Govt IT projects ‘lacking common sense’: DHHS CIO

Public sector IT projects have typically lacked common sense and need to evolve in order to survive a change of government and leader.

This is the view of Dr Steve Hodgkinson, CIO at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), who believes that public sector agencies are “littered with the wreckage created by CIOs” who have a grand vision but an inability to create meaningful and sustainable change through people.

Hodgkinson – who clinched the No 7 spot in this year’s CIO50 – joined a panel IT chiefs in the final list, along with judging panel member and Gartner research director Jenny Beresford, to discuss their projects. Other CIO50 finalists joining the panel included Hilda Clune, CIO at PwC, and Kerry Holling, chief information and digital officer at Western Sydney University.

Government CIOs need to focus first on doing no harm and then doing things that are sustainable and have common sense, Hodgkinson told the audience.

“It actually sounds stupid to say that, but so many things that have been attempted with regards to ICT have been inherently unsustainable because they were very fragile. They depend on a particular set of circumstances and people and motivations to work.”

But the keys to success come down to valuing people, Hodgkinson said, explaining the future of the industry involves “empowering people to exercise their common sense to make good and practical choices” and to just do things.

“Disruption comes and disruption goes. In the public sector, I’ve always had the view that there’s a whole cadre of people that keep the public sector operating from one day to the next, from one week to the next, from one month to the next – and those are the people, that as a CIO, we need to connect with and empower because they know what to do,” he says. “There are changes in the industry and we need to work out a way to bring those changes to them in order to succeed.”

Hodgkinson said he’s particularly proud of the work he’s done with the deployment of a family violence referral and triage system that automates the flow of referrals from Victoria Police to the DHHS and agencies in the social services sector.

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Article Credit: CIO

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AI might give you a personal assistant instead of taking your job

With the advent of artificial intelligence, assistants should no longer be a luxury confined to executives. We already have AI helpers in our personal lives, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, but now is the time to take this to the workplace.

Despite advancements in technology that promise to help us leave the office closer to 5 pm, we’ve arguably never been busier—and more in need of some assistance. While hiring a human personal assistant for every staff member would be a logistical and financial nightmare, everyone could have their own personal AI assistant. With the ability to automate time-consuming tasks and focus more on revenue-raising work, the productivity benefits could significantly change how we operate and how businesses scale.

The trick though will be how to build an assistant that works for you rather than you working for it. There’s no one-size-fits-all in the workplace, and any company that claims to have built an AI to complete multiple types of tasks will ultimately be useless at all of them. Instead, there are a lot of single-purpose products built to help people get through their workdays: x.ai can schedule your meetings, Lucy can help you with market research, and Restless Bandit automates the candidate-screening process and even reaches out to qualified people for vacant positions.

But having so many different AIs assistants helping us with different tasks could become unwieldy. As these helpers become more commonplace, businesses need to think about not only how to breed these digital cattle but herd them. Will we soon have to create an org chart for robots?

The products developed to assist with specific activities are indeed useful, but there’s potential to go a step further to deliver a truly personal AI assistant. The only effective way to deliver and a helper that truly assists is to have your own, configured to your role with unique abilities that are specific to how you operate.

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Article Credit: Quartz

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Five Visionary CEOs Share How AI And Digital Will Shape Our Future

Reid Hoffman, the founding CEO of LinkedIn, once told me, “Your ideal timing for innovation is two years because you want to get the runway going.” As digital and artificial intelligence transform most industries, I thought it would be interesting to explore how some of the today’s transformative CEOs envision the future. Below are insights from five CEOs – who are transforming healthcare, smartphones, entertainment, corporate culture and the internet – about their technology breakthrough, and how they see technology changing the world over the next five years.

• Jim Barnett, Co-founder, CEO & Chairman, Glint

• Lixin Cheng, CEO, ZTE Mobile Devices

• Graham Gardner MD, Co-founder & CEO, Kyruus

• Andy Ory, Co-founder & CEO, 128 Technology

• Rich Riley, CEO, Shazam

Robert Reiss: Describe your breakthrough in technology?

