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Friday, December 15, 2017

AT&T vs Verizon Visualization

It particularly attracted me because it dealt with maps and visualization of data. You have seen the ads if you watch any TV or use the Internet. Dueling mobile coverage maps. E-Commerce Times provides some of the data behind the claims. Sometimes visualizations are not enough.

Customer Experience with AI at Verizon

Good example of the use of delivering customer experience. 

Tapping AI: The Future of Customer Experience at Verizon Fios
Podcast and transcript:

Verizon Fios's Justin Reilly discusses the future of AI in enhancing the customer experience.
Justin Reilly, head of customer experience innovation for Verizon Fios, is projecting that 80% of value creation in artificial intelligence (AI) will be in business-to-business [B2B] applications, and the rest in consumer services. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton during the Mack Institute for Innovation Management’s fall conference on Emerging Innovation Leadership Challenges for Global Firms, he also noted that Generation Z is increasingly becoming protective of personal data and may start withholding it from companies unless offered compensation, while millennials will continue to favor companies that make positive social contributions. Reilly, who was a conference speaker, also suggested that in a world of vast automation via AI, companies that learn how to preserve a human touch should have a competitive advantage. .... "

Embedding Software in Everything

We are moving quickly in this area, with lots of changes regarding need for better security, and architectures to ensure that.   So many unexpected things will start to become connected.

Embedded Software Eating the World  in IOT Central  An interview:

Software is eating the world wrote Marc Andreessen in The Wall Street Journal on August 20, 2011. Since that time every company in the world has beefed up their software teams and their digital transformation initiatives. Afterall, software is a key competitive advantage, and to survival.

In the IoT space, we often think about the application software that power industrial systems and consumer connected devices. But what about the embedded software written to control machines or devices that are not typically thought of as computers? This is almost everything, from a small digital watch, e-bikes, electronic control units in cars, microwaves and missile guidance systems.

For insight we turned to Jeffrey Fortin, Head of Product Management, Vector Software. Vector provides automated test tools for embedded software applications in automotive, aerospace, medical devices, industrial controls, rail, and other business critical sectors. .... "

Humans vs AI in Healthcare Vision

Google Brain chief Jeff Dean: As AI beats humans in computer vision, healthcare will never be the same

SiliconANGLE by Gina Smith

Just five years ago, artificial intelligence-enabled computers could barely recognize images fed to them, much less analyze them anything like people can. But suddenly, they’ve turned the tables.

“In 2011 their error rate was 26 percent,” says Jeff Dean, chief of the Google Brain project, which along with other tech giants has helped lead a recent revolution in image recognition as well as speech recognition and self-driving cars. Now, he says, computers’ ability to view and analyze images (pictured) exceeds what human eyes can do.

“If you’d have told me that would be a possible just a few years ago, I would’ve never believed you,” Dean said during an appearance at a research event in Heidelberg, Germany. But thanks to AI-enabled computer vision advances, computers “can now see … and that has opened our eyes (about) what is possible.”.... ' 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Chatbots as Customer Service Reps

Overview on the concept of retail chatbots.   This time of year you have probably encountered a few.  Key is doing it right. It is not easy to do them well. Participating in some design. 

Will chatbots replace customer service reps?
by Guest contributor  Retail TouchPoints staff ... in Retailwire

Undoubtedly, chatbots, both text and voice-rendered, will replace a large majority of customer service representatives.  - Shawn Harris

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.

Chatbots — AI applications that simulate human conversation — are becoming more pervasive in online and mobile customer service, and acceptance of them is growing: 55 percent of American consumers and 65 percent of Millennials report that they want chatbots involved in the process. In addition, 20 percent of consumers say chatbots in general are definitely making things better, while 40 percent say chatbots are helpful but not yet living up to their full potential. .... " 

More Bayesian Networks

Video, another example of using Bayesian networks.

Dr. Alta de Waal's presentation at the 5th Annual BayesiaLab Conference in Paris.

Spatially Discrete Probability Maps for Anti-Poaching Efforts

Via Stefan Conrady
Managing Partner at Bayesia USA & Singapore: Bayesian Networks  ...

Cortana and Alexa as Collaborating Assistants

This was announced back in late August, and have heard little since.   Reviewed some of the details here of interest.   What can this look like?     Do recent indications by Amazon saying they want to enter the business space, no mention of Cortana there,  change this?   Reviewing this again for possible application.

Microsoft and Amazon agree to enable Cortana, Alexa communication
Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana voice assistants soon will be able to communicate with each other, thanks to a new partnership between the two rivals. .... " 

By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft

Crowdsourcing Voice Recognitiion

Like the idea of sharing this kind of fundamental data.    Good idea to think about what the structure of such data should look like and be most useful.

Mozilla is crowdsourcing voice recognition to make AI work for the people By James Vincent     @jjvincent in TheVerge

" ... Now a new project from the Mozilla (the nonprofit creator of the Firefox browser) is experimenting with an alternative to data monopolies, by asking users to pool information in order to power open-sourced AI initiatives. The company’s first project is called Common Voice, with Mozilla asking volunteers to donate vocal samples to build an open-source voice recognition system like the ones powering Siri and Alexa .... "

Deloitte Cognitive Tech Survey

Deloitte provides some interesting data on Cognitive via survey

2017 cognitive technologies survey

Early adopters speak out on cognitive and AI
​What do the most aggressive adopters of artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive technologies report based on their efforts to date? On everything from the impact on jobs to their specific goals and exactly which technologies they're using and much more, 250 leaders shared their views on this important business development just as it takes hold in the broader business world. ... " 

Grocery Startup Uses AI

Artificial Intelligence is drawing attention for its potential and its pitfalls. Tesla founder Elon Musk recently called for greater regulation of AI robotics due to its “public risk.” ...

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports from San Francisco about a startup using AI to better serve their business.
Going head to head with giants like AmazonFresh Grocery and big name supermarkets, Farmstead is a new Silicon Valley startup that deliveries groceries. From what it calls micro hubs, Farmstead tracks locally sourced products every step of the way as they’re delivered to homes in San Francisco within one hour of ordering. Farmstead’s secret recipe is AI.

“Artificial intelligence plays a massive role. We take into account all of our customers buying patterns to date. To help us predict exactly how much product to order for every particular item that we carry. We waste a lot less, and as a result we can pass those savings along to our customers,” Farmstead Co-founder & CEO Pradeep Elankumaran said.  .... "

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kroger Does Mobile Payments

Surprised this has taken this long, getting to be an expectation in retail:

JPMorgan Strikes Deal With Kroger for Mobile Payments
By Jennifer Surane  and Craig Giammona in Bloomberg

" ... Kroger Co., the largest U.S. supermarket chain, will begin offering JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Chase Pay mobile wallet in certain markets beginning next year, the two companies said Tuesday in a statement. The partnership will be Kroger’s first venture into mobile payments as the retailer seeks to bring its shopping experience into the digital age. ... " 

Summary of Conference on Robot Learning

In the Google Research Blog.  Broadly about learning in changing contexts and environments.  Links to papers presented.

A Summary of the First Conference on Robot Learning

Posted by Vincent Vanhoucke, Principal Scientist, Google Brain Team and Melanie Saldaña, Program Manager, University Relations

Whether in the form of autonomous vehicles, home assistants or disaster rescue units, robotic systems of the future will need to be able to operate safely and effectively in human-centric environments. In contrast to to their industrial counterparts, they will require a very high level of perceptual awareness of the world around them, and to adapt to continuous changes in both their goals and their environment. Machine learning is a natural answer to both the problems of perception and generalization to unseen environments, and with the recent rapid progress in computer vision and learning capabilities, applying these new technologies to the field of robotics is becoming a very central research question.  ... " 

Electric Eels and Implantable Power

Pacemakers and VR contact lenses are suggested.

