Category Archives: Big Data

The Intelligent Industrial Revolution

The Intelligent Industrial Revolution

AI Revolution

Prefatory Note: Over the past six weeks, we took NVIDIA’s developer conference on a world tour. The GPU Technology Conference (GTC) was started in 2009 to foster a new approach to high performance computing using massively parallel processing GPUs. GTC has become the epicenter of GPU deep learning — the new computing model that sparked the big bang of modern AI. It’s no secret that AI is spreading like wildfire. The number of GPU deep learning developers has leapt 25 times in just two years. Some 1,500 AI startups have cropped up. This explosive growth has fueled demand for GTCs all over the world. So far, we’ve held events in Beijing, Taipei, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Seoul and Melbourne. Washington is set for this week and Mumbai next month. I kicked off four of the GTCs. Here’s a summary of what I talked about, what I learned and what I see in the near future as AI, the next wave in computing, revolutionizes one industry after another.

A New Era of Computing

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Intelligent machines powered by AI computers that can learn, reason and interact with people are no longer science fiction. Today, a self-driving car powered by AI can meander through a country road at night and find its way. An AI-powered robot can learn motor skills through trial and error. This is truly an extraordinary time. In my three decades in the computer industry, none has held more potential, or been more fun. The era of AI has begun.

Our industry drives large-scale industrial and societal change. As computing evolves, new companies form, new products are built, our lives change. Looking back at the past couple of waves of computing, each was underpinned by a revolutionary computing model, a new architecture that expanded both the capabilities and reach of computing.

In 1995, the PC-Internet era was sparked by the convergence of low-cost microprocessors (CPUs), a standard operating system (Windows 95), and a new portal to a world of information (Yahoo!). The PC-Internet era brought the power of computing to about a billion people and realized Microsoft’s vision to put “a computer on every desk and in every home.” A decade later, the iPhone put “an Internet communications” device in our pockets. Coupled with the launch of Amazon’s AWS, the Mobile-Cloud era was born. A world of apps entered our daily lives and some 3 billion people enjoyed the freedom that mobile computing afforded.

Today, we stand at the beginning of the next era, the AI computing era, ignited by a new computing model, GPU deep learning. This new model — where deep neural networks are trained to recognize patterns from massive amounts of data — has proven to be “unreasonably” effective at solving some of the most complex problems in computer science. In this era, software writes itself and machines learn. Soon, hundreds of billions of devices will be infused with intelligence. AI will revolutionize every industry.

GPU Deep Learning “Big Bang”

Why now? As I wrote in an earlier post (“Accelerating AI with GPUs: A New Computing Model”), 2012 was a landmark year for AI. Alex Krizhevsky of the University of Toronto created a deep neural network that automatically learned to recognize images from 1 million examples. With just several days of training on two NVIDIA GTX 580 GPUs, “AlexNet” won that year’s ImageNet competition, beating all the human expert algorithms that had been honed for decades. That same year, recognizing that the larger the network, or the bigger the brain, the more it can learn, Stanford’s Andrew Ng and NVIDIA Research teamed up to develop a method for training networks using large-scale GPU-computing systems.

The world took notice. AI researchers everywhere turned to GPU deep learning. Baidu, Google, Facebook and Microsoft were the first companies to adopt it for pattern recognition. By 2015, they started to achieve “superhuman” results — a computer can now recognize images better than we can. In the area of speech recognition, Microsoft Research used GPU deep learning to achieve a historic milestone by reaching “human parity” in conversational speech.

Image recognition and speech recognition — GPU deep learning has provided the foundation for machines to learn, perceive, reason and solve problems. The GPU started out as the engine for simulating human imagination, conjuring up the amazing virtual worlds of video games and Hollywood films. Now, NVIDIA’s GPU runs deep learning algorithms, simulating human intelligence, and acts as the brain of computers, robots and self-driving cars that can perceive and understand the world. Just as human imagination and intelligence are linked, computer graphics and artificial intelligence come together in our architecture. Two modes of the human brain, two modes of the GPU. This may explain why NVIDIA GPUs are used broadly for deep learning, and NVIDIA is increasingly known as “the AI computing company.”

