This Week In Digital – Week 50

Here’s your weekly dose of This Week In Digital. Read how Blockchain is transforming food industry, VR is changing the way we shop, and why QA professionals should think big!

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humans – Janna Anderson, Lee Rainie and Alex Luchsinger, December 10, 2018.

Digital life is augmenting human capacities and disrupting eons-old human activities. Code-driven systems have spread to more than half of the world’s inhabitants in ambient information and connectivity, offering previously unimagined opportunities and unprecedented threats. As emerging algorithm-driven artificial intelligence (AI) continues to spread, will people be better off than they are today? Some 979 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists answered this question in a canvassing of experts conducted in the summer of 2018. The experts predicted networked artificial intelligence will amplify human effectiveness but also threaten human autonomy, agency and capabilities.

Why QA professionals must work on mastering new technologies – Software Testing News, December 11, 2018.

Today’s QA professionals must work on mastering new technologies such as AI, IoT, and blockchain in order to ensure that users will have the best experience possible. For the first time, end-user satisfaction ranks at the top of surveyed professionals’ testing strategy goals. According to the recently-released World Quality Report 2018-19 (WQR), organisations are placing the spotlight on customer experience and experimenting more with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help them optimise their testing efforts. Significantly, the report found that 99% of respondents are using DevOps practices. DevOps aims to deliver value to the user as quickly as possible, while keeping quality and security high. This requires more automation, which is essential to speeding up the testing process. However, the WQRnotes that automation is the biggest bottleneck that is holding back QA and testing today.

Google launches AI program in Thailand to screen for diabetic eye disease – Reuters, December 13, 2018.

Google said on Thursday it had launched an artificial intelligence program in Thailand to screen for a diabetic eye disease which causes permanent blindness. The eye screening program in Thailand follows a similar Google program in India and highlights a push by big tech companies to show the social benefits of new AI technologies. “As a society, we have a responsibility to use AI in the best possible way,” Kent Walker, the company’s Senior Vice President for Global Affairs, said in speech at a Google event in Bangkok on Thursday.

LinkedIn: ‘Blockchain developer’ is the fastest-growing U.S. job – Paul Sawers, December 13, 2018.

“Blockchain developer” is the top emerging job in the U.S, according to data published in LinkedIn’s 2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs report. Blockchain has come a long way since Satoshi Nakamoto developed a cryptocurrency that allowed strangers to conduct financial transactions anonymously and without the need for intermediaries, such as banks. Bitcoin, as the cryptocurrency is known, has emerged from the shadows of the dark web to claim the attention of the global masses, perhaps most notably over the past year as its value has fallen from the giddy heights of nearly $20,000 last December to under $4,000 today.

Facebook: VR will be a daily shopping and socializing tool – Jeremy Horwitz, December 13, 2018.

When Facebook acquired virtual reality headset developer Oculus back in 2014, there was no shortage of speculation that the social network’s goal was to generate advertising revenue inside VR headsets. Backed by a survey of 11,300 people across 11 countries, a newly posted Facebook report for marketers suggests how those dollars will be made: by enabling people to preview purchases without visiting physical stores, and facilitating social connections between far-flung friends and family members.

Facial recognition remains tempting but toxic for tech companies – Kyle Wiggers, December 14, 2018.

In a blog post announcing support for the Asia Pacific AI for Social Good Research Network and highlighting Google’s efforts to use artificial intelligence (AI) to combat disease and natural disasters, Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs, wrote that Google wouldn’t offer a “general-purpose” facial recognition API through Google Cloud until the “challenges” had been “identified and addressed.” “Unlike some other companies, Google is working through important technology and policy questions regarding facial recognition,” Walker said. “Like many technologies with multiple uses, it merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes.”

Banking and Fintech on The Blockchain – Gerald Fenech, December 14, 2018.

Fintech on Blockchain is fast disrupting the financial industry. The speed and scale of this disruption will mainly depend on the adoption of the new economy by the users. People have spoken, everyone is tired of black boxes, we want to be the ones to determine how much we pay for the transfer of information and finances between us. Why long, expensive money/asset/information transfers with the participation of several intermediaries through multi-layer systems? We do not wait for days to send urgent mail across the world. We expect the technology to work for us. Then why should we accept long lead times for cross-border payments? Could it be a question of trust?

How Big Data gives big companies like Apple and Amazon an edge – Edmund L. Andrews, December 14, 2018.

Quantum leaps in both data and computing power have given big companies a consistent edge in raising capital more cheaply, a study finds. Given all the bromides about small business being the engine of job creation, it may sound jarring to hear that the big growth is increasingly coming from big companies. Over the past 30 years, the broad trend in the U.S. has been that big companies are growing faster and becoming more dominant. Between 1980 and 2015, the overall share of jobs at firms with more than 1,000 employees increased from about one-quarter to one-third, while the share at companies with fewer than 100 workers declined modestly. Meanwhile, some of the biggest companies have become gargantuan: Apple and Amazon both just crossed the $1 trillion mark in market value. That is more than the GDP of all but 16 nations.

From South Korea to IBM Food Trust – How Blockchain Is Used in the Food Industry – Simon Chandler, December 15, 2018.

2018 has witnessed a steady increase in the number of food manufacturers and retailers using blockchains to enhance their operations. From tracking the quality of food to facilitating international trades in grain, blockchain technology has been turning up repeatedly in recent months; and while many deployments of such tech have been conducted on a trial basis, a growing number have been implemented permanently. However, as much as it now seems that blockchains are becoming a familiar feature of the food industry, they aren’t an infallible solution to every problem it faces. Even though many blockchains will provide an ‘immutable’ and ‘trustless’ record of the distribution of certain foods, this doesn’t mean we don’t have to trust the parties that first registered these foods on them. And similarly, even though such multinationals as Carrefour are using solutions offered by the IBM Food Trust, they don’t use blockchains in the original sense of the term.




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