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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Superintelligence Considered

Quite late, but making my way through the well known Superintelligence book by Nick Bostrom. Some quite fascinating statistics of the futurist kind that are worth looking at.   Will the development of AI being seen today, that uses methods like neural nets and Bayesian methods,  be able to leverage itself to be self-replicating?  And become in a sense 'Super', and go beyond human intelligence?   What are the dangers involved?  As Bostrom asks, what are the paths, dangers and strategies to be considered?

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies  by Nick Bostrom  and his site  http://www.nickbostrom.com/  Lots of new resources at this link.

 They write:

" ... Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life. 

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. ... " 

What to Expect from AI

What to Expect from AI.  Reasonably good overview from MIT Sloan Review.  An executive overview,  some registration required for the full report.  " ... To understand how advances in artificial intelligence are likely to change the workplace — and the work of managers — you need to know where AI delivers the most value. ... " .  Clear and obvious, avoid hype, implied or otherwise.

Role of Dialog Talk

From Today's talk:

Murray Campbell on  “The Role of Dialog in Augmented Intelligence”   IBM Research

Slides.    Talk recording. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Global Impact of Open Data

Free EBook from O'Reilly. 

The Global Impact of Open Data
Key Findings from Detailed Case Studies Around the World

Open data has spurred economic innovation, social transformation, and fresh forms of political and government accountability in recent years, but few people understand how open data works. This comprehensive report, developed with support from Omidyar Network, presents detailed case studies of open data projects throughout the world, along with in-depth analysis of what works and what doesn’t.   ... " 

On the Future of TV

Walt Mossberg looks at the future of TV,   from cable driven to TV as an intelligent service  A thoughtful and frustrating view of progress.  I am ready to try something new here, my estimate is that 90% of what we are paying for we don't use.   So we are paying for infrastructure too, but there are better ways to do that as well.

Mossberg: TV is changing, but not fast enough
What I learned at Code Media    by Walt Mossberg@waltmossberg  ... "

Role of Dialog in Augmented Intelligence

Looking forward to this talk,  precisely what we attempted in a number of expertise augmentation and Bot delivery applications.  Its still a big challenge,

Dear Professors, Students, IBMers and others, 

This a reminder about our Cognitive Systems Institute Speaker Series on Thursday, February 23, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (7:30 am PT).  Our speaker is Murray Campbell, IBM Distinguished Research Staff Member, who will be presenting “The Role of Dialog in Augmented Intelligence.”

Please point your web browser to https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491 password=cognitive.   Use audio on computer or dial 855-233-7153   PIN Code: 43179788    Non-IBMers please use the "guest" option instead of entering your email.   

Please find the schedule of presenters herefor the next several calls.   A link to slides and a recording of each call should 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 LinkedIn Discussion Group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Cognitive-Systems-Institute-6729452 and please ask questions at the end of the call.

Thank you!

Dianne Fodell
IBM Global University Programs

Smart Home is Where the Bot is

McKinsey on Bots in the home.

A smart home is where the bot is
By Jean-Baptiste Coumau, Hiroto Furuhashi, and Hugo Sarrazin
Within a decade, our living spaces will be enhanced by a host of new devices and technologies, performing a range of household functions and redefining what it means to feel at home.

The promise of devices that not only meet our household needs but anticipate them as well has been around for decades. To date, that promise remains largely unfulfilled. Advances such as the Nest thermostat by Alphabet (parent company to Google) and Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant are notable, but the home-technology market as a whole remains fragmented, and the potential for a truly smart home is still unrealized. .... " 

Applying Design Thinking in the Organization

Good introduction to design thinking.  With pointers to lots of resources.

How to apply design thinking in your organization
Design thinking helps organizations grow, innovate, and improve financial performance.

By Jonathan Follett, Mary Treseler.   February 22, 2017

Design thinking is a process that uses design principles for solving complex problems. It helps organizations identify opportunities, unlock innovation, and improve their businesses.

Market leaders as varied as Apple, IBM, Intuit, Kaiser Permanente, and Nike have used design thinking to gain a competitive advantage, applying it to create innovative products and services. Within an organization, design thinking is a tool for unlocking cultural change. It makes companies more flexible, more responsive to their customers, and ultimately, more successful.

What are the elements of design thinking?

