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18
May
2017

Google Unveils Free Cloud Based Access to World’s Most Advanced AI Chips

by Bill

At their annual Google I/O conference Google’s top execs unveiled what many in the tech industry are calling a revolutionary new piece of hardware. A chip more advanced than any other in history, specifically geared toward machine learning and artificial intelligence. However, while the chip’s existence is big news, the way they intend to deploy it has become an even bigger story.

According to CEO Sundar Pichai Google is now an “AI first company” and as he explained to Wired Magazine, Pinchai believes “One of the most exciting things we all can do is demystify machine learning and AI. It’s important for this to be accessible by all people.”

For that reason, Google is making its new AI chips available to everyone via cloud based services that will enable developers, researchers, and even marketers to utilize their raw data and an unprecedented amount of computing power to make better decisions about nearly everything.

Until recently in human history, businesses were always tasked with finding ways to acquire sufficient amounts of data. In the last decade or so that challenge has changed completely. Now, most businesses are drowning in too much data and are in desperate need of a way to analyze it all. If these new chips live up to their lofty expectations, it could represent a quantum leap forward for consumers and merchants in nearly every sector imaginable.

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15
May
2017

New Home Sensors Redefine AI Smart Houses & Data Security Risks

by Bill

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University just unveiled the next generation of in home sensors that could lead to a fully “smart home.” These sensors do all the things that current sensors do, but in a whole new way that greatly expands their reach. Instead of just detecting if your light is on or off, they detect factors such as heat, light, magnetic properties and other qualities that would let it know if a light is on or off. This means that the sensors can basically sense anything that is happening in your home, and could be the first step towards your house knowing when you need more paper towels and ordering them from Amazon or WalMart online even before you notice you are low.

This is a great progression of technology but it is a little scary, simply because of how much data would be available to the general public. This would make hosting for the makers of these devices’ data very important. Not only would there be more data, but there would be more devices and a DDOS attack to your home would be very devastating. There have been way too many sci-fi movies where the computers controlling everything have gone wrong and ruined more than just the day of the main characters. For example, the researchers making this technology did not even want to put a camera on the sensors because of privacy concerns. Whoever takes this technology and makes it a commercial product is going to have to work very hard to address the security issues that it may present.

However, don’t let these warnings scare you off from trying new technology. It’s important to be open to trying new things, but make sure you and your data are protected by using smart and safe hosting and web services from National Net.

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02
May
2017

FCC Chairman Announces Plan to Dismantle Net Neutrality

by Bill

Net Neutrality is ThreatenedDuring a speech today in Washington Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai announced his intention to reverse an FCC decision to classify broadband Internet access providers under the Obama administration as “Title II” common carriers, which put them in the same category as traditional telephone companies. That re-classification had allowed the FCC enough authority to impose Net Neutrality as a requirement for all wireless and desktop broadband providers. If the Title II status is changed, the FCC would no longer have that authority and Net Neutrality would soon be extinct.

“Going forward, we cannot stick with regulations from the Great Depression meant to micromanage Ma Bell,” Pai said.

The FCC will vote on the proposal during an open meeting May 18th and that will kickoff a series of intense legal battles with proponents of Net Neutrality clinging to hope that the Administrative Procedure Act if 1946 will be able to save it. That law prohibits federal agencies from enacting “capricious” decisions, with the intent of the law helping to foster stability and order. Since the FCC successfully argued in favor of Title II reclassification in federal court last summer under the previous administration, legal scholars believe Pai will have to show with solid supporting evidence that enough has changed since that time to justify a complete reversal of policy.

Huge money is at stake for broadband providers and mobile carriers wishing to create ‘toll lanes’ on the Internet, while content providers like NetFlix and YouTube stand to gain or lose billions of dollars depending on the outcome as well.

Perhaps even more important to this controversial policy change is the role of regulators in a grander sense. Are administrative bodies like the FCC intended to take a long term view of regulations, or are we destined to live in a world where each election brings sweeping reforms aimed at vanquishing the rules established by a prior administration and leaving everyone with far more chaos to content with as we attempt to do business online?

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21
Apr
2017

Proliferation of DDOS And Other Attacks May Quickly Grow Due to Human Ignorance

by Bill

We have reported several times about the dangers caused by third-party attacks against individual websites and entire data centers. Many of the recent attacks are being done by criminals utilizing IoT (internet of things) devices to amass a huge volume of addressable connections without much human interaction. However, that may all be about to change.

There are many digital security experts working to secure devices like home thermostats, and connected appliances to overcome IoT attacks in the future, but new initiatives that seem to be aimed at making use of idle computing power are about to open up an entirely new ecosystem for coordinated attacks by unwitting human participants.

A recent article on OZY.com detailed one initiative that is presenting itself as the Airbnb of Computing and lauding the enterprise as a way for people to earn small residual income by essentially renting out CPU time and storage space on a home computer while they are away from their keyboards.

