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Monday, February 29, 2016

Turn Your Coke Packaging into a VR Viewer

More engagement with Virtual Reality .  Will this drive the acceptance of VR as interface?

In Fortune: 
You can’t buy the world a Coke, but maybe you could see the world in virtual reality while you sip your Coke. ... That seems to be the idea behind the new designs Coca-Cola  KO 0.12%  just released that would turn some of the company’s cardboard packaging into foldable, origami-style virtual reality glasses for smartphones.   ... " 
  (includes video of process at the link)

Internet 2 Rethought

Happened to be at a presentation announcing the launch of Internet 2, and admit I have not thought about it for years.   Not really an advanced internet, but an alternate one.    We used it to link to University research in early 'big data' analytics efforts. .   Still around and being useful, primarily at Universities.  Now at age 20.

Networks of Parked Cars Could Save Your Life

Suggesting that parked cars, acting as a network of computing systems and sensors, could play an infrastructure role as part of the Internet of Things.   Why parked?  Apparently cars spend 95% of their time parked, so thats where the resource is.    An element of the smarter city?   More details.

A Consumer Value Equation

We were proponents of using a 'consumer value equation'.  Still relevant, but it has been suggested that there are value drivers that are evolving more rapidly than just cost and need to be tracked.  And are likely disruptive.   In the CPG Food industry.

" ... The report focuses on the rise of “Evolving value drivers” in consumer food purchases. Can you explain what those value drivers are and why they are on the rise?

Jack Ringquist: Our study shows a pervasive shift in consumer preferences and shopping behavior. Roughly half of surveyed consumers say their purchase decisions are significantly influenced by “Evolving” drivers in addition to the “Traditional” drivers of Taste, Price and Convenience. ... " 

HoloLens Developer Hardware Specs

In theVerge:  Good to see more specifications for developers, also for innovators considering applications but still no much new with regard to realistic commercial applications beyond NASA and product design.  Where are the enterprise applications?

Automating Feature Engineering

Correspondent Jason Maughan of PurePredictive sends along a Beta of some work he is doing on feature engineering.  Based on Kaggle experience.  As  I have always said here, feature selection and engineering is a key part of any data science project. This is another case of where some aspects of this kind of analytic model can be automated.  Giving this a try.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Google Neural Network Determines Image Location

A superhuman capability?  Certainly in volume of recollection. Applications? Retail product location?   Advertising analysis when linked to neural or behavioral clues?

In Technology Review: 
Here’s a tricky task. Pick a photograph from the Web at random. Now try to work out where it was taken using only the image itself. If the image shows a famous building or landmark, such as the Eiffel Tower or Niagara Falls, the task is straightforward. But the job becomes significantly harder when the image lacks specific location cues or is taken indoors or shows a pet or food or some other detail. ... 

Today, that changes thanks to the work of Tobias Weyand, a computer vision specialist at Google, and a couple of pals. These guys have trained a deep-learning machine to work out the location of almost any photo using only the pixels it contains. Their new machine significantly outperforms humans and can even use a clever trick to determine the location of indoor images and pictures of specific things such as pets, food, and so on that have no location cues. ... " 

At the link you can try your hand at this with an online version.

How will Innovation Save P&G?

In the Enquirer:  I worked in the innovation space there for a number of years.  Good article on what's up publicly, mostly in product as opposed to operational innovation.  Nothing very surprising, but worth it for CPG and P&G watchers.

Wal-Mart Out Sources

Fascinating behind the scenes look.   Note how this takes information and data closer to the business process.      In Infoq:

" ...  has open-sourced OneOps, a cross-cloud deployment and orchestration platform. OneOps abstracts away the differences between cloud platforms and provides the tools to provision, manage and orchestrate applications.

Applications developed on top of OneOps can be moved between clouds to avoid vendor lock-in or take advantage of differences in pricing or performance. Applications can also be distributed across multiple clouds to help improve resilience, to adapt to and handle large spikes in workload, or for disaster recovery and mitigation scenarios. Enterprises transitioning to a public cloud from on-premise infrastructure can take advantage of OneOps to operate in hybrid mode and maintain independence from any particular cloud provider. ... " 

CNET Smarthome Experiences Fragmentation

Now that we finally have a large number of potential interactive components for the smart home,  how will they work together?  CNET discovers, as I have,  that the result is considerable fragmentation.     Amazon Echo can form a part of the control structure, but does not solve the problem.  Just where is this going?    Around 2000 we started to demonstrate the future home concept, and quickly saw the issue occuring.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fintech Evolves, and this Blog Does too.

I just noticed that the term Fintech had never been used in this blog before this year.  So is it that a new term?  I have just updated the text tags for Fintech to point to related articles.   Which points to another way to explore this blog.  You can search for words or phrases in quotes, at the upper left of the blog.  Or you can search by tag at the bottom of each post.  Most posts have been tagged.

I frequently update tags. Such as the newly discovered Fintech. without indicating the update.   If I update the body of a blog I will usually indicate the update with an edit.  Links may go out of date, and I will update them when discovered.

Meanwhile I see that Fintech has been used since at least the 90's, at first as the name of a group, and continues to evolve.

Financial Revolutionist

Newly discovered, the Financial Revolutionist weekly newsletter on Fintech.  I admit even the term Fintech (Financial Technology).  Was new to me.   Nicely done pieces to date.  By Wescott Capital.

Amazon Selling Diapers Under a new Name

It remains interesting that Amazon will attempt to compete in classic private label brands:

In Retailwire:

" ... Parents don't take diapers lightly. Amazon discovered this about a year ago when it discontinued its line of private label diapers amid complaints of poor quality by consumers. The diapers, released under the Amazon Elements moniker, only stayed on the market a little over a month. But a report by ReCode indicated that the e-tailer may be back in the diaper game with a slightly different strategy.

Amazon, according to the report, has been contacting users with a market research survey about a brand called "Mama Bear" diapers. The survey solicited reactions to "Mama Bear" diapers' branding. It asked if the branding evokes a "high quality product" and if the survey recipient would have an interest in purchasing the diapers.   .. " 

Dialog Connection LTD

From Maria Aretoula   Dialog Connection. Voice Recognition application, Speech IVR, Voice User Interface (VUI),  Design, Testing, Tuning and Optimisation.  ... " 

Elements of Python Style

Via O'Reilly some interesting  technical aspects of Python programming.    An introductory tutorial,  On Fluid code. and more videos.

Books v eBooks

Still buy them both, but moving towards eBooks.  Even my public library provides them.   Bit I like the feel of the physical book,  and its at a glance browse-ability.  Not search-ability.  The usual distinction between fiction and non fiction. Sometimes.  More in Mashable.

Friday, February 26, 2016

GE and Accenture Partnership

GE & Accenture- Partnering to Utilize Big Data to Create Business Efficiencies
GE and Accenture are developing technology and analytics applications that help companies across a range of industries take advantage of the massive amounts of industrial-strength big data generated through their business operations. The two companies will jointly develop and market new technology services and pre-packaged solutions that can substantially impact efficiency and productivity.  .... " 

Useful Open Data Resources

From DSC, (URL Updated) Most of these are well known examples,  you should always think of readily available, credible data to add to internal systems.  These are a great place to start.    Data mix-ins can have great value, especially when creating interactive visualizations that provide information context. Contrary to what is said though,  there is still useful external data you will have to pay for.

Pooling Robotic Knowledge. IOT too?

