Wednesday, July 26, 2023

AI Isn’t an Employee Alternative, but a Tool to Assist Users

 The past several years have brought about innovations in artificial intelligence, or AI, that has workers worried for their jobs—especially as it moves into more practical and usable mediums. This can all be tied to the Turing Test, a way of measuring the intelligence of a computer, created by one of the most notable minds behind computing, Alan Turing.


Nowadays, it’s worth asking if comparing the two was the right call; rather, industry professionals think that collaboration between AI and human workers is more preferable compared to competition.

Turing’s Standard May Have Produced Economic Inequities

At the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, director Erik Brynjolfsson claims that advances in AI have created serious issues, economic inequality among them. In the Spring 2022 issue of D├Ždalus, a journal produced by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he writes that the goal of AI swiftly became a mission to overtake the capabilities of the human mind. All of that to say that this mission was not the appropriate way to handle the development of this technology. Brynjolfsson’s work illustrates that this fixation on creating human-like machines has made wage inequality worse.

Brynjolfsson’s argument is that the development of AI has simply removed the need for human employees, and while productivity can increase as a result, the benefits of that productivity are only really reaped by business owners and leaders within organizations. This divide further increases the rift between workers and the rich, increasing the wage gap and creating what is known as “the Turing Trap.”

The creation of AI is just another example of humans attempting to ascend from humanity to become something different entirely, a creator of life in their own image. There are countless examples of this ranging from the golem of Jewish folklore, the automatons built by Daedalus of ancient Greek tales, or the inventors from early Islamic kingdoms and the European Renaissance. Modern popular culture and media does little to separate AI from these stories, as they paint AI as human-like entities seeking to become even more human-like.

If this is the wrong approach, then what is the right one?

According to Brynjolfsson, AI Would Be Better Used as “Augmentation”

Human employees and AI employees are both capable of doing things well, but it’s critical to note that the things they do well are not the same. Therefore, the key to making the most good out of AI is for humans to supplement their shortcomings with it. In essence, humans are “partnering” with AI to produce better results.

Unfortunately, it’s seen as easier to replace rather than integrate AI, simply because there is no true precedent for doing so. Other research has shown that there are various tasks that people would prefer to do themselves rather than AI, so there will always be things that people want to do themselves that AI can, but should not, do. People are worried that automation will replace the human worker, but there are other proponents who argue that AI can only feasibly cover a small portion of the various duties associated with human work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

How Can T-Mobile’s Security Woes Help Your Efforts?

 Bad news for T-Mobile users, they’ve suffered another data breach. Hackers have gained access to customer data for nearly 37 million individuals, including both pre-paid and subscription-based accounts. Let’s look at what has happened and what knowledge you might apply to your own network security practices.


Why Did This Happen Again?

This hack occurred thanks to a tactic known to target the Application Programming Interface, or API. The API is code that allows an application to connect to the Internet and communicate with other applications. For example, some smart appliances and devices might make use of APIs for their core functionality.

APIs tend to be secure, but they are, of course, not fail-safe, as this breach showcases. Sensitive information was leaked as a result of the T-Mobile data breach. Despite this grim news, take heart knowing that financial information was not exposed or stolen.

T-Mobile discovered this hack on January 5th, but by then, the hack had been active for about one month. The API informed companies using it on November 25, 2022, leaving a clean near-two months between the notification date and the resolution date of January 19th. According to the company, “the malicious activity appears to be fully contained at this time.”

What Can You Learn from This Incident?

T-Mobile has a track record of suffering from data breaches, including attacks in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2015, leading to millions of dollars in settlements. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that network security issues are preventable and costly, so you should do all you can to ensure they don’t bring about challenges for your business.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

3 Factors You Need to Consider Before You Upgrade

 If you consistently find that technology in your office causes more problems than it’s worth, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at what you could be doing better with your infrastructure. We want you to look at failing or inoperable/inefficient technology as an opportunity for improvement rather than another large expense. A good hardware refresh centered around your organization’s needs can revitalize operations and improve your bottom line.

To help you better identify these opportunities, let’s examine some of the frustrations you might experience that could result in a hardware refresh.

Slow Technology

Slow technology is a telltale sign that something is wrong with your infrastructure. Computers will grow slower and more sluggish over time, and they will ultimately result in your operations and security suffering. Be sure to implement a timeline for when you will refresh your computers, somewhere between the three-and-five year mark. Of course, if things get too slow for your preference, it’s perfectly fine to address this issue before (or even after) that point.

