Daily Tech Digest - December 03, 2016

Inside the black box: Understanding AI decision-making

Sometimes, bias can be introduced via the data on which neural network-based algorithms are trained. In July this year, for example, Rachael Tatman, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Linguistics Department at the University of Washington, found that Google's speech recognition system performed better for male voices than female ones when auto-captioning a sample of YouTube videos, a result she ascribed to 'unbalanced training sets' with a preponderance of male speakers. As Tatman noted, a few incorrect YouTube captions aren't going to cause any harm, but similar speech recognition biases in medical or connected-car applications, for example, would be another matter altogether.

New workplace is agile and nonstop

“Work has changed, and everyone needs more expertise, more consultation,” said Pamela Hinds, a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford. “There’s more speed with which projects have to get out, because of competition, and people are pulled on and off projects much more.” At the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney, a government-mandated transition from traditional computers to cloud-computing systems has everyone planning exhibitions and raising money on Jira, a software development tool for managing cloud projects quickly. “We change light bulbs on Jira. It’s how we plan all our exhibitions,” said Dan Collins, head of digital and media at the museum. “Things move a lot faster, with fewer meetings. Tools are more important than organizational charts.”

The Top 7 Big Data Trends for 2017

The most well-known platform for smart contracts is Ethereum. Ethereum is a decentralised platform for applications (DApps) that run exactly as programmed without any chance of fraud, censorship or third-party interference. Although Ethereum is still a very young platform, and has some challenges with involuntary hard forks, the opportunities of irreversible smart contracts linked together on a platform like Ethereum are enormous. Multiple startups are developing similar platforms such as Synereo, Maidsafe or the latest platform Ardor. They are all trying to build the decentralised internet. 2017 will see these platforms growing up, although we will probably also see some issues related to these platforms. However, slowly the technology of a decentralised internet is growing up and smart contracts will be an important part of Blockchain 2.0.

Big Data Poised to Get Much Bigger in 2017

Businesses today have more data than ever, which is growing rapidly, but if they do not know how to leverage that data, it becomes almost impossible to demonstrate the value of any Big Data project. “This could be due to the fact that many Big Data projects don’t have a tangible return on investment (ROI) that can be determined upfront,” said Heudecker. “Another reason could be that the Big Data initiative is a part of a larger funded initiative. This will become more common as the term “Big Data” fades away, and dealing with larger datasets and multiple data types continues to be the norm.” “That is the very reason why companies like Xavient exist,” said Sabharwal. He added “Xavient is committed to providing customers with tailored capabilities and solution flexibility and making our real-time data analysis solutions ubiquitous in an enterprise.”

Augmented reality, AI, and autonomous delivery -- is this the future of food?

Just Eat wants to continue harnessing the power of technology to ensure it continues to grow its customer base and keeps them as satisfied as possible -- and not just with their food, but with the whole online ordering experience as the takeaway industry grows. "Technology is at the heart of everything we do at Just Eat. We are always seeking ways to help our restaurant partners grow and ensure new and existing customers have a reliable, convenient and, increasingly, fun experience when they order from us," said David Buttress, chief executive of Just Eat, at the event. The company's development team is working on projects involving augmented reality, virtual reality, chat bots, voice communication, and even robots as it looks towards meeting the demands of the customer of tomorrow.

Blockchain Technology – What Is It and How Will It Change Your Life?

Blockchain means that we may no longer have to use the layers of bureaucracy in order to reduce uncertainty. Warburg sees the potential of blockchain as an extension of Nobel Prize winning economist Douglass North’s ‘New Institutional Economics’. Institutions, in this context, are just the rules (and organisations, whether informal or formal) that implement them e.g. the law or just bribery. “As Douglass North saw it, institutions are a tool to lower uncertainty so that we can connect and exchange all kinds of value in society. And I believe we are now entering a further and radical evolution of how we interact and trade, because for the first time, we can lower uncertainty not just with political and economic institutions, like our banks, our corporations, our governments, but we can do it with technology alone.”

The 6 Ds of Tech Disruption: A Guide to the Digital Economy

The structure of organizations is changing. Instead of thousands of employees and large physical plants, modern start-ups are small organizations focused on information technologies. ... It no longer takes a huge corporation to have a huge impact. Technology is disrupting traditional industrial processes, and they’re never going back. This disruption is filled with opportunity for forward-thinking entrepreneurs. The secret to positively impacting the lives of millions of people is understanding and internalizing the growth cycle of digital technologies. This growth cycle takes place in six key steps, which Peter Diamandis calls the Six Ds of Exponentials: digitization, deception, disruption, demonetization, dematerialization, and democratization.

Preparing your enterprise for IoT and automation in the workplace

Fog computing is a distributed computing approach where application services may be controlled at the network edge in a smart device and some application services are controlled in a remote data center or cloud environment. Fog computing allows a considerable amount of processing to occur at the edge of the network in a smart router or other gateway device. See also Mobile Edge Computing . The ability to process and analyze data at the edge becomes even more important as it reduces latency, provides for real-time analytics and quick decision-making, and works best where we have a high volume of sensor or connected devices. Specific industries where this makes the most sense are those in industrial verticals, smart cities, intelligent buildings, oil and gas or energy, and others.

Technologies for the Future of Software Engineering

Continuous delivery requires all teams to communicate through the codebase by doing continuous integration to the trunk. Teams keep the software always production-ready; if that’s not the case you have to stop and make it so. While deployment is continuous, release is incremental by toggle or switch whenever a useful increment or capability is ready. Continuous delivery provides essential end-to-end feedback, argued Poppendieck. Research indicates that product managers are wrong half the time, and that two third of the features and functions in a specification are unnecessary. This is a consequence of trying to decide what to build in detail before trying experiments to see if a feature really addresses the problem at hand.

Balancing Employee Privacy with Company Security in Mobile Policies

The figures are shocking- a recent study from the Ponemon Institute found 70 percent of respondents believe that the failure to secure company data on mobile devices results in data breaches. The study also found 67 percent believe it’s certain or likely that data breaches are caused due to employees using mobile devices to access sensitive and confidential company information. Only 33 percent of respondents believe their organization is vigilantly protecting sensitive or confidential data from unauthorized employee access. In addition to lax monitoring of employee usage, there are other ways employees can invite hackers and breaches into company systems. Accessing or using unsecured Wi-Fi in public places, such as airports or hotels, can allow hackers to view everything employees work on and download.

Quote for the day:

"All progress takes place outside the comfort zone." -- Michael John Bobak

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