Article | April 12, 2021
There is nothing new about fake news. It has been in existence for centuries, albeit without the scaffolding of support from social media. From housewives’ tales to gossip magazines, the Trojan horse to the misinformation around the D-Day landing site, fake news has been a rite of passage.
The Russian military made this into a fine art with “maskirovka,” the doctrine gaining superiority through deception, denial and disinformation. However, it was the 2016 U.S. presidential election that branded it with a legit identity and with such alacrity that today, I find myself questioning everything I read or hear about, no matter the veracity of the source. Fake news is a contagion that has the potency to be as disruptive as the coronavirus and must be fought with equal urgency.
If you cannot solve the problem, manage it.
The power behind fake news is big data — the quantum of data generated and its velocity of distribution. Big data feeds companies with interesting consumer insights on evolving trends and behaviors, which are then beautifully packaged into text, video or audio content by harnessing machine learning and deep learning algorithms.
The slips happen here. If I were to personify fake news, Cersei Lannister, the manipulative, power-hungry queen in Game of Thrones, would be the perfect candidate. Cersei embellishes the truth with dramatic twists and turns to create compelling lies. We experienced a similar situation when news broke that President Trump’s grandfather owned the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel in Bennett, British Columbia, during the 1890s and 1900s, which fueled an interesting twist on the source of the family's wealth.
While AI will help us identify fake news, we need a preventive measure that nips it in the bud
It is almost difficult to differentiate fake news from real news. While AI will help us identify fake news, we need a preventive measure that nips it in the bud — a vaccination rather than medication.
If tech helps in creating an issue, should tech help solve it too?
Based on my years of experience in implementing these solutions for large enterprises and developing next-gen blockchain offerings with startups, I believe blockchain may just be the remedy we are looking for. Most technologists, however, do not consider blockchain to be a relevant or credible technology, with the primary criticisms being its lack of widespread adoption and its esotericism. But I believe the contrary. The vision of grandma-proof blockchain is becoming real — to create an inclusive global, scalable blockchain solution that can cater to every human need.
Blockchain should be our weapon to effectively reduce and ultimately eradicate fake news.
In blockchain, no single individual or group holds the authority, but everyone needs to approve; therefore, it enables the highest degree of integrity, privacy and security
Blockchain is nothing but a distributed ledger that helps build trust in decentralized networks and that runs on the computing power of its participants. No single individual or group holds the authority, but everyone needs to approve; therefore, it enables the highest degree of integrity, privacy and security. This is accomplished by consensus algorithms. Each blockchain has adopted some form of it, and some even claim to have consensus that can prevent obfuscation of the truth even when faced with over 90% malicious intent.
Blockchain technology enables a "shared single version of truth" across multiple entities based on two fundamental characteristics: immutability and traceability.
Immutability is when a blockchain ledger has the capability to remain unaltered, effectively ensuring that any data on the blockchain cannot be altered — only built upon.
Each block created has a unique identity and timestamp attached to it that builds a fortress around the data. Innovative upcoming blockchains use crypto-biometric identity to further buttress the fort. For example, Mediachain, a decentralized independent music library, uses blockchain to protect the originator’s authenticity by providing information about the creator, producer and lyrics to listeners. Steemit is a decentralized social media site that rewards content creators who also interact with other users. Each content piece or interaction is recorded on the immutable record by blockchain.
And if news companies were to adopt blockchain — and organizations like the New York Times are already working on this — this is what we might expect:
Journalists could create a block (an entry in a distributed ledger) and upload news via text, image or video.
Editors would then create another new block with an edited version of the news, leaving the original block unchanged.
Publishers (news agencies) would then publish the news based on their block and any changes that they might make.
Each one of the participants is authenticated on the blockchain with a simple touch of their finger while protecting the fidelity of the news.
Remember, entries cannot be changed, only built upon, and therefore, each change is recorded and allocated to a specific entity. For someone to “fake” the news, they would have to alter the data at each level. Infiltrating the high-security protocols would require considerable time and resource allocations.
