Daily Tech Digest - November 09, 2023

MIT Physicists Transform Pencil Lead Into Electronic “Gold”

MIT physicists have metaphorically turned graphite, or pencil lead, into gold by isolating five ultrathin flakes stacked in a specific order. The resulting material can then be tuned to exhibit three important properties never before seen in natural graphite. ... “We found that the material could be insulating, magnetic, or topological,” Ju says. The latter is somewhat related to both conductors and insulators. Essentially, Ju explains, a topological material allows the unimpeded movement of electrons around the edges of a material, but not through the middle. The electrons are traveling in one direction along a “highway” at the edge of the material separated by a median that makes up the center of the material. So the edge of a topological material is a perfect conductor, while the center is an insulator. “Our work establishes rhombohedral stacked multilayer graphene as a highly tunable platform to study these new possibilities of strongly correlated and topological physics,” Ju and his coauthors conclude in Nature Nanotechnology

Conscientious Computing – Facing into Big Tech Challenges

The tech industry has driven incredibly rapid innovation by taking advantage of increasingly cheap and more powerful computing – but at what unintended cost? What collateral damage has been created in our era of “move fast and break things”? Sadly, it’s now becoming apparent we have overlooked the broader impacts of our technological solutions. As software proliferates through every facet of life and the scale of it increases, we need to think more about where this leads us from people, planet and financial perspectives. ... The classic Scope, Cost, Time pyramid – but often it’s the **observable ** functional quality that is prioritised. For that I’ll use a somewhat surreal version of an iceberg – as so much of technical (and effectively sustainability debt – a topic for a future blog) is hidden below the water line. Every engineering decision (or indecision) has ethical and sustainability consequences, often invisible from within our isolated bubbles. Just as the industry has had to raise its game on topics such as security, privacy and compliance, we desperately need to raise our game holistically on sustainability.

The CIO’s fatal flaw: Too much leadership, not enough management

So why does leadership get all the buzz? A cynic might suggest that the more respect doing-the-work gets, the more the company might have to pay the people who do that work, which in turn would mean those who manage the work would get paid more than those who think and charismatically express deep and inspirational thoughts. And as there are more people who do work than those who manage it, respecting the work and those who do it would be expensive. Don’t misunderstand. Done properly, leading is a lot of work, and because leading is about people, not processes or tools and technology; it’s time consuming, too. And in fact, when I conduct leadership seminars, the biggest barrier to success for most participants is figuring out and committing to their time budget. Leadership, that is, involves setting direction, making or facilitating decisions, staffing, delegating, motivating, overseeing team dynamics, engineering the business culture, and communicating. Leaders who are committed to improving at their trade must figure out how much time they plan to devote to each of these eight tasks, which is hard enough.

The Next IT Challenge Is All about Speed and Self-Service

One of the most significant roadblocks to rapid cloud adoption is sheer complexity. Provisioning a cloud environment involves dozens of dependent services, intricate configurations, security policies and data governance issues. The cognitive load on IT teams is significant, and the situation is exacerbated by manual processes that are still in place. The vast majority of engineering teams still depend on legacy ticketing systems to request IT for cloud environments, which adds a significant load on IT and also slows engineering teams. This slows down the entire operation, making it difficult for IT and engineering to support business needs effectively. In fact, in one study conducted by Rafay Systems, application developers at enterprises revealed that 25% of organizations reportedly take three months or longer to deploy a modern application or service after its code is complete. The real goal for any IT department is to support the needs of the business. Today, they do that better, faster and more cost-effectively by leveraging cloud technologies to realize all the business benefits of the modern applications being deployed.

The DPDP Act: Bolstering data protection & privacy, making India future-ready

The DPDP Act has a direct impact across industries. Organisations not only need to reassess their existing compliance status and gear up to cope with the new norms but also create a phased action plan for various processes. Moreover, if labeled as SDF, organisations also need to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO). In addition, organisations need to devise appropriate data protection and privacy policy framework in alignment with the DPDP Act. Further, consent forms and mechanisms have to be developed to ensure standard procedures as laid out in the legislation. Companies have to additionally invest to adopt the necessary changes in compliance with the law. They need to list down their third-party data handlers, consent types and processes, privacy notices, contract clauses, categorise data, and develop breach management processes. Sharing his perspective on the DPDP Act, Amit Jaju, Senior Managing Director, Ankura Consulting Group (India) says, “The Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023 has ushered in a new era of data privacy and protection, compelling solution providers to realign their business strategies with its mandates. 

