Daily Tech Digest - February 18, 2017

The Rise of AI Makes Emotional Intelligence More Important

Those that want to stay relevant in their professions will need to focus on skills and capabilities that artificial intelligence has trouble replicating — understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings. A smart machine might be able to diagnose an illness and even recommend treatment better than a doctor. It takes a person, however, to sit with a patient, understand their life situation (finances, family, quality of life, etc.), and help determine what treatment plan is optimal. Similarly, a smart machine may be able to diagnose complex business problems and recommend actions to improve an organization. A human being, however, is still best suited to jobs like spurring the leadership team to action, avoiding political hot buttons, and identifying savvy individuals to lead change.


Support Grows For Robo-Advice

Accenture's report Financial Providers Transforming Distribution Models For The Evolving Consumer says that seven in 10 consumers around the world would welcome robo-advisory services – computer-generated advice and services that are independent of a human advisor – for their banking, insurance and retirement planning. Yet, a large number of consumers still want human interaction for their more complex needs, leaving firms challenged with blending a physical presence with an advanced digital user-experience, as they look to integrate robot and human services. ... The survey also found that consumers are willing to switch to non-traditional providers for financial services. Nearly one-third would switch to Google, Amazon or Facebook for banking, insurance and financial advisory services.


Protecting your digital enterprise—it’s not just up to IT

So, how do organizations protect their digital enterprise and ensure that they are compliant? It will be essential to provide your IT team with the resources it needs to manage data effectively, including where it goes and who can access it. At the session, my team members and I discussed how HPE’s ControlPoint and Structured Data Manager are ideal tools to help businesses achieve this level of data hygiene. But achieving compliance isn’t just up to the IT team. It requires an organization-wide commitment. “What’s really important is to create a pervasive information governance culture throughout the organization,” said Duncan. “GDPR is not a security problem. It’s not even an IT problem; it’s a business problem.”


Tapping the Entrepreneurial Spirit for Successful Digital Transformation

The likeliest place to find these change agents is right in the trenches, in the lines of business. These are the individuals who are intimately involved with and exposed to daily operations, who are uniquely positioned to see opportunities for problem-solving. Taking a fresh perspective on the mundane tasks that are performed every day can inspire creative solutions using custom apps. Here’s a real-life example of an individual who put this experience and perspective to good use. Never one to do things conventionally, Pete Tucci was a pro baseball player with Major League Baseball. When a career-ending hand injury cut his dream short, he founded the Tucci Lumber Bats Company, producing custom baseball bats. The fact that he had no woodworking experience didn’t deter him; he was determined to figure out how to make world-class bats. In short, Tucci was a change agent.


From disrupted to disruptor: Reinventing your business by transforming the core

For all the fundamental change that digital reinvention demands, it’s worth emphasizing that it doesn’t call for a “throw it all out” approach. An engine-parts company, for example, will still likely make engine parts after a digital reinvention, but may do so in a way that’s much more agile and analytically driven, or the company may open up new lines of business by leveraging existing assets. Apple, with its move from computer manufacturer to music and lifestyle brand through its iPhone and iTunes ecosystem, reinvented itself—even as it continued to build computers. John Deere created a whole series of online services for farmers even as it continued to sell tractors and farm equipment. There are many elements to a transformation, from end-to-end journey redesign and embedding analytics into processes to open tech platforms.


3 Big Blockchain Ideas MIT is Working on Right Now

Work on the multifaceted world of blockchain tech now sits easily alongside transparent robots that eat real-world fish, solar nebula research, and other imaginative, futuristic projects in progress at the university. Part of MIT's Media Lab, DCI now has a team of 22 people and at least seven ongoing research projects, and it nurtures three startups that use cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology in a variety of ways. To date, the initiative has funded the work of bitcoin protocol developers, and has supported a range of research, going beyond bitcoin to partner with distributed ledger tech startup Ripple and developing enterprise data projects. DCI research director Neha Narula, who helps drive the initiative, told CoinDesk:


Raking in the Ransoms: How the Russian Ransomware Threat Landscape Ticks

If you think Russian threat actors code a piece of ransomware and directly target users with it, you’re wrong. All native ransomware enterprises are much more sophisticated than that. It all begins with a developer who creates the crypto-malware. They are the one responsible for coding the software, adding additional modules, and setting up IT infrastructure to support the ransomware’s distribution. To coordinate this operation, a creator inevitably hires or enlists the help of a manager. The manager is the only person in a Russian ransomware enterprise who gets to communicate with the author. Their job is to internalize the directives of the creator and find partners who can realize the developer’s vision. In other words, a manager is responsible for finding partners who can help expand the ransomware initiative. Kaspersky Lab explains how they do this in a blog post:


Putting digital transformation on the business agenda

Since embarking on this new world of work, Microsoft Japan now regularly measures how successful its work style innovation has been. Employees are rewarded for making calls and arranging meetings more promptly. “A Japanese company, on average, takes about 10 days before they have an official meeting, from asking for the meeting to an actual meeting to happen; in our case, 5.5 days,” says Hirano. “The new work style empowers employees with the flexibility to not only become more productive but also achieve more work-life balance. This has helped significantly in attracting and retaining talent. In fact, we have halved the attrition rate of female staff.


How Fintech Will Change The Way We Bank In The Developing World

The spread of mobile phones has spearheaded this opportunity. The economic benefit of this inclusion is massive at an individual and societal and organisational level. Not only is there opportunity to provide financial services to 80 percent of the global population through their mobile phones, there are also 200 million businesses in emerging economies without access to financial services including savings and credit. By bringing down the barriers of entry of the banking institutions, entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to enjoy the economic benefits previously available exclusively to established institutions. Blockchain solutions have provided a digital platform which enhances transparency. Furthermore, for governments, a cash run economic ecosystem means that transactions are not captured into the system and tax revenue is lost.


How Machine Learning Transforms Digital Experience, One Industry at a Time

Every customer’s journey is different. Someone looking for wedding items, DIY repairs or Halloween costumes will have different preferences and different stages of the buying journey. ... Machine learning can cultivate this personal experience automatically, quickly and at scale.
Knowing exactly what they want ... Natural language processing (NLP) will help create an incredibly efficient marketing machine from a simple site search bar. One person’s “Cable knit jumper” is someone else's “chunky sweater,” and NLP continuously learns to identify and connect intent.  These super-charged analytics give insight to more than just trending search terms, but can also tell you what overall topics and categories are likely to be the next big thing — and which of your current catalogue already fits nicely into these trends.


Microsoft Aims To Expand Into Healthcare With AI And Cloud Services

This is a slight departure from Microsoft's previous healthcare projects like Microsoft Health that has focused on data-based patient programs. The new initiative will create partnerships between various players in the healthcare industry and Microsoft's AI and Research organization, starting with a collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). UPMC's product development experts will work with Microsoft's research and technology expertise to build tech solutions that are customized to the needs they are serving. The synergy between the products designed to solve healthcare issues and the realities of everyday healthcare is a crucial stepping stone in healthcare tech initiatives. More efficient information and workflow tools can improve health care systems and even save lives.



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"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." -- Abraham Lincoln