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Success with automation and AI requires a high ‘RQ’

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Companies know that a high IQ can help drive business value. But the analyst outfit Forrester Research believes that if companies are going to successfully work side by side with artificially intelligent systems, they’re also going to need a high “RQ.”

RQ, or robotics quotient, is a measurement of how competent a company will be at automation and AI implementation. The Forrester assessment is based on three main areas: people, leadership and organizational structures. A fourth area, trust, will influence the three main categories and change depending on the type of technology being deployed.

J.P. Gownder, a Forrester analyst serving CIOs, described RQ as the “human contribution” companies need when deploying automation and AI technologies. “It’s not just about the bots; it’s not just about artificial intelligences,” he said in a July presentation at the New Tech and Innovation 2018 conference in Boston. “It’s about real people, real leaders and real organizational structures that you need to put in place to make sure you’re most likely to succeed.”

Toronto moments

Automation and AI technologies are on a spectrum from more deterministic, where A always leads to B, to more probabilistic, where A could lead to B but could also lead to C or to D.

And these probabilistic systems create a new wrinkle for companies: No matter how swanky the user interface or how cutting-edge the technology, probabilistic systems can produce incorrect — and even illogical — results that can erode the trust humans have in the machine’s abilities.

Gownder pointed to IBM Watson as an example. During its Jeopardy! debut in 2011, Watson answered a final question about U.S. cities with “Toronto,” causing the audience to gasp. When researchers did a post-mortem, it became clear that even Watson doubted the response. Using probabilistic judgement, the machine determined that Toronto had only a 30% chance of being correct, but it was the best answer it could come up with at the time.

These “Toronto moments,” as Forrester now refers to them, “teach us something about the intersection between human beings and AI and the trust that is part of this,” Gownder said.

The more probabilistic a system is, the more human intervention it might need. But designing systems and processes that strike a balance between trust and intervention will be a challenging step for companies. That’s where Forrester believes RQ will come in handy.

What is RQ?

The robotics quotient is a self-assessment that “measures the ability of individuals and organizations to learn and adapt to and collaborate with automated entities,” Gownder said. It’s composed of 39 characteristics that Forrester regards as a collection of automation and AI best practices.

Forrester Research, RQ, robotics quotient, PLOT frameworkJ.P. Gownder

The higher the score, the more prepared a company is to tackle the new challenges that come with automation and AI technologies. But RQ doesn’t just measure readiness, according to Gownder. It also enables CIOs to “identify gaps or areas where you need to prioritize resources before you make a big bet on automation and AI,” he said.

The 39 characteristics fall into one of three categories — people, leadership and organizational structure. People, for example, are measured across different dimensions — such as facilitation, which considers how effective an employee might be at communicating with an automated entity, and perception, which includes things like basic digital literacy and “constructive ambition,” or an eagerness to learn.

For leaders, the RQ highlights vision, adaptability, the ability to inspire trust and influence. The final category refers to IT employees and beyond; CIOs will need to influence the C-suite and even the board of directors to secure the budget, buy-in and support that automation and AI tools can demand. “The CIO is no longer a benign dictator who has all the power,” Gownder said. “This is the creation of an ecosystem across business units with lots of participation from the workers themselves.”

Organizational structures will also need to adapt. Automation and AI may require new titles such as bot manager, new training and mentoring opportunities for humans and machines alike, new processes that encourage human-machine team creation, and new metrics. “After all, we can have all the good intentions, and the well-educated employees and the leaders who are on board,” Gownder said, “but if we do not create structures, processes and budgets — the b word — we’re going to have a hard time getting this through.”

Don’t forget about trust

The categories of people, leadership and the organization are then measured against one final category — trust. Gownder called trust “a multiplier in this model.” Automation and AI technologies exist on a spectrum from transparent to opaque, and where the technology falls on that spectrum will influence employee trust.

