It's been yet another week in which the tech industry has chosen to throw disruption our way. Top stories this week included our report on US airline JetBlue opting for a Performtiv solution to help it modernize its learning measurement and analytics toolset, while in the UK, Pendo threw caution to the wind to select London as its European base, in spite of the political and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Meanwhile, data security was in the air as Google added a new module to its TensorFlow machine-learning framework to make it easier for AI developers to ensure data privacy with just a simple line of code and IBM launched a new blockchain security testing service. Additionally, it looks like Amazon is planning to open a new range of brick and mortar grocery stores across the US – as if total online retail domination wasn't enough for this tech colossus.
Below, we highlight some of our other favorite stories, interviews and analysis from across our Channels.
Female tech leaders out-earn men for the first time
In incredibly progressive news coming out just in time for International Women's Day, female technology leaders are now out-earning their male counterparts for the first time ever, according to recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson. The findings reflect a "strong demand" for female leaders to enhance gender representation in tech companies in order to remain competitive.
"Having a team with different backgrounds and different experiences that can provide different opinions allows you to be creative in solving problems," Sash Sunkara, co-founder of Rackware and female leader told us in an exclusive interview. "To really compete against the bigger players, you need to be creative, think outside the box and solve problems in a different way – a diverse workforce allows you to do that."
DATAx brings real-world data science to Singapore
Our first ever DATAx festival in Singapore – and the second full instalment of our flagship event – opened its doors early this week. More than 500 attendees from all over APAC and beyond descended upon the festival to discuss the biggest challenges the industry faces and put the world of data to rights, with leaders from Visa, IBM, Frost & Sullivan, Oracle and Lazada in attendance.
Speaking on the DATAx Leadership and Innovation stage during the first morning session, Dr. Meri Rosich, CDO and head of data science at Visa, spoke about today's biggest challenges in respect to the scale of data, which she stated were: "Explainability and ensuring there isn't human bias."
Dr. Rosich also explained to delegates that when hiring, she "looks for people who come from different backgrounds such as airlines, mobile and gaming" as the payments giant looks to address some of the data talent and knowledge issues it faces.
Three ways AI is changing healthcare forever
Cutting-edge AI technology is empowering healthcare businesses to run more efficiently and better serve patients. With the market value expected to explode to value an eyewatering $34bn by 2025, machines are in the background radically overhauling the industry even as this editor types these words out. We look at three of the (many) ways AI is molding healthcare into a very different beast than it is today.
Reducing diagnostic errors: "Research has found that combining human care with automated tools can raise the diagnostic rate up to 97% or higher. While even the most well-trained physician can make an error, AI systems are designed to empower doctors to provide a higher level of care."
Huawei prepares law suit against the US
Huawei has not had the best few months in the tabloids, with countries all over the world including Germany, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Japan taking measures to limit its presence. Its biggest enemy, however, appears to have been the US who has not only limited the use of its equipment in its country but also insisted its allies do the same. This isn't something the Chinese telecommunications giant will take lying down, however, as this week it has been revealed the company is preparing a law suit against the US.
Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei, recently told the BBC: "There's no way the US can crush us. The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit."
Gismart launches investment program for indie developers
Diversity is key to innovation, so without small, indie developers our entertainment industry would look a lot less interesting. That's why Gismart, an independent developer and publisher of music-based apps and games, this week announced the launch of an investment program for mobile app startups.
Gismart CEO and co-founder Dmitri Lipnitsky remarked: "Gismart is looking to source and invest in world-class talent and dedicated mobile app development teams. The success of a product, from early development through to release and beyond, is dependent on the professionalism, hard work and competence of the teams involved."
DATAx presents: Enhancing gamer experience through data
With 2.3 billion gamers across the globe generating an enormous amount of data every single minute of every single day, gaming is turning into a particularly data-heavy art. Ahead of his presentation at the Gaming Analytics Summit at DATAx San Francisco, we sat down with Tian Ding, senior data scientist at Blizzard Entertainment, to talk about the world of gaming and the influence data has had and will continue to have over it.
"Most game balance problems will be solved with the aid of data, in particular through advanced mathematics and machine learning models," says Ding. "AI techniques will also be used widely – it could help to reduce game development time significantly."
OpenAI's MMO platform pits AI players against one another
Speaking of AI in gaming, San-Francisco based nonprofit AI research organization OpenAI has launched an RPG-like game, Neural MMO, where AI agents spawn randomly and must fight for survival to acquire resources and fend off attacks from other AI players.
"The game genre of massively multiplayer online games simulates a large ecosystem of a variable number of players competing in persistent and extensive environments," OpenAI wrote in a blog post announcing the release of the platform. "The inclusion of many agents and species leads to better exploration, divergent niche formation and greater overall competence."
So basically, OpenAI 'rewarded' agents with a longer lifespan when they did well in the game, (i.e., got rid of the, also AI, competition to keep themselves alive the longest). This is a realization that has left this editorial team slightly concerned we might ourselves be AI players on some incredibly complex RPG map… gulp.