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Productivity, Technology and AntiVirus Industry

Sung Yang
October 1996

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keywords: productivity, technology, antivirus industry, equilibrium, knowledge


The technological equilibrium in antivirus industry will be ended by the appearance of superior antivirus technologies. The end of technological equilibrium will be a crisis and an opportunity. Scientifically managed process of brain works will bring a productivity revolution among knowledge workers, which economists have failed to identify, and will transform this world into a new world, as Taylor's scientific management in making and moving things did. Scientific management of brain works and scientific management in making and moving things have in common: process, which is a form of knowledge. Superior technologies and successful application of scientific management of brain works will divide antivirus industry into survivors and losers.

Any feedback is very much appreciated, please contact author. This may freely be copied and distributed without any modification for non-commercial use.


In a class, super memory skills are being taught to students. In few days, students learn the skill to memorize 100 discrete words instantly, and the class extends to enhanced skill to memorize up to 1,000 discrete words. Ordinary people who don't know the super memory skill are impossible to memorize 1,000 words, even 30 words in a short time. A number of days of training with the method works like a miracle. The class also teaches the memory method for whole sentences, unknown words, numbers, pictures, etc. In fact, the magical astonishing skills are a process of brain works. The skill takes steps of; establishing figures of a number of objects in mental screen; visualizing words to remember; and associating the visualized image of words to the image of objects. Each object may be associated with up to three words. The use of the series of mental works empower us to memorize astonishingly many more words than use of the series of our untrained mental works.

Another example of brain works is: mental arithmetic. Ordinary people or talented persons would not be able to compute long digit number (whether, addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) faster than one who uses electronic calculator for competing. However, trained persons by a skill can do better with months or years of training. The skill (the process of brain works) comprising: drawing abacus in their mental screen, and move beads on the wires of the abacus accordingly for each calculation of numbers. This is a simple skill that can be taught to every one to improve productivity of knowledge workers who need mental arithmetic, if there is a need of such skill, just Frederic W. Taylor did with his scientific management in moving and making things. Taylor is known to begin his management study in shoveling of sand by asking 'How is it done? '

Yet another example of brain work is the mind control, devised by Dr. Silvar, a psychologist. His skills for brain works give relaxation and supernatural experience. The skill basically takes steps of: counting numbers; and visualizing particular images on mental screen for self-control.

Karl Marx believed that workers' output is increased only by working longer and harder. Today economists, are much like Karl Marx, believe the productivity of knowledge workers are subject to motivation, and ability of individual workers and management of organizations, don't ask 'how is it done?' but 'what is the task?', and don't believe the coming productivity revolution among knowledge workers by applying scientific management to brain (mental) works, Taylor's method like.

It is a well known story about the productivity during world war II, Hitler thought that U S would take least five years to train optical craftsmen that the battle between Germany and U S necessarily requires, and U S didn't have many optical craftsmen in 1941. Just in few months, unskilled workers in U S were trained by applying Taylor's scientific management, and turned into ship-builders and more advanced optics than German craftsmen. The productivity in the entire industries is believed to have increased about 50 times in overall productivity and improved quality of living and shorten work hours while earn more (most workers worked 3,000 hours annual before 20th century, now workers spend less than 2,000 hours per year).

If our brains can be trained by a well managed process of brain works, so we can calculate about 10 to 100 (there is no precise figure) times faster and can memorize much more than untrained people who don't use well devised process of brain works, then why can not improve other brain works beyond the fast calculation and super memory, for analyzing, synthesizing, comparing, generating idea, etc. Each work can be further subdivided. Knowledge workers may be trained for efficient way of identifying, computing, moving and dividing information inside their brain than moving and making things.

The scientific management that was applied to shoveling sand by Taylor is a process, a form of knowledge. Equally, the scientifically managed process of brain works can be applied to brain works. A well devised process of brain works for calculation can turn ordinary people into super calculating beings. A better process of brain works for super memory turns ordinary people into incredible memory. The process of brain works can be studied and is applicable to brain works as Taylor had succeeded and had enormously changed our world. There is a common between the innovative way of shoveling sand, devised by Taylor, and the super memory skills, i.e., the process, a form of knowledge.