“If you’re implementing something that is very transparent, that is very deterministic, your employees will bring a high level of inherent trust to the machine. They’re used to these sorts of systems,” Gownder said. “If you’re using probabilistic systems, where the machine is often uncertain of its results, then you’re going to have a higher burden of RQ investment.”

Forrester’s model breaks down the complexity of trust by providing a numeric value for how deterministic the technology is, how transparent the technology is and how much change the technology could have on the workplace.

The changes that automation and AI will have on the workplace could be a sensitive area for leaders, especially as automation and AI instigate changes in the workforce. “As you might imagine, when employees are losing their jobs as part of a deployment of automation, you magnify the mistrust among remaining employees,” Gownder said. “It raises the bar for the change management.”

But the efforts could be worthwhile. As repetitive tasks become automated, job satisfaction generally goes up, Gownder said. And although AI remains in its early stages, it is poised to transform how companies operate and interact with customers.

Whether companies choose Forrester’s RQ method or not, Gownder argued that an organizational competency in AI and automation is needed.

“If you want to be successful in creating a mixed workforce that incorporates digital workers, human workers, lots of automated processes, lots of probabilities, lots of real-time data and AI, you’re going to have to measure your people, your leaders, your organization and the inherent trust that is associated with technology,” he said.

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Source: https://searchcio.techtarget.com/feature/Success-with-automation-and-AI-requires-a-high-RQ

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UK unveils law to fine social media firms which fail to remove online abuse

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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Wednesday a planned new law would see social media companies fined up to 10% of turnover or 18 million pounds ($25 million) if they failed to stamp out online abuses such as racist hate crimes, while senior managers could also face criminal action.

The Online Safety Bill also seeks to strengthen the right to freedom of expression, and ensure democratic political debate and journalistic content is protected, the government said.

“It’s time for tech companies to be held to account and to protect the British people from harm. If they fail to do so, they will face penalties,” interior minister Priti Patel said.

Tech firms have been accused of doing far too little to address online abuse, with soccer clubs and other sporting authorities boycotting the world’s biggest social media platforms last month to highlight the growing problem.

The bill will place a duty of care on social media firms and websites to ensure they take swift action to remove illegal content, such as hate crimes, harassment and threats directed at individuals, including abuse which falls below the criminal threshold.

There will also be a requirement to remove and limit the spread of terrorist material, suicide content and child sexual abuse, which they would need to report to the authorities.

Those companies which fail to do so face hefty fines from regulator Ofcom which can also block access to their sites.

“The draft Bill contains reserved powers for Ofcom to pursue criminal action against named senior managers whose companies do not comply with Ofcom’s requests for information,” the government said. “These will be introduced if tech companies fail to live up to their new responsibilities.”

The proposed law will also require companies to safeguard freedom of expression, and reinstate material unfairly removed.

It will also forbid tech firms from discriminating against particular political viewpoints, and Ofcom will hold them to account for the arbitrary removal of journalistic content, the government added.

($1 = 0.7068 pounds)

(Reporting by Michael Holden)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/uk-unveils-law-fine-social-media-firms-fail-remove-online-abuse/14589

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U.S. senator asks firms about sales of hard disk drives to Huawei

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior Republican U.S. senator on Tuesday asked the chief executives of Toshiba America Electronic Components, Seagate Technology, and Western Digital Corp if the companies are improperly supplying Huawei with foreign-produced hard disk drives.

Senator Roger Wicker, the ranking member of the Commerce Committee, said a 2020 U.S. Commerce Department regulation sought to “tighten Huawei’s ability to procure items that are the direct product of specified U.S. technology or software, such as hard disk drives.”

He said he was engaged “in a fact-finding process… about whether leading global suppliers of hard disk drives are complying” with the regulation.

Western Digital said in a statement to Reuters it “stopped shipping to Huawei in mid-September 2020 to comply with new rules issued by the Department of Commerce. We requested a license to ship products to Huawei in September 2020. Our application is still pending.”

