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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cisco on Digital Transformation

Cisco blog looking at the basic elements of digital transformation.   The details still need lots of work, and they need to be forward forecast against likely technology changes.

AI Replacing Executive Decision Making?

It remains a big question what kinds of decisions AI will be able to replace in the short and longer term. For the executive, it is not too much different than other 'assistant' roles, but with different focus and scope of data.   Might be a time to look at some of the work we did with executive information systems.   More understanding of the risk behind decisions,   Better forecasts.  Better collaboration, inside and outside the enterprise.   Security.  Better simulation of choices.   Very clear explanation of analytics used.

 MIT Sloan takes a look. .

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Software Social Organisms: Implications for Measuring AI progress

 " ... Just a reminder about our Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series on Thursday June 30, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (9:30am CT, 7:30 am PT).  Our presenter this week is Ken Forbus from Northwestern University who will present “Software Social Organisms: Implications for measuring AI progress.” 

Please point your web browser to https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491  password=cognitive.   Use audio on computer or 855-233-7153 in the US (other countries numberhere) PIN Code: 43179788    Non-IBMers and Non-Members, 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/).     (Slides will be linked to here later)   On Ken Forbus.

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

Ask for A Skill You Need

You can now enable an Amazon Echo skill by just asking for it.  Makes lots of sense.  Does assume you know the name of the skill and how it works.   More important, providing more and better skills.There are now some 1400 examples.   And then interconnecting skills as services.    In The Verge. 

The Value of Bots for Banks

 We were closely involved in the knowledge architecture for bots for consumer interfaces, so this is a very interesting development.  How does this adapt to the conversation? The goals of the participants?  The risks of error?  The opening questions are important,  how will this help people?  Good to follow.

In the Verge: 

Do you need a bot to talk to your bank?
And if you do, how will you use it?   By Dieter Bohn

Dror Oren, VP of Product for Kasisto, thinks it's about time that the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, and Google caught up. His company has quietly been building the infrastructure (and getting funding) for bots for a couple of years. Today, it's unveiling a banking bot — so you can chat with it instead of dealing with the bank's website, app, or (heaven forbid) calling in to customer service.

Or at least, that's the idea. For Kasisto, the primary target market is actually the banks — so it's releasing two bots. But before we get to the bot meant for banks, let's start with the one you can actually use, designed for for consumers. Though it's functional, it's more of a proof of concept than actual product. Called MyKAI, you can use it to query data from your various banking accounts. It's a little bit like Intuit's Mint service, but in a chat interface.  ... " 

Numerical to Categorical

From DSC, my comments: 
Converting Numerical to Categorical variables.   Simple, largely non technical piece on the topic.  Whats nice about this approach, when appropriate, is that it can be readily explained to those that own the decision process.  So it can be determined to be both statistically and decision ownership correct.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Project Tango Video

Video of project Tango, using a smartphone, here used to map and discover contents of a Barcelona complex museum floor.   Consider retail applications to make navigation, discovery and engagement more intelligent.     With existing smartphone hardware.   Further connection with Beacon technologies that associate for engagement?

Amazon Marketplace for Curriculum

In the midst of developing a curriculum  ....

Amazon Is Taking On Google in the Battle for the Classroom
In Time by Leena Rao

Amazon is looking to deepen its ties to the education world with a new online marketplace for lesson plans, curriculum, and other resources that debuted on Monday, called Inspire.

Until now, Amazon’s presence in educational institutions has been mostly limited to its original business of selling digital and physical books. The e-commerce giant has partnered with a handful of universities to open co-branded online bookstores for selling textbooks and a number of physical campus stores as package pick-up centers. .... " 

Amazon's Competition for the Dash Buy Button

More buttons in the home for retail.  Not sure how far this will go without Amazon's marketing muscle.  Will homes be outfitted with standard needs buttons?  Be commissioned to include an array of buttons as a loyalty or subscription play?  What would it need to get you to display an array of buy buttons on your frig?  I can see some possibilities.