Lixin Cheng: The foldable ZTE Axon M is the first real innovation to hit the smartphone market in the last 10 years. Its two identical 5.2-inch screens enable consumers to take advantage of true multitasking capabilities and much more through four different modes. Dual screen functionality allows a consumer to use two different apps on two different screens all at the same time. When unfolded, the Axon M can use both screens as one, providing a full 6.75-inch screen for a tablet-like experience.  There are many more use cases and modes the ZTE Axon M can deliver, and we believe this new foldable smartphone category ZTE created represents a meaningful innovation that will transform the industry’s approach to smartphone design.

Dr Graham Gardner: While healthcare is a field known for scientific breakthroughs that can transform patients’ lives, it often lags behind other industries when it comes to the adoption of workflow best practices. To make matters worse, even though the healthcare industry has been a tremendous producer of data (in the form of information like medical record notes and claims data), it has historically been a poor utilizer of that data – only recently beginning to incorporate individual and population health analytics into care coordination efforts. Cumbersome processes and information challenge too often hamper the very mission of healthcare.

Several years ago, we saw the convergence of several trends that inspired us to leverage an analytical framework from the world of sports to improve care delivery. Just as Moneyball helped baseball teams understand players’ relative strengths and taught managers how to use statistics to inform optimal team composition, we saw an opportunity to use data to help health systems determine how to match providers with patients in a way that benefits the patient, provider, and health system alike. Multiple factors facilitated this opportunity in healthcare: the increasing liquidity of data about providers; the emergence of Big Data and the ability to process information at scale; and the passage of Obamacare, which created urgency to understand and manage provider networks oriented around value-based care. Today, Kyruus’ platform houses tens of millions of data points on over 100,000 providers and helps health systems across the country make precise patient-provider matches based on clinical expertise, insurance, demographics, availability, and more.

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Article Credit: Forbes

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In AI Technology Race, U.S. Chips May Be Ace-In-The-Hole Vs. China

The U.S. holds an enviable lead in pushing artificial-intelligence technology out of labs and into real-world applications. Thank companies like Alphabet (GOOGL), Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL) for that

 But China’s government and technology elites aim to overtake the U.S. in AI by 2030 — or so they proclaimed in July at a Beijing political gathering.

Good luck with that.

Yes, China has many strengths as it sets out for worldwide dominance in AI technology. Its internet giants Baidu (BIDU), Alibaba Group Holdings (BABA) and Tencent Holdings (TCEHY) are also pouring money into AI research and hiring top scientists.

China’s huge population will generate massive raw data to train AI systems in how to make predictions.  So there’s good reason to think China will make breakthroughs in developing computer algorithms — the software programs that aim to replicate the human ability to learn, reason and make decisions.

China also has a major weakness: a semiconductor industry that still lags the U.S. in making high-end electronic processors. Chinese companies buy AI chips mainly from Nvidia (NVDA), based in Santa Clara, Calif. Intel (INTC), the dominant supplier of brainy chips for personal computers, is pushing fast into AI.

“Most AI-focused chips are developed by U.S. companies, and it will be a long slog for China to catch up,” said David Kanter, head of chip industry consultant Real-World Insights.

UBS forecasts that the AI chip market will boom to $35 billion by 2021, up from roughly $6 billion in 2016. But AI stakes are higher than mere chip sales.

AI technology is expected to transform economies. Artificial intelligence has been called a “winner take all” technology, meaning that companies and countries that gain an edge will build upon that lead over time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that whichever country leads in AI  will dominate global affairs.

“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind,” said Putin. “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

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Article Credit: Investors

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AI Is No Longer A Diamond In The Rough For Small Businesses

AI is certainly changing the business of commerce. Most recognizable to the average consumer, of course, are all the voice-activated assistants that are coming into our lives care of Apple, Google, Microsoft and other technology giants. AI is impacting every business sector at every level. For small businesses, an effective AI strategy can make all the difference between success and failure.

