Upcoming Windows 10 update reduces spying, but Microsoft is still mum on which data it specifically collects

Privacy-2-1024x812

There’s some good news for privacy-minded individuals who haven’t been fond of Microsoft’s data collection policy with Windows 10. When the upcoming Creators Update drops this spring, it will overhaul Microsoft’s data collection policies. Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, has published a blog post with a list of the changes Microsoft will be making.

First, Microsoft has launched a new web-based privacy dashboard with the goal of giving people an easy, one-stop location for controlling how much data Microsoft collects. Your privacy dashboard has sections for Browse, Search, Location, and Cortana’s Notebook, each covering a different category of data MS might have received from your hardware. Personally, I keep the Digital Assistant side of Cortana permanently deactivated and already set telemetry to minimal, but if you haven’t taken those steps you can adjust how much data Microsoft keeps from this page.

Second, Microsoft is condensing its telemetry options. Currently, there are four options — Security, Basic, Enhanced, and Full. Most consumers only have access to three of these settings — Basic, Enhanced, and Full. The fourth, security, is reserved for Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education. Here’s how Microsoft describes each category:

Security: Information that’s required to help keep Windows, Windows Server, and System Center secure, including data about the Connected User Experience and Telemetry component settings, the Malicious Software Removal Tool, and Windows Defender.

Basic: Basic device info, including: quality-related data, app compatibility, app usage data, and data from the Security level.

Enhanced: Additional insights, including: how Windows, Windows Server, System Center, and apps are used, how they perform, advanced reliability data, and data from both the Basic and the Security levels.

Full: All data necessary to identify and help to fix problems, plus data from the Security, Basic, and Enhanced levels.

That’s the old system. Going forward, Microsoft is collapsing the number of telemetry levels to two. Here’s how Myerson describes the new “Basic” level:

[We’ve] further reduced the data collected at the Basic level. This includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows. We use this data to help keep Windows and apps secure, up-to-date, and running properly when you let Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also includes basic error reporting back to Microsoft.

Windows 10 will also include an enhanced privacy section that will show during start-up and offer much better granularity over privacy settings. Currently, many of these controls are buried in various menus that you have to manually configure after installing the operating system.

It’s nice that Microsoft is cutting back on telemetry collection at the basic level. The problem is, as Stephen J Vaughn-Nichols writes, Microsoft is still collecting a creepy amount of information on “Full,” and it still defaults to sharing all this information with Cortana — which means Microsoft has data files on people it can be compelled to turn over by a warrant from an organization like the NSA or FBI. Given the recent expansion of the NSA’s powers, this information can now be shared with a variety of other agencies without filtering it first. And while Microsoft’s business model doesn’t directly depend on scraping and selling customer data the way Google does, the company is still gathering an unspecified amount of information. Full telemetry, for example, may “unintentionally include parts of a document you were using when a problem occurred.” Vaughn-Nichols isn’t thrilled about that idea, and neither am I.

The problem with Microsoft’s disclosure is it mostly doesn’t disclose. Even basic telemetry is described as “includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows.” Okay. But what does that mean?

I’m glad to see Microsoft taking steps towards restoring user privacy, but these are small steps that only modify policies around the edges. Until the company actually and meaningfully discloses what telemetry is collected under Basic settings and precisely what Full settings do and don’t send in the way of personally identifying information, the company isn’t explaining anything so much as it’s using vague terms and PR in place of a disclosure policy.

As I noted above, I’d recommend turning Cortana (the assistant) off. If you don’t want to do that, you should regularly review the information MS has collected about you and delete any items you don’t want to part of the company’s permanent record.

 

 

[Source:- Extremetech]

Attackers start wiping data from CouchDB and Hadoop databases

Data-wiping attacks have hit exposed Hadoop and CouchDB databases.

It was only a matter of time until ransomware groups that wiped data from thousands of MongoDB databases and Elasticsearch clusters started targeting other data storage technologies. Researchers are now observing similar destructive attacks hitting openly accessible Hadoop and CouchDB deployments.

Security researchers Victor Gevers and Niall Merrigan, who monitored the MongoDB and Elasticsearch attacks so far, have also started keeping track of the new Hadoop and CouchDB victims. The two have put together spreadsheets on Google Docs where they document the different attack signatures and messages left behind after data gets wiped from databases.

