recentpopularlog in

jerryking : actionable_information   10

Computer vision: how Israel’s secret soldiers drive its tech success
November 20, 2018 | Financial Times | Mehul Srivastava in Tel Aviv.
.... those experiences that have helped such a tiny country become a leader in one of the most promising frontiers in the technology world: computer vision. Despite the unwieldy name it is an area that has come of age in the past few years, covering applications across dozens of industries that have one thing in common: the need for computers to figure out what their cameras are seeing, and for those computers to tell them what to do next.........Computer vision has become the connecting thread between some of Israel’s most valuable and promising tech companies. And unlike Israel’s traditional strengths— cyber security and mapping — computer vision slides into a broad range of different civilian industries, spawning companies in agriculture, medicine, sports, self-driving cars, the diamond industry and even shopping. 

In Israel, this lucrative field has benefited from a large pool of engineers and entrepreneurs trained for that very task in an elite, little-known group in the military — Unit 9900 — where they fine-tuned computer algorithms to digest millions of surveillance photos and sift out actionable intelligence. .........The full name for Unit 9900 — the Terrain Analysis, Accurate Mapping, Visual Collection and Interpretation Agency — hints at how it has created a critical mass of engineers indispensable for the future of this industry. The secretive unit has only recently allowed limited discussion of its work. But with an estimated 25,000 graduates, it has created a deep pool of talent that the tech sector has snapped up. 

Soldiers in Unit 9900 are assigned to strip out nuggets of intelligence from the images provided by Israel’s drones and satellites — from surveilling the crowded, chaotic streets of the Gaza Strip to the unending swaths of desert in Syria and the Sinai. 

With so much data to pour over, Unit 9900 came up with solutions, including recruiting Israelis on the autistic spectrum for their analytical and visual skills. In recent years, says Shir Agassi, who served in Unit 9900 for more than seven years, it learned to automate much of the process, teaching algorithms to spot nuances, slight variations in landscapes and how their targets moved and behaved.....“We had to take all these photos, all this film, all this geospatial evidence and break it down: how do you know what you’re seeing, what’s behind it, how will it impact your intelligence decisions?” .....“You’re asking yourself — if you were the enemy, where would you hide? Where are the tall buildings, where’s the element of surprise? Can you drive there, what will be the impact of weather on all this analysis?”

Computer vision was essential to this task....Teaching computers to look for variations allowed the unit to quickly scan thousands of kilometres of background to find actionable intelligence. “You have to find ways not just to make yourself more efficient, but also to find things that the regular eye can’t,” she says. “You need computer vision to answer these questions.”.....The development of massive databases — from close-ups of farm insects to medical scans to traffic data — has given Israeli companies a valuable headstart over rivals. And in an industry where every new image teaches the algorithm something useful, that has made catching up difficult.......“Computer vision is absolutely the thread that ties us to other Israeli companies,” he says. “I need people with the same unique DNA — smart PhDs in mathematics, neural network analysis — to tell a player in the NBA how to improve his jump shot.”
Israel  cyber_security  hackers  cyber_warfare  dual-use  Israeli  security_&_intelligence  IDF  computer_vision  machine_learning  Unit_9900  start_ups  gene_pool  imagery  algorithms  actionable_information  geospatial  mapping  internal_systems  PhDs  drones  satellites  surveillance  autism 
november 2018 by jerryking
Marty Chavez Muses on Rocky Times and the Road Ahead
NOV. 14, 2017 | - The New York Times | By WILLIAM D. COHAN.

Mr. Chavez is about as far from the stereotypical Wall Street senior executive as you can imagine, and that is one reason his musings about the future direction of Wall Street are listened to carefully.

He grew up in Albuquerque, one of five children, who all went to Harvard. He got a doctorate in medical information sciences from Stanford University. (At that time, he was known by his full name Ramon Martin Chavez.)

