Breaking: San Antonio Mall Shooting: One Dead, Six Wounded, Armed Citizen Shot Murderer

Reading Time: 2 minutes

One dead, three shot in a “robbery gone very wrong” at Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio, Texas Sunday afternoon about 3:30 p.m. Two others transported to hospitals with other medical conditions. One suspect is still at large and assumed armed and dangerous.

The dead man was a good Samaritan who attempted to stop two robbers after they robbed a Kay Jewelers store in the mall. One of the suspects shot the citizen. A second citizen with a concealed weapon permit then shot the robber who fired the fatal shot. The second robber then fled scene, apparently shooting two other victims. Meanwhile, one woman went into labor during the incident and another was taken to the hospital with chest pains.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus reports on fatal shooting at San Antonio’s Rolling Oaks Mall:

  • Robbery: Two men robbed a Kay Jewelers store
  • One Dead: a good Samaritan who tried to apprehend the two suspects was shot and killed by one of the suspects
  • One Suspect Shot: Another good Samaritan with a CCW shot the suspect who killed the first good Samaritan
  • Four Shot Total: Three wounded, including one of the suspects, and one killed, the good Samaritan

Follow raw, live coverage here

UPDATE: Status of the wounded:

  • One priority one wounded, a male transported: the suspect who was shot by the good Samaritan
  • Two priority two wounded and transported to hospitals
  • Two others also transported to hospitals who were not shot. One was chest pains, the other a woman in labor
  • One male DOA: the good Samaritan who initially tried to apprehend the robbers

MORE

Initial reports of six shot were incorrect. San Antonio Fire Department transported six people to hospitals. Four were shot, two were other medical conditions.

Of the four shooting victims, one was a suspect in the robbery of Kay Jewelers who was shot by an armed citizen with a concealed carry permit. The citizen shot the suspect after the suspect shot a man who tried to apprehend the robbers. The good Samaritan who attempted to intervene is dead. The robber who was shot has been taken to a hospital in priority one condition.

Note: I am covering this story because there was remarkable little information about the shooting available on major media sites. Thought someone should cover the story.

Trump Meant It All

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Trump’s enemies took refuge in the self-created narrative that his campaign was 100% American showmanship. The crooked press and the corrupt establishment, while dissing Trump publicly, scoffed privately. They “knew” his supporters were idiots and yahoos—marginally functional Neanderthals from America’s unreconstructed backwoods whose ability to think, handicapped by genetics, was further crippled by the moonshine distilled in the shed behind their putrid outhouse for personal consumption by their incest-ridden family of knuckle-dragging racist homophobes.

When Chuck Todd hears “Trump suppporter,” he pictures Jethro Bodine with rabies. The press and the establishment worked together crafting a narrative that, having fooled these moronic quirks of evolutionary retardation, Trump would seize power and become a self-serving establishmentarian. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

But, like so many times in the campaign, the press was wrong. Dead wrong. They were wrong about Trump’s supporters, they were wrong about his appeal to blacks and Hispanics, they were wrong about his appeal to women, they were wrong about his appeal to educated whites, and they were wrong about his motives. All wrong. Dead wrong. If election prognostication were the SAT of journalism, the Chuck Todds of the world would be applying to trade school now.

Peggy Noonan nailed it, as she often does:

He presented himself not as a Republican or a conservative but as a populist independent. The essential message: Remember those things I said in the campaign? I meant them. I meant it all.

Ted Cruz famously warned Trump supporters toward the end of his failed primary campaign that Donald Trump would “betray you.” Ted Cruz was wrong, too. Trump is still Trump. The showman, the provocateur, the braggart (“it ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up,” Dizzy Dean said.)

At 12:01 p.m. on January 20, the establishment expected Trump to fulfill Cruz’s prophecy by betraying the people and kissing the establishment’s ring. Imagine the cold shock that slithered down their spines when Trump began his speech with this:

Today’s ceremony however has very special meaning, because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to the other, but from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capitol has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington has flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories.

Their triumphs have not been your triumphs.

There was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes starting right here and right now. This moment is your moment, it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

In his simple, straightforward manner, Donald Trump, in his first words as President of the United States, dissolved the political bands that tied the White House to the Washington establishment and its hallelujah corner in the press. Trump divorced the office of the president from the Washington cartel and connected it to the America people.

This changes everything. And it means we, the people, must have his back. And we must have his back in a way that we’ve never had a president’s back before.

