Lead story – Machine learning, the dark web and cybercrime – an unholy trinity by Martin Banks
Martin outlines the next threat to enterprise security – bots with a dark purpose:
It goes without saying that it was only a matter of time before the bad guys picked up on the possibilities of AI and machine learning to move cyber criminality to a new level, and so it will probably become inevitable that the same technologies will be used to defend business systems. And one of the key ways this will have to happen is in using them to learn how to stop humans being humans when it comes to using IT systems.
The catchphrases are
annoying cool, like “Hivenets” and “Swarmbots,” but the implications are not cool at all: peeps with bad intentions using bots to systematically identify and exploit flaws in software – and the humans that are suckers for clicking the wrong link.
I almost fell prey to a sophisticated email hack, which involved a contact sending me an odd link. I asked him if this was really from him. He responded – “Yes – this is from me.” I almost clicked on the link, but held off. I later found out the whole thing was bot driven – even the humanlike response. I think that’s what Martin is getting at here.
Martin does see one upside: these same tactics can be used to defend business systems. And, with some savvy design, perhaps even protect us from our own flawed in-the-moment judgements.
Diginomica picks – retail blowout with Stuart and Phil. Leading up to the NRF “Big Show” in January, we’ve got a slew of retail content for your perusal:
- Nailing digital to hammer home an interconnected customer experience at Home Depot – Stuart on the elusive “interconnected customer experience,” and Home Depot’s chase of that white CX whale. Getting ahead of customers on tech isn’t always bad: “We’ve had voice-enabled search and image search capabilities in our app. These experiences were probably one to two years ahead of the customer, but it provided us valuable lessons.”
- Digital progress for Lands End, but land’s end not yet in sight for US heritage brand – I guess we won’t “punnish” Stuart for his wordplay here, but the gist is: Lands End is learning that digital can be a slog, and customer experience across touch points is a beast. A worthy beast to pursue but still…
- How Braze forges timely consumer engagement at scale – Phil chats up Braze’s CTO, talks personalization, machine learning, and DevOps.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Infor President – Focus on AI, outcomes and future $Billions – Derek catches up on Infor’s transformational pursuits, including that Koch investment: “On a slightly drier note, although one that is likely to be important to Infor continuing to scale up its cloud licensing revenue – is getting its channel partners to adapt to the way it is now doing business. This has been somewhat helped by the Koch investment, which has caught the attention of the larger ISVs.”
- Xerocon US 2017 – is the US catching up with the rest of the world? – Den gets out the ol’ slide rule and contrasts several recent Xerocon events, including the recent U.S. show that Brian Sommer and I attended: “I asked Jon to tell me his impression of where Xero is at and he relayed that Rod Drury, CEO Xero believes the company is at a tipping point in the US. Quite what that means is open to debate but the fact the company has crossed the 100,000 user threshold in the US is unquestionably an important milestone. However, that number masks a departure from growth in other regions.” Also see my use case: “We’re not your father’s accountant” – how Upsourced Accounting is changing accounting with the Xero cloud.
- Jiffy Lube looks to Splunk to supercharge battery testing services – The use case queen (Jessica) strikes again: “In other words, Splunk uses data science to apply risk ratings to potential security events and consider supporting evidence in order to bump the most serious of them up the SOC’s To Do list.“
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Unit4 half year update; looking good but plenty to do – Den
- How an actuary’s eye for data analytics led Insure The Box to ThoughtSpot – Phil
- Is the finance profession ready for its digital future? More from Mark Nittler – Phil
Jon’s grab bag – Stuart filed a couple UK-inspired AI pieces with implications far beyond borders in Embrace an android – it’s not after your job after all! (Parsing a meaty/upbeat new robots-and-humans jobs report). Also see: Why the AI revolution needs its own government overseer.