Had heard this being proposed some time ago, it appears to be moving forward.    Consider how this might also be connected to the Internet of Things, if the things involved were appropriately classified.  InTechnology Review: 

" ... In 2014, I started a project called RoboBrain at Cornell University along with PhD students Ashesh Jain and Ozan Sener. We now have collaborators at Stanford and Brown. What we’re working on is a way of sharing information that allows robots to gather whatever knowledge they need for a task (see “Robots That Teach Each Other”). If one robot learns, then the knowledge is propagated to all the robots. RoboBrain achieves this by gathering the knowledge from a variety of sources. The system stores multiple kinds of information, including symbols, natural language, visual or shape features, haptic properties, and motions.  ... " 

On Dynamic Pricing

In K@W:  On dynamic pricing.  Seeing more of it, and as we gather more data it is possible to adjust to need or focus.  The analytics are here.  " ... The Promise — and Perils — of Dynamic Pricing ... " 

Predicting Rogue Waves: Addressing Rare Events

Out of MIT.  I recall this problem being posed in a conference, and its possible application to other more industrial problems.   Rare events, but ones that can be well defined by their data context. And that context data is now continually gathered.  In CWorld.   And a technical background paper.  Key here is addressing rare events, often forgotten in a frequentist statistical world.

Experiences with Data Lakes

Just recently exposed to the use of a data lake for exploratory analytics with highly disparate data.   This article provides some alternative use cases and experiences.   In CWorld: 

  ' ... "Our goal was to inject data into our businesses as fast as possible to be able to see new opportunities," says Bryson Koehler, executive vice president, CTO and CIO of The Weather Company. "It's not realistic for a business to go dark on a project for any extended period of time just to clean up data. So much changes on a daily basis -- so many new sources of data -- that that journey would never be complete."

Koehler wanted to bring in data from anywhere it originated, including personal weather stations and Internet of Things sensors, to enrich analysis. With traditional data warehouses, this would have been near impossible because of the unstructured nature of the new data, the volume, and the lengthy development time necessary to process and validate it. ... ' 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Microsoft Bets on Radical Design Thinking

In Fast Codesign;  A radical bet, looking at disabled communities.  Very interesting history of the concept that has led to a number of design innovations.  So not really that radical at all.

Biases in High Stakes Decision Making

Talk today on a favorite topic:  Cognitive Bias.   I will post links to presentation afterwards:

" ...  Just a reminder about our Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 10:30 am ET (7:30 am PT).  Our presenter this week will be Dominique Liana Russo from Harvard University who will present "Biases in High Stakes Decision Making."   ... 


Please find the schedule of presenters herefor the next several calls and please sign up for making a presentation by sending a note to me (fodell@us.ibm.com).   A link to slides and a recording of each call will be available on the CSIG website (http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/).   
We encourage those who join the calls to add questions and comments to the https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Cognitive-Systems-Institute-6729452on LinkedIn and we ask that you ask questions at the end of the call.xpressive TTS ....  "

Making AI more Human

This direction makes sense, have not looked at the details yet.    In TechRepublic:  Towards more human Watson APIs .  That's good    "  .... IBM Watson, Big Blue's cognitive computing division, announced Tuesday that it was expanding the availability of Watson APIs with three new tools: Tone Analyzer, Emotion Analysis, and Visual Recognition. IBM Watson is also updating their Text to Speech (TTS) feature and rebranding it as Expressive TTS .... " 

Business is as Valuable as Your Customers

In K@W:   Some useful, perhaps obvious thoughts here.  As I always say, stay closer to the business.

" ....  Many businesses will say that their customers are their most valuable assets, but few understand how true that is — or how accurately a measurement of customer-based value can price their whole enterprise.

In their new paper, “Valuing Subscription-based Businesses Using Publicly Disclosed Customer Data,” Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader and Wharton doctoral candidate Daniel McCarthy, along with professor Bruce Hardie of the London Business School, successfully built a model that allowed them to do just that — with formulas that concretely link the value of a business’s customers to the overall value of the firm. Fader and McCarthy recently spoke with Knowledge@Wharton about how their work can help corporate finance folks and retail investors alike, why they are making their models public, and why all customers are most decidedly not created equal. .... "  

Kroger Urban Stores

In WCPO: Would think there would be more opportunities to make smaller footprint urban stores more profitable with smart interactions with the consumer.

Powering Aircraft Systems

From the Bike Shop:   Smart Power:

" .... In addition to optimizing performance, efficiency and reliability in aircraft power systems, “GE Aviation is taking on a greater degree of system integration responsibility,” says Joe Krisciunas, engineering executive, GE Aviation – Electric Power Systems. “As aircraft become increasingly more electric, airframe manufacturers are looking to us to develop the entire electrical system from conception through modeling and simulation, to validation, qualification testing and eventually, certification.”

To build these complete end-to-end electrical power systems, GE Aviation created advanced manufacturing, simulation and physical integration facilities in Dayton, Ohio, and Cheltenham, England. The two virtually linked locations can design and test an entire aircraft electrical power generation and distribution system in the lab before it ever reaches the OEM’s factory floor. ... " 

Very interesting stories, facts, statistics and technologies feeding the aircraft systems of the future.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

NBC Programmatic Selling

I am following the widening thread here here.  Recall my mention of our work in this area, see the tag below.  Don't know exactly what analytics are being done here, but can guess.  Opportunities for true optimization here.  Where are the auctions?  In Adage:   " .... NBC Universal Takes First Steps To Sell TV Programmatically ...  Linear Inventory Will Be Available In Private Exchanges ... " 

Think More about the Causality

Nicely done, and for the method I often give for driving value in analytics, bring your business reasoning closer to the analytics.   Its the business that is of most importance.

In Yanir Seroussi's blog: 
Why you should stop worrying about deep learning and deepen your understanding of causality

Everywhere you go these days, you hear about deep learning’s impressive advancements. New deep learning libraries, tools, and products get announced on a regular basis, making the average data scientist feel like they’re missing out if they don’t hop on the deep learning bandwagon. However, as Kamil Bartocha put it in his post The Inconvenient Truth About Data Science, 95% of tasks do not require deep learning. This is obviously a made up number, but it’s probably an accurate representation of the everyday reality of many data scientists. This post discusses an often-overlooked area of study that is of much higher relevance to most data scientists than deep learning: causality. .... "  

See also this recent book. Why: A Guide to Finding and Using Causes by Samantha Kleinberg.

Nokia's Cognitive Services Platform

Been looking at how 'cognitive' can be integrated with services in platforms.   Here is an example from Nokia: 

" ... Our Nokia AVA cognitive services platform delivers today’s services quickly and flawlessly. It also helps you prepare for the Internet of Things when near 100% availability will be essential to manage the multitude of connected applications.

Today, fewer than 5 billion people are connected. Yet by 2025, there will be 50 billion interconnected ‘things’, including devices and sensors for health monitoring, field operations, power generation, smart metering, automotive and for recreation.

Our Nokia AVA cognitive services platform is ready to support the network speed, accuracy and data processing that will be needed. The platform integrates cloud-based delivery, intelligent analytics and extreme automation to deliver instant and flawless personalized services. 

Nokia AVA prepares you for tomorrow’s programmable world in which near perfect performance will be essential to manage the multitude of connected applications.

The platform supports our Care services (including Predictive Care), Optimization services (including Predictive Optimization), Network implementation and Managed services. Available today are services for Nokia Care and multi-vendor Predictive Optimization, while other services will follow shortly.   .... " 

On the State of Human Capital

From Growthology  Kauffman Foundation.

" ... This post is the first in a series by the Growthology team, where we will take a look at some of the topics discussed in State of the Field, a compilation of knowledge on entrepreneurship research written by the leading experts in the field. .... 

Brink Lindsey, author of the book Human Capitalism, writes that “the central importance of human capital in today’s economy is a response to the rise of social complexity.” As society has become increasingly complex, jobs have become more highly skilled, the workforce has changed, and the study of human capital has become increasingly mainstream.

