Daily Tech Digest - March 20, 2017

It's time to face the ugly reality of face recognition

Face recognition does not require permission or knowledge. Any photograph will do. You have been photographed hundreds or thousands of times already. And with surveillance cameras, you're being photographed regularly. Every time you use an ATM, for example, you're having your picture taken, and that picture is associated in the bank's database with your name and bank account. Photographs can be taken from a distance without the knowledge or permission of the target. Other biometric data is private or more difficult to obtain without your knowledge or permission. For example, if you've been fingerprinted for a passport or by the police, you've agreed to it and those agencies will keep your data to themselves. If I provided you with somebody's fingerprints, you couldn't use that data unless you were a cop and had access to the database.


Supply chain technology: achieving next-gen visibility

Three primary forces drive this need to achieve greater supply chain visibility. The first is the emergence of the consumer-centric supply chain. People now have increased power and choice, allowing them to buy virtually anything, anytime, across a variety of methods. This has put tremendous pressure on supply chains that were originally designed for volume and scalability to become agile, responsive, and fluid. The second force is the transformation of previously linear supply chains devoted to shipping pallets and full truckloads to grid-based, or many-to-many, nodal value chains, therefore enabling greater consumer responsiveness. This, in turn, has led to smaller and more frequent shipments, an emphasis on achieving a smooth flow of data, and an increase in complexity in providing inventory visibility.


Business Model Transformation and What it Means to the Data Industry


Organizations have traditionally treated data as a legal or compliance requirement, supporting limited management reporting requirements. Consequently organizations have treated data as a cost to be minimized. The financial valuation of data technology companies has been based upon those perceptions and relationships. ... Data technology companies tend to sell to the part of the organization where data is a cost to be minimized and the sales processes focuses on negotiating with Procurement on price, margin, terms and conditions, instead of engaging with the part of the organization where data is a corporate asset to be exploited for business value, and discussions focus on time-to-value and de-risking projects.


Machine learning proves its worth to business

Machine learning couldn’t be hotter. A type of artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn to perform tasks and make predictions without explicit programming, machine learning has caught fire among the hip tech set, but remains a somewhat futuristic concept for most enterprises. But thanks to technological advances and emerging frameworks, machine learning may soon hit the mainstream. Consulting firm Deloitte expects to see a big increase in the use and adoption of machine learning in the coming year. This is in large part because the technology is becoming much more pervasive. The firm’s latest research shows that worldwide more than 300 million smartphones, or more than one-fifth of units sold in 2017, will have machine learning capabilities on board.


Meet Lorek, the Robot That Communicates in a Remarkable Way

It not only recognizes an object a human being is pointing at and talking about, but asks questions to clarify what they mean. Lorek is limited to trafficking in specific objects, sure, but the robot is a big deal for the budding field of human-robot interaction. The robot—from researchers at Brown University—works like so. A human wearing a headset stands in front of the machine, which sits on a table with six objects in front of it. The human points at, say, a bowl, and asks, “Can I have that bowl?” A Microsoft Kinect atop the robot’s head tracks the movement of the hand to determine which object the subject means and combines that data with the vocal command.


Coders And Librarians Team Up To Save Scientific Data

Some fear the data will be intentionally lost or altered. Others want to make sure the data is available in more than one location, especially more than one government website, since budget cuts could mean server space and upkeep of these data sets might no longer be a priority. "We're most concerned that data might be taken offline and public accessibility will be gone and it'll only be available as [Freedom of Information Act] requests," said Margaret Janz, a data curation librarian at the University of Pennsylvania. "Our goal is to make trustworthy copies of data so it will be available to the public and suitable for research. ... This data should never have been in just one place."


What Biosecurity and Cybersecurity Research Have in Common

More recently, biosecurity experts have begun to scrutinize not just pathogens and publications but also the activities and techniques that create them, identifying seven research categories that demand closer scrutiny. These include a subset of experiments that increase pathogens’ stability, transmissibility, or host range (the animals that could harbor the disease). This type of research gained notoriety in 2011 when two labs engineered a highly pathogenic form of bird flu to transmit more easily between mammals. These efforts, while still a work in progress, signal a way for regulators to begin to focus less on pathogens and code and more on the risks and intent of research projects themselves. For all of their similarities, key differences between biosecurity and cybersecurity risks and timelines will dictate varied regulatory strategies.


Intel claims storage speed record with its large-capacity Optane SSD

The first large-capacity Optane SSD drive is the DC P4800X, which has 375GB of storage and started shipping on Sunday. The $1,520 SSD is targeted at servers. (Intel didn't provide regional availability information.) Intel says an enterprise Optane SSD with 750GB will ship in the second quarter, and that a 1.5TB SSD will ship in the second half of this year. These SSDs will fit as add-in cards in the PCI-Express/NVMe and U.2 slots. That means they could work in some workstations and servers based on AMD's 32-core Naples processors. Optane will also ship in the form of DRAM modules next year. Intel did not share information on when it would ship consumer SSDs.  Optane has been hyped as a new class of superfast memory and storage that could replace today's SSDs and DRAM. Intel has claimed Optane is up to 10 times faster than conventional SSDs.


Online Denial of Service Attacks Are a Growing Concern

Describing that situation, Stephanie Weagle, vice president of Corero Network Security, told SC Media UK that DDoS attacks have become many things over the last decade: weapons of cyberwarfare, security breach diversions and service-impacting strategies. “The motivations for these attack campaigns are endless — financial, political, nation-state, extortion and everything in between,” she said. ... Weagle added: "Continuing to rely on traditional IT security solutions, and/or human intervention to deal with the growing DDoS epidemic will continue to prove devastating to businesses. As recent events have confirmed once again, proactive, automated protection is required to keep the Internet-connected business available in the face of DDoS attacks.”


ColumnStore: Storage Architecture Choices

To provide data redundancy, ColumnStore relies on external storage to provide resilient storage and enable a particular DBRoot volume to be remounted on another PM server. This generally implies a remote networked storage solution, although filesystems such as GlusterFS can allow deployment without additional servers.  When internal storage is utilized, journaling filesystems and RAID deployment provide for resilient storage. However, since the storage is only available within a given PM server, the storage cannot be remounted on another PM server should one fail. In this case, the failed server must be recovered before ColumnStore can support additional queries. With external storage, ColumnStore can provide automated failover and continuity in the event a PM server fails.



Quote for the day:


"Big data is at the foundation of all of the megatrends that are happening today, from social to mobile to the cloud to gaming" -- Chris Lynch