Will AI hurt or help workers? It's complicated

Here's what is certain: CIOs see AI as being useful, but not replacing higher-level workers. JetRockets recently surveyed US CIOs. In its report, How Generative AI is Impacting IT Leaders & Organizations, the custom-software firm found that CIOs are primarily using AI for cybersecurity and threat detection (81%), with predictive maintenance and equipment monitoring (69%) and software development / product development (68%) in second and third place, respectively. Security, you ask? Yes, security. CrowdStrike, a security company, sees a huge demand building for AI-based security virtual assistants. A Gartner study on virtual assistants predicted, "By 2024, 40% of advanced virtual assistants will be industry-domain-specific; by 2025, advanced virtual assistants will provide advisory and intervention roles for 30% of knowledge workers, up from 5% in 2021." By CrowdStrike's reckoning, AI will "help organizations scale their cybersecurity workforce by three times and reduce operating costs by close to half a million dollars." That's serious cash.

From Chaos to Confidence: The Indispensable Role of Security Architecture

Beyond mere firefighting, security architecture embraces the proactive art of strategic defense. It takes a risk-based approach to identifying potential threats, assessing weak points in an organization's IT stack, architecting forward-looking designs and prioritizing security initiatives. By aligning security investments with the organization's risk tolerance and business priorities, security architecture ensures that precious resources are optimally allocated for maximum security defense designed with in-depth zero trust security principles in mind. This reduces enterprise application deployment and operational security costs. It is similar to designing high-rise buildings in a standard manner, following all safety codes and by-laws while still allowing individual apartment owners to design and create their homes as they would prefer. Cyberattacks have become increasingly sophisticated and frequent. As a result, it is imperative for defense systems to have comprehensive, purpose-built architectures and designs in place to protect against such threats. Security architecture provides a complete defense framework by integrating various security components

Top 5 IT disaster scenarios DR teams must test

Failed backups are some of the most frequent IT disasters. Businesses can replace hardware and software, but if the data and all backups are gone, bringing them back might be impossible or incredibly expensive. Sys admins must periodically test their ability to restore from backups to ensure backups are working correctly and the restore process does not have some unseen fatal flaw. At the same time, there should always be multiple generations of backups, with some of those backup sets off site. ... Hardware failure can take many forms, including a system not using RAID, a single disk loss taking down a whole system, faulty network switches and power supply failures. Most hardware-based IT disaster scenarios can be mitigated with relative ease, but at the cost of added complexity and a price tag. One example is a database server. Such a server can be turned into a database cluster with highly available storage and networking. The cost for doing this would easily double the cost of a single nonredundant server. Administrators would also have to undergo training to manage such an environment.

Mastering AI Quality: Strategies for CDOs and Tech Leaders

Most chief data officers (CDOs) work hard to make their data operations into “glass boxes” --transparent, explainable, explorable, trustworthy resources for their companies. Then comes artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), with their allure of using that data for ever-more impressive strategic leaps, efficiencies, and growth potential. However, there’s a problem. Nearly all AI/ML tools are “black boxes.” They are so inscrutable even their creators are concerned about how they produce their results. The speed and depth at which these tools can process data without human intervention or input presents a danger to technology leaders seeking control of their data and who want to ensure and verify the quality of analytics that use it. Combine this with a push to remove humans from the decision loop and you have a potent recipe for decisions to go off the rails. ... With a human collaborator or a human-designed algorithm, it is generally easy to elicit a meaningful response to the question, “Why is this result what it is?” With AI -- and generative AI in particular -- that may not be the case.

Revamping IT for AI System Support

“It’s important for everybody to understand how fast this [AI] is going to change,” said Eric Schmidt, former CEO and chairman of Google. “The negatives are quite profound.” Among the concerns is that AI firms still had “no solutions for issues around algorithmic bias or attribution, or for copyright disputes now in litigation over the use of writing, books, images, film, and artworks in AI model training. Many other as yet unforeseen legal, ethical, and cultural questions are expected to arise across all kinds of military, medical, educational, and manufacturing uses.” The challenge for companies and for IT is that the law always lags technology. There will be few hard and fast rules for AI as it advances relentlessly. So, AI runs the risk of running off ethical and legal guardrails. In this environment, legal cases are likely to arise that define case law and how AI issues will be addressed. The danger for IT and companies is that they don’t want to be become the defining cases for the law by getting sued. CIOs can take action by raising awareness of AI as a corporate risk management concern to their boards and CEOs.

Quote for the day:

"Holding on to the unchangeable past is a waste of energy and serves no purpose in creating a better future." -- Unknown

No comments:

Post a Comment