In the case of Hadoop, a framework used for distributed storage and processing of large data sets, the attacks observed so far can be described as vandalism.

That’s because the attackers don’t ask for payments to be made in exchange for returning the deleted data. Instead, their message instructs the Hadoop administrators to secure their deployments in the future.

According to Merrigan’s latest count, 126 Hadoop instances have been wiped so far. The number of victims is likely to increase because there are thousands of Hadoop deployments accessible from the internet — although it’s hard to say how many are vulnerable.

The attacks against MongoDB and Elasticsearch followed a similar pattern. The number of MongoDB victims jumped from hundreds to thousands in a matter of hours and to tens of thousands within a week. The latest count puts the number of wiped MongoDB databases at more than 34,000 and that of deleted Elasticsearch clusters at more than 4,600.

A group called Kraken0, responsible for most of the ransomware attacks against databases, is trying to sell its attack toolkit and a list of vulnerable MongoDB and Elasticsearch installations for the equivalent of US$500 in bitcoins.

The number of wiped CouchDB databases is also growing rapidly, reaching more than 400 so far. CouchDB is a NoSQL-style database platform similar to MongoDB.

Unlike the Hadoop vandalism, the CouchDB attacks are accompanied by ransom messages, with attackers asking for 0.1 bitcoins (around $100) to return the data. Victims are advised against paying because, in many of the MongoDB attacks, there was no evidence that attackers had actually copied the data before deleting it.

Researchers from Fidelis Cybersecurity have also observed the Hadoop attacks and have published a blog post with more details and recommendations on securing such deployments.

The destructive attacks against online database storage systems are not likely to stop soon because there are other technologies that have not yet been targeted and that might be similarly misconfigured and left unprotected on the internet by users.

 

 

[Source:- JW]

91% off Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: SQL Server Certification Bundle – Deal Alert

sql course

Whether or not you’ve dabbled with queries or databases, earning a MCSA certification will attract the eyes and wallets of company execs across the states and beyond. SQL is a go-to software for implementing data warehouses, as well as efficiently managing massive amounts of data. In this bundle, currently discounted 91%, you’ll access three courses:

  • Microsoft 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Microsoft 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases
  • Microsoft 70-463: Implementing A Data Warehouse With Microsoft SQL Server 2012

This $438 course bundle is available, for a limited time, for just $35.99. Learn more about this bundle, the courses included, the instructor, and how to purchase.

 

 

[Source:- Infoworld]

 

What’s on your Start Screen, Zac Bowden?

Image result for What's on your Start Screen, Zac Bowden?

It’s been a little while since we last did a “What’s on your Start Screen?”, and that’s because so much has been changing within the world of Windows phone over the last couple of years. With the introduction of Windows 10 Mobile, the redesign of several Windows phone apps, and the slow transition from several different versions of Windows to one single Windows that works across every device, we just haven’t found the time!

A lot of Windows Phone users have since left the platform since our last Start Screen article, and that’s unfortunate. However, there’s still a few of us left using Windows phones as our daily drivers, and I thought it’d be a good idea to share some of the apps I’m using on the lead up to 2017.

I don’t have many apps pinned, and that’s simply because I don’t like scrolling on my Start Screen. I’m a huge user of live tiles, and I think live tiles should be on screen at all times so I can see what information they have to offer. Still, I try to make good use of my screen real estate.