In 1990, Mr. Chavez came out, the day after he defended his doctoral dissertation. – “Architectures and Approximation Algorithms for Probabilistic Expert Systems.” He is one of the few openly gay executives on Wall Street. ......In his current role as Goldman's CFO, Marty views his job as a simple one that is hard to get right: “I’m not paid or evaluated on the accuracy of my crystal-ball predictions,” he said. “I’m paid to enumerate every possible outcome and do something about every possible outcome well in advance, when it’s still possible to do something, because once it’s happened it’s too late.”....Unlike many of his peers on Wall Street, Mr. Chavez does not complain about the extent of the regulation that hit the financial industry as a result of Dodd-Frank. Generally speaking, he says, the regulations have helped banks “confront their problems and capitalize and bolster their liquidity,” making them “stronger as a result,” and the financial system safer and more profitable.....Instead of complaining about the extra expense and manpower required to comply with the mountain of new regulations, Mr. Chavez chooses instead to think about it differently. “If you approach the regulations as ‘Oh, we’ve got to comply,’ you’ll get one result,” he said. He prefers thinking about the regulations as, “This makes us and the system and our clients safer and sounder, and yes it’s a lot of work, but what can we learn from this work and how can we use this work in other ways to make a better result for our shareholders and our clients? Everywhere we look we’re finding these opportunities and they’re very much in keeping with the spirit of the times.”

Like any good senior Goldman executive, he does worry. (Lloyd Blankfein, the Goldman chief executive, once told me he spent 98 percent of his time worrying about things with a 2 percent probability.)

His biggest concern at the moment is the risk of “single points of failure” in the vast world of cybersecurity (JCK: SPOF). He worries about any individual “repository of information” that does not have a backup and that can “be hacked.”

He does not even trust Goldman’s own computer system; he treats it as a potential enemy.

.....What also makes Goldman different from its peers is the firm’s love affair with engineers. At the moment, he said, engineers comprise around 30 percent of Goldman’s work force of about 35,000. It’s what drew him to Goldman in the first place — to work on Goldman’s in-house software, “SecDB,” short for “Securities Database,” an internal, proprietary computer system that tracks all the trades that Goldman makes and their prices, and regularly monitors the risk that the firm faces as a result.

He said the system generates some million and a half points of data that were used to calculate, for the first time, the firm’s “liquidity coverage ratio” — now 128 percent — and that were shared with regulators every day. He’s been busy trying to figure out how the newly generated data can be used to help him understand what the firm’s liquidity will be a year from now.

That way, he said, in his principal role as Goldman’s chief financial officer, he can perceive a problem in plenty of time to do something about it. “We’re able to get much better actionable insights that make the firm a less risky business because we’re able to go much further out into the future,” he said......
actionable_information  CFOs  cyber_security  databases  Dodd-Frank  engineering  financial_system  Goldman_Sachs  improbables  information_sources  jujutsu  low_probability  Martin_Chavez  proprietary  regulation  SecDB  SPOF  think_differently  Wall_Street  William_Cohan  worrying 
november 2017 by jerryking
6 Ways Pretend Investors Differ From the Real Ones
NOV. 21, 2016 | The New York Times | By CARL RICHARDS.

* Have a long term plan
* Don't react to every single event that happens in the short term. Financial pornography is not 'actionable information' on which to make a decision about.
* Make changes to my investments based on what happens in my own life. If my goals change or there is a fundamental change in my financial situation, then I should consider an alteration.
* Real investors know that it takes a long time for a tree to grow, and it will not help to dig it up to see if the roots are still there. The same rule applies to investments. And because watching things get big slowly is not very exciting, real investors tend not to talk about that tree all that much.
* Real investors understand the difference between the global economy and their personal economy (aka micro economy) and choose to focus on the latter.
* Focus on the things I can control, like saving a bit more next year, keeping my investment costs low, not paying fees unless it’s necessary and managing my behavior by not buying high and selling again when prices are low.
howto  investors  advice  personal_finance  beyond_one's_control  habits  microeconomics  personal_economy  actionable_information  long-term  span_of_control  financial_pornography  patience  noise  discretion  global_economy 
november 2016 by jerryking
Intelligence Start-Up Goes Behind Enemy Lines to Get Ahead of Hackers - The New York Times
By NICOLE PERLROTH SEPT. 13, 2015

iSight Partners, a company that provides intelligence about threats to computer security in much the same way military scouts provide intelligence about enemy troops....For the last eight years, iSight has been quietly assembling what may be the largest private team of experts in a nascent business called threat intelligence. Of the company’s 311 employees, 243 are so-called cyberintelligence professionals, a statistic that executives there say would rank iSight, if it were a government-run cyberintelligence agency, among the 10 largest in the world, though that statistic is impossible to verify given the secretive nature of these operations.

ISight analysts spend their days digging around the underground web, piecing together hackers’ intentions, targets and techniques to provide their clients with information like warnings of imminent attacks and the latest tools and techniques being used to break into computer networks.

