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.”
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.
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.
Exclusive-Toshiba’s No.2 shareholder calls for immediate resignation of board chair, 3 directors
By Makiko Yamazaki
TOKYO (Reuters) -Toshiba Corp’s second-biggest shareholder on Sunday demanded the board chairman and three other directors immediately resign after an investigation found the company had colluded with the Japanese government to pressure foreign investors.
The letter, seen by Reuters, is from 3D Investment Partners, which owns a 7.2% stake in Toshiba. It was sent to the four on Sunday, according to people with direct knowledge of the process.
It is likely to heighten scrutiny into governance at Toshiba, a renowned industrial conglomerate in crisis sparked by Thursday’s report. The shareholder-commissioned report marked an explosive turn in a long battle between the Japanese company’s management and foreign shareholders.
In addition to 3D, these shareholders include activist investors and Harvard University’s endowment fund.
The revelations in the report “are deeply troubling and represent one of the most prominent and shocking corporate governance failures among large public companies anywhere in the world in the last decade,” the 3D letter says.
The letter, addressed to board chair Osamu Nagayama and three current audit committee members, describes Nagayama as “ultimately responsible for Toshiba’s recent governance failures, including the flawed internal investigation and the board’s determination to oppose an outside, independent investigation.”
“It is also troubling that you have been silent about the investigative report and have failed to accept responsibility for the misconduct that occurred under your oversight as chair of the board,” the letter says.
Toshiba declined to comment on the letter, telling Reuters in a statement it was “carefully reviewing the content of the investigation report and plans to announce its comments towards this investigation result after the review.”
The company was holding an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss reassigning the candidates for three key board committees ahead of a June 25 shareholder meeting. Major shareholder advisory firms recommended against some of the candidates, including the four addressed in the 3D letter.
Four independent directors, all non-Japanese, have said in a sign of revolt that they were no longer in support of the full slate of director candidates nominated by Toshiba.
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by William Mallard)
Image Credit: Reuters
The rising importance of Fintech innovation in the new age
The rise of fintech has opened an array of opportunities for smart cities to develop and thrive. Its importance has actually increased in the age of the pandemic that calls for social distancing or contactless transactions.
The leading global payment solutions provider Visa recently indicated the increasing role of digital payments. Thanks to the expanding role of fintech, digital payments are expected to enter different smart city sectors.
Reportedly, fintech application is going to be instrumental in the transportation sector. It will come to people in different forms of contactless payments. It will also ease the process of paying for parking or hiring bikes and scooters.
More than that, whether it’s about loans, money transfer, investment, accounting and bookkeeping, airtime or fundraising. Smart cities and businesses are going to hugely rely on fintech in the coming future.
Going ahead, we are delving into understanding the fintech situation in three smart cities. All three are important fintech hubs that the entire world looks upon.
In the smart city culture, London has the reputation of being the ‘fintech capital’ of the world. The number of fintech giants in the city is valued at more than $1 billion.
However, the pandemic has caused a number of businesses to shut down. At the same time, it has also catalysed the shift to digital and contactless. Businesses are now adopting new ways to support their customers.
Even in this time of crisis, London is at the foremost position of producing the next generation of fintech leaders. This is as per the Ed Lane, VP of Sales for the EMEA region at nCino, a US-based cloud banking provider.
Remote work is becoming a necessity due to COVID-19. Hence, investments in different technologies and solutions in financial organisations and service providers are “more important than ever”. And so Lane claims that this has increased the adoption of cloud-based banking software developed by his firm.
The UK recently introduced the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). This is helping Lane’s company nCino and others. They are offering a Bank Operating System to aid SMEs with effective processing of loan applications.
Fintech companies are surviving and tapping into benefits in the COVID-19 age due to their disruptive mindset. The dot.com crash of 2001 and the financial crash of 2008 are drivers that lead them to become proactive.
Innovatively, fintech companies started offering mobile banking, online money management tools and other personalised solutions. Today, the same is enabling them to prevail during this pandemic. Besides all, partnerships have proven to be key strategies in achieving even the impossible, as experts say.
Singapore is showcasing a pioneering move in the fintech industry. Fintech is at the core of Singapore’s vision to become a ‘Smart Nation’ with a “Smart Financial Centre.”
To achieve the dream, the city-state has been showing constant efforts by using innovative technology. With this, it intends to pave the way for new opportunities, enhance efficiency and improve national management of financial risks.
Until 2019, Singapore was already home to over 600 fintech firms. These companies attracted more than half of the total funding for the same year. And amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) introduced two major support packages.
First on April 8, 2020, it announced a S$125 million COVID-19 care package for the financial and fintech sectors. This package aims at aiding the sectors in fighting the challenges from the COVID-19 health crisis. It will help in supporting workers, accelerate digitalisation, and improve operational readiness and resilience.
Second, on May 13, 2020, MAS, the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) and AMTD Foundation launched the MAS-SFA-AMTD Fintech Solidarity Grant. The S$6 million grant proposes to support Singapore-based fintech firms.
