Tag Archives: Everyone

Why Microsoft thinks the future of water depends on the future of technology innovation – Microsoft Green Blog

Clean drinking water is critical to all life, but unfortunately it is not easily available for everyone around the globe. According to the World Health Organization, nearly a billion people around the world lack a basic drinking water service, and at least two billion use a drinking water source that is contaminated with feces.

This situation will only become more acute as populations grow and the planet continues to warm. In fact, WHO suggests that by 2025 nearly half of the world’s population will have a difficult time accessing clean, drinkable water. In areas already stricken by drought or lacking in water sanitation facilities, things will only become direr as climate change exacerbates the strain on water resources. Beyond the immediate humanitarian impact of water shortages, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted that water availability and quality could become a primary pressure point for society under climate change. Given this, it’s no surprise that access to water routinely makes the top five of the list of global risks identified annually by the World Economic Forum.

This view of the future, of course, presumes we continue business as usual. But water is in the midst of a digital transformation that promises a much brighter future, and nowhere is this more apparent than at World Water Week. I had the pleasure of attending this yearly event on behalf of Microsoft last week, delivering our vision of the promise of technology to address both water quality and quantity issues. I was joined by hundreds of governments, businesses and civil society leaders, who also shared their reasons for being optimistic about the future of water.

In addition to speaking, we made a new commitment. Microsoft is proud to join the UN CEO Water Mandate, a collaborative effort of corporations and NGOs designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of corporate water stewardship practices and policies.

We’ve diligently pursued water stewardship across our global operations, and one of our most ambitious projects was our new Silicon Valley campus. Last year, we announced that campus would be one of the first net-zero potable water tech campuses in the world. 100% of the buildings non-drinking water will come from rainfall or on-site recycled water – beyond drinking fountains and sinks not a drop of water for more than 2,000 employees and 15 acres of landscape will come from municipal sources. In addition, we’re designing our campus with the nearby wetlands in mind and taking steps to improve our local water environment.

As a global technology company, we know we can have an even greater impact by empowering others beyond our four walls. One example of how we’ve applied technology to the water space is the Water Risk Monetizer, a powerful tool built in partnership with Ecolab and Trucost. The tool shows the costs of using water in every step of business operation, from manufacturing to delivery, and can give companies an idea of how those costs will increase if water becomes a limited resource. This helps them manage water more effectively and has the potential to reduce water consumption in many different industries.

We’re also working to apply AI to the issue of water. Through our AI for Earth program, a $50M over five-year program, Microsoft is putting AI tools into the hands of individuals and organizations working on the frontlines of environmental challenges, including water. To date, 20 percent of our 137 AI for Earth grantees are working on water-related projects. Our grantees work on the breadth of issues – some use AI to map coastal ecosystems to create a more accurate view of coastal resilience and inform real-time conservation and disaster response efforts, while others work on the impact of storm water or Superfund sites on local water resources, and still others are working to better predict, track and prevent floods. We’re particularly excited about the use of AI to inform and address water scarcity. WetDATA is creating a water data and innovation hub that collects and disseminates information on water scarcity and risks to drive informed, data-driven, decisions regarding water practices. They also encourage researchers to discover and innovate new ways to conserve water with the hopes of driving water sustainability in a myriad of industries.

We’re looking forward to expanding our work, both within our operations and through AI for Earth, in the coming year. After a week at SIWI, I’m even more encouraged about the digital transformation of water. We think that the glass is half full of water solutions already and are confident that those working on today’s pressing water challenges will be able to use AI and machine learning to fill the glass the rest of the way.

Laura Noren advocates data science ethics for employee info

The trend in tech has been to gather more and more data on everyone — customers and employees alike — even if there is no direct reason to collect so much data. This has led to a pushback by users and experts about data privacy and more conversations about standards of data science ethics.

At Black Hat USA 2018, Laura Norén, director of research at Obsidian Security, spoke about data science ethics, how companies can avoid “being creepy,” and why privacy policies often leave out protections for employees.

