A Blog by Jonathan Low


Nov 21, 2017

Artificial Intelligence Tools Designed To Make Humans More Productive

Also better, faster, smarter - and maybe even competitive...JL
Jared Lindzon reports in Fast Company:

Those worried that the rise of artificial intelligence means that robots will take their job might feel comforted by the fact that many AI tools are actually being designed not to replace humans, but to help them do their jobs better. “By using the latest scientific research we’re trying to give people advice, like maybe you haven’t been sleeping enough or should be doing more fitness.”

Survey of Bug Bounty Hunters Explains Their Demographics, Motivation

Knowledgable but perhaps not as experienced as might be expected. And maybe gaining more experience, for whatever reason, is the point. JL

Sean Gallagher reports in ars technica:

For most, bug hunting is a part-time endeavor, though 27% have aspirations of becoming full-time. 62% pour at least part of the money they earn bug-hunting back into professional development or to acquire more tools. The number of bug hunters has grown 141% since last year. 46% have three or more years' experience in the security industry; 41% have been involved in bug-bounty hunting for one to two years.14% have no experience in the security industry and come from other IT fields. 15% (are) students.

Why the Rise of the Phrase 'Big Tech' Should Worry Silicon Valley

The quirky startup image tech enjoyed for so long - skinny geeks in tshirts, birkenstocks and jeans using words few could understand, foosball in the office - that whole 'revenge of the nerds' meme, is way over.

It really started to end when it dawned on millions of people that their jobs, incomes and futures were begin gobbled up by that once cutesy little industry in sunny California. And the squirreling away of hundreds of billions to avoid paying the taxes that those losing their livelihoods couldnt escape didnt help.

So hiring battalions, regiments and even armies of lobbyists may delay the inevitable. But the thing about inevitability is... that it tends to be inevitable. JL

Will Oremus reports in Slate:

Talk about Big Tech might seem like simply a reflection of just how powerful and important companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon have become. But it’s also an ominous sign for the industry. In the business world, it’s great to be big with a lowercase “b.” But the history of the label “Big X” suggests that society does not prepend the label “Big,” with a capital “B,” to an industry out of respect or admiration. It does it out of loathing and fear—and in preparation for battle.

How Tech Has Changed the Workforce

It's not just Silicon Valley: most jobs in most industries in most locations require increasing tech skill. JL

Mark Muro and Sifan Liu report in Brookings:

Since 2002, the share of all U.S. jobs that require extensive and mid-level digital skills has surged from 45 to 71% of the total. Since 2010, meanwhile, nearly 4 million of the nation’s 13 million new jobs created—30% of them— required high-level digital skills. Digitalization scores rose in 517 of 545 analyzed occupations from 2002 to 2016. The average digitalization score across all occupations rose from 29 in 2002 to 46 in 2016, a 57% increase.

The Reason Retailers Should Rethink Their Holiday Strategies

The holiday season is longer, starting well before Thanksgiving and continuing into the New Year.

And part of the reason is presaged by China's extraordinary Singles Day shopping event which this year generated $25 billion in sales: as demographic patterns evolve and the nuclear family is reduced to minority status, people are buying more for themselves. JL

Toby McKenna reports in Advertising Age:

Consumer shopping habits aren't what they used to be. Since the internet opened the floodgates for online product discovery and e-commerce, people have started researching and shopping for holiday gifts much earlier than late November, extending the season by several weeks. The season continues past the holidays into the new year as people spend gift cards or gift money on themselves. Self-gifters admit that 20% of their holiday shopping budget goes to themselves!

Nov 20, 2017

An Algorithm That Can Tell You What You Learned Before You Fall Asleep

By measuring human brains' electrical activity - or the lack thereof. JL

Daniel Oberhaus reports in Motherboard:

Memory consolidation does indeed involve distinct patterns that can be seen in the brain’s electrical activity. An algorithm was able to effectively ‘read’ electrical activity from sleeping brains and determine what they were memorizing

Amazon Blames US Postal Service For Its Amazon Fresh Grocery Delivery Failure

So the biggest, most powerful, most efficient, most data-centric ecommerce company in the world blames a government agency with which it contracted for the failure of its grocery delivery service?

Sounds like a company becoming just a little to thin-skinned and eager to point fingers for its own strategic miscalculations. JL

Jason Del Rey reports in Re/code:

Amazon officials have told brands that the USPS had delivered an unreliable experience to customers. With no other good delivery options in these areas, Amazon shut down the service. (But) brands were also told the economics of the business were harder in the service areas that Amazon shut down, because they were less densely populated. Amazon balked at new rates USPS was going to charge in the areas in which Amazon curtailed the service and the USPS’s inability to deliver groceries in disposable paper bags was a problem.