June 01, 2016

Robots beware: Humans will still be bosses of machines

There are two basic ways to augment. One is to work alongside smart machines, and complement their activity. The other is to dip into what smart machines are unlikely to be able to do any time soon. For the first set, working closely with machines, it's a day-to-day colleague sort of role. Just as with a human colleague, you'd know what they were good at and what they were not so good at, so you can step in when they're unable to do a task. Then, there's the computer's boss role. I think of hedge fund managers or something as an archetypal role like that, where the trading may all be done by machines these days, but somebody's got to look at the whole portfolio and see how it's performing. Do we need more automation, less automation, different types of automation?

Managing the Bots that Are Managing the Business

Managers must become product and experience designers, deeply engaged with customers and their needs, creating services that start out as a compelling promise and get better over time the more people use them, via a “build-measure-learn” process. A service like Uber is based on a deep rethinking of the fundamental workflows of on-demand transportation (what used to be called “taxis”) in light of what technology now makes possible. Before Uber, who would have thought that a passenger could summon a car to a specific spot, and know just when they were going to be picked up? Yet that capability was already lying latent in smartphones. There is an arc to knowledge, in which expertise becomes embodied into products. Workers can be “upskilled” not just by training but by software assistants that allow them to do jobs for which they were previously under-qualified.

CFOs are more invested in tech than CIOs think

CIOs often tend to be either big idea generators focused on innovations or integrators who hang their hats on connections and the big picture. Many CFOs meanwhile tend to be more methodical, detail-oriented and risk-averse, while some CFOs value direct communications and a focus on results. While it is often challenging for an innovation-oriented CIO to see eye-to-eye with the risk-averse CFO, Deloitte says each must identify those differences early on and adjust their communication styles to strengthen their partnership. Once communications styles are balanced and accounted for, Kambil says, CIOs must do a better job explaining the value of technologies to their CFOs. ... "CIOs can play a better role in helping CFOs understand how technology is evolving, as well as helping them understand the architecture they're investing in," Kambil says.

Reddit CTO: Stick to Boring Tech when Building Your Startup

“There are a lot of tools that may not scale with you, but they will get you going faster,” he said. Pick well-known technologies like NGINX, Ubuntu, GitHub, and Python. “Python is a really mature tech. Everyone knows how to use it, and you can hire for it,” he said. For most common data capture tasks, such as storing user comments or log-in credentials, MySQL is the way to go. AWS offers a hosted MySQL service through RDS. AWS manages the service, with capabilities such as automatic failover and configurations, and as the company grows you can transfers responsibility over to your own staff. “The boring tech revolution is here,” he said. And don’t worry about optimizing your queries yet. “Don’t optimize anything on the backend unless you have to,” he said

Online Shareholders’ Meetings Lower Costs, but Also Interaction

Companies are adopting this technology for a number of reasons. There are the obvious cost savings, because they do not have to pay for a location and serve food (however meager, although some companies are known for their shareholders’ meeting spreads). And having a virtual meeting allows people to “attend” who would not otherwise want to make the trip. The company can also better track shareholder attendance and participation. Perhaps more important, a virtual shareholders’ meeting allows the company to manage troublesome shareholders and their often uncomfortable questions. Some of this may provide a welcome limit on the time monopolized by corporate gadflies such as John Chevedden, James McRitchie and William Steiner, who were responsible for a staggering 70 percent of shareholder proposals sponsored by individuals among Fortune 250 companies in 2014, according to a study by the Manhattan Institute.

How ‘Agile’ Changed Security At Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet is at an interesting crossroads. We’re investing in technology and a huge part of that is security. We previously outsourced our security functions and heavily relied on managed security services. This approach doesn’t always work. After being a product manager, I understand agile very well. We started it with the application security team as an experiment. Our work was reactive, and I wanted to shift that. We took control of our day-to-day activities and were able to better manage to our priorities. We also established processes for how other teams engage with us. ... Our security operations team — which is naturally reactive — has run into some problems with Scrum, a form of agile which is time boxed. The team was struggling to keep up with requests. It was a perpetual cycle of trying to keep their heads above water.

Is network fabric heading down the same path as ‘software defined’ and ‘stacking’?

A key requirement of a fabric is that it should work across vendors, allowing for traffic to move seamlessly across different environments. Any kind of translation that has to be done at the edge of a network would break the uniformity of the fabric. There are a couple of vendors today that support TRILL, but they either have proprietary control or data planes, making them non-interoperable with “standards-based” TRILL. It may be possible to get these proprietary versions to work together through some sort of TRILL gateway, but as a I point out above, this is no longer a single fabric. The solutions do address the limitations of legacy networks and offer fabric-like capabilities in a single network, but its use would be limited to that one network.

The biggest data challenges that you might not even know you have

Cognitive technology has the capability to harness unstructured data and keep businesses ahead of the competition by leveraging human cognitive frameworks. Cognitive technology, like IBM Watson, can analyze unstructured data, interpret this data to create insights, evaluate all possible decisions using evidential support, and then come to a conclusion with a level of confidence. Leveraging unstructured data with the help of cognitive computing can dramatically change the way that business is conducted. ... Stand out seeking out cognitive solutions, which have the ability to aggregate and find patterns within data at an extremely fast pace. This will allow you – or your customers – to improve decision-making at the speed of insight.

10 things you should know about running an IoT project function

One of the biggest issues companies face today is deciding who in the organization should run IoT. In some cases, they start with an innovative engineer. In other cases, a product manager or a manager from IT or an end-business function is given the role. And sometimes, the company decides it doesn't have anyone who is a good fit to run the IoT function so it decides to hire from the outside. ... If the intent of IoT work is to create a salable product, more must go into the project than just designing and building the technology. It must be packaged for the market and a marketing plan must be constructed. The IoT project might have to be sold to the CEO and the board of directors. This requires a product manager set of skills that can go far beyond the initial technical engineering expertise that goes into the product.

Security Concerns Rising For Internet Of Things Devices

Hackers always seem to flock to the most popular platforms. It’s one of the reasons there are more risks for Windows users than the Mac -- there’s a much bigger footprint.According to BI Intelligence, there will be 34 billion connected devices in the world by 2020, creating a $6 trillion industry; surprisingly, BI names business as the main IoT adopter. The costs are low, the gadgets are simple to install, and they solve nagging problems. One good example of this is the Belkin WeMo platform. Young says you can install a device like this outlet that you can control with your smartphone in five minutes. Yet, there might not be any intrusion detection for a product like that. In a worst case scenario, he says, a Chinese hacker could find a vulnerability for these outlets and then power cycle them repeatedly for thousands of users all over the U.S. to cause massive blackouts. Yet, for the end-user, there is some incredible usefulness, energy savings, low costs, and a simple install.

Quote for the day:

"Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself." -- Julia Cameron,