Editor’s note: This interview was edited for length and clarity.

How did you become interested in data science ethics? 
 
Laura Norén: Data science isn’t really a discipline, it’s a set of methods being used across disciplines. One of the things that I realized fairly early on was people were doing the same thing with data science that we’ve done with so many technologies. We get so excited about the promise. People get so excited about being the first to do some new thing. But they’re really using technologies before they fully understand what the consequences and the social impact would be. So that’s when I got started on data science ethics and I talked fairly consistently to get a course that was just about ethics for data science.
 
But I ended up spending several years just working on, ‘What is it that’s unique about data science ethics?’ We’ve had ethics forever. Most engineers take an ethics class. Do we really need to reinvent the wheel here? What’s actually new about this?
 
I realized it is actually very difficult to ask those kinds of questions sitting solely from within academia because we don’t have business pressure and we don’t have the data to really understand what’s happening. I knew that I wanted to leave for a while so that I could be a better data chief science ethicist, but that it would be very difficult to find a company that would want to have such a person around. Frankly, no tech company wants to know what they can’t do, they want to know what they can do. They want to build, they want to innovate, they want to do things differently. 
 
Obsidian is a new company, but it’s founded by three guys who have been around for a while. They have seen some things that I would say they would find creepy and they didn’t ever want to be that kind of company. They were happy to have me around. [They said], ‘If you see that we’re being creepy, I want you to push back and to stop us. But also, how we can avoid that? Not just that we should stop, but what we should do differently so that we can continue to move forward and continue to build products. Because, frankly, if we don’t put X, Y, Z product out in the world someone else will. And unless we have a product that’s actually better than that, you’re still going to have employee data, for instance, being treated in bizarre and troubling ways.’

Why was it important to study data science ethics from within a company?

Norén: I got lucky. I picked them because they care about ethics, and because I knew that I needed to see a little bit more about how data are actually being used, deployed, or deleted or not, combined in a real setting. These are all dangerous issues, but unless you actually see how they’re being done, it’s way too easy to be hypercritical all the time. And that’s kind of where that field is going.
 
It’s also very interesting that employee data is not yet in the spotlight. Right now, the spotlight in tech ethics is on how tech companies are treating their workers. Are they inclusive or not? Do they care if their workers don’t want to develop weapons? Do they still have to do that anyways? And then it’s also on user data. But it’s not on employee data.

I feel like — I don’t know exactly how fast these cycles go — in three to five years, the whole conversation will be about employee data. We will have somehow put some stop-gaps in place to deal with user data, but we will not have paid much attention to employee data. In three to five years, when regulation starts to come down the chain, we’ve actually already built systems that are at least ethical. It’s hard to comply with a regulation that doesn’t exist, but at least you can imagine where those regulations are going to go and try to be in compliance with at least the principle of the effort.
 
What makes employee data different from a data science ethics perspective? 
 
Norén: One of the major differences between user data and employee data, at least from a legal perspective, is that when someone starts to work for a company, that company usually has them consent to a bunch of procedures, one of those procedures being, ‘And you consent to us surveilling what you are doing under the auspices of this company, using our physical equipment when you’re out in the world representing us. Therefore we need to be able to monitor what you’re up to, see that you’re in line with what we think you’re supposed to be doing for us.’ This means that employees actually have far fewer privacy assumptions and rights than users do in a practical sense. They have those rights, but then they consent to give them up. And that’s what most employees do. 
 
That’s why there’s not a lot of attention here because they’ve signed an employment agreement that they’ve established. Legally it’s not a gray area. Employers can potentially do what they wish. 
 
Is there a way to push back on those types of policies, or is it more just a matter of trying to get companies to change those policies? 
 
Norén: California has the California Consumer Privacy Act; it’s very similar to the GDPR. They’ve changed a few things, and — almost as a throwaway — they stuck employees in there as potential users. It’s moving to be tried in the court of law — someone’s going to have to test exactly how this is written — but it doesn’t go into effect for a while. It is possible that regulators may explicitly — or in a bumbling kind of almost accidental fashion — write employees into some of the policies that are like GDPR copycats.