Taylor's scientific-management-like can be applicable to knowledge workers, programmers, scientists, clerks and service workers, and it will eventually bring tremendous increase of productivity. When the scientific management can be applied to programmers that computer programmers may be able to produce more than 10 or 100 times of code each day for the same project today's programmers do (productivity increase due to use of advanced software development tools are not taken into account). Scientific management of brain works would be just as incredible as what it has done in making and moving things. In the past the productivity revolution in moving and making that lifted social status of blue collar workers and power to unions, and the productivity revolution contributed successful wealth creations throughout the world. When the productivity revolution occur among knowledge workers, researchers, programmers, and consultants, journalists, etc, our society will experience another tremendous change. Arising of super class, knowledge workers.

The scientific management of brain works will ignite a productivity revolution and spread like a virus. It would happen in private sector, much like the productivity revolution had happened in making and moving things, especially computer industry, may be in software industry where knowledge workers are concentrated. Scientific management of brain works can bring enormous result through productivity payoff, higher achievement with less. We know the powerful impact of productivity payoff. If a company can study the process of brain works of programmers do routinely, discover better way of doing it and practice the process, then the company will have enormous advantage over competitors, who is behind in scientific management of brain works.

Economists failed to foresee the possibility of increasing productivity by scientifically managed process of muscle work but by a man, Taylor, who had begun his career at a iron factory. Today economists still failed to recognize the possible productivity revolution by scientifically managed process of brain works. Knowledge may exist in both forms in substance and process. The scientifically managed process is a form of knowledge. The another productivity revolution is coming by scientific management of process of brain works, will transform our world into new world. The transformation would be the greatest, ever happened.

The scientific management of process of brain works may have to go thru the same obstruction that workers and intellectuals had resisted Taylor's study, scientific management in making and moving things. The unbalanced educational systems that emphasis on knowledge as substance but insufficiently address brain works, analysis, synthesis, creation, comparison, etc. Emphasis only on knowledge as substance and ignoring knowledge as a process, which is another a form of knowledge.

Process of brain works should be studied, improved and trained as much importantly as knowledge as substance. However, it's doubtful that most processes of brain works are not understood and unknown. Similarly, skills of craftsmen were mystique, and it had been unthinkable that the mystique skills of craftsmen can be analyzed, enhanced and trained in short period of time.


The printing technology in 15th century that had contributed to ignite Renaissance, James Watt's steam engine in 18th century that drove the industrial revolution and led to capitalism, and microprocessor in 20th century, which is believed to be the driving force to the new economy and knowledge society. Our world got complicated and requires more knowledge. The revolutionary technology of the past, the printing technology, that caused enormous impact to the society in 400 years ago is mere simple idea in today and it will not bring huge impact again. A philosopher in hundreds years ago could argue about any subject of knowledge, mathematics, science, art, etc, however, no one today could ever understand deep and argue beyond specialized fields. Simply it became impossible that one can not keep up with all the knowledge. It will happen in Antivirus technologies too. Consequences of growing complexity, scientists and engineers in antivirus will not be able to keep up all the research results, and antivirus programmers won't be able to understand all the sophisticated technologies and will make antivirus programs without understanding technologies embedded and theories upon which the technologies are based.

We don't need a scientific theory for inventing and run steam engine, but, we need scientific theories for sending missions to the Moon and Mars. We need theories to develop sophisticated and more advanced weapons than enemies, e.g., to fight against terrorists for peace or whatever reasons might be. A navigation system based on satellites that is devised without the novel idea of the general theory of relativity, which tells both space and time are dynamic quantities (the speed of clock in two different heights differs), won't be accurate. Without theories, one still can make virus scanner, just like what John McAfee did and made his fortune, or similarly, Gates made basic interpreter, DOS, etc. However, we would never be able turn the existing virus scanners, built based on observations without deep understanding of the nature and theories, into a super intelligent virus scanner.

Currently and primarily the means of antivirus is: collecting sample of virus; extracting signatures; updating signature database; and distribute. This means require frequent upgrade and will require far higher frequency in upgrade due to growing unknown kinds of viruses. A new attempt is to automate the process from collecting samples to upgrading. The new attempt can accelerate the speed of upgrade if implemented successfully, and moreover it could lower cost of doing it.

