Thursday, 26 July 2018

Interesting Reads – 2018-07-26

Interesting Reads – 2018-07-26



  • Cobots are transforming the factory floor — but they’re not replacing humans
  • How to Teach Computer Ethics through Science Fiction
  • With 'Make in India', India also needs a ‘Trade with India’ programme
  • Internet Addiction Disorder
  • 2018 Cyber Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Cyber Service Providers
  • Cryptocurrency is just one of seven types of cryptoassets you should know
  • 40 books, TV shows, and movies for people who care about the future of tech
  • ERP Applications Under Fire
  • We’ll soon have ten times more satellites in orbit – here’s what that means
  • What is a data scientist? A key data analytics role and a lucrative career

Events / Announcements

  • IEEE SMCS Thesis Grant Initiative 2018
  • Tutorial cum workshop on AI&ML
  • AICTE & NPTEL sign MOU to recognise NPTEL MOOCS as FDPs for faculty promotion under CAS
  • Paywall: The Business of Scholarship



Cobots are transforming the factory floor — but they’re not replacing humans

The increased presence of robots on factory floors has been a boon to manufacturers, who have embraced automation as a way to increase efficiency and cut costs. But there’s been less optimism among human workers, who worry that the rise of robots will render human workers inessential.

In recent years, however, a new school of thought has gained ground: Rather than replace their human counterparts, the manufacturing robots of the future will work alongside them. This future can be seen in the arrival of “cobots,” robots designed to complement human workers. While humans excel at abstract thinking and problem solving, robots shine at bringing speed and accuracy to repetitive, sometimes dangerous tasks. Imagine a factory where robots do the heavy-lifting as humans focus on more meaningful work, where production lines can run unsupervised for weeks with minimal manufacturing defects. In the connected industrial workforce of the future, robots complement workers, improve productivity, and increase operational efficiency.

This future is already here. Siemens, for example, is pioneering this transformation with its manufacturing plant in Amberg, Germany, where automated production lines run continuously with near-perfect production quality. Complementing that process are the plant’s 1,150 human employees, who maintain this efficiency by focusing on programming and monitoring the factory’s machines.

How to Teach Computer Ethics through Science Fiction

Computer science faculty have a responsibility to teach students to recognize both the larger ethical issues and particular responsibilities that are part and parcel of their work as technologists. This is, however, a kind of teaching for which most of us have not been trained, and that faculty and students approach with some trepidation. In this article, we explore the use of science fiction as a tool to enable those teaching artificial intelligence to engage students and practitioners about the scope and implications of current and future work in computer science. We have spent several years developing a creative approach to teaching computer ethics, through a course we call "Science Fiction and Computer Ethics." The course has been taught five times at the University of Kentucky and two times at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been successful with students, as evidenced by increasing and full enrollments; high teaching-evaluation numbers; positive anonymous comments from students; nominations and awards for good teaching; and invitations to speak about the course on conference panels and in talks.

Teaching ethics to computer science students is a pressing responsibility for computer science faculty but also a challenge. Using fiction as the basis for an ethics course offers several advantages beyond its immediate appeal to many students and some faculty. First, fiction offers students a way to engage with ethical questions that helps them cultivate their capacity for moral imagination; science fiction in particular can make the ethical stakes of blue-sky projects vivid, pressing, and immediate. Second, stories offer students the chance to develop their writing and verbal skills in ethical description. And finally, discussing ethics in the context of fiction can make it easier for instructors to adopt an open-ended approach required for a good ethics course. A course built around fiction enables instructors to incorporate the best and most useful aspects of a humanistic approach to ethics education while remaining close to the central technological concerns within computer science.

With 'Make in India', India also needs a ‘Trade with India’ programme

As growing protectionist tendencies continue to imperil the current global economic upswing, the world is on the lookout for a new champion of world trade. Under President Donald Trump, the US has abdicated. Europe is preoccupied and, perhaps, hesitant to fill the gap. China may be keen.

However, while President Xi Jinping explores how, and to what extent, China might assume this new role, India is facing a historic opportunity to, at the very least, complement China’s leadership. But 2 ..

Make and Trade: India’s government needs to complement its emphasis on manufacturing with a commitment to growth in exports. ‘Make in India’ was a step in the right direction. Now, it should be wedded to a parallel ‘Trade with India’ programme.

Internet Addiction Disorder

Signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments for those who may be addicted to the Web on their PC or smart phone.

