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We live in a world where we are inundated with more information on a daily basis than we can possibly process. It is an over-communicated environment. There are so many unwanted messages bombarding us that often the ones we want get lost in the noise. It doesn't matter whether you are connected to the Internet or not. We get hit by information at every turn – at work, at home and even as we try to relax. Have you ever wondered that protecting security of consumers, businesses and the Internet infrastructure has never been more difficult? Cyberattacks on Internet commerce, vital business sectors and government agencies have grown exponentially. Equifax and Uber data breaches. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Cyberattacks and breaches threaten organizations and individuals around the world daily. Here is the main point – Cambridge Analytica gained unauthorized access to data from more than 87 million Facebook users. Facebook says the data was shared improperly rather than hacked. This is a much larger figure than the previously believed 50 million Facebook users whose personal data was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. Facebook has promised to take a tougher line with apps and others who want to mine the mountain of data the social network has stockpiled about its two billion active users. “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis that the entire company was built on,” said Christopher Wylie, a Canadian data analytics expert who worked with Cambridge Analytica told The Observer . In a March 21 post, Mark Zuckerberg stated, "Last week, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to confirm this. We're also working with regulators as they investigate what happened. This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.” Where users’ Facebook data may have been compromised The U.S. topped the list with 70.6 million users – close to 82% of all affected users. Philippines and Indonesia were the second and third most impacted countries, respectively, while 1.07 million users were affected in the UK. The core of the problem lies in the structures and business models Imagine what a state can do with the immense amount of data it has on its citizens. The amount of data we produce doubles every year. In other words – in 2017 we produced as much data as in the entire history of humankind through 2016. Every minute we produce hundreds of thousands of Google searches, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts. These contain information that reveals how we think and feel. Whenever you come across a social media platform it is offered absolutely free to users. It is a push strategy of “taking the product to the customer,” grabbing the people’s attention and the product which is, essentially, the data that these companies are trying to sell. An organization can provide those that only allow the user to access what they need. The enterprise’s concern is the data; the employee’s concern is the device. In the IT security world, we care about both. But that's not all. Much of the technology is being developed by companies, who are in the business of capturing and selling our data and our attention to advertisers and others including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter and Instagram. The more that is known about us, the less likely our choices are to be free and not predetermined by others. Now that most of the organizations have started adopting BYOD in some form, it is not just personal iPads and laptops that users are bringing into the office; they are also using the consumer apps available in their personal device for work purpose which leads to the next wave in mobility. In the very near future BYOD won’t be a ‘trend’ but a norm no one will think twice about. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica – Their power of influence is of great concern Everything started quite harmlessly. Search engines and recommendation platforms began to offer us personalized suggestions for products and services. This information is based on personal and meta-data that has been gathered from previous searches, purchases and mobility behavior, as well as social interactions. But it's not the intent or the statements people in technology make that matter, it's the structures and business models they're building. And that's the core of the problem. Either Facebook is a giant con of half a trillion dollars, and ads don't work on the site, and it doesn't work as a persuasion architecture, or its power of influence is of great concern. It's either one or the other. It's similar for Google, too. And many of these ad-finance platforms boast that they are free. In this context, we are the product that’s being sold. Think of all the data that Facebook has on you – every status update that you have ever typed, every messenger conversation, every place you logged in from, all your photographs that you uploaded there. If you start typing something, change your mind and delete it, Facebook keeps those and analyzes them, too. And it won't stop there. It is estimated that in 10 years’ time there will be 150 billion networked measuring sensors, 20 times more than people on Earth. Then, the amount of data will double every 12 hours. Again, the more that is known about us, the less likely our choices are to be free and not predetermined by others. Extricate yourself from social media as much as you can Today, tech companies’ algorithms know pretty well what we do, what we think and how we feel—possibly even better than our friends and family or even ourselves. Not to mention it tries to match you with your offline data. Companies also purchase a lot of data from data brokers. The world is becoming increasingly networked and ever larger amounts of data are accumulating.  