It’s probably my imagination of how this is going to work [but it’s] the same thing that happened with Facebook. What Facebook was doing was considered by everyone to be kind of fine for a long time. Because just like employees/employers do, Facebook had a privacy policy and they had terms of service and everyone checked the box and legally — supposedly — that covered them for all the things that they were doing. 
 
But not really, because in the court of public opinion, eventually people started to say, ‘Hey, this isn’t right, that’s not right. I don’t think that I really consented to have my elections meddled with. That’s not in my imagination.’ If you look at the letter of the law, I’m sure Facebook is probably in compliance, but ethically their business practice extended beyond what people turned out to be comfortable with. I have a feeling that that same kind of thing is going to happen with employees.

Probably we’ll see this kind of objection happening among fairly sophisticated workers first, just like the Google Maven project was objected to by Google employees first. They’re very sophisticated, intelligent, well-educated people who are used to being listened to.

The law will have to react to those kinds of things, which is typical, right? Laws always react. 
 
What are good data science ethics policies that enterprises should adopt when handling both user data and employee data? 
 
Norén: Well, one of the more creative things that we’re trying to do is, instead of asking people at one point in time to confront a very dense legal document that says, “OK, now I’ve signed — I’m not even sure what — but I’m going to sign here and then I’ll just move on with my life,’ is to kind of do transparency all throughout the process. 
 
Let’s say you’re a typical employee and you emailed your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, kid, whoever, some personal connection from your work account. Now you’ve consented to let your employer look at that email traffic. They may or may not be reading the contents of the email, but they can see subject lines and who you’re contacting and that may be personal for you. Instead of just letting that happen, you could say, ‘Hey, it looks like you’re emailing someone who we think is a personal connection. Just wanted to remind you that we are able to see …’ and then whatever your agreement is. 
 
Remind them of what you’re able to see and then you say something like, ‘You know, if you were to contact this person after hours or on another device or outside of this account then we wouldn’t be able to see that.’ To encourage them to take their own privacy a little bit more seriously on a daily basis right at the moment where it matters rather than assuming they’re going to remember something that they signed three years ago. Even three minutes ago. Make it really accessible and then do that transparent kind of thing throughout. 
 
Maybe they’re still OK with it because it’s just email. But maybe then you also use some of the information that you have about those emails. Like, ‘OK, I can see that Jane is totally comfortable emailing her mom all the time.’ But then if Jane leaves the company, maybe that’s some of the first steps you investigate and then delete. So not only do you make transparency kind of an ongoing process where you’re obtaining consent all the way along for doing what you’re doing, or at least providing your employees some strategy for not being surveilled, but then once they leave, you probably — as an employer — want to maintain some of the data that they have.

Certainly from the cybersecurity perspective, if you’re trying to develop predictive algorithms about, ‘What does a typical employee working in accounting do?’ you don’t just want to delete all their data the second they leave because it’s still valuable to you in terms of creating a baseline model of a typical employee, or in this case maybe if you require creating a baseline model of that employee, it’s still really valuable. But you probably don’t need to know all the times that they were emailing their personal connections. Maybe that’s something that you decide to decay by design. You decay out some of the most privacy-sensitive stuff so that you can keep what is valuable to you without exposing this person’s private communications any more than they would need to be. 

What are the ethical issues with storing so much data?

Norén: One of the things about these contracts is the indefinite status of holding onto data. We’re very skeptical about hoarding data. We’re very picky about what we keep. And we try to find ways to take the stuff that might be not all that valuable to us but very sensitive to the individual because it’s personal or who knows might make it sensitive, and deleting that kind of thing first.

