following.) I prefer to think about using these technologies, and the general computing milieu as building systems that help us to think better, to work better, and work along side us to solve the things we don’t do well automatically. Indeed, before Citrix, I was with to a company that explicitly focused on Augmented Intelligence for pathologists. (Drawing a longer bow, many of us would say that the the very nature of being human is that we use tools to augment our intelligence (Clark)).

I like to consider much of the focus of Citrix, around making work ‘work’, as steps toward the ideals of ‘augmented intelligence’ — helping people do more — helping us access our personal and corporate memories wherever where are — helping us use newer, better, faster tools of all types. The future of the software defined workplace continues this journey, enhancing our capabilities, making us more effective, and more capable. I fully expect it to leverage Artificial Intelligence technologies.

Seamlessly find my files?

I started this blog with the idea of solving the challenge of finding and accessing my personal files. This is also a challenge for enterprises. Files can be kept in many different locations, systems, both on premise and in cloud services (ShareFile, box, sharepoint, etc). Often simply finding these files is a challenge, yet alone providing secure and reliable methods to work with them. This is a challenge for individuals, and much more so for enterprises, where security and regulatory requirements make it very difficult to to ‘augment employees’ with easy access to the enterprise memory.

I’d like to introduce a company, and hear your thoughts, on it. Unifyle is a Citrix Startup Accelerator company with an enterprise focused mobile solution to make it easy for every employee to find and work with every enterprise file. They have a mobile solution for enterprise search and access across multiple file services, on prem and in the cloud, where files can be searched then opened and edited by using trusted and secure Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop.

Let me know what you think.


Dr Michael Harries, Chief Technologist, Senior Director, Citrix Startup Accelerator

* I’ve just discovered that my old dataset is available online – live and learn