While financial means are important for a startup’s success, I argue that human capital is equally important. Human capital within entrepreneurship is one area Growthology will expand on throughout the course of this year. Several of my colleagues’ posts have presented different points of view on human capital matters (workers, students and crowdfunding to name only the most recent). ... " 

Push on Wearables in the Enterprise

Push for wearables in the enterprise.    Mostly watches it seems, which are not much different than smartphone devices.    Devices that engage more deliberately with users, usually for specialty applications,  are also starting to emerge.  We examined data gathering in maintenance and shelf compliance and inventory.  Real time image analysis will provide better leverage.  AI/Cognitive will allow stronger engagement.  The article is an overview.   In CWorld

Sleep Apps by J&J

An area we examined as well, long before the era of mobile Apps.  In Adage:  " ... How J&J Research Led From Bath-Time to a Mobile Sleep App -- and More Products in Carts ... Global Campaign Includes Original Lullabies ... " 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Chatted with some of these folks recently, interesting group ...

" ... At Clareo our mission is to help businesses adapt and grow.

We help leaders adapt their businesses and create new ways to grow in rapidly changing markets. Together, we build the plans and capabilities that deliver results.

We assist clients in improving strategy execution, finding radical efficiency gains, developing entrepreneurial capabilities, taking new ideas to market, exploring plausible futures, and investing in business ecosystems.

Our clients choose Clareo when they want bold new ideas fueled by a network of leading global experts. Working alongside our clients, we create compelling strategies that lead to action. .... "

Apple Swift for the Mobile Enterprise

In CWorld: What appears to be a plus for Apple in the enterprise.  " ... IBM calls the move a “key next step in IBM and Apple’s shared journey to help enterprises advance their mobile strategy with innovative app design, analytics, process transformation and integration required for a mobile first experience.” .. "   More on Swift.

Disruption in the Auto Industry

Good overview in McKinsey.

" ... Technology-driven trends will revolutionize how industry players respond to changing consumer behavior, develop partnerships, and drive transformational change.

Today’s economies are dramatically changing, triggered by development in emerging markets, the accelerated rise of new technologies, sustainability policies, and changing consumer preferences around ownership. Digitization, increasing automation, and new business models have revolutionized other industries, and automotive will be no exception. These forces are giving rise to four disruptive technology-driven trends in the automotive sector: diverse mobility, autonomous driving, electrification, and connectivity. ... " 

Dimensions of Strategy

Too little considered, how do you actually do strategy?

Are You A Six Dimensional Strategist?
by Amrita Bhattacharyya

In a recent post ‘For Business At Warp Speed, Is Customer Strategy The Only Strategy?’, (Link) we touched upon how in the world of relentless market volatility, customer strategy takes center stage.

Traditional strategic models and planning exercises have limited impact and the essence of strategy today is about continuously finding ways to provide value to customers. The traditionally inside-out approach to business strategy needs to be replaced by an outside-in approach, and long-term strategic planning and execution needs to be redefined with a focus on agile planning and execution. ...  " 

More on Feature Selection

A favorite topic of mine, and I believe the most important introductory aspect of analytic modeling.
Here in DSC.   It is very important to get feature selection right.  Both in what you include, and what you leave out.    In particular this article does a very good job in showing how the selection of features is influenced by your goals in modeling, and how your  models can be made more predictive by engineering your variables.  This links model goals and business needs, always a good idea.

In DSC:  " ... Feature selection is one of the core topics in machine learning. In statistical science, it is called variable reduction or selection.  ... Here, we mention an article published by Isabelle Guyon and Andre Elisseeff in Journal of Machine Learning Research. While published in 2003, it is still one of the best ML papers on feature selection. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Why you Need Predictive Analytics Today

Nicely done piece about the need for predictive analytics.   IBM sponsored.  By PredictionImpact.  You may need to register.  Good statistics and thoughts.   I like that fact that this is NOT about big data or machine learning or Cognitive.   Those are just tools to an end.  The end is to make better decisions.  Faster, cheaper, more profitable .... better.

Doug Engelbart on Human Augmentation

Was pointed via this piece in CSI.      

Fascinating piece I was reminded of.  Doug Engelbart on a framework for human augmentation.  We looked at this, but could not translate it into reality.  Can it be done now?   More on Engelbart interactions at the tag below.

' .... "By 'augmenting human intellect' we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems."  ... ' 

Role of the Futurist in Retail

On the role of the futurist in retail and grocery.  A role I played in the innovation center when we looked for new ideas to test.

Scatter Plots for Big Data and Scagnostics

The simplest form of data visualization.  Scatter plots.    Sounds obvious,  but understanding how people react to many, many variable problems can be important.   Note the term Scagnostics:  or Scatterplot Diagnostics.   Not used that often, but worth understanding.  Capabilities exist in R.

In Scientific Computing: " ... Members of Tandon’s data-visualization group, headed by Professor Enrico Bertini, have conducted a study that found that results obtained through algorithmic methods, such as those known as scagnostics, do not necessarily correlate well to human perceptional judgments when asked to group scatter plots based on their similarity. While the team identified several factors that drive such perceptual judgments, they assert that further work is needed to develop perceptually balanced measures for analyzing large sets of plots, in order to better guide researchers in such fields as medicine, aerospace and finance, who are regularly confronted with high-dimensional data.  ... " 

City Design in the Self Drive era

Always interested in the difference between very specific infrastructure design and how it evolves based on use and need.  Here an example where cities may need to evolve very quickly.  In the Verge.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

2 Dimensional Drone Camera (With Laser) or Cat Discipline Robotics

How about remote warehouse inventory checking?   Security?  Recalls an idea we had long ago.

In Engadget:  " ... Then this is where things get really weird, LG caught everyone by surprise by announcing "Rolling Bot" a Sphereo-style remote controlled, well, ball that has a camera and, of course, a laser. It appears to be part useful (you can remotely view your house with your phone like a mobile security camera) and part "wtf" (it's a fancy pants cat toy). We're less sure on this one, but points to LG for trying something different. ... " 

Update, from CNet, more data and video.

Samsung Smart TVs as Hubs

Makes sense.  TV as a hub? Historically TVs have long durability?    Is that still the case?  Its intelligence in the cloud?  With what other standards?

In CNet:  Samsung to add new Smart TVs to its Internet of Things platform, SmartThings ... All of Samsung's SmartTVs and SUHD TVs for 2016 will be compatible with the company's Internet of Things  ... " 

Common Machine Learning Algorithms

Nicely done examples with R and Python code.  by Sunil Ray.  Does not cover the fundamental  statistical considerations that determine the correctness or application of patterns you find, but is still operationally useful.  So if you already know the stats, this shows you how machine learning is done in R or Python.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cognitive TED and IBM XPrize

Details at the link.  I would like to see some less obvious applications of cognitive.  Beyond just clever search,   Creativity.  Innovation.  Deeper learning.  Interaction with buried enterprise data, linking that to public data, or creating needed data from sensors.  Demanding needed data.  Designing the experiments.

The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, a Cognitive Computing Competition, was announced on the TED Stage on Feb 17, 2016. It is a $5 million competition challenging teams from around the world to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful cognitive technologies to tackle some of the world’s grand challenges.

Every year leading up to TED2020, teams will go head-to-head at World of Watson, IBM’s annual conference, competing for interim prizes and the opportunity to advance to the next year’s competition.

The three finalist teams will take the TED stage in 2020 to deliver jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring TED Talks demonstrating what they have achieved. 

Ideas will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges for technical validity and ultimately, the TED and XPRIZE communities will choose the winner based on the audacity of their mission and the awe-inspiring nature of the teams’ TED Talks in 2020. .... " 

Delivering Analytics and Insights

In McKinsey:  The benefits match those of earlier technology cycles, but companies must scale up their data-analytics skills to reap the gains.   ... " .   Scaling skills yes, but also targeting to real business problems and data.

