Daily Tech Digest - January 03, 2021

Recommendations By Artificial Intelligence Vs. Humans: Who Will Win?

When pitted against recommendations by humans, AI need not necessarily always have a win-win situation. It is true that data-driven recommendations are always preferred; however, the preferences to accept humans and artificial intelligence based recommendations differ with respect to situation and use case. It all stems from the ‘word-of-machine effect.’ Recently, an article on “When Do We Trust AI’s Recommendations More Than People’s?” by University of Virginia’s Darden Business School Professor Luca Cian and Boston University’s Questrom School of Business Professor Chiara Longoni, was published in the Harvard Business Review. In the article, they explained this phenomena as a widespread belief that AI systems are more competent than humans in dispensing advice when utilitarian qualities are desired and are less competent when the hedonic qualities are desired. The article authors clarify that, it doesn’t imply that artificial intelligence is competent than humans at assessing and evaluating hedonic attributes nor are humans in the case of utilitarian attributes. As per their experiment results, suppose someone is focused on utilitarian and functional qualities, from a marketer’s perspective, the word of a machine is more effective than the word of human recommenders.

5 Unusual SEO Tactics That Will Boost Your Performance

Conversions occur when a visitor to your site completes a desired action/goal. That could be anything from making a purchase to signing up for your newsletter – you get to set the parameters for your conversion goals. When building out your pages, it’s important to keep these goals in mind in conjunction with your SEO strategy. Conversion goals and strategy should vary from organic to ad landing pages. However, you can learn from both marketing strategies. When building out a landing page, be sure to tailor it to a specific purpose. If you intend to use it for ads, it’s important to clearly display the information you advertised would be there. Likewise, if you’re optimizing a landing page for organic traffic, be sure that your content matches what you signal is there to search engines. Then, compare results! A landing page can act for ads and SEO in tandem, but only if you do it right. If you start noticing that your SEO traffic is converting much higher than your ads, then maybe it’s not the ideal landing page for your ads budget. But, if the landing page is meant to serve for both ads and SEO and SEO isn’t converting well at all, rethink your strategy. Why? Aside from the fact that you need to know where high-converting traffic comes from, Google is already aware of your stats.

Where Are The Self Driving Robotaxis Of India

When it comes to self-driving in India, there are only a handful of startups. Amongst these startups, those who are genuinely working on fundamental research are even fewer. According to Sanjeev Sharma, founder of Swaayatt Robots, solving self-driving problems requires fundamental research in the fields of theoretical computer science and applied mathematics. Although there are over 300 startups globally, most of the companies are working on DMS and ADAS (advanced driver assistance system). This is only one tiny problem of the autonomous driving problem. There are actually three bigger problems to solve — perception, planning, and localisation. If one tries to solve the problem very accurately, which is what most companies are doing, the challenge would be to minimise the computation time. ... The ugly truth is that self-driving technology is a tough nut to crack. We are at least five years away from even witnessing level 3 autonomy on roads. India has one of the toughest roads in the world. The models that work well in relatively empty roads of the United States will falter in Bengaluru or Delhi crowded roads. So, this is not just a problem exclusive to India. The world is yet to figure out self-driving tech.

Why Banks’ Digital Sales Efforts Still Aren’t Working

While the industry earned many kudos for pushing through so many Paycheck Protection Program loans as quickly as it did, D’Acierno says that experience also underscores the lack of digital readiness most institutions had. PPP was a relatively cookie-cutter program but getting applications completed and processed remotely took tremendous handholding and manual labor in many institutions, he explains. Few business owners interested in PPP assistance could find an Amazon-style customer experience, D’Acierno says. “Ideally, digital should be an easier channel,” says D’Acierno, “but the downside of digital is that the customer is just one click away from giving up and saying, ‘You’ve just made this too hard for me’.” Finding another potential bank or credit union is as close as doing a quick Google search, he points out. Solving the digital sales challenge is a practical matter, not an academic one. While they tend to have narrower product lines, direct banks and fintechs routinely operate where many mainstream banks haven’t been able to go, seamlessly. The problem: Consumers and business can obtain extensive online services from these newcomers and from nonfinancial companies, so the bar is higher for digital sales.

