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February Dinner Meeting Recap E-mail
Written by George Orlin   

Artificial Intelligence: Driving Exponential Innovation

Have you ever thought to yourself: "What would it be like for someone from the 1700's if they were dropped into 2019?"

AI Dashboard


Tim Urban, American futurist and creator of the inquisitive and cheeky blog Wait But Why, asked himself the same question. His answer? They would simply die, overwhelmed with the enormous amount of progress. This concept would become known as DPU, or "Die Progress Units": the amount of innovation and progress that needs to occur before a previously unexposed audience simply dies upon being exposed to the innovation.

Artificial Intelligence: The driving force towards the next DPU

 

AI Attendees


In our most AITP dinner, Alex Vayner, Data Science & Artificial Intelligence Leader at Capgemini, explored what we could expect from the next "DPU" that would likely occur in the dramatically short time between now and 2030, primarily due to the explosion of progress in artificial intelligence and cognitive automation. Alex described a near future where AI would augment and enhance human capabilities, from driving vehicles to making better business decisions. Many were left asking the question, "what really is the magic behind AI that could bring these ideas to fruition?"

Alex's explanation was that AI is a collection of mathmatic and statistical algorithms aimed at answering specific questions, from understanding natural spoken language to identifying an emotion in an Instagram image.

AI Instagram

 

Additionally, the reason that AI is becoming more prevalent in recent years, is due to a perfect alignment of several factors that have set the scene to turn mathematical theory from the 50's into a reality in 2019. These factors include:

AI Factors

Over the next 50 years, we will likely experience incredible progress in the realm of AI. Imagine machine generated New York Times bestsellers appearing in 25 years, robotic surgeons in 35 years, and computer-automated math research in 45 years. Our ability to innovate is exponentially increasing with the power of cognitive computing.

Sounds great, so how does this all work?

Under the hood of AI

Today, for AI to deliver the right answer to our questions, it will need carefully curated algorithms and an enormous amount of training data. These algorithms are first represented in code using high-level programming languages such as Python, Scala, and R. The algorithms are then deployed onto powerful compute hardware such as GPUs and refined using very large sets of annotated training data. As the GPUs power through millions and billions of records of this training data, the machine "learns", and the confidence level of the algorithms is continuous measured until the algorithms are able to consistently annotate unannotated data correctly.

This process is typically facilitated by a data science team, referred to by Alex as a "POD". The POD consists of four different experts, with specific responsibilities necessary to produce a meaningful AI solution. A typical "POD" might look like this:

AI Pod

Some of the titles in this "POD" are probably familiar to you. In fact, countless economic sources state that they are amongst the most desirable and in-demand jobs in 2019.

About AITP Atlanta

Does emerging technology fascinate and inspire you? Are you looking to learn more about high-tech including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity?

Then we have some great news… AITP Atlanta is shaping up to be the premier forum of discovery and innovative thinking for local technologists in 2019. We’d like to invite you to join a tight network of professionals, just like you, on the journey to the cutting-edge of the possible across the technology industry.

AITP Cityscape

Association of IT Professionals (AITP) is the leading association for technology professionals, students and educators. Join us to build your professional network, strengthen your technical knowledge and soft skills, develop a personal career path, and keep current on technology and business trends. Be part of the community that continues to push technology forward and join thousands of other tech professionals as an AITP member.

 

 
March Dinner Meeting Recap E-mail
Written by George Orlin   

Artificial Intelligence: Driving Exponential Innovation

While countless organizations and companies invest in increasingly advance cyber-security measures, the human user has remained the weakest link in the entire structure.

March Speaker


While countless organizations and companies invest in increasingly advance cyber-security measures, the In our latest AITP Atlanta dinner meeting, Gregory Evans, an often-televised cyber-security thought leader, addressed the challenges associated with establishing true protection against data theft and malicious hacking when the penetration often occurs at the user level. Ultimately, effective protection against cyber-attacks and "hacking" requires cyber-awareness at the user level; to become "cyber-aware", means that you need to start thinking like a hacker.

Hacking 101


In an effort to help the group to start to think like a hacker, Gregory addressed the typical five-stage process of hacking:
uman user has remained the weakest link in the entire structure.

 

Hacking


Reconnaissance: This is the primary phase where the Hacker tries to collect as much information as possible about the target. It includes Identifying the Target, finding out the target's IP Address Range, Network, DNS records, etc.

Scanning: It involves taking the information discovered during reconnaissance and using it to examine the network. Tools that a hacker may employ during the scanning phase can include dialers, port scanners, network mappers, sweepers, and vulnerability scanners. Hackers are seeking any information that can help them perpetrate attack such as computer names, IP addresses, and user accounts.

