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C-suite talk fav tech: Ed Addario, Currencycloud

 

Name: Ed Addario

Job title: Chief Technology Officer

Company: Currencycloud

Industry: IT

Location: London, UK

Years’ of experience: Over 25 years

 

What is your favorite personal gadget?

The first answer that springs to mind is “computer”. After all, for the last three decades this gadget has, in one way or another, played an extremely influential role in my life. Upon deeper reflection however, a more accurate answer would be the “hand-held computer”. I think the untethering of ever increasing computing power and speed afforded by smartphones has had and will continue to have a profound impact on how society and human interaction shapes and evolves. Although the internet needed to happen, the smartphone is the key that unlocked McLuhan’s Global Village.

 

Do you have a favorite piece of personal software?

Yes, the one I write! In the heart of every software engineer lies the deeply rooted, and sometimes misguided, belief that one’s code solves a given problem more cleverly, elegantly or efficiently than anyone else’s. I know, of course, that’s not the case. But there’s something deeply satisfying in knowing that some of the software I have written has helped a mother buy a Christmas gift for her daughter, a business make easy, fast and transparent global payments or a hospital to provide life-saving care more efficiently.

 

What was the first piece of technology you got really excited about?

As a little boy, I was convinced that I was going to be a Doctor…that is until I discovered the personal computer. But the technology that truly blew my mind with the possibilities it offered was the internet. Today, I feel the same way about machine intelligence but not without some trepidation. While the internet was all about tearing walls down and bringing people from the four corners of the world together, artificial intelligence could conceivably usher mankind into an Orwellian nightmare. Not necessarily because machines could displace humans, but because the technology can potentially be used to anticipate and modify individuals’ behaviors in subtle ways, therefore eroding free will.

 

What device improves your life most at work?

Definitely my watch! With such a packed schedule and so many things going on, ensuring time is used efficiently becomes a matter of survival.

 

What software keeps you most productive at work?

At the risk of incurring the taunts of my team, Microsoft’s Office suite (we are a Mac/Google shop). It’s easy to use and accessible to users with any level of expertise. I particularly appreciate how simple it is to work remotely with Office 365, accessing a Virtual Private Network (VPN), has never been easier.

 

Is there any technology that has become extinct that you would like to resurrect?

I can’t think of any that I’d want to resurrect. One characteristic of technology is that when it stops being useful, it is invariably replaced by something better. Its survival of the fittest at its best.

 

Is there any technology you would personally recommend that you don’t think enough people know about? (Hardware or software, work or personal)

Not enough people know about smart lighting. Residential lighting is the second largest home utility expense after heating. Smart light bulbs install just like conventional bulbs, can be customized to each’s person likes and requirements and consume 80% less energy. They cost more than regular light bulbs but the investment is usually repaid in the first year, and they last an average of 25 to 50 times longer!

 

Do you think anything about your personal use of tech would surprise your colleagues?

As much as I’m passionate about technology (I am a CTO after all), I’m also passionate about human interaction and so will go to great lengths to avoid electronic communication like emails, favoring a good old-fashioned face to face conversation instead.

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