Month: Oct 2017

How will the development of artificial intelligence affect my job?

Artificial intelligence (AI) encompasses different technologies which are combined in many ways to sense, understand, act and learn in order to produce an intelligent result. This new and exciting era of technological development aims to create A.I machines that make various tasks faster and simpler, leading to fears that machines could do our jobs better and produce results in a more efficient manner.

Do you think a robot could do your job? See Could you really lose your job to a robot?

Some emerging AI technologies include computer vision, audio processing, natural-language processing, machine learning and expert systems. It appears that call centres and support teams may be the first to be most affected by artificial intelligence.

Virtual agents, for example online chatbots, could take the place of call-centre agents and sales-support personnel.

Salesforce first launched an SMS chatbot product in 2014, and has since expanded it to include Facebook Messenger. The company also offers a product called Live Agent Chat, which facilitates human-to-human interactions. "Salesforce believes fundamentally that bots are going to be complementing your live staff," said Meredith Flynn-Ripley, vice president of mobile messaging at Salesforce.

"We really see bots as changing the job description and turning agents into intelligent problem solvers." While the majority of customer service interactions are still over the phone, Flynn-Ripley said that call centers could soon undergo big changes as more companies embrace chat as the most natural way to interact. 

"We often see the voice calls go down in a matter of weeks, and customer satisfaction go up," Flynn-Ripley said of new customers. "There’s now an expectation that there should be automated bots."

Cognitive robotics are robots that can learn from experiences, the environment, and on their own. Examples of this are machine vision, voice recognition and proximity sensing. Ultimately, the robot must be able to act in the real world. Packaging and paper company Mondi has not only been using robots on the shop floor for years; it has taken things a step further with AI, allowing robots to learn continuously. Jacqueline Wild, global head of applications for Mondi’s Consumer Packaging Business Unit, explained that they collect data on the shop floor system, bringing it back to a machine that then learns from it and improves the product at the end of the day.

Ultimately, the goal is “taking the robot out of people” so that people get a chance to do more strategic work, talk to each other, and innovate for better products for their customer. One of Mondi’s strategic goals is for their customers to have good experiences. If employees are continuously busy with repetitive tasks such as entering data, they can’t think about what the customer experience could be, or how the product should be developed to get a better customer experience. Mondi aims to eliminate the repetitive month-end tasks within an estimated two to three years.

Read more: Why a career in tech is an excellent move 

Speech analytics refers to software that recognises speech patterns to identify emotions and stress to improve communication, guide interactions and extract information. In short, the process of analysing recorded calls to gather customer information in order to improve communication and future interaction. The process is mostly used by customer contact centers to extract information buried in client interactions within a company.

Contact center expert Donna Fluss saw the speech analytics market growing at a rapid pace. “For example, in 2007, when speech analytics was still a relatively new technology, the number of speech analytics implementations increased to 1,242, a 106% jump from 2006. And, in 2016, DMG Consulting LLC said the market continued to grow by 30.6%, citing speech analytics as the must-have strategic solution for enterprises. DMG predicts speech analytics tools will continue to see steady growth, saying the market will grow 18% in 2017, 17% in 2018, 15% in 2019 and 14% in 2020.”

Also see: 6 most in-demand tech jobs in South Africa 

Recommendation systems are aimed at social media marketing and content targeting. It is essentially an information filtrating system which strives to predict the "rating" or "preference" that a user would give to an item. Recommender systems have become increasingly popular in recent years, and are utilised in a variety of areas including movies, music, news, books, research articles, search queries, social tags, and products in general. There are also recommender systems for experts, collaborators, jokes, restaurants, garments, financial services, life insurance, romantic partners (online dating), and Twitter pages. Amazon is a brilliant example of a recommendation system.

"Judging by Amazon’s success, the recommendation system works. The company reported a 29% sales increase to $12.83 billion during its second fiscal quarter, up from $9.9 billion during the same time last year. A lot of that growth arguably has to do with the way Amazon has integrated recommendations into nearly every part of the purchasing process.” According to Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester analyst, Amazon’s conversion to sales of on-site recommendations could be as high as 60% in some cases based off the performance of other e-commerce sites.”

