Oct 27

WONDERS & BLUNDERS: The Robot Uprising Has Begun

Talk about blunders! The country is still reeling from last week’s “unprecedented” hack, which commandeered daily household items to cause a major global internet outage. Not only are we living in fear of our baby monitors, but employees in the financial industry are overwhelmingly worried that new technology will take their jobs. With all the hand-wringing about our new robot overlords, at least we can rest assured that the top 1% still wants to conduct business as usual!

Your Electronic Toothbrush Broke the Internet
During Friday’s massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on DNS service provider Dyn, users around the world were unable to access hundreds of major websites including Twitter, Airbnb, and Fox News. Hackers used a new type of malware that siezes control of “the internet of things” (IoT), everyday web-enhanced items including home routers, baby monitors and yes, toothbrushes to overrun Dyn with overwhelming traffic. The NYT estimates that 6.4 billion IoT devices are connected to the web, and cyber crime through home networks will only rise. Here’s to hoping that organizations like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) can keep up with hackers by proactively identifying software vulnerabilities, which are often identified during competitions offering millions in prize money.

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The Robots Took My Job
Business Insider reports that 47% of employees in financial services believe technological advancements are putting their jobs at risk. Their fears are not without merit: ING cut 7,000 job earlier this month as part of its “digital transformation.” And as customers eschew brick-and-mortar banks in favor of mobile banking, “regtech” advancements replace large compliance teams, and “robo-advisors” replace human judgement with algorithms to manage client portfolios, more and more employees will likely watch their hard-earned skills and expertise become redundant.
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At Least the Billionaires Still Want Business as Usual
The “Tax Samurai,” a robo adviser powered by an artificial intelligence bot aggressively named “Katana,” has been designed to automate tax management for high-net-worth clients. OnWallStreet reports that Katana uses large troves of data to “learn and adapt” to changes in tax circumstances without the “emotional biases” of a human advisor. The ultimate goal is to provide live financial planning and alerts, estate and trust services, and eventually even full family office and legal functionality – all without human intervention. The only problem? The product has had “zero traction” with its consumer base, which prefers “human interaction” – including “humor and empathy” – and has the funds to pay for it. Score one for the bone bags.
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