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How Technology Led Me to the Best Job in the World

There are many days when I’m convinced I have the best job in the world. That feeling is compounded in moments when I’m meeting with our team of engineers and creatives, reviewing game storyboards, character designs, and what’s next for the Master Chief, knowing millions of dedicated fans are eagerly awaiting the release of our next Halo game. Or I’ll be sitting with a team of creatives, reviewing scripts for our upcoming Showtime television series, and I’ll take a step back and think to myself, “this is the most phenomenal job! How did I get here?”

I’m Bonnie Ross and I’m incredibly honored to lead of one of the most iconic and beloved video game franchises in the world, in Halo.  Our team at 343 Industries tells epic sci-fi stories, we build incredible worlds and I’ve enjoyed a more of a creative career than I ever thought possible: one where technology empowers art. I lead the most amazingly talented team of engineers, computer programmers, artists, and storytellers – all working together to bring the world of Halo to millions of passionate fans globally. Halo is a universe worthy of devotion, a universe in which you can tell thousands of stories – and technology brings all this magic vividly to life.

Throughout middle school, high school and college, my dad encouraged me to think about pursuing engineering and science as a career.  In high school, he pushed me to take the advanced math and science classes, even though I didn’t understand the “why.”  I couldn’t see the opportunities that lie ahead.  I needed that push.  I needed those words of encouragement.  I couldn’t be more thankful that my dad gave me that support.

When I graduated from college, I managed to land a job with Microsoft working on operating systems. While it was an amazing job – especially for someone fresh out of college – I don’t think I would have stayed at Microsoft or in tech, if I didn’t eventually find my passion.  At that time, I wasn’t able to connect the dots and see why technology mattered to me.  Luckily, four years after I started at Microsoft, I found video games.  For me, video games made that connection to what I could do with technology…be creative. Gaming is this amazing merging of art and technology.  Gaming is technology empowering art, creativity, and storytelling.  Gaming opened my eyes to the extraordinary things I could achieve with technology. 

For me, pursuing and remaining in technology, as a career, wasn’t something I would have done without a little help. That’s why I’ve made it my mission to inspire and encourage girls and nurture other women to pursue careers in computer science and technology. There is such a need for talent – girls and boys – in technical fields, particularly in the United States.

Girls start losing interest in STEM in middle school:

  •  Studies show that girls lose interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and computer science as time goes on. In middle school, 31% of girls believe that jobs requiring coding and programming are “not for them.” In high school, that percentage jumps up to 40%. By the time they’re in college, 58% of girls count themselves out of these jobs.

And yet the opportunities for girls and women have never been greater:

  •  In the next two years, there will be an estimated 1.4M jobs in the US that require some form of technical experience or degree. Based on the number of students enrolled in technology and engineering degrees today, it’s predicted we will only be able to fill 400,000 of these jobs in the US. Such a profound worker shortage carries global implications for the US and our economy.
  •  Research shows a diverse workforce brings with it diverse perspectives that improve everything from better product development to better teams to better profits. We need women engineers. And it’s not just a nice thing, it can change everything. Anatomically female crash test dummies, with associated differences in physique and physics, weren’t used until 2011 and women were less safe for it. A 2011 University of Virginia study found that women had a 47% higher change of serious injuries compared to men and a 71% higher chance of a moderate injury.
  •  STEM jobs tend to be higher paid. The lack of women going into technology or engineering or science is contributing to the salary gap between men and women. And here’s the not-so-secret secret: If you have a degree in tech, companies around the world aren’t just looking for you. They’re fighting to hire you since we’re all competing for a very small pool of qualified female candidates.

We know how to get more girls into STEM: 
Microsoft recently conducted research
 to learn more about what causes the gender gap and how to close it. We know why girls or young women either don’t go into STEM or leave. The research echoes my own story growing up. And we know what girls need to stay in STEM. It’s also what I personally needed.

