Daily Tech Digest - July 03, 2017

The numbers don’t lie: Why women must fill the data scientist demand

Being able to inspire a team and see the big picture are both important. A data scientist must be able to not only collect and analyze data but draw meaningful insights and understand what it means for the company. The ability to holistically view a situation is a competitive differentiator for organizations as well as a positive attribute that many women possess. Once we begin associating a variety of skills with data science, the perceptions of our industry can change. According to the Washington Post, women now make up 40 percent of graduates with degrees in statistics – a popular starting point for a career in data science. While a degree in mathematics is a great place to start, it’s important not to categorize the position as being completely scientific and technical, only suited for individuals who excel at math and science.

Global Risks in 2040: Q&A with Andrew Parasiliti

The center recently undertook an effort to envision the world in 2040, and the security challenges that will shape it: artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, the accession of the millennial generation, and the sheer speed with which our society moves and makes decisions. The lead investigators are all early-career researchers, drawn from fields as diverse as nuclear strategy, anthropology, and microeconomics. ... We have more projects underway on artificial intelligence. We're working on a study about how the growth in communications technology, the Internet of Things, and big data are all redefining and compromising privacy, and what that means for security. We are, in general, interested in the changing nature of power and governance in the international system, and, increasingly, how that links up with the challenge of what Michael Rich, RAND's president and CEO, has been calling “truth decay.”

UK tech sector urges public to embrace robots in the workplace

UK tech experts say that the appeal of robotics and AI has the potential for reducing menial tasks in the workplace. In fact, 85% of respondents think that the biggest benefit of robots will be increased efficiency, with a further 40% of the opinion that these efficiencies will be felt in the wider UK job market. A fifth of respondents (21%) think robots will actually create job opportunities, where 20% said it will reduce job opportunities. “Robots and AI have the potential to save tech professionals from menial tasks and free up their time considerably. Humans are capable of so much more than administrative paper pushing, so if robots are able to alleviate some of these pressures, who knows what more we can achieve,” commented Tom Butterworth, managing director of Silicon Valley Bank’s Early Stage Practice.

The Internet of Things will power the Fourth Industrial Revolution

By 2020 more than 50 billion things, ranging from cranes to coffee machines, will be connected to the internet. That means a lot of data will be created - too much data, in fact, to be manageable or to be kept forever affordably. Gateways can help; they not only dispatch traffic but carry out some analytics functions, so that data can be better managed. For example, they could be used to filter out ‘normal’ data over time and to look for unusual patterns which may indicate a problem. They can also improve the costs of the transmission and storage of all that data. In next-generation network technology, these gateways will be used dynamically as part of the network where and when needed. But this brave new world is not without its challenges. One by-product of more devices creating more data is that they are speaking lots of different programming languages.

Robotics, Dentistry and the Future

Robotics is also making dental implant surgeries safer, quicker and more precise. In fact, pairing robotics with digital 3-D mapping using 3-D printers makes work easier by multitudes. Models produced through 3D Printers for implant procedures make for finely detailed end-results. These 3-D Models can be the best surgical guides. These can be used for not just pre-surgical planning assistance but also to provide inter-operative positioning verification. Again, supporting the fact that instead of feeling threatened by technology and dental robotics, dentists need to embrace this growing field with open arms. Another emerging trend is the use of nanobots. These bacteria sized robots help perform procedures that normally would not be possible by the human hand.

Introducing wait stats support in Query Store

Nobody likes to wait. SQL database is multithreaded system that can handle thousands of queries executed simultaneously. Since queries that are executed in parallel compete for the same resources (tables, memory, etc) they might need to wait for the resources to be available to proceed with execution. These cumulative waits can be very large and downgrade the whole database performance. There are more than 900 wait types in SQL Server. Some are more important/frequent than others. For a long time, the only way you could get closer to understanding what is waiting bottleneck of your workload was to look at instance (sys.dm_os_wait_stats) or recently added session (sys.dm_exec_session_wait_stats) level wait statistics. These options have certain limitations and might not provide optimal experience

Artificial intelligence turns critical for banks facing nimble fintech rivals

For traditional banking institutions facing competition from fintech players which are more nimble, AI is a critical tool to improve customer experience. One such example of this is facial recognition technology, which is 10 to 15 times more accurate than human beings at identifying people. In its several other forms, such as advanced virtual assistances and voice assistants, AI software is proving to be faster and better than service agents in responding to customer queries and emails at the contact center level. Australia’s Westpac is using visual recognition to enable customers to activate their new cards via their smartphones. Barclays have been using voice recognition to authenticate telebanking customers, adding another layer of security to its processes. Japan’s Mizuho Bank and Mitsubishi UFJ are using AI-based robots to manage their front desks and take care of routine customer queries.

Risk analytics enters its prime

Recognizing the value in fast and accurate decisions, some banks are experimenting with using risk models in other areas as well. For example, one European bank overlaid its risk models on its marketing models to obtain a risk-profitability view of each customer. The bank thereby improved the return on prospecting for new revenue sources. A few financial institutions at the leading edge are using risk analytics to fundamentally rethink their business model, expanding their portfolio and creating new ways of serving their customers. Santander UK and Scotiabank have each teamed up with Kabbage, which, using its own partnership with Celtic Bank, has enabled these banks to provide automated underwriting of small-business loans in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Mexico, using cleaner and broader data sets. Another leading bank has used its mortgage-risk model to provide a platform for real estate agents and others providing home-buying services.

Blockchain for mainstream banking

It is indeed strange to note that the arrival of Bitcoin and the likes were to create an independent currency mechanism apart from central bank controls. However, today, central banks are keen to explore how the adoption of blockchain technology can help make the financial system more transparent, fast, efficient, and secure and track every piece of hard currency (such as the British pound and yuan) travelling through the financial system in real time. This is virtually impossible at the moment. Here in Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) implemented a fintech regulatory sandbox which took effect in October 2016. BNM recognises the potential of new methods and technology that are emerging so rapidly, and is encouraging local banks to explore and experiment without fear. With central banks having interests in the blockchain game, we have better confidence in this matter.

Avoid these 5 IT vendor management worst practices to avoid IT audit trouble

Determining how and for what an IT vendor gets paid can provide great insight on how effectively an organization manages these groups. I’m not saying this just because I am a CPA. But because I am one, I’ve had the opportunity to perform audits of these invoices and experienced many invoice surprises. Like with many business processes, some discrepancies are truly honest mistakes and misunderstanding of contract provisions. Unfortunately, not everything is. Not only should organizations recalculate the mathematical accuracy of invoices and compare the calculation to the contract, but they should very the source of the information (e.g., number of transactions) provided. If you can’t gain satisfaction over the integrity of your vendor’s billing process, you probably will also have a vendor service delivery oversight problem as well.

Quote for the day:

"Progress doesn't come from early risers; progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things." -- Robert Heinlein