Polinode Graph Analytics Examples

Correspondent Andrew Pitts sends along some examples using his startup Polinode.   Much more at the link.  He is doing lots in the HR analysis area,  But the approach is widely applicable.

" .... This is a network summarising the relationship between some major human diseases and the human genome)

The same network as the above but a particular view into that network - community structure is calculated and nodes colored by community and nodes are sized by pagerank.

This is a classic example network in the network analysis space - it is the co-occurrence of characters in the novel Les Miserables. I have captured a view where I have sized by degree and colored by community)  ... " 

Knowledge Management

The APQC collection of documents on knowledge management.   See also Ken Hayman's short piece on the subject,  Reexamining.   How in particular does AI connect to this?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Make AI more Human

In MIT Technology Review: 

" ... Marcus has a very different perspective from many of the computer scientists and mathematicians now at the forefront of artificial intelligence. He has spent decades studying the way the human mind works and how children learn new skills such as language and musicality. This has led him to believe that if researchers want to create truly sophisticated artificial intelligence—something that readily learns about the world—they must take cues from the way toddlers pick up new concepts and generalize. And that’s one of the big inspirations for his new company, which he’s running while on a year’s leave from NYU. With its radical approach to machine learning, Geometric Intelligence aims to create algorithms for use in an AI that can learn in new and better ways. ....   Is deep learning based on a model that’s too simple? Marcus thinks computer scientists are missing a huge opportunity by ignoring many subtleties of the human mind. ... " 

User Experience is also about Data

Some very good points here.    User experience is often lacking.   Because of both content (data) and context.   Context can now also include cognitive/intelligent interaction.   Getting that kind of interaction right is also important.     In Knowledge@Wharton:

The User Experience: Why Data – Not Just Design – Hits the Sweet Spot
The successful user experience is about meeting a consumer’s need on an individual level – a “segment of one” not “one-size-fits” all, many experts say. But what does that look like in practice? “What really differentiates companies is their personalization through data — which allows them to build unique experiences that lead to increased engagement and better outcomes, …” write Scott A. Snyder, president and CSO of Mobiquity and a senior fellow at Wharton, and Jason Hreha, founder of Dopamine, a behavior design firm, in this opinion piece.

Today, design has a seat at the table. With the success of products like the iPod and the iPhone, businesses have realized that a good user experience is key for the bottom line.

Yet even with this determined focus on design, most digital experiences fall short of user expectations. Of the 700 million websites that exist, 72% fail to consistently engage users or drive conversions. Of the 1.6 million apps available, just 200 account for 70% of all usage, and three out of four apps aren’t even used beyond the initial download. ... "  

Google Cloud Vision for Image Tagging

Spent quite a bit of time looking at at the problem of recognizing and tagging images for marketing applications.  It turned out to be a  key requirement for systems that deal with asset and engagement management.  So this announcement of advanced image tagging beta capability was fascinating.  A Beta for developers.  If I embed this in a system I have to rely on Google continuing to improve and support it. Looking forward to a deeper examination.

 In CWorld. 
" ... In addition to making the service publicly available, Google also revealed the pricing. Developers will be able to run up to 1,000 images through Google services for free, and then pay a flat fee for each group of 1,000 images they upload after that. Developers will get discounts for sending large volumes of pictures through the service. 

However, users will be able to send a maximum of 20 million images a month through Google Cloud Vision during the open beta period, so companies with large-scale production workloads will likely want to reserve its use for low-volume applications.  ... " 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

GE's Big Bet on Data and Analytics

MIT Sloan: 

GE’s Big Bet on Data and Analytics
Seeking opportunities in the Internet of Things, GE expands into industrial analytics.
February 18, 2016 by Laura Winig.

GE has bet big on the Industrial Internet — the convergence of industrial machines, data, and the Internet. The company is putting sensors on gas turbines, jet engines, and other machines; connecting them to the cloud; and analyzing the resulting flow of data. The goal: identify ways to improve machine productivity and reliability. This MIT Sloan Management Review case study looks at how this traditional manufacturer is remaking itself into a modern digital business. ... "

Available as a free download for a limited time.

Whats a Security Graph?

So whats a security graph?   " ... Data visualization is a booming segment of the big data job market, and it’s found an obvious foothold in security. The requirement of data visualization in job descriptions has increased in big data jobs by 12 percent in just the first half of 2015, which may indicate the skill is in the early stages of demand. As more companies begin to realize their need for quick digestions of large volumes of data to find trends, especially in security, the demand for visualization will likely keep increasing, vague as the description may be ... " 

Mind Palaces

The topic of Mind Palaces have come up often as plot points on memory problem oriented TV programs.   Could you have ever guessed there were many of these?   How can a human effectively remember large volumes of data?      The approach of 'memory' or 'mind'  Palace uses visualization to tag memory items in a physical place to make it easier to remember.   More on Mind Palaces.  Could this be implemented via a supporting user interface?    Has this been tried?

Preparing IT Systems for the Internet of Things

Preparing IT systems and organizations for the Internet of Things
To accommodate the development and support of smart devices, companies will need to update existing IT architectures and operating models. Here’s a potential road map. .... "

November 2015 | by Johannes Deichmann, Matthias Roggendorf, and Dominik Wee

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

NY Times Builds a Slack Bot

Probably will see more bots that watch what we say.   Or the streamed data we need to pay attention to.  Or engage us in conversation.    Just started using Slack and I can see how that would work.

" .... The New York Times built a Slack bot to help decide which stories to post to social media ... The bot, named Blossom, helps predict how stories will do on social and also suggests which stories editors should promote. .... " 

VR Reinventing the Digital Circular

In Retailwire: This is possible, if all the architecture is there.  It can also add the augmentation to where it should be, in the aisle.

GE is Top Twenty World's Most Innovative Company

GE Recognized Again by Fast Company
Feb 16, 2016 Source: Communications -A  A  +A

Fast Company's "The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies 2016"

Number 20:      GE  General Electric

For leading the Industrial Internet of Things. 

The company's competitive advantage in 2016: Strong brand recognition and revenues Innovative marketing

The biggest challenges standing in this company's way in 2016: Making good on their big IoT ambitions Overcoming perception of the company as a stodgy brand

What to look out for: Data launches,  Actual use of its trove of data

Check out the full award details here.

IBM Internet of Things Educator Guide

Via IBM:   for IBM resources.

Use this educator guide for step-by-step guidance through recommended tutorials, labs, and other resources to teach others how to expand upon their Internet of Things skills.

Rapidly compose and extend apps that take advantage of data and analytics from your connected devices and sensors

This educator guide helps you:
Understand the importance of developing skills around the IBM Internet of Things platform.
Obtain a basic understanding of IBM’s Internet of Things Foundation on Bluemix.
Find classroom assets, labs, training and other resources to use in your classroom. .... " 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

AI Still Flunks 8th Grade Science

In Wired:     By this measure, its not here yet.   Yet if we choose carefully, it can be remarkable.

" .... You might say that, way back in 2011, IBM Watson beat the best humans on Earth at Jeopardy!, the venerable TV trivia game show. And it did. Google just built a system that could top a professional at the ancient game of Go. But for a machine, these are somewhat easier tasks than taking a science test. “Jeopardy! is [about] finding a single fact, while I would imagine—and hope—that 8th-grade science asks students to solve problems that require several steps, and combine multiple facts to show understanding,” says Chris Nicholson, CEO and founder of AI startup Skymind.

The Allen Institute’s science test includes more than just trivia. It asks that machines understand basic ideas, serving up not only questions like “Which part of the eye does light hit first?” but more complex questions that revolve around concepts like evolutionary adaptation. “Some types of fish live most of their adult lives in salt water but lay their eggs in freshwater,” one question read. “The ability of these fish to survive in these different environments is an example of [what]?” ... " 

Should we Create Humanlike Robots

In IEEE Spectrum:  Sure, we will do it, and are doing it, if only for their capability of getting attention.  But will there be actual value in mimicking ourselves?   Or danger?  Reminds me of the 'Media Equation', which we aimed to use to create engagement.   Now new Chatbots are here again, looking for human leverage.