Donald Trump’s tiny team of White House staff and cabinet appointees has declared war against everything the Tea Party declared war against: both parties, the lobbyists, the press, the revolving doors, the protected incumbencies of politicians and corporations. He declared war against the powerful few by allying himself with the forgetten many.

Peggy Noonan warns us of the battle we face and odds against us:

Normally a new president has someone backing him up, someone publicly behind him. Mr. Obama had the mainstream media—the big broadcast networks, big newspapers, activists and intellectuals, pundits and columnists of the left—the whole shebang. He had a unified, passionate party. Mr. Trump in comparison has almost nothing. The mainstream legacy media oppose him, even hate him, and will not let up. The columnists, thinkers and magazines of the right were mostly NeverTrump; some came reluctantly to support him. His party is split or splitting. The new president has gradations of sympathy, respect or support from exactly one cable news channel, and some websites.

He really has no one but those who voted for him.

Do they understand what a lift daily governance is going to be, and how long the odds are, with so much arrayed against him, and them?

I think we do.

When fifty thousand people in 58 locations responded on just four days notice to protest the establishment’s bailouts on February 27, 2009, we faced similar odds. On “Your World with Neil Cavuto” aired that afternoon, Neil talked to organizers of various Tea Party protests. (Plus lots of video footage from St. Louis.) It’s worth revisiting because Cavuto used the term “populist” to describe the events. He also questioned whether this would be a movement that resulted in change or if we would remain a “very vocal minority.”

On Friday, January 20, 2017, Mr. Cavuto got his answer.

We are winning.

 

Photo credit: Respublica: http://respublica.typepad.com/respublica/2009/02/tea-party-in-st-louis.html

Rebuilding St. Louis

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A lot of well-connected St. Louis Democrats like to say “everything’s fine” with the city and the St. Louis region. You know, though, that St. Louis is a mess. A hot, simmering mess covered with rot. (Check out StLouisPatina’s photo essay of St. Louis decay.) But the people responsible for St. Louis’s decay want you to pretend there are no problems. Of course, they do.

And it’s getting worse. You might find yourself wondering how bad things are in St. Louis. You might remember that St. Louis has a bigly jobs problem. Even the St. Louis Post-Dispatch admits that there are so few good jobs in St. Louis. So few jobs.

Since 2009, the year the recession ended, the number of jobs in the nation has increased by 8 percent. In metro St. Louis, it is 3.6 percent.

Then there’s the population loss. St. Louis City and St. Louis County are both losing people. In 1950, one year after St. Louis’s last Republican mayor left office, the city’s population was 856,000. Today it’s barely 300k and shrinking (source). St. Louis County had over 1 million people in 2000. By 2010, it had fallen to 998k (source). The 2020 census could be devastating. People are moving out of St. Louis

People are moving out of St. Louis because St. Louis is a mess. Why wouldn’t they?

Between 1993 and 2013, the area population grew by 6.7 percent, while the nation grew by 21 percent, according to the Census. (Source)

Then there’s the loss of big companies. In 1980, St. Louis was home to 23 Fortune 500 headquarters. Today, we struggle to hold onto the remaining nine. They could all go at any moment. While mergers and acquisitions pulled some of those HQs out of St. Louis, St. Louis’s many problems drove away others.

(Vanishing STL chronicles the city’s continued destruction.)

Then there’s the crime problem. Travel to another city and tell a native you’re from St. Louis. One of two things happens: 1) they say something like ‘oh, I hear St. Louis isn’t that bad,’ or 2) they freeze up in terror expecting to be robbed. Or worse. For a guy, it’s kind of cool to have everyone assume I’m tough and a little dangerous because I come from St. Louis. But it’s probably not a good reputation for tourism or migration.

You know what caused St. Louis’s remarkable decline: blame the Democrats. When the Democrats took over city politics, the city’s slow death began. (The last Republican mayor of St. Louis was Aloys P. Kaufmann from 1945 to 1949.)  When they took over the county council and county executive posts, the whole region started to collapse. It’s because Democrats tend to be very fixed-pie thinkers. To many, many Democrats, economic growth is a myth. So they cozy up to the wealthy by thwarting innovation (like ride-sharing services) and transfer wealth that dwindling pool of uber-wealthy folks to the poor.

If you want St. Louis to make a rebound, you have to end one-party rule in the city and county. You might find yourself voting for Republicans. It’s the only way to save St. Louis from Gary, Indiana’s fate.  City residents can start by voting Republican for Mayor. You’ll want to check out Andrew Jones for Mayor. Mr. Jones will reverse St. Louis’s terrifying decline and make St. Louis a place people want to live, work, and invest again.

