Rhetorical interpretation is the method of analyzing the elements of the text and assessing if those elements have an effect on the effectiveness or loss of the statement. Mostly rhetorical analyzes address written points, but visual, oral, or other kinds of “texts” may also be studied. It is used to evaluate and illustrate how the various elements of the job interact together in order to reach the point of the author. In doing so, different elements are included in the analysis: the author’s intended audience, the author’s purpose, the organization of the work and how that organization might influence the reader, the use of language, the type of appeals being used (ethos, logos, pathos), and the type(s) of evidence being offered by the author. This paper explores the rhetorical analysis of an article titled the Internet of Things. It discusses the authors attempt to appeal to the target audience by the use of various styles, tone and different forms of rhetorical appeals.
A wave of change is imminent through the rapidly spreading technological innovation called the Internet of Things (IoT). Preparation for riding this wave of change will revolve around understanding systems that are hyperconnected. This is according to an article titled “The Internet of Things: The CPA’s Role in the New World of Business”, by J. L. “John” Alarcon, CPA, CGMA, CITP, and Marc T. Staut, published on November 28th 2016 in the Pennsylvania CPA Journal. The authors argue that this technological innovation is on the verge of creating a significant disruption in a wide range of industries and seek to define IoT, give examples of its adoption trends and highlight its effects on the CPAs. The paper targets stakeholders from across the business divide (manufacturing, banking, insurance, healthcare) where automation is transforming service delivery, and CPA professionals.
The authors have used various forms of rhetorical appeals in an attempt to persuade the target audience. These appeals include: Ethos (appeal to the writer’s credibility), Pathos (appeal to emotion or to an audience’s values or beliefs), and Logos (appeal to logic). They begin by building their credibility with personal facts and reputable sources, citing convincing facts and statistics, and successfully employing emotional appeals.
Analysis of rhetorical strategies
Ethos entails an appeal to the author’s credibility. It involves establishing: the author’s purpose (to argue, explain, teach, defend, call to action, etc.), whether or not to trust the writer and the reasons for that, the writer as an authority on the subject, the credentials of the writer, whether or not the writer addresses other viewpoints and how their choice of words or tone affect audience’s view of the writer.
The authors set the stage by defining the title of the article, referencing various credible sources.
“In a recent LinkedIn post, Abhimanyu K. Agarwal, a senior managing consultant at IBM, defined IoT as a way for sensors and machines to communicate with each other by combining the capabilities of big data, analytics, and artificial intelligence to anticipate needs, solve problems, and increase efficiency.1 Related capabilities include neural networks and machine learning, which are expected to play a significant role in the development of IoT.
In his book, Cloud Enterprise Architecture, Pethuru Raj, PhD, a cloud computing expert and researcher, referred to IoT as a central part of the future of cloud computing.
In a recent ISACA Journal article, Marcelo H. Gonzalez, CISA, CRISC, refers to IoT as a world where virtually everything (objects, animals, or humans) can be imbued with one or more tiny computers or smart sensors, all transmitting a flow of data onto the Internet.”
This creates confidence in the reader by assuring them that the author is aware of their facts. Additionally, the authors also clearly outline their purpose for writing the paper in the introduction as to “discuss what IoT is, provide examples of its use in industry today, highlight some adoption trends, and show how CPAs may be affected.” This further boosts their credentials to the reader and sets the stage for the readers to trust in them.
Also, in the course of the article, the authors use strong sources that strengthen their credibility and appeal to ethos, as well as build their argument. These sources include, “a recent study by McKinsey Global Institute”, “Research from leading IT research firms Gartner, Forrester, and International Data Corp. (IDC)” among others. Citing these sources boosts the authors’ credibility by showing that they have done their homework and provided facts and statistics, as well as expert opinions to support their claim.
Adding to their ethos appeals, the authors use strong appeals to logos, with many facts and statistics and logical progressions of ideas. Logos refers to appeal to logic. It establishes if the writer’s evidence is relevant to the purpose of the argument, if the evidence is current, if the writer uses a variety of sources to support their argument, the kind of evidence is used (for instance, expert testimony, statistics, proven facts), if the writer’s points build logically upon each other, where in the text the main argument is stated, how that placement affects the success of the argument, and if the writer’s thesis makes that purpose clear.