A specific focus is on managing cash flow, producing new sales and seeking growth strategies. At the individual level, many industry participants have launched their own initiatives to support the sector.
HongKong’s fintech startup sector tells us a different story which involves the role of blockchain. Blockchain-based companies are dominating the city’s startup sector.
In 2019, enterprise DLT and crypto-assets exchanges earned rankings as the most popular sectors in Hong Kong’s fintech industry. The report comes from the Financial Services and Treasury Bureau. It confirms that blockchain startups make up 40% of the 57 Fintech firms established in the city in 2019.
As per reports, 45% of new companies are focused on developing applications for large businesses. This is the reason that enterprise blockchain firms were the most popular. Another 27% account for blockchain-related firms in Hong Kong involved in digital currency.
The increase in the number of blockchain-based fintech startups is due to the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The authority introduced new policies towards blockchain tech development – making it a priority.
Blockchain is thriving in Hong Kong due to a number of reasons. The city has laid down clear regulatory guidelines for blockchain-related businesses. Many have leveraged the benefits of the QMAS program. It enables applicants to settle down in the region before having to look for employment. This has immensely encouraged several blockchain specialists to move to Hong Kong.
The city government is also entering partnerships to expand its fintech footprint in the right direction. For example, in November 2019, the government collaborated with Thailand’s officials to explore the development of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). Blockchain is a promising technology for the fintech industry. It supports quick, secure and cost-effective transaction-related services.
More importantly, it provides transparency that other traditional technologies were not capable of. Thanks to the use of encrypted distributed ledgers. These enable real-time verification of transactions without the need for mediators such as correspondent banks.
Why Is Fintech Innovation Important For The Development Of Smart Cities?
Advanced cities that are now smart cities have been using fintech for their development. With that, they are also leading the way for others to follow. Many experts confirm that innovation in fintech is a must for any city to become a ‘smart city.’
It enables easy national as well as international business. For the residents, it makes life more convenient by encouraging contactless, economical, sustainable and efficient payment-related operations.
One important aspect that smart city development and fintech innovation has in common is their determination to cut bureaucracy. A city that manages to enable speedy and inexpensive international transfers will also enable its citizens with greater access to the global market. This is as said by Hans W. Winterhoff from KPMG in one of his articles.
Furthermore, fintech innovations of the past have demonstrated their success. Some fintech applications have simplified procedures that became unnecessarily complex over time. Traditional banking services are one of the biggest examples.
The innovative fintech services opened doors for online shopping and easy international money transfers. Fintech is able to provide the same product or service to consumers. But that’s happening in less time, with fewer steps, and at more affordable rates.
Besides, transparency is another important factor that is allowing consumers to have faith in fintech services. With the current potential of fintech, we can now say that it is one of the essential pillars of successful smart city development. The results are already here in the age of this pandemic.
If you did not already know
In the last decade, a variety of topic models have been proposed for text engineering. However, except Probabilistic Latent Semantic Analysis (PLSA) and Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), most of existing topic models are seldom applied or considered in industrial scenarios. This phenomenon is caused by the fact that there are very few convenient tools to support these topic models so far. Intimidated by the demanding expertise and labor of designing and implementing parameter inference algorithms, software engineers are prone to simply resort to PLSA/LDA, without considering whether it is proper for their problem at hand or not. In this paper, we propose a configurable topic modeling framework named Familia, in order to bridge the huge gap between academic research fruits and current industrial practice. Familia supports an important line of topic models that are widely applicable in text engineering scenarios. In order to relieve burdens of software engineers without knowledge of Bayesian networks, Familia is able to conduct automatic parameter inference for a variety of topic models. Simply through changing the data organization of Familia, software engineers are able to easily explore a broad spectrum of existing topic models or even design their own topic models, and find the one that best suits the problem at hand. With its superior extendability, Familia has a novel sampling mechanism that strikes balance between effectiveness and efficiency of parameter inference. Furthermore, Familia is essentially a big topic modeling framework that supports parallel parameter inference and distributed parameter storage. The utilities and necessity of Familia are demonstrated in real-life industrial applications. Familia would significantly enlarge software engineers’ arsenal of topic models and pave the way for utilizing highly customized topic models in real-life problems. …
In statistics, the median absolute deviation (MAD) is a robust measure of the variability of a univariate sample of quantitative data. It can also refer to the population parameter that is estimated by the MAD calculated from a sample. Consider the data (1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 6, 9). It has a median value of 2. The absolute deviations about 2 are (1, 1, 0, 0, 2, 4, 7) which in turn have a median value of 1 (because the sorted absolute deviations are (0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 4, 7)). So the median absolute deviation for this data is 1. …
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CDF2PDF is a method of PDF estimation by approximating CDF. The original idea of it was previously proposed in  called SIC. However, SIC requires additional hyper-parameter tunning, and no algorithms for computing higher order derivative from a trained NN are provided in . CDF2PDF improves SIC by avoiding the time-consuming hyper-parameter tuning part and enabling higher order derivative computation to be done in polynomial time. Experiments of this method for one-dimensional data shows promising results. …
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