In Retailwire:   Amazon Dash gets a smart button rival   by Tom Ryan

Promising to be a viable alternative for consumers to Amazon Dash, Tel Aviv-based Kwik is launching a “one-tap” smart button and delivery service in the U.S.

Launched in 2015, Kwik provides one-tap delivery for Domino’s Pizza, Huggies Diapers, and Eden Springs Water in Israel. Kwik also won a pilot program with Anheuser-Busch during the AB InBev & ZX Ventures Startup Pitch Competition at SxSW.

Customers register for a button, connect it to their home Wi-Fi, choose their default product(s), and push the button to place their order. In seconds, a text message arrives for confirmation, and the product arrives shortly thereafter. Kwik earns a cut from each purchase. .... " 

Learning by Analogy

Particularly interesting suggestion of how people are 'intelligent'.

Making Computers Reason and Learn by Analogy

Structure-mapping engine enables computers to reason and learn like humans, including solving moral dilemmas    by Amanda Morris
Northwestern Engineering’s Ken Forbus is closing the gap between humans and machines.

Using cognitive science theories, Forbus and his collaborators have developed a model that could give computers the ability to reason more like humans and even make moral decisions. Called the structure-mapping engine (SME), the new model is capable of analogical problem solving, including capturing the way humans spontaneously use analogies between situations to solve moral dilemmas.

“In terms of thinking like humans, analogies are where it’s at,” said Forbus, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. “Humans use relational statements fluidly to describe things, solve problems, indicate causality, and weigh moral dilemmas.” ... ' 

See more on Structure Mapping Engines (SME).

Kroger Opens Culinary Training Center in Cincinnati

In Supermarketews: Shows the direction of retail to better understanding of the art and science of food.  Reminds me of our own work in innovation,  can focus on engagement, fun, future.

IOT for Product Performance

Using IoT Data to Understand How Your Products Perform

" .... Yet it would be a mistake to think the IoT is a game only for high rollers and crack technologists. Our research and client engagement experience has shown us that generating strong returns from the digital sensors, wireless communications devices, digital cameras installed in buildings and other smart, connected devices does not come down to writing big checks or being technologically savvy. The companies with the greatest value from IoT to date are the best at dealing with how products are performing for customers.  .... " 

Authentically Engaging Your Customers

From Kellogg Insight: 

" ... For decades, one-off marketing campaigns were the biggest game in town.
Since the rise of the internet, however—and, in particular, the rise of social media— customer behavior has changed dramatically. Not only has social media become an essential tool for any marketing strategy (almost half of Facebook users have “recommended” a brand), customers today also expect their relationship with brands to go beyond the use value of their products. 

For Mohan Sawhney, clinical professor of marketing and McCormick Foundation Chair of Technology at the Kellogg School, that means it is time for marketing leaders to embrace a different approach. ...  "

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Quantum Computer Primer

Via Andreessen Horowitz     A 28 minute video:

" .... So what is a quantum computer and “qubits” — especially as compared to a traditional computer and bits? What is Grover’s Algorithm? And besides speed of processing, what are some of the new applications that wouldn’t have been possible before? From how traditional computers work and quantum computers will work to why this all matters, a16z Deal and Research team head Frank Chen walks us through the basics of quantum computing in this slide presentation. And even though may feel like you finally understand after watching this, just remember what Feynman once said: “If you think you understand quantum mechanics then you don’t understand quantum mechanics.” ... " 

Teaching Hard Math to Children

Adventures in math metaphors for teachers and parents.  How to you teach what most students fear, even to the very young?  Pass it on.    In Reddit. 

Performance Metrics

Bernard Marr concisely writes on the 'little data' of performance metrics.   This links well with my constant refrain, the data, big or otherwise, however cleverly analyzed, is only good as far as it relates to business process.  And the key measure of process is performance.  See my previous writings on KPI at the link below.

