Artificial intelligence in various forms is not a panacea for every problem, but it can help enterprises fend off cyber attacks and get better at what they do.

Artificial intelligence in various forms is not a panacea for every problem, but it can help enterprises fend off cyber attacks and get better at what they do.

Former US intelligence officer Drew Perez is an old hand at making sense of vast volumes of data using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in the name of counter-terrorism and national security.

Armed with this know-how gleaned over 30 years, Perez founded Adatos, a Singapore-based AI startup where he adapted recently declassified methodologies and software used by US defence and intelligence communities to produce data-driven insights quickly.

“We’ve been doing this in the intelligence community for decades,” says Perez. “There’s really nothing sexy about it, because it just works.”

The intelligence community first discovered machine learning during World War II at the UK Government Communications Headquarters at Bletchley Park, where the famed German Enigma codes were broken using techniques that laid the foundation for computing and AI.

Since then, Perez says intelligence services and the US military have been using machine learning and AI to process vast amounts of data, with previously unmanageable signal to noise ratios.

“The current demands in counter-terrorism require precise, accurate insights delivered in the span of minutes,” he says. “A key contest in war will be between adversary cognitive systems – artificial and human – to process information, understand the battlespace and decide and execute faster than the enemy.”

While AI and machine learning are not new to military and intelligence communities, the world has been enamoured by their ability to beat chess masters and human opponents in TV game shows over the past decade.

Much of these developments have been fuelled by rapid advancements in computing power – think Moore’s Law – and large volumes of data being generated by sensors and mobile devices.

However, Perez says the hype and expectations around AI and machine learning today may lead to disappointment, if people are expecting Ex Machina-type humanoids with the ability to think like humans do.

“AI, if defined by the expectations of cognitive functions that mimic humans, is still largely in a development stage, but it doesn’t mean it can’t solve real-world problems much more efficiently,” Perez says.


Marketers should not waste their time or money hiring data scientists as the information businesses are collating is often not good enough to justify their high salaries, a former US intelligence officer and data analyst has said.


Drew Perez, founder of tech firm Adatos and a 26-year veteran of the US Department of Defense, also warned marketers not to view machines, and more specifically artificial intelligence, with trepidation and stressed machines are no substitute for humans when it comes to creativity.

“This is not Terminator Judgement Day,” he told delegates at the Mumbrella Finance Marketing Summit. “It’s up to us humans what we let machines do.”

Perez, in an address titled Rise of the Machines, said too many businesses have “dirty” data, telling the conference that a data scientist “is the last person you need to hire”.

“Do not hire a data scientist despite what the Harvard Business Review says,” he said. “It is said to be the sexiest job in the 21st Century. If you want to be sexy, go for it.

“But the reason [for not hiring a data scientist] is that they don’t scale. Second, if the data is crap, dirty, not indicative – and just because you have a lot of data does not mean that it’s indicative or relevant – they don’t have a job.”

He said data scientists are paid salaries of US$200,000 or US$500,000 “but they can’t do anything” but clean the data and get it ready to “train the machine”.

“Artificial intelligence is basically this. You train a machine to think,” Perez said. “To do that you had better be a good parent and send your child to the best school.

“Send them to a prep school and give them a crap education is going to give you crap, and that is the elephant in the room.

“Because you hire a data scientist does not mean you are going to get anything but crap if your data is crap.”

Asked later to clarify his comments, Perez said scientists were not a waste of money, but repeated his assertion that they “don’t have work to do if your data is not indicative”.

When companies receive data there are three scenarios, he said.


“Is the data rich enough to be indicative, and if it’s not you’ve got nothing. Maybe it is, but you may have to beg, borrow and, if you’re a government, steal to enrich it. The third outcome is yes, you do have something and then you can do something with a data scientist.

“But for the most part…it is highly probably that you don’t have indicative data.”

Perez warned marketers on two fronts: not to distrust machines or think they will solve creative problems.

“If you don’t trust the machines you are not in the game. If you think it’s all Terminator Judgement Day you are missing the point,” he said. “But don’t misunderstand it or have the wrong expectation because if you want AI to be creative in an artistic way, this is not what machines are good for.

Use machines for what they are good for, and that is menial and repetitive tasks at extremely low cost. Use humans for what we are good for. It’s a partnership. If you know how to blend it to your advantage you have a winning team.”