  •  Connect the dots for girls. Girls often leave STEM because they don’t understand the potential and opportunities a technology or engineering degree can provide. 91% of girls say that they’re creative and 72% say it’s important that they have a job that helps the world, so I’m sharing my story to show that they can achieve both of those goals with a STEM qualification.  As a parent or educator, you can do the same. Seek and tell the computer science story. When girls learn about real-world STEM jobs, their perception of the creativity and positive impact of STEM double. Coding is the fabric our modern lives, built on and technology, and continues to shape and improve our world. Let her know she can define, drive and be that change. 
  •  Be a mentor. Girls need encouragement to stay in STEM. I was lucky to have my dad and I’m convinced that without his encouragement of my STEM education, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  65% of middle school girls who are encouraged by a parent say they’re likely to study computer science in high school, compared to 36% who haven’t been encouraged by either parent. With mutual support from parents and teachers, girls are twice as likely to consider studying computer science in high school, and three times more likely to consider studying computer science in college. You don’t need to be an engineer to encourage girls to pursue STEM and inspire their confidence in math and science. Just help them imagine their future with a computer science education.

This summer, I had the privilege of spending the day with 11 amazing young girls to work on a project for the Ad Council’s latest communication campaign, to encourage more girls to pursue careers in STEM. These girls are our future.  They were surprised and enthused to discover how math and science can be creative and can lead to a career making video games.  We talked about what games they play, what experiences and stories they want to create, and I made sure to tell them that they could achieve that and that would change the world.

Technology is the most powerful and the most creative tool we have today to create impact; to change and improve the world. Join me in raising the next generation of world-builders and world-changers. Connect the dots and be a mentor for the girls and young women in your life. Please share your story, my story, share the #SheCanStem videos and inspire the next generation. #MakeWhatsNext.

Approaches for embedding human ethics in AI systems

SAN DIEGO — It may be early days for AI, but it’s not too early to start thinking about the ethical considerations around the technology. In fact, today is a defining moment for AI ethics, said Gartner research vice president Darin Stewart at this week’s Gartner Catalyst event in San Diego.

“The decisions we make now are going to sit at the core of our models for years and continue to evolve, continue grow and continue to learn,” said Stewart during his session. “So we need to set them on a firm ethical foundation so that as they grow through the years they’ll continue to reflect our values.”

The crux is that, right now, embedding ethics in AI systems is a low priority for most. The focus is mostly on AI control — making sure systems do what they’re supposed to do and having a few corrective measures if things go wrong. But, as Stewart said, putting in a “big red button” to hit when things go very wrong isn’t enough. By that time it’s already too late.

What we need in our AI solutions is something Stewart calls “value alignment.”

“We need some assurance that when these systems make predictions, come to conclusions, give us recommendations and make decisions that they’re going to reflect our values,” he said. “And not just our personal values as its creator, but the values of the organization we serve and the community or society that it exists within.”

Stewart admitted that value alignment might seem above IT practitioners’ paygrade, but he certainly doesn’t see it that way.

“The developers, the engineers and the designers are in the vanguard,” he said. “You all are best positions to take those steps to move us closer to that value alignment.”

What steps can IT practitioners take to embed human values and ethics in AI?

Darin Stewart, research vice president, Gartner
Darin Stewart talks about the urgent need to develop an AI ethics strategy at the Gartner Catalyst event this week.

A measure of fairness

For starters, they can make sure they aren’t directly inserting bias into algorithms. Bias is more or less ubiquitous in machine learning, Stewart said. It arises when the AI model makes predictions and decisions based on sensitive or prohibited attributes — things like race, gender, sexual orientation and religion.

We need some assurance that when these systems make predictions, come to conclusions, give us recommendations and make decisions that they’re going to reflect our values.
Darin Stewartresearch vice president, Gartner

Fortunately, there are effective techniques for removing bias in data sets, Stewart said. But IT practitioners need to make sure it never gets in the model in the first place. At the very beginning, they need to articulate — and document — measures of fairness and the algorithm’s priorities. A measure of fairness is what constitutes equitable and consistent treatment for all groups participating in a system or solution. Stewart said there are a lot of guidelines available for use — many for free.