Rethinking Design Thinking

Rethink Design Thinking
Published on May 20, 2016  by Subbu Iyer

Design Thinking is not a Problem Solving Tool.

Start believing that it is one of the most natural ways in which one can imagine growth. It is a method that generates Growth; Engineering Value, Integrating Intellectual and Human Capital. Growth that is Societal, Inclusive, Innovative in nature and Creates Wealth. One that ushers the New or in other words responsible for the process of Renewal through Creative Destruction.

Problems are the Cause of poor design in the first place. They also occur when there is a shift in the context in which the present operates from a previous design. The outcome of Design Thinking is always a Point of Departure from the Present into the Future. It obviates a problem by addressing the higher layers of Solution in terms of New Ideas / Concepts, New Opportunities, New Objectives and New Events.    ....  " 

Teaching Journalists About Data

Although this seems more about writing it very large than getting it correct and interactive and usable by everyone.

The Office of Creative Research, a New York data lab, has a lot to teach journalists  By Melody Kramer ....

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Graphs in Smart Data Lakes

Just lately noticed the similarity between the concept of a graphical databases and data visualization.  So why not use graph visualization to best understand broad, rich  and dynamic data resources in a data lake?    Make them 'smart' by adding semantic relationships.

In Datanami: " ... Data lakes are synonymous with Hadoop to many people grappling with the promise and the peril of big data. That’s not surprising, considering Hadoop’s unparalleled capability to gobble up petabytes of messy data. But for Barry Zane and other folks at Cambridge Semantics, data lakes are taking on a decidedly graph-like appearance.

Cambridge Semantics, which acquired Zane’s latest startup SPARQL City earlier this year, is beginning to talk about its concept of the smart data lake. The data lake concept is a well-worn one by now. The “smart” part, you may have guessed, owes to the semantic aspect of how the data is stored, how it’s connected to other data in the lake, and the way it impacts how people can extract meaningful information from it. ... " 

Turning Your Mail into a Personal Assistant

Interesting piece out of the IFTTT blog. Here with GMail.   This shows a pretty trivial example of how to look at a stream like your GMail, apply some logic intelligence to it, and alert you to related needs.    I don't think the specifics of the example would be useful to me, but the idea is well presented.  Adding more complexity to the logic, algorithms, pattern matching would be useful as well.  How might Microsoft Flow work with the same idea?   A meta conversation with your email, but not a very deep one.

Placemeter for Predictive Analysis

I had mentioned this idea before, because it could detect both traffic and the type of traffic being experienced.   We examined methods of this type.  Now, how to use that kind of data for predictive analytics.

Seeking More Robotic Servants.

Its still hard to do many of the 'simple' tasks that are done in the home.  But at least we can prototype a number of them with robot like machines.  But when will the robot sweeper learn to fold clothes, do and put away the dishes,  clean the windows, walk the dog?    The machines may get smart, but when will they get mechanically able and versatile?  And combine into just a few chore masters?      More in Techdirt.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Microsoft Flow

Was reminded of Microsoft Flow today  (See also IFTTT)

Microsoft Flow
Work less, do more
Create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to get notifications, synchronize files, collect data, and more. 

Automate your time-consuming tasks
Set up flows that instantaneously deal with critical emails, notify the whole team whenever a work item is updated, or capture, track, and follow up with new sales leads—almost anything, all automatically. ... " 

SAS Guide to Cognitive Computing

Nicely done and non technical via SAS.  It is interesting that I do not hear the term 'cognitive computing' too often by vendors, except for IBM.  Gotten into some mild arguments about what cognitive means here.   I take it fairly broadly ... anything that includes skill we would see as human-like.

Language processing,  learning,  non trivial reasoning,  abstract reasoning, Process organization,  analogical reasoning,  image recognition ....       And now we expect computers to be faster, at least serially ....  and to have limitless searchable memory.   Then as we progress the expectation moves forward.