Electric eels might be the key to powering implantable devices
This could lead to a pacemaker that never runs out. ... 

By Timothy J. Seppala, @timseppala  in Engadget. ... " 

Ben Evans On the Amazon Machine

Thoughtful piece  ... Now I want Amazon to better give us the power to make our own machines.  Voice Assistants, databases and skills are not enough.  Give me a knowledge architecture to drive some intelligence.   A knowledge machine.

The Amazon machine

When you look at large manufacturing companies, it becomes very clear that the machine that makes the machine is just as important as the machine itself. There’s a lot of work in the iPhone, but there’s also a lot of work in the machine that can manufacture over 200m iPhones in a year. Equally, there’s a lot of work in a Tesla Model 3, but Tesla has yet to build a machine that can manufacture Model 3s efficiently, reliable, quickly and at quality at the scale of the incumbent car industry.

More than any of the other big tech platform companies, Amazon is a machine that makes the machine. People tend to talk about the famous virtuous circle diagram - more volume, lower costs, lower prices, more customers and so more volume. However, I think the operating structure of Amazon - the machine - is just as important, and perhaps less often talked about.   ...  " 

Buying Through Your Car Dashboard

Automobile as a channel.

GM thinks you'll buy stuff through your car's dashboard
Its on-board marketplace lets you purchase items you'll still have to wait in line for.

Rachel England, @rachel_england in Engadget

As more cars roll off production lines with WiFi and LTE capabilities as standard, brands are falling over themselves to find ways to monetize this connectivity. Jaguar and Shell have partnered for in-car fuel payments, while BMW and Ford are bringing Alexa to your dashboard. Now, General Motors (GM) has unveiled a new on-board marketplace where drivers can buy coffee and gas, and make restaurant and hotel reservations, without getting out of their car. ... " 

New and Dynamic Category Management

Spent a big part of a whole career in the analytics of this space.     How new and dynamic are the changes?    Considerable.    Excellent in further discussion in link below.

The next logical step for category management  by Mark Heckman  in Retailwire.

"The reality is that category management has become increasingly complex based upon omnichannel consumer expectations."

Comment by: Chris Petersen, PhD.President, Integrated Marketing Solutions

Recent radical changes in shopper behavior are putting pressure on category management practices to further adapt to the new dynamics of retail. .... 

Amazon.com and other online retail players are now undeniably on brick-and-mortar stores’ competitive radar. Further, new smaller and more efficient physical store competitors — from limited-assortment grocers to dollar stores — are on the march with aggressive growth plans. So how do these new competitive dynamics affect category management practices? .... " 

Exoskeleton Being Tested by Ford

The ultimate integration of people and robotics.

Ford Pilots New Exoskeleton Technology to Help Lessen Chance of Fatique

Ford Pilots New Exoskeleton Technology to Help Lessen Chance of Worker Fatigue, Injury.   Called EksoVest, the wearable technology elevates and supports a worker's arms while performing overhead tasks. Ford assembly line workers are testing new upper body exoskeletal technology ... " 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Google Experiments with Photography

This effort was new to me.  Some of the Apps are available on just on Android, and some on IOS.  Particularly interested in new kinds of mobile based object recognition. 

Google tests experimental technology with three new photography apps  by Colin Kriel in Siliconangle

 Google Inc. Monday launched three new photography apps, part of the company’s new “appsperiments” program.

The new apps are called Storyboard, Selfissimo! and Scrubbies and, according to Google, they’re the first installment of mobile photography experiences that are built on experimental technology.

The “appsperiments” program is inspired by Google’s Motion Stills app, introduced last year, which provides video stabilization for Apple Inc.’s Live Photos. The three new apps and future ones rely on technologies in development at Google, including object recognition, person segmentation, stylization algorithms, efficient image encoding and decoding technologies.  ... " 

Coexisting with Robots

We are starting to see the earliest issues about how we will work with robots.   And the first step will be how can even coexist with them in our streets and walkways.   San Francisco is worried about them and starting with some very specific regulation.

San Francisco to robots: Don’t crowd our sidewalks
By Carolyn Said and Benny Evangelista

Robots that trundle along sidewalks R2D2-style to deliver takeout food or packages are still in early test phases. Few even exist.

But San Francisco is cracking down on them, and that may stem from mounting concerns about automation gobbling up jobs. On Tuesday night, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously passed tough new regulations that will limit companies to three robots each; limit the city to nine robots total; and confine robots to industrial areas where almost no one lives — all of which makes it hard to test their basic function of delivering goods to consumers. The robots can’t go faster than 3 mph and must have a human monitor, the new law says.  .... " 

Watson IoT Platform

Starting to work on a project that utilizes IOT applications.   Here is an excerpt of Watson IoT's latest overview that we will be working with.   Includes Videos and more.  Will be reporting on some of that here in the coming weeks.  Any ideas or questions, pass them along.

The Internet of Things becomes the Internet that thinks with Watson IoT

The power of IoT is the insight, intelligence and innovation to transform your business and industry

Industry solutions at a glance.

Watson IoT™ Platform understands the language of your industry. Explore how your unique needs become competitive differentiators.

Automotive, Electronics, Energy and utilities, Insurance, Manufacturing, Retail

Transform your industry using data, Watson IoT and AI

ABB is bringing its industry leading digital offering together with Watson IoT cognitive capabilities to unlock new value for customers in utilities, industry, transport and infrastructure. .... " 

IOT Value vs Trust Survey

In the Cisco blog, results from a survey  of interest, with details.

Cisco survey finds consumers like IoT devices but don’t trust their security  by Duncan Riley

 Consumers see great value in “internet of things” devices but lack trust in them because of security concerns, according to a survey recently undertaken by Cisco Systems Inc.

The “IoT Value/Trust Paradox” survey of 3,000 consumers found that 53 percent of respondents believed that IoT devices make their life easier, but only 9 percent have a high level of trust that their data collected and shared via IoT is secure. Despite the low levels of trust, 42 percent of respondents said they were not willing to disconnect their IoT devices because they bring sufficient value to them. ... " 

Computers, Cognition and Perspective

Intriguing thoughts.   Why do we always use human descriptive terms to tag computer 'Apps',  skills, and what are the implications?  Pretty obviously we start with existing understanding.

Human Acts and Computer Apps   By Robin K. Hill

In the discussion of recent decades concerning the relationship between human cognition and machine computation, one perspective predominates—starting from the point of view of the computation, we probe the possible applications to cognition. That is, we describe cognition in computational terms. My own view, outlined in previous blog posts, is that computation fashions artifacts that the philosophy of computer science can view in the terms of human affairs and humanities perspectives. Hence, I interrogate the ontology of algorithms [Hill 2016a], ask whether nature uses data [Hill 2016b] and whether fiction is model theory [Hill 2016c].

Recently, in Communications, we've seen a couple of articles that elaborate the human-computer analogy from this latter point of view, sketching a computing phenomenon (narrower than computation itself) and then interpreting it in quotidian human affairs, as literally as possible. While these ideas are not new, the way these works pose the concepts aligns with my view—for which the authors cannot be held responsible, of course.     .... "

Monday, December 11, 2017

Byte Sized Deep Learning Tutorials

There seems to be quite a bit to learn in The AI Workbox.  We often learn best by example rather than rules.

Bite-size video tutorials for Deep Learning Developers

Learn the latest cutting-edge tools and frameworks  Level-up, accomplish more, and do great work ... 

And one particular example (there are many more):

Visualize Training Results With TensorFlow summary and TensorBoard ....