As mentioned, each block that is created has a distinct identity attached, preferably a crypto-biometric for added security and individual control. So, if fake news is generated and circulated through social media using blockchain as the base, it becomes easier to pinpoint the culprit while establishing the real source of the news. This would ascribe true content ownership to credible creators.
Fake news creators are using advanced tech stacks to create deepfakes for digital deception. Generative adversarial networks (GANs) can help them to create deepfakes of images and videos that can even counteract or deceive advanced AI/ML algorithms. Of course, GANs are also being used to detect fake news now. If technology has helped fake news become compelling and believable, let’s use intelligent and available technology like blockchain to at least control it, if not eradicate it.
Then again, if blockchain had existed in the medieval ages, we would have been denied the entertaining antics of Cersei Lannister and the wonderful blockbuster series that kept most of us enthralled!
Article | April 12, 2021
Storytelling is an art. It brings out the best of the teller and the listener. For centuries storytelling has been proved to be a successful way to reach out to the masses. However, a myth about storytelling is that it is considered only as a subject of literature. Well, we are here to break this myth.
The art of telling a story belongs to every field. Be it literature or science, electronics or computers, every field has its own story, even astronomy. Likewise, every little particle has a story to tell.
There is a story in every line of code written by software developers. The user tells a story, and the software developer writes it in a computer code language. Read further to understand more about storytelling in software development.
The Art of Storytelling in Software Development
When a user comes across a problem that needs to be simplified digitally, he explains the problem to the developer or salesperson.
For example, a shopkeeper needs to digitalize his inventory; he will talk about the problems he is facing while manually managing the inventory. This manual management could be handwritten or a basic excel sheet.
Now, when he tells his issue, he says that “I need software that easily tells me about the things I have in my inventory, goods that are to be stocked and also the goods that have and do not have demand.”
When the shopkeeper elaborates his problem and tells them in a story-like manner, the concerned person understands it better. Now imagine if they would say that, “I need software to know about the goods in the inventory.” Unfortunately, this simple sentence does not convey what exactly they are looking for. As a result, the salesperson would not be able to give them appropriate solutions.
Once the story behind the work is understood, the entire team puts in the effort and comes up with perfect solutions. From coding to the visuals of the software, everything works in synchronization. Thus, the story behind the work is of great importance.
Storytelling in software development has a structure. It has a beginning, middle part, climax, end, visuals, and imagination. The only difference in the storytelling tool is that it is known as understanding the need of the user (beginning), designing the solution (middle part), CTAs and ways to reach the target audience (climax), visually appealing and adequately working software delivery (end).
The success of storytelling in software development depends on how well the developer connects with the user’s problem. Once the entire team is on the same page, emotionally and practically, they deliver the most reliable solutions.
The Process of Storytelling in Software Development
Storyteller software is a tool that listens to the thoughts and ideas of the customer, understands their audience, and then transforms them into concrete solutions. Storytelling software uses the following steps.
● Understanding the user story
● Implementation of the story
Understanding the Story
As described earlier, understanding the story is learning the background of why the solution is being developed. Once the digital storytelling software is understood, the implementation of the solution becomes more apparent.
When the user tells his problem, there is always a story in it. When this story is told to the team, they give a set of solutions to the user. It is like giving them the menu to select the dish they like to be served.
Once they select the dish, it becomes an easy job to make it. But you need to ask the user why he is selecting the particular solution. Because the ‘why’ will answer almost every question that is needed to design the appropriate solution.
Implementation of the Story
The implementation of the story is the ‘show, don’t tell’ part. You need to display the solution on the screen for the user to understand. The user does not know the coding language, but he will understand that if I click this, this happens. And that understanding for the user is the implementation of the story.
We can also say that the implementation of the story is the architecture of the software. A well-built architecture will convey the story to the users. For example, when HRIS software is developed, the HR departments will know that the story behind the development was to ease out their tasks. These tasks could be anything from attendance to salary management.