Furthermore, we also recommend that you upgrade your servers around the four-year mark. Some companies can get away with going longer, but we don’t recommend it, as technology can become obsolete and unsupported if you’re not careful. Plus, the maintenance and upkeep of old servers can be more than the cost of simply upgrading it. Basically, the rule here is simple; overestimate the time it will take to upgrade your infrastructure, and you can do no wrong.

A Growing Company

If your business has seen considerable growth since the last time you upgraded your infrastructure, it is time to consider it. Your network is likely under more pressure than it was when you were just a handful of employees getting things started. You should see this upgrade as an exciting opportunity rather than an annoyance or a budget-breaker, as it means that your organization is thriving and growing. Still, looking at your entire infrastructure can be intimidating, to say the least.

Legacy software in particular can be challenging to move away from, as your team has likely been using it for a long time and is used to it. The older a software becomes, the less likely it is to play nice with new and innovative tools that could help you stay competitive. You’ll want to stay ahead of this if possible, and know that replacing legacy applications with more viable, long-term solutions is a sign that your business is making progress when so many others are stagnating.

A Remote Team

A remote workforce brings opportunities for improvement, as there are unique challenges and opportunities presented by the possibility of your team working off-site. With cloud-hosted tools, you can increase the flexibility and accessibility of your resources to not just your remote team, but also to your in-house employees. This allows for smoother operations as a whole across the board.

Plus, cloud computing can have considerable benefits for your budget, cutting your costs by about one-third. If you implement it properly, it can save you a lot in terms of operational costs and capital expenses. With the cloud, you’ll find deploying assets, managing solutions, and allocating resources to be as simple as can be. With so many software solutions out there, you will surely find the Software-as-a-Service technologies your business needs to see great and continued success through the cloud.


Wednesday, July 5, 2023

How Does AI Influence a Business’ Ability to Produce?

 Now that AI tools are more publicly accessible than ever before, the question of whether or not it’s good for business looms ever closer. These tools are limited in their capacity to help, but they do show enormous potential that could be indicative of success in the future. Let’s go over some of the questions people have about AI tools.


Do AI Programs Steal Art and Work from the Internet?

An AI program cannot function without data to work with, and the Internet is the single most populated database in existence. Recent AI tools make use of data found on the Internet, much of which is legally protected by copyright law, often without recognition or recompense. There are even examples you can find online, including those where AI-generated paintings showcase the base work amidst the scraps of others (including the author’s signature). Furthermore, AI-generated text can also be run through plagiarism checkers to determine its authenticity, often failing to pass the test—at least in terms of what is acceptable.

The odds are just as likely that the AI you might use will create more problems than it solves, particularly with this kind of creative work and intellectual property. How these problems will be addressed and resolved is unclear at this time.

AI Could Influence Employment

How work is done is constantly changing, and AI presents yet another opportunity for some businesses to accomplish specific tasks in a different, more hands-off way. While there have been cases in the past where certain technologies and innovations have been replaced by more modern tools, like the horse with the car, for example, certain positions in the creative arts have long been considered “safe” from the interference of technology. Well, AI makes a case against that statement.

There is a very real concern that AI could invalidate many creative positions, even with plagiarism involved. That said, however, it’s equally likely that these positions will simply change and adapt to the new technology. New opportunities will emerge from this new technology, leading to a sort-of “collaboration” between AI tools and their human masters. In this way, AI is doing the heavy lifting while the humans are the ones in charge of managing that lifting.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

What Can You Gain from AI?

 AI is a major topic lately, whether it’s on the topic of new and upcoming chatbots that are capable of generating text or making art that can compete with even the most skilled of artists. AI is commonly targeted as a culprit in stealing jobs, as well, and with these applications becoming more sophisticated over time, it’s no wonder people aren’t sure how to react to these developments.

However, AI has advanced to the point where even small businesses and individuals can take advantage of it to at least some degree. In fact, you might already be doing so without realizing it. Let’s discuss how AI is used in business and what could be next for AI in the workplace.


AI Makes Important, Monotonous Tasks Easier and More Efficient

Process automation has been happening as far back as the advent of the wheel and in agriculture, but AI takes this concept one step further by taking existing information and adapting it. Most of the automation you see in the workplace is process automation, which takes tasks that humans usually handle—tasks that aren’t necessarily productive or engaging—and automates them, saving time and money that could be better spent on other, more productive tasks that are more suited to them. These tasks might involve innovation or other aspects of the creative process that are not-so-easily automated.