The company’s focus is what John P. Watters, iSight’s chief executive, calls “left of boom,” which is military jargon for the moment before an explosive device detonates.... iSight's services fill a critical gap in the battle to get ahead of threats. Most security companies, like FireEye, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Intel’s security unit, focus on blocking or detecting intrusions as they occur or responding to attacks after the fact.

ISight goes straight to the enemy. Its analysts — many of them fluent in Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese or 21 other languages — infiltrate the underground, where they watch criminals putting their schemes together and selling their tools.

The analysts’ reports help clients — including 280 government agencies, as well as banks and credit-card, health care, retail and oil and gas companies — prioritize the most imminent and possibly destructive threats.

Security experts say the need for such intelligence has never been greater....the last thing an executive in charge of network security needs is more alerts, he said: “They don’t have time. They need human, actionable threat intelligence.”
cyber_security  security_&_intelligence  dark_web  hackers  intelligence_analysts  iSight  Symantec  threats  humint  spycraft  pre-emption  actionable_information  noise  threat_intelligence  left_of_the_boom  infiltration 
september 2015 by jerryking
Unlocking Secrets, if Not Its Own Value
MAY 31, 2014 | NYTimes.com |By QUENTIN HARDY.

Founded in 2004, in part with $2 million from the CIA’s venture capital arm, Palantir makes software that has illuminated terror networks and figured out safe driving routes through a war-torn Baghdad. It has also tracked car thieves, helped in disaster recovery and traced salmonella outbreaks. United States attorneys deployed its technology against the hedge fund SAC Capital, which was also an early investor in the company....Palantir’s software has been used at JPMorgan Chase to spot cyberfraud and to sell foreclosed homes; at Bridgewater Associates to help figure out investments for its $157 billion under management, and at Hershey to increase chocolate profits. The technology is complex, but the premise is simple: The software consumes huge amounts of data — from local rainfall totals to bank transactions — mashes it together and makes conclusions based on those unlikely combinations. Where is a terrorist attack likely to occur? What is a bad financial bet?...As Palantir expands into offering services to the private sector — now perhaps 70 percent of its business — Mr. Karp’s worry is losing control of what happens with its software....“The thing Alex worries about the most is they have a culture that’s hard to sustain as it grows,” said Mr. Carville, the Democratic consultant. “I take walks around Stanford with him, and he talks about it: ‘If we become something besides Palantir, what are we?’ ”...Palantir’s founders started with an idea from PayPal. At one point, PayPal was losing the equivalent of 150 percent of its revenue to stolen credit card numbers. It figured out how computers could spot activity — like a flurry of payments to a brand new account — at a global scale. ...“The idea was to pick one bank, and the rest would follow,” Mr. Ovitz said. JPMorgan was the first. Much as Palantir figured out navigating Baghdad by analyzing recent roadside attacks, satellite images and moon phases, it derived home-sale prices by looking at school enrollments, employment trends and retail sales. Data that JPMorgan thought would take two years to integrate was put into action in eight days.

JPMorgan still uses Palantir for cybersecurity, fraud detection and other work, loading half a terabyte of data onto a Palantir system each day, according to a Palantir video. ...Government clients also struggle with a data explosion. “Everything becomes more difficult, the more crime becomes global, the more state actors are involved, the more trades there are around the globe,” said Preet Bharara, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. “It’s malpractice to have records and not search them.” He has used Palantir for several cases, including the SAC investigation....Palantir is now Palo Alto’s biggest tenant after Stanford, occupying about 250,000 square feet in downtown buildings, which hold many of Palantir’s 1,500 employees. Contracts around the world have surged as everyone’s data increases in size and diversity.
Palantir  Silicon_Valley  CIA  security_&_intelligence  software  Michael_Ovitz  organizational_culture  massive_data_sets  Peter_Thiel  data  information_overload  cyber_security  fraud_detection  platforms  actionable_information  JPMorgan_Chase 
june 2014 by jerryking
How to develop the mind of a strategist Part 1 of 3 - Google Drive
Apr/May 2001|Communication World. Vol. 18,Iss.3; pg. 13, 3 pgs.| by James E Lukaszewski.