The right to be forgotten is that someone’s going to come to you and say, ‘Hey, would you please forget this?’ Just as a good social scientist, we know that only a very select group of people ever feel so empowered and so informed of the right to go do such a thing. So it’s already kind of an unfair policy because most people won’t know how to do that, won’t know that they can do that. We feel like some of these broader policies are actually more fair because they will be applied to everyone, not just the privileged people who are entitled to their rights, and they’re going to demand these things and figure out how to do it. So those are the kinds of policies that we’re looking at. 
 
We have decided never to store the contents of people’s emails in the first place. That also falls in line with our “do not hoard” policy. We don’t need to know contents of emails. It doesn’t give us anything additional for what we need to do, so we’re just not going to store it. And we’re not going to get transfixed by what lots of data scientists get transfixed by which is the idea that in the future if we have all the data now, we’ll do this magical thing in the future that we haven’t figured out yet. No, that fairy tale’s dead here.

For Sale – Acer Revo One RL85 i3, 4GB Ram, 2TB HDD

Hi everyone,

I have for sale an Acer Revo One RL85 which makes a great HTC and Plex Server.

The spec is the following:
Intel Core i3-4005 1.7 GHz
4 GB RAM
2TB HDD
Windows 10 Home upgraded from Win8

Great condition with a few marks and no box unfortunately.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Many Thanks

Price and currency: £220 or sensible offers
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: West London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – Acer Revo One RL85 i3, 4GB Ram, 2TB HDD

Hi everyone,

I have for sale an Acer Revo One RL85 which makes a great HTC and Plex Server.

The spec is the following:
Intel Core i3-4005 1.7 GHz
4 GB RAM
2TB HDD
Windows 10 Home upgraded from Win8

Great condition with a few marks and no box unfortunately.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Many Thanks

Price and currency: £220 or sensible offers
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: West London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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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 – Acer Revo One RL85 i3, 4GB Ram, 2TB HDD

Hi everyone,

I have for sale an Acer Revo One RL85 which makes a great HTC and Plex Server.

The spec is the following:
Intel Core i3-4005 1.7 GHz
4 GB RAM
2TB HDD
Windows 10 Home upgraded from Win8

Great condition with a few marks and no box unfortunately.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Many Thanks

Price and currency: £220 or sensible offers
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: West London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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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 – Acer Revo One RL85 i3, 4GB Ram, 2TB HDD

Hi everyone,

I have for sale an Acer Revo One RL85 which makes a great HTC and Plex Server.

The spec is the following:
Intel Core i3-4005 1.7 GHz
4 GB RAM
2TB HDD
Windows 10 Home upgraded from Win8

Great condition with a few marks and no box unfortunately.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Many Thanks

Price and currency: £220 or sensible offers
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: West London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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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 – Acer Revo One RL85 i3, 4GB Ram, 2TB HDD

Hi everyone,

I have for sale an Acer Revo One RL85 which makes a great HTC and Plex Server.

The spec is the following:
Intel Core i3-4005 1.7 GHz
4 GB RAM
2TB HDD
Windows 10 Home upgraded from Win8

Great condition with a few marks and no box unfortunately.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Many Thanks

Price and currency: £220 or sensible offers
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: West London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Hybrid cloud strategies should be reimagined as multi-cloud

Everyone is talking about hybrid cloud strategies, implying this framework is how all IT resources will be deployed in the future. It sounds great — on paper. Proponents tout hybrid cloud’s ability to tap into both public and private resources to build scalable applications that can be managed and secured as if they were being delivered privately — a way to have your cake and eat it, too.

Unfortunately, for the vast majority of workloads, this scenario will probably never play out. There may be a few isolated instances or use cases where this is workable, but, seriously, most workloads don’t need this level of flexibility, especially when stacked up against the considerable management and security challenges of a true hybrid cloud.

Analysts and pontificators — myself included — have talked about hybrid cloud strategies, but in reality, we are getting it wrong. Those who viewed hybrid cloud as a single entity — public and private — simply glossed over the business realities of creating, deploying and, most importantly, securing applications in a blended environment. Those who viewed hybrid cloud strategies as a mix of public clouds and private clouds — each with its own domain, where applications reside in one or the other — incorrectly labeled that architecture hybrid cloud. In reality, it’s multi-cloud.