In future, there will be more number of technologies that are far advanced than technologies today, baiting, heuristic scanning, automatic signature extracting, etc. The future trend of antivirus or immune system will be less frequent upgrade from today's high frequent upgrade though vigorous challenges from virus technologies. One or more breakthrough in virus research will lead antivirus higher quality and more sophisticated. The automation approach is not coincide with the future trend or future technological needs. What the automation is currently trying to do is to automate conventional process of catching viruses, extracting viralsignature and upgrading database of detection system. It will accelerate frequency of upgrade in an automated manner. Where the real problem is not in the frequency but in technology of detection system itself. Thus, the automation approach is 'automation of process' than improving technology of antivirus or immune system. It's like replacing workers in transistor manufacturing plants with machines to speed up production of transistors while the industry demands more sophisticated technology, e.g., Integrated Circuit, than transistors. Innovative technologies will allow frequent upgrade whether in manner of automatic or manual unnecessary.

Innovation of antivirus technology could come from existing theories and technologies that are applied to antivirus. The Watt's steam engine, surprisingly, was only used for pumping water out of a mine for a decade. Then, the steam engine was also used for the ship but it wasn't apply to the train for another decade. We may already know how to deal with computer viruses. Is NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) (body) scanner technology applicable to virus scanner? Is human immune system applicable to computer immune system? Is the general theory of relativity or the Doppler's discovery inspirable or applicable to antivirus research? Or is antivirus technology seriously lacked so need a mathematical foundation like the binary systems (by mathematician Gottfried Leibniz ) for birth of computers? We have far more questions than answers.

The breakthrough of the technology would be more like penicillin, which is the result of understanding of bacteria and chemical living environment of them, than an AIDS drug of future, which would be result of understanding of biological, especially human, immune system, HIV, and interaction between them. Unlike, human body, computer systems are fully understood, and there is no such a complex immune system in current computer system. Scientists will eventually build an immune system on a computer but will spend more time to understand on viruses than computers and computer immune systems.


Will a revolutionary discovery be made in antivirus industry, like transistors and integrated circuit in electronics? or Does antivirus industry need a breakthrough? Antivirus industry wouldn't need because the existing technologies are somewhat OK, as long as no antivirus firms has a breakthrough but all same in technological advancement; while the technological equilibrium in antivirus industry is sustained. Somewhat antivirus industry is currently in equilibrium technologically. No one is far superior over others. What if one comes up with a technological breakthrough and try to establish superiority? What had happened when Alexander Graham Bell offered superior technology over Morse's over hundred years ago? Morse who made enormous fortune based on his novel and innovative communication technology was completely beaten by Bell.

Antivirus firms are having pressure under the circumstances under which require more research in needs of enhancing the existing product while antivirus market is relatively small enough to afford comprehensive R&D yet. Currently, antivirus industry rely upon the first age technology ( we may be in steam engine period), which is waiting to be replaced. The technological equilibrium is very fragile, will be ended by an innovative new discovery or a superior technology sooner or later.

Then who would break the equilibrium and become a major player or a technological niche player? One who breaks the equilibrium and the one who becomes major players are not necessarily the same because the nature of business. Mismanagement of business will easily lead to failure with a superior technology. And business takes more than technology, however, for one who breaks the equilibrium can become the major player, the matter is the primarily quality than quantity, quantity means size of company, the existing sales volume, market share, etc. A breakthrough will lead an antivirus firm allow to produce superior quality product over competitors and be able to supply for over 100 millions of users worldwide. The success doesn't take much capital needed Bell to beat Morse, however, the superiority of technology is equally the matter in both cases.

Another story scenario is that more than one antivirus firms take advantage of breakthrough so the equilibrium is broken by more than one antivirus industrial players at the similar time.

After breaking down of equilibrium, antivirus firms who can't find technological niche will not outlive anymore. It means that antivirus firms will offer the only unique products based on their expertise that competitor don't have or can't match. The antivirus technological field may be divided into two: one that has a quick response in virus detection but compromises a thorough detection and the other that has thorough detection ability but has a longer response time. The former type of technology is used for most situations, the every day computing on the desktops and servers, that require immediate response in virus detection. The latter type will be used for the case where the highest level of security is desired and the security is more important than immediate response. One general technology would not able to serve the two special functions: the immediate response in virus detection and the thorough detection (, which is also better than any other human experts in virus detection). The latter technology would require cutting-edge research and development and may require higher R&D budget. One company may not be able to keep frontier in both technological fields, but one or the other, due to the growing complexity of technology, fierce competition, trend toward the specialization of the technology, and demand on high performance antivirus products, which are only possible with superior technology. So an antivirus firm would not be able to lead and cover all antivirus technological fields.

