Daily Tech Digest - January 10, 2021

Regulatory innovation advances in the face of Covid-19

“Regulators want to understand the impact Covid-19 is having on the markets, industries and sectors they regulate,” Rowan adds. “They simply don’t have access to good data to make informed decisions within the context of Covid-19.” Notably, communication and coordination were also raised as hindrances to the planning and implementation of regulatory initiatives. 39% of respondents noted challenges regarding difficulty with external communications and coordination with other domestic agencies, while the prioritisation of funding and resources and speed of delivery also beleaguered initiative projects. 28% of respondents also cited that restricted access to and availability to necessary technology was proving to be prohibitive. Despite these challenges, the pressure of the pandemic has sparked a surge in pace and progress for existing and new regulatory initiatives. Rowan furthers that “the report found up to 80% of regulatory innovation initiatives have been impacted in some way by Covid-19. Typically, but not always, resulting in the acceleration of these initiatives.” For instance, around one in three respondents say that Covid-19 has accelerated their regulatory sandbox initiatives.

Which? online banking investigation reveals ‘worrying gaps’ in security

“While online banking is a largely safe way to manage money and this is being enhanced by measures such as behavioural biometrics, Which? is concerned that the issues exposed in our investigation highlight that banks could do more to prioritise security above all else.” It said there were instances where scammers could potentially access information, which could be used as part of a sophisticated scam. “They could gain enough sensitive information to pull off convincing cons, such as posing as a bank employee to persuade a customer to transfer money from their bank account to a fraudulent one,” it said. When testing Tesco Bank online, researchers found security headers missing from its webpages. These, it said, protect against a range of cyber attacks by telling browsers how to behave when communicating with websites. According to researchers, it failed to block testers from logging in to the website from two computer networks at the same time and did not log out testers when switching to another website or using the forward and back buttons to leave the session and return to it. During its investigation, Which? also revealed that TSB’s login process did not meet new regulations on strong customer authentication (SCA), introduced in March.

5 Benefits Of Using AI In Customer Service

AI tools can be programmed to handle simple, linear tasks. Since the tool 'takes over' and helps shave off some of the routine workload, your live agents can spend their valuable time servicing customers who are annoyed or engaging in problem-solving/creative tasks that require a human touch and cannot be resolved by a bot. This is true for businesses, both big and small. A tech business, for example, can depend on AI to regulate day to day tasks such as handling basic queries during time off. This way, service reps can have a more relaxed day handling objections. Similarly, small business owners, such as spas, salons or barbershops, can use AI capabilities to get detailed information around their client’s likes and dislikes when they book an online appointment. Needless to say, such clients will return to them again due to the elevated business experience. Furthermore, your AI support technology does not need repetitive training as these intelligent tools tend to self-learn and adapt with time and experience. Key takeaway: AI tools can take over simple, tier-1 tasks so that your agents can use their valuable time and energy in driving complex tasks. As you can imagine, this optimized use of resources has a business as well as financial advantages.

What will happen to bitcoin and crypto this year?

By design, bitcoin creates bubble cycles where you have increased demand, supply shocks, and rising prices. The mimetic desire to own bitcoin at these prices has a reflexive effect on the demand and price and causes the price to skyrocket even more as supply is limited. The difference to the bitcoin bubble in 2017 is that, even though we have reached all-time highs currently, you haven’t really seen any of the mania or hype coming from retail at this point. If you compare, for example, bitcoin Google searches to that of 2017, you will see that the all-time high this time has been going mainly unnoticed in the mainstream retail press. That implies that there’s still a lot of upside for 2021. This recent bubble has been mainly driven by the High-Net-Worth Individuals and Family Offices, Institutions and Corporates that have put bitcoin on their balance sheets, like Microstrategy, Square or Mode.. We’ve seen a lot of big macro investors that have publicly been stating that they have built positions which has then removed career risk from hedge fund managers, and also CFO’s that speak about bitcoin, which is a new thing compared to last time. In my opinion, it will soon be a career risk not to actively consider bitcoin for your investment strategy or your corporate treasury strategy.

IT leadership: 3 practices to let go of in 2021

Many of us in technology keep a close eye on competitors – it’s important to understand your place in the industry. But following the lead of competitors in the current business environment will only distract you from what your company really needs: to double down your focus on your customers and your employees. Due to the uncertainty that pervades virtually all aspects of commerce today, your customers deserve first consideration. Their priorities have shifted. If you’re a vendor or partner, some of the new concerns may be evident to you, but many aren’t. It’s critical to listen to your customers carefully and with empathy, responding with new programs, solutions, and policies that answer urgent needs. ... In today’s world, all sorts of metrics have compressed – none more vital than timeframes. That means leaders across the organization should be evaluating plans not by the traditional annual cadence, but monthly and even weekly. Companies that are able to iterate more than once every 12 months will be the high achievers of 2021. Agility in predicting and responding to change isn’t a luxury anymore. It’s the sign of an enterprise that knows how to conduct business in modern times.

