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Computer malware, viruses, hacks, phishing and the like are a problem that just continues to grow as our lives become more and more connected to computers. According to this story from 2015 , there are about one million new malware threats released every day. The attempted assaults on your sensitive data are immense and never ending. I tried an experiment and turned FTP on a standard port on my router. Within a day, I received dozens of attempts to connect to my system per hour. On any Windows machine, you’ll have Windows Defender running, but almost all third-party vendors will bloat up your computer with additional anti-virus programs running in the background that mostly slow down your computer with conflicting programs running. What’s a regular human being to do to deal with all of these attack vectors in an effective fashion? That’s where PolySwarm comes in. They describe themselves as a decentralized marketplace for threat intelligence. The funding of their system will be derived from the sales of ERC20 compatible utility tokens called Nectar (NCT). The question PolySwarm posed to itself was, “What if state was not universally observable? What if observing state demanded research, skill or expert knowledge? How do distrusting participants agree on a worldview that they cannot directly observe?” They needed a solution to this expert-knowledge-consensus problem that existing blockchain designs weren’t very well suited for. They named their solution mediated consensus , which they define as being achievable by any market design that assigns consensus responsibility to a finite set of market participants who: Are qualified to observe ground truth (they possess expert knowledge) Are among the most active participants in terms of liquidity. They are the biggest market makers, placing the most funds into in the market (and therefore have the most to win/lose in that moment) Have their individual interests best served by an honest market (thereby avoiding a tragedy of the commons) The intent is to identify malintent files, URLs and network traffic and reward the accuracy of identifying the malintent artifacts. The ecosystem breaks down as follows: End Users: Enterprise and home users with suspect Artifacts. End Users participate in the PolySwarm market via Bounties and Offers and extract timely and accurate malintent classifications. Security Experts (“Experts”): Geographically diverse malware experts and reverse engineers. Experts dissect the latest suspect Artifacts and maintain PolySwarm-connected detection engines (“Workers”) that determine malintent. Experts commit to “Assertions”, public statements that reflect the results of their analysis into the malintent of the Artifact. Those that have committed an accurate Assertion are rewarded in NCT for their efforts. Ambassadors: Companies that make it easy for End Users to benefit from the PolySwarm market. Ambassadors collect traditional fiat (e.g. subscription fees) and suspect Artifacts from their clients (End Users) and introduce Bounties and Offers into the market on their clients’ behalf. It is the Ambassador’s responsibility to distill the Assertions of various Experts into a simple malicious or benign Verdict that they deliver to their clients. Arbiters: Top-echelon Ambassadors that are responsible for determining malintent ground truth. A certain percentage of Ambassadors (in terms of fees generated) will be considered “Arbiters”. What is being proposed from the end-user perspective seems to make it very easy, so they don’t have to be concerned with any of the complexities of the reward systems or how the blockchain is being used to guarantee the quality of the transactions and building reputations of accuracy. They are able to submit, pay fees and get results. Transaction speed is constrained by the Ethereum block rate, which is a batch of Bounties every 15 seconds plus 15 seconds for assertion placement – these are the dominant time costs. PolySwarm continues to research how they can cut that time down even more, but the overall rate is quite good. The potential here to generate a single repository of information for malintent artifacts is compelling. PolySwarm has some heavy hitters on their list of Advisers that includes world-renowned information security experts. A solid board bodes well, typically. Their ICO starts February 6, 2018 at 19:00 UTC and runs through March 8, 2018 at 19:00 UTC. The invitation only pre-sale is sold out, and PolySwarm met their minimum funding level of $5 million in the pre-sale. Their maxcap is set at $50 million. The amount of NCT created will depend on the amount raised. Once that is calculated, no more NCT will be generated, so it will be a finite pool. I interviewed PolySwarm CTO Paul Makowski and asked a few specific questions: Q: To what extent have you done a proof of concept and stress tested this? As we saw recently, Crypto Kitties brought the Ethereum network to its knees. Does this worry you? A: We’re currently developing a stress test that will get security experts on board. Security experts will be able to link us to suspect files in exchange for an airdrop of Nectar. These suspect files will be Bountied on the Ethereum testnet, testing our smart contracts and will be scanned by us (imitating a security expert). Our scanning will be done by ClamAV (an open source AV). Experts will be rewarded for submitting unique samples (and helping us stress test). One sample maximum per day, bonuses given for specific malware families, announced via our Telegram channel. PolySwarm targets security experts, whereas Crypto Kitties targets the public at large. What we’re building should be more limited in interest. Further, PolySwarm has built-in fees to deter spamming efforts. Q: Why do you need your own incentive token instead of just using some pre-existing form of currency? A: There are several reasons, but most importantly, a token insulates the ecosystem from the rapid fluctuation in the USD:ETH exchange rate. If would be quite bad if security experts withheld their expertise until a more favorable exchange rate