AI is Still not Broadly Impressive

Or is that we are not as intelligent as we thought?  Are we fooled by the very implications in the term:  AI.  Seems this happened once before.   Hype and Bubble?   Ok, some of us have taken to using the term Machine Learning (ML) to try to make the point more precise.   But its not really general learning either, its carefully scrubbed and selected data, manipulated with selected algorithms.   Impressive results,  increasingly useful,  but is it intelligence?    Or Creative.  Or have we been fooled by ourselves? 

Progress in AI isn’t as Impressive as You Might Think

A new report gauges how far we’ve come, dampening ideas that machines are approaching human-type intelligence.

In Technology Review, by Will Knight   Which has a link to the original piece below. 

With so much excitement about progress in artificial intelligence, you may wonder why intelligent machines aren’t already running our lives.

Key advances have the capacity to dazzle the public, policymakers, and investors into believing that human-level machine intelligence may be just around the corner. But a new report (PDF), which tries to gauge actual progress being made, attests that this is far from true. The findings may help inform the discussion over how AI will affect the economy and jobs in the coming years. .... "

CPG, Unilever Big Data and Digital Twins

Always good to see interesting examples in the CPG industry, where I spent a good part of my career.   Save digital twin applications at GE.  Several useful concepts to be learned here.

CPG Industry Levels Playing Field with Power of One   Posted by Bill Schmarzo   in DSC.

Special thanks to Brandon Kaier (@bkaier) for his research and thoughts on the Digital Twins concept.

Unilever, one of the Consumer Package Goods (CPG) industry’s titans with over 400 brands and annual sales greater than $60B, recently bought Dollar Shave Club for $1B. Now normally I would not think twice about such an acquisition, peanuts in the world of mergers and acquisitions. ....

It seems that Unilever could have easily created their own subscription model without having to pay $1B for customers with whom they already have a relationship. So I don’t believe that Unilever just bought a subscription model. Instead, I think Unilever bought a capability; a capability to capture and mine individual customer product purchase behaviors – the frequency, recency, intensity, magnitude and monetary value of purchase behaviors at the level of the individual consumer – and to eventually apply this analytic capability across more of their brands.

Think about the purchase behavior details Dollar Shave Club has on each of its individual subscribers. Unilever has no similar behavioral knowledge or insights at the level of the individual consumer; they only know how much product they push through retailers and distributors like Walmart, Kroger and Target.

To be actionable, Big Data must get down to the level of the individual – the “Power of One.” Big Data enables capturing customers’ individual tendencies, propensities, behaviors, patterns, associations, and relationships in order to monetize the resulting customer, product and operational insight .... " 

IBM Providing Free App Software

Taking a closer look at this.  Worth a look, more details at the link.  A free, code asset exchange.

IBM courts developers with ready-to-use software packages for bots and more    By Robert Hof in SiliconAngle.

Hoping to get more software developers to use its cloud services, IBM Corp. today announced more than 100 packages of software code that can be used to create chatbots, application containers, blockchain applications and more.

IBM noted that the proliferation of open-source software has made it more complex for developers to figure out which code to use and how to wade through all the documentation. The so-called Code Patterns are intended to help developers hit the ground running with free code, easily accessible repositories on GitHub and documentation for a wide variety of use cases such as AI, cloud, big data and blockchain..... " 

Translating Predicting Language of Chemical Reactions

Intriguing, trying to convert this idea into my firmer experience in an internship in chemical engineering research.

A Translation Algorithm Can Predict the “Language” of a Chemical Reaction  in Technology Review.

By thinking of organic chemistry as words and sentences instead of atoms and molecules, researchers have found a way for artificial intelligence to predict chemical reactions.

In a paper published on arXiv by researchers at IBM and being presented at this week’s Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference, the researchers demonstrate that by treating reaction predictions as a translation problem, they could come up with the correct reaction more often than was possible with previous models.

“Intuitively, there is an analogy between a chemist’s understanding of a compound and a language speaker’s understanding of a word,” the researchers write.  .... " 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Baidu and AI Voice Enablement

Voice continues to push forward, here with the Baidu Duer solution.   Expect for more to emerge.   Towards more intelligent assistant solutions on a number of platforms, like the Snapdragon mentioned below.  See the Duer tag below for more on this.

Qualcomm, Baidu form AI partnership to optimize DuerOS for Snapdragon

Qualcomm's collaboration with Baidu will bring AI for voice enabled solutions to the new Snapdragon 845 mobile platform   By Jake Smith for Between the Lines   ....  "

IOT Security with Microsoft's Sopris

Security is important for devices that have to be safe in the wild.

A Tiny New Chip Could Secure the Next Generation of IOT

By Lily Hay Newman in Wired

The Internet of Things security crisis persists, as billions of inadequately secured webcams, refrigerators, and more flood homes around the world. But IoT security researchers at Microsoft Research have their eye on an even larger problem: the billions of gadgets that already run on simple microcontrollers—small, low-power computers on a single chip—that will gradually gain connectivity over the years, exponentially expanding the internet of things population. And that connected electric toothbrush needs protection, too.

The challenge with internet of things security so far has been the cost of implementing hardened features. It's cheaper and faster to develop a product without spending time and resources on security. Devices rush off the line without adequate protections, often riddled with bugs, and rarely have a mechanism for manufacturers to distribute patches. An attacker who penetrates those IoT devices can potentially steal data, rope the unit into a botnet, or even use it as a jumping off point to infiltrate other parts of a network. .... "

Report on Quick Draw

Report from the Google Blog:   An example of how to get data with a game. A data game.

Since November 2016, people all around the world have drawn one billion doodles in Quick, Draw!, a web game where a neural network tries to recognize your drawings.

That includes 2.9 million cats, 2.9 million hot dogs, and 2.9 million drawings of snowflakes. .... 

By Jonas Jongejan
Creative Technologist, Google Creative Lab

Saturday, December 09, 2017

McKinsey on the Chinese Consumer

A considerable look at the China consumer.   Much more in the article.

Double-clicking on the Chinese consumer
By Wouter Baan, Lan Luan, Felix Poh, and Daniel Zipser

 The rising post-90s generation is emerging as a strong engine of consumption, in one of four important new trends in the Chinese consumer landscape.

If you’re looking for evidence that Chinese consumers are confident, look no further than the one-day online-sales phenomenon known as Singles Day, which falls every year on November 11. Singles Day has morphed from being a day dedicated to lonely singles to becoming the largest e-shopping day globally. With an estimated $25 billion in sales, or over $1 billion in transactions per hour, Singles Day this year easily bested last year’s sales by close to 40 percent, and was larger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States combined. .... " 

AI to Replace Coders

Seeing indications of this, perhaps not so soon, but inevitable.  The implications?   Transparency perhaps the major issue.

AI Will Replace Coders by 2040, Warn Academics    By V3.co.uk 

Coders and programmers could find themselves becoming marginalized by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, with humans being replaced in these jobs by 2040, according to a study from academic researchers published by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The report predicted by 2040, machine learning and natural language processing technologies will have become so advanced they will be able to write better software code faster than the best human coders.  .... " 

Paper  Abstract—Programming trends suggest that software development will undergo a radical change in the future: the combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and code generation technologies will improve in such a way that machines, instead of humans, will write most of their own code by 2040. This poses a number of interesting challenges for scientific research, especially as the hardware on which this Machine Generated Code will run becomes extremely heterogeneous. Indeed, extreme heterogeneity may drive the creation of this technology because it will allow humans to cope with the difficulty of programming different devices efficiently and easily. ... 

Unsupervised Decision Trees

Nicely done piece.   Big supporter of decision trees in general, since they have a basic element of transparency.

