Daily Tech Digest - April 06, 2023

AI might not steal your job, but it could change it

People whose jobs deal with language could, unsurprisingly, be particularly affected by large language models like ChatGPT and GPT-4. Let’s take one example: lawyers. I’ve spent time over the past two weeks looking at the legal industry and how it’s likely to be affected by new AI models, and what I found is as much cause for optimism as for concern. The antiquated, slow-moving legal industry has been a candidate for technological disruption for some time. In an industry with a labor shortage and a need to deal with reams of complex documents, a technology that can quickly understand and summarize texts could be immensely useful. So how should we think about the impact these AI models might have on the legal industry? ... AI in law isn’t a new trend, though. It has already been used to review contracts and predict legal outcomes, and researchers have recently explored how AI might help get laws passed. Recently, consumer rights company DoNotPay considered arguing a case in court using an argument written by AI, known as the “robot lawyer,” delivered through an earpiece.

Microservice Architecture Key Concepts

Generally, you can use a message broker for asynchronous communication between services, though it’s important to use one that doesn’t add complexity to your system and possible latency if it doesn’t scale as the messages grow. Version your APIs: Keep an ongoing record of the attributes and changes you make to each of your services. “Whether you’re using REST API, gRPC, messaging…” wrote Sylvia Fronczak for OpsLevel, “the schema will change, and you need to be ready for that change.” A typical pattern is to embed the API (application programming interface) version into your data/schema and gracefully deprecate older data models. For example, for your service product information, the requestor can ask for a specific version, and that version will be indicated in the data returned as well. Less chit-chat, more performance: Synchronous communications create a lot of back and forth between services. If synchronous communication is really needed, this will work okay for a handful of microservices, but when dozens or even hundreds of microservices are in play, synchronous communication can bring scaling to a grinding halt.

'Silent Success': How to master the art of quiet hiring for your business

“Ironically, quiet hiring is neither ‘quiet’ nor is any ‘hiring’ involved in it in the traditional sense,” says Bensely Zachariah, Global Head of Human Resources at Fulcrum Digital, a business platform and digital engineering services company. Quiet hiring entails companies upskilling their existing employees and moving them to new roles or new sets of responsibilities, on a temporary or in some cases, permanent basis to meet the ever-evolving demands of the business environment. Zachariah says: “Quiet hiring is essentially the opposite of ‘quite quitting’, a buzzword during 2022, which, in simple words, means doing the bare minimum for what it takes to keep your job. The concept behind quiet hiring is rewarding high-performing individuals with more challenging roles, pay rises, bonuses, or promotions. This is not a new concept per se, in fact it is an age-old practice which was referred to as ‘facilitated talent mobility’ or ‘career advancement’ where organisations have spent considerable time and resources to facilitate upskilling/cross-skilling employees to give them new roles/avenues for work.”

AI and privacy concerns go hand in hand

Whether personal information is publicly available or not, its collection and use is still subject to the Privacy Act. While it’s on businesses to operate within the law, it pays for the public to upskill themselves and be savvy about what information they’re posting, and where. We know that criminals are becoming an even greater threat online because cybersecurity breaches are increasing and result in costly hacks of personal information. AI can be used to supercharge these criminals, leading to more privacy breaches, and making it even harder for cybersecurity systems to protect your information or for post-breach measures such as injunctions to protect stolen data that criminals may make available online. Powerful AI can aggregate data to a much greater degree, much more swiftly than humans can, meaning AI can potentially identify people that would otherwise not be identifiable through more time-intensive methods. Even seemingly benign online interactions could reveal more about you than you ever intended.

The Benefits of a Streaming Database

Experienced engineers understand that no software stack or tooling is perfect and comes with a series of trade-offs for each specific use case. With that in mind, let’s examine the particular trade-offs inherent to streaming databases to understand better the use cases they align best with. Incrementally updated materialized views – Streaming databases build on different dataflow paradigms that shift limitations elsewhere and efficiently handle incremental view maintenance on a broader SQL vocabulary. Other databases like Oracle, SQLServer and Redshift have varying levels of support for incrementally updating a materialized view. They could expand support, but will hit walls on fundamental issues of consistency and throughput. True streaming inputs – Because they are built on stream processors, streaming databases are optimized to individually process continuous streams of input data (e.g., messages from Kafka). Scaling streaming inputs involves batching them into larger transactions, slowing down data and losing granularity. In traditional databases (especially OLAP data warehouses), larger, less frequent batch updates are more performant.