An End-to-End Platform for a New Computing Model

As a new computing model, GPU deep learning is changing how software is developed and how it runs. In the past, software engineers crafted programs and meticulously coded algorithms. Now, algorithms learn from tons of real-world examples — software writes itself. Programming is about coding instruction. Deep learning is about creating and training neural networks. The network can then be deployed in a data center to infer, predict and classify from new data presented to it. Networks can also be deployed into intelligent devices like cameras, cars and robots to understand the world. With new experiences, new data is collected to further train and refine the neural network. Learnings from billions of devices make all the devices on the network more intelligent. Neural networks will reap the benefits of both the exponential advance of GPU processing and large network effects — that is, they will get smarter at a pace way faster than Moore’s Law.

Whereas the old computing model is “instruction processing” intensive, this new computing model requires massive “data processing.” To advance every aspect of AI, we’re building an end-to-end AI computing platform — one architecture that spans training, inference and the billions of intelligent devices that are coming our way.

Let’s start with training. Our new Pascal GPU is a $2 billion investment and the work of several thousand engineers over three years. It is the first GPU optimized for deep learning. Pascal can train networks that are 65 times larger or faster than the Kepler GPU that Alex Krizhevsky used in his paper. A single computer of eight Pascal GPUs connected by NVIDIA NVLink, the highest throughput interconnect ever created, can train a network faster than 250 traditional servers.

Soon, the tens of billions of internet queries made each day will require AI, which means that each query will require billions more math operations. The total load on cloud services will be enormous to ensure real-time responsiveness. For faster data center inference performance, we announced the Tesla P40 and P4 GPUs. P40 accelerates data center inference throughput by 40 times. P4 requires only 50 watts and is designed to accelerate 1U OCP servers, typical of hyperscale data centers. Software is a vital part of NVIDIA’s deep learning platform. For training, we have CUDA and cuDNN. For inferencing, we announced TensorRT, an optimizing inferencing engine. TensorRT improves performance without compromising accuracy by fusing operations within a layer and across layers, pruning low-contribution weights, reducing precision to FP16 or INT8, and many other techniques.

Someday, billions of intelligent devices will take advantage of deep learning to perform seemingly intelligent tasks. Drones will autonomously navigate through a warehouse, find an item and pick it up. Portable medical instruments will use AI to diagnose blood samples onsite. Intelligent cameras will learn to alert us only to the circumstances that we care about. We created an energy-efficient AI supercomputer, Jetson TX1, for such intelligent IoT devices. A credit card-sized module, Jetson TX1 can reach 1 TeraFLOP FP16 performance using just 10 watts. It’s the same architecture as our most powerful GPUs and can run all the same software.

In short, we offer an end-to-end AI computing platform — from GPU to deep learning software and algorithms, from training systems to in-car AI computers, from cloud to data center to PC to robots. NVIDIA’s AI computing platform is everywhere.

AI Computing for Every Industry

Our end-to-end platform is the first step to ensuring that every industry can tap into AI. The global ecosystem for NVIDIA GPU deep learning has scaled out rapidly. Breakthrough results triggered a race to adopt AI for consumer internet services — search, recognition, recommendations, translation and more. Cloud service providers, from Alibaba and Amazon to IBM and Microsoft, make the NVIDIA GPU deep learning platform available to companies large and small. The world’s largest enterprise technology companies have configured servers based on NVIDIA GPUs. We were pleased to highlight strategic announcements along our GTC tour to address major industries:

AI Transportation: At $10 trillion, transportation is a massive industry that AI can transform. Autonomous vehicles can reduce accidents, improve the productivity of trucking and taxi services, and enable new mobility services. We announced that both Baidu and TomTom selected NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 for self-driving cars. With each, we’re building an open “cloud-to-car” platform that includes an HD map, AI algorithms and an AI supercomputer.