Perez also stressed that companies have a responsibility not to abuse the power of machines at the expense of the workforce.

“Whenever I train someone in my company the last thing I go through is the morality,” he said. “Yes I can deploy a box to replace a call centre with 10,000 trunk calls but is it responsible for me to deploy technology like that that displaces 10,000 jobs in a developing nation?

“You play this game, you have responsibilities.”


By: Steve Jones
As published in mUmBRELLA on September 23, 2016


© KPMG Singapore

© KPMG Singapore


Adatos, the company which specializes in building intelligent machines for big data analysis has been admitted into the KPMG Digital Village, a symbiotic ecosystem matching, fostering and forging innovation ventures between companies and start-ups.

KPMG’s significant experience in advisory across many industries and Adatos’ extensive experience in developing Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered solutions make it an ideal collaboration to serve their clients with leading-edge technological solutions for their businesses.

“We are thrilled to have been admitted into the KPMG Digital Village, KPMG’s ecosystem of innovators and corporates who are collaboratively embracing innovation to drive actionable solutions,” said Mr Drew Perez, Founder of Adatos. “The collaboration with the KPMG Digital Village will allow us to develop innovative and more directly relevant solutions for clients.”

Adatos has extensive experience in developing solutions that impact several industries, with an increasing focus on financial services and retail. The solution has many applications with particular focus on four capabilities, namely Prediction, Profiling, Recommendation, and Detection. The applications include Credit Scoring, Purchase Prediction, Sales Forecasting, Product Recommenders, Intrusion Detection, Anti-Money Laundering, and Fraud Detection. 

Adatos Intelligent Machines autonomously learn and evolve with data to provide increasingly accurate predictive insights. Adatos applies its proprietary AI technology, which is based on recently declassified technology developed within the US Intelligence Community, to provide their clients with superior data analysis at unmatched speed and accuracy. Adatos technology enhances the capabilities of a client’s data science team, or provides clients with the capability where it didn’t exist before.

Mr Lyon Poh, Head of Digital + Innovation at KPMG in Singapore said, “We welcome Adatos into the KPMG Digital Village. We are excited at the opportunity to connect our clients with the next generation of AI technology that will take their businesses to the next level.”

With Adatos, KPMG will be able to better serve their clients’ need for big data analysis by utilizing Adatos proprietary AI technology, providing them with superior technology and a refined solution that has been applied across several industries. These solutions provide clients with opportunities to increase revenues, minimize risk, and increase overall efficiency.


About Adatos

Adatos is a data science company which specializes in building intelligent machines for big data analysis. Adatos applies its proprietary Artificial Intelligence technology, which is based on recently declassified technology developed within the US Intelligence Community, to provide their clients with superior data analysis at unmatched speed and accuracy. Adatos has extensive experience in developing solutions that serve several industries, with an increasing focus on financial services and retail.

For more information, visit


About KPMG Digital Village

KPMG Digital Village is a collaborative innovation ecosystem consisting of corporates, investors, start-ups, educational institutes and experienced mentors from KPMG and industry alliances. It aims to match the needs of corporates and investors with the supply of innovation from the likes of start-ups and research and development (R&D) houses.

For more information, visit


About KPMG in Singapore

KPMG in Singapore is part of a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. The KPMG network operates in 155 countries, with more than 174,000 people working in member firms around the world. In the ASEAN region, member firms operate across all 10 countries of this regional grouping providing professional services supporting the growth, compliance and performance objectives of our clients.

The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

For more information, visit


Please contact the following for more information:

Krishna Tanwani                                                                                             Media & Communications, Adatos Pte. Ltd.                                                 Mobile: +63 917 8964432                                                                                 Email:

Kelvin Lee                                                                                                       External Communications, KPMG in Singapore                                             Tel: +65 6507 1534                                                                                           Email:



Adatos will provide big data analysis services powered by their proprietary AI technology.

