Can Data End the Climate Change Debate Once and For All?

Can Data End the Climate Change Debate Once and For All?

Fear of climate change and the resulting sustainability movement effect every sector of business and education. Either climate change is the defining crisis of our time and we need to use all the data, AI, technology and innovation to mitigate it, or we are simply experiencing part of a heating/cooling cycle that has little to do with human activity.

On either side of the climate change debate, people use data to backup their claims. Which is it? Should we harness our best data scientists, our best engineers, and our best programmers  and programs to fight climate change? Or should we continue with business as usual? If we’re talking business as usual, the truth is many businesses already presuppose climate change as a reality and have sustainability programs in place.

In a survey of 200 managers and business executives, 87 percent of respondents from large firms said they “would consider a sustainability concentration when making a hiring decision.� About 65 percent of respondents from small companies said the same.

Large firms need to think about sustainability a great deal not only because their business has more impact on the environment, but because more and more people make buying decisions based on the sustainability credentials of a ...


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Can AI Fight Fake Content?

Can AI Fight Fake Content?

Fake content is a big problem. It’s not just fake news — it’s fake websites, social media profiles, and ads. There are plenty of uses for this stuff, ranging from subversive to downright malicious intent. At its core, fake content threatens the foundation of trust in society, a foundation necessary for societies to function properly, particularly democratic societies. Russia knows this, and it’s the reason why the Kremlin has an army of trolls disseminating fake content. The ultimate goal is to undermine American and European democracies.

In American homes, families are becoming increasingly concerned about fake news. A study by Panda Security found that fake news is right up there on the list of parents’ concerns next to sexual predators. This concern affects parents’ views towards media sites: nearly 50 percent view alt-right site Breitbart as “unsafe for children� and 20 percent feel the same about CNN. Nearly 6 percent of the parents surveyed block Facebook, which has been accused of unwittingly propagating fake news that may have influenced the 2016 presidential election. In comparison, only 2.5 percent of those parents block PornHub. Sexual predators oftentimes set up fake profiles on Facebook through which they lure kids.    

Fake news isn’t the only ...


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Will Blockchain and Smart Tech Disrupt the Energy Market?

Will Blockchain and Smart Tech Disrupt the Energy Market?

Energy is power. That doesn’t sound like a very controversial statement, but if Solar Bankers gains momentum through its revolutionary use of blockchain, solar energy could disrupt the current infrastructure. Should power companies be concerned? That depends on just how disruptive Solar Bankers’ model becomes. And it could become very, very disruptive. 

As it stands, utilities benefit a great deal from blockchain and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether because mining consumes a lot of energy. The nature of the cryptocurrency means miners are continually adding new blocks to the chain. This process creates an ever-increasing demand for energy worldwide.

Bitcoin’s Energy Problem

Bitcoin alone consumes more energy than Bangladesh and is just below Israel on the energy consumption ladder. Because it’s a distributed system, Bitcoin’s energy consumption isn’t confined to a single data centre in a single country. Every miner is responsible for skyrocketing energy usage, and it’s incentivised worldwide. The more energy you use, the more Bitcoin you earn. This reinforces utility infrastructures worldwide and taxes grids so that energy companies have to generate more power. More often than not, the energy isn’t clean, it comes from fossil fuels and natural gas. The Guardian’s Alex Hern points out that Bitcoin uses as ...


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How Network Data Science Can Help Solve Global Inequality

How Network Data Science Can Help Solve Global Inequality

The debate over global economic inequality — including income inequality — is a data-based debate. Economists such as Branko Milanovic and Christoph Lakner argue the data shows things are getting better because more people are now above the extreme poverty line than ever before. The other side of the argument says that, although incomes have increased, the wealthy have jumped far ahead, exacerbating inequality. To provide some context, consider the following data points on global income inequality:


In 1975, developed economies had 10 times more wealth than undeveloped economies.
After the year 2000, incomes in developing countries started to increase for the lower class, decreasing inequality in those countries, while poor people’s incomes stagnated in developed countries, increasing inequality in those countries.
Overall, 71 percent of adults worldwide have less than $10,000 to their name.
The top 1 percent own 40 percent of the wealth.