The authors point out facts and statistics towards the adoption trends of technological innovation. They say, “According to Gartner, 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020.” Additionally, “In a recent study, McKinsey Global Institute analyzed more than 150 IoT use cases across multiple sectors of the economy and, using economic modeling, estimated that IoT has a potential economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11 trillion per year in 2025, the equivalent of 4 percent to 11 percent of the world economy in 2025.6 The report suggests that, while consumer markets are driving adoption today, nearly 70 percent of the economic value created by IoT will ultimately come from business markets.” These statistics are a few of many that logically support the claim that a wave of change is imminent through the rapidly spreading technological innovation called the Internet of Things (IoT). The details and numbers build an appeal to logos and impress upon the reader that this is a problem worth discussing.
They further mention the factors that have contributed to the rapid adoption to these innovations citing a reputable study, “drivers of IoT growth cited by Gartner include the falling costs of connectivity and technology, mobile app development platforms, applied analytics, new technologies, new business models, and other factors.” The mentioning of these factors enhances the logical understanding of the fact that the world is moving towards an era of IoT and this is fuelled by the aforementioned factors.
By not only mentioning the drivers of IoT growth but also including the inhibitors of IoT growth, “Key inhibitors to IoT deployment include security and privacy, areas where technologies and standards are expected to improve”, the authors come out as being unbiased and clearly bring out a logical argument. The authors further eliminate biasness by looking at both sides of a coin that is the impact of new technologies, “As a recent white paper from ISACA states, “Although IoT can result in financial, health and safety, and quality-of-life benefits, IoT can also introduce new risk. Any new technology, process, or business method can increase risk, but IoT, because of its pervasiveness, has the potential to increase risk significantly.” This appeals to logos.
In describing how to prepare for this wave of change, the authors say “Begin by analyzing how IoT might affect your firm or business today. Identify risks and opportunities, and leverage your own data sources.” Furthermore, “This analysis will provide your organization with critical insight into potential data interconnectivity strategies, creating business value and differentiation within your particular business environment. It will also lend experience in working with larger data sources, and might well lead your firm to new revenue streams (such as predictive advisory services).” The above statements appeal logically to the readers as they outline the key steps necessary for businesses and professionals to stay in line with the technological advancements that are revolutionizing the business landscape.
Along with strong logos appeals, the authors effectively make appeals to pathos at the beginning and towards the end of the article. Pathos refers to an appeal to emotion or to an audience’s values or beliefs. It entails establishing who the target audience for the argument is, how the writer is trying to make the audience feel (sad, happy, angry, guilty), and if the writer is making any assumptions about the background, knowledge, values, etc. of the audience. In the context of this article, the authors appeal to pathos by first introducing the readers to the target audience. In the introduction, the authors mention, “In this feature we will discuss what IoT is, provide examples of its use in industry today, highlight some adoption trends, and show how CPAs may be affected.” This puts the CPA professionals as the main target audience for this article.
The authors provide deep insight on the revolution IoT is bringing into the world of CPA professionals by the use of reputable statistics and directly outlines the impact it will have on them. Through these, they initiate a thought-provoking session in their readers and bring about curiosity and a desire to read further in order to find out their fate. The writers further incite the target audience into action by mentioning that, “Now is the time for CPA firms and businesses to assess their organizations’ internal system readiness, as well as understand the future strategies of their IT vendors, who will need to be active partners in building systems that take advantage of IoT.” This asserts the common belief of adopting to change that entails observing the problem, analyzing, understanding and coming up with suitable solutions to it. This is further supported by the authors’ clear outline of how to prepare for this change: “Begin by analyzing how IoT might affect your firm or business today. Identify risks and opportunities, and leverage your own data sources.”
The authors have successfully used the three forms of rhetorical appeal to grasp the attention of their audience, assert their credibility in their article and successfully serve the purpose of informing and calling their audience to action. They have created confidence in the reader by assuring them that the authors are aware of their facts through use of statistics from reputable sources, clearly outlined their purpose for writing the paper and have successfully appealed to the emotions and universally accepted beliefs and values of their target audience.
The Internet of Things: The CPA’s Role in the New World of Business
by J. L. “John” Alarcon, CPA, CGMA, CITP, and Marc T. Staut (Nov 28, 2016), Pennsylvania CPA Journal