Walk through the Diamond District of New York and you’ll find more than 2,600 small businesses, nearly all of them dedicated to selling diamond jewellery. Glittering gems fight for the attention of every passing glance. For a shopper looking for the perfect engagement ring, just a few feet of window shopping can be a daunting — not to mention blinding — experience.

Taking the search online isn’t any easier. RockHer, a luxury jeweller in Los Angeles that we’ve worked with before, recently launched an artificial intelligence-enhanced e-commerce site to give consumers a better option. The brand created a virtual gemologist, Rosi, that uses AI to scour the global diamond marketplace. After a user details their budget and preferences, Rosi crunches more than a million data points to deliver her selections in seconds. No matter how connected and tech-savvy the best diamond seller may be, they would be hard-pressed to provide the same breadth of research and at that speed of service.

The technology gives the consumer access to inventory they would never have the opportunity to consider in a retail store or even another online jewellery site, as it pulls its data from a wholesale database of currently available GIA-certified diamonds. And while a human gemologist couldn’t match Rosi, it is the human intelligence in the company founders’ decades of experience in the diamond industry that programmed her to consider more than 30 different variables for a diamond, far beyond the typical 4Cs that consumers have come to expect.

It is a competitive advantage that only AI can bring a small business.

It is predicted that by 2020, up to 85% of customer interactions will be managed by machines. So the brands that manage to do so by making the customer experience effortless and delightful stand to win. Challenger brands especially have the opportunity to better compete by leveraging AI to out-innovate their rivals.

Once the sole domain of the Silicon Valley elite, AI technology is fast and furiously being deployed to the masses. Technology giants such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon and IBM are open-sourcing their technology, making it freely available to developers or at a lower cost than previously available to advance the technology forward.

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Article Credit: Forbes

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Human pilot beats AI in drone race

Anything you can do, AI can do better. Eventually.

On October 12, NASA put on its own demonstration, pitting an AI-piloted racing drone against world-renowned drone pilot Ken Loo.

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who have spent the last two years working on drone autonomy (which was funded by Google), built three custom drones equipped with cameras for vision and algorithms that would help them fly at high speeds while still avoiding obstacles.

The drones, named Batman, Joker, and Nightwing, used algorithms that were integrated with Google’s Tango technology, which helps AI map out 3D spaces.

These drones could fly up to 80mph in a straight line, but on this particularly cramped course, were only able to hit 40mph.

In a press release, NASA explained the pros and cons of both the autonomous drones and the human pilot. While the AI-powered drones were able to fly more consistently, they were also more cautious and, at times, ran into problems with motion blur at higher speeds. On the other hand, Loo was able to learn the course after a few laps and fly with much more agility than the autonomous drones but is susceptible to fatigue.

“This is definitely the densest track I’ve ever flown,” Loo said in the release. “One of my faults as a pilot is I get tired easily. When I get mentally fatigued, I start to get lost, even if I’ve flown the course 10 times.”

Long story short, the AI and the human started out with similar lap times, but Loo eventually won out and ended up with a faster average lap time than the AI.

The implications here are big: autonomous drones may eventually be used for surveillance, emergency response, or inventory in warehouses.

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Article Credit: TechCrunch

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The Best AI Companies To Work For In 2018 Based on Glassdoor

  • Facebook, NVIDIA, Adobe, Microsoft, Uber, and Accenture are the five best AI companies to work for in 2018 based on Glassdoor Research and % of employees who would recommend this company to a friend as today. These five companies together have 96 open AI positions today or 18.7% of all open AI jobs on Glassdoor.
  • The average annual base pay for an AI job listed on Glassdoor is $111,118 per year.
  • There are 512 AI jobs on Glassdoor today, with AI Software Engineer, AI Data Scientist, AI Software Development Engineer and AI Research Scientist having a combined total of 118 open positions.
  • 67% of all AI jobs listed on Glassdoor are located in San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York City.

