From The Editor

“The problem, clearly exhibited by the Meltdown and Spectre attacks, is that the ISA is under-specified for security, or safety for that matter. It simply does not provide ways to isolate the speed of progress of a computation from other system activities.”

Yes, more lessons learned from the Meltdown and Spectre attacks. Our January 2018  article,  Beyond Spectre & Meltdown CPU Bugs looked at the root cause of the problem. Now a February 5, 2018 CSIRO article in The Conversation suggests that “A necessary, and overdue, first step is a new and improved hardware-software contract.”  See below, Insecure by design – lessons from the Meltdown and Spectre debacle.

“Some of the developments in care robotics will undoubtedly drive efficiencies, improve some services and outcomes for those using these. However, others may bring unanticipated or unintended consequences.”

This quote is from a February 6, 2018 Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)  article on an ANZSOG-funded research project.  Our January 2018 article on Deep Learning looked at new evidence for and against the proposition that “Artificial Intelligence (AI) will soon be able to set its own agenda, leading to AI control of the human race”.  Now the ANZSOG researchers consider the question “Can machines really care?”, looking at the “need to consider the human value of different care activities and whether it maintains this value if it is carried out by a machine.” See below, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’: The implications of expanding the use of robots in care services. 

The OECD 11 February 2018 report, Embracing Innovation in Government: Global Trends 2018, is based on “a global review of ways governments are transforming their operations and improving the lives of their citizens though innovation.”  58 countries contributed 276 cases of innovative initiatives. The Report identifies 3 Key Trends and 10 Case Studies. The OPEC website Blog gives a good summary of the findings.

A separate initiative by the UK  Department for Work and Pensions (DPW), the  Policy Simulation Model aims to model the effects of policy changes on poverty across Great Britain. The DPW website describes the applications and limitations of the Policy Simulation Model.

Another view on the need to model policy changes comes in a February 5, 2018 Queensland University of Technology article in The Conversation, The benefits of job automation are not likely to be shared equally. See below, Global Government Innovation 2018.

And among all the dire news and gloomy predictions, at last there comes a story with a happy ending. A 19/02/2018 article in The Mandarin tells how “The newest commander of Australia’s peak war college might not have made it very far in his military career if not for a leader who crossed his path some 30 years ago.

Major General Mick Ryan has penned the story of why he always looks to give others a second chance, after meeting the former commandant who taught him that failure did not have to be the end, but an opportunity to learn.”  See below, My career turning point: a Major-General’s second chance to learn and grow.


Current Issue

Articles in the current Issue cover: 

Insecure by design – lessons from the Meltdown and Spectre debacle

“The recent debacle has shown that the ISA is too abstract, making it impossible to tell whether a system is secure or if it will leak secrets. This must change, urgently.” 

‘You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’: The implications of expanding the use of robots in care services

there is an important balance to be maintained in stewarding these technologies to ensure that we can open additional avenues for social inclusion and communication, without decreasing or offering an excuse to multiply the barriers in front of physical interaction.”

Global Government Innovation 2018

“Now we are starting to see the effect of automation everywhere and especially in productivity and economic growth statistics. It’s expected that automation will make a A$2.2 trillion boost to productivity in Australia between 2015 and 2030. But whether productivity gains will be redistributed equally, remains highly questionable.”

My career turning point: a Major-General’s second chance to learn and grow

“This one decision by Major General Day taught me that failure did not have to be the end of something. It could be the start of a new journey. And one where I would be better informed about the realities of life and hardened me against the tough things we must sometimes face.”


“It pays to be paranoid.”  A 14-Feb-18 video shows how a cybersecurity expert spots a fake ATM machine. See Fake ATM Machine 11.


We are planning ACOSM18 as a QESP/ACS event to be scheduled after Easter. The plan is for an evening event, 5.30 for 6.00, keynote, 2 speakers and  Forum till 7.30, drinks & fingerfood till  8.00. Further details will be provided in the March 2018 Newsletter.


 Quote of the Day

“As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership.”  Amit Ray, Mindfulness Meditation for Corporate Leadership and Management

 Quote from Yesteryear

“Large increases in cost with questionable increases in performance can be tolerated only in race horses and women.” — Lord Kelvin

Ted Smillie

QESP Chair