June 10, 2016

We’ve Hit Peak Human and an Algorithm Wants Your Job. Now What?

Bank executives know what’s coming. So they’re setting up coder labs and investing in startups, teaming up with digital competitors or buying them outright. JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. lender by assets, is using AI to identify potential equity clients. And it’s marshaling OnDeck Capital’s client-vetting algorithm to speed lending to small businesses. Both Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, which together employ more than 32,000 human financial advisers, are developing automated robo-advisers. More than 40 global banks have joined forces with startup R3 to develop standards to use blockchain, software that allows assets to be managed and recorded through a distributed ledger, to overhaul how assets are tracked and transferred.

IoT in Africa: Still a long way to go

“While machine-to-machine (M2M) opportunities may be limited across the African continent, significant potential for growth exists, particularly in respect to the deployment of M2M energy, utility, and security services,” the IDC report said. “M2M technology is clearly gaining traction in Africa, albeit at a slower rate than seen in the world's more developed markets,” Oluwole Babatope, a telecommunications and networking research analyst at IDC West Africa added in the report. “And while consumer applications for M2M technology undoubtedly exist, enterprises will be the main customers for such services, and thus the main drivers of growth.” The most prolific example of IoT is the ability to deliver and control solar power consumption through the uses of mobile phones like M-Kopa in Kenya. Users acquire solar units and pay for their daily use through mobile money. If payment is not made, the solar unit is automatically disabled.

Google, Facebook, Yahoo, rights groups oppose FBI expansion of surveillance powers

The companies and groups have pointed out in a letter to senators that the new provisions would expand the types of records, known as Electronic Communication Transactional Records (ECTRs), which the FBI can obtain using the NSLs. The ECTRs would include a variety of online information, such as IP addresses, routing and transmission information, session data, a person's browsing history, email metadata, location information, and the exact date and time a person signs in or out of a particular online account. “The new categories of information that could be collected using an NSL and thus without any oversight from a judge would paint an incredibly intimate picture of an individual's life,” according to the letter on Monday. The companies and groups are opposed to two pieces of legislation that are being considered by federal lawmakers.

Data lakes vs data streams: which is better?

Perhaps someone has run an analysis to find anomalies within a subset of the data and has then contributed this analysis back to the data lake as a new source. However, to get the best out of a complex data lake, a data curator is still recommended to create consistency and allow joins across data from different sources. A data stream, on the other hand, is an even newer concept in the general data science world (except for people who use complex event processing engines which work on streaming data). In contrast to deep storage, it’s a result of the increasing requirement to process and perform real-time analysis on streaming data. Highly scalable real-time analysis is a challenge that very few technologies out there can truly deliver on yet. The value of the data stream (versus the lake) is the speed and continuous nature of the analysis, without having to store the data first. Data is analysed ‘in motion’.

Why CTOs have been thinking about intelligence all wrong

It is a difficult question, and many businesses are willing to throw money at the wall just to see what sticks. The truth is, there is a right and wrong way to go about it. Unfortunately, most CTOs are only aware of the wrong way. Here’s where I believe I can help. First, let’s examine the wrong way. Traditionally, companies and CTOs who want to add intelligence to their applications will take a holistic approach, creating what is known as a data lake. This is done because of the need for context surrounding the data gathered from applications — the categorical information about particular points of data. The belief is that by capturing and organizing all data, businesses will be given a full 360-degree view of their users’ preferences, habits, etc. It's a great payoff — in theory.

Welcome to the API Economy

“The API economy is an enabler for turning a business or organization into a platform.” said Kristin R. Moyer, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Platforms multiply value creation because they enable business ecosystems inside and outside of the enterprise to consummate matches among users and facilitate the creation and/or exchange of goods, services and social currency so that all participants are able to capture value.” Uber, for instance, is an example of a business built on a platform because it leverages Google Maps through an API to enable its entire business model of matching drivers who have a vehicle with passengers who need a ride. Walgreens offers an API for its in-store photo printing services that enables others to offer photo apps on its platform. It moves from being a photo printer to being a photo platform.

Network Design: How Cloud Apps Can Leave You Holding the Hot Potato

SD-WAN fabric can continuously monitor network conditions of all the underlying physical transports, so nodes can make intelligent decisions for forwarding application traffic in compliance with desired service level agreements (SLA). This completely redefines the notion of “shortest path” as described earlier in the context of hot potato routing. Instead of choosing the shortest path calculated solely by the routing protocols, the best end-to-end path between users and cloud applications is determined using a combination of best application performing paths (likely more than one with active/active approach). Of course the use of BGP is not mandatory and some regional Internet exchange facilities offer other means of exchanging reachability information, but for the sake of our discussion let’s assume a more generic case of using BGP.

Malware: A Complex Threat Calls for Complex Controls

Malware can be challenging to remediate because it comes in an endless number of varieties and a wide range of threats, including low-end scareware, medium-level ransomware, to high-level advanced volatile threats (AVTs) and advanced persistent threats (APTs). Ransomware made the news recently and has become a concern. This sort of infection often starts with a single user and then expands to any drives that user has access to. Once infected, ransomware can end up overwriting very important files, especially if the user has access to a company shared drive. For retail organizations, point of sale malware has also been very common in recent years. We have seen breaches at many major retailers and will likely continue to see breaches in the future.

Datacentre operators warned of public cloud threat to long-term co-location success

Steve Wallage, managing director of datacentre market watcher BroadGroup Consulting, claimed investors are already getting jumpy at how much of a long-term competitive threat AWS and co will pose to the co-location community. "The number one question [we get] from investors is, ‘Will AWS kill that business?’. If not directly, how about on price, because AWS has cut pricing around 40 times in the past five years,” he said. Wallage added that there is already evidence to suggest public cloud giants are weighing up their long-term position on co-location, with some striking multi-year deals that are shorter than they used to be. “They might take much space [now], but for how long and on what terms?” he questioned.

Technologist sees car as one big computer empowering our lives

Imagine driving to work but instead of trying to find a space in the car park, you drive straight into the office and the automated car finds a parking bay itself. Also imagine that the car’s battery powers your entire office. This is the vision that Nissan paints at the FT Future of the Car Summit in London. Electric cars in the future that will power up entire cities with what is known as ‘vehicle-to-grid’ technology – where cars will be able to charge at ‘off-peak’ hours at specific charging points to power homes and other buildings during peak hours. But society and infrastructure in general will slowly be transformed too. Will buses just become ‘big taxis’ in the future? Car Clubs are on the rise with “143,000 car club owners” now in London. These are all changing the way we think about car ownership. Apple just invested $1 billion in a Chinese car-hailing app which some say is a stake in the self-driving future.

Quote for the day:

"The world is made of Circles. And we think in straight Lines." -- Peter M. Senge