Although the name and number of its key principles may vary depending on how you apply them, the basic elements of design thinking always include some variation on the following: researching and defining the problem, ideating, and prototyping and iterating.  .... " 

Jacquard Loom

I don't agree with the premise implied in the intro, it did not rival the brain.  But the Jacquard loom did make us think about automating and 'programming' difficult process.  So a legitimate part of computing history:  In the CACM:

A Computer to Rival the Brain  By The New Yorker 
More than two hundred years ago, a French weaver named Joseph Jacquard invented a mechanism that greatly simplified textile production. .... " 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Alexa Skills for Small Business

Instructive list that I have been waiting for.  How can we get practical with voice skill assistants? Examining.

(Updated corrected URL) 23 Must-Have Alexa Skills for Your Small Business  By Rob Marvin in PCMag.

Amazon's digital assistant Alexa can help streamline your day-to-day business operations with voice-activated skills across communications, logistics, productivity, scheduling, and much more.  ... " 

Taxing Robots at Human Rates

In an interview with Bill Gates, the suggestion that robots that take human jobs should pay taxes:

“Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, Social  Security tax, all those things,” he said. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d  think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”

Kroger Merges in-store, Online Shopping

From FMI Smartech: 

Kroger turns to Tech to merge in-store, online shopping
Kroger strives to create an in-store shopping experience that is similar to online shopping, tapping technology including infrared sensors, data algorithms, personalized mobile apps and e-commerce offerings including in-store pickup and delivery in an effort to make wait times shorter and foster an interactive shopping trip, according to CIO Chris Hjelm. Next up, the nation's largest supermarket will test smart shelves that can sense where shoppers are walking and send relevant offers to their mobile devices.

In The Wall Street Journal (Tiered subscription Model)

Google and Apple to rule Augmented Reality

Don't see this as the case as yet, the Microsoft Hololens applications I have seen are impressive

Why Google and Apple will rule mixed reality     Sorry, Microsoft and Magic Leap, the Silicon Valley smartphone giants have one thing you haven't got  By Mike Elgan ... "

Monday, February 20, 2017

Managing Remote Teams

What we have learned about managing remote teams, have now been involved in many such efforts, in companies, large and small, in the HBR: 

What 20 Years as a Remote Organization Has Taught Us About Managing Remote Teams
by Randy Street, Dina Wang, Vamsi Tetali

In his 1974 interview with ABC News, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke painted a picture of how computers would change our way of life by the year 2001. One of his many extraordinarily accurate predictions: “Any businessman, any executive, could live almost anywhere on Earth and still do his business through a device like this.”

Now, this prediction about remote working has not only come to life; it’s proved to be more beneficial than the traditional office model for some companies. The advisory firm we work for is one such company. Since its inception, in 1995, ghSMART has been a firm with a completely remote team. More than 80% of our work is done by teams of consultants and staff who operate out of their home offices. It’s working for us: ghSMART has seen more than 97% client satisfaction in the past decade, 93% team retention, and greater than 20% annual growth. Our journey of more than 20 years has led to a lot of success and has taught us some valuable lessons for how to make remote arrangements work ... " 

On Loyalty Miles

Looking at loyalty points, customer miles as a liability.   In CustomerThink.

Executive Overview of AI

A not bad, non technical overview of AI, provided in Data Science Central.    But again, I would like more about linking it to specific business process.  Say with bot applications.

Executive Guide to Artificial Intelligence
Posted by Amith Parameshwara  ....   " 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bio Bots

Like the idea of combining biological cells and digital.    At a kind of fundamental layer.  A synthetic Biology of sorts.

Now You Can 'Build Your Own' Bio-Bot
By University of Illinois News Bureau
February 16, 2017

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have released their protocol for designing and building "bio-bots" powered by muscle cells and controlled with light and electrical signals.

They say the bio-bots are less than a centimeter in size and made of flexible three-dimensionally (3D)-printed hydrogels and living cells. ....  "

In 2012, the researchers demonstrated the bio-bots' ability to move on their own, powered by contracting heart cells from rats. A light-responsive skeletal muscle cell was genetically engineered to contract when stimulated by pulses of a certain wavelength of blue light. The skeletal muscle tissue was then coupled to a 3D-printed skeleton that moves in the direction of the optical pulses. ... "

Talk to Your Email With Notion

Started to look at a system called Notion AI that will allow you to listen to your emails on assistant systems.  Here is a general description.   And the site for the system Notion and how it can be used with Alexa.  Also note that Cortana is starting to provide some moves in this direction.  Still, none of these methods works well, they claim to learn and adapt to your communications needs, and give you advice about improving it, but are still not good enough, or trust-able for important needs.

