Daily Tech Digest - January 27, 2017

‘Security and fraud risks drive merchant payment decisions’

Despite the increased merchant focus on security, in almost all companies there’s one aspect of a business which represents a potential vulnerability that goes unnoticed from the security perspective. It’s a part of the fraud management team. One reason that this weakness is usually undiscussed is precisely that it is a part of the fraud team’s structure and method, and in general the fraud department is not a usual subject of infosecurity concern. Since their purpose is to protect the company and prevent loss, their goals seem to fit in naturally with the wider security concerns of the company. The potential vulnerability is a function of a method typically used by fraud departments rather than anything integral to the nature of the fraud prevention effort itself.

IoT hits pay dirt where needs and capabilities align

"Manufacturing is seeing huge returns from IoT," said Isaac Brown, analyst with Boston-based Lux Research. "Both from improving operations [within factories] and from producing and selling IoT-enabled products." Jabil, a contract manufacturer, takes an innovative approach to smart manufacturing, going beyond using networked vibration or heat sensors to track equipment health. For example, by taking precise weight measurements of the components produced by an injection molding machine, and using Microsoft's Azure IoT software to analyze that output, it gets clues into whether that machine is running optimally, and can move toward preventative rather than reactive maintenance. "We've seen 10-20% improvements in metrics we track, such as scrap reduction," said Gary Cantrell, Jabil's director of enterprise production and quality.

6 areas of AI and machine learning to watch closely

Given that AI will impact the entire economy, actors in these conversations represent the entire distribution of intents, levels of understanding and degrees of experience with building or using AI systems. As such, it’s crucial for a discussion on AI — including the questions, conclusions and recommendations derived therefrom — to be grounded in data and reality, not conjecture. It’s far too easy (and sometimes exciting!) to wildly extrapolate the implications of results from published research or tech press announcements, speculative commentary and thought experiments. Here are six areas of AI that are particularly noteworthy in their ability to impact the future of digital products and services. I describe what they are, why they are important, how they are being used today and include a list (by no means exhaustive) of companies and researchers working on these technologies.

Robots and the Future of Work

Whoever makes the best robots owns the future of work. There will be so many kinds of robots, there are already quite a few. Will it be China, Japan or can we too make useful, adorable and importantly, robots able to learn? It's more important than everything else, it's how AI, IoT, Big Data and 3D-printing reach the next level of sophistication. Robots like Ethan, from the show Extant. Robots will enable us to understand the human condition in new ways, and help us take greater custodianship over the material world, we have so unconditionally exploited. Robots will be our children, but also our slaves and we'll learn to love our robots until robots themselves can become something else.

Choosing optimized technology for the Internet of Things

To optimize for IoT, companies need to transition from traditional architecture to a more optimized architecture. Elements of the current technology stacks may need to be redesigned so they can support billions of interdependent processing events per year from millions of products, devices, and applications. Since networked devices are always on, companies must be able to react to customer and system requests in real-time; agile software development and delivery will therefore become a critical competency. Seamless connectivity will also become a must-have, as well as collaboration across IT and business units, which have traditionally been siloed. Moreover, companies must be able to securely and efficiently collect, analyze, and store the data emerging from these refined IT architectures.

Why Smart Machines Will Boost Emotional Intelligence

We will not flourish along with smart machines by ourselves. It is going to be an otherness game. It is not going to be a competitive game. It’s going to be a collaboration game. New Smart is a new way of thinking, to define yourself not by what [you] know or how much [you] know, but by the quality of [your] thinking, listening, relating and collaborating. It has four other principles. I am not my ideas; I must de-couple my beliefs, but not my values from my ego. My mental models are not reality; they’re only my generalized stories of how the world works. I must be open-minded and treat my beliefs — not my values — as hypotheses to be constantly tested and subject to modification by better data. My mistakes and failures are opportunities to learn. Those are the five new smart principles, and the new way of thinking that will help us humans complement, augment, and thrive, in the smart machine revolution.

Israeli Cybersecurity Industry Grows as Global Threats Multiply

According to figures based on the non-profit’s data platform and tech industry database PitchBook, 365 Israeli cybersecurity companies raised a total of $581 million in 2016, about 15 percent of all capital raised by the industry globally. About a quarter of the 65 Israeli cyber start-ups founded last year have already succeeded in raising funds, the report said. The report was released ahead of next week’s Cybertech Tel Aviv 2017 conference. ... The new research suggests the country’s cyber industry is maintaining its status as a global leader, drawing on expertise and experience gleaned from the country’s elite military intelligence forces. “Israel is at the forefront of innovation in cybersecurity” as entrepreneurs who completed their mandatory military service “uniquely bring their cyberwarfare and cyberintelligence expertise to the commercial sector,” said Avivah Litan, a vice president and analyst at Gartner Research.

The shifting role of the IT professional In 2017

The ability to quickly learn new IT concepts and skills will soon become one of the most important attributes of an IT pro. With the workplace becoming more interconnected, the traditional structure and boundaries of IT roles are beginning to blur. Being an expert in one technology won’t be enough anymore. Employees who are a jack-of-all-trades, solution-focused, and can communicate the impact of technology to the organisation will see their demand grow. More specifically, the introduction of new machine-based technologies, alongside the continued adoption of a DevOps culture, will require IT pros to focus on developing new skill sets and certifications to operate and manage next-generation data centers. In 2017, two things will impact the role of the IT pro: the rise of the machines and an increase in the adoption of DevOps.

Growing UK's tech skills base will make or break prime minister's industrial strategy

“The industrial strategy says very clearly that we must become a more innovative economy and do more to commercialise our world-leading science base to drive growth across the UK, and that really runs through the entire document.”  According to the prime minister, this work will form a “critical part” of the government’s plans for a “post-Brexit Britain”, and ensure the country is in a strong economic position for many years to come, once its extrication from the European Union (EU) takes place. ... “If we’re going to have the kind of science, innovation and economy we need, we must make sure we are attracting people of all genders and from all backgrounds into science and innovation, and I see very little in this paper to give us confidence of that.”

Might the Blockchain Outlive Bitcoin?

On the regulatory front, the reviews remain mixed, but lawmakers seemed to err on the side of caution in 2015. For example, the state of New York enacted legislation to open up the crypto-currency market for Bitcoin banking licensure. Unfortunately, the bill attached draconian requirements, including a separate license for each exchange service offered and complicated registration requirements. ... Based on strong entrepreneurial movements fueled by aggressive venture capitalists, some speculate that the G7 nations will tend to eventually pave the regulatory way for digital crypto-currencies. If not, others speculate that developing nations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia will benefit, if the more developed nations exact too much restriction. Clearly, many of the world’s regulatory bodies still remain in deliberation with regard to managing crypto-currency.

Quote for the day:

"We're all passionate about something, the secret is to figure out what it is, then pursue it with all our hearts" -- Gordon Tredgold