Daily Tech Digest - November 26, 2017

A Global Collaboration to Create “Artificial Organisms” Just Went Live

Image credit: Mindfire
Many experts agree that the development of artificial intelligence will be a significant paradigm shift for humanity. Author James Barrat calls AI “our final invention.” Dr. Ben Goertzel, a robotics scientist and Chairman of SingularityNET, a private AI software company, echoes this sentiment, saying that the advent of AI will cause all human invention to become obsolete. Kaufmann likens true AI with the myth of Prometheus giving fire to humanity: the technology, he believes, will start a new chapter for human-kind. Even more, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that the country that leads in AI development “will be the ruler of the world.” Which is exactly what Mindfire is hoping to prevent. “Mindfire is not owned by a company, it’s not owned or triggered by a government, it is organized by the people and for the people.” 

High-flying cryptos: Digital currencies and the bubble question

High-flying cryptos: Digital currencies and the bubble question
The curiosity and openness is tempered by what Constantin Gurdgiev, an academic and economic researcher and advisor writing for financial analysis website Seeking Alpha, describes as "an unknowable bubble". He references the chart below, which has been doing the rounds in crypto circles recently. ... He argues cogently that, although it is difficult to judge whether the chart shows bitcoin to be in a bubble, "Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. But, taken together with the general lack of credible fundamentals-linked modelling of the crypto-currency, this means that, at this point in time, Bitcoin price can be potentially driven solely by… err… expectations held by its enthusiasts, plus the incentives by the predominantly China-based investors to avoid extreme risks of capital controls and expropriations."

In These Small Cities, AI Advances Could Be Costly

“Big cities provide greater opportunities for synergies among creative, highly technical people, and that’s why they attract them,” explains Iyad Rahwan, an associate professor at MIT and the corresponding author of the paper. “The other dynamic is that cashiers and waiters are less idle in big cities than small cities, so large cities need fewer of them in proportion to their size.” As a result, he says, large cities have fewer routinized occupations that are more likely to be automated and relatively more technical and managerial occupations, which are less likely to be impacted by automation. ... The study is likely to draw comparisons to other recent high-profile economic analyses of automation and jobs. A 2013 University of Oxford paper estimated the susceptibility to “computerization” of more than 700 occupation types and forecast that 47 percent of U.S. employment was at “high risk” of automation

These 7 Disruptive Technologies Could Be Worth Trillions of Dollars

Scientists, technologists, engineers, and visionaries are building the future. Amazing things are in the pipeline. It’s a big deal. But you already knew all that. Such speculation is common. What’s less common? Scale. How big is big? “Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, Silicon Dock, all of the Silicons around the world, they are dreaming the dream. They are innovating,” Catherine Wood said at Singularity University’s Exponential Finance in New York. “We are sizing the opportunity. That’s what we do.” Wood is founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management, a research and investment company focused on the growth potential of today’s disruptive technologies. Prior to ARK, she served as CIO of Global Thematic Strategies at AllianceBernstein for 12 years. “We believe innovation is key to growth,” Wood said.

The Next Frontier in Blockchain Technology: Scaling and Commercial Optimization

The Next Frontier in Blockchain Technology: Scaling and Commercial Optimization
The architecture of the operating systems establishes a well organized “Central Business District.” In this business district each industry has its own dedicated side chain--a one to one scenario where specific issues and problems receive direct attention via the corresponding chain. The highly customizable platforms consist of one main chain, or kernel, that forms the minimum viable Blockchain. As the backbone of the operating system this main chain is used as the core from which custom operating systems can be developed. Developers can use the operating system to create specific configurations, providing adaptability that has so far eluded certain Blockchain projects. So how does this all impact scalability? In essence, a Blockchain-based operating system creates different streams (side chains) which handle very specific tasks.

What Is Blockchain Technology?

As discussed, Bitcoin’s “blockchain” allows for the creation of a unique and scarce digital asset where everyone knows the history of each bitcoin. A single bitcoin is not just a string of ones and zeros, but the first successful (at least so far) censor-proof, portable, easily transactable, durable, and secure digital asset. Bitcoin’s value is subject to the same supply-and-demand mechanics found in any marketplace. If investors find the above characteristics valuable and demand for bitcoin grows, bitcoin’s price rises and vice versa. Bitcoin’s supply is limited to 21M coins (although only about 17M have been mined so far). You can do the math, but as of this writing investors value bitcoin at upwards of $120B in aggregate. To give a sense of how the market values other cryptocurrencies, here’s some market information about some of the top ones

The Uncertain Future of Bitcoin Futures

There is a notion, popular in some circles, that the point of an investment bank is to sell people securities that will go up: that it has a duty to its customers to carefully curate its product offerings and sell them only the stuff that it personally believes in. This is not the point of an investment bank. JPMorgan sits between people who want to buy a thing and people who want to sell the thing, and it intermediates their trades. Diversity of opinion -- some people think the thing will go up, others think it will go down -- is what makes a market. If JPMorgan could only trade with clients after satisfying itself that they are right, it would never do any trades. ... Individuals and institutions who handle bitcoins, meanwhile, have been reduced to writing their private keys on scraps of paper and putting those scraps of paper in safe deposit boxes.

What Artificial Intelligence In Hands Of Adversaries Means For Cyber Defense

Security researchers have already demonstrated how AI can be used in cyberattacks. The Social Network Automated Phishing with Reconnaissance system, or SNAP_R, is a machine learning system that was as successful as a human when spear-phishing Twitter users. SNAP_R used a variety of AI-based approaches to suggest high-value targets and generate quality spear-phishing messaging based on the targets' previous tweets. Moreover, what makes SNAP_R noteworthy is the amount of phishing tweets it sent in the two-hour contest against a human. SNAP_R delivered more than four times as many spear-phishing tweets as the human did, suggesting future AI enabled cyberattacks could have a wider digital reach. AI tools can also generate fake messaging for spear-phishing attacks. SNAP_R demonstrates how these tools can accurately reflect a victim’s language patterns by monitoring personal data, such as social media accounts.

The Power of Self-Service Data Analytics in Financial Services

A self-service approach can help financial institutions break down siloes and connect data within. In the IBM report, only 53% of banking and financial markets set up their big data infrastructure to include information integration. As the use of analytics spread across organizations, particularly outside of IT, balancing governance and access becomes key for marketers to quickly acquire the trusted, accurate information they need for timely, personalized services and promotions. Sophisticated, user-friendly, self-service data analytics capabilities can also deliver untold benefits for risk management and compliance, enabling banks and financial institutions to assess and optimize risk exposure across business units. By empowering business people to analyze their own data, more people within the organization will be able to uncover hidden insights without relying on IT specialists or programmers.

Enterprise architecture and digital transformation: A framework for success

It’s important to note EA is no longer about modeling architecture, according to GCN. EA enables a common language for collaboration in digital environments. This language is a foundation for digital transformation for commercial and public-sector organizations alike. Different businesses have different technology needs and requirements. Thus, there’s more than one EA framework out there. For example, there’s the TOGAF EA model, which serves the needs of a variety of architectures. There’s also the NIST EA modeland federal EA, targeting the needs of government agencies. And though it’s an ambitious project for all but the largest organizations, there are proprietary EA models that aren’t available on the open market.

Quote for the day:

"Successful leadership requires positive self-regard fused with optimism about a desired outcome." -- Warren Bennis