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The Key to Sustainable Innovation

Industry experts discuss how to reap the benefits of responsible innovation at the 2021 Data Company Conference

In today's increasingly complex world, driving innovation in a responsible way requires more than just good intentions. Across every industry, enterprises are investing in technology to keep up with big tech and nimble startups. 

However, implementing this tech without violating data privacy regulations is a barrier every enterprise faces. Leaders must not only understand how technology can be used to make a positive impact in society, but also how it can be misused. 

Moderated by ZDNet reporter Chris Preimesberg, four industry experts—including ExpressVPN Digital Security Lab’s Principal Researcher Sean O’Brien, Hired Brains Research’s CEO & Principal Analyst Neil Raden, Compliance Podcast Network’s Tom Fox, and founder of Lopez Research Maribel Lopez—debate the key to sustainable innovation. 


 

Chris Primesberger: AI and automation and machine learning, these are all going to be topics that we're going to be talking about today. It all adds up to innovation and sustainable innovation, that's our topic. Let's define the term sustainable innovation. What does that mean as it relates to business here in 2021? What does that mean to each of you? 

Neil Raden: There's a multi-dimensional relationship really between corporate social responsibility and economics and the environment and the social dimensions. It's not that simple, it involves a lot of different areas.

Maribel Lopez: Yeah. I guess I would say I'm with Neil on this, right? So I think there are two things that we're talking about when you have that phrase. One word is sustainability and another word is innovation, and then the question is where do those two crossover, right? For example, we now have innovation in power management in the data center space, it allows it to be more sustainable in terms of energy efficiencies, right? Part of the tussle I think we're having right now before we even get any further into it is how we can rationalize. 

What makes business sense versus what we call sustainability and how do we bring these things together so that we can have something called a sustainable innovation.

Tom Fox: I see that from the perspective of transparency, in allowing multiple stakeholders in an organization and in a business that would be shareholders, employee, boards of directors, third parties, and customers to make an informed decision about whether they want to do business, whether they want to purchase, whether they want to invest in that company through innovation, but also through the data that sustainable innovation can bring forward.

Sean O'Brien: Yeah. I would just add there are a lot of issues which I think the pandemic certainly pointed out and made front and center that go beyond environmental and some of the other traditional things you would consider in sustainability. We have to think more about supply chain, right? We have to think more about cybersecurity. We have to think more about the impact of privacy and regulatory measures and so on and so forth, so it's an interesting world.

Chris Primesberger: We could touch on all those today, but I don't think we'd do it in 45 minutes, those are all important topics. This all relates to the efficiency of IT and AI and machine learning and automation, all these things add to the efficiency. What is IT if it's not efficient for us to use? It's kind of like what Steve Jobs used to say, "If you've got software and you don't know how to use it or you can't use the interface, what good is it?" So how does the use of AI and machine learning help automation in helping companies become more productive, efficient, and environmentally focused? Who would like to take a stab at that one?

Neil Raden: We don't know. I don't know. Most of our PA is just transactional and it's brittle and it's kind of stupid. It's not transformational, and I don't think we have the technology for that yet. Automation is a big word, but most of what they do is they strip half broken processes to begin with and that's not going to get you to sustainability.

Maribel Lopez: I'm actually going to kind of weigh in on that because I think Neil is really onto something, right? So where we are with automation right now is we're accelerating broken processes, right? So what we have to do is we have to move out of the acceleration of a broken process, or maybe the discovery of a broken process might be a better way to look at it and then say, "Okay, that's what it was. How do we need to fix that?" And I think in part of fixing the processes, you have the ability to work on the other problems that we were just talking about in terms of sustainability. So job one, I think, it's figuring out where we are and I think AI does a good job a lot of the time helping people discover where they are in a process and what works and what doesn't. Then I think we need to go to the next step, which is what Neil, I think, was alluding to.

Sean O'Brien: I think as well we need to think about where AI and machine learning and certainly computer vision and some of these other technologies might create bottlenecks, right? First off, they're going to be difficult to implement and train around and so on and so forth, and literally in many cases you don't know what the outputs are going to be. I mean, that's why you implement AI in a lot of cases, right? I've seen a lot of companies pushing in social media very obviously things like moderation, right? 

We have AI moderated YouTube and all these social channels. I think that was ready to go and for crisis situations like the pandemic and so on. It's going to be interesting to see as we move out of that world whether or not some of that is dialed back. My feeling is that it's created more inefficiencies in general and especially the folks I've been talking to then really helped processes and made them more efficient.