AI Provides Insights Faster Than the Alternatives

Businesses run on data, so if it’s organized, it’s more manageable and usable. Finding the time and resources to do this, however, is something that can be difficult for businesses, especially without it leading to considerable user error. AI uses algorithms to make this process easier and more efficient, and some systems can even use existing data to extrapolate potential outcomes and predict what could happen in the future. AI is able to quickly identify patterns that the human brain might not pick up on, but this doesn’t make the human’s role in the process any less important. The AI needs human input to work properly, after all.

AI Assists with Customer and Client Communication

AI can help businesses better manage their outreach efforts by recalling past conversations and communications, effectively providing individuals with personalized experiences. Using an AI to keep track of this information saves your business time and resources while making your services that much more convenient for your consumers. AI can also operate as a chatbot for your business, helping customers with some of the more frequently asked questions and making support more accessible and convenient. This idea, called cognitive engagement, is one reason why AI is such a popular tool for communications and support. It gives workers, whether they are doctors or IT technicians, more time to focus on providing the best service they can.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

The Password Manager Boosts Organizational Security

There are so many threats out there that there are positions dedicated within companies to protecting network infrastructures and managing cybersecurity strategy. This alone should be enough to get you to take it seriously. With your employees controlling the “keys to the castle,” i.e., passwords, you need to make sure that you have a solid password strategy in place so as to not inadvertently put your company at risk.


A Great Password Manager is Well Worth the Investment

Simply put, a password manager helps you remember all of the passwords you use throughout the day without having to actually remember them. Password managers are the exception to the rule that you should never write down or save your passwords, as they are software solutions protected with full-fledged, military-grade encryption.

Considering that the average user needs to remember dozens of passwords, having a safe place to store them is a huge benefit.

The password manager will be much more sufficient for protecting your passwords than a notebook, or a file on your computer, or even in your brain, for that matter. Since the passwords you use are going to be complex, and they will be protected by an extremely strong master password, you can know that your credentials are safe and sound, away from prying eyes. All of your passwords will be easily accessible to you through the browser plugin or a dedicated desktop or mobile application, so there is no need to stress about forgetting an important credential or getting locked out of your account.

Password managers also make it easier to share credentials between one-another on the off-chance they need to, like for a shared productivity application account or web service account.

In summary, a password manager…

  • Helps you to use sufficiently secure passwords
  • Assists you in creating passwords that are more secure
  • Enables your entire organization to access shared resources easily

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Paying Attention to Your Cybersecurity Is Just Good Risk Management

Small businesses have plenty of problems as it is without the added stress that poor security practices can bring about. Small businesses often overlook security because they deem themselves too small to be of any value to a hacker, but this outlook is short-sighted and irresponsible at best. Let’s go over why you’ll need to make security a priority for your business.


How much sensitive data does your business actually store on its network? We bet it’s more than you think. Whether it’s payroll records, bank account numbers, personally identifiable information, information about vendors or clients, you surely have data on your network that a hacker will find valuable. Here are some reasons why you need to make security an important part of your business practices.

Proactive is Better Than Reactive

Any security discrepancy could put your workday at risk, and it could be from something as simple as someone clicking on the wrong link or downloading the wrong attachment. Such a simple mistake could make a world of trouble for your company if you’re not prepared to handle it. Any solution you can implement to keep your company’s infrastructure safe makes it less likely that you’ll suffer from a security breach, thus reducing the time you spend reacting to them in the process.

Secure Your Business’ Future

Nobody wants to work with a business that doesn’t take its security seriously, especially if that business is housing important financial or personal information on their network to provide you with a good or service. The same can be said for your clients. If you aren’t careful with your security, any clients affected by negligence will leave poor reviews and tell others about their experiences, thus leaving you with slim pickings for potential new clients in the New Jersey community. It’s better to play it safe and implement security tools to protect your business now so you don’t suffer the consequences later.

Protect Your Assets

Of course, the lost productivity and lost customers are only the tip of the iceberg for the fallout of a data breach. Depending on your industry, you may also be subject to fines associated with various regulations and rules you must follow. If you don’t want these fines to break your budget and overwhelm your organization from both a financial and legal perspective, then you’d better be prepared to cough up some change for security solutions before you are affected by a data breach.