How AI Affects Us from Journalism to Politics

Sean Alunan our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 12/19/2019 10:47 AM
It’s been nearly 40 years since the War Games movie was released. Remember the computer voice, JOSHUA, who asked the infamous, “Would you like to play a game?”. The computer had been programmed to learn. You might call it a forerunner of Artificial Intelligence (AI) today. Except AI is no longer the little boy who becomes a stand-in for a grieving family. Now, we’re no longer watching a movie about AI, we’re living in its times.

But unlike a movie, we won’t find a solution after 90-minutes to two hours. Now, we must be cautious and pay attention or we will be leapfrogged by our own inventions. Can we change course at this late stage? As we enter a new decade, let’s take a look at some of the concerns and solutions posed by Amy Webb, author of The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity

How Did We Get Here?


As Christmas approaches, we are cajoled by memories and makers to buy back our past and cement our futures with things. Our desires for instant gratification keep us from planning for AI properly.

While it can be fun to watch AI play against Chess champions or worrisome to watch it direct our buying decisions, we remain secure in that its not yet to its full potential. But elements such as facial recognition and realistic generation cause concern for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is what will happen when systems make our choices for us.

From the Big 5 of Tech to your local commercial or paper, our minds are already often made up. And even when we’re presented with the truth, we may not even realise it because our AI capabilities have grown exponentially and continue to grow making us wonder…what if?

So, What Can We Do?


Businesses, Universities, and the Media all have a part to play. And in our image-centric world, the greatest of these is Media.

Universities can blend technical skills with soft skills and blend in degrees such as philosophy, cultural anthropology, and microeconomics just to name a few. The blending of these skills can offer a more robust understanding of the world around us. 

Businesses can work to ensure a more diverse staff and improve inclusion. Shareholders and investors can help by slowing down when considering investments in AI to allow for determining risk and bias before moving forward.

And when it comes to the Media, there’s general agreement the public needs greater media literacy. While AI-focused accusations of deepfakes in news and on television abound, there is a greater concern in that much of what people believe to be fake, isn’t. So, the question becomes, how does the media generate trust in a public that no longer believes what it  reads, sees, or hears?  It’s this casting of doubt which is the greater danger. Why? Because it requires no technology at all.

While it’s best to be informed, it can be tricky to navigate in today’s world. So, it’s up to not only the news consumers, but is up to researchers, journalists, and platforms to separate the wheat from the chaff. Or in this case, the real from the fake before the news reaches its audience.

From Socrates who taught his students to question what they learned to the students of the 20th century expected to remember only what was needed for a test; we have come full circle. But at a unique time in our world, in which the questioning has not much to do with challenging ourselves but is at best used to sow distrust. 

While tech companies like Facebook and Google have jumped on the bandwagon to expose fakes, others are moving into how to build trust. Again. At best, these startups offer comparisons of videos and images as the human eye works to discern the difference. 

But while tech may be advancing technological wonders by leaps and bounds, there remains a solid grounding of the human element. Humans are needed as content moderators to dispel fiction from truth. And in the media? There’s a renewed focus on training journalists to fact check, detect, and verify their stories. The human element adds a layer of nuance machines can’t yet emulate.

If you’re interested in AI, Big Data and Digital or Web Analytics, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our current opportunities, or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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Why Businesses Need To Put Fraud Prevention Front And Centre

