Those sweet technology expressions and buzzwords

Jean Claude Elias
Jean-Claude Elias is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years. (Photo: Jordan News)
As it has been the case from the very beginning, the IT jargon keeps getting richer and richer all the time, with new terms and expressions added almost weekly. اضافة اعلان

Keeping up with the trend is not easy. Searching the web or perusing Wikipedia articles does not always provide the simple, uncomplicated explanation that the layperson is looking for, or expecting. Some terms are harder to comprehend than others, often because they are very new and inherently complex, whereas others are easier.

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For example, the expression artificial intelligence (AI) has become part of the vocabulary that everybody must have acquired and memorized at this point in time, to be able to participate in any discussion about information technology, or to read and understand data pertaining to the subject. “Everybody” means even those who are not particularly tech minded.

With the concept that was introduced theoretically to the wide public in the early 1980s, AI-based techniques and algorithms are now very real and are included and put to good use in an increasing number of applications that we depend on every day, from online banking to online shopping, messaging, advanced gaming and weather forecast.

They significantly contribute to making software more efficient, more “intelligent” in a way, as the expression implies. The practical result, for us, users, is software and devices that are easier to use and that offer more functionality, more power in the end.

Much newer, and perhaps more difficult to grasp, are the generative adversarial networks (GAN). Admitted, the sound of the sophisticated expression alone is guaranteed to make you the center of attraction, the focus of the discussion, if you happen to say it out loud at a casual evening gathering with friends.

Seeking the assistance of Wikipedia, the first source that comes to mind, will not really help here, for the otherwise well-written article itself is full of sweet things like “neural networks” and “interpretable machine learning”. It is essentially penned for IT professionals.

GANs are methods that use AI, interacting with advanced types of networks, to “learn” how human processes operate through a large number of repetitions (the very essence of learning methods of all kinds), so as to be able in the end to mimic human action and generate results that a person would be able to come up with.

For instance, a GAN system could analyze a very large number of actual photographs, portraits for example, learn from them, and then create a very realistic photograph of a person that does not really exist. It would be a virtual portrait, practically impossible to tell that it was digitally created and not real.

Other applications consist of digitally reading a text like a poem, and then composing the music that would go with it nicely, taking into consideration the meaning of the lyrics, the rhythm of the words used, the context, the style, etc.

So, in a nutshell, and to put it again in layman’s terms, GANs are advanced programming methods that tap on a combination of advanced networking and AI to generate results that were thought possible to obtain only by humans so far.

Distributed cloud (DC) is another buzzword. Whereas Cloud goes without saying these days, DC refers to cloud services that are not in one single geographic location, but in several. Therefore, the data you may have saved through the cloud service, or the cloud application you are using, will be “distributed” or scattered over more than one server, anywhere in the world.

For the users, this is transparent, as they have nothing specific to do but to use the service. The distribution is done by the provider, to optimize the service, for increased safety and security, and/or to leverage the specific expertise of each location. The result, simply, is better and more efficient service.

It is difficult not to mention voice-as-user interface (VUI) in this story, another IT expression that is hard to ignore, especially in mobile applications.

According to, “20 percent of mobile queries are currently performed by voice search while 72 percent of people claim it has become a part of their daily routines”.

Improvement in voice recognition technology is a solid fact and has brought us Amazon Alexa, Siri, Bixby and Google Assistant. Whether at work or at home, we tend to use voice instead of keyboard and mouse to interface with technology. Voice has become the preferred interface in countless applications and in most cases.

One thing is certain: with time, the IT-specific glossary is bound to grow without a limit. We just have to keep with its growth.

This writer is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years.

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