Daily Tech Digest - January 21, 2024

What is RAG? More accurate and reliable LLMs

Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) is an AI framework that significantly impacts the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP). It is designed to improve the accuracy and richness of content produced by language models. Here’s a synthesis of the key points regarding RAG from various sources: RAG is a system that retrieves facts from an external knowledge base to provide grounding for large language models (LLMs). This grounding ensures that the information generated by the LLMs is based on accurate and current data, which is particularly important given that LLMs can sometimes produce inconsistent outputs; The framework operates as a hybrid model, integrating both retrieval and generative models. This integration allows RAG to produce text that is not only contextually accurate but also rich in information. The capability of RAG to draw from extensive databases of information enables it to contribute contextually relevant and detailed content to the generative process; RAG addresses a limitation of foundational language models, which are generally trained offline on broad domain corpora and are not updated with new information post-training.

Redefining Quantum Bits: The Graphene Valley Breakthrough

Because quantum information is much more prone to being corrupted – and therefore become unsuitable for computational tasks – by the surrounding environment than its classical counterpart, researchers who study different qubit candidates must characterize their coherence properties: these tell them how well and for how long quantum information can survive in their qubit system. In most traditional quantum dots, electron spin decoherence can be caused by the spin-orbit interaction, which introduces an unwanted coupling between the electron spin and the vibrations of the host lattice, and the hyperfine interaction between the electron spin and the surrounding nuclear spins. In graphene as well as in other carbon-based materials, spin-orbit coupling and hyperfine interaction are both weak: this makes graphene quantum dots especially appealing for spin qubits. The results reported by Garreis, Tong, and co-authors add one more promising facet to the picture. ... The hexagonal symmetry observed in this so-called real space is also present in momentum space, where the vertices of the lattice don’t correspond to the spatial locations of carbon atoms but to values of momentum associated with the free electrons on the lattice.

5 Ways AI Can Make Your Human-To-Human Relationships More Effective

Understanding your audience is a major challenge for many business leaders. After all, if you knew what did or didn’t appeal to your audience, it would be much easier to speak to them in a meaningful, engaging way that sparks lasting connections. And AI can help here, too. This was illustrated to me during a recent conversation with James Webb, co-founder and CTO of Comb Insights, whose app uses proprietary AI to provide sentiment scores on comments on social media posts. "Using AI to quickly evaluate the overall sentiment of the comments on a post can give business leaders an immediate understanding of whether their content resonated with their audience,” he told me in an interview. “Seeing the ratio of positive to neutral or negative comments, and seeing the most common words that show up in the comments, can provide quick insights into why a post succeeded or failed. With this instant understanding of their audience, businesses can pivot in the type of social media content they produce so they can strengthen these important digital relationships.”

The missing link of the AI safety conversation

From a practical standpoint, the high cost of AI development means that companies are more likely to rely on a single model to build their product — but product outages or governance failures can then cause a ripple effect of impact. What happens if the model you’ve built your company on no longer exists or has been degraded? Thankfully, OpenAI continues to exist today, but consider how many companies would be out of luck if OpenAI lost its employees and could no longer maintain its stack. Another risk is relying heavily on systems that are randomly probabilistic. We are not used to this and the world we live in so far has been engineered and designed to function with a definitive answer. Even if OpenAI continues to thrive, their models are fluid in terms of output, and they constantly tweak them, which means the code you have written to support these and the results your customers are relying on can change without your knowledge or control. Centralization also creates safety issues. These companies are working in the best interest of themselves. If there is a safety or risk concern with a model, you have much less control over fixing that issue or less access to alternatives.

Intro to Digital Fingerprints

Digital fingerprinting is a technique used to identify users across different websites based on their unique device and browser characteristics. These characteristics - fingerprint parameters, can include various software, hardware (CPU, RAM, GPU, media devices - cameras, mics, speakers), location, time zone, IP, screen size/resolution, browser/OS languages, network, internet provider-related and other attributes. The combination of these parameters creates a unique identifier - fingerprint, that can be used to track a user's online activity. Fingerprints play a crucial role in online security, enabling services to identify and authenticate unique users. They also make it possible for users to trick such systems to stay anonymous online. However, if you can manipulate your fingerprints, you can run tens or hundreds or more different accounts to pretend that they are unique, authentic users. While this may sound cool, it has serious implications as it can make it possible to create an army of bots that can spread spam and fakes all over the internet, potentially resulting in fraudulent actions.