Have You Heard About Unsupervised Decision Trees

By William Vorhies in DSC

Summary: Unless you’re involved in anomaly detection you may never have heard of Unsupervised Decision Trees.  It’s a very interesting approach to decision trees that on the surface doesn’t sound possible but in practice is the backbone of modern intrusion detection.

I was at a presentation recently that focused on stream processing but the use case presented was about anomaly detection.  When they started talking about unsupervised decision trees my antenna went up.  What do you mean unsupervised decision trees?  What would they split on?
It turns out that if you’re in the anomaly detection world unsupervised decision trees are pretty common.  Since I’m not in that world and I suspect few of us are, I thought I’d share what I found. .... "


A piece that looks at the history and math background of modern cyber security.    Not overly technical video.

Cybersecurity, Nuclear Security, Alan Turing, and Illogical Logic
Martin E. Hellman discusses "Cybersecurity, Nuclear Security, Alan Turing, and Illogical Logic" (cacm.acm.org/magazines/2017/12/223042), a Contributed Article in the December 2017 CACM.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Better Recommendation Engines

Researchers Devise Better Recommendation Algorithm 
Improved recommendation algorithm should work especially well when ratings data are “sparse.”

MIT News  By Larry Hardesty

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new recommendation algorithm based on a theoretical analytic framework using cosine similarity, which they say should work better than current algorithms. The researchers note the algorithm should be especially effective when ratings data is "sparse." Sparse data means there may be so little overlap between users' ratings that cosine similarity is rendered meaningless, making it necessary to aggregate the data of many users. MIT professor Devavrat Shah says the framework assumes the relative weight a user assigns to ratings remains the same, and each user's function is running on the same set of features. Shah notes this yields sufficient consistency to extrapolate statistical inferences about the probability that one user's ratings will predict another's. The team used the framework to demonstrate that, in instances of sparse data, their "neighbor's-neighbor" algorithm should return more accurate predictions than any known algorithm.... " 

Document Classification with Deep Learning

Once again, a good introduction.  And demonstration of how these systems can be constructed.

Best Practices for Document Classification with Deep Learning   by Jason Brownlee

Text classification describes a general class of problems such as predicting the sentiment of tweets and movie reviews, as well as classifying email as spam or not.

Deep learning methods are proving very good at text classification, achieving state-of-the-art results on a suite of standard academic benchmark problems.

In this post, you will discover some best practices to consider when developing deep learning models for text classification.

After reading this post, you will know:

The general combination of deep learning methods to consider when starting your text classification problems.

The first architecture to try with specific advice on how to configure hyperparameters.

That deeper networks may be the future of the field in terms of flexibility and capability.

Let’s get started. .... ".

Ultimate PDF Converter

Always interested in making things more productive.   I was told about this method and giving it a try.   Remember having some messy experiences with the problem of OCR conversion from PDFs, especially in varying contexts when I needed data from scanned information.   They have recently made parts of it free:

" ... This transcendent PDF converter has proven to be our most revolutionizing app so far. Easily convert PDFs to Text, Word, Excel, JPG, PowerPoint, AutoCAD files, and back to PDF. PDF Converter Ultimate enables you to import files from Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, and other cloud services. Our OCR technology makes it possible to convert even scanned files. All conversions are done online on our servers, so this app will make best of your processor and RAM memory as well as save battery life.

• No limits on file size or number of converted files. Conversions are fast and accurate.
• Scanned and complex PDFs can be converted due to our leading OCR technology.
• You can convert Gmail attachments and files from Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive directly from our app. .... "

See it on Apple in ITunes.  They write: 

We’ve recently launched a new improved version of PDF Converter Ultimate, after listening to our users’ feedback. So what’s new?

- You can now convert files from online services such as Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive for free!
- From now on, you can convert files from iCloud, also for free
- Top of the line OCR engine which is improved once again   ....  "   

Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble

Glad to have contributed to innovation and co-innovation at these companies for many years. Lets keep it all moving along. 

Technology Innovation Isn’t Just for Tech Companies
Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble make the top 20 for innovation in the Drucker Institute’s Management Top 250 rankings    ... in the WSJ.

Electronic Health Data And Drugs

Fascinating thought.  Like the leveraging of 'public' data like the Wikipedia too.  Taking a look.

Mining electronic health records and the web for drug repurposing

Kira Radinsky describes a system that mines medical records and Wikipedia to reduce spurious correlations and provide guidance about drug repurposing.     By Kira Radinsky in O'Reilly

This is a keynote highlight from the Strata Data Conference in Singapore 2017. Watch the full version of this keynote on Safari. .... 

You can also see other highlights from the event. .... " 

Satellites for Business

The ultimate large scale sensory play.   At an early time we looked at them for supply chain data, to support decisions, modeling and analytics.  I continue to follow advances.

This Company Has the Largest Fleet of Orbiting Satellites in Human History. Here's What it Plans to Do Next

Planet Labs' fleet can photograph all the land on earth every day--and it's just getting started.
By Kevin J. Ryan in Inc. .... "

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Walmart Enters Meal-Kit Fray

Good margin I assume,  but is this really worth the effort?   Going to Wal-mart or an App versus ordering online?

Walmart sells meal kits to challenge Amazon and Blue Apron
Conveniently, it also sells the kitchenware you need to make those meals.

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas  in Engadget

Walmart's never-ending quest to beat Amazon has it venturing into unfamiliar territory: meal kits. The big-box retailer has started selling just shy of 30 meal kits (such as a Thai crab curry) from multiple brands. How much you'll pay varies, but it's not uncommon to pay $35 for a meal for four. There are also bundles, such as a $60 Everyday Supper pack that serves three meals for two people. The brands themselves fulfill the orders. This isn't a subscription service like Blue Apron, but it's helpful if you'd like a fanciful meal without hunting down ingredients. And importantly, Walmart will soon compete more directly with Amazon's meal kits through an app tie-in. ... " 

Customer Service via Cognitive Solutions and BPM

Found this customer service example to be interesting ... in particular that it uses Business Process Modeling (BPM)  and Watson.    I believe any such problem should include a BPM analysis.

 " ... Customer insight gathered from unstructured data can lead to new business opportunities, improved customer satisfaction, and a greater competitive edge in the industry. Outthink your competitors by becoming a Cognitive Business. .... 

With Princeton Blue’s Cognitive Customer Service solution, you can benefit from the combined capabilities of BPM and IBM Watson

Princeton Blue, founded in 2006, is a leading provider of digital automation services and solutions delivered via Business Process Management (BPM), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies .....  " 

MIT: An Ink that is a Sensor

Possible packaging applications.

MIT researchers made a living ink that responds to its surroundings
The 3D-printed, bacteria-loaded gel can be used as a sensor.

By Mallory Locklear, @mallorylocklear

Researchers at MIT have developed a 3D printable hydrogel that can sense and respond to stimuli. The hydrogel is loaded with bacteria that can be genetically programmed to light-up when they come in contact with certain chemicals and, therefore, could be used as living sensors.

To demonstrate the living ink's abilities, the researchers printed the hydrogel in a tree pattern with different sections of the tree's branches containing bacteria sensitive to different types of chemicals. They then smeared those chemicals on a person's skin and put the 3D-printed tree-shaped "living tattoo" on top. When the branches came in contact with those chemicals, the bacteria were triggered to fluoresce. .... " 

Kaiser Fung on the Limitations of AI

Colleague Kaiser Fung  on on hype and limitations of AI today.   Some useful thoughts.  In his always interesting Junkcharts blog.  I too have lived through several waves of AI hype, seeing it from an enterprise perspective.   Points to a number of studies.  In part this does depend on your definition of AI.