IFTF Writes A Handbook for the Maker City

I note that the Institute for the Future: IFTF, a nonprofit company I worked with for years, wrote for as well, has a Maker City Project underway.   They are publishing a handbook on the topic chapter by chapter.   The aim is to create urban revitalization using a combination of 'maker' mentality and technology.  You can see the some of the usual cities mentioned, but also many medium sized cities.

  See the free handbook here, now up to chapter 5, with quite a lot of detail.  A little too much expectation that you can regulate and influence all the things involved.  Too many west coast reasons.   Interesting read.  Will try to follow.

Future of Textbooks

My recent connections to developing curriculums and teaching have made me think about all aspects of teaching and supporting teaching.  With all the technologies possible today ...  What is the future of textbooks?    Work out of Penn State.

Virtual Assistant for Documents

Fileee is an intelligent, personal assistant that automatically organizes all of your paper and digital documents in one system. It’s the new filing cabinet of the future, including personal assistance that recognizes the structures and information of your documents. ... "

This is probably the most important need for the knowledge worker.  Attempts like Google Intranet search, internal Wikies and Zakta have been used to address this.    Recently have seen examples of how Watson is being used at more depth, and most examples I have seen are also mostly about how to gather all your data, and external data, in all its forms, and apply it to specific contexts of need.

Crowdsourcing as a Weapon

Hardly a secret weapon.  And managing it and understanding how well is works is still an issue.  But its always worth examining.  What is particularly nice is that is is relatively easy to scale these days with new tools and social connectivity to possible users.   Further, MYcrowd.com. 

Classroom Centaurs for Education

Talk this week on educational technology:

" .... Kurt VanLehn, Diane and Gary Tooker Chair for Effective Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, gave a great presentation today on “Classroom Centaurs:  A new genre of educational technology” as part of our Cognitive Systems Institute Speaker Series. Please continue the conversation here with Kurt, who's research can be found here: http://www.public.asu.edu/~kvanlehn/VanLehnVita.htm To see and hear a replay of today's presentation, go to: http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/ and select recording next to June 23, 2016 presentation.  .... " 

Discussion on Samsung's $5799 Digital Frig

Good discussion on Samsung's smart Frig.  Apparently not a prototype and is for sale.  The the cost is hefty   Is the refrigerator the place for the home hub?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wal-Mart Decides on Fun Stories

Akin to Story telling,  Recall my mention of the local grocery chain Jungle Jim's.  Personally I think they should do more in that space to tell fun stories to attract and engage customers. Maybe with screens or ultimately with robotics.  At the right is the monstrous Jungle Jim's Shark.  Not too much of a comes story with it yet.

Google Magenta AI Makes Music

Like the idea.  When we will see a library of these efforts to consider?   What are the bounds of its innovation, creativity?

Google enters the Artificial Intelligence race with Magenta
The words Artificial Intelligence can bring to mind far-fetched, sci-fi ideas and a society where robots have replaced humans. Well, this idea may not be too far off given Google’s recent innovations.

Google recently released Magenta, a computer based system that has the ability to create pieces of music.

Even though its first melody sounds like a generic song pre-programed to a keyboard, the project is considered a success because the system taught itself. The system composed the 60-second melody with little human intervention.   .... " 

Emoji Based Targeting

Not unexpected, but how well will it work compared to broader prediction?

Twitter Introduces Emoji-Based Targeting
It's Exactly What You Think It Is    By George Slefo

An AI Primer. What do we think it is Today?

Good primer in a talk  AI, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning:   – in  Andreessen Horowitz

" .... Things are clearly progressing rapidly when it comes to machine intelligence. But how did we get here, after not one but multiple “A.I. winters”? What’s the breakthrough? And why is Silicon Valley buzzing about artificial intelligence again?

From types of machine intelligence to a tour of algorithms, a16z Deal and Research team head Frank Chen walks us through the basics (and beyond) of AI and deep learning in this slide presentation. .... " 

I have been through all this myself,  are we there yet?   And where is that?  Here is one take.