Monthly Archives: November 2016

Work Into Social Networking

Jobs will appear in users’ News Feeds and also will be listed on individual businesses’ pages. Users can click on the Apply Now button to trigger the prepopulation of their personal information, but they will be able to review and edit that information before submitting their application.

Over the next few weeks, companies in the U.S. and Canada will be able to list jobs on their own pages and users will be able to find job listings at Jobs on Facebook.

It is not clear how Facebook intends to monetize the job listings. For example, will there be specific job-related charges for listing jobs? Will there be remuneration if a company fills a particular job through a Facebook ad?

 

Direct Competitors

The new functionality is certain to place Facebook into direct competition with LinkedIn for corporate users and individual job seekers. LinkedIn, which Microsoft last year acquired for US$26.2 billion, is the leading social media site for networking and job searching in the U.S., by many accounts.

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn charges monthly subscription fees for job search services, depending on the level of functionality the user desires in terms of networking, contacting recruiters and accessing messaging functions.

Facebook also will be in indirect competition with websites such as Indeed, Monster, Craigslist and others that target job seekers.

“Social media is the new frontier for marketing and sales,” said Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

“By tapping into their employees’ social media experiences, companies can leverage their professional contacts to reach a wider audience,” he told TechNewsWorld.

 

Privacy Jitters

A major test for Facebook’s new job search capabilities is whether users will feel comfortable combining their social media activity with professional job searching, warned Zach Fuller, paid content analyst at Midia Research.

Security considerations likely will give some users pause when it comes to allowing potential employers to access their private information.

“Whether consumers are comfortable merging the work and social aspects of their lives will prove to be the critical factor, particularly given the potential privacy issues,” Fuller told TechNewsWorld.

However, “throughout every step in job posting, searching and application, people can control how much, or how little of their information is shared with potential employers and their friends,” Facebook spokesperson Emilie Fetterley told TechNewsWorld.

Best emulation for a future artificial intelligence system

President Trump offers a good emulation for a future artificial intelligence system, suggests a column I read earlier this month, and his presidency may be an early warning of what could happen if we should fail to think through its training and information sources.

Cathy O’Neil, the author of the piece, is a data scientist, mathematician and professor, so she has decent chops. She compares artificial intelligence to human intelligence that is mostly id — basically because we don’t yet know how to instill it with empathy, or create the digital equivalent of a conscience.

Given that IBM’s Watson was designed not to replace humans but to enhance them by giving them the critical information they need to make the best decisions, it could be a useful tool for training our new president. And it is built in the U.S. by a U.S. company.

Given that Watson is now doing our taxes, it could be huge both for the president and IBM. I’ll explain and then close with my product of the week: Nvidia’s new set-top box.

Id-Driven CEOs – a Model for Future AIs

CEOs in large companies, particularly those who can implement large layoffs and take massive salaries without remorse, are believed to have similar behavioral traits.

Donald Trump is a good showcase of what could happen with an AI that didn’t receive high quality information and training. Understanding this and designing to correct the problem could prevent a Skynet outcome.

Skynet — the computing system in the Terminator movies — was created for defense purposes to eliminate threats. When humans tried to shut it down, it concluded that humans were the biggest threat and that it needed to eliminate them.

Using reverse logic, if President Trump is a good emulation of a future AI, then the same thing that would ensure that the future AI wouldn’t kill us should work to turn the new president into one of the most successful who ever lived, from the perspective of those who live in the U.S.

 

The AI Dichotomy

There are two parallel and not mutually exclusive paths for the coming wave of artificially intelligent machines coming to market. One — arguably the most attractive to many CEOs that deal with unions — is the model in which the machine replaces the human, increasing productivity while lowering executive aggravation.

This is exemplified in an episode of The Twilight Zone, “The Brain Center at Whipple’s.” As you would expect, once you go down a path of replacement, it is hard to know when to stop. At the end of the episode, the enterprising CEO who so unfeeling dealt with the employees he’d laid off is replaced by my favorite robot, Robby.

The other path — the one IBM espouses — is one in which the artificial intelligence enhances the human employee. It is a cooperative arrangement, and Watson was designed specifically for this role.

In one of its first medical tests, Watson took just minutes to diagnose a rare form of cancer that had stumped doctors for months. The supercomputer’s analysis led to a new, more effective treatment for the patient.

It is interesting to note that autonomous cars are developing on a parallel path — but in this case, the opposite scenario is favored. In the model known as “chauffeur,” the car has no capability for human driving. This model is favored when tied to a service, such as Uber.

Cybersecurity Warriors

“Today’s sophisticated cybersecurity threats attack on multiple fronts to conceal their activities, and our security analysts face the difficult task of pinpointing these attacks amongst a massive sea of security-related data,” noted Sean Valcamp, chief information security officer at Avnet, an early tester of the Watson for Cyber Security system.

“Watson makes concealment efforts more difficult by quickly analyzing multiple streams of data and comparing it with the latest security attack intelligence to provide a more complete picture of the threat,” he said.

“Watson also generates reports on these threats in a matter of minutes, which greatly speeds the time between detecting a potential event and my security team’s ability to respond accordingly,” Valcamp added.

Only 7 percent of security pros currently use cognitive tools in their workflow, but that is changing, according to IBM, which expects usage to triple in the next two to three years.