Primer on the limitation of current AI

Today, I turn attention to another Technology Review article in the same special AI issue, the important article by Rodney Brooks on the limitation of the current AI systems, driven by the "deep learning" "revolution." Brooks was the head of MIT's CSAIL lab, and an expert in AI who has lived through several waves of AI hype.

Brooks frames his content differently, titling the piece "The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions." He opens with the breathless forecasts published by various media outlets, predicting that AI (computers) would wipe out the job market for human beings in a broad range of industries, in some cases, in a matter of 10 or 20 years. He then describes seven fallacies that have led these hype-meisters astray. Read the whole article here. Some of these dire forecasts: Oxford/Yale, McKinsey. [PS. I do not understand why those technology leaders who claim to believe in these forecasts do not immediately stop their AI programs for the public good.]

Brooks calls these predictions "ludicrous." He points out that there have been zero realistic demonstrations of robots that can take over grounds and maintenance work even though the forecasters claim that 90% of such jobs would disappear in 10 to 20 years. For the rest of us, who are not knee-deep in AI research, it's simple to validate Brooks's viewpoint: just make a call to your favorite service provider (your bank, your credit card provider, your health insurer, for example); subject yourself to the AI "chatbot" for even five minutes. 

In debunking the hype, Brooks outlines several key limitations of the current AI systems, built on the deep learning revolution (discussed in the prior post).   .... " 

( See also his previous piece on this, pointed to in the above) 

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Social Reasoning and Intentionality for AI

Big issues here.   This is what we will have to address if we want to ultimately create useful conversations between people and machines.     Another moves towards intelligence.

Making AI 'Intentional' 
In NC State News  By Matt Shipman

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) have developed a game-playing artificial intelligence (AI) program imbued with social reasoning and "intentionality," or the ability to deduce how other players are likely to respond to new information and what other players likely want from the AI when they share information. The program is a proof of concept for Ostari, a new programming framework the researchers developed for creating more intentional AI algorithms.

 In one experiment, the team matched human players with several versions of a program that plays a card game, and the participants noted they had more fun playing against a fully intentional program, which accounts for both how players will interpret its intent and how it should interpret the intent of other players. Another study details how Ostari can be used by developers to author intentional AI programs, ideally in conjunction with other programming languages for any application in which situations requiring information exchange must be modeled. .... " 

The first paper, “An Intentional AI for Hanabi,” was presented at the IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence in Games (CIG), which was held Aug. 22-25 in New York City. Lead author of the paper is Markus Eger, a Ph.D. student at NC State. The paper was co-authored by Marcela Alfaro Córdoba, a former Ph.D. student at NC State.

The second paper, “Practical Specification of Belief Manipulation in Games,” was presented at the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE), held Oct. 5-9 in Snowbird, Utah. Eger is lead author of the paper.   ... " 

GE to Roll Out Predix Asset Management

Have been following Predix, was a beta user.   Managing Assets in the IoT is important

GE to roll out its Predix Asset Performance Management software at its monitoring, diagnostic center  .... By rolling out APM to its monitoring and diagnostic center, it will be able to tap into utility sensor data around the world for more predictive abilities. .... "    By Larry Dignan in ZDNet

Google Takes Youtube Off Echo Show

I have verified this has happened.  Have been involved in sketching out an application using the Echo Show.  With an option of using the Youtube content on the device.   Will this  ultimately be solved?  Not giving access to a usually freely accessible Web based service is a dangerous precedent.  It had been allowed for a few months, then pulled off again.     Should be noted too that Google has plans to create a similar, competitive device.    Comments on the site below are interesting.

Google is pulling YouTube off the Fire TV and Echo Show as feud with Amazon grows   New Nest devices have mysteriously disappeared from Amazon     by Ben Popper in Engadget  ....

Driving AI Adoption in the Enterprise

Interesting infographic style view look at this question, driven by Forrester surveys.     In particular how enterprises are choosing to do work in this area,  an area I was involved in in previous attempts to bring in this and related technologies. 

Forrester Data Infographic: Who’s Driving AI Adoption In The Enterprise?

Elizabeth Cullen, Researcher

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) and its underlying technology building blocks are top of mind for enterprises today. But who’s driving this change and its adoption within their organizations?

On the surface, it may appear that AI is yet another technology that firms will expect their technology organization to champion, evaluate, and bolt onto existing systems — as opposed to letting their business leaders drive the charge. Yet the Forrester Data Global Business Technographics® Data And Analytics Survey, 2017 reveals a nuanced view of AI adoption. We found that business technology decision makers (TDMs), i.e., those technologists aligned with a business unit, are the ones driving AI adoption within their firms, more so than traditional technology decision makers who are aligned with the tech organization.  .... " 

Big Data and AI

Once again, my take,  its about using analytical methods to detect patterns (Machine Learning) in enough managed data (Big Data) , and inserting what is found into process (AI)  to augment and improve systems.   We are seeing all of these components advance.

How Artificial Intelligence is Making Big Data Better Than Ever     By Brigg Patten

The concept of Big Data is a relatively new one. It denotes the availability of vast volumes and sources of data, which were not available before. By itself, Big Data is powerful, and when combined with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, the opportunities presented by this combination are just endless.  As big data moves to the maturity phase, firms are now looking for ways to combine the scale of AI and the agility of Big Data processes to bring about an acceleration on the delivery of the much-needed business value.  ... " 

Kroger Restocks

Kroger begins next phase in Restock initiative
Company expects partnerships based on local preference to increase   By Dan Orlando in SuperMarketNews

The Restock Kroger Initiative, which launched in October, has begun to change the layout and operational procedures of the Cincinnati-based company’s vast network of stores, Chief Financial Officer Mike Schlotman said on Tuesday. 

The program—which Schlotman referred to as a “balance between merchandising and operation efficiencies” during a presentation at the Barclays Eat, Sleep, Play Conference—involves an accelerated effort that centers around pricing, personalized communications with shoppers and a significant revamp of product assortments based on findings from the company’s research arm, 84.51°. .... " 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Micro Battles for Strategic Problems

So What is a Micro-Battle?   via Bain & Company    The HBR explains:

Figure Out Your Company’s Make-or-Break Strategic Problems, Then Use Small Teams to Solve Them   by James Allen  .... " 

James Allen explains micro battles in a video

And in Founder's Mentality.

On AI Transforming the Economy

Also some about the AIIndex mentioned here recently.   Good points here,  what has been done is still only scratching the surface of what we would call 'intelligence'.  We are not there yet, but making progress that we have to pay attention to.

A.I. Will Transform the Economy. But How Much, and How Soon?
By The New York Times in the ACM News

There are basically three big questions about artificial intelligence and its impact on the economy: What can it do? Where is it headed? And how fast will it spread?

Three new reports combine to suggest these answers: It can probably do less right now than you think. But it will eventually do more than you probably think, in more places than you probably think, and will probably evolve faster than powerful technologies have in the past.

This bundle of research is itself a sign of the A.I. boom. Researchers across disciplines are scrambling to understand the likely trajectory, reach and influence of the technology — already finding its way into things like self-driving cars and image recognition online — in all its dimensions. Doing so raises a host of challenges of definition and measurement, because the field is moving quickly — and because companies are branding things A.I. for marketing purposes. .... " 

Gaming Machine Learning

Previously mentioned.   A good means for applying simulation.  Here in further detail.  And Gaming.

Gaming Machine Learning   By Samuel Greengard 

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 60 No. 12, Pages 14-16

Over the last few years, the quest to build fully autonomous vehicles has shifted into high gear. Yet, despite huge advances in both the sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) required to operate these cars, one thing has so far proved elusive: developing algorithms that can accurately and consistently identify objects, movements, and road conditions. As Mathew Monfort, a postdoctoral associate and researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) puts it: "An autonomous vehicle must actually function in the real world. However, it's extremely difficult and expensive to drive actual cars around to collect all the data necessary to make the technology completely reliable and safe."

