Author Archives: d.y.tkachenko

Future of jobs: Fragile or highly perspective?

Reading Time: 2 minutes


Hi, it’s me again. Today I’d like to address my thoughts on the future of jobs, which are backed by the latest forum in Davos that went under the topic: “The Forth Industrial Revolution”.

Here are some quotes from the forum that dragged my attention:


  1. “The current system is broken, we see high unemployment with unfilled jobs, rising productivity with stagnant wages, and economic recovery with declining upward mobility.”


  1. “The emphasis needs to be placed on skills. We will have to spend the money to educate our people – not just the children, but also people getting misplaced mid-career – so that they can find new jobs.”


  1. “Any kind of job is going to have a digital component,” stated Satya Nadella. “It doesn’t mean everyone’s got to be a computer scientist; digital technology can in fact bring skills to a much more under-skilled population because of their ease of use and the ease of access to technology.”


  1. “Jobs gains in the next five years will not be enough to offset expected losses”


  1. “You can put 3D printers in the villages, you can link them up to customers, you can cut out the intermediaries they needed to get to city markets”


Honestly speaking, after watching the forum, I had two thoughts in my head:

  1. “What a great future is waiting for us” – this is due to the talks that we’re going towards jobless reality where people will be free of any physical work and repetitive tasks. Future, where “boring stuff” will be done by AI and people will switch towards things they really like doing. Another idea mentioned on the forum was about basic income – fixed transfer pay, assigned for basic needs (e.g. food, maybe living and clothes) and given for nothing (no work required to get the money), so that people could stop worrying about their tomorrow-day, become less stress-exposed and switch towards “important stuff”.
  2. On the other hand, however, I am worried now, really. All the mentioned changes come too fast. I even learn how to code, and although I like it, the second reason for doing so is my fear of being unemployed in the future. And it is just about me, but what’s going to happen in a larger scale when AI will substitute people? We laugh at taxi drivers, since their job is unnecessary anymore amid popularity of Uber, but they seem to be unwilling to accept such radical changes and protest, by burning tires and other things people do when they disagree. I am quite anxious about such scenarios in larger scale, aren’t You…?

AI – a cure or a curse

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Almost one year passed since prominent personalities, such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates raised their concerns regards threats that AI brings to our lives in the nearest future and at the very beginning of 2016 online medias already seem to be flooded with all sorts of AI news which promise to be the year’s trend.

In the post I’d like to consider if AI is a real menace that can wipe us out within 20 years perspective or it’s about to give us the future our ancestors would only dream of.

First, let’s consider what Artificial Intelligence is and what goods it is able to offer us nowadays:

  1. Some academics describe AI as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”, but since it sounds too nerdy and boring I would rather say it is an imitation of a human intelligence which is able to handle dozens of problems the way people do but with a higher speed and success level. To add, it is still a programming but unlike writing text in word or playing a movie it changes humans and does their job in turn.
  2. To name the first good of AI, science and medicine are said to be first in the row where it is applied. Thus, AI is at work in hospitals helping physicians understand which patients are at highest risk for complications, and AI algorithms are helping to find important needles in massive data haystacks. For example, AI methods have been employed recently to discover subtle interactions between medications that put patients at risk for serious side effects.
  3. The second good is GPS and autonomous transport (which relies on it). We plan trips using GPS systems that rely on AI to cut through the complexity of millions of routes to find the best one to take.
  4. Personal assistants, such as Siri and Cortana embedded into our phones and computers that give us not only helpful vocal hints but also detect faces and recognize people.
  5. And the last example in this list is search engines which seem to know us better than we do, when predicting our intentions.