Driving is a learned behavior that we do as second nature. Yet one that is impossible to program a computer to perform. Autonomous driving requires every aspect of AI — perception of the surroundings, reasoning to determine the conditions of the environment, planning the best course of action, and continuously learning to improve our understanding of the vast and diverse world. The wide spectrum of autonomous driving requires an open, scalable architecture — from highway hands-free cruising, to autonomous drive-to-destination, to fully autonomous shuttles with no drivers.

NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 is a scalable architecture that can span the entire range of AI for autonomous driving. At GTC, we announced DRIVE PX 2 AutoCruise designed for highway autonomous driving with continuous localization and mapping. We also released DriveWorks Alpha 1, our OS for self-driving cars that covers every aspect of autonomous driving — detection, localization, planning and action.

We bring all of our capabilities together into our own self-driving car, NVIDIA BB8. Here’s a little video:

NVIDIA is focused on innovation at the intersection of visual processing, AI and high performance computing — a unique combination at the heart of intelligent and autonomous machines. For the first time, we have AI algorithms that will make self-driving cars and autonomous robots possible. But they require a real-time, cost-effective computing platform.

At GTC, we introduced Xavier, the most ambitious single-chip computer we have ever undertaken — the world’s first AI supercomputer chip. Xavier is 7 billion transistors — more complex than the most advanced server-class CPU. Miraculously, Xavier has the equivalent horsepower of DRIVE PX 2 launched at CES earlier this year — 20 trillion operations per second of deep learning performance — at just 20 watts. As Forbes noted, we doubled down on self-driving cars with Xavier.

  • AI Enterprise: IBM, which sees a $2 trillion opportunity in cognitive computing, announced a new POWER8 and NVIDIA Tesla P100 server designed to bring AI to the enterprise. On the software side, SAP announced that it has received two of the first NVIDIA DGX-1 supercomputers and is actively building machine learning enterprise solutions for its 320,000 customers in 190 countries.
  • AI City: There will be 1 billion cameras in the world in 2020. Hikvision, the world leader in surveillance systems, is using AI to help make our cities safer. It uses DGX-1 for network training and has built a breakthrough server, called “Blade,” based on 16 Jetson TX1 processors. Blade requires 1/20 the space and 1/10 the power of the 21 CPU-based servers of equivalent performance.
  • AI Factory: There are 2 billion industrial robots worldwide. Japan is the epicenter of robotics innovation. At GTC, we announced that FANUC, the Japan-based industrial robotics giant, will build the factory of the future on the NVIDIA AI platform, from end to end. Its deep neural network will be trained with NVIDIA GPUs, GPU-powered FANUC Fog units will drive a group of robots and allow them to learn together, and each robot will have an embedded GPU to perform real-time AI. MIT Tech Review wrote about it in its story “Japanese Robotics Giant Gives Its Arms Some Brains.”
  • The Next Phase of Every Industry: GPU deep learning is inspiring a new wave of startups — 1,500+ around the world — in healthcare, fintech, automotive, consumer web applications and more. Drive.ai, which was recently licensed to test its vehicles on California roads, is tackling the challenge of self-driving cars by applying deep learning to the full driving stack. Preferred Networks, the Japan-based developer of the Chainer framework, is developing deep learning solutions for IoT. Benevolent.ai, based in London and one of the first recipients of DGX-1, is using deep learning for drug discovery to tackle diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and rare cancers. According to CB Insights, funding for AI startups hit over $1 billion in the second quarter, an all-time high.

The explosion of startups is yet another indicator of AI’s sweep across industries. As Fortune recently wrote, deep learning will “transform corporate America.”  

