Daily Tech Digest - January 22, 2017

Why software is like water, and what it means for global leadership

Software is the international language. It allows us to do everything from receiving instantaneous news out of Syria to hailing a ride in the rain via our smartphones. Both of these examples and more are accomplished by software. The theme for this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is particularly timely and relevant. We need Responsive and Responsible Leadership as we all play witness to an earlier call by the Forum: the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as the lines are blurred between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. For countries to survive and thrive in this era, software needs to play a central role. Agriculture, basic manufacturing, education, food production, and water filtration all require software to work well at scale. For companies and economies, software is key to sensing change and reacting to it.


Researchers condemn unsubstantiated WhatsApp “Backdoor” story by Guardian

A group comprising of 30 security researchers have now co-signed an open letter to mount pressure on the Guardian so that it retracts the false story asserting that the paper is trying ‘very concretely’ to endanger public. The security researchers who have co-signed this open letter include salient bigwigs of the security industry including The Tor Project’s Isis Lovecruft, cryptographer Bruce Schneier, Mozilla’s Katherine McKinley, security research Thaddeus T’Grugq’, security researcher and author Jonathan Zdiarski and Open Crypto Audit project’s Kenneth White. Security researchers believe that the vulnerability pointed out by the Guardian is a minor one and poses an insignificant threat. It is related to the way WhatsApp handles essential retransmission for unread messages when the user changes SIM or phone card.


Digital Transformation Or Digital Free Fall: What Every CEO Must Know

Many leaders have fallen into the trap of believing digital transformation is like playing a game of technology catch-up. That if they can harness a bit of digital exhaust and turn big data into smart data, that somehow their business will transform itself. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the billions of dollars being spent chasing digital shadows won’t change a thing. Organizations whose business models are a few revolutions back on the digital curve cannot transform from lagger to leader by simply implementing blockchain or machine learning. Digital transformation is really more of a leadership, culture, strategy, and talent issue than a technology issue. Real digital transformation occurs when business models and methods are reimagined by courageous leaders willing to manage opportunity more than risk, focus on next practices more than best practices and who are committed to beating their competition to the future.


The Eye In The Sky Gets A Brain That Knows What It's Seeing

Crowdsourcing can also help with training and testing machine-learning algorithms, since human workers from around the world can be paid to quickly label features on satellite images or verify labels applied by machines, he says. And while both crowdsourcing and automation let DigitalGlobe and its customers extract more detail from satellite images than ever before, Har-Noy says the company takes steps to protect people’s privacy and safety. The resolution of commercial satellite images, regulated by the U.S. Commerce Department, means people aren’t recognizable at the level of detail the company releases, Har-Noy says. DigitalGlobe also doesn’t release images of active U.S. combat areas. "We take privacy very seriously with regard to the information we release, we make accessible, and also that other people derive," Har-Noy says.


Algorithm does real-time, city-wide ride sharing

The biggest part of that challenge is finding the optimal solution within that entire decision space; algorithms often get hung up on a local optimum or can't explore the entire space within a reasonable amount of time. Fortunately, the authors recognized that they don't need the global optimum. A reasonably good local optimum may not be the most efficient, but it's good enough to get people in cars quickly. A first round of trip assignments is done using what's called a greedy algorithm, which simply starts with the longest trips first and tries to minimize travel delays. From there, the algorithm attempts optimizations, but it's capable of producing an answer at any time if a decision has to be made. In addition, it's possible to make some optimizations like limiting the cars that are considered for servicing a trip.


IoT Seen as Weakest Link for Attacking the Cloud

'Not only are IoT devices an attractive target because of their inherent insecurity, but also for the role they play in some organizations, such as closed-circuit television cameras, which can provide real-time information about everything that is happening at a given location,' Fortinet said. But vulnerabilities are not the only issue. As IoT devices are being deployed, they must also be managed, and they are increasingly being managed by cloud solutions that require a communications channel between the IoT device and its master controller in the cloud. 'We expect to see attacks leverage this trust model in order to poison the cloud, and then use that beachhead to start to spread laterally,' Fortinet said. 'These end devices can then be exploited to misuse their trusted relationship to upload malware to, and distribute it from the cloud.


Securing a board appointment: CIO requirements and benefits

CIOs can become more attractive board candidates by developing a deep expertise in a particular area, such as digital transformation, experts said. "The best thing that people can do is to make a name for themselves and the work they're doing. To just have CIOs go out and try to market themselves to get on a board isn't how it happens. The best people are tapped on the shoulder for the work that they're doing," Gambale said. She noted that CIOs also might secure a board appointment by working with executive recruiters, as the firms they work in often also handle board of director searches. Meanwhile, Morris said serving on a nonprofit board first eventually could lead to serving on a company board of directors.


Should Banking Build an Internet of Things (IoT) Strategy?

Financial companies have prioritized customer and product monitoring in response to higher levels of online fraud, difficulty with identity verification and fears of hacked computer systems and networks. Banks are also using the IoT to monitor and collect data about their customers’ financial transactions, while lenders are exploring ways to finance and track assets and value collateral based on sensor data. More advanced IoT implementations include the ability to conduct basic banking using wearables (smart watches or fitness bands) and voice-first devices (Amazon’s Echo), the integration of invisible payments in transportation (Uber) and restaurants (Dine and Dash), and the leveraging of smart home appliances (Amazon Dash, Samsung Family Hub refrigerators). Additional tests are also beginning with the Amazon Go™ grocery and the inclusion of Amazon Echo capabilities in automobiles.


How to Resolve Competing Information Management Strategies

Political objectives can create an undercurrent of issues beneath the surface of recognizable business challenges. They can prove to be the largest detractor to gaining a truly cohesive vision and IM strategy. Like a fault line waiting to erupt, the negative whispers from this undercurrent can cause much damage and must be brought from the hallways to the table to be appropriately addressed by leadership. The best way to address political issues is to have leadership come together and lay the concerns on the table in order to find the high-stakes, high-emotion touch points. Work through the list of concerns to find logical, justifiable solutions. By bringing these issues to light and turning the focus to true business value and return on investment, you will find tensions ease and emotions dissipate. Such an exercise can be eye-opening and significantly improve communications in a highly volatile environment.


Report: AI adoption to create surge in revenue growth by 2020

According to the Infosys report, organisations which have fewer AI-related skills within their business are more likely to re-deploy workers impacted by AI adoption. However, those with more AI-related skills are more likely to re-train their employees. Leading industries which plan to re-train employees include: fast-moving consumer goods, aerospace and automotive, energy, oil and gas and pharmaceutical and life sciences. For instance, IBM’s Watson chatbot has been significantly deployed across banks, while hospitals have been leveraging its AI capabilities to diagnose rare diseases. Sandeep Dadlani, President & Head of Americas, Infosys said: “Artificial Intelligence adoption is on the rise and we are excited to see the investments in AI that businesses are gradually making to derive meaningful and creative change.



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"What we actually learn, from any given set of circumstances, determines whether we become increasingly powerless or more powerful" -- Blaine Lee