Or you can get used to visiting your kids in some other city far away, where all the opportunities are. You don’t have turn St. Louis around. But if you want to, you’ll need some help from Republicans.

*Image Credit:

Welcome to the America of Our Dreams

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Jim Durbin called me this evening. “Are you excited?” he asked.

Jim was in the crowd at the very first Tea Party in St. Louis, February 27, 2009. A cold Friday. He and more than a thousand other folks took off work and school to see what this protest was all about. Like so many others, Jim knew America needed a change. A big one. A change built on the hopes and dreams and fierce independence of ordinary people. We could no longer trust America’s future to academics and political professionals.

“Excited bout what?” I asked.

“The inauguration tomorrow,” he said.

I’d almost forgotten. Between my never-ending cold and work and family and the Blues’ lackluster home play, so many other things compete for my brain time. I felt bad that I didn’t feel better. Which reminded me of a story we read in 7th grade (was it 7th?) about Christmas spirit and a little kid who didn’t have any.

The kid in that Christmas story was struck by Christmas spirit on Christmas eve. My epiphany struck when I opened some old emails.

These emails were responses to a “thank you” email I sent to Tea Partiers in November. My email thanked them for being part of the movement that culminated in a 1,000 seat shift from Democrats to Republics since 2009 at all levels of state and federal government including, now, the seat in the Oval Office. That email was to thank the people like Jim who no longer trusted academics and professionals to chart a course for America’s future.

As Donald Trump prepares to take office as our 45th President and the first of a kind, I thought I’d share a few of your words with the world. You say it better than I ever could:

Don’t you see that the Tea Party was the precursor of Donald Trump’s election? We laid the groundwork with all those rallies and protests and afterparties.  If Trump is faithful to his word and follows through with his promises to us, the ideals that we struggled for will come to fruition. Back in April of 2009 when I went to the Kiener Plaza rally, I KNEW that the Tea Party would be an historic movement, that we could make a difference.  God bless you and, yes, Dana too, for helping us to take America back. God bless Donald Trump and God Bless America! — Donna R.

It finally feels good after all these past 8 years. God bless you Bill. — Edward H.

I heard someone recently say what happened to the Tea Party and I said we are the Tea Party.  You were such a prominent part of the entire movement.  Thank you for the reminders.  I have a photo album with many of the events.  I truly feel like there is a dark cloud removed from our future.  However, we can never take this great country for granted.  God has answered our prayers and now we need to be worthy.  Thank you for all the passion there is no replacement and money cannot buy it. –Jane P.

Some of us have complained or protested when someone implied that the Tea Party is dead. I don’t think it was ever dead – it went underground and that’s where it continued its mission of upsetting the apple card and unconventional methods of doing things the unconventional way.

Thanks for recognizing that MAGA is and was the ultimate goal of the Tea Party. –Frieda K.

God Bless America and please make it great again! –Judy H.

I received dozens of other notes that mistakenly thanked me. I really didn’t do much, but I appreciate your kind support and kind words.

Shakespeare said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” Fifteen hours from the moment I write these words, the Tea Party’s dream will rendezvous with its hard-earned destiny. That destiny, far too big for one man to contain, will nonetheless be personified by Donald J. Trump.

On this last night of America’s dark winter, I will tell you that Mr. Trump said it best when he told the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial tonight:

I had something to do with it but you had much more to do with it than I did. I’m the messenger. I’m just the messenger. And we were tired, and I love you. Believe me, I love you.

Thank you, friends. I look forward to laying down our tools of protest so we can pick up hammers and shovels and get to work Making America Great Again!

America’s Business is Jobs, Not College

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Many of us are guilty. I am, too. You, probably.

In high school (and after) we mocked the kids who took shop. The “greasers” who got credit for wrenching on cars or welding or making cabinets. It was the 1980s and shop, along with home economics, became an elective in most schools.

Until the 80s, some practical life skill class was a requirement at most American public and parochial high schools. Only prep schools let students slide. But in the 1980s—perhaps influenced by the satire book “The Official Preppy Handbook,” schools across the socio-economic spectrum dropped shop from the mandatory list. Some dropped it altogether. At that point, kids who signed up for shop were signing up for blue collar work. They were hand-raisers for the mockers.

