Daily Tech Digest - April 23, 2024

Confronting the ethical issues of human-like AI

Regrettably, innovation leaders confronting the thorny ethical questions currently have little in the way of authoritative guidance to turn to. Unlike other technical professions such as civil and electrical engineering, computer science and software engineering currently lack established codes of ethics backed by professional licensing requirements. There is no widely adopted certification or set of standards dictating the ethical use of pseudoanthropic AI techniques. However, by integrating ethical reflection into their development process from the outset and drawing on lessons learned by other fields, technologists working on human-like AI can help ensure these powerful tools remain consistent with our values. ... Tech leaders must recognize that developing human-like AI capabilities is practicing ethics by another means. When it comes to human-like AI, every design decision has moral implications that must be proactively evaluated. Something as seemingly innocuous as using a human-like avatar creates an ethical burden. The approach can no longer be reactive, tacking on ethical guidelines once public backlash hits. 

AI in Platform Engineering: Concerns Grow Alongside Advantages

AI algorithms can automatically analyze past usage patterns, real-time demands and resource availability to allocate resources like servers, storage and databases. AI-powered platforms can ensure reliable infrastructure, eliminating the need for manual configuration and provisioning and saving platform engineers valuable time and effort. Since these platforms have been trained on vast data models that enable them to understand individual developer needs and preferences, they can provide resources when necessary. As a result, they can be used to customize development environments and generate configurations with minimal manual effort. Organizations gather an increasing amount of data daily. As a result, businesses must handle and manage a large amount of data and personal information, ensuring it remains secure and protected. Now teams can reduce the risk of noncompliance and associated penalties by automating crucial processes like records management and ensuring that tasks are carried out in compliance with industry governance protocols and standards, a plus in high-regulated markets.

Secrets of business-driven IT orgs

“The bottom line is that in today’s era of rapid technological innovation, IT teams are critical partners that teams all across the organization must rely on in order to meet and exceed their business goals,” says Mindy Lieberman, CIO of tech firm MongoDB. “A truly business-driven IT team shouldn’t just be aligned with business strategy, it should have a seat at the leadership table, have a hand in directing business strategy, and be brought in on any major transformational initiatives from the get-go.” To get that hand in directing business strategy, Lieberman created a base with “the right people and the right roadmap, [as well as] the right processes and technology to ensure agility and transparency.” She views IT’s agenda and the business agenda as one and the same. She has modernized operations and internal application infrastructure to ensure her tech team can be responsive to business and customer-facing needs. “Being a business-driven IT team means aligning the tools, processes, technology, and success metrics across an organization to ensure that we are aligned on the outcomes we are looking for and the strategy to deliver those outcomes,” Lieberman says.

Simplifying Intelligent Automation Adoption for Businesses of All Sizes

To maximize success, it's essential to prioritize high-impact processes and streamline repetitive tasks for instant efficiency boosts. When selecting processes for automation, assess their digitization level, stability, and exceptions to gauge implementation feasibility. It's also a must to collaborate with automation service providers to tailor solutions and ensure seamless integration. There must be transparency in the communication of automation goals and benefits across the organization, addressing concerns and fostering open dialogue for unified commitment and understanding. While the potential of intelligent automation is undeniable, the journey toward its successful implementation is a collaborative effort. By understanding the unique challenges faced by businesses of various sizes and actively addressing them, we can unlock the immense potential of this technology. Aligning automation initiatives with strategic goals ensures that efforts contribute directly to the organization's success and growth. Engaging stakeholders early in the process and demonstrating the potential benefits of selected processes can lead to greater acceptance and collaboration. 

Preventing Cyber Attacks Outweighs Cure

"A belief, that it is ok to compromise security for perceived convenience, is counter intuitive. There are few things more inconvenient than having to rebuild a person's identity or try to run a hospital or airport without the systems on which we now depend. Governments must invest resources to roll out defence grade preventive mechanisms and build the cyber security infrastructures that underpin zero trust networks. Indeed, it is widely accepted that identity centric security is the bedrock to Zero Trust Architecture. "It is important to acknowledge the release of the Australian Government's Cyber Strategy, efforts to uplift critical infrastructure standards and progress coordinating a Country wide digital identity framework. I also welcome the ambitious target to embed a zero-trust culture across the Australian Public Service to become a global cyber leader by 2030. "It is also intended to achieve a consistency in cyber security standards across government, industry, and jurisdictions. I commend the Australian Government for taking the initial steps to strengthen legislation and mandate the reporting of incidents. 