AI Everyone

AI for Everyone

AI can solve problems that seemed well beyond our reach just a few years back. From real-world data, computers can learn to recognize patterns too complex, too massive or too subtle for hand-crafted software or even humans. With GPU deep learning, this computing model is now practical and can be applied to solve challenges in the world’s largest industries. Self-driving cars will transform the $10 trillion transportation industry. In healthcare, doctors will use AI to detect disease at the earliest possible moment, to understand the human genome to tackle cancer, or to learn from the massive volume of medical data and research to recommend the best treatments. And AI will usher in the 4thindustrial revolution — after steam, mass production and automation — intelligent robotics will drive a new wave of productivity improvements and enable mass consumer customization. AI will touch everyone. The era of AI is here.

Syndicated article courtesy of Nvidia

By Jen-Hsun Huang

jen-hsun-huangJen-Hsun Huang founded NVIDIA in 1993 and has served since its inception as president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors.

NVIDIA invented the GPU in 1999 and, from its roots as a PC graphics company, has gone on to become the world leader in AI computing.

Update: Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

Update: Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

DYN DDOS Timeline

This morning at 7am ET a DDoS attack was launched at Dyn (the site is still down at the minute), an Internet infrastructure company whose headquarters are in New Hampshire. So far the attack has come in 2 waves, the first at 11.10 UTC and the second at around 16.00 UTC. So far details have been vague, though there are a number of theories starting to surface in the aftermath of the attack. The attack took down numerous websites including Twitter, Amazon, Spotify and Reddit for a period – you can find the full list of affected sites here. PSN and Xbox live apps have also been affected!

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The timeline of events according to the DYN updates is as follows:

11:10 UTC- We began monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. Some customers may experience increased DNS query latency and delayed zone propagation during this time.

12:45 UTC – This attack is mainly impacting US East and is impacting Managed DNS customers in this region. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue.

13:36 UTC – Services have been restored to normal as of 13:20 UTC.

16:06 UTC – As of 15:52 UTC, we have begun monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue.

16:48 UTC – This DDoS attack may also be impacting Dyn Managed DNS advanced services with possible delays in monitoring. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue.

17:53 UTC – Our engineers continue to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure.

18:23 UTC – Dyn Managed DNS advanced service monitoring is currently experiencing issues. Customers may notice incorrect probe alerts on their advanced DNS services. Our engineers continue to monitor and investigate the issue.

18:52 UTC – At this time, the advanced service monitoring issue has been resolved. Our engineers are still investigating and mitigating the attacks on our infrastructure.

20:37 UTC – Our engineers continue to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure.

Cloud Disaster Recovery

The attack has come only a few hours after Doug Madory, DYN researcher, presented a talk (you can watch it here) on DDoS attacks in Dallas at a meeting of the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG). Krebs on Security has also drawn links between reports of extortion threats posted on this thread, with the threats clearly referencing DDoS attacks – “If you will not pay in time, DDoS attack will start, your web-services will go down permanently. After that, price to stop will be increased to 5 BTC with further increment of 5 BTC for every day of attack.”

They do however, distance themselves from making any actual claims of extortion, “Let me be clear: I have no data to indicate that the attack on Dyn is related to extortion, to Mirai or to any of the companies or individuals Madory referenced in his talk this week in Dallas

However, this isn’t the only theory circulating at the moment. Dillon Townsel from IBM security has tweeted:

Heavy.com has reported that hacking group PoodleCorp are being blamed for the attack by Product-reviews.net because of the cryptic tweet that they posted 2 days ago, “October 21st #PoodleCorp will be putting @Battlefield in the oven

PoodleCorp famously took down the Pokemon Go servers in July. Homeland Security and the FBI are investigating the attack and are yet to deem who was responsible.

Today’s attack is very different to the DDoS style that Anonymous rose to fame with. Instead of attacking and taking out an individual website for short periods of time, hackers took down a massive piece of the internet backbone for an entire morning, not once but twice with new reports of a potential 3rd wave. At the moment there have been no claims of ownership for the attack nor has there been any concrete evidence of who perpetrated the attack.

Dyn are well known for publishing detailed reports on attacks of this nature so we can only hope they will do the same for their own servers.

