August 06, 2015

Teaching Machines to Understand Us

A neural network can “learn” words by spooling through text and calculating how each word it encounters could have been predicted from the words before or after it. By doing this, the software learns to represent every word as a vector that indicates its relationship to other words—a process that uncannily captures concepts in language. The difference between the vectors for “king” and “queen” is the same as for “husband” and “wife,” for example. The vectors for “paper” and “cardboard” are close together, and those for “large” and “big” are even closer. The same approach works for whole sentences (Hinton says it generates “thought vectors”), and Google is looking at using it to bolster its automatic translation service.

IBM Launches New Enterprise Open Source and IoT Dev Communities

The new developerWorks Recipes space is aimed at devs working on IoT applications for IBM's Bluemix Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), an implementation of the company's Cloud-Foundry-based Open Cloud Architecture. The space will provide "recipes," which the company defines as "developer-focused, user-contributed, step-by-step tutorials" for linking machines to Bluemix. The community space will allow members to add their own ingredients to those recipes, to edit existing recipes, and to publish their own -- all of which are shared on the site. ... "With developerWorks Open, we are open sourcing additional IBM innovations that we feel have the potential to grow the community and ecosystem and eventually become established technologies."

Next-generation security for a mobile culture: 10 risks, seven pointers

Trends like consumerization and BYOD have "encouraged" our corporate establishment (in most cases) to embrace mobility and take steps to ensure continued security. Today's enterprise are challenged by creating and maintaining mobile strategies that are aligned to business objectives and processes and are integrated within overall infrastructure and cybersecurity architectures that support mobile workers within the "workplace," which can be during work hours within physical places; behind enterprise firewalls; or, more simply described, anytime, anywhere using any device and/or network that is available. EMM helps to bring order to this seemingly unmanageable chaos.

Obama pushes tech startup community for more diversity

Obama noted that startups and young companies collectively account for nearly 40 percent of new hires, but cited studies finding that less than 3 percent of venture-backed firms employ a woman as a CEO, and not even 1 percent were founded by an African American. "Yet we've seen again and again that companies with diverse leadership often outperform those that don't," Obama said. ... Top venture-capital firms are getting in on the act, as well. More than 40 VC firms, including the likes of Kleiner Perkins and Andreesen Horowitz, are committing to promote diversity in the startups they invest in, and have agreed to participate in an industry survey evaluating diversity both at the VC shops and their portfolio companies, with the results to be made public.

Capitalizing on Digital Disruptions

First, organizations need to provide employees with the right tools. Often, employees have to deal with using slower and older devices at work or not having access to the applications and tools that they want. Instead of employers prohibiting social tools in the workplace, organizations should provide employees with the tools they want to use to collaborate with colleagues. An organization that has done a good job with this is IBM. They have implemented a number of technology-based platforms like a “social dashboard” that tracks employee participation in a variety of work-related social interaction activities. This platform tracks an employee’s collaboration with others, reaction to other people’s posts, sharing of thought leadership or ideas, and the strength of their internal network.

Artificial intelligence fears overblown, says AI expert Sir Nigel Shadbolt

Shadbolt disagrees. “I don't think we will see large-scale mass destruction of jobs in the way people imagine.” Although it will cause a lot of upheaval, Shadbolt believes AI will help to create as well as remove jobs. It has already led to new, previously unimagined job titles like 'database custodian', he said. “There are a whole bunch of knowledge-intensive jobs nowadays that exist that wouldn’t have existed, editing online books or online content, for example. “Look at the overall balance. Some professions where relatively routine knowledge is involved will come under more automation. But as soon as it gets complex, as soon as you need to know the limits of your understanding, that's what people are able to do that machines can't,” he said.

Man-In-The-Cloud Owns Your DropBox, Google Drive -- Sans Malware

The deed is done via a tool Imperva has developed called Switcher. The attacker social-engineers the victim into running this simple code that will install a new synchronization token -- one for a cloud account owned by the attacker. The victim's machine will instead sync with the attacker's account, so that a copy of the synchronization token for the victim's legitimate account will be stored in the attacker's account. From then on, the two are synched. The process takes only seconds. Then all the attacker needs to do to hide their tracks is switch it all back. They delete their own synchronization token from the registry, put the user's token back where it belongs, and only a careful look at log files would show any anomalies.

5 decisions a CTO needs to make on day one

In our ever-connected world, the role of chief technology officer (CTO) continues to rise in prominence as one of the key decision makers within a company. From traditional IT to web development and everything in between — the CTO's role is expanding by the day. As new technologies and innovations begin to disrupt the workflow of more and more industries and departments, the CTO must stay ahead of the curve in understanding these changes. Successful leaders always have a plan, and the CTO is no different. Whether you've recently changed companies, or been promoted to the role, it's important to self-reflect early and determine how you'll help move the company forward.

Take Control of Hadoop with a Data-Centric Approach to Security

With data-centric security, sensitive field-level data elements are replaced with usable, but de-identified, equivalents that retain their format, behavior and meaning. This means you modify only the sensitive data elements so they are no longer real values, and thus are no longer sensitive, but they still look like legitimate data. The format-preserving approach can be used with both structured and semi-structured data. This is also called “end-to-end data protection” and provides an enterprise-wide solution for data protection that extends into Hadoop and beyond that environment. This protected form of the data can then be used in subsequent applications, analytic engines, data transfers and data stores.

Absolutely Fabulous Big Data Roles

I know that many people will question the need to create new roles in statistical analysis, qualitative analysis, and data architecture and management. Therefore, I must admit that I also shy away from the invention of new terms, especially when they may seem to be superfluous and misleading. However, I feel that the spirit of the times is calling out for a revolution in how we view and appreciate the world of data professionals and the place of Big Data in the rich tapestry of life. Some of the new roles detailed here may not be immediately familiar or intuitive, and some of the responsibilities may seem to be somewhat onerous or even trivial. Nevertheless, this is not accidental. As what has lead me here is the desire to formulate a coherent and cohesive response to the IT industries sea change with respect to disruptive and game-changing innovations such as Cloud data centres, the Internet of Things and Big Data.

Quote for the day:

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

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