Regardless of whether the poor have inched up in total median income worldwide, the fact still remains that the wealthy have outpaced them to an extraordinary degree. In 2017, the Panama Papers revealed the wealthy may be holding far more money in secret offshore tax havens than anyone realized, meaning wealth inequality could be much higher than previously estimated. There’s ...


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The Changing Face of Social Media Marketing through Big Data

The Changing Face of Social Media Marketing through Big Data

Big data and analytics are an integral part of social media marketing. Ever since millions of people started using networks, it became apparent to marketers that data is a valuable resource for advertising. On no network has this been more prevalent than Facebook, the network with the most users and the highest ad revenue in the world.

Hubspot pinpoints 2009 as the year Facebook realized the potential of targeted ads based on geographic and language data of its users. Businesses then gained the power to set up their own pages and manage their own ads, and Facebook’s revenue shot up to $777 million, while user count rose to 350 million. As of June 2017, that user count was 2 billion.

Since 2009, a host of advertising options have popped up on Facebook, including sponsored stories, mobile ads, and the Social Graph, which provides marketers with data when a user likes a post or engages in other ways. And since then, other networks have emerged as big sites for various forms of marketing, including Instagram, where influencer marketing is a huge draw.

Influencer marketing is one of the top social media marketing trends for 2018 (continue reading and you’ll see why this is very ...


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How Big Data Plays a Big Role in Politics

How Big Data Plays a Big Role in Politics

Like it or not, politics today would not be what it is without big data and analytics. Our current president won the office through a close relationship with Cambridge Analytica, in which the analytics firm conducted analysis of raw data on the electorate. This analysis informed Trump’s strategy.

According to Trump campaign executive director Michael Glassner, the data came primarily from the Republican National Committee’s trove. Yet Wired reports that Cambridge Analytica does claim to possess “5,000 data points on every American.� These data go towards creating a personality profile of each American for the purposes of “psychographic targeting,� which is a fancy of way of saying that the data inform speeches, ads, and decisions about which sections of the country a candidate should campaign in the hardest.

This does open up a conundrum. In politics, there’s a certain level of trust the electorate grants a candidate. But if everything the candidate says and does in the public eye is based on big data analysis that tells the candidate which words and actions will be popular, you can’t be sure the candidate’s ethical backbone is strong.

On the bright side of big data usage, Rutgers University reveals the role data analysis plays in ...


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What AI Has In Store for SEO

What AI Has In Store for SEO

A popular conception of AI is the robot that looks, acts, and talks like a human. Invariably, it seems like this robot might be capable of developing emotions or overthrowing its master because, well, the robot is always learning and becoming smarter. We don’t know what it’s capable of (see the plot of 2004 movie I, Robot). How close is this conception to the truth?

We live in a world increasingly dominated by those who know best how to use big data. Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in the world because Amazon beats everyone else at using big data for everything from recommendations to shipping practices. It’s not a big stretch to assume an artificially intelligent machine will dominate in a world where big data is king. Elon Musk, for one, is afraid artificial intelligence will render humans obsolete.

But for now, AI is working to consistently do things like help you find the right website. Search engine optimization is one field in which AI is making a big difference. Current iterations of AI in the SEO world focus on rendering results for people in real time. AI is changing the fundamental nature of the game. What will the game ...


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Will Apple Catch Up to Its Competitors in Artificial Intelligence?

Will Apple Catch Up to Its Competitors in Artificial Intelligence?

Believe it or not, in the ‘80s Time Magazine called Apple “a chaotic mess without a strategic vision and certainly no future.� Since then, Apple has made one of the biggest business comebacks in the last 50 years, achieving a valuation over $900 billion in 2017. This valuation is due in large part to the iPhone. The iPhone does employ AI for Siri and voice recognition — but compared to companies like Alphabet and IBM, Apple hasn’t necessarily been a big name in the AI field.

That very well may change. In late November 2017, the richest company in the world gave Quartz a glimpse of how its deep neural network, VoxelNet, identifies data points from a LiDAR sensor. This is part of Apple’s effort to develop AI for a self-driving car. Originally, it looked like there would eventually be an Apple iCar out driving around on its own cognizance. But the company has since scrapped efforts to produce a car in favor of concentrating on software for what Tim Cook calls “the mother of all AI projects.� To have the best self-driving car, you have to have the best AI.  