“At the very beginning, when you’re building the product, decide explicitly and intentionally what that measure of fairness is going to be and optimize your algorithms to reflect both the values statement you create and that measure of fairness,” he said. “Then use the boundaries as constraints on the training process itself.”

The United States has had a doctrine of discrimination since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which defines types of discriminatory intent and permissible use of race. Start there, Stewart said.

“Ideally, we will have higher standards, but the locally- set, legal definition of acceptable discrimination should be the bare minimum you work with,” he said.

Pay attention to your AI solution in the real world

AI and machine learning systems rarely behave the same in the real world as they did in testing, Stewart said. That can pose a problem for ensuring ethics in AI.

“The problem is that once we release our solutions into the real world, we stop paying attention to the inputs it’s feeding off of in the real world,” he said. “We don’t pay attention to the inputs that are still continuing to train and evolve the model, and that’s where things start to go wrong.”

He points to the now infamous case of the Microsoft Tay chatbot, which was the target of a malicious attack by Twitter trolls that biased the system beyond repair. That’s why Stewart emphasizes the importance of consistently and continually inspecting training data.

“Kind of like stalking your kids on social media, you need to keep an eye on your solutions once they are released into the real world,” Stewart said. That includes regularly testing and auditing the AI systems.

Instilling ethics in AI: The ‘centaur’ approach

At this point in time, Stewart said we usually don’t want to turn decisions entirely over to the AI system. If you are just trying to automate data entry into a spreadsheet or speed up the throughput of an assembly line, then it’s fine to do so, he said. But if you are creating a system that is going to “materially impact someone’s life,” you should have a human being in the loop who understands why decisions are being made.

“You don’t want a doctor performing surgery just because the AI said so,” he said. Decisions ideally are made by combining machine intelligence, which can deal with exponentially more data than humans can, with human intelligence, which can account for factors that may not have been in the data set. “We’re looking for centaurs rather than robots.”

Revenue ops main theme at Ramp by InsightSquared conference

Customers, potential customers and partners of InsightSquared Inc. gathered in Boston for two days for Ramp 2018, the dashboard and reporting software vendor’s second annual conference. The Pipeline podcast was there to take in the conference festivities.

Revenue ops was among the main topics discussed at Ramp, with keynotes and conversations dedicated to the idea of bringing together marketing, sales and service departments to improve ROI and revenue.

To help companies with that objective, InsightSquared also unveiled a new set of marketing analytics tools that may help companies uncover insights within the marketing process, including marketing attribution, demand management, and planning and analysis.

“There’s a natural tension between sales and marketing,” said Matisha Ladiwala, GM of marketing analytics for InsightSquared, on the conference stage. Ladiwala ran through a demo of some of the tools’ capabilities before two InsightSquared customers spoke about using the marketing analytics tools.

One of Ladiwala’s demos showed a dashboard that united data from the sales and marketing departments and determined how quickly sales followed up on leads and how many leads were making it into the funnel. This revenue ops approach is beneficial to companies that have traditionally used a more manual, time-intensive approach to reporting, according to InsightSquared.

Aggregating information from areas was very manual and time-consuming.
Guido BartolacciNew Breed

One InsightSquared user, Guido Bartolacci, manager of acquisition and strategy at New Breed, an inbound marketing and sales agency, told conference attendees: “Aggregating information from areas was very manual and time-consuming.”

By using InsightSquared’s new marketing analytics tools while in beta, the marketing and sales agency was able to pull together data from multiple sources quickly and with more insight, Bartolacci said.

Beyond discussing the revenue ops-focused conference, this Pipeline podcast also touches on some of the other speakers at Ramp, including Nate Silver, data scientist and founder of the FiveThirtyEight blog, and TrackMaven CEO Allen Gannett, who gave a lively, entertaining keynote on creativity.