Always remember, only a well-understood story can be implemented most dependably.
The conclusion of the story is the delivery and installation of the visual storytelling software. The user should be able to find all the answers to his problems in the best possible way. Their story that started with ‘once upon a time’ should end happily ever after’. And this is possible only when the entire team is connected emotionally and practically while working towards the solution.
The conclusion should also convey the climax of the story. The climax implies the CTAs or the final work that the software does after getting the desired data.
Only after you have reached a conclusion and the user is satisfied you will know that you have written an excellent story. This good story is the incredible software you built by gathering the plot, characters, problems, and other raw material from the user!
Benefits of Storytelling in Software Development
We know the process of storytelling in software development, but what do we gain from it? You must be thinking, can’t we listen to the demands, design a solution, and give the user what he wants? So, what is the need to understand the story behind the software?
Well, software delivered without understanding the story is merely a puzzle created. In the future, the software would not be able to answer the most important question -WHY? And that could prove that the software is a failure.
Here are some benefits of storytelling in software development.
● Straightforward Approach
Instead of beating around the bush or designing complicated solutions you will deliver the solutions in simpler steps. And this is because you have well understood the story behind creating the software.
● Understand the Big Picture
The user's story will let you understand what outcomes or expectations the user has from the software. The vision of the user and their expectations from the product can be understood only when the whole team has clarity on what and why they are working.
● Emotional Attachment
When software is developed practically and empathetically, the user also connects well with the software. People have to be given an emotion to get clicks on CTAs or use the software.
A survey was taken wherein people had to donate to a cause. As a result, two types of causes were created. One group was asked to donate food for an underdeveloped country, and the other group was asked to donate for a hungry child. The second group donated more, and many of them stated why they felt emotionally connected to the child.
Thus, the emotional connection of the team to design software is essential.
● Give Better Outcomes
Stories assure better results and excellent outcomes. They make sure that the team works best and the customers are motivated to take action. The story behind the software helps build the software in precisely the way it is asked for.
Thus, You Need to Tell a Story
Building a great story and connecting it with the user’s pain points is the best way to develop a creative solution. This helps paint a picture in the team's minds as to what is being built and why.
Storytelling in software development is essential as each software should convey an incredible story.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is storytelling in software development?
Storytelling in software development understands the story as a tool to design the software more accurately. The thoughts and requirements of the user are used as raw materials and utilized to create an efficient solution.
The story also helps in understanding the audience for whom the software is being developed.
What is the importance of storytelling in software?
Stories create better solutions and excellent outcomes. They motivate the audience to react in a certain way. They connect with the user and the audience on an emotional level. They are impactful and even let developers learn a lot.
They help create better software by keeping the team connected through the story.
What are the software storytelling tools?
Software storytelling tools are the elements that help implement the solution most productively. These are the user's point of view, emotionally connect, purpose, and the answers to the questions- what and why.
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The story also helps in understanding the audience for whom the software is being developed."
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They help create better software by keeping the team connected through the story."
"name": "What are the software storytelling tools?",
"text": "Software storytelling tools are the elements that help implement the solution most productively. These are the user's point of view, emotionally connect, purpose, and the answers to the questions- what and why."
Article | April 12, 2021
The rapid pivot towards a remote workforce is forcing organizations to adopt a cloud-first approach faster than ever. We recently surveyed 500 IT decision-makers around the globe to ascertain their views on IT automation, cloud migration, and business continuity in the face of unexpected crises. The survey found that 87% of IT professionals agree that the current COVID-19 pandemic will cause organizations to accelerate their migration to the cloud.
Article | April 12, 2021
Two of our talented data scientists, Yong Liu and Andrew Brooks, recently showcased how Outreach helps sales reps leverage machine learning for their own continuous learning.At Spark+AI Summit 2020, they talked about how machine learning powers our sales engagement platform, as well as how they solve some of the typical challenges all data scientists face when building enterprise-grade applications.