Will Apple be able to compete in the battle for the ...


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The 6 Biggest Cybersecurity Concerns for 2018

The 6 Biggest Cybersecurity Concerns for 2018

If there’s anything you can say about the field of cybersecurity, it’s that it’s growing. By 2019, there will be 6 million new cybersecurity jobs on the market worldwide. This increase is commensurate with the increase in big data, which goes directly with advancements in both the cloud and the IoT. As the world moves closer to 180 zettabytes of data in 2025 (a conservative estimate), Forbes’ Gil Press reports that 2018 will see “5 times higher growth in spending on cloud versus on-premises analytics solutions.� The amount of data we’re generating is calling for increased spending on analytics and storage.

There’s no question the cloud will continue to grow (where else will all the data go?), but the amount of IoT advancement is less certain. Victor Vilas, Business Development Manager Europe for AndSoft, says that IP traffic will reach 2 zettabytes per year by 2019. More devices creating more data will create more cybersecurity concerns. But what will the biggest threats be in the burgeoning cybersecurity industry? The cybersecurity analyst who knows how to deal with these is well prepared for 2018.

Unfilled Cybersecurity Jobs

First and foremost, cybersecurity and IT can’t deal with threats properly if there aren’t enough qualified individuals ...


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IoT, Autonomous Vehicles, Robots: Safety Will Determine Success

IoT, Autonomous Vehicles, Robots: Safety Will Determine Success

The current climate of non-stop cyberattacks seems remote to our everyday existence because it doesn’t affect us physically. A hacker can hold data hostage and hit a company for thousands of dollars in ransom without anyone blinking an eye. Although this hurts bank accounts, it reinforces the reality that money doesn’t have anything physical backing it. The digital world of big data and money continues on, apologies are made, sometimes salaries suffer, sometimes an IT guy loses his job—but no one gets hurt.

This won’t be the case with the IoT and autonomous vehicles. By nature, these advancements will have a profound effect—for bad or for good—on our physical well-being.

IoT Looks Primed for Safety  

The internet of things will play a big role in the transportation sector, a sector where safety and efficiency can use a boost. Sensors and cameras enable more knowledge, while the net enables better communication. There are multiple ways in which the IoT could affect transportation tech:


Sensors in seat belts and seats can tell whether a driver is drunk and relay that information to the vehicle so that it won’t start
Like rearview cameras in cars, sensors can relay information to drivers and cars to help prevent accidents
Smart cars ...


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How to Educate Stakeholders on the Realities of Cybersecurity

How to Educate Stakeholders on the Realities of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is like the door ajar warning light on the console of a huge van going 80 mph down the freeway. Whoever’s driving the vehicle needs to pull over and close the door, but it’s in the back, it’s only slightly ajar, and at any rate, the van can keep going, so the driver figures they might as well just get to it later. But by the time they get to it, someone has already snuck in and made off with a crate of valuables to sell on the black market.

A new cybersecurity survey of businesses reveals 87 percent of respondents are “confident in their cybersecurity preparedness.� This comes at a time when 71 percent “had at least one breach in the previous year.� Types of breaches respondents reported included DoS attacks, fraud, insider attacks, and ransomware. The average cost of a single breach for SMBs was nearly $78K, for enterprises it was nearly $1 million.

Clearly, the door is ajar and many businesses (400 in the survey) naively think they know how to close it.      

Businesses aren’t the only ones facing this problem. Schools face cyber attacks too. About 27 percent of schools allow anyone access to their open networks, ...


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Why Blockchain-as-a-Service Should Replace Servers and the Cloud

Why Blockchain-as-a-Service Should Replace Servers and the Cloud

Blockchain and big data are very similar in one big way: it’s all about how you use them. Much like the Force in Star Wars, blockchain and big data are powerful tools that can be used to serve the dark or the good side. You could say they’re two sides of the same coin. While blockchain is still emerging into the light, you might not think of big data in this way because plenty of very legitimate organizations use it for legitimate purposes; but you can be sure plenty of dark web denizens view big data as a dark tool.

The Dark Side of the Coin   

There’s a huge question mark hovering over the fate of millions of people. Without blockchain and big data, that question mark wouldn’t be quite as big as it is.