Looking at a data-driven financial future for India

In the intricate landscape of financial services, managing vast data, complex silos, and strict compliance demands a strategic solution. A hybrid data mesh is an innovative approach to financial operations that brings flexibility and coherence. This method combines a distributed architecture with an SSOT, ensuring accurate, secure, and compliant data handling. Data distribution across systems and functions facilitates quick insights while adhering to quality and privacy standards. The hybrid data mesh concept integrates the advantages of a distributed architecture tailored to domain-specific data with the SSOT, providing enhanced flexibility and scalability. This fusion ensures data coherence and accuracy while allowing domain independence, reinforcing security, and streamlining traceable and auditable compliance. Predictive models can be tailored to specific products or customer segments by harnessing AI and ML tools, enhancing decision-making in a dynamic market. This streamlined approach identifies growth opportunities and nurtures a culture of adaptability and innovation.

L&D trends that will define 2024

AI-assisted coding/software development employs AI to help write and review code. The potential of the technology to assist new developers in improving their code and saving time is valuable. The edtech sector, in particular, will employ AI to create customised learning experiences besides using tools that offer instant feedback on code. We could be looking at automating assessments for unbiased, error-free evaluations. Manually identifying personalised learning journeys for numerous individuals is time-consuming and extremely difficult. AI-assisted coding can help solve this operational challenge. Soon, we’ll give users quick, accurate responses and allow them to accelerate their learning journeys. ... Organisations will focus on data-driven, business-aligned learning initiatives for specific job-role competencies. This is to qualify L&D impact by easily tracking employee metrics such as job performance, efficiency, engagement, and employee satisfaction in new ways. When properly implemented, the accumulated data can raise confidence levels among higher-ups and lead to sustained investment in training practices. Organisations also analyse the information to identify areas of positive impact and focus on L&D in those regions for frequently better outcomes. 

New Guidance Urges US Water Sector to Boost Cyber Resilience

"Cyber threat actors are aware of - and deliberately target - single points of failure," the guidance states. "A compromise or failure of a water and wastewater sector organization could cause cascading impacts throughout the sector and other critical infrastructure sectors." The incident response guide aims to provide organizations with best practices for all four stages of the incident response life cycle - from preparation through detection, recovery and post-incident activities. The guidance says "the cyber incident reporting landscape is constantly evolving" and encourages water sector officials to review their reporting obligations and "consider engaging in additional voluntary reporting and/or information sharing" measures. Eric Goldstein, CISA's executive director for cybersecurity, said in a statement announcing the joint guidance that the U.S. water and wastewater sector "is under constant threat from malicious cyber actors." "In the new year, CISA will continue to focus on taking every action possible to support 'target-rich, cyber-poor' entities like WWS utilities by providing actionable resources and encouraging all organizations to report cyber incidents," he said.

Banking at the Precipice: Navigating the Fifth Industrial Revolution

As retail banking stands amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s digital transformation, leaders now must prepare for an imminent Fifth Industrial Revolution poised to profoundly reshape markets and experiences. Defined by extreme personalization, mass customization and precision augmentation, the emerging revolution’s exact disruptions remain somewhat undefined. Yet advancements in generative artificial intelligence, ambient interfaces and hyper-connectivity hint at consumer-in-command days ahead. ... Most of these Fifth Industrial Revolution financial applications seem unimaginable today. Imagine augmented live views layering physical surfaces like a retail store, billboard or car dealership with tailored offers based on persona identification and real-time transactional and behavioral data. Moving further, imagine a ‘digital twin agent’ seamlessly negotiating a personalized deal or pre-approved financing instantly. In this world, augmented and mixed reality interfaces, bridging physical and virtual worlds, will be able to move money experiences from transactions to value-based propositions based on where your eyes focus and engagements you have had in the past.

How generative AI is changing entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are expected to do a wide range of time-consuming tasks, from writing emails and answering phone calls to orchestrating product demonstrations and coding a website. “AI does all of those things well,” Mollick said. “It lets you focus more on what your top skill is, and it kind of handles everything else.” Generative AI can also serve as a guide. “A third of Americans have a business idea that they haven’t acted on because they don’t know what to do next,” Mollick said. “The AI can tell you what to do next, help you write the emails, [and] help you build the product.” Mollick noted that users should be aware of the benefits and limitations of the technology. “It’s kind of like an intern who wants to make you happy and therefore lies a lot and is kind of naive [and] never admits that they made a mistake,” he said. “Once you think about [AI] that way, you end up in much better shape.” Generative AI is a new general-purpose technology — one that comes around once in a generation and touches just about everything humans do, Mollick said, like electricity, computers, and the internet have. For entrepreneurs, generative AI can assist with researching ideas, coming up with logos and names, creating a website, and more, Mollick said.

Quote for the day:

"Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another." -- John C. Maxwell

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