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Business Tech Roundup: Expert: Microsoft Windows AI Recall A Security “Disaster”

By June 9, 2024No Comments

Here are five things in tech that happened this week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

(This column originally appeared in Forbes)

1 — Windows AI feature that screenshots everything labeled a security ‘disaster’.

Microsoft’s Recall for Copilot has raised privacy concerns with cybersecurity experts. The Windows AI feature automatically takes screenshots of tasks performed on a PC. In the event important data is lost, Recall can retrieve it in seconds. This feature was found to have potential security risks as cybersecurity expert Kevin Beaumont discovered and shared when he tested it. He warned that hackers could access sensitive information that Recall stores in a database. Microsoft has stated there are privacy controls built into the feature. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Like any AI feature, this one needs some time to get more fully tested. I would be instructing my IT team to de-select Windows Recall on your Windows 11 devices for now and re-evaluate in another six months or so. Windows Recall does have some very good potential, but it seems a little early to implement in your business and the security concerns raised are legitimate.

— LinkedIn expands video ads, AI tools to help B2B marketers.

LinkedIn is expanding its Wire Program, designed to help B2B (Business-to-Business) marketers craft their brand. This initiative offers access to resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to help companies expand and reach more potential customers. The expansion includes additional benefits such as access to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, expanded marketing opportunities, and more support for businesses at various stages of development. (Source: Search Engine Land)

Why this is important for your business:

LinkedIn has become a very important marketing vehicles for many businesses, particularly those that sell B2B. I use it for my own company and we’ll be testing them in the months to come. I strong suggest you do the same if you’re using LinkedIn.

3 — Zoom CEO envisions AI deepfakes attending meetings in your place.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan discussed the potential future of “digital twins” participating in meetings on behalf of an employer or employee. “Let’s say the team is waiting for the CEO to make a decision…my digital twin really can represent me,” he offered as an example. This idea has been met with resistance given the significant risks such as AI deepfakes attending meetings on behalf of users. The “hallucination” factor that has been documented when chatbots respond to certain questions is also problematic. “…those problems, I truly believe will be fixed,” Yuan said, but didn’t provide specific details on when or how such features might be implemented in Zoom’s platform. (Source: Ars Technica)

Why this is important for your business:

Getting used to “digital assistants” impersonating real employees in order to attend meetings will take some getting used to. Adding the risk of deepfakes will only complicate this adoption. Like Windows Recall above, here is yet another example of AI technology that’s very early days and likely hasn’t received the level of usage and testing necessary to not only deem it effective, but safe. I would use this feature sparingly and re-evaluate it’s potential in another six months.

4 — AI-backed robots roll through Seattle construction site, speeding build process and improving safety.

In a Seattle construction project, AI-powered robots are revolutionizing the building process. Deployed by construction company Skanska, the robots take hi-definition, 360-degree photos of the site. According to Stewart Germain — Skanska’s director of innovation — they can navigate the site without supervision and can climb stairs. The photos are then uploaded to the company’s AI-powered system to help maintain quality-control and safety among other issues. This innovation reflects the growing adoption of AI and robotics in the construction industry, promising greater efficiency and improved working conditions for construction workers. (Source: GeekWire)

Why this is important for your business:

Exciting stuff which will only get better with time. Skanska is a big company, with about 35,000 employees. And this is exactly what I’ve been writing about regarding AI in 2024: it’s being deployed by big companies after making big investments. Ultimately this technology will trickle down to small and mid-sized firms, so keep an eye out.

5–70 percent of restaurant SMBs using instant payments instead of checks say convenience is top benefit.

Seventy percent of small and medium-sized restaurants are utilizing instant payments, citing convenience as the primary advantage — according to data collected by this Pymnts report. With instant payments, restaurants can streamline transactions and improve cash flow, enhancing their operational efficiency. Additionally, this trend reflects a broader shift towards faster payment methods in various industries, driven by the demand for quicker and more convenient financial transactions. (Source: Pymnts)

Why this is important for your business:

Does this surprise you? It did for me. I would have thought that restaurants would be drawing out their payments longer in order to facilitate their cash flow but that doesn’t seem to be the case, and that makes sense. Digital payments not only ensure a more real time cash flow analysis (matching payments with receipts in more timely manner) but certainly would keep vendors and suppliers happier.

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