What Is Internet Addiction?: Do you play video games on the Internet in excess? Are you compulsively shopping online? Can’t physically stop checking Facebook? Is your excessive computer use interfering with your daily life – relationships, work, school? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from Internet Addition Disorder, also commonly referred to as Compulsive Internet Use (CIU), Problematic Internet Use (PIU), or iDisorder. Originally debated as a “real thing,” it was satirically theorized as a disorder in 1995 by Dr. Ivan Goldberg, M.D. who compared its original model to pathological gambling. Since this hoax of sorts, the disorder has rapidly gained ground and has been given serious attention from many researchers, mental health counselors, and doctors as a truly debilitating disorder. Though not officially recognized as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), its prevalence in American and European cultures is staggering – affecting up to 8.2% of the general population. However, some reports suggest it affects up to 38% of the general population. The widely variable difference in prevalence rates might be contributed to the fact that no true and standardized criteria has been selected for Internet Addiction Disorder. It is researched differently among scientists and mental health professionals. And, it is researched differently across ethnic cultures.

2018 Cyber Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Cyber Service Providers

From the well-publicized Equifax, Uber, and Yahoo hacks of the data of millions of customers to the many smaller cybersecurity breaches we will never hear about, the modern-day cyber threat is real. Every organization, regardless of size, is susceptible to these threats and must take steps to protect against them.

To effectively protect your business requires a multifaceted approach, which differs for each organization depending on their size, needs, and vulnerabilities. While the best fit for one might be a tech start-up that offers insurance, another organization might feel more comfortable working with their longtime insurer and broker and their recommended vendors. But what if no one in your network offers cyber protection? Even if they do, how do you make sure you are covered from all angles?

Through careful research and outreach, Advisen has compiled the largest single source of cyber service providers available into the 2018 Cyber Guide, which contains 163 cyber profiles from 10 categories of cyber service providers.

Cyber Service Provider Categories: Broker; Carrier; Cybersecurity Software Provider;    Forensics & Cyber Investigation; Insurance Data & Analytics; Legal; Notification, Credit; Monitoring, Call Center; Pre-Breach Cybersecurity Consultant; Public Relations and Crisis Communication; and Training

This free e-PDF is a great resource for professionals looking to reduce the impact of an attack, or defend their company’s assets following a cyber event.

What’s included in a service provider profile?: Company description; Line(s) of business;     Personal contact information of a representative; and Optional entries customized for each line business (such as how many cyber-related claims a carrier handled in 2017 and the number dedicated cyber insurance underwriters they have)

The guide is formatted as a “smart” e-PDF file, which allows you to navigate through provider profiles by line of business or by alphabetical order. Email links are active, and a top button allows you to return to the table of contents at any time.

As cyber threats become more and more commonplace, it is imperative to avoid putting your business in jeopardy. The 2018 Cyber Guide can help you accomplish this by directing you to those best qualified to protect you and your customers.

Cryptocurrency is just one of seven types of cryptoassets you should know

Two years ago, the entire cryptoasset market had a value of $9 billion. Had it been a public company, it would barely have cracked the S&P 500 index. Fewer than two years later, the cryptoasset market is $300 billion in size, roughly double the market capitalization of RBC, Canada’s largest lender.

The explosion (and recent pull-back) of value in cryptoassets like bitcoin and ether has captured the imagination of developers, and the attention of the media, governments, central banks, the investing public, and regulators. It has made enthusiasts euphoric, Nobel laureates skeptical, and old-school billionaires dyspeptic. Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway went so far as to call bitcoin “noxious poison.” Is there any other kind of poison?

To be sure, there is a lot of hype in this market, and the industry must confront such implementation challenges as scaling technology and regulatory uncertainty. But beyond the hype and mania, something profound is happening—the creation of an entirely new digital asset class.

This new asset class will transform every industry in the economy, from financial services to pharmaceuticals, media to manufacturing. Existing assets like stocks and bonds will become digital assets and new yet unforeseen assets will emerge, enabling new decentralized business models based on collaboration and clever code. Understanding the various types of cryptoassets, and the different functions they serve, is crucial to thriving in this new decentralized digital economy.

In the updated version of Blockchain Revolution, we break them down into at least seven categories:

40 books, TV shows, and movies for people who care about the future of tech

In an interview earlier this year with the New York Times (paywall), Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he could have never imagined a future in which the software he developed would be used to interfere with elections. But many have warned about the potential for misuse, and it’s not a stretch to think that the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which involved the misuse of data from millions of Facebook users, is just the tip of the iceberg. Shortly after that interview, Facebook announced a new dating service, extending its reach further into our personal lives and our personal data. How will people use—or abuse—this tool, and what will the consequences be?

Tech ethics may seem like an abstract concept best left to philosophers and lawyers, but you don’t need to pass the bar or get a PhD to predict the unintended consequences of technology—you may just need to read books and watch movies.

If you want to understand how technologies like artificial intelligence may shape the future of health, romance, law, and government, you could do worse than to ask a sci-fi writer.