Cultural contempt for people who do actual work only increased in the three decades since shop became a dirty word. Movies, television, novels, comedians make fun of the people who build their homes, build and repair their cars, program their computers. put out their fires, fix their leaky toilets, and paint their walls. The smirking class scoffs at guys who take a shower at the end of their workdays.

At the same time, American culture has all but made a 4-year college degree mandatory. From Presidents of the United States to high school principals, the people we’re told to respect show little or no respect for the vast majority whose highest education ended in a prom. Yet, from the President on down, we depend far more on those who know how to make things than on those who “stare at their feet and think great thoughts,” as legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes once said.

The Post-Dispatch points out, there’s no incentive for schools produce great workers:

Public schools, meanwhile, are judged by test scores and the percent of students they send to college. Guidance counselors aren’t likely to push young people toward the plant gates.

Today, America has a glut of college-educated pizza deliverers and a shortage of forty-dollar-an-hour machinists and electricians. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlights the shortage of skilled labor in St. Louis:

Factories around St. Louis can find plenty of people for grunt jobs — lifting boxes, sorting parts and such. They have a much tough[er] time finding hands-on machinists, computer numerical control, or CNC, machine operators, toolmakers, industrial electricians, multi-skilled maintenance mechanics and other jobs that require math talent and a couple of years of schooling.

A recent national survey of association members found that 90 percent have moderate or serious trouble finding qualified employees.

So, jobs paying $20, $25 and sometimes $40 an hour are going unfilled.

If you think the skilled-labor shortage is an argument for open borders, you’d be very wrong. Skilled workers in Central America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East lead decent lives in their countries. Unless driven out by war or cartel violence, skilled workers don’t migrate illegally into the US–grunt workers do, the kind of workers America already finds in abundance.

A lot of those grunt workers are recent college graduates. CareerBuilder.com found in a 2014 study that 51 percent of college graduates are working in jobs that don’t require degrees. ZeroHedge.com found one (click here for full story):

Andrea Ledesma, 28, says her parents owned a house and were raising kids by her age. Not so for her.

Ledesma graduated from college four years ago. After moving through a series of jobs, she now earns $18,000 making pizza at Classic Slice in Milwaukee, shares a two-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and has $33,000 in student debt.

“That’s not at all how life is now, that’s not something that people strive for and it’s not something that is even attainable, and I thought it would be at this point,” Ledesma said.

Her mother Cheryl Romanowski, 55, was making about $10,000 a year at her age working at a bank without a college education. In today’s dollars, that income would be equal to roughly $19,500. Romanowski said she envies the choices that her daughter has in life, but she acknowledged that her daughter has it harder than her. “I think the opportunities have just been fading away,” she said.

Had Andrea opted for machine shop class instead of college, she’d now have 8 years of seniority as a machinist earning somewhere between $60,000 and $80,000 a year. It’s unlikely she will find a job that requires her degree that will make up for the 8 years she lost in college and dead-end jobs.

While it’s true that the aggregate of those with college degrees earns more than the aggregate of those without, that statistic is deceiving. The college-educated number skews high because of ridiculously high salaries of a few. Skilled laborers without degrees are huddled together in a narrower range of salaries. In other words, the gap between a senior machinist and a Fortune 1000 CEO is way bigger than the gap between the machinist and the liberal arts major who sells pizzas.

Further, the college-educated pool includes all levels of education: doctors, lawyers, PhDs, etc. It’s not just those with a 4-year degree and no more. Plus, we don’t need as many Ph.D. historians as we need skilled machinists and electricians. The Department of Labor says only about 1/3 of American jobs require any education beyond high school.

So where do we go from here?

I think America’s attitude about real work is about to change. Donald Trump won on the strength of people who work for a living. To a large extent, so did Eric Greitens here in Missouri. So the people in power owe a big debt to the people who shower after work. Meanwhile, a growing number college-educated young people—the key demographic for advertisers and entertainment producers—can’t afford the products advertised on TV and Facebook. (Products made by people who took shop.) Smart marketers and television writers will soon realize that the actual key demographic in America is young skilled workers, not just young people in general.

As the leftist hysteria over 2016’s election quiets down (and it will), expect to see growing respect and appreciation for the people who work in blue-collar jobs. As college tuition continues to rise faster than inflation and faster than healthcare costs, expect taxpayers to demand that Congress slam the brakes on higher education spending. Some of that money will go to pay the debt, but some tax money can be returned to the states to expand shop classes.