All of this is leading researchers down a different path: the use of game simulations and machine learning to build better algorithms and smarter vehicles. By compressing months or years of driving into minutes or even seconds, it is possible to learn how to better react to the unknown, the unexpected, and unforeseen, whether it is a stop sign obscured by graffiti, a worn or missing lane marking, or snow covering the road and obscuring everything.  ....  "

Analytics to Combat Opiod Epidemic

Becoming an epidemic in our area.  Good thoughts here, but would have liked more in the area of pattern detection, predictive and prescriptive applications.  Though once you did more accurate data gathering,  you would get more opportunity for intelligent applications. Someone doing that specifically in this space, contact me, willing to support ?

How law enforcement can use analytics to combat the opioid epidemic   
By David Kennedy on SAS Voices 

A steady drumbeat of news coverage makes one thing clear: Opioid abuse is rising and has reached epidemic levels throughout our country. Overdoses from the diversion and abuse of prescription opioids are one cause of the surge in deaths. Overdoses from heroin and other illicit synthetic opioids (such as heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil) are an even greater issue, resulting in approximately twice as many fatalities as prescription opioids. Law makers, health departments and the medical community are all searching for ways to slow the volume and diversion of prescription drugs, but law enforcement officers are at the front lines of the battle.

Domestic violence calls, emergency medical calls, narcotics investigations and patrol-related activity can all involve an officer encountering someone overdosing from opioids. Today, many officers are put in the role of drug counselor and medical worker as much as they are enforcement officer. We must understand what officers are experiencing, what resources they need to more effectively help those in need -- and the future threats they may face. ... "

NVidia Democratizing AI

Specialized hardware is becoming important for edge resident AI and analytics.  Also for more broadly available analytic and cognitive skills.

Nvidia Corp. is moving to lower the entry barrier to developing artificial intelligence models.      By Maria Deutscher in SiliconAngle

The chip maker, which sells graphics processing units commonly used for running AI applications, today updated its Nvidia GPU Cloud to support everyday desktops. Machines running the company’s consumer-oriented Titan accelerators can now take advantage of deep learning capabilities that were previously available only on enterprise platforms. .... " 

Bayesian Networks for Marketing

Some good and fairly straightforward examples of the technology in marketing.

Bayesia Presents:
Benoit Hubert: From Marketing Science to Artificial Intelligence with Bayesian Networks

Benoit Hubert (GfK) presents at the 5th Annual BayesiaLab Conference in Paris

Monday, December 04, 2017

Stanford Creates an AI Index

Recall an effort to do this back then as well.   It also makes sense to decide how we can measure things we are interested in.  Will follow.

Stanford-Led Artificial Intelligence Index Tracks Emerging Field 
Stanford News  by Andrew Myers

A Stanford University-led team called the AI100 has launched the AI Index, the first index to track the state of artificial intelligence (AI) and measure technological progress in the same way the gross domestic product and the S&P 500 indices track the U.S. economy and stock market, respectively. The new index has revealed a 14-fold increase in AI startups and a six-fold gain in investment since 2000, as well as significant improvements in the technology's ability to mimic human performance. 

The AI Index monitors and quantifies at least 18 separate vectors in academia, industry, open source software, and public interest, in addition to technical evaluations of progress toward "human-level performance" in areas such as speech recognition and computer vision. Specific metrics in the index include assessments of academic papers published, course enrollment, AI-related startups, job openings, search-term frequency, and media mentions. Still, Stanford professor Yoav Shoham, who received the ACM AAAI Allen Newell Award for 2012, notes a five-year-old's general intelligence remains beyond AI's capabilities.   .... " 

Video Understanding

Very good piece, with as you might expect, good demonstration video.   This takes such methods beyond captioning and close to what we continually do as humans, visually interpret and understand a contextually changing view.  A sort of visual scene understanding.   Sensory AI at its most useful.

Helping AI master video understanding  By Dan Gutfreund
Video Analytics Scientist, IBM Research AI

I am part of the team at the MIT IBM Watson AI Lab that is carrying out fundamental AI research to push the frontiers of core technologies that will advance the state-of-the-art in AI video comprehension. This is just one example of joint research we’re pursuing together to produce innovations in AI technology that solve real business challenges.

Great progress has been made and I am excited to share that we are releasing the Moments in Time Dataset, a large-scale dataset of one million three-second annotated video clips for action recognition to accelerate the development of technologies and models that enable automatic video understanding for AI.

A lot can happen in a moment of time: a girl kicking a ball, behind her on the path a woman walks her dog, on a park bench nearby a man is reading a book and high above a bird flies in the sky. Humans constantly absorb such moments through their senses and process them swiftly and effortlessly. When asked to describe such a moment, a person can quickly identify objects (girl, ball, bird, book), the scene (park) and the actions that are taking place (kicking, walking, reading, flying). ... " 

Amazon Rekognition Announces New Features

For a prototype project have been examining applications of face and image analysis.  I see that Amazon has added a number of new features to their Rekognition Services, which is used in Pinterist.

Amazon Adds New Features to Their Rekognition Service  by Steef-Jan Wiggers in Infoq

In a recent blog post, Amazon announced the addition of three new features to its Rekognition Service. These new features enable detection and recognition of text in images, face detection up to a hundred in a full picture, and real-time face recognition across ten million faces.

At Amazon re:Invent 2016, Amazon introduced Rekognition, allowing developers to add image analysis to their applications. Amazon is now making additional investments in this cognitive service with these new features. An early adopter of the Amazon Rekognition service is Pinterest.   .... " 

(will be starting to test, any watchouts?) 

Empathy and Product Design

Have followed this site for some time, follow along. 

Empathy and the Art of Product Design
By Vignesh Ramesh in UXMatters.

Solving extraordinary problems and creating customer-centric products and services that people want and need is a valuable skill that requires a unique blend of fact-based expertise and creativity.

Product design is more than a series of simple steps or a mechanical process for solving a problem. In fact, when done well, product design is something of a mystery. Solving extraordinary problems and creating customer-centric products and services that people want and need is a valuable skill that requires a unique blend of fact-based expertise and creativity.  ... " 

Chatbots Drive Future of Content Marketing

Based on our own experience, I concur.  Probably driven most by people starting to experience more conversations with chatbots.   Authenticity helps, but the authenticity is being accepted as a 'robotic' style.  Still has to provide value and quickly usable correctness.

How Chatbots Are Influencing the Future of Content Marketing  By John Hall  in Inc.

Call it counterintuitive, but using robots may be one of the best ways to humanize your brand and enhance your content marketing efforts.

Modern consumers crave authentic conversations. To deliver on those expectations and provide more personal experiences, marketers are constantly seeking powerful content tools and better, smarter tech. Although turning to robots doesn't immediately sound like the best way to have more human conversations, chatbots can empower brands to improve their content marketing strategies and meet evolving customer needs. .... " 

Software can Identify People from DNA

This software can Identify People from their DNA in minutes  via the Hindu Times

“We’re especially excited about the potential to improve cell authentication in cancer research and potentially speed up the discovery of new treatments,” he said.

Researchers have developed a software system to accurately identify people and cell lines from their DNA in a matter of minutes.

The technology has a wide range of applications, but its most immediate use could be to flag mislabelled or contaminated cell lines in cancer experiments, according to the study published in the journal eLife. “Our method opens up new ways to use off-the-shelf technology to benefit society,” said Yaniv Erlich, from the Columbia University in the U.S. .... " 

Original source and technical details, via Columbia University.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Capital One Rethinking Banking: Multimodal Skills

A useful example of multimodal assistance development. Voice plus visual.   Following with another example of skill in this space.