Finally, our “all-Stuart grab bag” wraps with How content became the crowning digital disruptor achievement for Netflix. What stands out? How original content can boost subscribers and retention, forever changing the content ROI equation (think the enterprise could learn from that?). The amazing thing to me: by and large, Netflix’s original content is
pedestrian overrated adequate at best, paling in comparison to HBO’s archives (I’m slogging my way through the second season of the historically accurate Netflix’s aimless melodrama The Frontier currently). But hey, Netflix is winning so…
Best of the rest
myPOV: Tone Riffing on a Dreamforce interview with Marc Benioff and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Mirchandani writes:
Of course, many companies are being deluded by the promises of AI (and broader automation). J.P. Gownder, a Forrester analyst says if you don’t have realistic expectations “You’ll be inclined to automate too many roles — at the expense of both customer and employee experience. You won’t hire the right mix of new roles— or any new people at all.” In other words besides seeing poor payback from your AI projects, you may hurt other critical parts of your business.
That’s as good a summary of AI’s current limitations as you’ll get. I take Stephen Hawking’s warnings about AI’s darker potentials a lot more seriously than Mirchandani, but that’s an argument for another time. As for toning done my AI expectations, well, Alexa helps me with that everyday.
- What’s Scary About Amazon Web Services – RedMonk’s Stephen O’Grady bats cleanup on AWS re:Invent. By scary, O’Grady means Amazon is scaring the beejeezus out of AWS competitors.
- The Hidden 80/20 of IT Spend: Where to Mine for Savings – Procurement expert Jason Busch gettin’ it done. Procurement may not be sexy but as Busch notes, modernizing procurement is a huge pre-occupation for most companies.
- Urgency and the Buying Process – Gartner’s Hank Barnes is on a roll as the year winds down. Yes, buyer urgency-for-change matters. But he calls vendors out for promoting a false (artificial) urgency as well.
- Mathwashing: How Algorithms Can Hide Gender and Racial Biases – The New Stack on a problem that won’t be going away in 2018. Some algorithms have a bad aftertaste.
- More Bitcoin – Granted, not the most alluring blog title from Denis Pombriant, but he’s been out in front of the crypto-currency debate, warning about over-valuations and threats to our financial markets.
- The big 4 tech companies — my musings on two, Microsoft and Salesforce – No one muses like Paul Greenberg.
- China Will Surpass US in AI Around 2025, Says Google’s Eric Schmidt – A tad alarmist perhaps, but raises the questions on immigration control and talent drain the tech industry is rightly concerned about.
- Reprise: A Great Miracle Happened Here! – Naomi Bloom has some holiday wishes for you – and for the HR tech industry. Her call for 2018 miracles includes: “The end of whatever atmospherics discourage so many young women from aspiring to be and then becoming chief architects, heads of development and CTOs.” Hear hear!
So Uber charged a rider $18K for 5-mile ride – and if this report is true,
the callous idiots that run this company Uber management wasn’t intending to refund the surge pricing mega-snafu until the issue went viral.
I guess technically, we don’t know 100 percent if this is a whiff just yet, but hits/misses reader Frank Scavo is right:
— Frank Scavo (@fscavo) December 12, 2017
BBC News – German spy agency warns of Chinese LinkedIn espionage https://t.co/uOXsqKmeip -> wait, there are real people on LinkedIn?
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) December 11, 2017
I always hated Facebook’s el creepo ticker of your friends’ activity in real-time, but isn’t it tedious this company is so powerful they can cancel a major feature of the site without any explanation except their algorithmic shoulder shrug?
Speaking of arrogant companies: Apple’s widened ban on templated apps is wiping small businesses from the App Store (Granted, templated apps usually stink, but Congress isn’t amused, and I can see why).
Fun week for Microsoft: a couple over-inflated headlines that were nonetheless far from flattering. First: Report: Microsoft Systematically Discriminates Against Women In Pay And Advancement (let’s see where the lawsuit goes). Then, Microsoft leaks TLS private key for cloud ERP product – and takes their sweet-@ss time correcting the mistake. The issue has since been corrected, but the blog post isn’t going anywhere…
Regarding Bosses seed Silicon Valley Christmas parties with models who impersonate fellow employees, after briefing them with back-stories, I wanted to make the Spinal Tap “What’s wrong with being sexy?” reference here, but it seems like a bad time to do so. Remind me to tell you sometime about my failed client acquisition attempt that involved me thinking that a hired corporate model worked for the company. Next week: my hits/misses year end awards edition. See you then…
If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses – in a good or bad way – let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does.
Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Snowboarder Crashing © dismagwi - Fotolia.com - all from Fotolia.com.
Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday, Unit4, Infor and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.