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AI-enabled enterprise starts with education, not tech

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The AI-enabled enterprise won’t be built in a day. Take it from representatives at companies knee-deep in building…

AI hardware, software and services for their customers and clients, including IBM, Affectiva Inc. and Grant Thornton LLP.

At the recent AI and the Future of Work event hosted by MIT, these representatives provided advice on how CIOs can start to build the AI-enabled enterprise — as quickly as tomorrow morning. One of the first steps they suggested CIOs take? Get caught up on what the AI terrain looks like.

“The number one thing I would say is to invest the time to really understand what is happening in AI,” said Nichole Jordan, managing partner of markets, clients and industry at accounting and advisory firm Grant Thornton.

AI literacy is a must

Jordan pointed to AI Magazine and O’Reilly Media’s artificial intelligence newsletter as two “simple examples” of how CIOs can incorporate AI education into their daily routines and that of their teams. She described this as just “a sprinkling,” but said the reading material can encourage discussions about artificial intelligence and how its resurgence might affect the future of the company.

Reading up on AI could be worthwhile even for the smallest organizations, according to Jordan. “It no longer requires a multimillion-dollar budget to get AI started in your organization,” she said.

AI, Grant ThorntonNichole Jordan

Take mergers and acquisitions, which require advisors to monitor and analyze disparate and often siloed data sources such as patent filings or regulatory findings. Today, AI is doing that kind of work and even collecting metrics on company culture, customer feedback and employee engagement that it scrapes from sites such as Glassdoor.

“Over time, the AI is able to develop and monitor trends, patterns, make recommendations to you for potentially other companies to put into your acquisitions portfolio,” Jordan said. “It is about speed and accuracy and being able to analyze a lot of data that we didn’t historically have the opportunity to bring together into one place.”

Knowledge overhype

Affectiva’s Gabi Zijderveld echoed Jordan’s remarks, saying that education is a must.

“There’s so much hype and fluff around AI because every bit of technology today is [marketed as] AI,” said Zijderveld, chief marketing officer and head of product strategy at the emotion measurement company.

As CIOs familiarize themselves with what’s out there, they also need to get a grip on the appropriate opportunities AI can provide to their companies, according to Zijderveld. In Affectiva’s case, its first customers came from an obvious market segment.

affective, AI, emotion AIGabi Zijderveld

Media and advertising companies began using the emotion AI technology, which can interpret facial expressions in real time, to test their content and assess audience response. These days, customers include educators who use the technology to help children with autism decode facial expressions, as well as medical care workers who can use it to detect Parkinson’s disease or as a benchmark for facial reconstruction surgery.

Zijderveld also suggested CIOs look at industry best practices, talk to their peers, find out what competitors are doing and uncover good examples of applied AI, taking note of their results and the products and technologies that drove those results.

And she provided a note of caution for CIOs: Don’t fall into the over-engineering trap. “If you have an old-fashioned ruler that does the job, maybe you don’t need AI there,” she said. “Use the damn ruler.”

Lifelong learning is key

For Sophie Vandebroek, vice president of emerging technology partnerships at IBM, building the AI-enabled enterprise means developing employee skills.

“At IBM, in fact, we are being measured to make sure we take 40 hours of education every year on these kinds of topics,” she said.

Not only is training important, but hiring and bringing in the right skills is also key, according to Vandebroek. For AI-enabled enterprises to succeed, employees who know how to use AI tools, especially as they become more accessible, easier to use and embedded into workflows, will be critical.

Vandebroek cited IBM’s Project Debater product as an example of how AI could change workflows. The AI system has been trained to take a topic, craft an argument and debate its merits — in minutes. Vandebroek believes a technology like this could help companies work through difficult decisions they need to make, such as with an acquisition.

As part of that education, companies — from the board of directors on down — need to recognize the importance of trust and transparency, according to Vandebroek. She stressed decisions be explainable and that data privacy be made a priority.

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Source: https://searchcio.techtarget.com/news/252452985/AI-enabled-enterprise-starts-with-education-not-tech

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Amazon to hire 75,000 workers, offers $100 extra for vaccination proof

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(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc will give $100 more to new hires with proof of COVID-19 vaccination, the world’s largest e-commerce retailer said on Thursday, as part of its plan to employ 75,000 workers for fulfillment and logistics operations.

As vaccines become crucial to reopening of the economy, several U.S. retailers, including Dollar General, Kroger and Target, are offering bonuses or other perks to staff getting their shots.

Demand for hourly staff at restaurants, factories, retail stores and fulfillment centers is rising as e-commerce demand remains robust, while more consumers are expected to step out of their homes after a year of lockdown living.

The vaccine-related incentives are also aimed at attracting workers flush with relief checks and wary of the pandemic as well as the lack of childcare facilities back to work.

Amazon will pay the new hires an average starting pay of more than $17 per hour, reflecting recent hikes of between 50 cents and $3 an hour for about half a million fulfillment-center workers in the United States.

It will also pay a sign-on bonus of up to $1,000.