Blockchain Ledger: Hyperledger

And imagine the hyperledger linked to the smart contract.   A new kind of compliance measure?

" .... Most people know alternative currencies such as bitcoin make use of a distributed transaction ledger technology called blockchain. But what isn’t well-known is how numerous businesses are investing heavily in blockchains for noncurrency applications.

Blockchain Technology Poised to Grow
Last month, the Linux Foundation announced a major new initiative called Hyperledger, which will create one of the largest open-source projects ever attempted. The goal is to build blockchains with a series of standard protocols and processes that could be used by a wide variety of industries both in and outside of the financial services sector, including manufacturing. The first set of computing partners includes IBM, Intel, VMware and Cisco, among dozens of other companies. .... 

Risks of Superintelligence

In the always provocative Kurzweil AI a while back:

" ... In “The A.I. Anxiety” Sunday (12/27), the Washington Post concisely summarized the risks implicit in superintelligence … and more worrisome, in “superstupidity”: “There is no one person who understands exactly how these [intelligent computer] systems work or are operating at any given moment. Throw in elements of autonomy, and things can go wrong quickly and disastrously.”  
In other words: stupid people + superintelligent machines —> superstupidity. ... " 

Video Ads

In Think with Google:  Interesting stats and learnings about the use of video in Ads.    An area we looked at closely.  Google obviously has an interest regarding Youtube.  Our interest was in cart mounted videos.    How does this differ if you use it in-store?  " ... Online video can be much more than an awareness driver. New research shows that YouTube not only drives brand metrics throughout the consumer journey—from consideration and favorability to purchase intent—but also boosts potential for positive return on ad spend compared to TV. ... " 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Reading Customer Minds

In Retailwire:  We can hardly do it consistently yet, but we can get some indications of mood and possibilities.  And we don't have to always be exactly right.  This particular application seems a gimmick.

" ... PCWorld reports that Uniqlo's UMood system analyzes a customer's brainwaves through the use of an EEG headset the customer wears. The system displays a selection of images in order to gauge the customer's neuro-electric responses to each and then uses that information to determine the customer's mood. The customer is then shown one of the store's 600 shirt designs, each tagged as evoking a particular mood. Uniqlo's hope is that the match between the brainwave reading and the mood the shirt evokes will result in a sale.

Uniqlo debuted UMood in one store in Sydney, Australia, and will be implementing it in other stores in that area over the next few weeks.   ... " 

Is Small Data more Business Process Context?

Making my way through the book below.  Martin Lindstrom is a great storyteller, starting with his well known work with LEGO.      Before I finish the book, my initial impression is that there is real value here.  

It can be seen as making sure you include as much real business context in your problem as possible. In my usual world this means including it in your data science, but it can also mean starting with business process analysis, and adding the deep analysis.

Is that Small Data?   Simple insight? As long as it produces value, that is good.  And getting the business decision makers included, and valued, as soon as possible is a way to get your method understood and delivered.   Will have more on this as I proceed.    Worth a read. Thoughts?

 ...  Former colleague Martin Lindstrom has a new book out: Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends .  .....   Take a look at their pre publicity.

A Crusade Against Multiple Regression Analysis

In the Edge
Yes, well known, but often ignored,  is all the context in the model?  Again in the realm of misusing statistics.  A lengthy conversation with Richard Nisbett.  A crusade, he says, that may be worth taking note of.

" .... The thing I’m most interested in right now has become a kind of crusade against correlational statistical analysis—in particular, what’s called multiple regression analysis. Say you want to find out whether taking Vitamin E is associated with lower prostate cancer risk. You look at the correlational evidence and indeed it turns out that men who take Vitamin E have lower risk for prostate cancer. Then someone says, "Well, let’s see if we do the actual experiment, what happens." And what happens when you do the experiment is that Vitamin E contributes to the likelihood of prostate cancer. How could there be differences? These happen a lot. The correlational—the observational—evidence tells you one thing, the experimental evidence tells you something completely different. ... " 

Big Data and Storytelling

Good piece.  Though I retain my opinion that the accuracy and ability to interact with the data is more important.   Your story still has to first be an accurate one, not just a narrative you would like to have the data support. ...   And include the tale of why it is of value.

Data Storytelling: Big Data's Next Frontier
5 Tips to yield the best return on this year's Big Data investment (and, they're not about technology)! ... "

Sunday, February 14, 2016

New Rules of Data Visualization

In the National Geographic:   Interview with Alberto Cairo.  Interesting thoughts,  But I still believe in simplification,  accuracy and interactivity the most.    You can add art and tell a good story to attract people and maybe engage them.  But will you unless you have the fundamentals?

Ensemble Methods for Tuning Results

Good overview.  We used these methods before they were well understood.   Modern coding makes this much easier to do, and even to adapt as your data changes.  In Python or R.  Consider automating the method to tune your results to changing data.  Or to changes in targeted process.

Amazon Air Cargo

Some interesting thoughts, though speculations, embedded in this article.   Makes sense for Amazon to test, control and optimize larger parts of its supply chain.  Watching this.

Is local air cargo firm hauling Amazon deliveries?

Is Aerosmith the name of Amazon's trial run in the air cargo business? And is that delivery service being tested in Cincinnati's backyard? Those are good questions that nobody's answering, although new hints of confirmation were dropped this week.

In recent months, analysts and other Amazon watchers have increasingly speculated that the e-retailer is testing such as delivery service of its own, instead of shipping through companies such as UPS or FedEx. 

Is Aerosmith the name of Amazon's trial run in the air cargo business? And is that delivery service being tested in Cincinnati's backyard? Those are good questions that nobody's answering, although new hints of confirmation were dropped this week.

In recent months, analysts and other Amazon watchers have increasingly speculated that the e-retailer is testing such as delivery service of its own, instead of shipping through companies such as UPS or FedEx.  ... " 

Simplicity Should Break Ties.

In Gartner Blog:  Completely agree.   And I will take the argument a step further.  Simplicity should also guide your ordering of methods under consideration.  Keep it simple, visual, ordered and rational. With the agility to back out.

Travel by Hyperloop?

In the BBC: Supply chain and travel in a low pressure pipe at up to 1000 Km/Hr?   All it may need is some infrastructure.  In process.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Amazon to Launch a Dragon Boat

Good piece.  Amassing inventory from thousands of merchants around the world.  Dragon Boat.

In: The Zen of Retail Tech   By Evan Schuman : 
What Amazon is doing with its supply chain could devastate the competition
A huge planned global supply chain move by Amazon could disrupt product access, sharply lower Amazon's costs and accelerate product delivery to shoppers. ....  " 

Related Bloomberg article.

Storeflix for Whole Picture Brand Insight

Late to this, but I note that the Storeflix site has been updated, with some new directions.  Image based in-store analysis.    Less emphasis on compliance.    Some mention of analytics being driven, but no details at the site.  Did a bit of work with them.  I like the idea of connecting easily acquired images to retail intelligence.  See also, their blog. 

" .... created the first real-time visual collaboration technology for CPG companies to optimize retail execution using smart phones and tablets. Kroger is using the StoreFlix technology now to manage retail merchandising conditions. .. " 

" .. You can’t optimize until you opt for the whole picture. ... You’re a long way from all the places .. your brands meet, greet and engage with customers. And yet you’re still responsible for
how you come across to the world. ...  

Getting this kind of scope on your brands has been arduous and time consuming: NOT available in real time and never as robust and responsive as you would like. Or might have ever imagined it could be. .... 