Tom Fox: I guess I would actually see that in a little bit different way, Chris, because I see AI as bringing greater business efficiency, either through helping to fix broken processes or allowing any corporate officer to have a wider variety of information and data available to them so that they can move forward. I would also see it as little steps leading to a more sustainable innovation, that true aha moment I don't think is part of this. I think it's going to be a series of steps and at some point down the road, we will be able to utilize a much greater basis of this.

Maribel Lopez: We have digitized a bunch of things. We've added sensors and a bunch of things onto equipment and the like and as a result of that we have a lot of data, and I think one of the things that AI is going to be really good at is trying to figure out the health of that equipment, the operations of that equipment, and finding ways to make that work better.

So I think there's a lot of opportunity that we see ahead after maybe starting on a bit of a sour note, but I do think there is a nice angle for those. And I think that the best thing about that angle is that it benefits a business both from an economic standpoint but also from a sustainability standpoint and I really think that those two need to come together so that we can really realize that goal.

Neil Raden: I see really wonderful applications of AI these days, it doesn't really hurt anyone. It's the ability of AI to sift through that data and figure it out, add a semantic layer, create knowledge graphs and catalogs and make it all more usable by people to do things. So I'm seeing a lot of that too, and that's very helpful.

Chris Primesberger: Very good. Since we're talking so much about sustainability, of course, that means green tech and it means conserving power. We are aware that all this new tech takes a lot of extra electricity, a lot of extra power, and there are companies Bitcoin, for example, it's famously known for being very power hungry with all the computations that it has to do every day and every minute. These companies can be detrimental to the global environment. What can we do, do you think, as technology thought leaders and as professionals? What can we do to help build public awareness, to put pressure on these companies to change their processes and make them more earth-friendly? Is this even possible at this point or are we jumping ahead here? What do you think?

Tom Fox: The answer is yes, that pressure can be put on any organization. Last week, Exxon lost three board seats to environmentally friendly candidates put forward by a very, very small shareholder. So if you can have change at that high level with a corporation the size of Exxon, I think that type of dialogue, again, I think that type of transformation can occur throughout society.

Neil Raden: But what happens when a company like Exxon has a very complex supply chain and members in the supply chain go rogue and don't follow along with the process? And what does Exxon do? Do they give up revenue and profit? Do they relax their requirements? Now here's the one thing that I've really been thinking about and I don't know the answer to that.

Maribel Lopez: You know it's a good point. I mean, I think that there is an ecosystem in general and when I think people talk about things, they are very adamant on each side of the ecosystem, right? So they think something like you'd never do this because it's not good for profit. Well, there's some things that are good for profit, and then there are other things that are fundamentally not. This question is very real, and I think part of the issue with the dialogue that we're having is that people don't look at both sides of the dialogue. 

For example, I just saw the recent discussion about whether or not you should be outlawing gas in people's homes in San Francisco, right? I guess that's something that we could do, but is that something we need to do? We need to spend a lot of time trying to figure out, is there a journey to this and what does the journey look like? Because it seems like we go all the way to A or all the way to B. It's like, "Okay, we can't have any fuel that's not electric anywhere." And I said, "Well, that's unreasonable in the short term," right? So what's our strategy to get there, and I think that's where our dialogue should be right now and isn't.

Sean O'Brien: It's not easy to define true sustainability in this sense, right? So to bring it back to the cryptocurrency example, much of the criticism of Bitcoin is around the proof of work algorithm, right? So you have to have computers constantly crunching, using up a lot of energy to solve complex problems basically. I'm not fully convinced that that's as big of an issue as, for example, lithium mining, right? Or some other things which have a huge carbon footprint. And I think narrowly focusing on the new things is also kind of problematic. I'll also say there's a lot of solutions out there that we can embrace if we choose to find them.

There are a number of cryptocurrencies that don't use proof of work, right? They use other methods, proof of authority and so on and so forth to come to consensus and to have that model. Certainly we're seeing that with other blockchain stuff, Hyperledger and so on, these technologies. At any rate I mean, I think definitions are hard to even get right, get a real handle on. But if companies are serious about it, they can look at what they do. I do think it's going to take putting aside short-term motives and potentially putting aside the profit motive, which is obviously going to be very contentious to put it mildly.

Chris Primesberger: Board members of companies won't like that, but yeah, you're right.

Sean O'Brien: Well, there's an obligation, right? Literally there's an obligation so it's a problem with the structure in some ways.