Consumer identity data from the Equifax breach is already popping up for sale on the dark web. This is lifetime data—Social Security numbers, names, addresses, credit card numbers—from 143 million Americans and 67 percent of UK citizens. Terbium Labs reports that a Tor Hidden Service on the dark web claimed to have the entire cache of data less than 12 hours after the Equifax breach, and demanded ...


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Robo-advisors: How Big Data is Changing the Financial Landscape

Robo-advisors: How Big Data is Changing the Financial Landscape

It wasn’t long ago that, for the layperson, investment automation seemed reserved for hedge funds and investment banks—monoliths of the investing world that play the numbers with analytics to gain an advantage penny upon penny. If you simply had a casual interest in stocks, the state of affairs wasn’t very encouraging. Big players stood to make a whole lot more than you from a wide variety and volume of investments, as well as lightning-fast, automated trades.

But now things are different. This summer’s news about robo-investing paints a picture of where we are now with big data and investing:


Betterment, the original robo-advisor, has some 300,000 users and is valued at over $800 million
Robo-analysts are able to pore over reams of data in financial statements, saving a great deal of time for funds managers and other decision-makers, who can then use the analyses to make stock-buying decisions
Anyone can use robo-advisors from fintech companies or banks to manage their portfolio
Fintech robo-advisors are competing with banks, but banks’ robo-advisors may face conflicts of interest in their recommendations, because their algorithms are skewed to prefer companies that pay the banks for marketing


Robo-investing is blowing the door open on a whole new level of trade. Because ...


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How Wearables Could Revolutionize Healthcare Through Big Data

How Wearables Could Revolutionize Healthcare Through Big Data

In my last article on healthcare, I talked about the potential for blockchain and big data to save lives. Wearables are another part of the growing relationship between big data and healthcare.  

Not long ago, my attitude was who gives a f#@% about the Fitbit? Consider that attitude changed. The Fitbit and other health-conscious wearables present the chance for the medical community to make a real difference through big data.

First, the data on wearables:


86 percent of health and wellness providers believe wearables and mobile apps “will increase their knowledge of patient conditions�
76 percent feel wearables will “help patients with chronic diseases�
In the first quarter of 2017, the wearables market grew by 18 percent, an increase of 24.7 million devices; International Data Corp. (IDC) believes this is “just a fraction� of what’s to come   


T-Mobile bills this as a wearable tech revolution, one in which you can “stay connected and track your life every step of the way.� Along with Fitbit, the biggest names in tech are vying for a piece of the wearables market, including Apple, Samsung, and Google. That’s because IDC’s prediction on the tech’s pending popularity are a good bet. One reason why it’s a good bet is that ...


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How Will Marketers Use Big Data in the Future?

How Will Marketers Use Big Data in the Future?

With the advance of the Internet of Things and AI, the big data landscape for marketers is going to change. The IoT will be generating far more data than businesses are used to seeing. With that, marketing agencies and departments will need to decide which data they’ll use and which data is too sensitive to incorporate in campaigns.

In other words, as every aspect of our lives is increasingly converted into data, will anything be outside the scope of the marketing eye? And to what extent will marketers deliver messages through new, connected tech?

Digital marketing agencies are riding a wave of business trends directly related to big data:


Businesses are spending less on internal operations because they’re spending more on marketing technology
83 percent of businesses expect to see the demand for marketing analytics grow alongside an increase in data collection      


In part, the increase in data collection stems from the number of connected devices contributing to the IoT. It also comes from the fact that businesses are seeing a ROI from data collection and analytics. In the past, it was fairly normal to doubt an increase in revenue and profits due to marketing personalization through data. Now, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind ...


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Do Self-driving Cars Hold the Key to a Widespread IoT?

Do Self-driving Cars Hold the Key to a Widespread IoT?

In 2014, Continental Tires developed tires that “talk to you�. The innovation, dubbed eTIS (electronic Tire Information System), consists of sensors embedded beneath the tire tread. The sensors relay information about when your tires are underinflated, when tread is too low, and when your car has too much weight in it from a heavy load. This new entry in the annals of IoT tech was relatively quiet and unglamorous. Yet, it forecasted what we’re seeing now. Car manufacturers and tire manufacturers are throwing millions of dollars into technology that will enable a widespread internet of things.

