Dynamic Digest: Week of 5/9

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Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, and other topics? We got you covered!

This week in the world of technology, new privacy rules circulated within the House of Representatives, artificial intelligence expanded beyond Siri, and Facebook accidentally leaked documents about their trending topics.

Privacy Rules Shouldn’t Handcuff the S.E.C. – New York Times, May 12

A new bill circulating the House of Representatives, the H.R. 699 is an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 which originally extended government restrictions on telephone tapping, including electronic data transmissions by computer. The ECPA 1986 allows the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to carry out administrative subpoenas under their statutory authority for emails or electronic messages against those who are the subject of investigation. Under the H.R. 699, the government would be required to obtain a criminal warrant to seize a person’s electronic communications from companies that store such data. Civil law enforcement agencies, like the SEC, who are responsible for enforcing federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, would no longer have the power to subpoena electronic evidence of wrongdoings and fraud. If the bill passes, the authority to obtain these warrants will fall under criminal law enforcement’s jurisdiction.

Key takeaway: While this new bill will increase critical privacy safeguards to individuals, it also provides a digital shield for criminals to hide their evidence from civil law enforcements. By removing the SEC’s information obtainment rights to investigate fraudulent activities, such as insider trading or market manipulation, greater concerns in regards to our economy may arise. Technology has evolved since the act passed in 1986, and the law should also evolve. But how can we protect both our privacy interests and the integrity of our financial system?

Beyond Siri: The AI revolution coming from the web – TechCrunch, May 11

We are still far from the artificial intelligence (AI) that we see in movies–robots interacting and coexisting with humans, having the ability to think and make decisions on their own, and the most ubiquitous of all, owning and expressing emotions. With recent breakthroughs in GPU-accelerated deep learning techniques, exceptional improvements in speech and vision recognition drive some tech giants to invest seriously in developing and creating AI. These multi-million dollar acquisitions are proof that time, where AI assistants can help us in our daily lives, is certainly closer than we think! You may even already be using a passive one too: Siri. Teaching computers about human behavior is a huge task that Professor Russell, from UC Berkeley, breaks down the subfields a computer needs to learn: natural language processing, knowledge representation, automated reasoning, machine learning, computer vision and robotics. The trickiest part is learning and using context to “connect the dots” and solve problems–something that humans naturally do. Because human behavior is not always predictable and outcomes of situations depend on a variety of factors, current AI fails to calculate this in their algorithm. However, what we can currently do is utilize technology that already exists, like all the information available on the Web to teach AI’s to understand your intent and anticipate your needs before you request them.

Key takeaway: An AI personal assistant is within arm’s reach, but a robot for companionship is still in the long works–at least if you want one that’s near human. With new advancements in technology, the big question really is, when will this all happen, and when it does, will we be ready? Breakthrough technologies like smartphones and connected cars were just dreams only a decade ago, and today they are common household belongings. With the Internet at the stage it is, we can take advantage of our online data to make the next leap into artificial intelligence.

How has Facebook decided what’s trending? Leaked docs shed light – CNet, May 12

Newsworthy topic guidelines set forth by Facebook’s internal editorial team were leaked to The Guardian, showing that Facebook’s trending topics involve human influence to determine which news should show on the social-media giant’s homepage. After criticized for not including more coverage on news pieces, Facebook employed a small team to handpick news that they want their users to see. Facebook’s VP of Global Operations, Justin Osofsky, says that the social network relies on over 1,000 news sources to verify the credibility of real world events and the buzz around what is trending. Allegations that Facebook’s trending topics are biased towards their employees’ political opinions and viewpoints has caused commotion within Congress and may lead to further investigations.

Key takeaway: To know that someone has specially handpicked the news you see on your Facebook homepage is nonetheless troubling. Especially when users have all along believed that these trending top news were generated by a computer algorithm similar to Twitter’s Trending Topics. With tracking cookies and user information that’s available on Facebook, it’s interesting to see how they would use such information to drive a news influence. As much as we use social media as our only source of news, it may be best practice to seek out unbiased news feeds on credible sites on our own.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below!

Nadeen Hui

Nadeen Hui

Nadeen is the Social Media Coordinator at AppDynamics. A San Francisco native and UC Berkeley graduate, she joined the AppDynamics team in June 2015. Offline, catch her reading Science Fiction, exploring the city's hidden gems, and laughing at her own jokes!

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