Check out how various job roles may be affected by artificial intelligence by using this simple tool here

Do we need a break from our smartphones?

Being available 24/7 for calls, texts and emails may have a negative effect on our lives.

It’s no secret that we love our smartphones and other electronic devices for staying connected.



Perhaps we love them too much.

According to one study on cellphone use by a mobile security company, 63% of women and 73% of men between the ages of 18 and 34 can’t go even one hour without checking their phones.

Missing out

And research published in the internet-based journal First Monday found that when college students took a break from social media, some were unable to find substitutes for the place it filled in their lives. Many had the feeling they were missing out on something when they weren’t connected.

A previous Health24 article asked the question if young children should even own cellphones.

But all this connectivity comes at a price. For starters, time spent on our devices may be time taken away from exercise. Like other sedentary behaviours, this can reduce your fitness level.

Research done at Harvard suggests that being available 24/7 for texts and emails may actually make you less productive at work and less satisfied with your personal life. Indeed, results from the latest American Psychological Association "Stress in America" survey found that 44% of people who check email, texts and social media either "often" or "constantly" said they feel disconnected from family, even when they’re together.

The need to unplug

And regularly using electronic devices (think cellphones, tablets, laptops) late at night has been linked to sleep disorders, stress and even depression symptoms. And your risk grows if you’re also a heavy cellphone user.

What’s the answer?

Unplugging – taking regular breaks away from your devices and putting limits on how available you are. The need to unplug is so strong there’s even a National Day of Unplugging, from sundown to sundown starting on the first Friday in March.

But you don’t have to wait until then. Try turning off your electronics an hour earlier at night and designate a few unplugged hours every weekend. It might be hard at first, but like any other habit, you’ll grow into it over time.

According to the American Psychological Association, these nuggets of quiet will help you relax, reflect and even be more creative.

Source:  News24Health.

Surface Precision Mouse.

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The mouse will be available for pre-order from 9 November for $99.99.

Microsoft said it features USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and a battery which last 3 months on a charge.

The device was designed for “exceptional accuracy, comfort, and control”.

“The Surface Precision Mouse gives you more multitasking power by allowing you to work seamlessly across up to three computers,” said Microsoft.

US warns of security flaw which can compromise Wi-Fi connections

;widows: 2;-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;text-decoration-style: initial;text-decoration-color: initial;word-spacing:0px’>The disclosure by the government’s Computer Emergency Response Team could potentially allow hackers to snoop on or take over millions of devices which use Wi-Fi.



The agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said the flaw was discovered by researchers at the Belgian university KU Leuven.

According to the news site Ars Technica, the discovery was a closely guarded secret for weeks to allow Wi-Fi systems to develop security patches. Attackers can exploit the flaw in WPA2 – the name for the encryption protocol – "to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted," said a blog post by KU Leuven researchers.

"This can be abused to steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and so on. The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks.

"Depending on the network configuration, it is also possible to inject and manipulate data. For example, an attacker might be able to inject ransomware or other malware into websites."


The flaw was dubbed KRACK for Key Reinstallation AttaCK because it allows attackers to insert a new "key" on a Wi-Fi connection that keeps data private.

Security researchers said the newly discovered flaw was serious because of the ubiquity of Wi-Fi and the difficulty in patching millions of access points.

"Wow. Everyone needs to be afraid," said Rob Graham of Errata Security in a blog post.

"It means in practice, attackers can decrypt a lot of Wi-Fi traffic, with varying levels of difficulty depending on your precise network setup."

The Wi-Fi Alliance, an industry group which sets standards for wireless connections, said computer users should not panic.

"There is no evidence that the vulnerability has been exploited maliciously, and Wi-Fi Alliance has taken immediate steps to ensure users can continue to count on Wi-Fi to deliver strong security protections," the group said in a statement.

"Wi-Fi Alliance now requires testing for this vulnerability within our global certification lab network and has provided a vulnerability detection tool for use by any Wi-Fi Alliance member."


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