The basic problem with the premise is that an Airbnb guestroom doesn’t attack someone when you rent it out to a guest, but your internet connected computer can easily be added to a botnet by a nefarious customer and become a serious security concern for you, and everyone else once you give a clandestine third-party access to its connection protocols.

Legislative ways to prevent a garage door opener from shutting down websites are already being drafted, but perhaps we should all back up a bit further and start helping our neighbors understand that their computer isn’t something they should be renting out to anyone for pennies per hour in this day and age.

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12
Apr
2017

Details of New Congressional Rules On Selling User Data Revealed

by Bill

Recently Congress voted to change the way companies can utilize user data. More importantly they removed restrictions on what kinds of information a company can collect and sell with regard to its customer’s information. Some shrugged off these changes with a ‘business as usual’ sort of apathy, but now as the facts become more clear it appears these changes go a lot deeper than they may have expected.

A recent motherboard report exposed the details of the new legislation and privacy watchdog groups are far from happy. Financial and medical information is at risk, Social Security numbers which were once considered completely private, web browsing history information, mobile app usage, and even the content of your emails or online chats may all be included under the broad umbrella of what House Republicans decided to let ISPs sell.

The house action was quickly pushed through Congress by a 215-205 majority vote on largely partisan grounds. The Senate passed its own version during the previous week and President Trump has already said he strongly supports the FCC privacy rollback.

The big winners of course are the corporate giants including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon whose billions of dollars from internet, cable, and mobile subscriptions may soon become secondary income streams when compared to the new data mining treasure trove they are now authorized to monetize.

“What the heck are you thinking?” said Rep. Michael Capuano, the Massachusetts Democrat, during floor debates earlier Tuesday. “What is in your mind? Why would you want to give out any of your personal information to a faceless corporation for the sole purpose of them selling it?”

It’s a fair question, and one that may go largely unanswered publicly, unless those same ISPs start selling the previously private chat logs and email histories of legislators who discussed passing these bills in the first place a few months ago when those communications were properly protected.

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06
Apr
2017

Net Neutrality on Legislative Chopping Block Again

by Bill
With the new presidential administration there have been a lot of changes in many different areas politically which impact the way we communicate digitally. Most recently, congress passed legislation that would allow your internet service providers to sell your browser history to companies including marketing entities.

Now, the newest technological aspect that may be up for change are the net neutrality laws that were put in place a few years ago. Net Neutrality ensures that ISPs can’t throttle access to sites if they don’t like them, or charge sites money in order to give them priority over others. The new white house press secretary Sean Spicer said in a press conference that the new administration views these laws, which were put into place in 2015 as an “overreach” on the part of the Obama administration, and it is one more piece of legislation that they hope to reverse.

This administration feels that the privacy laws and net neutrality laws currently in place are harmful to job growth and other economic factors, including technological innovation. However, simply repealing these new net neutrality laws might not be as simple as the other recent changes that have happened, since it was not a law that was passed through congress, but legislation that was decided upon by the FCC itself. In addition, when the FCC was taking comments on the topic of net neutrality, they received over 1 million comments, most of which were in favor of keeping the internet open for everyone. This suggests that a large number of people are going to become really disappointed if these regulations go away and the net becomes a capitalistic free for all for ISPs.

Whatever happens, you can always be sure that NationalNet will continue to do everything we can to protect our client’s data, expedite website loading speeds and to keep you informed of the latest legislative changes so that you can make the best decisions for your business.

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27
Mar
2017

Your Browsing History May Now Be Up For Sale

by Bill

Recently, the US senate voted to get rid of some regulations that would have made it illegal for internet service providers to sell your browsing history without your permission. So, that means that now the consumer browsing habits of millions of Americans may now be up for grabs to the highest bidders.

The original rules were put in place in 2016, under the previous democratic administration, but ever since they took office, the new republican administration has been looking to change things up. The rules aren’t officially eliminated just yet, as it still needs to pass in the House of Representatives, which is also controlled by republican congressmen who many predict will vote the same way.

FCC Chairman Ajit Patel said that the reasoning for this change in rules is because he feels that people might get confused if ISPs have different rules than online companies like Facebook who sell and use your browsing data from within their site.

The current rules don’t bar the ISPs from collecting this data entirely, they simply make it so that they would have to get the user’s permission, and then also clearly notify them about what types of information they were going to collect. With net neutrality also in the minds of consumers these days, some worry that ISPs are going to be making a mint from them on all angles – sites will pay ISPs for speedy access, consumers will pay for service as they do now and now the providers will make some extra dough from their intimate data. Industry experts explain that the data at stake is quite personal. An ISP could learn what time a person wakes up, how they are feeling that day, where they go around their town and their favorite places to shop.