Making America great again requires that America make things again—things that last longer than a pizza or an Old Fashioned cocktail. The jobs that Trump has promised need people who can lift a load and do the math. As one employer told the Post-Dispatch:

He’s picked new high school graduates, hoping to train them, but often found they lack basic skills. “It’s basically all math and hard labor. I have had kids that make the effort, but they don’t have the brain power.”

Calvin Coolidge said, “the business of America is business.” That was almost 100 years ago. Today, the business of America is jobs.

Let’s get to work.

Stan Kroenke’s Long Con Has Just Started

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You thought Stan Kroenke wanted a team in Los Angeles? I don’t think so. I think Stan is playing a long con. And I think it’s a brilliant strategy.

Los Angeles is a terrible market for football teams, but it’s a fantastic market for the NFL. It would be a perfect place to build a permanent home for the Super Bowl. Los Angeles has fantastic weather, great attractions, and a huge pool of football fans, fans of every team in the NFL. Except the Rams.

And you might think I’m crazy, but you’ll want to bookmark this post for later reference. It could make you look very smart some day.

Let’s look at what we know about Kroenke, the Rams, and the NFL.

  1. Kroenke is a real estate investor who happens to own a few professional sports teams. He made his billions building strip malls that he rented to Walmart and other retailers. (The Walmart plaza by my house is a Kroenke Properties mall.) His first love is real estate deals, and he’s shady.
  2. Many people who’ve done business with Kroenke were financially ruined. Kroenke always sets up the deals so he can take everything when he wants. Just ask St. Louis.
  3. The NFL is about money and only about money. Just ask any of the former NFL players who have to beg for money from their wheelchairs like Conrad Dobler.
  4. The NFL wants a team in London, and they want it soon.
  5. Stan Kroenke wanted the Rams to play numerous games in London while they were in St. Louis, but the team’s contract with the city of St. Louis prohibited it. Kroenke didn’t like that.
  6. Kroenke learned that cities will throw money at an NFL franchise to entice the owners to move to their city.
  7. Kroenke plans to build an NFL palace in Inglewood, California. Not a Rams palace, an NFL palace.
  8. Support for the Rams in Los Angeles faded quickly after an initial surge at the start of the 2016 season.
  9. Support for Los Angeles NFL home teams was weak throughout the late 1980s and 1990s.

Here’s my prediction: Stan Kroenke will build the NFL palace in Los Angeles, then move the Rams to London. The stadium in LA will become the permanent home of the Super Bowl, plus the site of marquee match-ups throughout the season. Los Angeles will be happy because they’ll get to see more of their favorite teams in these marquee games, the NFL will have a destination-city address, and Stan will sell the Rams to London investor after getting a sweet deal to move the team to the UK.

This was Stan’s long con. He’ll get a lot of help from other owners to build the LA complex. He’ll get the NFL to sign a contract for use of the facilities that will cover his investment. It’s what he does, and he’s better at it than anyone else in the NFL. Then he’ll get a similar deal in London, move the team, and dump it. He’ll hold onto the properties and adjacent properties. He’ll clean up.

This is pure speculation, but Kroenke could make more money my way than by keeping the Rams in LA.

I’m not sure when this will play out, but it will be after the new stadium opens and before the Rams become a contender. (Okay, just about everything will happen before the Rams become a contender.)

When you see news stories about Stan Kroenke buying land in the UK, get ready. Until then, you can tell people this scenario is your idea and you’ll look like a genius when it unfolds. And if it doesn’t, no one will remember a thing. That’s the great thing about predictions like this one: there’s no way to lose and several ways to win.

Oh, and there’s this from The Guardian:

Even before they have played their first game in LA, the Rams are seizing opportunities to spread themselves around the world. Because they are playing in a temporary stadium – the Los Angeles Coliseum – until their new home opens in 2019, they are subject to an NFL rule requiring them to play an overseas game in each of the next three seasons. While some teams might balk at giving up home games in three straight seasons, the Rams embraced the mandate, agreeing to honor an already-scheduled game in London this fall and to play a 2018 regular season game in China.

“This is philosophical, I think. There are people who will view change as a challenge and there are people who view change as an opportunity,” said Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president of international. “In the Rams point of view this is an opportunity. This is a chance to re-frame how they view their franchise for the future.”

Expect that re-frame to end when the Rams move across the Atlantic.

You Don’t Hear “Big Data” Much Anymore, And For That I’m Thankful

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is about Big Data.