In tomorrow, we may not prefer the term 'antivirus' but may prefer 'immune system', which comprises detection system, reaction system, self-integrity maintenance system in basic structure. The antivirus or immune system will be likely to be part of every operating systems. Would a giant like Microsoft be a threat to antivirus industry? And initiate a fierce battle, just like we have seen, the battle with Netscape. Giant like Microsoft will know how difficult to battle in the field where technological advancement has gone too far. Microsoft will seek cooperation than confrontation, however, operating system leaders, without cooperation, can comprise its own and an effective antivirus technology, which is relatively old compare to the ones owned by leading antivirus firms, into their operating systems.

Antivirus could be the future business than today, where, many or most of them unprofessionally written, viruses mere infect programs that can be restorable. Computer program can seemingly control every working machines due to convenience and efficiency and more. Large modern buildings, aviation systems, communications, banking systems, defense systems, even some passenger cars, etc. It would be impossible to think about all these without computer programs. Some or most of these individual entities are being tied together by computer networks, and rest of them would join. The future of companies would hire sales persons who had implanted one chip computer on the body connected to his brain or willing to implant, just like today sales personnel carries notebook computers. The sales persons will get all information and missions thru the implanted one chip computer, and company will be able to receive and see what their sales persons see and talk, even at the same time thru the company computer wirelessly connected to the implanted computer in sales person. (it may sound like Scientific Fiction. A research project initiated to research into the body implantable computers.) The implantable computer could instantly provide all the information available worldwide without typing keyboard and looking at monitor, interacts with signals from brain. It's possible that viruses of future are able to control more machines and a, controlling sales persons by sending wrong information, or even kill patients whose heart is monitored and controlled by the implanted onechip computer. Viruses will be nastier beyond what we've seen today, and will cause antivirus market will expanded.

For management, productivity is one of the prime concern. Productivity of the white collars is consider almost same as hundred year ago while the blue collar workers' productivity had undergone revolution and continues to increase. Organizational change must to adapt fast changing economy and market, and to stimulate creativity and productivity of organizations. There is a crucial thing forgotten today is that the possibility of knowledge worker's productivity revolution by applying Taylor's method-like.

Organization must newly create mechanism of organization that is able to turn new resource into energy, because organizations are/will be required to use new resources as primary resource. As knowledge capital (primary resource) is becoming more important, organization should adapt the change; from an organization that turns capital into energy to an organization that turns knowledge into energy. Productivity of an organization that turns capital into energy may be comparable to engines of vehicles. One engine would produce 100 horse power while another engine would produce 500 horse power at the same time and with same amount of gasoline. So higher output with less is ideal. By contrast, the organization that turns knowledge into energy is comparable to the solar electricity generator that turns sunlight into electricity. Output is the matter while the input isn't necessarily less but can take as much as possible.

Productivity is lessened by the reward system in organizations. A crucial fact, with which business can not ignore, is that workers are not equal in performance. It tells that reward should be based on contribution thru performance, i.e., achievement of goals and result of quality, than quantity, i.e., time taken to do by workers. Criteria for rewarding could encourage and discourage workers. The amount of time a worker spends in his company is not necessarily performance but contribution of the worker's time. In reality, any organizations, especially profitable organization, can't justify its existence when the failed to produce wealth or value. An organization rewards those workers who work longer will gain quantity as a result. But an organization rewards those workers who achieve goals and contribute thru performance will gain productivity.

Another factor that lessens the productivity of organization is the gap between interests of companies and their workers. Strikes, are common in many large manufacturing and some service industries, in which unions oppose outsourcing that are needed for efficiency to maintain competitiveness of companies. The issue of union is also not surprising. Outsourcing for cutting cost and flexibility of operation that will lead companies more competitive and profitable. This, however, is what unions oppose. The interest of the companies, which the member of unions work for, and interests of workers are different, not surprisingly. The interest of unions lie in their wage and obtaining power than well being of companies, for which they work. Knowledge workplace doesn't seem to be much different, e.g., the longer and/or even slow you work, the earn more money, whereas companies in most situations need job done as soon as possible, especially in new economy. For better productivity of organizations, the interests of organizations and workers should same or almost coincide. However, the reward system is largely responsible for the widen gap of interests between two parties and the behavior of unions (or workers). Interests, inflation, revenue of companies, dividend of shares, and price of stocks up and down, except the wages of the workers.