From the left: Co-founder and President of J-Grab Inc., Mr. Atsu Wada; CEO of Showcase-TV Inc., Mr. Masahiro Mori; Founder of Adatos Pte. Ltd., Mr. Drew Perez; APAC Account Manager for Adatos Pte. Ltd., Mr. Krishna Tanwani

From the left: Co-founder and President of J-Grab Inc., Mr. Atsu Wada; CEO of Showcase-TV Inc., Mr. Masahiro Mori; Founder of Adatos Pte. Ltd., Mr. Drew Perez; APAC Account Manager for Adatos Pte. Ltd., Mr. Krishna Tanwani


Showcase-Tv Inc (Tokyo, Japan; Tokyo Stock Exchange Code: 3909; CEO Masahiro Mori) has made a business alliance with Adatos Pte Ltd (Palo Alto, California, USA; CEO Drew Perez). Adatos provides big data analysis services powered by proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, which is based on projects developed by IARPA (The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity). Showcase-Tv will provide and introduce Adatos’ software and analysis services to Japanese end-clients in financial and e-commerce industries. Showcase-Tv will also conduct R&D for new product development using a mix of technology from both Showcase-Tv and Adatos.

Background of this business alliance

Showcase-Tv established R&D institute “ShowcaseLab” in January 2016 which conducts studies of the following: web information analysis technology, web terminal cognitive technology, big data, machine learning (deep learning), AR/VR, O2O, FinTech, user credit analysis, and IoT. There are growing needs amongst Showcase-TV’s clients including: the prevention of abuse by hackers; big data analysis utilizing AI; increasing sales; and improving customer satisfaction for financial (such as banks, insurance companies, securities, credit card companies) and e-commerce clients. To meet these client needs, Showcase-Tv will provide big data analysis services using Adatos AI technology.  

The effect of this business alliance

Showcase-Tv will meet its clients’ needs for the prevention of abuse by hackers, big data analysis utilizing AI, increasing sales and improving customer satisfaction by utilizing Adatos technology. Showcase-TV will also utilize the Adatos technology to further develop its product “ZUNOH” (a data marketing platform which was built based on accumulated conversion and users’ behavior data that aims to maximize conversion rates for clients).  Showcase-Tv will also continue the R&D of high value “OMOTENASHI” services (the deeply rooted Japanese concept of offering the best service by anticipating customer needs and giving more than expected) by adopting leading-edge AI technology.


Showcase-Tv Inc.                                                                                         Head office: Shoei Akasaka Building, 3-21-13 Akasaka, level 4F Tokyo, 107-0052

CEO: Masahiro Mori                                                                                   Incorporated: February 1, 1996                                                                       Business Domain: The “NaviCast” Suite, which uses optimization technologies to specifically boost conversion rates on websites.                 URL:

Contact:                                                                                                        Showcase-Tv Inc.                                                                                           Business Development Department/Public Relations                                   TEL: 81-3-5575-5102                                                                                       Email:


As published on Showcase-TV website on July 1, 2016.


Plainly stated, Adatos' mission is the democratization of bleeding edge data analysis capabilities for the private sector.

A the heart of this mission is the empowerment of emerging market communities the world over to build on their Data Science knowledge base and apply these methods for game-changing economic growth.

Adatos Co-Founder Drew Perez spoke at a series of high profile conferences about Big Data in the Philippines, sharing his insights from three decades of experience as a US Intelligence Analyst.


DevCon Summit 2015 (Nov 13-14, 2015)

Drew Perez was an invited speaker at the biggest developer conference in the Philippines - DevCon Summit 2015.

The Philippine Software Industry Conference (Nov 4-5, 2015) 

How to be competitive: Drew Perez sat as an expert speaker and panelist at the Philippine Software Industry Conference. 

Founder Institute: Startup founder 101 (Oct 8, 2015)

Drew Perez was featured at the 'Startup Founder 101' speaker series hosted by the Founders Institute, base of the world's premier launch program for talented entrepreneurs. 

IPC Philippine Cloud Summit (Oct 7, 2015)

On cloud computing and creating customer impact: 3 global experts, 1 groundbreaking event. Drew Perez leads with 'Data Science 101: The Art of Analytics' and speaks about redefined IT boundaries and best practices to apply in order to succeed. 


A company which uses recently declassified US military technology and machine learning to crunch data and come up with insights is launching its presence in Australia and New Zealand today.

Adatos was founded last year by former US intelligence analyst Drew Perez, who says its technology uses intelligent machine learning to bring together disparate data sets, crunch the numbers and spit out findings which can help marketers identify trends or answers to business problem more quickly.

It is being led by director David Perez and former Audit Bureau head Paul Dovas as its manager in Australia.

