As a part of a new blog series, Envisage will put each of its team members in the hot seat and interrogate them for information about their personality and opinions. Our interrogation methods include asking questions politely, making consistent eye contact, and nodding and saying “That’s interesting” to their responses. At the end, only one nerd will stand above the rest, as we work to determine Envisage’s Next Top Nerd!
…So, I’ve just received word that this is actually not a competition. That being said, I suppose it would be enlightening to learn more information about the humans behind all this cybersecurity. We’re not as private about ourselves as we are about protecting our clients’ data, so we’ll happily share some sneak peeks into our lives.
Our first candidate for this series is our very own fearless leader, Patrick Flaherty, who is a co-founder of Envisage! I sat down with Pat for a brief interview in his office this Friday.
Describe your favorite part of your job.
Actually learning new technologies, because it keeps it interesting. Other jobs, it’s a lot of the same thing, but with this job, only a small part stays the same but the majority of it is new stuff.
What’s one of your habits that you take pride in?
Running. I have a friend that goes with me and we run 3 mornings a week. It definitely helps to have a buddy to motivate you. [laughs]
If you could take a class on any subject/activity, what would you love to know more about?
Hmmm… There’s so many! I’ve always been interested in space travel—or, like what Neil Degrass Tyson studies. Astrophysics, I guess, would be the class I would take, because it’s so different from tech.
What impact do you try to make on your team?
I try to lead by example. Like, keeping up with new tech and learning all the time. To show it’s important for all of us to learn new things so we can be up-to-date on the latest information. And also, taking things to completion. Managing the projects to make sure all the tasks are completed. We all have to do a part in these projects, and if one piece fails, the whole project is compromised. So, we all have to keep up our end.
What are your predictions for tech?
Software is so complex. I think where we’re headed—and I’m not the only person saying this—is we will get to a point where it’s machine versus machine. We have AI now, and you have to think, even the Alexa is AI. We’re going to eventually have software versus software, because the software itself is doing all the work. So, AI software will be protecting cybersecurity, and software will also be doing the hacking. And we won’t have any idea it’s happening because the software will do all the work and learn on its own.
Will that mean it will be easier to be secure?
Well, yes, but also the flip side of that is that hackers can set up software that is intelligent and learns how to adapt to infiltrate protections.
Tesla is doing this right now with their self-driving cars. As it drives, it learns over time; after it sees a person walking a dog so many times, it learns that it’s not another car, it’s just a person walking a dog. As it feeds more information, the accuracy gets higher.
When I went to the Sophos conference a few months ago, there were some highly intelligent speakers that explained we can only see in three dimensions, but AI can process six to eight dimensions at the same time, and connect data points from across dimensions.
How do you think this will impact the average consumer?
It will mean there is more automation available. So, for example, an Alexa can recognize when your human shape walks in the door and it can turn on the light for you, versus if the dog moves around the room, it knows not to turn on the light for him.
I also have a little insider information to share about Pat: he was recently inducted into Walsh High School’s Hall of Fame for his performance as a basketball athlete in his youth! But he’d never tell you himself; that’s why we do it for him!
Congratulations Pat and thanks for being the first contestant on The Nerd is Right!