Three ways to unmask a mobile spy

Although spying apps try to conceal themselves, most reveal their presence in one way or another. Mobile data running out quicker than expected or the battery dying similarly fast are two red flags. If you notice either problem, be on your guard and check which apps are consuming your phone’s resources. The settings you need have different names depending on the device; look for something like Data usage and Battery, respectively. If the device turns on Wi-Fi, mobile Internet, or geolocation, even though you turned them off, again, look at which apps are eating data and accessing your location. For more information, see our post about checking Android permissions, or read about iOS permissions on Apple’s website. If you don’t find anything on your Android phone, but you still suspect someone may be spying on you, check which apps have access to Accessibility (Settings -> Accessibility). Accessibility lets apps snoop on other programs, alter settings, and do a lot of other things acting as the user. That makes the permission very useful to spyware. When we say Accessibility is one of the most potentially dangerous permissions in Android, we really mean it. Give that kind of access to your antivirus utility, but nothing else.

How to (not) write an AI pitch

Before we proceed to actual AI pitches, let me point out that there’s an important difference between doing AI research and developing commercial AI products. AI research is what you see at conferences such as NeurIPS, ICLR, and CVPR. The goal is to push the boundaries of science, not to create applications that have a working business model. AI products, on the other hand, are about putting existing technologies to effective use and solving problems that many people face in their daily lives. AI research eventually finds its way into applications, but it takes time. Pitching AI research is not very hard, given the paper presents a genuine idea. Starting with the subject of your email, you should explicitly state that you’re pitching a research paper. You can do this by starting your subject with “Research:” followed by the key point in your research solves. If the paper has been accepted at a major AI conference or published in a peer-reviewed journal, mention the name of the venue in the subject. This shows at first glance that your work has been verified and confirmed by experts in the field. Note, however, that acceptance at a major conference of publication is not an absolute requirement. In the past few years, I’ve covered several papers that were only published on arXiv without being presented at any conference.

Top Crypto and Blockchain Predictions for 2021 and Beyond – Part 1

As we head into 2021, leading digital asset exchange Binance has announced that it plans to continue taking regulations more seriously, but multiple warnings from regulators suggest otherwise. This year, we can expect a lot more regulatory scrutiny, especially from regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and also from UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – which has also begun to crack down on unauthorized businesses pretending or posing to be licensed. As the digital assets and distributed ledger technology (DLT) industry continues to mature, we can expect that regulators will develop a much better and clearer understanding of these open-source protocols. With more awareness of how these technologies will impact the broader financial markets, regulators like the SEC and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) can begin drafting more suitable guidelines for blockchain and crypto-assets. It’s worth noting, however, that some recent regulatory actions taken by FinCEN, like their proposed new rules for self-hosted cryptocurrency wallets, seemed quite rushed and unjustified according to many industry professionals. Despite these challenges, it does seem that we can look forward to more productive dialogue or progressive discussions as we move forward.

What is wrong with ITAM?

Software asset management programmes are not delivering business value. The creation of a SAM or wider ITAM programme within an organisation is often driven by events. ITAM and SAM projects that are stood up purely to respond to an audit tend not to deliver value that is sustainable. Our industry is full of effect licence providers (ELP) who don’t go far beyond the number crunching, but often this work is not followed up with meaningful insights into the best course of action for the client. This work should be a part of the means to an end, not the end itself as there is little value in an ELP as an end product. I am not here to trash SAM tools in any way. There is now a healthy range of tool suppliers on the market. When correctly configured and adequately managed, SAM tools can automate hugely complex and laborious licence management tasks. But in the same way that no accounting software can make you an instant accountant, no SAM tool will make untrained IT staff into a software asset manager overnight. The result? “Ghost” SAM tools become the very problem they were designed to address because organisations underestimate the amount of work required to use them effectively.

The outlook for banking in 2021

Chase recently released the results of its Digital Banking Attitudes Study, which revealed Americans have largely adjusted to—and are ready for—a primarily digital banking environment: Four in five customers prefer to manage their finances digitally rather than in person; Roughly eight in 10 use a smartphone and/or desktop/laptop to complete banking activities; The vast majority of Chase (89%) and non-Chase (85%) customers feel they save time by managing their finances digitally; Nearly 70% of Chase customers, and 60% of non-Chase customers, completely or somewhat agree that they feel confident about the safety and security of making payments through digital apps or sending money through peer-to-peer apps; and Only 10% of Chase customers and 14% of non-Chase customers completely or somewhat agree they do not typically manage their finances digitally because technology overwhelms them. Add to this that, in the two years prior to the pandemic, the number of customers leaving their financial institution for another was around 12%—whereas this survey suggests it will jump to 27% for large banks between 2020 and 2022.

Quote for the day:

"Jealousy is a good indication that you are doing things the right way." -- Morgan Freeman

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