Until then you can follow any updates that Dyn are releasing here.

DDoS Attack – Update 10/24/2016

As of 22.17 UTC on October 21st Dyn declared the massive IoT attack, which had crippled large parts of the internet, to be over. However, details surrounding the attack are still emerging.

In the midst of the chaos, WikiLeaks tweeted this,  “Mr. Assange is still alive and WikiLeaks is still publishing. We ask supporters to stop taking down the US internet. You proved your point.

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– suggesting that they knew who the perpetrators were. Perhaps even that they requested that attack, although this is pure speculation at this point.

A senior U.S. intelligence official spoke to NBC News, he commented that the current assessment is that this is a case of “internet vandalism”. At this point, they do not believe that it was any kind of state-sponsored or directed attack.

Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology, who specialise in DVRs and internet-connected cameras, said on Sunday that its products security vulnerabilities inadvertently played a role in the cyberattack, citing weak default passwords in its products as the cause.

Security researchers have discovered that malware known as Mirai was used to take advantage of these weaknesses by infecting the devices and using them to launch huge distributed denial-of service attacks. Mirai works by infecting and taking over IoT devices to create a massive connected network, which then overloads sites with requests and takes the website offline.

At this point we do not know when the identity of the hackers will become clear. Watch this page for more updates as they become available.

By Josh Hamilton

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

DDoS Knocks Out Several Websites

Cyber attacks targeting the internet infrastructure provider Dyn disrupted service on major sites such as Twitter and Spotify on Friday, mainly affecting users on the U.S. East Coast.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible. Officials told Reuters that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were both investigating.

The disruptions come at a time of unprecedented fears about the cyber threat in the United States, where hackers have breached political organizations and election agencies.

Homeland Security last week issued a warning about a powerful new approach for blocking access to websites – hackers infecting routers, printers, smart TVs and other connected devices with malware that turns them into “bot” armies that overwhelm website servers in distributed denial of service attacks.

Dyn said it had resolved one attack, which disrupted operations for about two hours, but disclosed a second attack a few hours later that was causing further disruptions.

In addition to the social network Twitter and music-streamer Spotify, the discussion site Reddit, hospitality booking service Airbnb and The Verge news site were among companies whose services were disrupted on Friday.

Amazon.com Inc’s web services division, one of the world’s biggest cloud computing companies, also reported a related outage, which it said was resolved early Friday afternoon.

Dyn is a Manchester, New Hampshire-based provider of services for managing domain name servers (DNS), which act as switchboards connecting internet traffic. Requests to access sites are transmitted through DNS servers that direct them to computers that host websites.

Its customers include some of the world’s biggest corporations and Internet firms, such as Pfizer, Visa, Netflix and Twitter, SoundCloud and BT.

Dyn said it was still trying to determine how the attack led to the outage but that its first priority was restoring service.

Attacking a large DNS provider can create massive disruptions because such firms are responsible for forwarding large volumes of internet traffic.

Full Article Source: Reuters

Cashless Society Part 2: Pros and Cons

Cashless Society Part 2: Pros and Cons

The Cashless Society

Having looking at our movement towards a cashless society in Part 1, I thought we should turn our attention to the consequences of a truly cashless society. Could it be a force for good? Or could it lead to banks and governments abusing the power that comes along with it?

The phasing out of cash in the economy would make implementation of certain fiscal policies, such as negative interest rates, far easier and more effective. Kenneth Rogoff, author of “The Curse of Cash”, cites negative interest rates as an important tool for central banks to restore macroeconomic stability; the incentive to borrow and spend help stimulate the economy. By holding all currency in regulated accounts the government can tax savings in the name of monetary policy.