Session recording now available! How Capital One Rethought Multimodal Voice Experiences and Brought Banking to the Kitchen with Echo Show (and the Echo Spot)   #AmazonEcho #Alexadev #IoT #VoiceDesign #AWS #reinvent2017    By Dave Isbitski  @theDavedev

Smalt: A Smart Salt Shaker

A Smart Salt Shaker?  Uses in commercial cooking applications?  More generally in any blending design and testing application?   In CBInsights.com by Anand Sanwal

" .... You can now pay money to buy a smart salt shaker that you can control with your smartphone or an Amazon Echo. That’s probably because we’re going to turn everything we can get our hands on into a smart device, even if it seems super gratuitous.

Called the Smalt, the smart salt shaker can also play music through a bluetooth speaker, offers multi-colored mood lighting, and lastly, but perhaps most importantly, can dispense salt in any amount you choose via a connected app. It’s currently raising funds on Indiegogo, and so far 51 brave souls have backed it. The Smalt usually costs $199, but is currently available for an early-bird price of $99. ... "

Self Destructing Drones

In these cases you have to think about the liability risk from the infrastructure  of your supply chain.

Amazon Working on Self-Dismantling Drone by Ethan Baron in CIO Today

Nobody wants a drone falling on their head, especially if it's a drone large enough to deliver packages for Amazon.

But the e-commerce behemoth clearly sees a future in which bad things happen to good technology, and a malfunctioning drone ought not plummet from the sky.  Better to do it piece by piece.

Amazon has just received a patent outlining a possible plan for "directed fragmentation for unmanned airborne vehicles" used in deliveries.  .... " 

Kuri Update and Future

The updated newsletter for the Kuri home robot includes extensive new information.  Very nicely presented. The system is now scheduled for shipment this month.  It costs $799 plus shipping and handling.   Expensive.  Still have not seen any extensive operational tests written about. 

The idea of having an attentive,  crawling device with camera and a voice of sorts,  that can learn your home and play with the kids and pets, is fascinating.  Emphasizes the mobile picture-seeking and taking capability.   Assume it would have at least the minimal conversational intelligence of assistant devices.     It uses a 'beep' language code to signal.  Will it ultimately allow skill apps to be written for it?   Not now.

Can it replace the far less expensive and now common stationary devices like the Echo or Home?  Is the movement very useful, or will it just get in the way?  It does not seem to be able to fetch or carry things.  Is voice + movement  enough to engage?  What do we expect from a home robot?  Is movement without robot hands or skills useful?    Is friendliness, which they push in their newsletter,  worth the high price?  Revealed that it uses an IOS 10+ App only to run, which is still not yet available. Newsletter includes a more extensive FAQ.  Look forward to seeing more operational tests.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Fixing Statistics in Algorithms, Process

Thoughtful piece.  And increasingly important as we decide to algorithmically, and sometimes non transparently  implement methods deeper in the process.   Will that make cognitive bias from humans less likely, or just embed them more deeply?  A challenge for big data and AI.

Five Ways to Fix Statistics in Nature

By Jeff Leek, Blakeley B. McShane, Andrew Gelman, David Colquhoun, Michèle B. Nuijten & Steven N. Goodman

As debate rumbles on about how and how much poor statistics is to blame for poor reproducibility, Nature asked influential statisticians to recommend one change to improve science. The common theme? The problem is not our maths, but ourselves.

To use statistics well, researchers must study how scientists analyse and interpret data and then apply that information to prevent cognitive mistakes.

In the past couple of decades, many fields have shifted from data sets with a dozen measurements to data sets with millions. Methods that were developed for a world with sparse and hard-to-collect information have been jury-rigged to handle bigger, more-diverse and more-complex data sets. No wonder the literature is now full of papers that use outdated statistics, misapply statistical tests and misinterpret results. The application of P values to determine whether an analysis is interesting is just one of the most visible of many shortcomings.   .... "

Google and Knowledge Graphs

A hint at where Google, AI and knowledge delivery is going.   Here the foundation is maps.  From location, to stores, to brands, to ?     Where does this lead to more generally?   In SearchEngineland:

Google showing knowledge graph data in local panels
Google is merging the local panel and knowledge graph panels into one for some searches related to big companies with many local venues.    by Barry Schwartz .... " 

Google Do it Yourself AI and Voice Kit

For the do it yourself hobbyist, or the clever and inquisitive child, get started with voice and vision AI,   assistants.   $35 and less.  Add AI to your Raspberry Pi.    From MicroCenter.

Do it yourself AI

Google AIY Projects brings do-it-yourself artificial intelligence to your maker projects. With this AIY Voice Kit from Google, you can build a standalone voice recognition system using the Google Assistant or add voice recognition and natural language processing to your Raspberry Pi based projects. The kit includes all of the components needed to assemble the basic kit that works with the Google Assistant SDK as well as on-device voice recognition with TensorFlow.  .... " 

Thoughts on the Network Effect of Voice

Fascinating point regarding how voice is really different.    What are the implications for this as voice interaction grows?    Is it expected in the network?  Towards a computational voice value chain.  In Medium: 

The Network Effect of Voice
In today’s voice ecosystem, the large platform players of Amazon, Google, Apple, and Baidu are controlling the entire voice-stack, all the way from the hardware to the software. How, if ever, are startups going to be able to compete?

Having researched this space and mapped the voice market landscape, I’d like to share my thoughts about where the greatest value creation opportunities lie for voice-positioned startups.
In short, I believe that companies who focus on disrupting one or more of the three key areas of data, software, and automation within the “computational speech” value chain will thrive in this competitive ecosystem. .... " 

AI Generating Games, and Gamification?

And can this be taken beyond to generate the gamification of business skills and tasks?

AI Is Dreaming Up New Kinds of Video Games 
in Technology Review
By Simon Parkin

Michael Cook at Falmouth University in the U.K. has developed Angelina, an artificial intelligence (AI) that can imagine new video games from scratch, and which has produced hundreds of experimental games since 2011. Angelina can generate games from images it pulls from license-free depositories, as well as building out premises and rules with characters and ideas borrowed from online newspapers or social media. Cook says this information is written to a text file that can be run by a standalone application. He notes Angelina "tries to build games that match its notion of what a good game is." In addition, the more interesting things Angelina uncovers via its experimentation, the more effort it commits to a project. Angelina is one example of researchers tapping increasingly sophisticated machine-learning methods to design games, and some envision a time when game artists could provide only the vaguest sketches of game elements for AIs to flesh out.   .... " 

Friday, December 01, 2017

Gartner: Retail Assortment Planning Analytics

In the Gartner Blog.   Insightful piece.  An area we worked on for years.  If anything this article over complicates the problem, but it is good to see a more modern approach, with new approaches and data sources.   Following up.  Robert, send me more on this view and I will comment.

Advanced analytics are critical for modern and effective retail assortment planning  by Robert Hetu  

Having just completed publication of the 2017 Critical Capabilities For Retail Assortment Management Applications it’s a great time to reinforce the importance of using new advanced analytic capabilities. Advanced analytics and big data from sources like the Internet of Things (IoT) are enablers of customer-centric assortments as well as effective category planning and management. This year’s research placed special emphasis on provision of advanced analytics as key differentiation for assortment planning and category management solutions. Gartner describes this as “Algorithmic Retailing”.

Algorithmic Retailing

Retailers must transition from Excel-based planning to these more advanced solutions to improve speed and accuracy of planning.  Any advanced solution under consideration should utilize the majority of these capabilities or should be dropped from consideration.   ... ." 