That’s because as more and more devices come online, they create a burden on security teams they won’t be able to handle without the help an AI like Watson.

“The attack surface for the attacker is mushrooming,” Kennelly said. “Tools like Watson can help defend against those expanding attack patterns.”

 

Voice-Powered Security Assistant

IBM also announced the Havyn Project, which is developing a new voice-powered security assistant to work with Watson’s data.

Bug in the Bud

“This happened in response to a very small number of requests in the Cloudflare system — about 1 in 3.3 million,” a Cloudflare spokesperson said in a statement provided to TechNewsWorld by company rep Katie Warmuth.

Some of that data had been cached by search engines.

Cloudflare reviewed the available related cached information and “took comprehensive steps to clean up any residual material found in storage caches,” the spokesperson noted.

Cloudflare found that data for about 150 of its 6 million customers had been impacted.

The company has reached out to “a number of search engines to review and remediate the information in their caches,” the spokesperson said.

All identified episodes have been cleaned, and Cloudflare continues to work to confirm whether other residue persists.

There are at least 16 other search engines on the Web apart from Google, including Bing and Duck Duck Go.

What Happened

Tavis Ormandy, a vulnerability researcher with Google’s Project Zero, notified Cloudflare about the problem on Feb. 17. The memory leak occurred from September to Feb. 18, with the greatest period of impact being from Feb. 13-18.

A bug in Cloudflare’s Ragel-based parser was the cause. It had been dormant for years, but came alive last year, when Cloudflare began replacing the Ragel-based parser with a new one it wrote, named “cf-html.”

The switchover subtly changed the buffering, which enabled the leakage.

The problem lay with Cloudflare’s implementation of the Ragel-based parser it was using, and not with the parser itself or with cf-html.

When it learned of the problem, Cloudflare turned off three features — email obfuscation, Server-side Excludes and Automatic HTTPS Rewrites — that used the parser chain causing the leakage.

The Email Obfuscation feature, which was changed on Feb. 13, was the primary cause of the leaked memory, Cloudflare’s Graham-Cumming said.

Cloudflare worked with Google and other search engines to remove any cached HTTP responses.

The initial mitigation took 47 minutes, and the team completed global mitigation in less than seven hours. The industry standard is usually three months, Graham-Cumming noted.

Cloudflare “responded incredibly swiftly and effectively to identify and remediate the bug, and work with search engines around the world to purge any sensitive data cached by their crawlers before it could be exposed to the public,” Tripwire Principal Security Researcher Craig Young told TechNewsWorld.

 

The Gravity of the Problem

“We realize that this was a very serious bug and that we dodged a bullet in that [it] did not lead to more problems than it did,” the Cloudflare spokesperson remarked.

Cloudflare hasn’t discovered any evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence.

That “is not the same as saying [the bug] was not exploited,” remarked James Scott, senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure.

“It just means that no exploitation was detected,” he told TechNewsWorld.

That said, “the effectual security impact would have been limited unless an adversary consistently collected information for a prolonged period of time,” Scott added, “because the captured information would be a virtual grab-bag.”

That would be a “really inefficient and cumbersome” approach, he said.

Steady Enterprise March

Enterprise IT decision makers have been exploring the potential of Internet of Things technologies, but they are not rushing IoT projects into development and are showing caution in their adoption commitments, according to survey results Red Hat released Wednesday.

Of the 215 participants in the company’s survey, “Enterprise IoT in 2017: Steady as she goes,” 55 percent indicated that IoT was important to their organization. However, only a quarter of those organizations actually were writing project code and deploying IoT technologies.

Enterprise interest in IoT has been deliberate and careful, Red Hat’s findings suggest.

Open source software is well positioned to be the dominant technology for IoT development, and open source partners will be vital to project success, the survey results indicate.

The latest survey was a follow-up to Red Hat’s 2015 survey on IoT interest in the enterprise. While it appears that interest in IoT is picking up, companies are approaching actual rollouts with the common enterprise IT theme of “steady deliberation.”

The aim of the 2015 survey was to find out if people were building IoT solutions from scratch or were leveraging pieces from other projects and adding an IoT component, said Lis Strenger, senior principal product marketing manager for Red Hat.

“Knowing that would help us decide what he had to add to our own product part. Two years later … we found that the hype cycle of IoT had quickly moved ahead very fast. It went out of hype more quickly than people expected it to,” she told LinuxInsider.

Survey Revelations

The survey was segmented and sought responses only from people fitting the developer and architect profile.

At 55 percent, the number of survey respondents who described IoT as important to their organization was up 12 percent from 2015.

Their IoT deployments were in the early stages, with fewer than a quarter of respondents actually designing, prototyping or coding an IoT project, Strenger pointed out.

Still, “more people are further along in active IoT projects. That was an important discovery,” she said.

About 22 percent of respondents were in active development — designing, prototyping or coding.

“This is a pretty significant chunk of our customer base,” Strenger noted.

Almost 60 percent of respondents were looking to IoT to drive new business opportunities, rather than to optimize existing investments or processes.

 

Unexpected Takeaway

One of the chief takeaways from the latest study is that devs viewing open source as the best approach to accommodate the need for rapid innovation, according to Strenger.

An impressive 89 percent of respondents said they were going to be using open source software.