Kenneth RogoffOne of the more widely used arguments in favour of a cashless economy is that of security. France’s finance minister has recently stated that he plans to “fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy” in order to help fight terrorism and other threats. With the ability to track every transaction that takes place, intelligence services could cut down on crime by monitoring purchases and money transfers. However, Rogoff acknowledges the limitations of this policy, in that the removal of paper money will only be effective “provided the government is vigilant about playing whac-a-mole as alternative transaction media come into being“. Although, it is naïve to think that crime could be quashed so easily. If interest rates fall too far below zero, it is quite possible that citizens would find an alternative to cash (drug traffickers certainly would). Money has been reinvented time and again throughout history, as shells, cigarettes and cryptographic code. Going cashless has also been touted as being more secure from theft, with Apple and Google claiming their payment system is more secure than regular banking, as well as being more convenient than cash.

Yet there are a number of concerns that have been raised about the transition to digital money. Advances in tech have allowed credit and debit card purchases to be tracked and evaluated to gauge the validity of a purchase. This has so far been used to prevent fraud and theft, to protect consumers. However, there is a risk of abuse here, for example in 2010 Visa and Mastercard gave in to government pressure, not even physical legislation, and barred all online-betting payments from their systems. They made it virtually impossible for these gambling sites to operate regardless of their jurisdiction or legality. Scott A. Shay, chairman of Signature Bank, suggested in an article on CNBC that “the day might come when the health records of an overweight individual would lead to a situation in which they find that any sugary drink purchase they make through a credit or debit card is declined”. Although this may seem like a stretch, a government with access to this sort of power could quite easily control individual spending.

A cashless society would also increase the difficulties for homeless people to re-integrate into society. Having no fixed address already makes holding a bank account incredibly difficult, a cash free society simply increases the societal barriers that those on the fringes of society have to navigate. There is also the psychological issue, that electronic payment encourages frivolous spending. A student interviewed at the University of Gothenberg commented that she was much more likely to think twice about spending a 500 krona note compared to with a debit or credit card.

The other side of the coin (pardon the pun), is that this power could be used for good, for example placing restrictions on recovering alcoholics from purchasing alcohol. The route which this technology will take is, as is often the case, determined by the government and societal attitude to the situation. There is room for abuse in the technology, more than most, but the benefits are well documented and used sensibly could help prevent terrorism and crime, reduce tax evasion, and help to curb unhealthy spending habits. Ultimately, a cashless society will be what we make of it.

By Josh Hamilton

LeEco: Cloud Ecosystem of Content and Devices

LeEco: Cloud Ecosystem of Content and Devices

LeEco US Launch

LeEco officially launched its disruptive ecosystem model in the U.S., which breaks boundaries between screens to seamlessly deliver content and services on a wide array of connected smart devices – including smartphones, TVs, smart bikes, virtual reality and electric self-driving vehicles

It is really tough to overstate the vast scale and ambition of LeEco. The basic concept is quite simple, they want to create an ecosystem of content and devices that can be used together seamlessly to connect you together with all your devices. Today they unveiled a brand new Smartphone, Smart TV, VR Headset, Android Powered Smart Bike, and Autonomous Electric Car (all in a day’s work).

“No other company in the world can do this. Not Apple, not Samsung, Amazon, Google, or Telsa”  boasted Danny Bowman, Chief Revenue Officer.

Every month, LeEco’s online video streaming service, le.com, garners 730 million unique visitors (that’s more than double the population of the USA) and they are here to take on the US market. This had been touted as a rivalry to Netflix, but really this is a challenge to Western tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon. With the User Planning to User (UP2U™) program LeEco promises an integrated cross platform system, built by and for the users – With UP2U, you are LeEco”.

LeEco are focused on the idea that the user is the foundation of everything. They pioneer a user-first philosophy that works to create a more seamless and unified experience that unites all devices. They are driven by their vertically integrated EUI that incorporates user, hardware, software and content, breaking down barriers between devices and operating systems for a truly integrated experience.

LeEco’s Ecosystem User Interface (EUI) aims to unify their ecosystem with two core principles: breaking device boundaries and putting content at the heart of the experience. In the real world this means you can cast content from your phone to your car with a simple swipe or receive notifications from your Smart Bike to your TV. EUI allows you to move your experience from one device to another; your content will always be available at a touch of a button, regardless of which device you are using.