Chris Primesberger: Yeah. Well that goes to the title of this discussion, corporate responsibility. Companies have to be responsible in a big way and with a big picture in mind. It's difficult to do when you're working day to day and you've got customers and et cetera. Maribel.

Maribel Lopez: Hey, I just had to jump in because, this is something that I think is a pet peeve, right? So everybody's around waving the sustainability, corporate responsibility flag, it's all about the corporation and this stuff costs money, right? This stuff costs change yet nobody seems to be... I shouldn't say nobody. I would say that if you look on balance, very few people are willing to spend more for anything. So if you really want this to happen, you gotta put your money where your mouth is and say, "Okay, this is going to cost people money. If it's going to cost people money then that's got to flow down."

It's the same thing with onshore manufacturing. It's great, you want manufacturing in the US but you only want to pay 3 cents for something. So what is the beef there? So, sorry to jump in and be very adamant about this but this is a real serious issue that I think needs to be addressed. From the corporate responsibility standpoint, corporations need to stand up and start telling people, "Fine. We are willing to do this. We understand this is important, but you got to be in it with us." That dialogue is fundamentally not happening anywhere.

Chris Primesberger: And where does the leadership come from to talk to these companies and remind them and pound this message across? Is this something the government can do or should do?

Neil Raden: This is a case where the grasshopper exceeds the master. My son is a senior vice president of a very large international financial organization and his charge is to change their portfolio to only support companies that are supporting sustainability. Now, I don't know how this is going to work out, right? But he's gung ho about it. I mean, he's got degrees in environmental science and this has been extinct for 15, 20 years or something. But I do think that it requires extra governmental assistance. I think governments can do something about it, but at a certain level, you just have to change the hearts and minds of people to find this as important as opposed to the other factors.

Chris Primesberger: Yeah, Tom, you were going to say? And Neil, you're right. I think it just takes some time. It just takes time and maybe a generation or whatever. I hate to say it, but these things don't happen quickly. Right, Tom?

Tom Fox: Right, Chris. And we're coming up on the second anniversary of the statement on the purpose of the corporation by the business roundtable where 187 Fortune 500 companies signed onto a statement saying that we're going to go beyond simply stakeholders or shareholders as our only stakeholders, and that's the five stakeholders I've talked about.

And part of that is having a dialogue with your customer base that yes, we're going to have corporate social responsibility. Yes, we're going to have ESG, but that's going to cost you more. And we're going to source in the United States, but that's going to cost you more. So it's all a part of having the dialogue, and I think the business leadership has recognized that they're going to have to change that dialogue going forward as well.

Maribel Lopez: See, this is exactly what I was saying, Tom. This is exactly it, right? It's like we're seeing the grassroots from the ground up. People demand that companies do certain things. From the top down, we're starting to see management make those decisions. But then weighing on the other side, you're going to have Wall Street or somebody come in and cut the knees out from underneath you when you don't have the right profit numbers. So we have to find a way to describe to people that this is what it's going to cost, and it's not just we're going to do it and there's going to be a new margin.

And people think that's callous, but the reality of it is if there's no margin, there's no business. If there's no business, there's no employment. If there's no employment, there's nobody to buy any of these things to begin with, right? We have to remind people how the cycle works and how to make it work well. And you mentioned the government thing, I just have to throw it out there. I think that the government can be very well-intentioned, but I think if the government's the answer, then we're a long way from getting anything done.

Chris Primesberger: No, government's not the answer, but it does have power, it does have influence and it can exert leadership at times. I've seen it happen, not too often. Okay, let's move on. Kind of along the same lines, this is a question that's near and dear to me as an information content type person. Are sustainable policies possible to institute, regulate and enforce such as they can be enforced at this time with uncontrolled disinformation running rampant throughout our society? Who would like to tackle that one? If we don't have the right information all altogether, yeah.

Neil Raden: That was my question so I'll do it briefly. If you appease news that's deliberately wrong and broadcast it, that's not disinformation. Disinformation is a much wider process where advertisers pay for clicks and the platforms generate all this nonsense and then they do digital phenotyping and they direct that information to the right parties. So I think the answer is maybe no, but it sure doesn't help to have all that stuff coming out at people to you create confusion and just relief. And regulation, you can't regulate the news because that's a first amendment issue, but I do believe you can regulate the distribution and phenotyping the way companies like Facebook do it 2.7 billion people a day.

Chris Primesberger: So if we have bad information out there, is that going to help us with getting our act together on sustainability or what?