Paul Dovas, Country Manager of Adatos Australia

Paul Dovas, Country Manager of Adatos Australia

Drew Perez told Mumbrella: “Big data is ubiquitous, but the problem is getting enough data scientists to extract the insights from it. That’s where machine learning comes in.”

“If you have a data scientist who wants to test a hypothesis it might take them three months to write and tweak an algorithm. Using machines they can do 10 or 20 in that time.”

Adatos launched in the third quarter of last year in Singapore, and Drew Perez told Mumbrella while it has applications across a range of different industries it is focused primarily around retail and marketing in Australia.

But he said while it was useful for both large and small enterprises, they had found smaller companies had the agility to make more use of the insights.

But Perez stressed it was not about cutting jobs, rather using technology to make them more efficient.

“What you find quite often in big corporations is there are gatekeepers such as the data science or IT teams that can make it slower for relatively new technology to be adopted,” he added.

The tech is able to take inputs of structured and unstructured data to come up with insights which may help companies deal with things like high churn rate, marry-up point of sale with web traffic data, or optimising marketing campaigns across demographics.

Perez said Adatos asks three questions of companies before they decide if they should take up the system.

“The first thing we ask: is their data clean and do they have access to it? Then, do you have the maturity to use novel technology? Is your company set up to adopt contrarian approaches which may end up in competitive advantages?

“And third, do you have the wisdom to use the knowledge that is gleaned to be acted upon? If these three factors aren’t present it ends up not being a productive relationship.”

Perez said while “every regional market is different” the company is now exploring opportunities in Australia and New Zealand, which is why it had hired former Audit Bureau Chief Dovas as its country manager.


As published in mUmBRELLA on March 29, 2016.


“It’s a no-brainer when you’re dealing with the intelligence community, because they’ve been doing this for decades,” Perez says. “In the private sector, it’s a significant investment—and you’ve got to articulate and justify return on investment.”

“It’s a no-brainer when you’re dealing with the intelligence community, because they’ve been doing this for decades,” Perez says. “In the private sector, it’s a significant investment—and you’ve got to articulate and justify return on investment.”


A former intelligence officer, Perez trained special forces in tradecraft—“your classic spy stuff,” he quips. From 2000 to 2002, he was a senior enterprise architect at Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, which joined with PwC in 2010. Perez spent most of his time with Diamond in Europe, focused on strategic technology transfer agreements. His work there helped him develop and refine skills within enterprise architectures, particularly when his experience forced him to simultaneously adopt corporate and national cultures.

Perez began his private-sector career by co-founding the Lockheed Martin Center for Security Analysis, where he helped create training programs for intelligence analysis and software used by the CIA, NSA and Defense Intelligence Agency. At the request of the Department of Homeland Security, he developed a declassified version of the program for a range of private- sector clients. “Pick any vertical, and you find a problem with too much data in too many places,” Perez says. “The core issue remains sense-making.”

One key technology is accessing Deep Web data—the kind that search engines and web crawlers don’t find— to create applications that efficiently convert disparate, disorganized data into structured, searchable formats. These applications understand foreign languages, apply link analysis to recognize relationships and use analytics to visualize the data. They’re all tools that matured in the counterterrorism effort but have yet to be taken advantage of in the private sector, and their capabilities provide a distinct competitive advantage for businesses. The ability to monitor and almost instantaneously make decisions on markets and customer behavior or to assess strategic position related to the competition, targeted demographic or market, Perez says, is key.

This is why Perez often gets the same set of questions from potential clients once they learn about his capabilities. “They ask, ‘How come we’ve never heard of this before?’ or ‘Why is it you guys know how to do it better than we do?’” Perez says. “Well, because I did work that used to be classified, that’s why.”

In counterinsurgency, support from the local populace is the cornerstone of success. To help win over “hearts and minds,” intelligence focuses on people’s past and potential behavior, along with the patterns that decision- makers hope to both understand and eventually influence. Similarly, in business, the support of the market provides the cornerstone to profitability. Applying time-tested methodologies and related technology to identify behavior patterns for markets, Perez says, can lead to an enormous advantage.

Pick any vertical, and you find a problem with too much data in too many places. The core issue remains sense-making.

“It’s a no-brainer when you’re dealing with the intelligence community, because they’ve been doing this for decades,” Perez says. “In the private sector, it’s a significant investment—and you’ve got to articulate and justify return on investment.”