But as it always happens, after the rain of prayers, critics do spring up like mushrooms in a forest. Those point out at potential threats of novelties and like predicting bad scenarios. Amid well-known T-1000 with a machine gun destroying everything and everyone, such predictions sound alerting. Currently, they say these facts serve as points of concerns:


  1. Artificial Intelligence, is a computer program first of all and only then – intelligence. And like any other code it is exposed to break down sometimes, either giving the wrong outcome or lagging. It is fine with Windows, and everyone is used to it (yes, windows is a crap), but stakes rise significantly when it comes to serious tasks.
  2. Being undividable from the rest of the computer network, there are people who will try to challenge AI, thus break into its’ nature and force it to do something it is not supposed to.
  3. Bad instructions. As said before, high stakes bear serious threat if AI works improperly, thus like any other instrument it has not only to be free of bugs but also know its limits, e.g. have proper calibration. For instance, if a driverless car is to be asked to deliver a passenger to an airport as fast as possible, will AI consider it an urge to put the pedal to the metal and drive at 150km while running over pedestrians?
  4. And the last one, which is considered as the main threat by the mentioned personalities at the very beginning of the article, is when AI starts thinking far beyond of what it is supposed to think of. Once it gets really autonomous it might become a super brain, knowing everything better than people do, and who knows consider people as bugs in its own code or even bugs of the Earth who prevent it from a proper functioning?

As the conclusion, I need to say that AI doomsday seems to be more of a film scenario than a real life example, however, greater attention and control should be paid and imposed upon the way AI evolves, especially amid the level of interest towards it from all the parties: business, politicians, IT-ninjas and even regular people from the crowd, willing to master it.

Wrapify, yet another uber-family member?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Wrapify is an advertising Uber-family startup founded on February 2015 in San Diego. Their idea is based on matching car owners ready to wrap their cars into a fancy ad with those parties willing to advertise their products or services. The company offers 3 wrap options: full, partial and panel all paying different fares per mile driven within pre-agreed locations.

Clients will pay drivers $400 to $600 per month to do nothing more than drive a car as they typically do. To work. To the mall. To a friend’s house. And drivers will probably make more money when they’re sitting in traffic or drive through particular routes.

Advertisers are, of course, footing the bill here, paying per mile, per car fees to put their message on what amounts to moving billboards. The payoff here is a higher attention than provided by stationary billboards that cover only certain areas and seem to be omitted by drivers.

Being only 10 month old the startup has raised $1M in funding and a big interest from the drivers, which is far more than from advertisers. If the idea of placing ads on cars proves itself for firms, the startup has all chances to skyrocket.


And now some reflection:


When I think about this model of attention attraction, the difference I see compared to billboards on the walls of city buildings and billboards is that drivers are unable to omit a car with a catchy cover which is riding in front or behind, simply because of attention needed to avoid accidents. The same is about passengers who rarely look up to catch an ad banner but stare around when they are bored in the traffic jam and don’t sticked into their phones. The idea sounds fresh, however to me it is still unclear to what extent ad-wrapped cars will catch pedestrians’ attention and how it is possible to calculate viewers for such advertising model. As the company claims, for one month of stationary billboard ad costing $30K it is possible to wrap 25 cars and reach 21M views compared to 1.4M standard…

How do You think, does this model have a future? And what are the potential problems of trying this model here?

Please, FYI in more details on the startup:

Data on the guard of evil

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Recent horrific attacks in Paris caused me to reconsider information security issues and power of data analysis (see my post on a similar topic: I was pleasantly surprised when opened my Facebook and saw the notification, saying my friends were safe, although being in the close proximity to the points of attacks.


“Cool, but what if someone hacks Facebook/Twitter to use it for committing an act of terror?”, I thought. What will be the consequences if it happens on the global scale?

In the light of Russian invasion into the Eastern part of Ukraine, where I come from, it is possible to state that consequences of disinformation might have paralyzing effect.

Just to give a flavor of how powerful social media are nowadays: last year’s crash of MH17 board in the Donetsk region was promoted on the Internet (mainly Twitter and VK) as a shot of Ukrainian jet. The initial goal was to make a psychological pressure, both on government and people. However, after the attackers understood what actually happened (it took them 15 min. to understand), posted news were deleted right away from everywhere and all the channels used by them were flooded with the variety of versions, e.g. saying the plane was hit by Ukrainian jet flying after the civil board.

Another example might be messages, sent to soldiers who are in the area of fierce fights. Such information attacks set the aim of wreaking panic and disorienting the target.

Basing on the fact that ISIS and other terrorists are heavily present on the Internet and own high profile computer experts, I question myself if they might use social medias in their consequent attacks and what should be done to mitigate ones.

It was another example of how data can turn from the tool serving the common well into the weapon.