Sean O'Brien: I mean, I think there's just a crisis in general with understanding and reviewing information. So the promise of the internet in the late 20th century and the early 21st century was that we'd have all of this information available to us at our fingertips, and certainly we still do, but we definitely did back then, right? And then we saw in the last 10 years or so, social media specifically, but also some other mechanisms have consolidated that info, right?

There's a lot more intermediaries that are considered vital to the social experience, but more so nowadays the business experience as well, right? You've got to be on YouTube, you've got to be on Twitter, you've got to be on LinkedIn, you've got to be on Facebook, unfortunately, right? And folks are getting information served to them that's been sort of gamed, right? A lot of that has to do, in my opinion, with the underlying profit model of these companies which relies upon advertising data and certainly surveillance and building ad profiles and all of that. And also the mechanisms for manipulating what people see, right?

So my timeline, when I log into one of these sites, or even just go to Google News is different from what someone else will see when they go to Google News, right? And that's a problem in my opinion. I don't see that changing in the short term. I think there are ways to change it, but I do think that I'm trying to educate folks as much as possible about discerning between two pieces of information, trying to think critically about what they read, try and just take a step away from the keyboard, come back certainly before they contribute to that conversation because often, it's so easy to retweet something right.

So there's a process that has to happen there, but one of the things that worries me very much is that much of the conversation is about locking down the information system even more, and I think that's going to be a much worse world, not a better one.

Chris Primesberger: Yeah. My problem is too, everybody's a publisher, not everybody should be a publisher. It's okay to be on a network, but man, when you publish something, it could be anywhere and it stays out there forever. Also my other point I was thinking of too, Sean, when you were talking is that companies and people make money, they monetize this information, don't they? And somehow this can be regulated, which I don't think it can be. We can't get the facts straight for green tech or sustainability or the environment or anything else. I think this impacts it all tremendously, I think. Anybody else?

Maribel Lopez: Well, yes, but I guess I want to go back to Sean's point. I'm really very concerned about the clamping down on speech. Now I understand part of the issue we have is a whole dialogue of which outlets are part of the freedom of speech zone. There's a huge debate about that right now, and this might not be for this coming generation, but I do believe we've got to get back to critical thought and critical reasoning and we've moved very much towards group thought acceptance of things and now we've got to get back to reading it. Does it make sense? Is it documented?

Before you decide that it is the thing and that it is right, I think we need to do more. And I think that's the same for environmental policy, is deciding what one needs to do or should be doing. We should be critical, like does this make sense? Does it create some other environmental problem because we did this instead of that, right? So I think in reality, we need the return to people being deeply investigated. And I'm not sure if that's going to happen anytime soon, but that is the way I prefer to push it than the, "Oh, let's clamp down on everything because that may or may not be right, we may or may not like that opinion." I mean, it's a real challenge right now.

Tom Fox: Chris, I would point you to financial reporting standards which have a regulatory framework, but they also have a framework based upon industry groups that have come together, and that same type of partnership of a government regulatory framework with a private partnership and setting the standards I think could be used for ESG, for sustainability and a wide variety of other areas. 

AI will not only help corporations have broader access to data, but also help the auditors and the regulators take a broader look at trends across not only a company but an industry as well. 

I think we can put a framework in place around sustainability. We're not there yet, but I think we're working towards that.

Maribel Lopez: On a positive note, one of the things I think is really amazing right now is that a lot of countries do have access to information and we shouldn't take it for granted that not everybody gets the right to publish and not everybody gets the right to consume. We are still in that space in the world where we don't even have the quality of information. So at least we've got that going for us and I think we can move forward from there.

Chris Primesberger: Okay. Let's move on to a new question here. We've been talking about sustainability quite a bit, let's talk about innovation here in conjunction with sustainability. As we know, like most of society stratified, we've got a small percentage of people who are extremely wealthy and comfortable and a large percentage of people who are not. The same thing in the business world, we've got huge tech companies that are making incredible amounts of money, I guess Facebook is getting close to $2 trillion. I mean not Facebook, Apple and Facebook both, I guess maybe.

But these have more advantages or they have lessons in terms of being able to obtain capital and intellectual property. This gives them an inside track to innovate new products and services into new markets and make even more money than they already have. This is wrecking the business world globally. What are some steps that technology leaders can take here this year in the middle of 2021 to help close this innovation deficit or is it even possible?

