Apple iPhone Xs models do not include eSIM tech in China, since carriers there stopped offering cellular service to eSIM-based Apple Watch models in 2017 (Alistair Barr/Bloomberg)

Apple iPhone Xs models do not include eSIM tech in China, since carriers there stopped offering cellular service to eSIM-based Apple Watch models in 2017 (Alistair Barr/Bloomberg)

Alistair Barr / Bloomberg:
Apple iPhone Xs models do not include eSIM tech in China, since carriers there stopped offering cellular service to eSIM-based Apple Watch models in 2017  —  Apple Inc.’s latest iPhones show how the world’s largest technology company has to adjust its strategy for the crucial Chinese market.

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Facebook has banned four pages run by Alex Jones for "repeated violations of Community Standards"; Spotify removes all episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast (Alex Hern/The Guardian)

Facebook has banned four pages run by Alex Jones for "repeated violations of Community Standards"; Spotify removes all episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast (Alex Hern/The Guardian)

Alex Hern / The Guardian:
Facebook has banned four pages run by Alex Jones for “repeated violations of Community Standards”; Spotify removes all episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast  —  Crackdown on US conspiracy theorist for promoting violence and hate speech  —  Facebook has banned four pages run …

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7 questions to ask before you launch an enterprise blockchain project

7 questions to ask before you launch an enterprise blockchain project

Successful projects will think seriously about what blockchains mean, and how to use them effectively.

We’re only at the beginning of the blockchain story, not the middle or the end. There’s no shortage of activity and ferment. If the Bitcoin blockchain is the first-generation proof-of-concept, and the Ethereum blockchain is the second, we’re now starting to see third-generation blockchains. Those blockchains include projects like Hyperledger, Cardano, and EOS. They focus on the obvious shortcomings of the existing blockchains–most notably, transaction throughput and a user interface that can fairly be described as “savage.”

Enterprise blockchain projects will only be successful if they take advantage of a blockchain’s unique properties. I’ve written elsewhere that a blockchain is a distributed ledger, shared by untrusted participants, with strong guarantees about accuracy and consistency. With that in mind, here are some questions to ask if you’re considering an enterprise blockchain project.

What exactly are you trying to accomplish?

Look carefully at your requirements, and ask yourself whether you really need a blockchain. Do you need the additional guarantees about agreement that a blockchain provides, or would a distributed database suffice?

How much do you trust your partners?

Untrusted business partners point you in the direction of blockchains. And they may also point toward proof-of-work or proof-of-stake, rather than simpler (and faster) permissioned blockchains.

How public or open do you need to be?

Who needs to participate in your blockchain? There is a continuum between a public blockchain like Bitcoin or Ethereum and the smallest, most carefully controlled, private blockchain. I can imagine special-purpose public blockchains for applications like power microgrids (or, for that matter, locavore farming). I can imagine blockchains in financial services that only serve a small number of partners, and are essentially private. A blockchain that only serves a single organization is probably a cargo cult. It may look like a blockchain, but it doesn’t add any value.

What are your data integration issues?

The biggest problem facing enterprise blockchains might not be an agreement protocol, but integrating all the legacy data formats and structures that blockchain participants use. Health care blockchains are a good example of this problem. There are hundreds of medical records formats in use, and any medical blockchain will have to do something to reconcile those formats. Any blockchain that crosses enterprise boundaries (and even blockchains that live within corporate boundaries) will need to deal with data integration, and solving those problems may well be harder than building the blockchain itself.

If you need “miners,” who will they be, and how will you compensate them?

On most current blockchains, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, “miners” do the job of validating the blockchain’s consistency and adding blocks. They don’t do this work for free. ICOs (initial coin offerings) are all the rage, and it’s easy to imagine paying miners with cryptocurrency (after all, that’s what Bitcoin and Ethereum do), but it’s hard to imagine established enterprises issuing their own currencies. Are there alternate forms of compensation (for example, data or CryptoKitties) that might work?

What are your performance requirements, and how will you meet them?

The Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains currently handle about a dozen transactions per second. For many enterprise applications, that is too slow, by several orders of magnitude. You need to think about what kind of performance you need, and how you’ll get it. There are a number of possible solutions, including the Bitcoin Lightning Network; replacing the compute-intensive “proof of work” that miners perform to add blocks; and permissioned blockchains, such as Hyperledger’s Fabric.

What are the legal ramifications?

Recently, I’ve seen several people ask whether blockchain applications can comply with GDPR and other regulations. That is certainly uncharted territory. It’s very difficult to see how a “right to be forgotten” could be implemented on a ledger that doesn’t allow previous entries to be deleted. I don’t think the answer is that blockchains can’t comply; the answer will depend on exactly what data you’re storing in the blockchain, how that data is used, and how private or public your blockchain is.

Many cryptocurrency advocates are critical of enterprise blockchains, and these questions are largely drawn from those criticisms. Those criticisms don’t mean that enterprise blockchains don’t work, but they do raise issues that need to be addressed. You don’t want to build a blockchain just to discover that you’ve really created a very slow distributed database, or that nobody wants to verify your blockchain’s consistency because you haven’t thought through compensation.

This is a great time to be experimenting with blockchain technologies. Aside from Bitcoin itself, we haven’t seen many projects emerge from the tire-kicking stage yet. I’m confident that, in the next few years, we will see many enterprise blockchains in production. The ones that survive won’t be the “me too” projects; they’ll be the projects that have thought seriously about what blockchains mean, and how to use them effectively.

Related:

Learning Path: Introduction to Blockchain Applications — Dr. Jonathan Reichental helps you fully understand the scope of blockchain technology and how it can be used across a variety of applications and industries.