The Ecosystem incorporates these devices along with Le Cloud (the cloud-based backbone powering LeEco’s multiple screens, smart devices and content), Le Vision Pictures and Le Vision Entertainment (one of Chinas 3 largest film studios – they are currently producing The Great Wall starring Matt Damon), Le Music (LeEco’s online live-streaming music platform and production company), Le Sports (China’s leading Internet-based eco-sports company) and Le TV (the television arm of LeEco).

At the heart of LeEco, and all this incredible integration, is what has driven LeEco from the very beginning; content. For content in the U.S., LeEco has partnered with top content providers including Lionsgate, MGM, Showtime, Vice Media, Awesomeness TV, A+E, with others being continually added. Combined with the power of content creation via Le Vision Entertainment, I have no doubt that they will soon come to rival Netflix as one of the best streaming services in the world.

LeEco has the potential to truly revolutionise integrated tech and Smart Homes. Taking on tech giants like Apple and Google in creating integrated and intuitive content and services across a wide range of devices. This is different as well though; there is no company out there that provides such a wide range of cross platform and device integration. With a competitive price structure (a 43-inch Eco Smart TV with 3-month free EcoPass membership costing $649) that is aimed at offering their service to a mass audience, they will force Apple, Google and others to not only compete technologically, but in value for money as well. Time will tell whether LeEco will have the same success in the US that they enjoyed in China, but I would back them all the way.

By Josh Hamilton

Politics 2.0: The Age of Cyber-Political Warfare

Politics 2.0: The Age of Cyber-Political Warfare

Cyber-Political Warfare

Do you remember the last time hackers and cybercriminals determined the outcome of a presidential race? Of course not, because it’s never happened. It could happen now. Without even thinking about it, we’ve slipped into a new era. I would dub this the Age of Cyber-Political Warfare. This playing-field is thick with espionage, and it’s dominated by people who have little to no political clout. Instead, they have technical know-how.

It’s common knowledge that the internet is rife with identity theft. Social profiles, email, ecommerce sites, and mobile devices all provide excellent avenues for cyber-thieves. Oftentimes, it doesn’t take hacking skills to get information. The Snapchat employees who had their information stolen were victims of an email phishing scam. All the thief had to do was pretend to be Snapchat’s CEO and ask a single employee for payroll data.

hacks

In the case of Hillary Clinton, it wasn’t hard for a cybercriminal to reveal her email activities. Data security firm Kroll points out that the revelation didn’t even technically involve hacking. Rather, it’s a high-profile case of a compromised account. The compromiser, ‘Guccifer’ Marcel Lehel Lazar, used Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) to find out personal information about Sydney Blumenthal, who is a Clinton confidant. He used Open Source information to figure out Blumenthal’s email password. From there, he discovered Clinton was using a private server to email Blumenthal. Then, Guccifer published Clinton’s private email info online.

Guccifer was sentenced to four years in prison. Is that enough to deter an onlooker from copying his crimes? Apparently not, because Guccifer 2.0 has surfaced to release more stolen information. According to the original Guccifer, this kind of digital detective work is “easy… easy for me, for everybody.” Everybody can hunt down information that could potentially determine the result of a political election. This puts a brand new kind of power in the hands of the many. Anyone smart enough to follow trails of data online can be a player in the Age of Cyber-Political Warfare.

The biggest player here is Russia. The White House is certain that Russia’s state-sponsored hackers compromised Democratic National Committee email accounts, with the intent of influencing the election. Secureworks reports that the hackers used a phishing scam. They made it look like members of the Clinton campaign and the DNC were logging into Gmail accounts. The login page was fake, and through it the hackers gained login data. Reportedly, Russian hacking group Fancy Bear used Bitly to setup the malicious URLs, which read ‘accounts-google.com’ instead of accounts.google.com. Now Bitly isn’t just a customer experience platform and IBM partner. It’s an unwitting tool in the hands of malicious hackers.