For Sale – 5TB Seagate 3.5” HDD + External Caddy

Only ever used as an external drive for my PS4, which hardly gets any use these days. Have included a disk check which shows absolutely no bad sectors.

Price is £100 posted via bank transfer

Price and currency: 100
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Preston
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – Thinkpad Lenovo 13 (Gen2) – i3-7100U , 4GB – Upgradeble, 180GB SSD – Under Warranty

Lenovo ThinkPad 13

i3 7100U

4GB – Up gradable too not soldered

180 GB SSD

Under Warranty 312 days remaining.

Immaculate Conditon

Lenovo Thinkpad 13 – 13.3″ – Core i… | 20J10021UK | £519.99 | Insight UK Retails for £600

Asking for £400 or best offer

Price and currency: 400
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: bank transfer
Location: DORSET
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Thinkpad Lenovo 13 (Gen2) – i3-7100U , 4GB – Upgradeble, 180GB SSD – Under Warranty

Lenovo ThinkPad 13

i3 7100U

4GB – Up gradable too not soldered

180 GB SSD

Under Warranty 312 days remaining.

Immaculate Conditon

Lenovo Thinkpad 13 – 13.3″ – Core i… | 20J10021UK | £519.99 | Insight UK Retails for £600

Asking for £400 or best offer

Price and currency: 400
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: bank transfer
Location: DORSET
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – or Trade: 2017 15″ Macbook Pro with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD

I bought a brand new 2017 15″ Macbook Pro few days ago but have decided I’d prefer a 13″ model. It’s the top spec model for £2699 on Apple’s website with the following spec:

  • 2.9GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 512GB SSD storage1
  • Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB memory
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID

Needless to say it’s in mint condition, battery count is 4. It might go up to 5 whilst I factory reset it. Warranty until 29th June 2019.

I’m after a 2017 13″ Touch Bar model for trade (plus cash my way), not interested in any other models. I value my Macbook at £1750 for trade or sale.

Price and currency: £1750
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG/BACS
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
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By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – or Trade: 2017 15″ Macbook Pro with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD

I bought a brand new 2017 15″ Macbook Pro few days ago but have decided I’d prefer a 13″ model. It’s the top spec model for £2699 on Apple’s website with the following spec:

  • 2.9GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 512GB SSD storage1
  • Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB memory
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID

Needless to say it’s in mint condition, battery count is 4. It might go up to 5 whilst I factory reset it. Warranty until 29th June 2019.

I’m after a 2017 13″ Touch Bar model for trade (plus cash my way), not interested in any other models. I value my Macbook at £1750 for trade or sale.

Price and currency: £1750
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG/BACS
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – or Trade: 2017 15″ Macbook Pro with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD

I bought a brand new 2017 15″ Macbook Pro few days ago but have decided I’d prefer a 13″ model. It’s the top spec model for £2699 on Apple’s website with the following spec:

  • 2.9GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 512GB SSD storage1
  • Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB memory
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID

Needless to say it’s in mint condition, battery count is 4. It might go up to 5 whilst I factory reset it. Warranty until 29th June 2019.

I’m after a 2017 13″ Touch Bar model for trade (plus cash my way), not interested in any other models. I value my Macbook at £1750 for trade or sale.

Price and currency: £1750
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG/BACS
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Hadoop data lake architecture tests IT on data integration

SAN JOSE, Calif. — These days, a rolling pageant of glittering new data objects includes data planes, data fabrics, data streaming and more. It’s almost enough to make you forget about the shiny object of just a few years ago: the Hadoop data lake architecture.

But plenty of data teams are still working hard to successfully implement real-life Hadoop data lakes — ones that underlie many organizations’ hopes for better predictive analytics and maybe even artificial intelligence.

Such was one of the lessons from Hortonworks’ DataWorks Summit 2018. That is where people like Sudhir Menon told the story behind big companies’ moves to use their data hoards for digital transformation — as seen at tech-infused upstarts, like Airbnb and Uber.