Call it necessity facilitating innovation; as I reported in an earlier post here, 1.2 million people die in auto-related accidents every year. That means safety is in high demand. One way to increase safety is to embed things like tires with sensors that can communicate data with a car’s onboard computer. Another way is to replace humans with AI to create self-driving cars, which will hopefully do a better job than we do at driving.

For self-driving cars to truly succeed by 2020, the IoT needs 4.5 million developers. That’s because a comprehensive IoT infrastructure—in which smart cities talk to smart cars—will help driverless vehicles navigate ...


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How Will Big Data Change the Future of Employee Retention

How Will Big Data Change the Future of Employee Retention

Attrition hurts businesses. When it comes to employee turnover, around 70% of organizations report that attrition “has a negative financial impact due to the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a replacement employee and the overtime work of current employees that’s required until the organization can fill the vacant position.�

You spend a great deal of time and money training employees. You rely on them, you entrust them with all your internal secrets, you grow attached to them in both a practical and emotional sense. Then all of a sudden, they’re gone. You know some level of attrition is inevitable, but isn’t there a way to go beyond all the normal efforts to ensure they’ll stick around?

The commonsense advice is to improve your HR and pay attention to employee engagement. Worldwide, in 2016 Gallup found only 13% of workers are engaged, while the US numbers stand at 32%. Disengaged employees are more likely to leave, while engaged employees are likely to help a business succeed. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, 71% of respondents view employee engagement as “very important to achieving overall organizational success�.

Employee retention through the strategic use of big data is already happening. Bank of America ...


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Why IoT Viability Depends on Education

Why IoT Viability Depends on Education

Although there are now many connected devices, from Google Home to Amazon Echo, the Internet of Things still isn’t a big deal for the purchasing public. Look at Forbes’ 2017 predictions on the IoT and the other developments that go with it--AI, Big Data, etc--and there’s nothing necessarily positive. It’s a “buzzword”. Widespread adoption won’t happen because of complexity. The IoT will shut down the internet again like it did with the DDoS attack, only this time it will be worse. Cybersecurity for IoT devices will be a number one priority because, for one, ransomware will start hitting these devices, too.

But earlier in the same article, there are some predictions that bode well for the IoT. For one, chatbots will continue to take off, or as Narrative Science CEO Stuart Frankel puts it, “The movement towards conversational interfaces will accelerate.” When it comes to the consumer-facing side of the IoT, the conversational interface is access point for everything from asking Siri where the nearest gas station is to querying Home about artists similar to ABBA. Chatbots are indeed so relevant to the right-here-and-now of business that Aisle50 co-founder Christopher Steiner offers an investor’s guide to chatbots.

Steiner says, “The growing pool ...


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How Unlimited Mobile Data and 5G Will Make VR the New Normal

How Unlimited Mobile Data and 5G Will Make VR the New Normal

This is the companion piece to my last article on mobile data, The dark (and not-so-dark) side of mobile data.

The stage is set, we’re just not quite there yet. When 5G internet becomes a reality, when the mobile data source is unlimited, and when Virtual Reality and Augmented applications proliferate, it won’t be that odd to see someone walking down the street with a headset on.

First, the mobile web and data. If a mobile web provider limits the amount of data you can use, it’s undoubtedly a money-making scheme. The data itself is not a commodity. This is evidenced by a provider like T-Mobile offering 2 smartphone lines of unlimited data and including video streaming and mobile hotspots for no extra charge. To offer streaming data and hotspot data as add-ons is to imply that these data are fundamentally different than cellular data, they’re bonus data, a special kind of data the provider could potentially charge extra for.

But data is data. There’s no limit to it, and increasingly, providers are making unlimited data plans the standard. The difference between streaming video data and audio data, say, is that a packet of video data is much larger, because it includes both ...


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The Dark (and not-so-dark) Side of Mobile Data

The Dark (and not-so-dark) Side of Mobile Data

For information consumers, constant communicators and internet junkies everywhere, unlimited mobile data is a pass to unlimited playtime. It’s like unlimited crack for the addict. For data scientists, analysts and marketers, the words ‘unlimited mobile data’ spark raised eyebrows. Unlimited data, by its very nature, makes for limitless possibilities. How its use will pan out is, of course, a different story.