These and other many insights are from Glassdoor Research study Who’s Hiring AI Talent in America? by Dr Andrew Chamberlain, Chief Economist at Glassdoor.  Forbes readers most often ask for recommendations regarding the best Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies to work for. The recent study from Glassdoor Research is insightful and serves as a useful framework for readers planning a job move in 2018 into the AI field. Please see the study for a description of the methodology Dr Chamberlain used for completing this report.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • Facebook, NVIDIA, Adobe, Microsoft, Uber, and Accenture are the five best AI companies to work for in 2018 based on Glassdoor Research findings combined with % of employees who would recommend this company to a friend as today. Taken together these five companies have 96 open AI positions as of October 20th or 18.7% of all open AI jobs on Glassdoor as well.
  • The average annual base pay for an AI professional is $111,118 per year based on Glassdoor’s research. The study found that the annual salary for AI jobs is roughly bell-shaped with a peak between $100,000 and $120,000 per year. Glassdoor found the lowest-paying jobs have an estimated base pay of between $20,000 and $40,000 per year, while the highest paying AI roles earning an estimated $240,000 to $260,000 per year in base pay. Even without accounting for bonuses and stock-related compensation, the highest-paying AI jobs in the Glassdoor sample rank among the top-earning jobs in America today. The following is the distribution of base pay for open AI jobs on Glassdoor and a comparison of the top paying AI jobs available. The highest paying job is a Director of AI located in San Francisco with a median base salary of approximately $257,269 per year. Please click on the image to expand it for easier viewing.

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Article Credit: Forbes

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World’s first AI politician developed

Scientists have developed the world’s first artificial intelligence politician that can answer a person’s queries regarding local issues such as policies around housing, education and immigration.

The virtual politician, called SAM, was created by Nick Gerritsen, a 49-year-old entrepreneur in New Zealand.

The AI politician is constantly learning to respond to people through Facebook Messenger as well as a survey on its homepage.

While the system is not perfect, it may still help bridge the growing political and cultural divide in many countries, Tech In Asia reported. Mr Gerritsen believes SAM will be advanced enough to run as a candidate by 2020.

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Article Credit: the Hindu

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QU launches Cyber Security Week

A Cyber Security Week was launched yesterday by the Kindi Centre for Computing Research at Qatar University College of Engineering (QU-CENG) to gather experts and researchers to exchange their expertise and ideas and provide solutions to the current challenges in the area.
The opening session was themed ‘Cybersecurity and the Blockade: Opportunities and Threats’. The week covers various activities including a training session titled ‘Introduction to Secure Software Development’ and training cybersecurity series on ‘Introduction to Web-Hacking’, ‘Web-Hacking Contest’ and ‘Anti-Blockade Hackathon’.
The opening was attended by QU president Dr Hassan al-Derham, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies Prof Mariam al-Maadeed, CENG dean Dr Khalifa al-Khalifa, Qatar Armed Forces Commander of Signal and Information Brig Abdul Aziz Falah al-Dosari, Ministry of Transport and Communications assistant undersecretary Khalid Sadiq al-Hashmi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Technology director Dr Saif Mohammed al-Kuwari, Qatar National Research Fund Information and Communication Technology Programme director Dr Munir Tag, Thales Critical Information Systems and Cyber Security specialist Baptiste Cazagou, and Tubitak representative Dr Devrim Unal, as well as CENG faculty, staff and students. Dr  al-Derham said, “Through this week, QU is supporting the vision of the National Cyber Security Strategy, which represents a roadmap to raise awareness of the importance of cybersecurity, and contributes to the preservation of the fundamental rights and values of Qatari society.”
Kindi Centre for Computing Research director Dr Noora Fetais said, “Although there is an evolution in the systems of some institutions, they are not immune to cyber-attacks because of the development of mechanisms and methods of electronic hackers, and hence all institutions need to develop a plan for the development of their infrastructure to enhance cybersecurity.”

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Article Credit: Gulf Times

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