The journey that Menon, vice president for information management at hotelier Hilton Worldwide, described includes a Hadoop data lake architecture as an integral part.

“We have a lot of information in different formats, and we are bringing that into the data lake. Every [data] entity from every channel is coming into the lake now,” Menon told a conference session audience.

The Hadoop data lake architecture has formed a basis for a potential consumer application — a new digital key app that allows Hilton Honors program guests to, in effect, check themselves directly into their room, he said.

Still, this will be a multiyear project, Menon noted. The project, which seeks to incrementally build out the Hadoop-based Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) into a new repository for enterprise data, began about two years ago and is now moving toward going live, with many more “agile sprints” ahead, according to Menon.

The system employs a variety of tools beyond HDP, including WSO2 API management, Talend integration and Amazon Redshift cloud data warehouse software.

Populating the data lake

Sudhir Menon, vice president of information management at Hilton Worldwide
Sudhir Menon, Hilton Worldwide

For Menon’s teams, populating a data lake means transforming assorted ingested data into JSON events with a microservices architecture.

The transformations are a first step in a data-refining process. The experience of many data lake users has shown data has to be sorted into some sensible format as soon as possible if it is to be used with BI tools by business analysts, although raw data versions are still preserved for experimental data scientists.

Menon emphasized, while this “renovation and innovation” project supports data science, it also provides a new foundation for leaner everyday data reporting. He said, during the course of the project, Hilton has decommissioned 380 dashboards for management reporting and replaced them with a more compact roster of 40 dashboards. 

What price, data democracy?

For companies like Hilton, with years of legacy data, Hadoop data lake architectures can require significant effort.

Another data lake project is underway at United Airlines. At DataWorks, Joe Olson, senior manager for big data analytics at the Chicago-based airline, recounted a move to a new big data analytics environment that includes a data lake, along with a “curated layer of data.”

Olson described the significant work required to connect existing Teradata data warehouse analytics with pieces of Hortonworks’ platform.

We have a lot of information in different formats, and we are bringing that into the data lake. Every [data] entity from every channel is coming into the lake now.
Sudhir Menonvice president of information management at Hilton Worldwide

“Moving small data sets is trivial … but we don’t yet have a good way to handle large data sets of certain types,” Olson said in a session on big data at United.

In yet another session, which was whimsically entitled “The Curious Case of Data Lake Redemption,” Shivinder Singh, a database architect and engineer at Verizon Wireless, based in Basking Ridge, N.J., described issues the telecom giant encountered as it opened up a Hadoop data lake to a wider group of analytics users.

Singh described differences in block file sizes in Hadoop data lakes versus single-client implementations that can bring about garbage collection issues with observable performance impact. He said his teams worked with Hortonworks to address such issues in its data lake buildouts.

Despite such implementation issues, he emphasized, the Hadoop platform has helped drive diverse analytics advances, as Verizon evolved its architecture to deal with bigger and evermore variegated amounts of data.

Sampling the data fabric

While the Hadoop data lake architecture was meant, in part, to reduce data silos in organizations, the reality has been that several data lakes may arise, becoming silos in themselves. At its user event, Hortonworks expanded on its recent discussions of data fabric architectures, meant to mesh varied data lakes and other data framework components.

The company’s Hortonworks DataPlane Service (DPS) is an example, being a software layer that handles governance and data management for multiple data lakes.

Like other products from vendors that once focused solely on Hadoop Distributed File System data storage, DPS supports a variety of storage formats, including cloud object storage.

“The data fabric is an idea that has been around and has evolved to encompass the reality that, going forward, these systems will be hybrids of on-premises and public cloud systems and, eventually, will be on multiple clouds,” said Doug Henschen, an analyst at Constellation Research, in an interview

That could mean that, while the data lake may continue to find use, it may not actually be a Hadoop data lake architecture, Henschen said.

“Now, companies want the data lake concept to encompass more than just Hadoop,” he said.