Until now... The storeFlix Solution
This is where we come into the picture – and you get the visual insight and control you deserve. ....   " 

GE Addresses Scientific Impossibility

In FastCoCreate:  Superbowl ads promote science and science process.

" ... What: GE Theater presents a series of digital short films using science to challenge a few longstanding expressions of impossibility.
Who: General Electric
Why We Care: The brand follows up its hit podcast The Message by extending its "GE Theater" banner to include more fun, science and innovation-inspired content that aren't overly branded yet tie into GE perfectly. ... " 

Teaching AI Chitchat

Is it important to make AI more human?  That was part of what we attempted in our 'big' idea.  Have a piece of ad equity talk to you conversationally, and you can engage them.  Did not work then, but technology has improved. Is being clever better than being smart?   A key intelligence module of the re-emergent chatbot.   In CACM:  The power of chitchat.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Services and the IOT

 The Internet of Things: Why Success Lies in Services
The Internet of Things is a fast-growing phenomenon in which formerly dumb devices get chips and sensors to become smart gadgets, connected to a network as part of various cyber-physical systems. Sokwoo Rhee, associate director of the Cyber-Physical Systems Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is one of the government’s chief overseers of this rising trend.

Rhee spoke at a recent Wharton conference titled “Strategies for Success in the New Era of Connected Ecosystems,” sponsored by the Mack Institute for Innovation Management. Separately, he spoke with Knowledge@Wharton about some of the less obvious trends in the Internet of Things, how companies are adapting their business models, the government’s role in this cyber world, and how we should secure new smart devices coming online from potential hackers and cybercriminals.

Transcript follows: ...    "

Monitoring Machine Operation

Recall I mentioned Thingworx   In SiliconAngle: 

" ... Machine-generated data returned to the agenda last week after industrial heavyweight PTC Inc. and ServiceMax Inc. combined forces to give organizations much-needed visibility into the growing number of connected devices finding use throughout their operations. The duo is kicking off the effort with the introduction of a jointly-created tool that enables technicians to monitor for signs of equipment deterioration via the latter’s industrial automation platform.

The aptly-named Connected Field Service displays error warnings from malfunctioning hardware in real-time along with a wealth of diagnostic information that is meant to simplify troubleshooting. Most of the work involved in handling the data is carried out by PTC’s device automation platform, ThingWorx, one of the more popular options for manufacturers seeking to tap the sensory output of their gear. The software is complemented by an analytics toolkit that makes it possible to scan the raw telemetry for insights using machine learning, which became a central talking point in its own right last week thanks a new open-source contribution from Yahoo Inc’s research division. ... " 

Watson Analytics for Superbowl Front Office Data Analysis

Good, fairly simple example of the automation of analytics.  Here using Watson analytics.  With commonly used exploratory goals.   Explore it for free:

In Business Insider:
" ... In order to help sports fans get started, IBM uploaded a slew of offensive statistics from the 2014 NFL season (provided by SportsData LLC) into its database. For instructions and a demo of what you can do with NFL stats in Watson Analytics, visit the Watson Analytics Storybook.

From there, fans can explore data visualizations of how certain trends played out during the season — like a weekly breakdown of interceptions thrown by the home and visiting teams — and even ask the system predictive questions like, "Which factors lead to rushing touchdowns?" .... " 

K Nearest Neighbor Using Python

Good instructional piece for a common kind of machine learning. Clustering.  Easier to do in R, but the comparison is also very useful. In DSC:   K-nearest neighbor algorithm using Python  Posted by Laetitia Van Cauwenberge

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Michael North - Agent Models Argonne Labs

Michael J. North, MBA, Ph.D.

Group Leader
Integrated Analytics Group
Systems Science Center
Global Security Sciences Division
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 S. Cass Avenue
Argonne, IL 60439-4854

Senior Fellow
Computation Institute
The University of Chicago
Searle Laboratory
5735 South Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637-1403

Beyond Automation

Talk today by Tom Davenport:  In particular how can we look at the current influence of cognitive/AI in the workplace? ... “Beyond Automation: Smart Machines + Smart People”, where he talks about some of the material in his forthcoming book,  which I will further review here.   See also his HBR article " Beyond Automation".  

Slides here.    Talk recording here.

Model Discovery, Process Mining with Fluxicon

This software, Fluxicon Disco, was new to me.  Described in KDNuggets.   I recall doing something similar in R, but this appears to cover the whole realm of process flow modeling.    Discovers a model from data, as opposed to BPM,  which has you create the model.

  " ... Process mining can analyze your process in a bottom-up fashion. You don't need to have a model of your process to analyze it — Process mining uses the history data in your IT systems.

Your IT system already records all steps of your process in execution. With process mining, you get a process model from these data. This way, your real process, and actual business rules, can be discovered automatically. ... "

Crowdoscope from Unilever

Of interest is the involvement of the CPG giant Unilever.  A data source, likely linked to real time analytics.

Crowdoscope – a breakthrough survey and discussion tool developed by Unilever and Silverman Research.
Silverman Research today announced the release of Crowdoscope, an entirely new type of survey and discussion tool designed to obtain real-time social collective intelligence. Developed in partnership with Unilever, Crowdoscope is a self-organising visual environment that has been carefully designed to support group interaction and extract insight.   ....  "

Stories can be Dangerous

Have been always intrigued by storytelling, establishing a narrative, as a powerful way to convince, to advertise, to market.  It also a way to convert your analytics, your data, your trends, your discovered patterns into convincing arguments.  Lots in the press today about that.

But ... Its also a way to deceive.  To introduce bias.  Have seen that.   That's why I prefer providing a user with an answer, plus the ability to interact with that answer.  To test it in application.

This piece, on detecting lies (bias?)  You can create bias in yourself.  Led me to these thoughts:

From Eric Barker's Barking up the Wrong Tree
... " 4) Stories Are Dangerous
When people tell us stories we tend to let our guard down. We don’t think we’re being “sold” on something, so we tend to go along for the ride. We quietly lose motivation to detect lies.

This is a mistake because research shows stories are actually the most powerful way to deceive and to get you to change your mind. ...  "   (More follows) 

Kognit for Mixed Reality

Brought to my attention, understanding the limits of cognition and how it can be augmented with accessory augmentation.  Note the use of the term: 'Mixed Reality'

Cognitive Models and Mixed Reality for Dementia Patients
In Kognit (2014-2015), we enter the mixed reality realm for helping dementia patients. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia. Mixed reality refers to the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new episodic memory visualisations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time. Cognitive models are approximations of a patient's mental abilities and limitations involving conscious mental activities (such as thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering). We are concerned with fundamental research in coupling artificial intelligence based situation awareness with augmented cognition for the patient. ... "

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Machine Intelligence in the Workplace

From the Cisco Blog:  Some interesting thoughts on intelligence and an interview with Marvin Minsky.   I like the comment about Minsky saying big business is stalling progress: But I don't recall him not willing to take the money of business.  Sure there are different goals, challenges and methods.  Governance is also very different.   But we funded him and many AI enterprises of the time.

Rowan Trollope writes:
" ... As an inventor and engineer myself, I get it. Big business can get in the way of good science. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I joined Cisco because I felt that solving some of these very hard problems would be easiest from inside a company with both tremendous resources and a passion for innovation. Resources and passion for innovation are the key words. Three years later, my experience here proves that hypothesis right. We are using our resources and our commitment to solve some hard problems. Others are too; I am impressed by the real progress in Machine Intelligence made at the likes of Google and Facebook, Apple and even IBM. ...  " 

Pinterist Leveraging Deep Learning AI

How Pinterest can better leverage its content
Had thought there was some opening for interesting deep learning based image understanding in Pinterest.   To direct our online shopping?  Will these systems be able to understand the subtleties of these images?  Is the image then the  thing?   ...   " ... Pinterest is about to launch an AI tool that will make online shopping a lot easier ... " .  In RightRelevance.