One way companies such as Target and Macy’s use smartphone data is movement tracking. When a customer arrives, a camera gets a shot of their face or license plate, then the retailer tracks where they go in the store through WiFi. Although these stores aren’t malicious, and are ostensibly doing this to build user profiles and personalize marketing, it seems ominous: 80% of shoppers feel in-store tracking is unacceptable; 68.5% are concerned their data will not be kept safe, and 67% say “tracking feels like spying.”

This is the grey area of mobile data usage, because many people might not be okay with tracking, but they might be happy to take advantage of a special discount the store offers as a result of tracking. Customers with Wal-Mart’s app, which uses geolocation tracking, spend nearly 40% more per month. This benefits Wal-Mart, ...


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Career Path: How Big Data Insights Can Steer Decisions

Career Path: How Big Data Insights Can Steer Decisions

Not long ago, before the time of the internet, Big Data, and apps for everything, it was more common for parents to pass down their careers to their children. Now, autonomy, passion and drive are the keywords for choosing a career. It’s not that family businesses don’t exist. It’s that the new normal is for parents to (hopefully) empower their kids to make a choice based on what they want to do. If this coincides with the family line of work, so much the better.

This new level of individualism opens up a mind-boggling number of choices. It can be overwhelming. But what if you were to use the power of big data to help inform your career path? All of a sudden the guesswork of which way to go is gone. What’s in front of you is a clear picture. With this picture in hand, you’re empowered to make a smart decision.

Where data can take you 

Earnest is a startup dedicated to combining tech and data to help people with their career paths. The data section of Earnest’s blog illuminates some fascinating findings:

Title can determine pay

People with the term “lead” in their title earn an average of $23,000 more than people ...


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Big data on wheels: Google vs. Uber in the Driverless Revolution

Big data on wheels: Google vs. Uber in the Driverless Revolution

The excitement is palpable and the rumors are flying. Google looks set to challenge Uber for the position of top tech company to do two things: advance the use of driverless car technology, and offer a ride-sharing service. If the rumors are true, it’s not unreasonable to ask: is it even possible for a company to overtake Uber in this respect? If anyone could, it’s Google.

First, the buzz. Back in early 2016, Google partnered with Fiat Chrysler and began exploring ways to incorporate driverless tech with FC’s vehicles. Now, word on the street is that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, will collaborate with Chrysler to offer a ride-sharing service in 2017. The service will use Chrysler minivans outfitted with Google technology to render them semi-autonomous. Google’s fully autonomous rides are going to be released under a new Alphabet brand, Waymo. Google and Chrysler are two titans of their respective industries coming together to aim at toppling the number one ride-sharing service in the world: Uber.

But in terms of ride-sharing with driverless cars, Uber is already beating Google and Chrysler off the starting-line. In Pittsburgh, you might see self driving Uber cars picking up volunteers and dropping them off. In 2015, Uber ...


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Is the DDoS Attack Just a Hint of What to Expect with the Internet of Things?

Is the DDoS Attack Just a Hint of What to Expect with the Internet of Things?

On Friday, October 21, the internet suddenly plummeted into nightmare territory. All over the East Coast, then the rest of the country, then Europe, users were incapable of accessing thousands of websites and web apps. This included major sites like The New York Times, Spotify, Netflix, and Reddit. DNS provider Dyn had been hit with a DDoS attack.  

Hackers flooded Dyn with coordinated, malicious traffic from millions of internet-connected devices. Many of these devices were webcams and digital recorders made by Chinese electronics firm Xiongmai. From the looks of it, this was a test. Whoever engineered the attacks wanted to see what type of havoc they could wreak through these devices. It’s actually a very basic idea: take control of the IoT to create a traffic jam, then sit back and see how people deal with it. If this wasn’t a test, the attacks would have been much more pointed—or even more widespread, targeting multiple DNS providers.

We had to sit and wait for the attacks to clear up. It’s yet to be seen how this affected enterprises that rely on SaaS. How much money did they lose due to lack of productivity? And who’s liable for those losses? The culprits are ...