Maribel Lopez: Well, I don't know if I agree with the premise. I guess what I would say is I spent a lot of time in Silicon Valley and yeah, the people with money have more money and they buy the people with innovation, this is true. But there are definitely people that are being funded to create innovation. So I don't actually necessarily think that the problem is so much with just the big companies, I think it's about diversifying the funding. I don't mean that in any particular race, gender, what have you.

I think that COVID actually started this path where people started to think more broadly about where talent could live? Where could we start to create pockets of innovation? Certain geographies are actually doing their best to try to make very favorable programs for that. I think actually that's the bigger issue than whether or not Facebook or Apple has a lot of money. 

If we want innovation everywhere then people that fund innovation have to fund innovation everywhere.

Sean O'Brien: This is the nature of the technology we use now. So I think that the core of the question is whether or not big tech or some of these bigger companies are anti-competitive perhaps in acquisitions. But the thing that I think is really important to emphasize, I work with people who I mentor startups through a program at Yale that's wonderful. I think if you're a young kid or a bunch of young kids, or in a non-traditional setting as Maribel says, in someplace that isn't Silicon Valley and so on and so forth, you have to be brave and you have to decide that your exit isn't being acquired, right?

And maybe that does happen, right? But if you decide that you're doing something because you're interested in it and you really are trying to innovate and really trying to do something amazing and solve a real problem, I think that goes a long way. I do have some worries that the model that we look at, especially with some of the unicorn investing and all that stuff is, okay, get as quickly as possible the proof of concept, be swallowed up, make tons of money and then cash out and move onto something else. And if that's what people calling themselves entrepreneurs and innovators are doing, I think they need to take a very hard look in the mirror and hopefully really try to solve real-world problems.

Neil Raden: I think if you look carefully at some of these big companies, you'll find that the small IP kind of companies they gobbled up for maybe not peanuts, but walnuts, they turned out to be very profitable lines of business because they do have the capital to grow them. On the other hand, a lot of times they turn out to be dogs so I think it's a risky business for them too. But is it different in the United States than it is in the rest of the world?

Maribel Lopez: I've actually been looking at how AI started being funded around the world and it is interesting that AI startups being funded around the world, they do tend to have similar pockets of innovation concept. What I think is interesting is does technology go all the way? Are we fully in a global economy around that? And I don't think we are. So that'll be interesting to see as part of the information we start to get more of, well, I can source my AI technology from Africa or France or wherever.

Neil Raden: Well, I've dealt with a ton of companies, small companies in Israel, and they seem to defy that and they just keep going. They don't get acquired, once in a while they do, but they come up with some amazing technology and then they just keep growing. Maybe there's something wrong with the way we do it here.

Maribel Lopez: I actually agree with the point that was made earlier about creating a sustainable company that's meant to go to profit as opposed to a company that is just meant to be a feature that is acquired by a larger company. And those are different models. And I think it a different investment team. And where I've seen that investment team work is where you have angel investors that believe in the mission and the vision. They're like, "Yeah, that makes sense. That'll solve the problem. We're willing to wait the time it takes for you to grow in scale. We're willing to help you create the right management structure around that."

I mean, these things are actually very nuanced, right? You have a great idea, you can have great engineering, but it takes a long way to get from that to a full on production company that lasts years.

Chris Primesberger

If you build a company with the pillar that includes sustainability and responsibility that we're talking about, then you're off to the right start and that can be a great example to others too. 

This leads into a question I have about the Open Source Community. Having worked for the open source tech network earlier as editor of linux.com, I've been really involved in the open source community for years, and I have a great deal of respect for what it does. In fact, I don't think we would have the world today the way we know it without open source software. How does the open source community feed into this sustainability and innovation picture that we're talking about? How important is it?

Sean O'Brien: Sure. So free and open source software undergirds pretty much everything we do, right? Even technologies that are proprietary now are using some sort of open source e-development model internally and often are using a large part of the tech technological stack is actually under a free and open source license. It removes friction, it allows worldwide contribution correctly sort of harness, the energy is incredible for one of these projects, right? Or for taking many open source projects and combining them into a product and maybe putting some polish on them and releasing your own source, right.

I do think that there is a cost to that, just like all these other conversations about sustainability in that you have to look after your open source community, right? You have to look after your drive by contributions from community members around the club. You have to be very careful about security, and we've certainly seen that recently in many different cases. You have to be very careful about other aspects which may not be so clear and which are not directly tied to the licensing such as the privacy concerns which is something I'm deeply vested in. I'm very much sold on it. I'm using a GNU/Linux machine right now and it runs really well. And I would have never believed 10 years ago that it would run this well. So it's pretty incredible stuff. Yeah.

