Daily Tech Digest - November 11, 2017

It's become easier for firms to monitor employees and their activities as a means to thwart malicious insiders, employees making mistakes, or an attacker with compromised employee credentials. However, employees may find this to be an invasion of privacy. In September, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that companies must inform employees in advance if their work email accounts are going to be monitored. Further, such monitoring must not infringe upon workers' privacy, the court ruled. The EU GDPR also applies to employee privacy and data handling, and includes large fines for noncompliance. "Conventional wisdom dictates that mishandling of customer data will draw the ire of regulators, but employee data is personal data, and Forrester predicts that regulators will be just as likely to focus on employee privacy violations as they are customer violations," according to the report.

Android Security
Android security is always a hot topic on these here Nets of Inter — and almost always for the wrong reason. As we've discussed ad nauseam over the years, most of the missives you read about this-or-that super-scary malware/virus/brain-eating-boogie-monster are overly sensationalized accounts tied to theoretical threats with practically zero chance of actually affecting you in the real world. If you look closely, in fact, you'll start to notice that the vast majority of those stories stem from companies that — gasp! — make their money selling malware protection programs for Android phones.  The reality is that Google has some pretty advanced methods of protection in place for Android, and as long as you take advantage of those and use a little common sense, you'll almost certainly be fine. The biggest threat you should be thinking about is your own security surrounding your devices and accounts — and all it takes is a few minutes a year to make sure your setup is sound.

In today’s digital era, the implications of data breaches can be extremely far reaching. When valuable information is stolen from a company, the damage goes beyond initial cost to include brand reputation, customer loyalty and ultimately, revenue. Every company wants to avoid becoming tomorrow’s next mega breach headline, but one of the biggest missteps here is a lack of understanding that it’s no longer a matter of if a company will be breached, but when. October was National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and yet this month alone brought forth a number of troubling security incidents. While the security outlook may seem bleak these days, there are several measures organizations can implement to prevent breaches across their systems.

Artificial intelligence is going to completely change your life

Tapia, a concierge robot through which the hotel guests can control equipments in the room such as television, air conditioner or illumination by voice communication or touching the robot, is seen during a press preview for the newly-opening Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay in Urayasu, east of Tokyo, Japan March 15, 2017. Japan's second robot-run hotel Henn na Hotel ( 'strange hotel' in Japanese) opened on March 15, 2017 as the robot-staffed hotel near Tokyo, operating company H.I.S. Co. said.  REUTERS/Issei Kato
Just as electricity transformed the way industries functioned in the past century, artificial intelligence — the science of programming cognitive abilities into machines — has the power to substantially change society in the next 100 years. AI is being harnessed to enable such things as home robots, robo-taxis and mental health chatbots to make you feel better. A startup is developing robots with AI that brings them closer to human level intelligence. Already, AI has been embedding itself in daily life — such as powering the brains of digital assistants Siri and Alexa. It lets consumers shop and search online more accurately and efficiently, among other tasks that people take for granted. “AI is the new electricity,” said Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera and an adjunct Stanford professor who founded the Google Brain Deep Learning Project, in a keynote speech at the AI Frontiers conference that was held this past weekend in Silicon Valley.

How will AI change the future of banking and financial services?

Crooks are getting smarter about fooling the casual observer with their financial actions. It might take a forensic accountant to identify instances of illegal money laundering. This is not so when you combine machine learning use cases in finance with artificial intelligence. AI, armed with the knowledge of hundreds of forensic accountants, could quickly spot telltale activity. It makes the Federal Reserve, the FBI, and in some cases, the CIA happy; it increases the bank’s reputation; it increases the likelihood of appropriate taxation for the IRS; and, more than likely, it puts a significant dent in crime.  ... It also works for identifying employees for access to restricted areas, or the ability to perform specific actions. It can even identify a pre-actions characteristic of a robbery before it happens, and alert staff, security, and the police before it occurs.

“Unlearn” to Unleash Your Data Lake

Figure 2:  Data Science Engagement Process
It takes years – sometimes a lifetime – to perfect certain skills in life: hitting a jump shot off the dribble, nailing that double high C on the trumpet, parallel parking a Ford Expedition. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book, “Outliers,” discussing the amount of work – 10,000 hours – required to perfect a skill (while the exactness of 10,000 hours has come under debate, it is still a useful point that people need to invest considerable time and effort to master a skill). But once we get comfortable with something that we feel that we have mastered, we become reluctant to change. We are reluctant to unlearn what we’ve taken so long to master. Changing your point of release on a jump shot or your embouchure for playing lead trumpet is dang hard! Why? Because it is harder to unlearn than it is to learn. It is harder to un-wire all those synoptic nerve endings and deep memories than it was to wire them in the first place.

Are You Ready to Have a Robot as Your Boss?

Are You Ready to Have a Robot as Your Boss?
While there is much focus on the adverse implications of the AI and robot revolution on frontline jobs, it can impact the roles of professionals and managers, too. AI could replace routine administrative tasks and financial-based decision-making processes. Managers need to think of strategies to educate and prepare workers and assist them with job realignment. They should also take actions to reduce increased income inequality, such as reduced workweeks and skills training. Managers will also have to redefine and rethink their roles and consider collaboration and creative thinking with AI and robots. They will be able to collaborate with intelligent systems by using them as an advisor or assistant to help them explore different scenarios or evaluate the consequences of their decisions.

What Tech Is Getting Wrong With The Culture Of Youth

Individuals who have experience in product development know the ropes and have seen complex products through from their development and ongoing iterations. While today’s products may go from conceptualization to implementation faster than ever before, the process is complex and requires highly skilled individuals. And once a product is live, it requires constant iterations, improvements and changes in order to keep up with customer expectations. And this means … Building an iterative system is complex. Systems should not have an expiration date — they evolve over time. Software products constantly change. If you need to replace the system over time, then you are not doing it right. As Uzi stated to me, “This is why I still love to code: You are creating products that will be forever, and they will evolve, but you need to build this into the product.”

Artificial Intelligence Is a Game-Changer for Risk Management in Finance

The prevalence of data-driven decisions and artificial intelligence will also have impact on the kinds of jobs at financial services firms. A recent report by the consulting firm McKinsey estimated that about 50% of staff today are dedicated to risk-related operational processes such as credit administration while 15% focus on analytics. The firm suggests that by 2025 – thanks to the rise in technological advances – the numbers will shift closer to 25% on operational processes and 40% on analytics. One change that is already taking place: the roles of chief technology officer, information officer and chief data officer are starting to see more overlap. These roles were previously disparate, but as investments become more data-driven, CTOs, CIOs and CDOs are finding they need to work together. 

Culture: a Farming Tale

The soil of your company must encompass a culture of learning. The concept of learning is comprised of other concepts such as motivation, curiosity, logic, problem solving, and comprehension. Embedding these concepts in your soil can be achieved with dedication to growth. Nutrients for your soil include activities such as mentoring programs, online subscriptions to tech tutorials, a sizable and accessible training budget (many companies forgo training since turnover is high in their organizations - is this causality?), clear career paths, and tuition reimbursement. Many companies which do not possess large financial assets can substitute feature development for innovation cycles, but something more than a one-day hack-a-thon would be preferable and more productive.

Quote for the day:

"Information is pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience." -- Clarence Day

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