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How Emerging Industries are Using Big Data to their Advantage

How Emerging Industries are Using Big Data to their Advantage

It’s exciting to watch a new industry figure out ways to use big data. There are so many ways different industries put data to work for them and for their audience. For example, Google is using RankBrain to determine search results.

This is exciting because it’s a very real example of Artificial Intelligence employing data to affect what you see in front of you every day. Go ahead, try typing an unusual query into Google. RankBrain will help determine the result based on similar and unconnected searches, your own searches, and the data generated by clicks in those searches, and it will do this in real-time.

In other words, machine learning will use big data to personalize the result of each search for you. And in the world of Google updates and SEO, the mysterious, exciting thing is that there was an “Unnamed Major Update” in May. Was that change a full-scale takeover by AI? We won’t know until there’s an announcement.

So Google is something of a juggernaut and a pioneer in the big data world. Internet giants like Google were at the forefront of Big Data’s emergence to the public eye in 2010, which has ushered in Analytics 3.0. This is ...


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Will Analytics and Technology Put an End to Credit Card Fraud?

Will Analytics and Technology Put an End to Credit Card Fraud?

If you haven’t noticed the change, you’re living in a cave. Now, businesses are charged with helping banks and credit card processors fight credit card fraud. The stakes are high and the battle against thieves is on a field that includes big data, machine learning, and hardware.

Around half of the world’s credit card fraud happens in the United States. Because of that stunning statistic, in October of 2015 the Federal Reserve Bank ordered US merchants to adopt EMV (Europay Mastercard Visa) readers by the end of 2016. If merchants don’t get an EMV chip card reader (and many places I frequent still have not), they face the liability shift.

The banks are saying, "chip cards are safer than magnetic strip cards because they’re harder to counterfeit. We’ll issue the cards and it’s not our fault if you don’t get the technology necessary to run them." The shift means merchants will be liable for fraudulent transactions if the customer has a chip card but the merchant doesn’t have the reader.

For whatever reason, the US has been behind Europe and the rest of the world on this. By 2013, nearly 97% of transactions were EMV in Europe alone. Since half of the world’s ...


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GPS Data is Huge for Business, the IoT – and Surveillance

GPS Data is Huge for Business, the IoT – and Surveillance

Try typing Internet of Things (IoT) into any search engine. With Google, I get 721 million results. With Bing, over 62 million. The internet is buzzing about a term some people think is just a buzzword.

The US now has around 24.9 internet-connected devices per every 100 inhabitants. We’re moving ever-closer to an internet-dependent approach to our everyday lives.

Around the world, the IoT is the end-all-be-all of data tech for one primary reason: synthesis. This new internet combines multiple forms of technology and manipulates data to revolutionize the way you interact with the things around you—and how things interact with you.

It’s a massively complex system of sensors exchanging massive amounts of data. The data inform decisions, such as when a thermostat should alter the temperature. Or, in the future your autonomous car will be able to take an alternate route when there’s a traffic jam ahead. And that’s where an integral form of technology, one we sometimes take for granted, comes in: GPS tracking.     

The US government started the GPS project in 1973. It has enabled a variety of innovations that are precursors to the IoT. In turn, the IoT may enable a whole new level of government surveillance.

What the IoT promises ...


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A Human Perspective on the Power of Big Data

A Human Perspective on the Power of Big Data

By the time 2020 hits, the international business community will be holding a gigantic hoard of data. According to research from Druva on the growth of corporate data, by the end of this decade the volume of corporate data worldwide will hit 10.5 ZB, up from 2.73 ZB in 2015. One zettabyte equals a trillion gigabytes.

We know the saying “Knowledge is power” from countless repetitions of the phrase (Wikipedia and other sources say it originated from Sir Francis Bacon). As substantiation of our belief in the truth of this maxim, we’ve seen the rise of big data and we’ve seen governments collect data on citizens in the attempt to turn the numbers into knowledge, or intelligence. Then, if we believe the maxim, the knowledge generated by data equals power. It’s not hard to see why the amount of worldwide corporate data will skyrocket 8 zettabytes in 5 years.

Sociologist Robert Staughton Lynd said, “Knowledge is power only if man knows what facts not to bother with.” So, in order to make big data smart data, we’ve got to know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. We’ve got to understand how to manage the data.  

What we Analyze

MIT’s Technology Review reports 99.5% ...


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