6 steps to measure the business value of IT

A challenge for determining the value contribution is the selection of suitable key figures. According to the study, IT departments today primarily use technical and IT-related metrics. That is legitimate, but in this way, there’s no direct connection to the business. Plus, there’s often a lack of affinity for meaningful KPIs, both in IT and in the specialist departments, says J├╝rgen Stoffel, CIO at global reinsurer Hannover Re. Therefore, in practice, only a few metrics suitable for both sides would be found, and the result is the IT value proposition is often unseen. “A consistent portfolio of metrics coordinated with the business would be helpful,” says Thomas Kleine, CIO of Pfizer Germany, and Held from the University of Regensburg adds: “Companies have to get away from purely technical key figures and develop both quantitative and qualitative metrics with a business connection.” In order to make progress along this path, the consultants developed a process model with several development and evaluation phases, using current scientific findings and speaking to CIOs.

Strategic risk analysis is key to ensure customer trust in product, customer-facing app security

Assessing risk requires identifying baseline security criteria around key elements such as customer contracts and regulatory requirements, Neil Lappage, partner at LeadingEdgeCyber and ISACA member, tells CSO. “From the start, you've got things you’re committed to such as requirements in customer contracts and regulatory requirements and you have to work within those parameters. And you need to understand who your interested parties are, the stakes they've got in the game, and the security objectives.” The process of defining the risk profile of an organization also requires strong collaboration among IT, cybersecurity, and risk professionals. “How the organization knows the risk profile of the organization involves the cybersecurity team working with the IT and reporting to the business so these three things — cyber, IT and risk — work in unison,” he says. “If cyber sits isolated from the rest of the business, if it doesn't understand the business, the risk is not optimized.”

FBI Seizes Genesis Cybercriminal Marketplace in 'Operation Cookie Monster'

The seizure of Genesis was a collaborative effort between international law enforcement agencies and the private sector, according to the notice, which included the logos of European law enforcement agency Europol; Guardia Civil in Spain; Polisen, the police force in Sweden; and the Canadian government. The FBI also is seeking to speak those who've been active on the Genesis Market or who are in touch with administrators of the forum, offering an email address for people to contact the agency. ... Indeed, Genesis demonstrated the "growing professionalization and specialization of the cybercrime sphere," with the site earning money by gaining and maintaining access to victim systems until administrators could sell that access to other criminals, according to Sophos. The various tasks that the Genesis Market bots could undertake included large-scale infection of consumer devices to steal digital fingerprints, cookies, saved logins, and autofill-form data stored on them. The marketplace would package up that data and list it for sale, with prices ranging from less than $1 to $370, depending on the amount of embedded data that the packages contained.

Beyond Hype: How Quantum Computing Will Change Enterprise IT

“If you have a problem that can be put into an algorithm that leverages the parallelism of quantum computers, that’s where you can get a very dramatic potential speed up,” Lucero says. “If you have a problem that for every additional variable, you add to the problem, and doubles the computational complexity -- that is probably a good candidate to be adapted into a quantum computational problem.” The so-called “traveling salesperson problem,” for example, would be a fitting problem for a quantum computer. The algorithm asks the following: “Given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city exactly once and returns to the origin city.” This and other combinatorial optimization problems are important to theoretical computer science because of the complexity of variations involved. Used as a benchmark, the algorithm can be applied to planning, logistics, microchip manufacturing and even DNA sequencing. In theory, a quantum computer could make quick work of this complicated algorithm and provide greater efficiency for programming.

How to build next-gen applications with serverless infrastructure

When explaining the benefits of serverless infrastructure and containers, I'm often asked why you need containers at all. Don't instances already provide isolation from underlying hardware? Yes, but containers provide other important benefits. Containers allow users to fully utilize virtual machine (VM) resources by hosting multiple applications (on distinct ports) on the same instance. As a result, engineering teams get portable runtime application environments with platform-independent capabilities. This allows engineers to build an application once and then deploy it anywhere, regardless of the underlying operating system. ... Implementing event-driven architecture (EDA) can work for serverless infrastructure through either a publisher/subscriber (pub/sub) model or an event-stream model. With the pub/sub model, notifications go out to all subscribers when events are published. Each subscriber can respond according to whatever data processing requirements are in place. On the event-stream model side, engineers set up consumers to read from a continuous flow of events from a producer. 

Quote for the day:

"When I finally got a management position, I found out how hard it is to lead and manage people." -- Guy Kawasaki

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