If Fraudsters are anything, they are opportunists. Once the first new stories about COVID-19 started running, it wasn’t long until they were joined by tales of fraudsters selling face masks and hand sanitiser, asking panicked customers to transfer money and then disappearing without a trace.  And it’s not the first time we’ve seen this. Fraudsters are notoriously wise to periods of heightened sensitivity and uncertainty, often preying on the vulnerable. The 2008 financial crisis saw an increase in email-based phishing scams and a decade’s worth of technological advancements means that Fraud remains a many-headed beast.  Add into the mix a change in working styles and environments, and many businesses are more exposed to potential security breaches than they have been in years. Now, more than ever, companies need to make sure their Data is well protected and secure. THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE If you’re part of, or leading, a Fraud Prevention team, there are a number of ways you can support your business and keep on top of the situation. Here are just a few: Increase and update your investigation capacity. This team are the front line of your business’ Fraud defence team, interacting with customers daily and spotting new scams. During an uncertain period, retention and team stability is key. These are the people that understand the day-to-day Fraud challenges you face and will be essential in fighting any future challenges.  Sharing Fraud Prevention knowledge is key. Throughout this crisis, trends will be evolving quickly and working collaboratively across teams, and even other businesses, is the best way to combat this. We consistently hear from Fraud Managers that the key to beating Fraud is to share information and knowledge. Despite this, there is always a hesitation amongst companies to admit that they have been a victim to an attack. Perhaps now is the time to change this. Invest in Machine Learning and real time updates for your Fraud defences. Fraud technology has moved on from script writing in SQL and rule changes. Businesses need a real time reactive response and now is an important time to be embracing new technologies. There are a number AI-driven off the shelf packages available or, for a more bespoke solution, a Fraud Data Scientist can create something internally. Educate your team. It may seem simple, but the Fraud team can play a crucial role in minimising any potential risk from human-error. Educating employees on the risks they may face when working remotely, or what scams they need to look out for, is one of the most effective ways of fighting Fraud.  PREPARING YOUR BUSINESS Success in the fight against Fraud isn’t purely down to the group of individuals that make up the Fraud team. As a business, now is the time to be making decisions that can help you stay ahead of the Fraudsters. Here are some considerations: Consider investing in tech as an your immediate response. Not just to bolster your Fraud defences (although there are plenty of vendors offering AI-based solutions), but also technology for your employees to keep work as normal as possible such a sharing platforms, DevOps technology and video calling networks. One of the best ways to block some of the vulnerability loopholes fraudsters are trying to exploit is to keep working habits as close to normal as possible as you move to a remote solution. Be transparent with your customers. Consumers are being incredibly savvy and noting how businesses respond to the pandemic in a way that could have a big impact when normality returns. But they’re also being more empathetic and are willing to understand difficulties. For example, shopping delivery service Ocado were open and transparent when their system could not initially deal with demand. Having communicated the difficulties, worked through their issues and gone the extra mile to let customers know how they can be supported in this time, the received minimal backlash. There is an understanding that we’re all in this together. Finally, if you have the budget, continue to staff up - particularly in competitive fields such as Data Science. A lot of top Data professionals are currently at home and much more accessible than they have been in a long time. With a number of ways to remotely interview and onboard both permanent and contract staff, if you are able to get begin conversations with them now, you’ll have an edge in what will be a very competitive market come later in the year.  If you’re looking to take your next step in the world of Fraud, we may have a role for you, including a number of remote opportunities.  Or, if you’re looking to expand and build out your Fraud team, get in touch with one of expert consultants who will be able to advise on the best remote and long-term processes. 

Top Ten Tips: Video Interviewing for Data & Analytics Professionals

Large parts of the world may have moved to working remotely for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean that their projects have ground to a halt. And, with Data & Analytics at the forefront of many businesses ongoing strategies, their Data teams are continuing to grow regardless.  As a result, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of video interviews taking place as companies look to continue hiring and meet their growth and business goals.  For many, however, video interviewing will be an entirely new experience, one that throws a number of complications into the mix during an already unusual situation. With that in mind, we’ve put together our ten top tips for acing a video interview: UNDERSTAND THE TYPE OF VIDEO INTERVIEW “Live” interviews are ones where you’ll see another person on the end of the connection. These are typically conducted using Skype, Zoom or Google Hangout. For some interviews you’ll be recording your answers, expect these to be done using sites like Sparkhire. Ask your recruiter or contact with the business in advance so you know what type of video interview to expect. TEST YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION AND WEBCAM Test your connection for Skype, Zoom Google Hangout, or whichever interview platform you are specifically using. Do a test run to see how fast/slow your connection is to see if you will have any problems with the video that you may need to resolve beforehand. SOUND CHECK  Equally as important is how you sound. Having to repeat your answer because the interviewer couldn’t hear you will not only annoy the interviewer, it may disrupt your flow and throw you off guard. If possible, try not to use headphones, as they may make you look less professional (video interview or otherwise!), but audio quality is more important than appearance here, so check the audio in advance to be sure. CONNECT WITH YOUR INTERVIEWER IN ADVANCE  If you know who you’re interviewing with connect with them on LinkedIn beforehand or get their phone information. This is so you have a backup in case the video platform isn’t working and will save any last-minute panicking if the platform isn’t working. DRESS THE PART Just because the interview is over video doesn’t mean you don’t get dressed up for it. Dress how you would if you were having the interview face to face – first impressions count! Plus if you’re dressed smartly from head to toe it’ll help you feel best set up for success. LOOK BEHIND YOU  Interviewers can easily be distracted by what is happening behind you. If you don’t have a home office, use a room where you’ll have a wall or bookcase behind you which will look professional. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS Noise, music, children and pets can all be distractions to you and your interviewer. Be prepared to continue through the interview if your pet makes noise or your child barges in. Ideally if you can find a quiet space away from these distractions you won’t be interrupted. MAKE EYE CONTACT Interviews over video won’t replicate a live meeting. You have to proactively make sure you smile, make eye contact and speak clearly. Don’t fidget or make a lot of movement – if the connection is slow, you’ll appear fuzzy and out of focus. DON'T PREPARE AT THE LAST MINUTE You wouldn’t leave preparing to the last minute if you were meeting face to face so a video interview shouldn’t be different. Prepare your answers, questions to ask the interviewer and use post it notes if you need helpful reminders for video-specific tips (Look at the webcam! Smile! Speak clearly!). KEEP A GLASS OF WATER NEXT TO YOU It’s an ideal prop if you do need to take a couple of seconds to collect your thoughts before answering a question. Don’t substitute for a hot beverage (tea or coffee for example) as if you do spill you don’t want to be distracted by a burn or stain.  If you are looking for your next role, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest jobs, where you will find a number of remote working opportunities.  Or, if you are looking to make a remote hire, get in touch with one of our expert consultants and we can help you manage the process. 

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