Overlooking the challenges of hybrid cloud strategies

The first group, which believes a single cloud can span both public and private domains, tends to gloss over the different aspects of operating and managing that resource. How are administrators going to ensure security across multiple domains? What about the management tools that will vary between the two platforms?

Simply put, how many of us who switch between Mac and PC get frustrated by “delete” and “move to trash,” which are different ways to say the same thing? Now, imagine that at cloud scale. While many people like the idea of the elasticity of a hybrid cloud to scale out almost infinitely, how many applications truly need that much capacity on demand?

There are a few use cases where hybrid cloud strategies might make sense, primarily bursting applications out during peak load. The overly tired examples typically involve a retailer or tax firm with a highly seasonal business or a highly targeted business cycle. But is having to manage and drive consistencies all year across the two environments worth it for that short period?

So far, Microsoft is about the only true play here, with its public Azure cloud and private Azure Stack. This strategy gives IT the ability to create an application in a private environment and move to public, or vice versa, relying on the same security, development, libraries and management tools. This is about as close as many will actually come to a hybrid cloud. But, even here, most applications, while they can move from domain to domain, will probably live in one domain or the other 99% of the time.

Four cloud options

Time to change how cloud deployments are described

The second group, of which I was a staunch member, simply got the naming wrong. Most businesses will use a mixture of public and private cloud resources, depending on their applications. Those applications with regulatory constraints or data privacy considerations will probably remain in the private domain. This is also where many will see the more differentiated applications for their business — the tools that help define their business and how they deliver products and services to their customers.

The more we rally around nebulous buzzwords, the more we doom our projects to constant challenges.

Horizontal and nondifferentiated applications will probably move to a public cloud based on economics or a variety of other factors. In the future, most businesses will use multiple cloud resources. This is why hybrid cloud, as a description of this environment, is so wrong. Multi-cloud is a better description. The industry needs to get on board with this.

A great example is in the auto world. If you own one Toyota Prius, you run on electricity or gasoline — a hybrid car strategy. But if you own an all-electric Tesla and a gas-chugging Ford F-150, even though you are using both gas and electric, each is discrete — this is a multi-car strategy.

A complicating factor for a public-private combined entity is the cost and complexity of data transmission. It is expensive and time-consuming to move data back and forth within a hybrid environment. Most businesses are choosing to locate the compute closer to the data and simply send back the results and exceptions, rather than shuttle data back and forth between locations. This dynamic is what is causing a growth of edge computing — moving the compute closer to the network edge, closer to where the data is being collected.

It is time for the industry to change the way it defines hybrid cloud. There will be hybrid clouds, but they will be far fewer and far more limited. The phrase multi-cloud needs to take more prominence in IT’s lexicon, because the need to accurately define the environment will pay dividends in accelerating those plans by removing confusion. The more we rally around nebulous buzzwords and marketing terms, the more we doom our projects to constant challenges and questions. Clarity will help drive better outcomes.

For Sale – Acer Revo One RL85 i3, 4GB Ram, 2TB HDD

Hi everyone,

I have for sale an Acer Revo One RL85 which makes a great HTC and Plex Server.

The spec is the following:
Intel Core i3-4005 1.7 GHz
4 GB RAM
2TB HDD
Windows 10 Home upgraded from Win8

Great condition with a few marks and no box unfortunately.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Many Thanks

Price and currency: £220 or sensible offers
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: West London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not 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 – Acer Revo One RL85 i3, 4GB Ram, 2TB HDD

Hi everyone,

I have for sale an Acer Revo One RL85 which makes a great HTC and Plex Server.

The spec is the following:
Intel Core i3-4005 1.7 GHz
4 GB RAM
2TB HDD
Windows 10 Home upgraded from Win8

Great condition with a few marks and no box unfortunately.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Many Thanks

Price and currency: £220 or sensible offers
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: West London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not 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.