Also described in Lifehacker.  and the Notion Blog.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

On CPG Supersized Deals

Having read about the proposed merger deal between Unilever and Kraft Heinz, and as the owner of CPG options, this article in Strategy-Business was of interest.   Where is CPG going?

Megadeals in Consumer Packaged Goods
How supersized deals are helping the sector respond to challenges.
    by J. Neely, Derek Townsend, and Dominic Ricketts  .... "

My Friend Cayla Doll Banned

The 'My Friend Cayla' doll was previously mentioned with regard to US COPPA law.  Possible implications for other attentive listening assistants?    In Engadget: 

" ... German watchdog group the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway) warns that hackers can use Cayla to steal personal data through an unsecured Bluetooth connection. It's already removed the doll from store shelves, and it's encouraging parents to take precautions.  ... " 

Block Chain for Food Safety

In Progressive Grocer:   Previously mentioned.

PG Web Extra: Walmart Adopts Blockchain Technology
Mega-retailer aims to improve fresh food safety, security  By Jenny McTaggart

Friday, February 17, 2017

Snapshots of Digital Transformation

Instructive.  In McKinsey: 

Three snapshots of digital transformation
Financial services, food retailing, and pharma are reinventing themselves in different ways.

As companies grapple with the different dimensions of digitization highlighted in McKinsey’s latest research (see “The case for digital reinvention”), here are snapshots of three industries in the eye of the storm: financial services, food retailing, and pharma. .... " 

Tom Davenport Writings

Had a chat with author Tom Davenport, we have long been in touch in the Analytics and AI spaces.  Here is a link to his recent writing.

Google Home Adds Big Retail Connects

 Are the assistant's major goal to directly sell?    Or prepare a new kind of channel for sales?  How will this evolve?   Discussion.

Will Costco, Kohl’s, Target, et al give Google Home an edge over Amazon’s Echo?  by George Anderson

“Okay, Google. How do I shop?” Those simple words may signal Google beginning to eat into the early market share lead that Amazon.com has established with its voice-activated Echo devices.

Yesterday, Google announced in a blog post that owners of its Google Home voice-activated speaker would now be able to place product orders from more than 50 local and national retailers participating in its Express delivery program. Among the more prominent chains participating are Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco, Kohl’s, PetSmart, Target, Walgreens, Wayfair.com and Whole Foods. Moosejaw, which was just acquired by Walmart, is also among retailers in Google’s Express program, although its parent is not, nor are its sister companies — Jet.com, Sam’s Club and ShoeBuy.com.  .... " 

An Advisory Hub for Health Care

An idea that we discussed in some detail,  regarding advisory systems in health care.   Using popular advisory systems?  I like very much the idea of leveraging and especially sharing data among participants.  Regulatory issues abound.   Very worth following.

IBM's wearables hub could get you out of the hospital faster
The prototype device links to a host of wearables to gather health data for doctors  By Martyn Williams  

Researchers at IBM have developed a hub for wearables that can gather information from multiple wearable devices and share it with a doctor, potentially cutting down on the time patients need to spend in a hospital.

The gadget, which IBM has dubbed a 'cognitive hypervisor,' funnels data from devices such as smart watches and fitness bands into the IBM Cloud. There, it's analyzed and the results are shared with the user and their doctor.

The idea is that patients can be monitored reliably through the device so they can be sent home to recover from illnesses a day or two earlier than they might otherwise have been allowed. It also means that should a problem develop, a doctor can be alerted immediately and an ambulance dispatched if it's serious enough.

IBM demonstrated a prototype of the device in San Francisco on Tuesday.

"I am Chiyo, your new companion. During this time, please touch me to start," it said after powering up. "Every time you touch me, I will tell you about your status." ... " 

New Fingerprinting Techniques

In CIO Today: 

" .... The new tech makes it possible to establish a unique online fingerprint based not on browser features but on features of a user's operating system and computer hardware, according to a new study by researchers at Lehigh University and Washington University. The cross-browser fingerprinting technique identifies users with an accuracy of 99.24 percent, compared to AmIUnique's "state-of-the-art" accuracy of 90.84 percent across a single browser, according to the researchers.

While acknowledging the fingerprinting method could be used for undesirable purposes that violate online privacy, the researchers said the technique could also help service providers authenticate users for improved security. ... "