It’s certain that things are going to change in the coming months. Whether you want to find ways to secure your data or to market the data you collect, this is a story worth following and we have  got our finger on the pulse of what is happening so that we can help to keep you informed, much the same way we are on the job with award winning  24/7/365 support to monitor your hosted accounts and keep your digital business moving forward.

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16
Mar
2017

Intel Invests 15B In AI Chips – That Will Still Require Human Support

by Bill

This week Intel announced it will be paying $15.3 Billion to acquire an Israeli company named Mobileye that develops chips and cameras for self-driving cars and trucks. This follows their $16.7 Billion acquisition of Altera in 2015. The Altera buy was aimed at AI technology that allows machines to learn from their own past experiences.

Once dominant in the chip making market back when everything was done on servers or desktops, Intel is rapidly looking to evolve as computing takes on new forms via mobile devices, VR and AI offshoots that will impact the way virtually every electronic item works in the coming months or years. New neural networks analyze data using specialized chips for machine learning. Intel is determined not to miss the next chip wave the way it missed the switch to mobile.

In tech nobody ever seems to act alone, and others are also pushing into the driverless car and tech sector in big ways. Uber of course, and Microsoft recently revealed the use of ARM chips in its data centers, signaling far less reliance on old server technologies and a real tipping point toward the transition that will eventually lead to servers that learn data patterns and perform better as a result.

Companies need new AI chips in their data center to train powerful neural networks, and chips in devices to help execute the models developed on those networks. In the near future we will all see a rapid deployment of chips capable of evolving based on the data they collect and data throughput patterns will be automatically optimized based on real word conditions from moment to moment. However, even the best AI still lacks the ability to provide human support or to engage in the kind of overarching design work necessary to put the chips to work in the best configuration as newer technologies become available.

While we applaud Intel’s move to bring technology forward and make the advantages of AI readily available across a wide range of computing services, we also understand that our new AI colleagues will still require assistance from NationalNet’s most important asset – qualified professional people capable of interfacing with both the AI tech in our servers and the demands of real world clients seeking comprehensive support from our staff.

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10
Mar
2017

DeepStack Algorithm Cracks Poker As Milestone for Computing Unknowns

by Bill

Carnegie Mellon computer scientists achieved a major new computational milestone with their algorithm DeepStack recently. Now the full analysis in the peer-reviewed journal Science is available to the public.

Artificial intelligence has made previous breakthroughs in other games like Chess where each player has a full understanding of all the game specifics at every moment of the content. However, in a game like poker where key information is missing, bluffing is possible and players can make illogical moves computers have continued to struggle… until now.

Poker is the quintessential game of imperfect information, and with DeepStack, combining recursive reasoning in innovative ways, the algorithm was able to handle “information asymmetry, decomposition to focus computation on the relevant decision, and a form of intuition that is automatically learned from self-play using deep learning” according to its creators.

In a study involving 44,000 hands of poker, DeepStack defeated professional poker players in heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em card tournament play. Obviously poker is just the first of many applications for this kind of computational advancement. As we all live in a world that provides us only a limited viewpoint with an imperfect amount of information available prior to virtually any decision we make in business or personal life, the ability of artificial intelligence to assist humans in navigating difficult choices may soon be a reality.

Here at NationalNet, utilizing new AI to protect client data security, predict data throughput patterns and anticipate bottlenecks that can be further optimized before they occur are potential ways to deploy DeepStack styled technologies, and we are keeping a close eye on their continued development as part of our own vigilant approach to making sure our clients are always holding a winning hand.

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03
Mar
2017

Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better Than A More Focused Approach

by Bill

If you were on the internet on February 28th 2017, you may have noticed that some of your favorite websites had some major problems. This is because Amazon’s S3 hosting service had a major outage that revealed just how many people use their convenient services. Websites and apps that people use every day and depend on for news or help with organization like Medium and Trello were down, as were other services like the group communications app Slack. S3 is a cloud storage service that many people use to host their website files, including Amazon itself.

According to a report about the incident in Wired Magazine, Amazon was reporting high error rates, mainly on the East Coast, with their S3 service, which prevented the service from functioning as it should. While this isn’t worrying in general because Amazon was able to fix the issues in a relatively short time frame, it does show how the internet can be easily affected when so many people use the same services. Some sources estimate that Amazon hosts at least 1% of the internet, though they won’t say exactly how large they are. However big their stores of data are, you can bet they are huge. Wired reports they have data centers all over the world, but when one goes down, especially one like the East Coast center which is apparently the largest, many popular web technologies are affected. This illustrates why it is so important for businesses to have a hosting company that is really tuned in to your specific needs, to stay competitive.

Personalized hosting from us here at National Net does put you ahead of the pack. When you sign up with us you won’t just be a little dot on the biggest server farms out there, you’ll be a valued client with access to 24/7 customer service and around the clock vigilance and support!

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