We are talking about things like growing volumes and varieties of available data, computational processing that is cheaper and more powerful and affordable data storage. Stored data could be everything from your bank statements, Fintech accounts and financial records to your browsing history. They know many of the websites you visit, all the sites you are forced to sign into using your Facebook information, the drafts of posts you delete, what music you listen to and where you are at all times of the day when the app is open. They encourage deep surveillance on all of us so that the machine learning algorithms can work. That’s why Facebook wants to collect all the data it can about you. These algorithms may be able to detect people’s sexual orientation just from their dating profile pictures. In addition to searching for information on the Internet, buying things on ecommerce sites, booking app-based cabs and making payments and transfers on online payment platforms. They will also buy more devices, including wearables and smart speakers, which gather large amounts of data. You may have struggled to take data harvesting seriously because the "targeted" advertising on your Facebook feed – the last thing you looked at on Amazon and some dating sites – seems too lame to be nefarious. Take it seriously. Some software platforms are moving towards “persuasive computing.” Big tech giants like Facebook allow firms such as Cambridge Analytica to syphon away 87 million user profiles, while the average Internet of Things device is so easy to hack that a kid can do it. I didn’t really feel like contacting the developers of 72 different apps before deleting my Facebook account, so I am unclear about the fate of the data they have amassed. Presumably it’s all floating around in the cloud somewhere. So, I would urge you to extricate yourself from social media as much as you can. Deleting your Facebook account may not put an end to the surveillance state, but it sends an important message to big tech that we don’t trust them any longer. And mind you, Facebook doesn’t own your content, you do. Article written by Raj Kosaraju Image credit by Getty Images, NurPhoto Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers
(Content sponsored by Capella University) Not long ago, technical skills were all that IT and analytics professionals needed to grow their careers. Not anymore. Over the past few decades, technology has become key to executing business strategy. The challenge, however, was that some IT professionals didn’t understand the business—they understood IT. Mad technical skills alone no longer cut it for IT experts. Merging IT expertise with business acumen is necessary to bring you to the intersection of IT and business. You’ll need to know how to collaborate—play nice with people who have different perspectives—to deliver cross-functional, high-quality results. In other words, you’ll need to speak both languages (business and technology) to bridge the gaps and advance your career. Where will I need to update my skills? Big Data and analytics, for example, require people who understand complex business problems, the nature of tech and data, and how to frame IT and analytics projects to serve business objectives. Great potential exists to harness the power of analytics and business when IT professionals understand how business works. Another area to beef up your skills is in cybersecurity. It’s more than changing passwords or adding firewalls. Developing a comprehensive cybersecurity program requires IT professionals who understand organizational behavior. They’ll need to work with business pros to develop and manage organizational policies and procedures. IT implementation and project management is another example. You’ll need to understand the organization’s business processes to install new technologies and manage change. Businesses need IT professionals who can help shape the vision for their technologies and collaborate to implement them in their organizations. Take the next step IT professionals who can straddle both worlds and address common challenges will expand their career options. If you want to step up your game, build on your knowledge and skills. At Capella University, you have choices . Think IT certifications, badges, or microcredentials; an MBA or graduate degree in IT, and a host of other professional development opportunities. Bring your tech and soft skills in line with what businesses need. Capella University IT programs can help with that. Do you know your business-skills savvy? We have a challenge for that. Game on. Learn more about earning a degree in Information Technology > Content sponsored by Capella University Image credit by Capella University Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers
Already, computing systems are outperforming humans in many tasks that profoundly shape our everyday lives in the fields of transportation, communication, energy, finance, healthcare, retail, education, public services and utilities, law as well as defense and security. There are also clear upsides and opportunities, disrupting the fabric of our social contracts, our sense of human identity and dignity, and our considerations of agency and personal empowerment. Engaging with an Emotional Machine may be a potential risk "The Emotion Machine," popularized by cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky in his 2006 book, explains how our minds work, how they progress from simple kinds of thought to more complex forms that enable us to reflect on ourselves – what most people refer to as consciousness, or self-awareness. An emotional machine may not be a threat in itself since it could learn empathy. However, engaging with an emotional machine could be an unpredictable situation – and hence, a potential risk. Once we understand thinking, we can build machines through artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning or neural networks that can assist with our thinking, machines that can follow the same thinking patterns that we follow and that can think as we do. These humanlike thinking machines would also be emotion machines – just as we are. Yet, if they knew why the machine has chosen to do something in a particular way, then they would be more likely to accept and embrace it as an invaluable tool rather than seeing it as a threat or unnecessary. There are