Rethinking BYOD

Recently experienced aspects of BYOD in the enterprise, so this is interesting.   True you can now use your smart phone there,   But do expect that the enterprise will reach into your devices to secure them in unexpected ways.  For example, in my case automated backups were stopped.   So the personal part of my smartphone was thus put in jeopardy.  Ultimately I had to go to a two phone system.    More in ArsTechnica.

Re Emergence of AI in the Enterprise

Seeing this directly and also through increasing queries about what to do next to play.  Good overview.

Artificial intelligence in the enterprise: It’s on  
Companies as diverse as Pitney Bowes, General Electric and Twitter are taking the plunge into machine learning. Here’s why.  ,,, 

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Gamifying in the Lumberyard

One of the reasons that gamification is hard to do is that good, engaging games are hard to develop.   Thus expensive to create and test and adapt.  

This prevented us from adequately testing and delivering the idea.   Announced today,  the Beta AWS system Lumberyard   Free, cross platform and open source.   Can imagine this would have made the construction of such systems much easier.

I can also see this as enabling some kinds of analytic systems where humans need to be integrated with algorithmic systems that drive the 'game'.  Simulations and agent models come to mind.  Does this provide the Cognitive engagement engine for these models?    Ideas?

" ... Amazon Lumberyard is a free AAA game engine deeply integrated with AWS and Twitch – with full source.   ...  Amazon Lumberyard is a free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for you to create the highest-quality games, connect your games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch.

By starting game projects with Lumberyard, you can spend more of your time creating great gameplay and building communities of fans, and less time on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of building a game engine and managing server infrastructure. ... " 

See also their Gamedev blog      

Supply Chain Management Priorities

In the APQC Blog:  Not unexpected view This is a survey to look at expectations.  I would have further looked at expectations that technologies, like the internet of things, might influence the supply chain.

Goals for Thermostats in the Smart Home

In the midst of putting together a 'practical smart home'.  We experimented with this idea at the innovation centers from 2000 on,  and I demonstrated the idea to many people, but always with quite a bit of skepticism.   Is the time now right?  Is this the showplace of the IOT?  Are there the right kinds of interconnectivity? The right kind of goals?     In the CACM:  on Thermostats.  

" ... University of Southampton researchers have developed a prototype "smart" thermostat, which enables users to control their heating based on the price they want to pay rather than setting it by temperature alone.

The researchers produced three different smart thermostats that automated heating based on users' preferences and real-time price variations. One of the thermostats enables users to explicitly specify how the heating should respond to price changes. The two other thermostats are learning-based models, which use artificial intelligence to automate the temperature settings based on learned household preferences. ... " 

Tom Davenport: Beyond Automation CSI Talk

" ... Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series call this week, on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 10:30 am ET (7:30 am PT).  Our presenter on Thursday will be Tom Davenport, Distinguished Professor at Babson College and author, will be presenting:  “Beyond Automation: Smart Machines + Smart People.”     I hope you will join the call.

Please point your web browser to https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491password=cognitive.   Use audio on computer or dial 855-233-7153 in the US (other countries numbershere) PIN Code: 43179788   Non-IBMers, please use the "guest" option rather than entering your email on the opening page.   ....  

We encourage those who join the calls to add questions and comments to the https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Cognitive-Systems-Institute-6729452 on LinkedIn and we ask that you ask questions at the end of the call. ....  " 

A Look at Less well Known Visual Tools

Visualization is a key way to understand your data.   I believe it is the key first step to any analytics problem.  Here a look at a number of tools, many of which I have not worked with. Worth knowing the landscape.

Showing Computers a Better Way to Learn

Interesting view.    Still think there is a big gap understanding the hardware, software and algorithms used by the brain.  Yet this is a good first step, accurately knowing what happens in a given context. And learning is only a part of doing something.

Power of How to Videos

Google on how to videos, pitching YouTube, with as always,  interesting stats.  I remember the family using a 'how to tie a necktie' in the early days of the Web, left a lasting impression.

" ... For big projects and small fixes, people look for how-to videos on YouTube, increasingly on mobile. Of smartphone users, 91% turn to their devices for ideas while completing a task. See how brands like Home Depot and M·A·C are using mobile video to reach people in these 'I-want-to-do' micro-moments. ...  " 

Monday, February 08, 2016

L'Oreal and Programmatic Digital Advertising

We did early work in this area.  By analytically matching advertising to predicted outcomes based on costs.   Essentially a big data optimization problem.   This worked for about a decade, but eventually the idea was outsourced.   We are now in different times, especially with regard to the amount of data we have.   In Adage:

L'Oreal USA Looks to Bring Programmatic Trading In-House
Beauty Giant Would Follow P&G and Others Amid Industry Concerns

L'Oreal USA looks to be the latest big marketer set to bring programmatic digital trading in house, soon after concluding its North American media review.

The company has posted a job listing for an assistant VP of Precision Advertising Information Technology with experience overseeing data management platforms and demand-side platforms used to build in-house trading desks. The person is to work with the company's chief marketing officer team and brand media leaders to identify "which platforms will be trialed and then scaled for broad use to achieve precision buying and tracking of media buys." .... ' 

See the programmatic ad buying tag below for much more.

Deepmind Navigates a 3D Maze

In CACM:    Pointing to an article in New Scientist:  " ... Google DeepMind just entered the 90s. Fresh off their success in playing the ancient game of Go, DeepMind’s latest artificial intelligence can navigate a 3D maze reminiscent of the 1993 shooter game Doom. .... " 

Is a maze similar to a business process?   Observe, advance, measure, correct ...

Algorithms and Amazon Workers

In the BBC:  Am particularly interested in how algorithms and workers interact.     There has always been an interpretation of the results provided by computing, even close loop systems, like those in process control.  What will this be like when the interaction looks more like a continuous, learning conversation?

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Artificial Intelligence in Business

 Some statistics about the re-emergence of AI in Business.   As pioneers of the use of AI in business, we have also started to see many queries asking:  Is this the time to restart our efforts here?  Why, How, with whom?  All still not have obvious answers, but it is time to think this through.  Two additional angles are now essential:   The inclusion of corporate data that links directly to decision making.   And the use of Cognitive interaction with both customers and internal decision makers. Bring it on.

(CustomerThink)  " .. There was more than $300 million in venture capital invested in AI startups in 2014, a 300% increase over the year before. (Bloomberg)

By 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human. (Gartner) 

32% of executives say voice recognition is the most-widely used AI technology in their business. (Narrative Science)

By 2018, six billion connected devices will proactively ask for support. (Gartner) ..... (more) .... " 

SAP Testing Data Viz at Superbowl

In InformationWeek:  SAP Uses Super Bowl 50 To Test Data Visualization, UX ... SAP's Fan Energy Zone in San Francisco's Super Bowl 50 celebrations is a giant test case in how users create, share, and process data in real-time. ....  "

Microsoft to buy Swiftkey

In Fortune:  When I first read this, I remembered seeing Swiftkey demonstrated.  Though I never had it on one of my own devices, the aha came quickly.  Quickly matching key patterns to retrieve used words.  Now where else could that be used?  One of those embedded AI era developed things we forget about.   Instructive to see where this will go,

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Hidden Science Behind Superbowl Ads. Neuroscience?

In Adage:  Lots about behavioral science to understand top ads, but no mention of neuroscience. Consumer behavior is different than neural behavior.   Recall that in past years I have mentioned some of the neuromarketing techniques used to analyze superbowl ads.  (See the Superbowl link below)   I even did secondary analysis of that data.  Does this mean that neuromarketing is fading?

Hololens Competition

Always want to see real commercial and industrial applications of augmented (now being called mixed reality) applications.   Here the results of an App competition.  Still a bit disappointing, more art than industry.   What gets me to wear it, use it.   Beyond the novelty?