was offered. By having our own token, the token’s utility should closely track the utility of the threat intelligence offered by the PolySwarm network, making it a no-brainer to contribute expertise irrespective of the USD:ETH exchange rate. Q: What is the discount to people buying in the pre-sale? A: The initial pre-sale tier is totally sold out, but we are open to large purchases in the 20% discount range (same as the first tier of the public sale). This is no additional discount relative to the first public bonus, but allows people to lock in their purchase without having to worry about any race during the regular sale. Q: What is the vesting period for officers of the company that are having tokens issued? A: No tokens are being issued for any individual company officers – Swarm Technologies, Inc. will hold 30% of the minted tokens – half of which (15% of total) will be directed toward airdrops and contests to get people onboard. The remaining 15% will be held by the company and used in whatever manner is more appropriate to bootstrap the network. ---------- With that, we closed the interview. PolySwarm had a successful pre-sale that is enabling them to move forward quickly. The partnerships they’ve already put together are impressive, and they say they will have a working prototype before the main ICO sale. Article written by Shawn Gordon Image credit by PolySwarm Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers
From the Internet of Things to the cloud to artificial intelligence, industries are seeing a wave of technologies that have the potential to transform and significantly impact the world around us. Business information provider IHS Markit surveyed its leading experts in its latest white paper to find out how these technologies are coming together in new and powerful ways to fundamentally change businesses, fuel innovation, disrupt industries and create both threats and opportunities. Here's a look at eight transformative trends for the technology market in 2018. Trend #1: Artificial intelligence (AI) AI has matured to the point where it is being used as a competitive differentiator in several industries, particularly in the smartphone, automotive and medical markets. Also, optimization for on-device versus cloud-based solutions is becoming an area of focus. Cloud AI has more computing power to analyze data as it utilizes deep learning algorithms, but there are potential issues around privacy, latency and stability. On-device AI, meanwhile, can help offset those dangers to some degree. For instance, smartphone users who deploy the built-in AI of their phones are able to store data locally and thus safeguard their privacy. Trend #2: Internet of Things (IoT) The worldwide installed base of IoT devices will rise to 73 billion in 2025, IHS Markit forecasts show. Accelerating IoT growth in 2018 and movement through a four-stage IoT evolution — “Connect, Collect, Compute and Create” — will be the confluence of enhanced connectivity options with edge computing and cloud analytics. Enhancements in IoT connectivity, such as low-power wireless access (LPWA) will drive growth. Moreover, technologies adjacent to the IoT will become increasingly sophisticated. Machine video and ubiquitous video will empower new types of visual analytics. And AI, the cloud and virtualization will help develop critical insights sourced from data at the so-called “edge” of computing networks. Applying AI techniques to data will drive monetization in the form of cost savings, greater efficiencies and a transition from product- to service-centric business models. Trend #3: Cloud and virtualization Cloud services will pave the way for technologically immature companies to utilize machine learning (ML) and AI, radically transforming their usage and understanding of data. Trend #4: Connectivity As the first 5G commercial deployments emerge, the story will focus on connectivity. However, the path to full 5G adoption and deployment is complicated, with new opportunities and challenges alike in store for mobile network operators, infrastructure providers, device manufacturers and end users. 5G represents a dramatic expansion of traditional cellular technology use cases beyond mobile voice and broadband, to include a multitude of IoT and mission-critical applications. Trend #5: Ubiquitous video The growing use of screens and cameras across multiple consumer- and enterprise-device categories, along with increasingly advanced broadcast, fixed and mobile data networks, is powering an explosion in video consumption, creation, distribution and data traffic. More importantly, video content is increasingly expanding beyond entertainment into industrial applications for medical, education, security and remote controls, as well as digital signage. Trend #6: Computer vision The increasing importance of computer vision is directly tied to the mega-trend of digitization that has been playing out in the industrial, enterprise and consumer segments. The proliferation of image sensors, as well as improvements in image processing and analysis, are enabling a broad range of applications and use cases including industrial robots, drone applications, intelligent transportation systems, high-quality surveillance, and medical and automotive. Trend #7: Robots and drones The international market for robots and drones will grow to $3.9 billion in 2018. The deeper underpinnings of the story, however, lie in the disruptive potential of robots and drones to transform long-standing business models in manufacturing and industry, impacting critical areas such as logistics, material picking and handling, navigational autonomy and delivery. Trend #8: Blockchain Blockchain enables decentralized transactions and is the underlying technology for digital currency such as bitcoin and ether. Blockchain-based services beyond financial services are already being developed and deployed and will continue to ramp in 2018. These include: the use of blockchain to improve advertising measurement and combat ad fraud; blockchain-based systems for distributing music royalty payments; and solutions to better track and manage electronics supply chains. To download and read the full IHS Markit report white paper, visit: Article published by Anna Hill Image credit by Getty Images, RooM, darekm101 Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers
Recently, The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated , which provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations, identified the top trends that will impact the workforce in 2018. Its board members also recorded videos of personal predictions that they believe will shape the world of human resources (HR), human capital management (HCM) and workforce management this year. Top 5 Workplace Trends for 2018 1. Top organizations treat employee engagement as a financial strategy while thinking creatively about the employee experience. Businesses have devoted billions of dollars to chasing the white whale of employee engagement – yet engagement has remained stagnant for decades worldwide. Worse, many C-level leaders are questioning the ROI of culture-driven investments on the bottom line. HR must change their vernacular to better connect engagement with business challenges while using operational data to show how engagement is financially driven (e.g. better productivity, fewer customer escalations, optimal scheduling, retention of top performers). Simultaneously, to attract and retain the best talent, employers must weigh all the different “currencies” accepted by today’s workers (e.g. pay, benefits, flexibility, learning and development, work environments, meaningful connection to the business, people, and the community), while thinking creatively about the entire employee experience lifecycle, matching expectations during the recruiting phase all the way through succession planning. 2. Employee appetite for accessible, applicable workplace data grows. Outside the workplace, people expect fast and easy access to information of all kinds – from nearby restaurants that have the highest reviews to recommended television shows to binge next. Yet when they get to work, good, valuable information across their organizations can be hard to access and near impossible to process in order to make an informed decision in the moment. Employers are increasingly expected to provide a consumer-grade technology experience in the workplace with one-touch access to information that helps employees – both laptop-toting and frontline workers – work smarter and work their way. 3. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning make HR and operations more strategic. Innovations in workforce management and HR software have simplified the delivery of data intelligence to help solve real business problems that directly impact an employee’s daily work routine. AI can dramatically speed up time-consuming, everyday tasks while proactively identifying potential compliance risks and employee burnout concerns before they become a problem. Machine learning algorithms deliver better forecasting while enabling technology to act as a digital consultant. Managers and employees alike must be properly trained to strategically utilize and, above all, trust this unprecedented ability to mine information, while transforming their daily responsibilities to accomplish more strategic tasks they didn’t have the time to complete before. 4. A focus on the human side of leadership. As innovations in workforce management and HR technology increasingly automate daily tasks, managers have more time to interact with employees than ever before. Yet many people managers are lost with these newfound opportunities for human interaction thanks to historically weak manager onboarding programs combined with years of hiding behind devices, remote work, and mountains of administrative tasks. Since people managers are the number one driver of the employee experience and, in turn, productivity, organizations must focus on programs to help managers forge relationships, develop their people, and build the courage it takes to be a great leader. 5. Retirement moves from a casual conversation to a full-blown crisis. Organizations aren’t prepared for the loss of inherent knowledge as thousands of Baby Boomers retire each day. Many Boomers plan to ease into retirement by working part-time hours or taking on an entirely new, lower-paying job with more meaning. Many more retirement-aged employees aren’t financially capable of leaving the workforce. The perfect storm created by these trends will challenge organizations to test their succession planning, deliver meaningful roles to employees sun-setting their careers, and maintain productivity and engagement of those employees who continue to work primarily because they can't afford to retire. Board Members contributing to the 2018 Workforce Institute at Kronos predictions include: David Almeda, chief people officer of Kronos Incorporated Veronica Baz, founder of and former general director of the Center of Research for Development (CIDAC) in Mexico Natalie Bickford, group HR director at Merlin Entertainments Bob Clements, senior principal at Axsium Group David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research John Frehse, senior managing partner at Ankura Consulting Group, LLC China Gorman, a human capital management consultant, speaker, and writer who is former CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute and former COO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) John Hollon, editor at, award-winning journalist and nationally recognized expert on leadership, talent management, and smart workforce practices Sharlyn Lauby, The HR Bartender and president of ITM Group, Inc. Joyce Maroney, executive director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos Dennis Miller, chief employment officer at Cal Poly Pomona Foundation Neil Reichenberg, executive director of IPMA-HR Dan Schawbel, best-selling author and partner and research director at Future Workplace Mark Wales, workforce management industry advisor Article published by Anna Hill Image credit by Getty Images, E+Cecilie, Arcurs Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers
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