Obama promised a proportional response to the hacks. What would cyberwar with Russia look like? If a ‘proportional response’ is coming, we’ll see the release of inside information about Vladimir Putin or other high-ranking Russian officials. But how this would influence Russian politics, no one can be sure. Russia could merely cite our desire to get revenge and brush any sort of leaks off as petty attempts to disparage Russian officials.

One thing is clear: to be a politician now, you have to be, at minimum, cognizant of cyber threats. While American politics is stuck in the binary of red vs. blue, the fluid and fast world of the web is a much more complex place. It’s a place where people wheel-and-deal on a multinational level. It’s a powerful place to reach people and to access their data. Politicians want to use the internet as a tool, but by doing so they’re placing their data and their information at risk. In the Age of Cyber-Political Warfare, that data will continue to be a weapon for invisible and powerful opponents.

By Daniel Matthews

The Next Wave of Cloud Computing: Artificial Intelligence?

The Next Wave of Cloud Computing: Artificial Intelligence?

Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence

Over the past few years, cloud computing has been evolving at a rapid rate. It is becoming the norm in today’s software solutions. Forrester believes that that cloud computing will be a $191 billion market by 2020. According to the 2016 State of Cloud Survey conducted by RightScale, 96% of its respondents are using the cloud, with more enterprise workloads shifting towards public and private clouds. Adoption in both hybrid cloud and DevOps have gone up as well.

cloud-report

The AI-Cloud Landscape

So where could the cloud computing market be headed next? Could the next wave of cloud computing involve artificial intelligence? It certainly appears that way. In a market that is primarily dominated by four major companies – Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM – AI could possibly disrupt the current dynamic.

In the past few years, there has been a surge of investment in AI capabilities in cloud platforms. The big four (Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM) are making huge strides in the AI world. Microsoft is currently offering more than twenty cognitive services such as language comprehension and analyzing images. Last year, Amazon’s cloud division added an AI service which lets people add analytical and predictive capabilities to their applications.

The current AI-cloud landscape can essentially be categorized into two groups: AI cloud services and cloud machine learning platforms.

AI Cloud Services

Example of AI cloud services involve technologies such as Microsoft Cognitive Services, Google Cloud Vision, and IBM Watson. In this type of model, organizations incorporate AI capabilities in applications without having to invest in expensive AI infrastructures.

Cloud Machine Learning Platforms

On the flip slide, there are cloud machine learning platforms. Machine learning is a method of data analysis which automates analytical model building. It enables for computers to find patterns automatically as well as areas of importance. Azure Machine Learning and AWS Machine Learning are examples of cloud machine learning platforms.

IBM and Google Making Waves

640px-IBM_Watson

Recently IBM and Google having been making news in the AI realm and it reflects a shift within the tech industry towards deep learning. Just last month, IBM unveiled Project DataWorks, which is supposedly an industry first. It is a cloud-based data and analytics platform which can integrate different types of data and enable AI-powered decision making. The platform provides an environment for collaboration between business users and data professionals. Using technologies like Pixiedust and Brunel, users can create data visualizations with very minimal coding, allowing everyone in the business to gain insights at first look.

Earlier this month at an event in San Francisco, Google unveiled a family of cloud computing services which would allow any developer or business to use machine learning technologies that fuel some of Google’s most powerful services. This move is an attempt by Google to get a bigger foothold in the cloud computing market.

AI-First Cloud

According to Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google, computing is evolving from a mobile-first to an AI-first world. So what would a next-generation AI-first cloud like? Simply put, it would be one built around AI capabilities. In the upcoming years, we could possibly see AI being key in improving cloud services such as computing and storage. The next wave of cloud computing platforms could also see integrations between AI and the existing catalog of cloud services, such as Paas or SaaS.

It remains to be seen whether AI can disrupt the current cloud computing market, but it will definitely influence and inspire a new wave of cloud computing platforms.

By Joya Scarlata

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