Daily Tech Digest - March 18, 2017

So if Watson isn't a giant artificial brain that will be used to power our robot overlords, what is it then? IBM says it's all about cognitive computing. It's the ability to take completely "unstructured data" – i.e. data where there is currently no relevance or any reason to connect it to anything else – process all that data and detect new patterns so that humans don't have to figure it out all by themselves. Big data analytics, whereby humans look at statistics from different aspects of their business all at once and then use it to make decisions, is already commonplace. But let's say you throw in something completely unexpected, such as a power surge or a major political event. This changes the data, and suddenly the computer doesn't have great advice to give.

Machine learning can also aid the cyber enemy

"The concern about this is that one might find that an adversary is able to control, in a big-data environment, enough of that data that they can feed you in misdirection," said Dr Deborah Frincke, head of the Research Directorate (RD) of the US National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS). Adversarial machine learning, as Frincke called it, is "a thing that we're starting to see emerge, a bit, in the wild". It's a path that we might reasonably believe will continue, she said. As one example, an organisation may decide to use machine learning to develop a so-called "sense of self" of its own networks, and build a self-healing capability on top of that. But what if an attacker gets inside the network or perhaps was even inside the network before the machine learning process started?

Server Storage I/O: Converged (CI) and Hyper-Converged (HCI)

"What is the best CI, CIB, or HCI solution, product, or vendor?" Of course, if you know me, my answer is, "It depends." It depends on what you are trying, need, or want to do. It also depends on your applications, along with their current and future growth needs — among other questions. I also turn the question around and ask people what they are looking for, or why they want CI, CIB, HCI, as well as what they want or need as their point of convergence? For example, are they looking to converge around hardware (e.g. servers, storage or networking), software (hypervisors, operating systems, data services), dashboards or other management tools, interfaces, data protection, some applications, or perhaps a particular product or vendor?

The New Age of Marketing

Today, SEO is still incredibly important. Companies spend tremendous time and resources trying to keep their search results in the top slots of a Google search. But times, they are a-changing. Desktop web searches are in decline, and Google is dominant. As Google stretches for revenue growth, they have slowly, but surely, annexed the natural search results and converted this valuable real estate to advertising. They are turning free-riders into taxpayers. Their paid advertising results are so good and relevant that it’s debatable whether they are poisoning the consumer well, which would leave the door open for companies whose search results are “natural.” Some of my smart colleagues hope so, but I’m not so sure. In the travel vertical, for example, Expedia is big enough to pay for those top search results

10 Principles of Strategy through Execution

Any company can follow the same path as these successful firms, and an increasing number of companies are doing just that. If you join them, you will need to cultivate the ability to translate the strategic into the everyday. This means linking strategy and execution closely together by creating distinctive, complex capabilities that set your company apart, and applying them to every product and service in your portfolio. These capabilities combine all the elements of execution — technology, human skills, processes, and organizational structures — to deliver your company’s chosen value proposition. How do you accomplish this on a day-to-day basis? How do you get the strategists and implementers in your company to work together effectively? These 10 principles, derived from our experience at Strategy&, can help you avoid common pitfalls and accelerate your progress.

11 DIY Projects to Turn Your House Into a Smart Home

The smart home revolution definitely isn’t happening overnight. Even with a flood of new devices and platforms available, most of us are still only inching toward fully automated homes. Still, you can take matters into your own hands and speed up the rate of progress with these DIY smart home systems. ... Not only is the Amazon Echo an incredibly handy device to have around the (smart) home, it’s also an easy way for developers to build voice commands into their projects. For that very reason, we have this DIY project for getting temperature and humidity readings from your Amazon smart home speaker. Some hardware hacking and software coding is required to get it finished. The aforementioned Particle Photon is the board doing most of the work in terms of collecting the data that the Echo (and Alexa) can then access with a little bit of coding. You’re also going to need a temperature sensor for the raw data, as well as an Alexa Skill Set that understands what you want

These are the fintech segments most likely to grow in 2017

Going forward, we are likely to see funding growth correspond with application share. The study's findings offer a reliable if narrow indicator of which segments will see growth this year. As such, we are likely to see the most investment deals emerge in the areas of cloud and other core technologies, AI and machine learning, and customer data analytics, as they continue to evolve rapidly and present untapped opportunities for investors to seize. We’ve entered the most profound era of change for financial services companies since the 1970s brought us index mutual funds, discount brokers and ATMs. No firm is immune from the coming disruption and every company must have a strategy to harness the powerful advantages of the new fintech revolution.

How AI will help us decipher millennials

Are they really such a complex generation that we must resort to artificial intelligence to figure out what they want and to keep them coming back for more? Turns out they are, and AI is indeed the ultimate weapon in the fight for the millennial generation’s ever-shortening attention span. Luckily, rapid strides in the field of machine learning will help unravel what this fickle “target market” really wants. Machine learning is a crystal ball in the world of AI. It analyzes existing data and — through complex algorithms — predicts what will happen in similar cases in the future. Machine learning service providers aim to help organizations understand how they can interact with millennials in a way that will drive sales. They say if you want to connect with millennials, make a chatbot.

A Growing Talent Shortfall Can Leave Apps Vulnerable

The traditional career trajectory of those currently in cybersecurity has placed very little emphasis on application security. With the direction things are headed, that’s a problem. According to Verizon’s Digital Breach Investigation Report, the number one source of data lost in cyber-attacks is the web application level, a vulnerability that is increasingly problematic as we move to a mobile-centric landscape. The issue that many companies face, specifically in application security, is that there are too many code vulnerabilities. This creates more work for the IT talent who need to deal with the flaws. ... With a worldwide shortage of skilled cyber-experts, the question remains; how can companies continue to gain ground on the malicious hackers? If the talent isn’t there, how can they defend their systems?

In Cyber, Who Do We Trust to Protect the Business?

As part of the effort to strengthen investor trust and public confidence in board-level cyber risk oversight practices, NACD has created the first credentialed course dedicated to board member cyber literacy. The NACD Cyber-Risk Oversight Program was launched in concert with Ridge Global —led by former Governor Tom Ridge, first US Secretary of Homeland Security — and the CERT Division of the SEI, a federally-funded research and development center sponsored by the Department of Defense, based at Carnegie Mellon University. The program is a first-of-its-kind online course that goes in-depth on issues such as cybersecurity leadership, effective security structure, and the role of the board. Leaders who complete the course and pass the exam earn the CERT Certificate in Cybersecurity Oversight, issued by Carnegie Mellon.

Quote for the day:

"Innovation comes from the producer - not from the customer." -- W. Edwards Deming

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