Management wants and needs:

Valuable, useful, applicable advice beyond what the boss already knows

Well-timed, truly significant insights (insight is the ability to
distill wisdom and useful conclusions from contrasting, even seemingly
unrelated, information and facts)

Advance warning, plus options for solving, or at least managing, trouble
or opportunity, and the unintended consequences both often bring

Someone who understands the pattern of events and problems

Supporting evidence through the behavior of their peers

To be strategic, ideas must pass four tough tests: They must help the
boss achieve his/her objectives and goals. They must help the
organization achieve its goals. They must be truly necessary (and pass
the straight face and laugh tests). Without acting on the strategy recommended, some aspect of the business will fail or fail to progress.
strategic_thinking  strategy  public_relations  Communicating_&_Connecting  generating_strategic_options  indispensable  JCK  howto  endgame  wisdom  insights  warning_signs  ambiguities  advice  job_opportunities  job_search  actionable_information  pattern_recognition 
september 2013 by jerryking
The Four Best (and Worst) Uses of Market Research| Page 2
April 9 2013 | | ChiefExecutive.net | Chief Executive Magazine | by Taddy Hall

Experience and research suggest that CEOs of many companies look for growth in the wrong places and in the wrong ways, thereby missing opportunities and leaving them for the newbies. In a sense, though, this is good news: success lies in doing things differently, not spending more.

Specifically, there are four approaches organizations often take, none of which reliably lead to the actionable insights business leaders need:

Seek and profile large, growing and profitable markets
Solicit feedback from current best customers
Segment markets based on customer attributes, such as demographics, or based on product characteristics like “high end” vs. “low end,” “regular” vs. “light,” etc.
Benchmark progress against competitors

In each case, it is easy to see why an industry leader might have interest in the findings; however, these outputs speak primarily to aspects of the existing business or to the franchises of other established players. In other words, mapping current demand reveals little to nothing of the less-visible latent demand that is essential fuel for transformational innovation. As Henry Ford mused a hundred years ago: if he’d asked folks what they wanted, they would have asked for faster horses. Echoing Ford, Steve Jobs noted that consumers can’t describe what they’ve never experienced.
market_research  disruption  Clayton_Christensen  high-end  latent  insights  growth  opportunities  transformational  customer_insights  innovation  large_markets  market_segmentation  customer_risk  actionable_information  hidden  Henry_Ford  Steve_Jobs  market_share  static  dynamic  segmentation  missed_opportunities  hiring-a-product-to-do-a-specific-job  unarticulated_desires 
april 2013 by jerryking
Prudential Research Model May Have Been a Dinosaur
June 8, 2007 | WSJ | Scott Patterson.

The decision by Prudential Financial PRU +0.70% to close its stock-research arm doesn't mean research is doomed, but it does signal an important shift. Deep-pocketed investors such as pension funds and hedge funds are hungry for exclusive, specialized research that can give them an edge over competition.

Experts say Prudential's research had become too widely distributed to draw enough interest, or dollars.

"The notion of widespread dissemination of a recommendation, that model is 40 years old," said Mike Thompson, director of research at Thomson Financial. "If you talk to the hedge funds, what they want are ideas that are actionable that not everyone gets."

The trend has given rise to independent, specialized research outfits. There are 63 independent research firms today, up from 14 in 2000, according to Thomson Financial.
equity_research  Wall_Street  investment_research  hedge_funds  pension_funds  exclusivity  nonpublic  slight_edge  proprietary  hard_to_find  novelty  interestingness  actionable_information 
february 2013 by jerryking
The Measure of Success
February 1996 | Across the Board | Brian McWilliams. About using a balanced scorecard.
(1) Profits are a lousy star to steer by. These organizations are attempting to navigate by a constellation of measures--including customer satisfaction, quality, innovations, employee development, and of course, financial soundness.
(2) Use scorecards that focus the organization on carefully chosen, "actionable" measures--things that business line managers and their employees can influence directly, such as customer satisfaction, yield and reliability.
(3) Any collection of non financial measures, will be the product of compromises. The information that's most strategic--how customers view you vs. competitors, for example--is nearly impossible to gather.And information that is readily available--your cost of processing an invoice, for example,doesn't tend to be highly strategic.
(4) Resource allocations are often subjective decisions, with the squeakiest wheels sometimes getting the grease. Most important, a single-minded focus on financial yardsticks doesn't ensure that investments are aligned with long-term corporate strategy.
metrics  boards_&_directors_&_governance  balanced_scorecard  Octothorpe_Software  actionable_information  Junior_Achievement  UFSC  measurements 
july 2012 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read