Big Data Analytics (BDA) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are some of the most exciting and rapidly-changing phenomena in the world. These two fields are closely connected, since IoT devices generate (and stream) lots of data which typically requires BDA to create actionable insights and, in many cases, control these devices. Let’s take a look at what interesting happened in these two areas last week.
When Machines Attack
Last week, I wrote about the dangers of using hacked IoT devices to attack other organizations, governments, or individuals. BBC has just reported what they call “one of the biggest ever web attacks – in which more than one terabit of data was fired at a website to knock it offline.”
Apparently, a web hosting company called OVH has been attacked by a botnet (zombie army) of 145,607 (!) hacked devices (such as webcams), creating a distributed denial of a service attack with data rate exceeding 1.5 Tbps.
Cisco + Salesforce Alliance
Two companies just announced a strategic alliance to develop and market solutions that join Cisco’s collaboration, IoT, and contact center platforms with Salesforce Sales Cloud, IoT Cloud, and Service Cloud. Cisco Jasper and the Salesforce IoT Cloud will also be integrated. Cisco Jasper provides real-time visibility into launching, managing, and monetizing IoT devices, while Salesforce’s IoT Cloud connects billions of IoT events with Salesforce. For example, from now on, a fleet of connected trucks with IoT devices managed by Cisco Jasper can stream data to the Salesforce IoT Cloud for further processing, analytics, and decision-making.
Speaking more of IoT analytics, earlier this year, Cisco and IBM joined forces to bring Watson IoT analytics to Cisco’s “edge analytics,” used for those devices that operate at the edge of the computer network, where bandwidth might be expensive or unreliable.
Preventing the Birth of Skynet
Something I feel has been needed for a while… A new organization called the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society will be focusing on making future AI behave. The companies involved include Google and its subsidiary DeepMind, as well as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM. The partnership is founded on principles, such as the idea that AI should benefit as many people as possible, that the public should be involved in its development, that research should be conducted in an open way, and that AI systems should be able to explain their reasoning (which even humans often struggle with!).
The idea of having an advanced AI appeals to me very much. But I actually hope this global effort will ultimately fail. Why? Because AI could help us progress and succeed as a species. Make our life safer, easier, better. Save and extend our lives. Help us travel to space and to the bottom of the ocean. Or, it could wipe us out and replace us. Which scenario is more likely? This is a subject for a different and complex conversation… I just don’t think that we − as a species − should take this risk.
Money for the Best Algorithm
Amazon has just announced a new $2.5 million prize to build software that will allow Alexa, its voice-controlled assistant, to hold long and convincing conversations, which is still a big issue for the bots. Participants will receive $100,000 and a full archive of the Washington Post (which is owned by Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos), as well as other data sets, to train their algorithms to learn about language. The best (and the most talkative!) bot will be awarded $500,000. And the bot that can chat for 20 minutes straight will get $1 million.
In the meantime, Google has released 8 million labelled YouTube videos for use as training data for anyone who wants to work on “video understanding research.” Google believes that this dataset will enable “researchers and students without access to big data or big machines to do their research at previously unprecedented scale.”
Clearly, for the data science nerds, there are plenty of opportunities today to have fun, make money, and -−possibly− get a new job with one of the leading companies.
New GPU Cloud from Amazon
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has just unveiled a new GPU-powered cloud computing service for artificial intelligence, seismic analysis, molecular modeling, genomics, and other applications that need vast amounts of parallel processing power. This should allow customers to build and deploy compute-intensive applications using the CUDA parallel computing platform or the OpenCL framework.
Per NVIDIA, “A simple way to understand the difference between a GPU and a CPU is to compare how they process tasks. A CPU consists of a few fast cores optimized for sequential processing while a GPU has a massively parallel architecture consisting of thousands of smaller, more efficient cores designed for handling multiple tasks simultaneously.” GPUs are most suited to compute-intensive operations such as video processing, math modeling, and physics simulations.
Nothing but numbers
· A new “record” was set last week for the DDoS attack, with data rates exceeding 1.5 Tbps