My Apps

  • Messaging: I’m super big on SMS. I know that’s kind of odd leading into 2017, but I much prefer it over any form of instant messenger such as WhatsApp or Skype. If I can, I’ll always opt to send an SMS if trying to contact someone. Everybody has SMS.
  • Phone: The standard built-in Phone app. I don’t make calls all that often, but I feel like I need to have this app pinned on my Start Screen just in case I am in a situation in which I do need to make a call.
  • Outlook Calendar: I like being able to see the date and upcoming appointments on my Start Screen, and the Calendar app does just that. Rarely do I open the Calendar app, this is definitely one of those situations in which the live tile does everything I need it to do.
  • Microsoft Edge: Edge is the best way to browse the web on a Windows 10 Mobile device, so I’m constantly using it to view websites, read news, watch videos and more. It syncs favorites across Windows 10 devices, and is lightweight and easy to use.
  • Windows Store: The Windows Store is home to all purchasable Content in the Windows ecosystem. Whether it be apps, games, music or movies/TV, I’m always in the Store looking for something new to spend my money on. I often find a movie, or a game that catches my interest.
  • Twitter: When it comes to Twitter, I opt for the official Twitter app from Twitter themselves. Yes, I know there are far better Twitter clients out there built by third parties, but I like the simplicity of the official app. It’s universal and works across PC and Phone, and what’s more, even though there are a plethora of bugs and missing features, it gets the job done.
  • Cortana: I don’t actually use Cortana all that much, but I have it pinned just in case I want to mess with a setting or two with syncing notifications and whatnot. I like the news ticker that pops up on the live tile, and will sometimes open it up to check on reminders and adjust things.
  • Outlook Mail: The built-in Mail app is my choice of email client on Windows 10 Mobile. It does everything I need, from a reliable live tile all the way down to the simplicity of the app. I can add my Outlook, Google, Yahoo and other email accounts with ease, and configure notification popups from specific accounts if needed.
  • GroupMe: GroupMe is one of the best group messaging apps available on Windows 10 Mobile, and I use it frequently with some of the Windows Central team. It’s great for team collaboration, goofing around, and just sharing things for later.
  • WhatsApp Beta: Although I’m big on SMS, I do have a need for WhatsApp too. A lot of my personal friends would rather be contacted through WhatsApp, so that’s what I use when contacting them. The WhatsApp Beta app, although still a Windows Phone 8.1 app, is coming along quite nicely being updated constantly with new features and changes.
  • Slack: Slack is the main communication platform we use here at Mobile Nations. It’s how I message the team, and how the team message me. It’s still in beta, but the app is feature-filled enough to be usable as one of my “must-have” apps on my phone.
  • Groove Music: Groove is the best music streaming service available on Windows 10 Mobile. Sure, there’s Pandora and Spotify, but those apps aren’t all that great compared to Groove, which is arguable the best app available on Windows 10 right now. I’m a subscriber to Groove music, and most of the music I’d want to listen to is ready to stream from the service.
  • Windows Central: Of course, how could I not have this one pinned to my Start Screen? I love the Windows Central app, it’s easy to use and is always updated with the latest articles direct from our feed. The live tile is super customizable too!
  • Weather: I live in the United Kingdom, so I need to know whether the weather outside is grey and raining. It usually is, but sometimes that live tile shows a bit of sunshine, and that makes me smile.
  • Instagram: Not a huge user of Instagram, I generally only use it when procrastinating. Maybe one day I’ll be Instagram-famous.
  • Trello Central: We use Trello for article planning and scheduling here at Mobile Nations, so it makes sense for me to have an app on my phone that allows me to jump in there and check on things. It’s not super feature-filled, being a 3rd-party app, but it gets the job done.
  • Uber: As a kid, I always wanted own my own car so I could drive wherever I needed, whenever I needed to. In 2016 however, all I need is Uber. Who needs to drive these days when you can get someone else to drive for you?!

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

An app to crack the teen exercise code

An app to crack the teen exercise code

Pokémon GO has motivated its players to walk 2.8 billion miles. Now, a new mobile game from UVM researchers aims to encourage teens to exercise with similar virtual rewards.

The game, called “Camp Conquer,” is the brainchild of co-principal investigators Lizzy Pope, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, and Bernice Garnett, assistant professor of education in the College of Education and Social Services, both of the University of Vermont. The project is one of the first in the area of gamification and obesity, and will test launch with 100 Burlington High School students this month.

Here’s how it works: Real-world physical activity, tracked by a Fitbit, translates into immediate rewards in the game, a capture-the-flag-style water balloon battle with fun, summer camp flair. Every step a player takes in the real world improves their strength, speed, and accuracy in the game. “For every hundred steps, you also get currency in the game to buy items like a special water balloon launcher or new sneakers for your avatar,” says Pope.

Helping Schools Meet Mandates

In 2014, Vermont established a requirement for students to get 30 minutes of physical activity during the school day (in addition to P.E. classes), a mark Pope says schools are struggling to hit. And it’s not just Vermont; according to the CDC, only 27 percent of high school students nationwide hit recommended activity goals, and 34 percent of US teens are overweight or obese.

