Author Archives: nevis63

How Do Companies Learn Your Secrets

Description: Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 6, 2012

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The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.    READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Reflecting on this article, does ther ever come a time when you feel there is too much data out in the public sphere about you?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of this BIG DATA technology that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?

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Hoteliers Comb the Ranks of IT Workers to Gain an Edge

Description:The front desk manager or housekeeper may epitomize the hotel employee, but the hospitality industry is increasingly dependent on tech workers, vacuuming data scientists, web designers and other experts into its ranks.

Source: NYTIMES.com

Date: Feb 13, 2017

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While many college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math are attracted to the household-name tech companies in Seattle and Silicon Valley, Mr. Leidinger says he tells them, “If you’re really into technology, there’s a revolution happening in hospitality,” and as part of a smaller team, “you can drive, innovate and take ownership.”

One project for Hilton tech employees is keyless entry, which allows guests to use their phones instead of plastic key cards to unlock room doors. Of Hilton’s 4,800 hotels, 750 now offer keyless entry, and the company hopes to install the service in 2,500 hotels by the end of this year.

There are also technical job openings at the hotel level, where employees at individual properties manage social media, on-site Wi-Fi and the integration of systems like retail, parking and food sales.

 READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1.While hotel chains say that automating processes like check-in frees their employees to interact in other ways with guests, the use of technology also allows the hotel to hire fewer people.  Do you feel this is a positive thing?  Why or Why not?

 

Your auto’s data may soon be more valuable than the car itself

Description:  People have made fortunes selling cars and trucks. For many of us, a car is the second most expensive thing we’ll ever buy. But experts say the value of vehicles will likely pale in comparison to the riches from our cars’ data.

Source: CNN.com

Date: Feb 7, 2017

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“Data is the currency of the digital age,” said Jim Barbaresso, who leads Intelligent Transportation Systems at HTNB. “Vehicle data could be the beginning of a modern day gold rush.”The gold rush analogy is a common one, made by everyone from Barbaresso to the CEO of Daimler. Here’s why there’s so much potential:

Cars increasingly have sensors and cameras to track their performance and their surroundings. Vehicle sensors, for example, can better tell when an engine part is in need of replacement. A back-up camera doesn’t just help us park, it can tell how many pedestrians or vehicles are on a block.

These sensors generate data, which can be analyzed to make money. (If you doubt the way data can be turned into money, just look at the success of Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB, Tech30). They offer free services to billions, and make a fortune off the data they collect.)

 READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Why will car data be worth as or more than the actual self-driving car?

2.  Who should benefit or accrue the benefits of the data that your car collects?  Explain

Even the Masters of the Universe Are Threatened As Goldman Embraces Automation

Description:   At its height back in 2000, the U.S. cash equities trading desk at Goldman Sachs’s New York headquarters employed 600 traders, buying and selling stock on the orders of the investment bank’s large clients. Today there are just two equity traders left.

Source: MIT Technology Review

Date: Feb 7, 2017

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The experience of its New York traders is just one early example of a transformation of Goldman Sachs, and increasingly other Wall Street firms, that began with the rise in computerized trading, but has accelerated over the past five years, moving into more fields of finance that humans once dominated. Chavez, who will become chief financial officer in April, says areas of trading like currencies and even parts of business lines like investment banking are moving in the same automated direction that equities have already traveled.

Today, nearly 45 percent of trading is done electronically, according to Coalition, a U.K. firm that tracks the industry. In addition to back-office clerical workers, on Wall Street machines are replacing a lot of highly paid people, too.   READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel that that Computerized trading and AI will make the financial industry almost a employee less industry ?  Why or Why not?

2.  Do you feel that Government industries are susceptible to this sort of computerization and AI to reduces Public service employees in Canada by a significant amount?   explain

Tech’s ‘Frightful 5’ Will Dominate Digital Life for Foreseeable Future

Description:There’s a little parlor game that people in Silicon Valley like to play. Let’s call it, Who’s Losing?

Source: nytimes.com

Date: Jan 20. 2016

There are currently four undisputed rulers of the consumer technology industry: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, now a unit of a parent company called Alphabet. And there’s one more, Microsoft, whose influence once looked on the wane, but which is now rebounding.

So which of these five is losing? A year ago, it was Google that looked to be in a tough spot as its ad business appeared more vulnerable to Facebook’s rise. Now, Google is looking up, and it’s Apple, hit by rising worries about a slowdown in iPhone sales, that may be headed for some pain. Over the next couple of weeks, as these companies issue earnings that show how they finished 2015, the state of play may shift once more.   read rest of story

Questions:
1.  Does this narrative of the tech industry give you positive view of of tech development going forward ?  why or why not?

2.   “Tech people like to picture their industry as a roiling sea of disruption”    Do you agree with this statement, why or why not?

Giving the Behemoths a Leg Up on the Little Guy

Description: Every year, the internet gets a little less fair. The corporations that run it get a little bigger, their power grows more concentrated, and a bit of their idealism gives way to ruthless pragmatism.

Source: nytimes.com

Date:May 3. 2017

This column is nominally about network neutrality, the often sleep-inducing debate about the rules that broadband companies like Comcast and AT&T must follow when managing their networks. But really, this is a story about ballooning corporate power.

At the moment, the internet isn’t in a good place. The Frightful FiveAmazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — control nearly everything of value in the digital world, including operating systems, app stores, browsers, cloud storage infrastructure, and oceans of data from which to spin new products. A handful of others — Comcast, AT&T, Verizon — control the wired and wireless connections through which all your data flows. People used to talk about the internet as a wonderland for innovative upstarts, but lately the upstarts keep getting clobbered. Today the internet is gigantic corporations, all the way down.  read rest of story

Questions:
1.  What is Network Neutrality?

2.  What are the pros and cons of network neutrality?

How to Protect Your Privacy as More Apps Harvest Your Data

Description: In the real world, your personal life is a private space. But in tech, your personal data is a ripe resource for businesses to harvest in their own interests.

Source: nytimes.com

Date:May 1. 2017

When it comes to data collection, services like Unroll.me and Uber are small fry compared with internet giants like Google and Facebook, which have a wealth of information about people. And then there are large data brokers like Acxiom, CoreLogic, Datalogix and ID Analytics, which collect, analyze and sell billions of details about consumers’ online activities for marketing purposes.

For consumers, giving up some data has become part of the trade-off of receiving compelling, personalized services. But that doesn’t mean you have to be caught by surprise. Here are some tips from privacy experts on protecting yourself from tricky data collection.  read rest of story

Questions:
1.  Should we, as consumers have to give up personalized information to use a digital service?  Why or why not?

2.  How does one make sure that their personal data is being protected and is secure?