plenty of wild statements thrown around about artificial intelligence – from a threat to our jobs to a threat to the human race as we know it. There is little doubt that AI will displace many low-skilled jobs. Arguably, robots have already taken many jobs on the assembly line. But now, this could extend to new levels. AI, robots, humans and machines will merge within 20 years Artificial intelligence has massive potential advantages. A modern example is AI being used for cancer treatment and making recommendations based on medical records. In one of his articles, Tristan Greene points out that Ray Kurzweil Google’s AI guru predicts humans and machines will merge within 20 years. Kurswell says the human-robot hybrid won’t be a monstrosity of metal. It’ll be a chip in your brain instead of an iPhone in your hand. In the future, it will be no more shocking to think about the weather in Hong Kong and get an answer than it is to say “Hey Google, what’s the weather in China?” and receive accurate information from a glowing rectangle with a speaker inside of it. Kurzweil believes “medical robots will go inside our brain and connect our neo-cortex to the smart cloud” by the year 2029. The truth about AI, according to experts such as Ray Kurzweil, is that there’s no part of our lives that won’t be directly affected by it. As individuals, we probably won’t notice the changes in real-time, but our dependence on machine learning will increase at exponential rates. On the positive side of AI, we have the prospect of self-driving cars and other benefits, and through education humans can evolve and improve. We are still experiencing a risk versus reward syndrome. The risks include loss of jobs, growing inequality and dealing with super intelligence. I don't think learning to code will solve issues of workforce automation and give humans a skill advantage over machines. It is important to understand the language of code in order to interpret AI algorithms and develop a working understanding. It is important for accountability, but in terms of skills for a future workforce, we are better to focus on creative and social skills that are more inherently human. The key for humans will be to use their own judgement to apply it productively and ensure the “rise of the robots” doesn’t get out of hand. Mass technological unemployment Intelligent personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Now, are examples of AI technology. However, as AI develops further, automation will impact up the skills ladder also. We are seeing this already with legal work automation and increasing use of AI in medicine. The bottom line is clear - our workforce needs to be prepared to deal with rapidly changing times and be agile enough to thrive in uncertainty. I recently read a debate on “Automation and replacement of jobs” in which  Yolanda Lannquist mentions that many economists (e.g. David Autor, MIT) claim that mass technological unemployment will not occur because we will have increasing consumer demands for new products and services creating new jobs, have new jobs enabled by the technology (e.g. virtual reality world designer, or Schumpeter's "creative destruction"), or that humans will maintain a niche in certain creative or interpersonal tasks. However, the rapid pace of technological development and computing power enabling advancements in AI are increasingly pointing otherwise. In “The Economic Singularity,” Calum Chace debunks many of the commonly cited reasons against mass unemployment. For example, he points out that patients in nursing and care can prefer working with machines. PTSD patients have been shown to discuss more openly and freely with machines, which they perceive as non-judgmental. Equipped with enhanced facial and biometric capabilities, machine therapists have been better able to diagnose depression and other ailments that humans hide in therapy sessions. Humans have an interesting ability to "anthropomorphize," or assign human traits, to cute and real-looking robots, like PARO, a robotic seal with large eyes and soft fur that has been popular among patients in hospitals. Automation and replacement of jobs In the April 2017 HBR article "Thinking Through How Automation Will Affect Your Workforce,” Ravin Jesuthasan and John Boudreau state that cognitive automation takes on more complex tasks by applying things like pattern recognition or language understanding to various tasks. For example, the Amazon Go retail store in Seattle has no cashiers or checkout lanes. Customers pick up their items and go, as sensors and algorithms automatically charge their Amazon account. Automation has replaced the work elements of scanning purchases and processing payment. Yet other elements of the “job” of store associate are still done by humans, including advising in-store customers about product features. Social robotics involves robots moving autonomously and interacting or collaborating with humans through the combination of sensors, AI and mechanical robots. A good example is “driverless” vehicles as robotics and algorithms interact with other human drivers to navigate through traffic. Deconstructing the “job” reveals that the human still plays an important role. While the human “co-pilot” no longer does the work of routine navigation and piloting, they still do things like observing the driverless operation and stepping in to assist with unusual or dangerous situations. Indeed, it is often overlooked that the human co-pilot is actually “training” the AI-driven social robotics, because every time the human makes a correction, the situation and the results are “learned” by the AI system. AI will significantly disrupt and potentially empower the world's workforce. It won’t happen all at once or in every job, but it will happen, and leaders will need an automation strategy that realizes its benefits, avoids needless costs, and rests on a more nuanced understanding of work. Article written by Raj Kosaraju Image credit by Getty Images, Moment, Dong Wenjie Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers
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