Camp Conquer is a promising solution. The idea struck after Pope and Garnett visited Burlington High School, where they saw students playing lots of games on school-provided Chromebook laptops. Pope and Garnett approached Kerry Swift in UVM’s Office of Technology Commercialization for help. “I thought, if we’re going to make a game, it’s going to be legit,” says Pope.

Where Public Meets Private

The team is working with GameTheory, a local design studio whose mission is to create games that drive change. Pope says forming these types of UVM/private business partnerships to create technology that can be commercialized is the whole point of UVMVentures Funds, which partially support this project.

A key result of this public/private partnership, and of the cross-departmental collaboration between Pope and Garnett, was a methodology shift. Pope says it’s less common for health behavior researchers to involve their target demographic in “intervention design.” But Garnett, who has experience in community-based participatory research, and GameTheory, which commonly utilizes customer research, helped shift this. “Putting the experience of Bernice and GameTheory together, we came up with student focus groups to determine when they’re active, why they’re not, and what types of games they like to play,” says Pope. She believes this student input has Camp Conquer poised for success. “It gave us a lot of good insight, and created game champions.”

What does success look like? Pope says in her eyes, “it’s all about exciting kids to move more.” But another important aspect is the eventual commercialization of the app. “It could be widely disseminated at a very low cost. You could imagine a whole school district adopting the app,” says Pope. She expects that if the January test shows promise, GameTheory will take the game forward into the marketplace, and continue to update and improve it. “There’s definitely potential,” says Pope.

[Source:- Phys.org]

Google open-sources test suite to find crypto bugs

Google open-sources test suite to find crypto bugs

Working with cryptographic libraries is hard, and a single implementation mistake can result in serious security problems. To help developers check their code for implementation errors and find weaknesses in cryptographic software libraries, Google has released a test suite as part of Project Wycheproof.

“In cryptography, subtle mistakes can have catastrophic consequences, and mistakes in open source cryptographic software libraries repeat too often and remain undiscovered for too long,” Google security engineers Daniel Bleichenbacher and Thai Duong, wrote in a post announcing the project on the Google Security blog.

Named after Australia’s Mount Wycheproof, the world’s smallest mountain, Wycheproof provides developers with a collection of unit tests that detect known weaknesses in cryptographic algorithms and check for expected behaviors. The first set of tests is written in Java because Java has a common cryptographic interface and can be used to test multiple providers.

“We recognize that software engineers fix and prevent bugs with unit testing, and we found that many cryptographic issues can be resolved by the same means,” Bleichenbacker and Duong wrote.

The suite can be used to test such cryptographic algorithms as RSA, elliptic curve cryptography, and authenticated encryption, among others. The project also has ready-to-use tools to check Java Cryptography Architecture providers, such as Bouncy Castle and the default providers in OpenJDK. The engineers said they are converting the tests into sets of test vectors to simplify the process of porting them to other languages.

The tests in this release are low-level and should not be used directly, but they still can be applied for testing the algorithms against publicly known attacks, the engineers said. For example, developers can use Wycheproof to verify whether algorithms are vulnerable to invalid curve attacks or biased nonces in digital signature schemes.

So far the project has been used to run more than 80 test cases and has identified 40-plus vulnerabilities, including one issue where the private key of DSA and ECDHC algorithms could be recovered under specific circumstances. The weakness in the algorithm was present because libraries were not checking the elliptic curve points they received from outside sources.

“Encodings of public keys typically contain the curve for the public key point. If such an encoding is used in the key exchange, then it is important to check that the public and secret key used to compute the shared ECDH secret are using the same curve. Some libraries fail to do this check,” according to the available documentation.

Cryptographic libraries can be quite difficult to implement, and attackers frequently look for weak cryptographic implementations rather than trying to break the actual mathematics underlying the encryption. With Wycheproof, developers and users can check their libraries against a large number of known attacks without having to dig through academic papers to find out what kind of attacks they need to worry about.

The engineers looked through public cryptographic literature and implemented known attacks to build the test suite. However, developers should not consider the suite to be comprehensive or able to detect all weaknesses, because new weaknesses are always being discovered and disclosed.

“Project Wycheproof is by no means complete. Passing the tests does not imply that the library is secure, it just means that it is not vulnerable to the attacks that Project Wycheproof tries to detect,” the engineers wrote.

