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Top 5 tech buzzwords to know

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There are a lot of tech terms to keep straight these days. Tom Merritt lists the top five tech buzzwords you need to know.

Buzzwords: those jargon turns of phrase that fall from everyone’s lips. Their frequency of use can make them annoying, but it’s the frequency that makes them buzzy. It’s good to know what they are and what they really mean. Here are five tech buzzwords you should know.

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  1. “-as-a-service.” The Netflix model has conquered all—just subscribe. Software-as-a-service? Of course! Security-as-a-service? Smart move. Energy-as-a-service? Housing-as-a-service? Robot-as-a-service? Hamburgers-as-a-service? All but that last one are real things.
  2. “Disruption.” I’m certain when this was first used in tech circles back in the 1990s it felt meaningful. Today, it’s a tad overused. No, you’re not “disrupting” coffee delivery by bringing me coffee—you’re just bringing me coffee, Pat.
  3. “Digital transformation.” This is a real thing which involves using tech to improve your business. However, it has started to migrate from legitimate internal use to being a touch overused on marketing copy. Using Zoom may technically be a “digital transformation” of your meetings, but it’s not the way it was originally used.
  4. “Cloud something something.” Migration? Transformation? Distributed? Cloud is used sometimes to imply a magical limitless expanse that will solve all your company’s woes. In practice, it just means your data is stored on someone else’s servers.
  5. “AI.” Short for A! I want to impress you! Sorry, no, it’s actually short for artificial intelligence. It’s a catch-all phrase frequently used to imply something is really smart and can do impressive things like: machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, GANs and all kinds of very interesting algorithmic advancements. On its own, it doesn’t mean a lot.

These buzz words all have legitimate and useful meanings and I hope we helped you see the gap between those and how they get used when they get all buzzy.

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