The e-retailer has benefited from a surge in e-commerce sales as more consumers moved online last year, forcing it to hire thousands and offer attractive perks and bonuses.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/amazon-hire-75000-workers-offers-100-extra-vaccination-proof/14650

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Google wins cloud deal from SpaceX for Starlink internet service

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(Reuters) – Google has won a deal to provide cloud services to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has launched a slew of Starlink satellites to provide high-speed internet, it said on Thursday.

SpaceX will set up ground stations within Google’s data centers that connect to the Starlink satellites, enabling fast and secure internet services via Google Cloud, the search giant said.

This service is expected to be available in the second half of 2021 for enterprise customers, the company said.

The deal comes at a time when demand for cloud-computing services has soared, with players like Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc dominating the market. Cloud companies have also tapped into the telecoms sector, thanks to a jump in demand for 5G connectivity.

Google’s cloud business accounts for about 7% of its total revenue, as of the latest earnings report.

Last October, Microsoft won a similar deal from SpaceX to connect its Azure cloud computing platform to Starlink.

Privately held SpaceX, known for its reusable rockets and astronaut capsules, is ramping up satellite production for Starlink, a growing constellation of hundreds of internet-beaming satellites that Musk hopes will generate enough revenue to help fund SpaceX’s interplanetary goals.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/google-wins-cloud-deal-spacex-starlink-internet-service/14649

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Chat app Discord to test ticketing, make audio events easier to find

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By Elizabeth Culliford

(Reuters) – Chat platform Discord said on Thursday it will start to test paid tickets for audio events, the first feature where creators can make money from the site, and will launch a tool next month to help users more easily find live audio channels.

Discord, which grew quickly during the pandemic and says it has 150 million monthly active users, will roll out ticketed events this month in a pilot with fewer than 50 creators, all based in the United States, a Discord spokeswoman said.

The announcements follow Discord’s launch in March of “Stage Channels” where users can tune in to an audio channel operated by a host, a feature popularized by the year-old, invite-only Clubhouse app.

Discord was first used by videogamers but has increasingly expanded to different communities and is used for events ranging from comedy clubs to karaoke parties.

The platform said in a blog post that it plans to launch a “Stage Discovery” feature on June 1 to help users find different new voice events.

A slew of online platforms like Facebook and Twitter are working on their own audio chat services. Social media companies are also racing to build features to attract content creators who have built large fan followings and want to make money directly from their platform audiences.

Discord said it would also launch a feature this summer called “Threads” to make text chats more streamlined and easier to follow.

Reuters reported last month that Discord had ended sale talks with Microsoft Corp to focus on expanding its business as a standalone company.

This month, Sony Corp announced that one of its units had made a minority investment in Discord as part of a deal to tie in the platform with Sony’s PlayStation gaming division.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; editing by Richard Pullin)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/chat-app-discord-test-ticketing-make-audio-events-easier-find/14648

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Exclusive: Crypto crime down in 2021 through April, but ‘DeFi’ fraud at record -CipherTrace

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By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Losses from cryptocurrency theft, hacks and fraud fell sharply in the first four months of the year, but crime in the booming “decentralized finance” space hit an all-time high, a report from crypto intelligence company CipherTrace showed on Thursday.

DeFi applications are platforms that facilitate crypto-denominated lending outside traditional banking, using an open-source code with algorithms that set rates in real time based on supply and demand. Many DeFi applications are embedded in the ethereum blockchain.

Globally, crypto criminals ran away with $432 million as of end-April, according to the CipherTrace report. About 56% of that, or $240 million were DeFi-related, a record peak.

For the whole of 2020, losses in the crypto sector through fraud and crime were $1.9 billion. In 2019, crypto crime losses hit a record $4.5 billion.

Cryptocurrencies are once again in the spotlight with the surge in prices for the second-largest token, ethereum, and social media darling, dogecoin.

The drop in crypto crime reflects some maturation in the industry, as infrastructure improved and companies and exchanges boosted security systems.

DeFi, however, is another story. The value locked – the total number of loans on DeFi platforms – was $86 billion as of Wednesday, DeFi Pulse data showed, up roughly 650% from $11 billion in October.

The surge in the industry’s growth has attracted the bad actors and market participants said the rise in crime is likely to accelerate as DeFi expands further.

“As more money pours into the space from retail and institutional players, bad actors will seek to take advantage of the hype to draw people into scams and hackers will seek out projects that have launched without performing adequate security audits, exploiting loopholes encoded in the smart contracts,” Dave Jevans, CipherTrace’s chief executive officer, said in an emailed response to Reuters.

Losses from DeFi-related hacks already exceeded the $129 million taken for the whole of 2020. In 2019, there were no DeFi losses reported.

One of the major losses in the DeFi space was the $80 million worth of funds stolen on April 19 from EasyFi Network, a DeFi project on the Polygon Network, the CipherTrace report said. EasyFi reported that a hacker stole roughly $80 million worth of funds from its wallet.

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Editing by Alden Bentley and Matthew Lewis)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/exclusive-crypto-crime-2021-april-defi-fraud-record-ciphertrace/14647

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