Here's why RISC-V is so important

RISC-V is quietly enabling a divergence in custom hardware for domain-specific applications, by providing an easy (or at least easier) pathway for businesses and academics to build their own versions of hardware when off-the-shelf options aren't suitable. This works in tandem with the wide range of full open-source RISC-V implementations on the market. Businesses may be able to take an existing open-source implementation of RISC-V (effectively a design for a complete processor core, usually written in a dedicated language like Verilog/SystemVerilog) and make modifications to suit their specific use case. This can involve dropping aspects that aren't needed, and adding pre-bundled supporting elements to the core which may even be off-the-shelf elements. This means that where previously it wouldn't have been practical or affordable to build specific hardware for a feature, it's now more broadly possible. Companies small and large are already utilizing this technology. It's difficult to understand if companies are designing cores from the ground up or using pre-constructed designs, but custom RISC-V silicon has already made its way into the market.

Can Generative AI Help With Quicker Threat Detections?

ChatGPT can help to some extent with security operations. Microsoft Security Copilot can reduce the load on SOCs. Tools such as Dropzone - an autonomous SOC analysis platform - can look at a phishing alert and take responsive action, with no code, and you don't have to write any playbooks for this. It just analyzes [the threat] and takes the required action. That class of tool is where organizations are going to be able to scale. From a people standpoint, organizations are having trouble hiring or retaining SOC personnel. These tools are going to take a lot of that load off the people and allow them to focus on more important things. ... Organizations are crafting generative-AI-acceptable use policies. All their employees have to read and sign it. Some organizations are taking it a step further and trying to provide training, just as companies have an annual, basic cyber awareness course. When I ask vendors about training, they either make generative AI training part of cyber training or have separate training. People take the policy, they read it and then they have the training so they understand what's expected of it.

The Importance Of Proactive & Empathetic Leadership Amidst A Changing Talent

LandscapeEmpathetic leadership demonstrates the company’s mission and values in action. It starts with the authenticity of who you are as a leader and sharing your own vulnerability. In vulnerability, you are able to empathize to get on someone’s level. You can’t do that if you’re leading by force or in a top-down manner. Empathetic leaders see their employees as people with lives. They trust they will do their jobs. They acknowledge that sometimes people have a tough year or two. These two attributes can—and must—coexist! For leaders, a clear place to start is being proactive in how you develop and implement policies. It’s about creating policies for the company you want to be, not just where you are now. When I took on a leadership position at a startup, I became the first pregnant person at the company. There were no parental leave policies or maternal care benefits in place – these policies needed to be created retroactively around me. 

European police chiefs target E2EE in latest demand for ‘lawful access’

“Tech companies are putting a lot of the information on end-to-end encryption. We have no problem with encryption; I’ve got a responsibility to try and protect the public from cybercrime, too — so strong encryption is a good thing — but what we need is for the companies to still be able to pass us the information we need to keep the public safe.” Currently, as a result of being able to scan messages that aren’t encrypted, platforms are sending tens of millions of child safety-related reports a year to police forces around the world, Biggar said — adding a further claim that “on the back of that information, we typically safeguard 1,200 children a month and arrest 800 people.” The implication here is that those reports will dry up if Meta continues expanding its use of E2EE to Instagram. Pointing out that Meta-owned WhatsApp has had the gold standard encryption as its default for years, Robinson wondered if this wasn’t a case of the crime agency trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. He got no straight answer to that — just more head-scratching equivocation.

The dawn of intelligent and automated data orchestration

Moving the data from one vendor’s storage type to another, or to a different location or cloud, involves creating a new copy of both the file system metadata and the actual file essence. This proliferation of file copies and the complexity needed to initiate copy management across silos interrupts user access and inhibits IT modernization and consolidation use cases. This reality also impacts data protection, which may become fragmented across the silos. ... It also creates economic inefficiencies when multiple redundant copies of data are created, or when idle data gets stuck on expensive high-performance storage systems when it would be better managed elsewhere. What is needed is a way to provide users and applications with seamless multi-protocol access to all their data, which is often fragmented across multiple vendor storage silos, including across multiple sites and cloud providers. In addition to global user access, IT administrators need to be able to automate cross-platform data services for workflow management, data protection, tiering, etc., but do so without interrupting users or applications.

Quote for the day:

"The ability to summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress lies at the heart of effective leadership." -- Jim Loehr

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