Predictive Analytics Today

Nothing new here, but nicely presented, with visuals.  We did predictive analytics many years before AI or Machine learning.  Many millions in value.  True we sometimes did not have the data required, especially outside the enterprise.  Or as it related to consumers.   Today that's much easier to get.  But the methods were often useful pointers to real predictive value.   Taking this beyond to prescriptive analytics should also be used as a method to both build and deliver such systems.  If can always be done with process models.  Start simply.

Use Machine-Assisted Predictive Analytics to Capture Your Customer’s Heart, Mind, and Pocketbook!     Bob Hayes, PhD in CustomerThink

As users/customers engage with a company (their products, services, surveys), they generate a lot of data about their behaviors and interactions with the brand. Predictive analytics and machine learning capabilities provide a way to extract insights from that data to help you improve the customer experience and optimize customer loyalty.

Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics

Today, businesses can collect hundreds of variables about their customers. Real-time delivery of insights necessitates the quick processing of these data. Toward that end, companies are employing the power of predictive analytics and machine learning (ML) to extract insights from data.

There are generally three types of analytics: descriptive, predictive and prescriptive. Descriptive tells you what happened. Predictive tells you what will happen. Finally, prescriptive analytics tells you what decisions/actions you need to make/take to maximize opportunities/mitigate risk. .... " 

Amazon Releases Ideas for Alexa in Business

Nicely done overview as part of the announcement.  Thought provoking.  Though could also be done with other assistants.   I would further like to see 'business skills' classified, and the ability to construct them easily from component 'micro' skills.  Will be following some of the examples mentioned.

Alexa for Business

" ... Today, people spend too much of their day on tedious tasks at work, like managing their calendars, dialing in to meetings, or searching for information. But Amazon Alexa can help solve this problem by acting as an intelligent assistant at work. Alexa lets people use their voice to interact with technology so they can spontaneously ask questions in a way that feels natural. Alexa can help people take care of these tasks just by asking. Alexa can help people stay organized and focused on the things that matter, whether they are working in their office or at home. Alexa can simplify conference rooms, allowing meeting attendees to start meetings and control the equipment in the room by simply using their voice. Alexa can also do things around the workplace, like providing directions to a conference room, notifying IT about a broken printer, or placing an order for office supplies. ... " 

The New Physics of Lenses

My early interests were lenses in telescopes and microscopes.  Even made a few telescope lenses I can still use today.   These new approaches are interesting.  Article includes a descriptive image of the idea and their uses.

Physicists Are Reinventing the Lens, and Imaging Will Never Be the Same
“Metalenses” created with photolithography could change the nature of imaging and optical processing.    by Emerging Technology from the arXiv 

" .... Now lenses are being reinvented by the process of photolithography, which carves subwavelength features onto flat sheets of glass. Today, Alan She and pals at Harvard University in Massachusetts show how to arrange these features in ways that scatter light with greater control than has ever been possible. They say the resulting “metalenses” are set to revolutionize imaging and usher in a new era of optical processing.  ....  "

Amazon Sells part of AWS in China

In TechCrunch. 

Amazon is selling a big part of its business in China

The company is selling “certain physical infrastructure assets” of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud computing unit in China to Beijing’s Sinnet Technology Company for $301 million, reports CNBC. The move comes in response to tougher Chinese laws that require foreign firms to store data in the country. However, in a statement to TechCrunch, Amazon made clear that it still owned the intellectual property rights for AWS in China–and worldwide ... " 

Game Theory and Cybersecurity

A Purdue connection informed me of this. A rare practical pointer to Nash equilibrium in game theory.   And 'Prospect theory' which I had not heard of.  Dealing with aspects of risk.  But  I see it is what Kahneman's work is called.  Taking a closer look.

Game Theory Harnessed for Cybersecurity of Large-Scale Nets
Purdue University News   By Emil Venere

Researchers at Purdue University are leading the development of a platform for improving the cybersecurity of large-scale networks by tapping game theory and new intelligent algorithms. Purdue professor Shreyas Sundaram says the team has harnessed Nash equilibrium as well as prospect theory, defining how people make decisions amid uncertainty and risk. Sundaram thinks the work "will lead to a more complete understanding of the vulnerabilities that arise in large-scale interconnected systems and guide us to the design of more secure systems." The team has demonstrated the formulation of an "optimization problem" to efficiently calculate how much a given stakeholder will decide to invest, and they plan to use the "moving-target defense," in which the system can reconfigure itself to lower a repeated cyberattack's success rate. "The project will provide new insights into the types of decisions that humans make when faced with security threats, via a comprehensive approach spanning theory and experiments," says Purdue professor Timothy Cason. ... "

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Alexa in the Office

Have had many conversations about how Alexa and other skill/voice/attentive systems could be used in the office.    How could it have been used to link with our 'Business Sphere' data visualization space for executive decisions?  See link below about the plans as known.  Via Walter Riker.

In TechCrunch today:
" .... The interface is evolving. What has long been dominated by screens of all shapes and sizes is now being encroached upon by the voice. And while many companies are building voice interfaces — Apple with Siri, Google with Assistant, and Microsoft with Cortana — none are quite as dominant as Amazon has been with Alexa.

At the AWS reinvent conference, Amazon will announce Alexa for Business, according to the WSJ. The new platform will let companies build out their own skills and integrations for both practical and business use cases. .... 

Just as developers can build skills for Amazon Echo users, businesses can now build out Alexa skills for use within their own company. You could imagine voice access to an employee directory, Salesforce data on various clients and accounts, or company calendar information. .... " 

Promoting Service Innovation

Been a member for a while.  Worth following

The International Society of Service Innovation Professionals, ISSIP (pronounced iZip).

Latest newsletter.

Definitive Healthcare Newsletter

Brought to my attention, a newsletter on big data management and analytics

" ... Definitive Healthcare was founded in 2008 as a database covering the hospital and IDN market. After years of consistent growth Definitive’s databases now cover virtually all types of healthcare providers. Founded on the premise that our clients need high quality, in-depth intelligence in order to efficiently research and target the best providers, Definitive invests aggressively in cutting-edge technologies, the finest talent, and innovative processes to exceed client expectations at all times.  ... " 

Millennials and Brands

In Fastcompany:

 As Millennials Demand More Meaning, Older Brands Are Not Aging Well

Ask millenials and boomers what companies they value most and you’ll get very different answers. If brands want to make an impact with the consumers of the future, they need a clear mission. ... "


A means of understanding how systems work and interact with our world, and ultimately what can be solved or not solved by machine learning systems.  Technical.

Chasing Complexity

MIT News  Larry Hardesty

Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty member Ryan Williams in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has made a key contribution toward solving the problem of P versus NP. Much of that contribution stems from his attempts as an IBM research fellow to bridge a divide within theoretical computer science, between researchers who work on computational complexity and those who design algorithms. Williams considered exploiting the symmetry between these two camps, as establishing an algorithm's minimum running time requires generalizing nearly all possible instances of a specific problem that it will ever have to face. His focus was on adapting algorithmic design methods to establish lower bounds. Williams first proved the hypothetical link between algorithms and lower bounds, and then demonstrated its application to a very particular class of logic circuits. "This is essentially the circuit class where progress on P not equal to NP stopped in the mid-'80s," Williams notes.  .... " 

Running out of Ideas?

Are we?  Intriguing piece in Freakonomics blog.

Are We Running Out of Ideas?
by Stephen J. Dubner in Freakonomics

Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called “Are We Running Out of Ideas?” (You can subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.)

Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. One theory: true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next?
Below is a transcript of the episode, modified for your reading pleasure. For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post. ... "