Penetration: Vulnerabilities discovered during the reconnaissance and scanning phase are now exploited to gain access. The method of connection the hacker uses for an exploit can be a local area network (LAN, either wired or wireless), local access to a PC, the Internet, or offline. Examples include stack based buffer overflows, denial of service (DoS), and session hijacking.

Advance: Once a hacker has gained access, they want to keep that access for future exploitation and attacks. Sometimes, hackers harden the system from other hackers or security personnel by securing their exclusive access with backdoors, rootkits, and Trojans. Once the hacker owns the system, they can use it as a base to launch additional attacks. In this case, the owned system is sometimes referred to as a zombie system.

Covering Tracks: Once hackers have been able to gain and maintain access, they cover their tracks to avoid detection by security personnel, to continue to use the owned system, to remove evidence of hacking, or to avoid legal action. Hackers try to remove all traces of the attack, such as log files or intrusion detection system (IDS) alarms. Examples of activities during this phase of the attack include steganography, the use of tunneling protocols, and altering log files.

In summary, a number of cybersecurity technologies and measures can be implemented to hedge against the risk of a hacking incident as described above. However, cyber-awareness remains one of the most effective measures to protect against damaging breaches.

Rubrik: Enterprise Backup Recovery 

Rubrik
How can organizations restores their environments and enterprise data after a breach?


Rubrik, our latest meeting event sponsor, has developed a self-learning system built to index massive amounts of data while globally executing tasks in a fault-tolerant and efficient manner.

This allows the fastest recoveries from On-Prem to Cloud. All powered by Rubrik's Smart Engine.







About AITP Atlanta

Does emerging technology fascinate and inspire you? Are you looking to learn more about high-tech including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity?

Then we have some great news… AITP Atlanta is shaping up to be the premier forum of discovery and innovative thinking for local technologists in 2019. We’d like to invite you to join a tight network of professionals, just like you, on the journey to the cutting-edge of the possible across the technology industry.

AITP Cityscape

Association of IT Professionals (AITP) is the leading association for technology professionals, students and educators. Join us to build your professional network, strengthen your technical knowledge and soft skills, develop a personal career path, and keep current on technology and business trends. Be part of the community that continues to push technology forward and join thousands of other tech professionals as an AITP member.

See you at our next dinner event!

 

 
January 2019 Dinner Review E-mail
Written by Programs   

What is the deal with Robotic Process Automation?

 

RPA

In our most recent AITP meeting, Mary Elizabeth Hooper, Director IT - Innovation, Robotics (RPA), Customer View, Adoption and Service Measurement/Reporting at Synovus helped demystify RPA.

In a nutshell, RPA is like a macro. Many of us have used or built macros in our careers; oftentimes through tools like Microsoft Excel. Similar to the Macros of years past, core RPA technology is not thinking, is not learning, it is only “doing”. Core RPA tools follow a set of rules to perform a sequence of automated actions with the goal of acting like a human. There are certain forms of RPA that are more advanced, automatically enhancing rules engines based off of “learning” from the continuous executions of actions and observations of outcomes. A good example are many chatbots; chatbots, while appearing fascinatingly intelligent, are often simply guided by a set of rules initially programmed by a human or adjusted by an algorithm.

At a certain point, when the technology begins to “reason”, navigating the “gray-area” in between rules, it transcends from being an RPA solution to a Cognitive Automation solution. These solutions support many advanced capabilities including natural language processing. Google Home, Alexa, and Watson are all examples of Cognitive Automation solutions.

While this makes sense, what is the value to a business? Mary shared her perspective garnered from her experience at Synovus:

Large businesses, especially those that grow through mergers and acquisitions, are constantly faced with the challenge of wrangling their data. Oftentimes, key financial and company data lives in different forms in different systems; many of these systems are legacy without effective mechanisms (like APIs) to access that data. In this state, business analyst resources have to invest significant time to manually query, access, and re-key data to create the necessary aggregate reports for the business. To combat this manual requirement, the IT teams for these large businesses are often asked to undertake the difficult task of integrating these systems through a complex programming effort. So how does RPA help?

RPA allows those manual business analyst tasks to be automated through a series of steps and rules. Query a database? Copy a record? Enter it into a spreadsheet? All automated into the RPA equivalent of a macro. The end result is an automated workaround for having to deal with legacy systems, saving the time and expense of having human resources perform those tasks manually.