Through fictional stories, creative thinkers of the past and present can help technologists anticipate challenges and opportunities created by technology. Lowe’s Innovation Labs and ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination are already employing science-fiction writers to better understand the future of technology and humans. The Design Futures Initiative hosts conferences and meetups on “speculative design” that bring scientists, researchers, designers, writers, and filmmakers together to envision the future.

As Facebook and Uber dominated headlines, the fiction enthusiasts at Luminary Labs generated a list of books, movies, and television shows that should be on every technologist’s radar. We came up with nearly 100 suggestions in less than an hour and whittled the list down to 40 works of fiction; If you care about the impact of technology on our lives and want to imagine a wider range of possibilities, start with this small sampling of stories.

The following list may include spoilers, and links point to Wikipedia sources that summarize plotlines in further detail.

ERP Applications Under Fire

The findings of this joint research between Digital Shadows and Onapsis shed light into how nation-state actors, cybercriminals and hacktivist groups are actively attacking these applications and what organizations should do to mitigate this critical risk. Key highlights include:

  • Hacktivist groups are actively attacking ERP applications to disrupt critical business operations and penetrate target organizations.
  • Cybercriminals have evolved malware to target internal, “behind-the-firewall” ERP applications.
  • Nation-state sponsored actors have targeted ERP applications for cyber espionage and sabotage.
  • There has been a dramatic increase in the interest in exploits for SAP applications, including SAP HANA, in dark web and cybercriminal forums.

We’ll soon have ten times more satellites in orbit – here’s what that means

The Iridium-7 mission has successfully launched from the Vandenberg air force base in California, placing the latest ten satellites from the American company’s second-generation network into orbit. Deployed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Iridium now has 65 new NEXT satellites in the sky, just one away from the intended total. The plan is to be fully operational by the autumn.

There are currently 1,738 active satellites in orbit. Mega constellations will increase that by an order of magnitude in the next few years. As well as the strain on bandwidth, the Earth’s orbit is going to become much more congested.

This raises important environmental questions. Some operators such as OneWeb have made encouraging noises about managing the end of life of their satellites, but serious concerns remain. There’s an opportunity for the next generation of space entrepreneurs to be true pioneers by establishing a sustainable way of working in space.

What is a data scientist? A key data analytics role and a lucrative career

Data scientists are responsible for discovering insights from massive amounts of structured and unstructured data to help shape or meet specific business needs and goals. The data scientist role is becoming increasingly important as businesses rely more heavily on data analytics to drive decision-making and lean on automation and machine learning as core components of their IT strategies.

Becoming a data scientist varies depending on industry, but there are common skills, experience, education and training that will give you the leg up in starting your data science career.

Events / Announcements

IEEE SMCS Thesis Grant Initiative 2018

The System, Man, and Cybernetics Society happily presents the SMC Thesis Grants Initiative for 2018! The aim of this initiative is to recognize the outstanding Student, Graduated Student and Young Professional members of SMCS who, early in their career, contributed to major advancements of theory, technologies, and/or applications of systems science & engineering, human-machine systems, and/or cybernetics. Accomplishments include theoretical and technological advances, improvements in processes, or development of new products or procedures related to the fields of interest of the Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society. Further information can be found via

Submission deadline of the applications: August 7, 2018

Tutorial cum workshop on AI&ML

IEEE Bombay Section in collaboration with the India Council is planning to organise a
day-and-a-half long ‘Tutorial cum workshop on AI&ML’ during August 10-11, 2018 at
National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Powai.  In this tutorial cum workshop, experts from Industry and Academia will give insights on AI, Machine learning and deep learning frameworks, algorithms and applications of ML and DL in different sectors and will also cover challenges and opportunities using these cutting edge technologies.

Poster competition for students: Students will be preparing posters to demonstrate how they propose to solve one of the following challenges using AI&ML. Posters should be printed on 3’ x 6’ flex and bring for presentation. A softcopy of the same should also be submitted. One hour poster presentation will be scheduled. There are prizes to be won for the best posters. Following are the topics for the posters:

  • Robotic process automation
  • Design of Chatbot for FinTech or operations
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Supply chain intelligence using AI&ML
  • Financial forensic audit using AI&ML
For more details, schedule and registration:
For further assistance or help, email to:

AICTE & NPTEL sign MOU to recognise NPTEL MOOCS as FDPs for faculty promotion under CAS

Notification from AICTE and the details reg. NPTEL courses is at

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship is a documentary which focuses on the need for open access to research and science, questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with the top academic publisher Elsevier and looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.

The film will be released September 2018. Staying true to the open access model: it will be free to stream and download, for private or public use, and maintains the most open CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons designation to ensure anyone regardless of their social, financial or political background will have access. 

If you are interested in screening this film at your university, please fill out our contact form at

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