Neil Raden: I have an open source company that's really my favorite, it's called John Snow Labs. Now John Snow Labs is an NLP company and their commercial business is mostly oncology and life sciences, but they also are the authors of the Spark NLP software. About 80 people in the company, and one day David Talby who's the founder said to me, "Our community edition is free, and operates in 325 languages." 

I said, "Why would you go to the trouble of training models for a language that is spoken by fewer than 5,000 people?" He said, "Well if you're building applications for B2C and you're about 80%, right, that's pretty good. But when you're doing oncology, every single person counts and it doesn't matter if they're at Cedar Sinai or in a tent in Burkina Faso." Now that is an attitude that I really, really, really admire, and that says a lot about him.

Chris Primesberger: Talk about granular, wow. I was going to say the NLP was there just to interpret medical language in handwriting or what? No, I guess not. It's different languages, that's pretty amazing.

Maribel Lopez: My one comment on open sources is I've been really excited to see how open source is helping people move to cloud, open source is providing AI tools in the cloud. As a result of that, I think for lack of a better term, we're democratizing the access to technology that people need to build innovation and to build sustainability. I think it's fabulous and it's wonderful that there are communities where people build upon these open source innovations and I think that this is the wave of the future. It's been going on for a long time, and I think it's only going to deepen.

Chris Primesberger: Yeah, it's called crowdsourcing in a way, sort of in a way. We've got about four minutes left so we got to wrap it up here, but I've got two questions so if we can get through one, I'll be happy, if we can get through both, I'll be double happy. Well, the first one is focusing automation on the process of innovation. Is this realistic for a mid range or a smaller company to do in the course of its regular business or what? What's your take on that?

Maybe a company doesn't need auto to automate a process or something, but as we mentioned earlier, this removes friction, it makes things generally more usable and efficient, but I guess that's maybe too big a question to be talking about right now. We can take a few minutes to answer that. Let's go to the last one here. How can we plan a sustainable internet when China and Russia and their dependents are pushing for internet sovereignty? You know what, that could be 45 minutes on its own, but let's see if we can edit it down to a couple.

Tom Fox: I think everyone on this panel is a baby boomer. I'm a baby boomer. We won the Cold War because we had a better model. We had a better democratic model and we had a better business model. And I think those same tenants would hold true in this new competition with both Russia and China. If we can show transparency and we can show openness and we can show innovation and we can show sustainability, I think the rest of the world will see that as a positive.

Maribel Lopez: Not a baby boomer, but thanks for including me in the. What I would say is that open and free also have security, so it'll be interesting. There's some interesting challenges around making sure that we can secure and protect data. So that seems to be a gateway for us to get to the rest of it.

Neil Raden: Well, what we need is an intelligent and sustainable internet worldwide and China is working very hard. The way they're doing this, by the way is instead of making these kinds of decisions based on... I forget what they call it. Since world war two, the rules-based community, blah, blah, blah, and they've gone straight to the UN where the United States has been sleeping and Russia and China have been gradually chipping away at this.

Neil Raden: I call it the opposite of the Roach Motel, data gets out but it can't get in, and I think they have a chance of breaking the internet. They could take over the ICANN, and all of our DNSs would go down. So I think it's very serious, It's not just a thing.

Sean O'Brien: I just would say quickly, before we worry about foreign adversaries and that kind of thing, companies need to look internally and take security seriously. What we see consistently is that people are more and more worried each year in all kinds of surveys and all kinds of data we have about it, and yet the investment still stays the same, which is very small. We need to start at home, so to speak and then worry about that. There's enough "script kiddies" who can just do phishing schemes which is still the number one way that data is getting out of these businesses. So we don't have to necessarily worry as much about cyber war if we can't even keep our front door locked, so to speak.

Tom Fox: I would just say, to make it an even more finer point, we won the Cold War when I saw pictures of Russian teenagers wearing blue jeans listening to rock and roll. And if we can have that kind of transparency with the internet, I think we can have a winning economic model.

Chris Primesberger: Excellent way to end it. Thank you all very much for your time today and your professional perspectives, Maribel, Tom, Sean, and Neil, this has been a lot of fun. I've learned as much as anybody as a reporter, I'm taking notes here. So thank you all very much for joining us today and really, really appreciate your perspectives and your takes on everything.

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