'Do more with less' has become a goal in throughout private and government sectors. It's used to re-organize organizations. It means that produce more quantity with less capital and its expenses. In fact, it is and will be odd motto that signifies capital and quantity while quantity isn't matter but quality, and capital is less important asset than knowledge capital. The quantitative motto 'Do more with less', in fact, is quite fit to textile, steel industries that had once been center of all industries. It could ruin high tech industries that must discover the new laws that they're subject to, in order to survive and succeed.

When doing a business in Canada the political and the financial factors may have to be considered. In fact, Canada has two visible big problems, Quebec and unmanageable amount of debt (The government thinks problem is deficit than debt. The truth is that someone in Canada has to pay back substantial amount of debt including increasing interests every year. What government is trying to achieve is pay the interest every year, not paying back borrowings, which will continue to generate massive amount of interest every year. This is somewhat like re-install computer programs in hard disk drive that are unable to use due to virus infection than finding and eliminating a virus, which causes problem to occur; emergency treatment than curing.) The political fact is that about a half of Quebecers want to leave Canada, and separatist Quebecers can have another referendum in a year or every few years until success while there is no way to stop. Thus, Canada is likely to be divided someday unless there a measure against the problem. Then will British Columbia, who is economically better off, rich in forests and human resource and doesn't think to have fair deal with Federal government, stay in Canada? How about Alberta? The point is that economical fluctuation will possibly hit Canada, someday for a period of time, which never suffered and experienced from any violence and major disaster. This very possible consequence should be an alarm to businesses that want to survive in the time of Canada's crisis. Businesses need strategic preparation. The possible impact due to the political instability of Canada will not suddenly hit like earthquake but hit like hurricane that comes with a warning.


Today, money itself gives less return, and could be even less in the future, unlike early and middle of 20th century where big capitalists, e.g., Morgan, Rockereller, Siemens, Mitsubish, etc, and banks can control and monopolize money. Nowadays, money is less under monopoly of financial institutions and big capitalists, even government can not much do, except up and down interests rate. Money is losing ground as resource in wealth creation, and knowledge is taking over the role. Money may be becoming a transferable and possessable quantity that indicates value of something than resource or means of production.

In the new economy, knowledge is the key resource in wealth creation than natural resources and capital. Individuals and professionals in new economy will have the means of productions, just like craftsmen had had the means of production before Industrial Revolution until capital invested machinery replaced the means of production owned by craftsmen. Individuals who can produce new knowledge, which is the key resource of industry, are considered to own the means of production can produce knowledge, which industries require to create wealth. Those individuals and professionals who own means of production in new economy will not require as much capital as needed for wealth creation during capital driven economy in which capital is the key resource in the wealth creation. Even productivity revolution among the white collar workers will allow further lessen the capital needs in wealth creation. Thus, concentration of money is unnecessary and less desired in new economy.

Internet, which is infrastructure of the new economy, will make possible tiny amount of financial transaction possible, e.g., one dollar or even 10 cent financial transaction (for trade of knowledge products, other goods and services) will be very popular in near future over Internet. It will result money liquid; money easily flows one place to another.

The future of money will be liquid than concentrated.


The equilibrium in antivirus industry is now a challenge, will be ended. The end of equilibrium will be a crisis and a chance for antivirus firms, but it will be likely a crisis than a chance for many antivirus firms, and for few firms, it's a chance to grow. Increased productivity by applying scientific management of process of brain works could allow only 100 programmers to produce as much as what entire Microsoft programmers produce today. Maintaining innovation in technology and seeking productivity, especially in scientifically managed process of brain works are key in the future of antivirus business as well as other similar businesses. Innovative technologies and successful application of scientific management of brain works will divide antivirus industry into survivors and losers.

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Unfortunately, I haven't gotten any response except an encouraging comment from Terry Newton, who I thank, since it was made available on Internet by Oct 10, 96, however, I will also thank anyone who can express opinions on this writing.

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