Daily Tech Digest - November 11, 2016

Hedge Funds Beware: Most Machine Learning Talk Is Really ‘Hokum’

Giants like Bridgewater Associates and smaller firms such as Highbridge Capital Management and Simplex Asset Management in Japan are developing machine learning or investing in it. The next-generation algorithms, which build on the statistical tools quants have used for years, plow through financial, Internet and satellite data to find unusual patterns. A certain default premium combined with a particular yield-curve slope, for example, might produce a high probability that a stock price will rise or fall. Finding such “signals” to wager on is the holy grail. Many say AI will shake up the industry. Fifty-eight percent of managers in a recent KPMG survey said the technology will have a medium-to-high impact on the way hedge funds operate in the future.

Can we prepare for the jobs that don’t exist yet?

Ultimately technical know-how always need to be backed with something else – just as accountants still tend to do better at work if they’re easier to get on with. “Soft skills set humans apart in an age of automation and robotics,” suggests Steve Hill, External Engagement Director at The Open University. “Adaptability is itself a key soft skill that will become increasingly important as individuals have to adapt to jobs that haven’t even been created yet. Businesses need to facilitate a process of knowledge sharing – between different departments, diverse employees, and even between businesses – to boost this adaptability.” Watkins of Tyche Leadership adds that for businesses “future proofing themselves will be more about hiring people with resilience.”

Managing multiple clouds requires careful choice, architecture planning

One of the ways that companies can manage multiple clouds is before the cloud is selected, by choosing additional services wisely. Bartoletti recommends following the apps to the cloud, not the other way around. "Let your app needs drive your choice of clouds, not today's compute or storage prices - they will keep dropping," he said. Higher value services like database, analytics, mobile platforms, and integration tools should guide the choice, he added. Additionally, some companies try not to use proprietary cloud services like AWS Lambda or Google BigQuery because they're concerned about being locked into that choice, according to Mike Kavis, vice president and principal architect at Cloud Technology Partners.

Are Consumers Accepting Data Breaches As The New Normal

Across the board, consumers demand more privacy and protection but are unwilling to use privacy enhancing systems such as Virtual Private Networks or in some cases even basic security software. Of course, even if they take measures to protect their information, if the business’s own security is compromised, no measures the consumer takes on their end will keep their information safe. For this reason, many consumers have simply accepted that a data breach will happen at some point. Unfortunately, this acceptance makes it easier for hackers. If consumers stop reporting, companies will not know of any security issues and some may even stop caring about cybersecurity. This will eventually embolden more hackers to attempt data breaches as they are less likely to suffer repercussions for their actions. This is a downward spiral that can get dangerous quickly.

The ‘real situation’ on the Internet of Things 2017-2027

“IoT centres around things collaborating for the benefit of humans without human intervention at the time. It does not include the Internet of People which is a renaming of the world of connected personal electronics operated by humans: it has completely different characteristics and it is cynical to conflate it with IoT.” Nevertheless, says Harrop, “we show how IoT nodes can be on people and quantify the appropriate part of wearables market because is relevant. The report explains further with a host of examples and options, even giving forecasts for agricultural robots following several respondents seeing agriculture as an important potential IoT market.” Harrop proudly boasts: “Because we run our own IoT events, we get the inside track first.”

Robots present a cyber risk

The difference between actual and potential risks with robot security incidents “is a function of the complexity of the algorithms used by robots, and the physical and social context of their operation, and their numbers,” says Tom Atwood, executive director of the National Robotics Education Foundation, which provides educational information about robotics to students, educators and professionals. ... “These contexts are growing in number as physical and virtual robots proliferate in all spheres of human endeavor,” Atwood says. Many organizations that operate autonomous machines such as industrial robots mistakenly think they will not be targets because the machines don’t process personal information or financial information. The same goes for companies that produce the machines.

Mastercard using selfies to prove cardholder identity

"Passwords are obviously a challenge to deal with, prone to compromise and difficult to remember," said Dennis Gamiello, Mastercard's vice president of identity solutions, who said the company also considered using fingerprints. "Everything we do needs to be about choice and great consumer experience and can scale. ... Not every phone has a fingerprint reader. It may not work for everyone. Most smartphones have front-facing cameras. This biometric double-check is used for what are called "card not present transactions," such as online purchases. An alert would be sent to the user's registered smartphone, asking for authentication, which comes in the form of a selfie. The cardholder has a certain amount of time in which to respond to the query.

Can Low-Power Devices Be Secure?

The attack surface increases with connected cars. “It’s really important that cars, overall, the system-wide approach is taken for their security, and that people think about security from the overall vehicle electronics system, and not just their individual chip or ECU,” said Turner. “So, that’s presenting a whole new challenge to the automotive industry, which is used to getting bits from all sorts of people in the supply chain and just putting them together without having to think necessarily about system-wide security.” He noted that both internal and external connections need to be secured. Microcontroller suppliers were on a panel at ARM TechCon, addressing the topic of IoT and security, moderated by Nandan Nayampally, vice president of marketing for ARM’s CPU Group.

Next Career Step for Best and Brightest CDOs? How About CEO?

“Organizations that have made the strategic decision to introduce the CDO role are looking to get as much new value as possible from this position,” the study continues. “Thirty percent of the surveyed CDOs said they report directly to the CEO. CDOs are adding to the competitiveness of their companies by contributing to strategic planning and decision making, and by leading digital business initiatives.” As a result, Gartner predicts that, by 2020, 15 percent of successful CDOs will move into CEO, COO, CMO or other C-level positions. Why all this optimism? Because of the growing number of organizations that are really taking seriously the value of their data, and that want somebody to take charge of it. According to Gartner, the office of the CDO is being established as an operational department with the appropriate staffing, budget and responsibilities.

Singapore has committed to eGovernment but what about the rest of Asia?

The Government Technology Agency, or GovTech, was recently created to head up the launch of these services and provide engineers for the government’s various Smart Nation projects. It is unlike the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), which is usually at the forefront of Singapore’s tech talk and builds connections with the private sector. GovTech on the other hand is tasked with reinventing the public sector. GovTech’s remit will cover cybersecurity, digital infrastructure for government, data science, data analytics, and app development. One of its most ambitious tasks is creating a one-stop vault where citizens can access and manage all of their personal data. This will tie into collaborations with the Ministry for Finance, where data can be automatically pulled from the vault to fill in forms for things like tax returns, loans, or public housing applications.

Quote for the day:

"A big part of leadership is just being comfortable with the fact that some decisions really are only yours." -- Helene D. Gayle