In a perfect world, where system effectively “talk” using standard open APIs, the need for basic RPA would fade. However, we are a long way away from that utopian view. As long as businesses are continuing to rely on disparate, siloed systems of record, RPA will continue to be a valuable tool for navigating the chaos.
RPA

 

 

 
2nd Annual Mingle & Jingle E-mail
Written by Steve Wright   

 

2018 in Review

 

What an amazing evening!  CompTIA AITP Atlanta’s 2nd Annual Mingle Jingle event was another memorable gathering.  As November is our last meeting of the year, we like to get together to enjoy each other’s company and share that AITP comradery that we have all grown to appreciate. We also wanted to send special thanks to Sizzling Peach for the phenomenal, gourmet meal!
 
In keeping with tradition, we recapped an amazing year of discussion topics, which included:

  • January:  Demystifying Blockchain with Ganesh Ramamurthy from OFS
  • February:  IoT and Atlanta with Cynthia Curry from Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
  • March:  DevOps Kickoff Meeting with Armond Honore of Fluffy Cloud
  • April:  5G and IoT with Kyle Moniz of Verizon
  • May:  GDPR & Data Privacy with Ryan Edge of OneTrust
  • June:  5th Annual Women Leaders in Technology with Amy Auriemma, Tina Allen, Kim Seijo, Muthoni Richards and Kathy Hackl
  • September:  12th Annual CIO Roundtable with Dr Mark Campbell, Walt Carter, Bradley Dick, Tom Bland and Justin Mason
  • October:  Edge Computing with Laron Tangeman of GE Digital
  • November:  2nd Annual Mingle Jingle

AITP Atlanta wants to extend our sincerest gratitude to all our discussion leaders and panel participants.  Without you, these events would not be possible.  We would also like to invite everyone to our 2019 roster of events.  2019 is shaping up to be our best year yet, with a series of exciting and interesting monthly meetings including:

  • Robotic Process Automation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Data Science
  • Bio-metrics
  • 5G
  • 3D Printing
  • And much more…
Of course, we’ll have our staple meetings including the Women Leaders in Technology forum and CIO Roundtable, and we will also be hosting our 2nd AITP Golf Tournament!

The new Board of Directors has been nominated and will be officially voted in at our January meeting, so please join us to meet and get to know the hard-working group of professionals who will ensure another great year of learning and networking with Atlanta’s longest standing Technology network group, CompTIA’s Association of Information Technology Professionals!
 
Thank you all again for your interest and participation.   It’s the people who contribute to our meetings that make them so compelling!  We’ll see you and your associates next year!
The 2019 Board of Directors wish you and your families and happy and safe holiday season.

Best – Steve
 
2018 April Dinner Recap E-mail
April GuestsIt’s already here! As we learned from Verizon’s Joseph Howard and Vijay Patel at the April meeting, Atlanta is a test zone for 5G wireless. With so many IoT applications, the need for is increasing and with speeds up to 30 to 50 times faster than 4G, it’s easy to get excited. Other benefits include low latency enabling the technologies needed for autonomous vehicles, for example, to become a reality.

The group learned that 5G is low range, requiring more direct/line of sight connections. Initial implementations are point to point. This will be the biggest challenge for 5G – establishing an infrastructure to enable it.

Another challenge discussed is security. Segregating IoT services to a wireless 5G network provides a security benefit allowing users/companies to keep their networks private while providing high speed, convenient services.
At one point we even played “where’s Waldo?” in relation to all the IoT services provided to us regularly. By 2020, it is predicted 20.4 billion things will be connected globally.
3G-4G-5G
Augmented gaming, LED street lights, gunshot detection, and more are already being tested. Check out this video to see a live test of the 5G network:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw2GT95Vyxc.   AITP Atlanta would like to thank both Joseph and Vijay for their time and sharing Verizon’s exciting innovations around 5G wireless! 

Please join us for our next meeting, held the 3rd Thursday of May – 5/17 – at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.  We will be hosting Ryan Edge, Solutions Engineer with OneTrust who will be leading the conversation on the topic of Security – specifically Data Privacy.  There is so much out there on this topic, but one thing really stands out – specifically for the month of May – GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation.  GDPR was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14th, 2016 and will officially be in place on May 25th, 2018.   This new regulation will have a far-reaching impact, and if your organization isn’t talking about it, I’m sure it will soon! 

Registration for this event will be available shortly on our home page at www.aitpatlanta.org.    If your company is interested in sponsoring one of our events, please reach out to Steven Wright at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  There are several opportunities for sponsorships, from individual meetings, to Gold and Silver options, as well as for our upcoming 2nd Annual Golf tournament being held in August. 

As always, if you like what AITP is doing, please consider membership – it has its rewards!

See you in May! 

Best – Mary Beth

Mary Beth Marchione
AITP Atlanta Board of Directors
Student Chapter Chair
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
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