The other companies and Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Wicker asked the companies if they believed the regulation “prohibits shipment of hard disk drives to Huawei or any affiliate without a license” and the status of all license applications to ship covered products to Huawei.

Wicker also copied Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the letter and encouraged her act “against any company found to be circumventing any part” of the rule, saying Huawei poses “serious harm” to national security.

The Commerce Department action in August was also aimed at cracking down on its access to commercially available chips.

In August, former President Donald Trump’s administration also added 38 Huawei affiliates in 21 countries to the U.S. government’s economic blacklist raising the total to 152 affiliates since first adding Huawei in May 2019.

Washington has pushed governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, arguing the company would hand over data to the Chinese government for spying. Huawei has denied spying for China.

(Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and David Gregorio)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/us-senator-asks-firms-sales-hard-disk-drives-huawei/14588

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EA signals gaming boom extending run with upbeat annual forecast

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By Tiyashi Datta

(Reuters) -Electronic Arts Inc on Tuesday forecast annual adjusted revenue above analysts’ estimates, betting that demand for its titles, including “FIFA 21” and “Apex Legends,” would stay strong even as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

The video gaming industry has been a big pandemic winner thanks to a surge in engagement from gamers staying indoors. U.S. consumer spending on video games rose 18% in March to a record $5.6 billion, according to data from research firm NPD.

But speedy vaccinations and easing curbs have encouraged people to head outdoors, raising concerns that the gaming boom would soon fade.

EA on Tuesday signaled it expected the momentum to continue, estimating full-year adjusted revenue to be $7.30 billion, higher than a Refinitiv IBES estimate of $6.61 billion.

“We expect to continue to drive strong organic growth in Apex Legends in fiscal 2022 and expand the franchise to new platforms with the launch of Apex Mobile in the back half of the year,” Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen said on a post-earnings call.

The company’s shares were nearly 3% higher at $145.05 in extended trading.

EA has been expanding its customer base and mobile gaming footprint through deals for companies including UK-based Codemasters, known for racing titles “F1” and “Dirt”, and “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” creator Glu Mobile.

However, the costs of the acquisitions and some minor tax changes impacted its fourth-quarter profit, Jorgensen said in an interview with Reuters.

Net income for the quarter ended March 31 fell to $76 million, or 26 cents per share, from $418 million, $1.43 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.23 per share, beating expectations of $1.05 per share. Revenue of $1.49 billion also exceeded estimates of $1.39 billion.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/ea-signals-gaming-boom-extending-run-upbeat-annual-forecast/14587

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Judge in U.S. case against Facebook delays trial preparation

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The judge in the U.S. government’s antitrust case against Facebook Inc said on Tuesday the social media company’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit “raises a number of serious challenges” and put the discovery process on hold.

In a brief order, Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said he expected to rule on the motion to dismiss next month.

“Given that Facebook’s motion to dismiss raises a number of serious challenges to the complaint,” the judge wrote in a brief order, it would be premature to exchange documents until he has a chance to decide if some or all of the complaint will be tossed out.

Facebook had asked the court to dismiss both lawsuits, one brought by the Federal Trade Commission and the other by a big group of states, alleging they were brought “in the fraught environment of relentless criticism of Facebook for matters entirely unrelated to antitrust concerns.”

Facebook said in a second filing that a recent Supreme Court ruling meant the FTC lawsuit against it calling for the sale of WhatsApp and Instagram should be dismissed. The company argued that the high court ruling allows the FTC to use a particular section of the FTC Act only to demand that behavior stop.

The FTC and a big group of states filed separate lawsuits last year that accused Facebook of breaking antitrust law to keep smaller competitors at bay by snapping up rivals, such as its 2012 acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion and of WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.

All told, the federal government and states filed five lawsuits against Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google last year following bipartisan outrage over use and misuse of social media clout both in the economy and the political sphere.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/judge-us-case-facebook-delays-trial-preparation/14586

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