For Perez, there’s no better way to do that than to provide a real-world example of Big Data’s power. Case in point: A pharmaceutical client turned to Perez to leverage the counterterrorism tools he’d developed to identify counterfeiters. Perez architected and implemented a solution to monitor, in near real time, worldwide e-commerce activity connected to the pharmaceutical company’s product and figure out the probability that it may involve fraud. It took two weeks to set up the software, designed to troll well below the headwaters of the Internet indexed by search engines and web crawlers and to make sense of it all. Once they flipped the switch, a collection of data that might have taken the company months to compile took just hours to capture.

“By the seventh hour, we had saturation,” Perez says. “We were monitoring the whole planet. Anytime somebody engaged in any kind of transaction that mentioned that company’s products and violated the rules on pricing, I knew.” The capability is meaningful given what can be gained with the ability to monitor comparative product performance and market behavior in real time.


Reagan says some clients come to the SI with an understanding of Big Data’s potential, and some don’t. One thing they do know is that the investment in infrastructure for data storage space and bandwidth can be huge. “Some of these agencies have terabytes of data, and for them, it’s a storage headache and a cost,” he says. “We can help show them how they can manage data more effectively and how they can get some return on the investment by making the data available for resale.”

Perez says ROI will become more tangible as better solutions are developed to link data in disparate locales: It’s not a question of whether or not we can get data; it’s a matter of knowing where the right data is. The information that decision-makers need may already exist internally within a company’s data stores, but individual files can still be literally all over the map.

“It could be sitting on a SharePoint file in Dubai, and that little piece of information has to be associated with a large data warehouse that’s sitting in Buenos Aires,” Perez says, noting that intelligence analysts simply don’t have the time or resources to go through all the data. But Perez says moving data to the same location is not the answer in this day and age. Technology exists that connects information seemingly far out of reach. “You don’t have to physically touch a data point,” Perez says. “You can associate it through depth of logic.”

Of course, storing, managing and capitalizing on the seemingly unlimited potential of data all come with the challenge of protecting it. According to PwC’s 2013 Global State of Information Security Survey, many organizations fail to perform thorough assessments of factors that contribute to breach-related financial losses. In fact, just over 25% of respondents considered damage to brand and reputation when estimating the full impact of a breach, while the same survey found 61% of respondents would stop using a company’s products or services after a breach.

From advanced persistent threats linked to foreign governments to insider threats made by disgruntled or corrupted employees, economic espionage is a growing concern. The White House has responded by issuing an executive order calling for the creation of a framework to reduce risk to critical infrastructure and ease sharing of threat information with the private sector. But individual organizations must find their own balance: Strong “need-to-know” control mechanisms must be enforced yet somehow tempered to allow collaboration. In PwC’s survey, more than 80% of respondents said protecting customer and employee data is important. Still, the percentage of respondents who reported an accurate inventory of employee and customer data remains below 40%.

To address gaps like these, the SI provides customers with technical advice and consulting around protecting national assets from the threat of cyberattack. Large corporations, banks and power companies may be dealing with thousands of attempted attacks per day, and Reagan says the SI is equipped to weather the storm. The company employs a Threat Operations Center (TOC) in Laurel, Maryland, to monitor its financial accounting system, human resource management system, payroll and internal email. It also has a separate TOC that’s focused on its customers’ needs, constantly monitoring, detecting and fending off cyberattacks from the outside. “All of our systems that have touch points to the Internet are protected,” says Reagan, who notes the SI customers’ data is kept on closed systems.

“In our work we’ve found significant evidence of Theft of Trade Secrets (ToTS) in our monitoring efforts. If sensitive material is not categorized and properly labeled based on the impact of unauthorized disclosure or dissemination—and personnel are not trained in the culture of information security—then it is very difficult to protect sensitive information and intellectual property,” Perez says.

The concerns are real, and new regulations to protect privacy and address issues of consent, collection, use and misuse of data are sure to come. As more data becomes available for more applications, challenges will undoubtedly continue to present themselves. But Reagan and Perez agree: Big Data’s power can’t be underestimated. In defense and intelligence, it’s proved to be an indispensable tool. Now in the private sector, Big Data has the potential to be nothing less than transformational. “Once you turn this stuff on and implement it,” Perez says, “you rule the market.”


As published in Keyword Vol. 09, PwC's Alumni Magazine.