Making and Flying Complex Devices

A new jet engine takes a certification flight. Article in GE's Bikeshop.  My new experiences show how complex the development, delivery and use of a jet engines can be.   New kinds of analytics and data management are essential.   As they say, to get up in the air and to your destination, and safely down again. 

Brains Showing Way to Machine Learning

In Technology Review.  Taking more hints from nature.  Although I disagree that its a complete way to do computer programming.   People still make sequential decision processes.

Better Brain Imaging Could Show Computers a Smarter Way to Learn
Using cutting-edge imaging to study the inner workings of our brains could lead to more powerful and useful machine-learning algorithms.  by Will Knight  February 4, 2016 ... 

 ... A new $12 million dollar project at Carnegie Mellon University could make machine learning even more powerful by uncovering ways to teach computers more efficiently while using much less data.   The five-year effort will use a newish technique, called 2-photon calcium imaging microscopy, to study the way visual information is processed in the brain. ... " 

Friday, February 05, 2016

Understanding API Ecosystems

In the CACM:  Revealing the API Ecosystem and Enterprise Strategy via Visual Analytics.   Valuable insights can be gained by applying visual analytic techniques to understand complex, emerging ecosystem dynamics and evolving enterprise strategies. ... " 

Retail with AI and Virtual Reality

Interesting idea, but still too complex.  Simple still works well.

With new tech, see yourself on a mountain top from a store floor, or browse store aisles from your couch By Sharon Gaudin, 
in Computerworld  

As retailers look ahead to the way consumers will shop in the next five to 10 years, it's likely they'll be using technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality to keep customers interested.

Retail is no longer about having the latest products on the shelves in brick-and-mortar stores or having a cool website. It's becoming much more than that.

Some retailers already are working to merge their in-store and online efforts, which provides more information about their customers, allows better customer service and the chance to sell more goods. ... " 

Serious Games Industry News

 Newly referenced:   Useful read.

" ... We believe that the current growth of the gamification and serious gaming market is about to accelerate for the following reasons:

The Digital Generation which will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025 is used to spending time on play-based activity. With an average age of 27 and an almost equal split between women and men, players are already working in your company.

The play platform is no longer the console but the PC and the smartphone – both part of work environment. ... "  

Google and Real Time Ads

In AdExchanger:

" ... Google sounds more and more like Twitter, heralding ways marketers can tap into live events for engagement.

As such, the company on Wednesday rolled out a new ad product called Real-Time Ads at a press event in New York.

With Real-Time Ads, Google aims to capitalize on the ripple effect of live events, such as sports events, political rallies or awards shows, along with all of the consumer and brand conversations that arise because of them.

The format can be “dynamically inserted” across YouTube, “hundreds of thousands of apps” and about two million sites across the Google Display Network, according to Tara Walpert Levy, managing director of agency sales for Google. ... " 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Ordering Pizza from your Echo

You can now order a Dominos Pizza verbally from your Amazon Echo.    No, it won't print/bake it locally yet.

  The piece in TechCrunch correctly points out that for these add-on 'skills' you need to phrase your order in a specific, awkward way.  So its not a 'buy button', that's easily remember-able. Hardly a way to promote impulse purchase, any retailer would tell you.

So why can't I just say 'Need Pizza'?   Echo needs to work on their natural language interpretation to have the Echo become a credible smart hub for the home.

But it is the rare new technical device I have used every day since I bought it a year ago.  So the exposure to a potential 'buy button' is there every day.

Wharton Pushes Data Science

Note the inclusion of 'Decision' in the new department title.  Good move,

As tech skills grow in value, Wharton increases focus on data science
By  Aliza Ohnouna in the Daily Pennsylvanian

Wall Street and Silicon Valley may be 2,562 miles apart, but at Penn, finance and tech are becoming increasingly intertwined.

Eric Bradlow, a professor in the Marketing Department at the Wharton School, sees business strategy and technological competency, particularly in the way of data science, as inextricably linked skills for jobs in the modern economy. “People that can take statistical modeling and big data and turn it into corporate strategy — that’s what firms are looking for today,” he said.

Bradlow cited recent changes that Wharton has made in its curriculum to keep up with the needs of the changing job market. Wharton re-named its Operations and Information Management Department (OPIM), the Operations, Information and Decision Department (OID).

This department offers more than just a new acronym. It seeks to rigorously blend computer-based data analytics and business management decision making, the latter which has become increasingly dependent on the former.   ... " 

How IBM Watson Analytics is being used in Business

 Good examples in CIO: 
" ... IBM says Watson represents a new era of computing — a step forward to cognitive computing, where apps and systems interact with humans via natural language and help us augment our own understanding of the world with big data insights.

The Watson Analytics offering is intended to provide the benefits of advanced analytics without the complexity. The data discovery service, available via the cloud, guides data exploration, automates predictive analytics and enables dashboard and infographic creation.

Here are eight examples of organizations using Watson Analytics to transform their operations. ...  " 

Open Source is New Normal for Big Data

A trend I am seeing.  In CWorld:

" ... It's no secret that Hadoop and Apache Spark are the hottest technologies in big data, but what's less often remarked upon is that they're both open-source.

Mike Tuchen, a former Microsoft executive who is now CEO of big-data vendor Talend, thinks that's no coincidence. .... "We're seeing a changing of the guard," he said. "We expect the entire next-generation data platform will be open source."

The platform he's referring to is an expanded Hadoop ecosystem, in which the whole stack is open source. "It's the new normal," he said. ... " 

Towards Robotic Self Design

The ultimate in robotic capability.  Extensive look at the idea.   In CACM:   Self-Repair Techniques Point to Robots That Design Themselves   By Chris Edwards   " ... David Johan Christensen, associate professor at the Technical University of Denmark, observes: "In the future, physical self-repair could become critical in applications where no humans are around to assist or repair the robots; for example, in space or underwater applications." ... ' 

Future of Programming Languages

Robert Martin talks on the past and future of programming languages.   Always thought we would be much closer to very visual and service oriented methods by now.   Or even completely automated, robotically assembled systems.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Does Gamification Work?

In K@W:  A look at the evidence. Everyone agrees that games are engaging, and they can be designed,  built and delivered.  They can get you to a place where your presence has value.  But can the concepts in games be built into things that people dislike?   Our own experience is yes.  But its about culture, context and design.   Technology is only a framework.  Not necessarily easy.   Good piece.  (See the next article in the tag below for an alternate view)

Omni Channel Shoppers

Google opines on micro moments.  Where these confirmed during the past holidays?

" ... Micro-moments are transforming the way consumers shop. Retailers have to win micro-moments to win omni-channel shoppers.  .... Google's VP of Marketing, Lisa Gevelber, shares three ways retailers can be moments-ready, using examples from those that have seen success. ... " 

Connecting Designers and Developers

In The Verge: 
" ... after Etsy completed an IPO that valued it at $3.5 billion, the craft marketplace is expanding. The company is introducing Etsy Manufacturing, a new service that will link Etsy sellers — who often make items by hand — with small manufacturing companies. The operation is designed to help both sellers who've found success but have little time to fulfill larger orders, and smaller manufacturers, some of whom have lost business to huge manufacturers in countries where labor is cheaper.

Starting Monday, manufacturers will be able to create a profile on Etsy, part of a beta program for the new service during which the company will collate their details. Sellers will eventually be able to search through these manufacturers by criteria such as price, location, and the manufacturing services they offer. Etsy will review the applications of manufacturers, checking up on their size, their commitment to transparency, and how much work they themselves outsource, but the marketplace won't actively visit or vet the successful applicants. Instead, it demands that manufacturers featured commit to providing a safe work space and are transparent about their manufacturing processes.  ... "