Data-driven 2021: Predictions for a new year in data, analytics and AI

George Fraser, CEO of Fivetran, says "I think 2021 will reveal the need for data lakes in the modern data stack is shrinking." Adding that "...there are no longer new technical reasons for adopting data lakes because data warehouses that separate compute from storage have emerged." If that's not categorical enough for you, Fraser sums things up thus: "In the world of the modern data stack, data lakes are not the optimal solution. They are becoming legacy technology." Data lake supporters are even more ardent. In a prediction he titled "The Data Lake Can Do What Data Warehouses Do and Much More", Tomer Shiran, co-founder of Dremio, says "data warehouses have historically had...advantages over data lakes. But that's now changing with the latest open source innovations in the data tier." He mentions Apache Parquet and Delta Lake as two such innovations and lesser known projects Apache Iceberg and Nessie as well. Together, these projects allow data to be stored in open, columnar formats across file systems, versioned and processed with transactional consistency. Martin Casado, General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz, put it this way: If you look at the use cases for data lakes vs. data analytics, it's very different.

Now AI is Knocking On The Doors of Luxurious Hotels

AI in hospitality and tourism is still a new development that has prospects for new earning models. Though chatbots exist, they can be taken to a new level. High-grade chatbots can effectively reduce the cost of hiring personnel. Combining AI with the right data mining and acquisition tools is essential for hotels to learn as much information about tourists and vacationers as possible. This way, hoteliers can tailor their experiences to meet specific individual needs. AI will be able to sort through big data faster and automate actions based on deduced inference. Hoteliers can incorporate mobile booking and hotel recommender engines with several other event booking software. This idea provides a “one-stop-shop” for event attendees to book for events and as well get hotel recommendations and be able to book for spaces; all within the same application. This solution will drive up booking numbers in no time and will bring mobile bookings closer to those who need it the most. Ultimately, the task of collecting and analyzing data will be streamlined by technology that is smart enough to make well-planned choices about guest behavior and characteristics. Incorporating artificial intelligence to solve user demands in the hospitality industry is a quantum leap forward in terms of implementable technologies.

How Will 5G Influence Healthcare Cybersecurity

While 5G is generally accepted to be more secure than the 4G we use now, the technology still poses a few notable risks. In November of 2019, a joint research initiative between security researchers at Purdue University and the University of Iowa revealed an incredible 11 significant vulnerabilities in studied 5G networks. The study noted that these security lapses could allow bad actors to surveil and disrupt device operations — or even launch falsified emergency alerts. These findings are troubling for the risks they highlight and because they prove that the vulnerabilities that 5G was meant to resolve are still an ongoing problem. Equally problematic is the ease with which these security holes can be abused. As a writer for TechCrunch noted in an article on the study, researchers “claimed that all the attacks could be exploited by an adversary with a practical knowledge of 5G and 4G networks and a low-cost software-defined radio.” All this said, cybersecurity in the 5G era does warrant some optimism. Because next-gen wireless tech is designed with network slicing in mind (i.e., organizing several isolated virtual networks within an overarching physical infrastructure) it will be harder for bad actors to access the broader system. Slicing also allows for better privacy, because information isn’t shared across isolated “slices,” and for better tailoring, because organizations can apply different policies across varying inner networks.

Resilience As A Competitive Advantage

The growing focus on resilience will likely follow the same trajectory we saw with security and privacy. In the 1980s and ’90s, computer security was an occasional irritant. Attacks, however, became more frequent, sophisticated and devastating, where commerce froze and real money was stolen. Security became centralized, and automated and users became more vigilant. Similarly, privacy was initially treated as a concept that would blow over. “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it,” joked Sun Microsystems co-founder and CEO Scott McNealy in 1999. In 2020, privacy has become one of the top concerns of consumers, investors, employees and regulators — and a difficult challenge for some of the top companies in health and technology. The increasing damage being inflicted by extreme weather and actions such as forced power outages in California has begun to compel us to confront our relative lack of preparedness. Covid-19 has further underscored this and made the idea of investing for unforeseen risks less of a sunk cost and more of a necessity — it has given shape, substance and urgency to worst-case-scenario planning. Three of the primary technologies for improving resilience will likely be AI, IoT and 5G.

Farewell to Flash

As the standardisation of HTML5 and supported media formats grew, the advantages of Flash for providing video declined, until it was primarily used for interactive games and some interactive applications. However, Flash suffered from the same issues that had meant the JVM didn't take off in browsers a decade earlier; constant updates for security vulnerabilities meant that Adobe Flash was the primary cause of CVEs in web browsers and infections. To be fair to both Flash and the JVM; downloading programs from the internet is always going to be a vector for vulnerabilities, and the security of a remote system is always going to be as good or bad as the implementation – and as the complexity of those runtimes grew, particularly in unmanaged languages like C++ – the danger was real. Even today, bugs in image rendering pipelines or font decoding are the primary cause of vulnerabilities in browsers. Flash's demise started with Steve Jobs' post "Thoughts on Flash" (web archive link), who had recently launched the iPhone in 2007 with 'always on' internet connectivity.

Quote for the day:

"Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish." -- Anne Bradstreet

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