Keep calm and remember about protection, not only in the real life but in the virtual one as well, especially when the boundaries get more blurred!

Privacy in the Age of Big Data

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this post you will find an outline of the advantages and disadvantages of Big Data concerning the individual’s privacy. The article stresses the contrast between the merits and risks of Big Data in a short compilation, thus allowing the reader to get a clear picture of the current issues.

 Does the consumer need his privacy? Shall we, as consumers, adjust to the loss of at least some part of our privacy and settle for more comfort and better commercialized offers instead?

Privacy issues have always been raised in discussions over human rights and freedoms, but with the appearance of the Internet these concepts have slightly changed their meaning, and with the emergence of the Big Data they need to be revised once again by society.

First of all, the question arises what should be classified as personal information and where is the boundary line between privacy and publicity. Every day we buy coffee at Starbucks, paying with a credit card, post new photos to Instagram and fleeting thoughts to Twitter, leaving behind a huge amount of information imprints. Their processing with the help of advanced analytical tools allows us to make new discoveries and explore previously unknown nature of things, however, just as the Internet had once united people, thus threatening their privacy, we should ask ourselves, whether the Big Data will exacerbate this problem, or will become a springboard to a better future.


Before answering the question about the possible repudiation of the privacy for the sake of comfort, I would like to consider positive aspects of using the Big Data and our personal information in everyday life. In my opinion, they are as follows:


  1. Increase of stability. Analysis of large amounts of information allows companies to rely on more accurate forecasts when doing business, affecting all aspects of it, from finance and marketing to recruitment. Ultimately, handling more precise information leads to increased stability of national economies. Perhaps global financial crisis could have been avoided if financial institutions had checked their customers’ backgrounds more carefully when issuing loans. For example, analyzing social networks of customers in Facebook, banks would be able to make a conclusion about their surroundings, and analysis of their phone bills would allow making judegments regarding the efficiency of borrowers.
  2. Disease and crime prevention. Access to medical records of patients would allow detecting disease outbreaks in advance by analyzing patients’ symptoms. Thus, Google Flu Trends works successfully in this direction by analyzing users’ requests about flu symptoms. As for the crimes, banks, using data of their customers’ transactions more carefully, can identify those suspected of money laundering and other financial frauds.
  3. Moving from general to specific. Processing large amounts of personal information allows obtaining concrete results on a number of parameters, avoiding prejudice to the rights of people who accidentally get into statistical sample. For instance, getting more information about the lifestyle of a client, an insurance company will be able to offer him/her a better deal, although before this customer would have to pay a standard price.


Apart from the benefits that the Big Data and privacy refusal can give us, their use is associated with enormous risks and the caused damage might be irreparable. These risks, in my mind, might be as follows:


  1. Obsession with data. I believe that the widespread reliance on the Big Data and private information poses a latent threat, because with the increasing accuracy of the data processing tools their popularity will grow as well that eventually may lead to their use in inappropriate situations.
  2. The world is replete with examples of how monopolization of the entire economic sectors ends, one of such is the story of Standard Oil Company, which monopolized the whole refinery. Since the data in the information society is the same as the fuel in the industrial one, governments need to be vigilant and facilitate the creation of competitive environment in the field of data processing, avoiding the appearance of monopolies.
  3. National Security. Recent revelations of Edward Snowden about US government spying on its citizens caused a storm of criticism around the world. Undoubtedly, this issue deserves discussion, but the potential leakage of personal data of citizens can do much more damage to national security than the national governments shadowing their subjects.
  4. Maintaining privacy. Such methods of preserving confidentiality as consent to the processing of data, refusal of users to participate in the data collection or removal of already processed information gradually lose their effectiveness and jeopardize privacy of many users. Prolonged lack of adequate mechanisms of confidentiality control only exacerbates the problem by allowing uncontrolled use of received information, avoiding consequences.


Having considered the pros and cons of the partial refusal of privacy, I can conclude that each of us, sooner or later, should give up a part of the personal information for the common good and comfort. The Big Data offers great opportunities to humanity provided their rational use; otherwise they become a tool of repression and coercion, causing irreparable damage to people, and therefore, like any other tool, created by man, require careful handling and control.

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