Continue reading 7 questions to ask before you launch an enterprise blockchain project.

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Google declines to provide the names of hair salon and restaurant used in controversial Google Duplex demo, or say whether the calls were edited (Dan Primack/Axios)

Google declines to provide the names of hair salon and restaurant used in controversial Google Duplex demo, or say whether the calls were edited (Dan Primack/Axios)

Dan Primack / Axios:
Google declines to provide the names of hair salon and restaurant used in controversial Google Duplex demo, or say whether the calls were edited  —  Google made headlines by demonstrating an AI-powered voice assistant that made haircut and restaurant reservations, without betraying that it isn’t human.

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Facebook will now use facial recognition technology to alert users when someone uploads their photos without tagging them (Joaquin Quiñonero Candela/Facebook)

Facebook will now use facial recognition technology to alert users when someone uploads their photos without tagging them (Joaquin Quiñonero Candela/Facebook)

Joaquin Quiñonero Candela / Facebook:
Facebook will now use facial recognition technology to alert users when someone uploads their photos without tagging them  —  Today we’re announcing new, optional tools to help people better manage their identity on Facebook using face recognition.  Powered by the same technology we’ve used …

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Deloitte’s crystal ball: These tech trends will create the Symphonic Enterprise

Deloitte’s crystal ball: These tech trends will create the Symphonic Enterprise

Symphonicenterprise

Deloitte sees a future where businesses are able to use new technologies in concert rather than trying to master each one individually.

In its just released ninth annual Tech Trends report Deloitte notes that companies approached the integration of new technologies through a domain specific approach. The old way was domain specific.

The lead authors, Bill Briggs, CTO of Deloitte Consulting, and Craig Hodgetts, Managing Principal of Technology at Deloitte, write: 

In the past, organizations typically responded to such disruptive opportunities by launching transformation initiatives within technology domains. For example, domain-specific cloud, analytics, and big data projects represented bold, if singleminded, embraces of the future. Likewise, C-suite positions such as “chief digital officer” or “chief analytics officer” reinforced the primacy of domain thinking.

But it didn’t take long for companies to realize that treating some systems as independent domains is suboptimal at best. Complex predictive analytics capabilities delivered little value without big data. In turn, big data was costly and inefficient without cloud.

 A holistic approach…

Deloitte sees some of the more “forward thinking” companies moving away from domain-specific initiatives. 

Instead, they are thinking about exploration, use cases, and deployment more holistically, focusing on how disruptive technologies can complement each other to drive greater value.

For example, blockchain can serve as a new foundational protocol for trust throughout the enterprise and beyond. Cognitive technologies make automated response possible across all enterprise domains. Digital reality breaks down geographic barriers between people, and systemic barriers between humans and data. Together, these technologies can fundamentally reshape how work gets done, or set the stage for new products and business models.

This will lead to the Symphonic Enterprise — business organizations able to combine several disruptive technologies to support highly successful business ventures.

When technologies act in unison, we no longer see the enterprise vertically (focused on line of business or isolated industries) or horizontally (focused on business processes or enabling technologies). In the symphonic enterprise, the old lines become blurred, thus creating a diagonal view that illuminates new business opportunities and creative ways of solving problems.

Here are the key enterprise tech trends for the next 18 to 24 months:

Reengineering IT. The IT department is being rebuilt from top to bottom into a more agile and important business partner that, “will define the technology organization of the future.”

– Hybrid-human workforce: Don’t be afraid of robots and AI taking away your job — they will become your work colleagues. “Human workers and machines will work together seamlessly, each complementing the other’s efforts in a single loop of productivity.”  Human Resources organizations will need to rethink how to recruit and train a “hybrid human-machine workforce.”

– Advanced Data Management: As enterprises seek to unlock value in their data they will have to adopt a additional data management technologies. 

– The new Mission critical core: The digitization of business has mostly been in customer-facing initiatives. There’s lots of untapped potential in middle and back office processes which have been largely been left unchanged.

– Virtual and augmented realities: Deloitte groups these under Digital Realities and says it represents a powerful new way for companies to engage with customers.

– Blockchain technologies: These are about to breakthrough into broad adoption in many important business functions.

– API technologies: These offer enterprises a way to increase the efficiency of their in-house IT systems by easily reusing those resources across their organization. 

– Exponential Technology Watchlist: These are the technologies that Deloitte’s forecasters say could create an impact three to five years from now. They are: Human-like Artificial General Intelligence; and quantum computing and its effect on breaking computer security.

Here is the entire report. Tech Trends 2018

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Facebook Suicide Prevention #1243 – Geek News Central

Facebook Suicide Prevention #1243 – Geek News Central

Facebook is stepping up suicide prevention this is a worthy cause. I talk a lot to tonight about assisted intelligence which most of these devices we have in the home and how they are being manipulated by the manufactures. Also for some reason, my Rhomba decided to vacuum the house tonight while I was doing the show it drove me crazy. I suspect my son used it to vacum his room which was fine but not during the show.

You have heard me talk about proximity beacons. I know now how to do it with minimal investment! This course that I endorse and have used successfully is the gateway to deploying proximity beacons for Android.

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Facebook Suicide Prevention #1243

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Flaw in widely used RSA code library undermines security of millions of high-security RSA crypto keys used in high-stakes scenarios (Dan Goodin/Ars Technica)

Flaw in widely used RSA code library undermines security of millions of high-security RSA crypto keys used in high-stakes scenarios (Dan Goodin/Ars Technica)

Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:
Flaw in widely used RSA code library undermines security of millions of high-security RSA crypto keys used in high-stakes scenarios  —  Factorization weakness lets attackers impersonate key holders and decrypt their data.  —  A crippling flaw in a widely used code library has fatally undermined …

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