Daily Tech Digest - September 01, 2017

The Four Laws of Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation is about innovating business models, not just optimizing business processes Organizations are looking to leverage these digital assets to create new “economic moats.” Warren Buffett, the investor extraordinaire, popularized the term “economic moat.” “Economic moat” refers to a business’s ability to maintain competitive advantages over its competitors (through process and technology innovation and patents) in order to protect its long-term profits and market share from competing firms. As highlighted in the McKinsey Quarterly article titled “Competing In A World Of Sectors Without Borders,” organizations are embracing digital transformation to knock down traditional industry boundaries and disrupt conventional business models


How to do open source right: LinkedIn shows the way

If you want to know how to do open source the smart way, pay attention to LinkedIn. It has delivered some of the industry’s most impressive open source software, most recently its Cruise Control load-balancing tool for Apache Kafka, a distributed streaming platform also developed by LinkedIn that is used to build real-time data pipelines and streaming apps in big data applications. Cruise Control exemplifies the serious open source savvy on LinkedIn’s part, with its extensibility and generality.  Although meant for general consumption, Cruise Control didn’t have a real community around it; it had been developed by and for LinkedIn. But LinkedIn built Cruise Control in a way that would translate beyond LinkedIn’s needs. Many such projects make the rookie mistake of solving only their creators’ needs; LinkedIn didn’t make that mistake.


How Does AI And Regulation Play Into Fintech?

“I think the biggest change is that people are going to receive financial help before they even know it,” says WIRED Money 2017 speaker and CEO of online investment management company Nutmeg Nick Hungerford. “It’s a combination of big data and artificial intelligence. We’re going to be able to be more intelligent about people’s spending habits, their health, their lifestyles. [We’re] going to get more effective at predicting what they’re going to need for different scenarios of spending and saving. AI predicts when people are likely to get married, when you are likely to have a baby, etc. So in five years, we should be really good at giving people financial advice before they even realise they need it,” says Hungerford. AI is also being experimented with traditional financial institutions.


Disturbing trends revealed by the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report

As more and more enterprise systems have moved to the cloud, more and more malicious attacks on cloud services have followed. According the Microsoft report, there was a "300 percent increase in Microsoft cloud-based user accounts attacked year-over-year." The attacks on cloud services can be traced to all countries of the world, but in the case of Azure specifically, some 35% originated in China, with another 32% coming from the United States. Ransomware, while garnering many headlines in 2017, actually affects enterprises from various parts of the world much differently. For example, ransomware is a major headache for many European countries, while the activity is almost trivial for the United States, China, and Japan. However, that does not mean those counties are not vulnerable—criminal activity changes just as fast as technology changes.


Artificial intelligence will create new kinds of work

AI will eliminate some forms of this digital labour—software, for instance, has got better at transcribing audio. Yet AI will also create demand for other types of digital work. The technology may use a lot of computing power and fancy mathematics, but it also relies on data distilled by humans. For autonomous cars to recognise road signs and pedestrians, algorithms must be trained by feeding them lots of video showing both. That footage needs to be manually “tagged”, meaning that road signs and pedestrians have to be marked as such. This labelling already keeps thousands busy. Once an algorithm is put to work, humans must check whether it does a good job and give feedback to improve it. A service offered by CrowdFlower, a micro-task startup, is an example of what is called “human in the loop”.


Acer's Switch 7 could overpower the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro

What's really important, though, is what's inside. Acer has somehow managed to squeeze Intel's 8th-gen Core i7 CPU, along with Nvidia's new GeForce MX150, into the slender chassis. The CPU is quad-core with a 15-watt TDP, and Intel says it's up to 40 percent faster in some tasks. Nvidia's GeForce MX150 was actually announced in late May as a replacement for the elderly GeForce 940MX. Few hard specs are available on it, but we do know it uses GDDR5 and is based on the current Pascal architecture used in the GeForce GTX 10-series of cards.  ... The combined advantage of Pascal graphics plus a quad-core CPU vs. the dual-core CPUs with integrated graphics—even Iris Plus—means the odds are very good that this new laptop/tablet will handily outperform both Microsoft's Surface Pro and Apple's MacBook Pro 13.


You Are Doing Analytics Wrong: Here Is Why

"If you're just showing me the same data in a new way, how will that show me what I should be thinking about going forward? Is it challenging me to think about how I can optimize my business model? Are there processes I need to tweak? How much money am I leaving on the table? Are we cannibalizing our own revenue? Those are the kinds of questions you should be able to ask of your data," said Kaila.  Some organizations have hired a chief analytics officer or a chief data officer to ensure that data can be used as a strategic asset. That person is responsible for bridging the gap between business and IT, orchestrating resources, and driving value from analytics. "Leaders need to ensure accountability for insights," said Kaila. "If you do that, you'll be able to align the definitions, the processes and ultimately how you operationalize predictive insights."


Cloud computing and the costs: a love-hate relationship

Cloud users underestimate the amount of their wasted spend. While costs often appear low in the public cloud space at first glance, especially when temporarily using capacity, these costs quickly pile up when occupying resources on a permanent basis. Sizing plays another important role. Whether it’s regarding oversizing VMs or commissioning high-performance storage for non-critical data that is accessed infrequently, there are plenty of examples of how to put on “cloud fat”. While respondents estimate that around 30 percent is going down the drain, RightScale has measured actual waste to be between 30 and 45 percent. Despite an increased focus on cost management, only a minority of companies are taking critical actions to put governance in place with a quarter of all respondents citing managing cloud spend as their biggest challenge.


How AI Makes Brand Personalities Come to Life

It’s really interesting because we think about AI and robots replacing the workforce, but if you’re a writer, it’s a great time. If you’re a user-experience designer, this is like a renaissance because UX people have been stuck designing mobile apps and websites since the beginning. But now, we move into this voice and conversational space, which is completely a new frontier. For people who are studying philosophy and ethics, there’s a whole other new kind of movement called ethical engineering. A lot of these big tech companies are going to need to bring in people who truly understand ethics and policy and humanity. I think there are going to be some new jobs that emerge. For creative agencies, it’s an awesome time to innovate your creative product.…


Exclusive interview with Starling Bank’s founder and CEO, Anne Boden

There seems to be a misconception that traditional banks and financial services are more secure than new fintechs. There is that idea of a grandiose building with large Roman columns, and the image itself is very secure and solid. Traditional banks are built on core systems that were coded in the 1980s and ’90s, and a huge fear of overhauling these systems has to do with the fear of losing security. Our stack is built on AWS and there is some hesitation when it comes to cloud computing. Is the cloud safe? Where is it? How do you know that someone can't just retrieve vast quantities of data if there isn't a physical place to guard? But luckily, cloud computing is also highly securitised. There are a lot of companies that work specifically on cloud security such as F5, not to mention that Cisco and Microsoft also provide their own cloud security services.



Quote for the day:


The first step is the most important, if we never start we have no chance to finish. -- Gordon Tredgold