Daily Tech Digest - November 09, 2016

Companies will 'get serious' about AI technology in 2017

CIOs will have to determine where to place their biggest bets -- either on AI technology or skills. Open source libraries from the likes of Google and Facebook make AI cheap and accessible, but the talent needed to leverage these libraries doesn't come cheap, Davenport said. At the other end of the spectrum is IBM Watson. Davenport called it "the big, high-price and, in some ways, high-risk option because they really want to sell it for transformative applications." In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Davenport explained that IBM helps assess where the cognitive technology will make the biggest impacts and provides consultants and researchers to help companies get there.

Docker, machine learning are top tech trends for 2017

For Docker, PaaS, and microservices, developers see containers as a self-contained process and the PaaS as the common deployment target, using microservices as the common style, according to ThoughtWorks. "What we're seeing today is the level of abstraction is being raised up," Mason said. In the previous paradigm, a process ran only on a machine. "Now, we think about a Docker image as that basic unit of work and computation," and APIs and microservices serve as a communications fabric. Intelligent empowerment, meanwhile, has companies frequently open-sourcing sophisticated libraries and tools that would have been "stratospherically expensive" and restricted a decade ago, ThoughtWorks said. New tooling has been made possible by commodity computing and targeting of specific hardware like GPUs and clouds.

Gaps starting to close in cyberinsurance policies

Some insurance companies are trying to fill the middle ground. One example is Willis Towers Watson, an insurance brokerage that recently announced its CyFi plan—that's short for cyberinsurance and fidelity, vice president Peter Foster explained. Fidelity bond is insurance-speak for a crime policy involving the theft of money. A client of Foster's in the financial field nearly lost a large sum when one of their corporate officers was asked to surreptitiously transfer money online, which inspired Willis to expedite its product offering, he said. That wouldn't have been covered in a standard cyberinsurance policy. "They managed to stop it in time, but it's what got them concerned," Foster said.

Changing IoT Passwords Won't Stop Attacks. Here's What Will.

The solution is to ensure security throughout the IoT environment — from the manufacturer, through the supply chain, into the home setup process, and on through the connection and integration a device has with other devices and apps such as Wi-Fi routers and cloud services. The initial process by which a device is brought into the home, how it's added to the home network, how it's configured, and how security credentials are established will determine the security and privacy of that device over its life cycle. The current reality is that these processes don't implement many security best practices or standards. The industry should take this opportunity to determine a set of best practices and security technologies for this key piece of device life cycle. This will take an industry effort, not just a public service announcement to consumers. And it won’t happen overnight.

Robots Present A Cyber Risk

First, these machines are generally integral to assembly line operations and other similar activities, Overly says. “An attack could literally bring a manufacturing or assembly plant to its knees,” he says. “We have seen this very outcome in a ransomware attack targeted at robotic assemblers in a plant in Mexico.” In that case, the ransomware locked up the specifications files from which the robots drew their operating parameters, he says. Second, robots are generally large and capable of causing significant bodily and property damage if operated other than in accordance with their specifications. “If the subject of an attack, the machines could cause dramatic harm, both to individuals and to property,” Overly says.

The Serious Fun of Shared Experiences at Work

Once a team is formed, ongoing shared experiences continuously elevate its performance. Shawn Achor, a happiness researcher and former Harvard professor, studied NFL teams and elite military units, investigating why high-pressure situations cause some teams to perform at a high level and others to fail. Achor’s findings suggests that the critical difference was the way in which the teams viewed stress. When stress is combined with meaning — for example, trying to win a Super Bowl — teams performed better. This link to purpose is underscored by the classic teaming theories of my colleague Jon Katzenbach, who proposes, in The Wisdom of Teams (with Douglas K. Smith), that shared purpose is one of the elemental basics that must be in place for a team to perform.

5 flavors of hybrid cloud transforming the enterprise

Public IaaS providers let you have it your way, so you can come very close to duplicating your on-premises environment in the public cloud and make one an extension of the other using a secure virtual private cloud, where cloud resources reside in a virtual network hosted by the provider. Customers choose workloads or environments that would most benefit from cloud extensibility—dev and test, analytics, or even core line-of-business applications that need to scale. ... The idea of “burst” capacity, where a private cloud acquires additional VMs from a public cloud in response to spikes in demand, got a boost with the recent deal between VMware and AWS, in which the entire VMware software-defined datacenter stack will be available as a service on AWS next year.

Security risks from the internet of things

As awareness increases, some “smarter” IoT devices can be brought up to current security standards with periodic firmware updates. While it’s a start, the majority of internet-ready devices cannot be integrated into the conventional IT hardware or software protections with which companies protect themselves against internet-based attacks. The variety of new internet-ready devices brings a mass of new data traffic to the network that must be managed and secured by IT departments. But it’s complicated by the variety of network protocols used by all of these various device types. The consumerization of IT is another factor due to the increasingly permeable borders between devices for personal use and those for business.

Future enterprise companies will be run by robots

Volkswagen has already utilized ML to predict future sales performance, depending on release date, vehicle type, area, and accessories. The CIO says the use of such technology has so far been a "stunning, surprising success," with machine-based sales predictions reaching accuracy levels of up to 90 percent -- whereas human predictors can only manage an average of 60 percent. It may also be that one day, these bots will be smart enough to automatically approve financial decisions based on cost control. Finally, Hoffman says that bots will also be used in decision making and execution. These "Mr. Know-it-all" bots will be used in team management, scheduling, time planning and the automatic management of corporate documents. Do these future applications mean that robots will be taking over all of our jobs?

HTTP Benchmark and Pipelining

Now, the problem is that this is really expensive. As in, wowexpensive. So pretty much as soon as the web started to hit it off (mid-90s or so), people realized that this isn’t going to work, and the notion of Keep-Alive was born. With Keep-Alive, you are going to reuse the same TCP connection to send multiple requests to the server. The idea is that once the connection is open, there is a strong likelihood that you’ll use it again soon, so why pay the 7 packets cost for opening and closing the TCP connection? And the more requests we make to the server, the better we are. Now, there is another trick that we can apply here. Remember that TCP is stream oriented, not packet oriented. That means that as far as the calling code is concerned, we aren’t actually seeing packets, just bytes arriving one after another.

Quote for the day:

"Talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study." -- Stephen King,