You really can’t over-estimate what suckers business people are.

I’m not talking about people who create things or improve things. Guys like Steve Jobs and Donald Trump built great businesses. But they weren’t business people. They were builders. Running a business was a necessary evil that allowed them the freedom to build what they wanted to build. They were great businessmen because they cared about the work their companies did. Just like every small business owner who has the courage to strike out and build a business.

Most business executives, though, are not builders. They’re managers. They don’t really care what their companies do or how their products improve (or hurt) people’s lives. They care about quarterly reports and resource utilization targets. Put another way, Jobs and Trump saw the numbers as the result of their great work; managers see the work as a necessary evil to achieve the numbers.

Big Data was a buzzword for about six years. At first, it was a way for Silicon Valley types to get funding for their startups. Then, it was a way for corporate IT geeks to get funding for internal projects. IT sold Big Data as a way for their companies to “differentiate.”  Then it became a corporate strategic initiative at every company in America when IT convinced managers that “we are the ONLY company that DOESN’T have a Big Data strategy.”

Then Big Data predicted Hillary Clinton’s landslide win with 98% confidence. And Big Data went the way of the Iomega Zip Drive. (I know of very senior executive at a very large beverage company who, in 1996, shifted his entire portfolio, 100%, to Iomega stock.)

In 2012, I attended an innovation symposium. One topic was Big Data. The speaker breathlessly warned that “Big Data Is Coming!” like the Red Coats. As if Big Data were a thing. (In case you’re wondering, “Big Data” means “lots of data” usually about people and their behavior.) He said “Big Data” at least 100 times in a 25-minute presentation. Since I’m a former geek, a lot of people asked me afterwards, “That was such a great talk, but did you understand what we should do about it?” I wasn’t sure. Neither was the speaker. Except “invest” in it. Or invest to stop it. I can’t remember which.

Paul Revere raced through Massachusetts warning that the British were coming, just as our speaker warned “Big Data is coming!” But the people Revere warned had been prepped on what to do when the news came. Warnings about Big Data were useless because most people had no prior arrangements for dealing with the news.

Except for IT.

Corporate IT folks are masters at creating urgent needs for funding. They invented the Y2K bug. (I profited handsomely from that panic from 1997 to 1999.) No one knew exactly what the Y2K bug was, but gullible managers forked over billions and billions of dollars to fix it.

The Big Data invasion was another Y2K bug, only more mysterious. So it needed even more funding. When the election was called for Trump around 2:00 a.m. on November 9, it was like midnight January 1, 2000, all over again. The great IT emergency was dead.

Now, the IT folks have a new emergency that requires billions and billions of funding. IT professionals are A/B testing whether to call it AI (artificial intelligence) or “machine learning.” Both AI and machine learning are real things, but they’ve become buzzwords to seduce money from gullible business executives. That means IT folks are busy finding out what their executives’ greatest fears are, then creating pitch decks that “prove” AI/machine learning is exactly the thing to kill that bogeyman. (I’m watching this A/B testing happen, and it’s amazing to see. When the business execs reject AI for one reason or another, IT simply does a search and replace of “AI” with “machine learning,” pitches the exact same deck a month later, and gets the funding. You can’t make this up.)

What the executives don’t know is that AI and machine learning are both overhyped exaggerations, just like Iomega, Y2K, and Big Data. Says Andrew Orlowski of the Register (via ZeroHedge):

As with the most cynical (or deranged) internet hypesters, the current “AI” hype has a grain of truth underpinning it. Today neural nets can process more data, faster. Researchers no longer habitually tweak their models. Speech recognition is a good example: it has been quietly improving for three decades. But the gains nowhere match the hype: they’re specialised and very limited in use. So not entirely useless, just vastly overhyped. As such, it more closely resembles “IoT”, where boring things happen quietly for years, rather than “Digital Transformation”, which means nothing at all.

The more honest researchers acknowledge as much to me, at least off the record.

The bad news for most people: AI/machine learning will cost a lot of non-techies their jobs over the next few years. IT leaders have gotten really good at bilking gullible managers out of money for buzzwords like Y2K and Big Data. And business people ain’t getting any smarter. The AI bubble will burst after some catastrophe caused by a crappy algorithm—a catastrophe that a hydrocephalic 4-year-old could have anticipated and averted. By then, IT will have a new bogeyman.

But until then, I say do a shot every time you hear “AI” or “machine learning.” That’s what buzzwords are for.