Wycheproof comes two weeks after Google released a fuzzer to help developers discover programming errors in open source software. Like OSS-Fuzz, all the code for Wycheproof is available on GitHub. OSS-Fuzz is still in beta, but it has already worked through 4 trillion test cases and uncovered 150 bugs in open source projects since it was publicly announced.

 

 

[Source:- JW]

Microsoft rolls out SQL Server 2016 with a special deal to woo Oracle customers

Microsoft has released SQL Server 2016.

The next version of Microsoft’s SQL Server relational database management system is now available, and along with it comes a special offer designed specifically to woo Oracle customers.

Until the end of this month, Oracle users can migrate their databases to SQL Server 2016 and receive the necessary licenses for free with a subscription to Microsoft’s Software Assurance maintenance program.

Microsoft announced the June 1 release date for SQL Server 2016 early last month. Among the more notable enhancements it brings are updateable, in-memory column stores and advanced analytics. As a result, applications can now deploy sophisticated analytics and machine learning models within the database at performance levels as much as 100 times faster than what they’d be outside it, Microsoft said.

The software’s new Always Encrypted feature helps protect data at rest and in memory, while Stretch Database aims to reduce storage costs while keeping data available for querying in Microsoft’s Azure cloud. A new Polybase tool allows you to run queries on external data in Hadoop or Azure blob storage.

Also included are JSON support, “significantly faster” geospatial query support, a feature called Temporal Tables for “traveling back in time” and a Query Store for ensuring performance consistency.

SQL Server 2016 features were first released in Microsoft Azure and stress-tested through more than 1.7 million Azure SQL DB databases. The software comes in Enterprise and Standard editions along with free Developer and Express versions.

Support for SQL Server 2005 ended in April.

Though Wednesday’s announcement didn’t mention it, Microsoft previously said it’s planning to bring SQL Server to Linux. That version is now due to be released in the middle of next year, Microsoft said.

 

[Source:- Infoworld]

 

The SIM-unlocked Alcatel IDOL 4S quietly goes on sale through the Microsoft Store

Image result for The SIM-unlocked Alcatel IDOL 4S quietly goes on sale through the Microsoft Store

Looks like speculation that Alcatel’s Idol 4S running Windows 10 Mobile going carrier-unlocked (GSM) after a T-Mobile exclusivity ended were true. As spotted on MSPU Microsoft has begun to make the rather powerful – and impressive – Windows 10 Mobile phone available for purchase in the US through their store.

Asking price is still the same $470, which includes the VR goggle package and 21MP rear camera.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Specs

CPU Snapdragon 820 | Quad Core CPU @2.15 GHz
Display 5.5-inch FHD AMOLED
Dragontrail 2.5D Glass
Memory 64GB ROM
4GB RAM
microSD
Camera 21 MP rear camera
8 MP front-facing camera
Battery 3,000 mAh
Quick Charge 3.0
420Hrs Standby
15Hrs Talk
Continuum Yes
VR Yes
Windows Hello Yes (Fingerprint)
Audio Dual speakers with Hi-Fi surround sound
Dimensions 153.9 x 75.4 x 6.99 mm
Weight 152g
HD Voice Yes
VoLTE Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Calling 1.0
Bluetooth BT 4.1
A2DP, OPP, HFP, AVRCP, PBAP

The rest of the specifications and color (‘Halo Gold’) are all the same as well. In fact, it’s likely the same device as our review unit, which was unlocked as well and worked brilliantly on AT&T with no issue.

Microsoft notes that the unlocked version should work on AT&T, T-Mobile, H20, Straight Talk, Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, and select prepaid carriers.

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

 

Software system labels coral reef images in record time

Computer scientists at the University of California San Diego have released a new version of a software system that processes images from the world’s coral reefs anywhere between 10 to 100 times faster than processing the data by hand.

This is possible because the new version of the system, dubbed CoralNet Beta, includes deep learning technology, which uses vast networks of artificial neurons to learn to interpret image content and to process data.

CoralNet Beta cuts down the time needed to go through a typical 1200-image diver survey of the ocean’s floor from 10 weeks to just one week—with the same amount of accuracy. Coral ecologists and government organizations, such as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, also use CoralNet to automatically process images from autonomous underwater vehicles. The system allows researchers to label different types of coral and whether they’ve been bleached, different types of invertebrates, different types of algae—and more. In all, over 2200 labels are available on the site.

“This will allow researchers to better understand the changes and degradation happening in coral reefs,” said David Kriegman, a computer science professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego and one of the project’s advisers.

The Beta version of the system runs on a deep neural network with more than 147 million neural connections. “We expect users to see a very significant improvement in automated annotation performance compared to the previous version, allowing more images to be annotated quicker—meaning more time for field deployment and higher-level data analysis,” said Oscar Beijbom, a UC San Diego Ph.D. alumnus and the project’s manager and founder of CoralNet.

He created CoralNet Alpha in 2012 to help label images gathered by oceanographers around the world. Since then, more than 500 users, from research groups, to nonprofits, to government organizations, have uploaded more than 350,000 survey images to the system. Researchers used CoralNet Alpha to label more than five million data points across these images using a tool to label random points within an image designed by UC San Diego alumnus Stephen Chen, the project’s lead developer.

“Over time, news of the site spread by word of mouth, and suddenly it was used all over the world,” said Beijbom.

Other updates in the Beta version include an improved user interface, web security and scalable hosting at Amazon Web Services.

[Source:- Phys.org]

AI tools came out of the lab in 2016

Roboy angry robot

You shouldn’t anthropomorphize computers: They don’t like it.

That joke is at least as old as Deep Blue’s 1997 victory over then world chess champion Garry Kasparov, but even with the great strides made in the field of artificial intelligence over that time, we’re still not much closer to having to worry about computers’ feelings.

Computers can analyze the sentiments we express in social media, and project expressions on the face of robots to make us believe they are happy or angry, but no one seriously believes, yet, that they “have” feelings, that they can experience them.

Other areas of AI, on the other hand, have seen some impressive advances in both hardware and software in just the last 12 months.

Deep Blue was a world-class chess opponent — and also one that didn’t gloat when it won, or go off in a huff if it lost.

Until this year, though, computers were no match for a human at another board game, Go. That all changed in March when AlphaGo, developed by Google subsidiary DeepMind, beat Lee Sedol, then the world’s strongest Go player, 4-1 in a five-match tournament.

AlphaGo’s secret weapon was a technique called reinforcement learning, where a program figures out for itself which actions bring it closer to its goal, and reinforces those behaviors, without the need to be taught by a person which steps are correct. That meant that it could play repeatedly against itself and gradually learn which strategies fared better.

Reinforcement learning techniques have been around for decades, too, but it’s only recently that computers have had sufficient processing power (to test each possible path in turn) and memory (to remember which steps led to the goal) to play a high-level game of Go at a competitive speed.

Better performing hardware has moved AI forward in other ways too.

In May, Google revealed its TPU (Tensor Processing Unit), a hardware accelerator for its TensorFlow deep learning algorithm. The ASICs (application-specific integrated circuit) can execute the types of calculations used in machine learning much faster and using less power than even GPUs, and Google has installed several thousand of them in its server racks in the slots previously reserved for hard drives.

The TPU, it turns out, was one of the things that made AlphaGo so fast, but Google has also used the chip to accelerate mapping and navigation functions in Street View and to improve search results with a new AI tool called RankBrain.

Google is keeping its TPU to itself for now, but others are releasing hardware tuned for AI applications. Microsoft, for example, has equipped some of its Azure servers with FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) to accelerate certain machine learning functions, while IBM is targeting similar applications with a range of PowerAI servers that use custom hardware to link its Power CPUs with Nvidia GPUs.

For businesses that want to deploy cutting-edge AI technologies without developing everything from scratch themselves, easy access to high-performance hardware is a start, but not enough. Cloud operators recognize that, and are also offering AI software as a service. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure have both added machine learning APIs, while IBM is building a business around cloud access to its Watson AI.

The fact that these hardware and software tools are cloud-based will help AI systems in other ways too.

Being able to store and process enormous volumes of data is only useful to the AI that has access to vast quantities of data from which to learn — data such as that collected and delivered by cloud services, for example, whether its information about the weather, mail order deliveries, requests for rides or peoples’ tweets.

Access to all that raw data, rather than the minute subset, processed and labelled by human trainers, that was available to previous generations of AIs, is one of the biggest factors transforming AI research today, according to a Stanford University study of the next 100 years in AI.

And while having computers watch everything we do, online and off, in order to learn how to work with us might seem creepy, it’s really only in our minds. The computers don’t feel anything. Yet.

 

[Source:- JW]