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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bezier Curves for the Grocery Shelf

A quite technical and visual point in O'Reilly.  And just to note how such methods can interact with the mundane, we used Bezier Curves for designing packaging for supermarket products.  A nice example of Python too.

Overlaying Bézier curves
An algorithm that generates Bézier curves using an increasing number of control points.  ... By Mike Loukides  .... " 

Amazon vs Wal-Mart

In Knowledge@Wharton:  A considerable look at the question.  Both now as omnichannel giants.

Amazon vs. Walmart: Which One Will Prevail?

Recent M&A deals by both Amazon and Walmart have set the two firms on a direct collision course to become the “everything store” in an omnichannel world. .... 

In the media hullabaloo following Amazon’s announcement this month that it was buying Whole Foods Market, largely overlooked was the same-day news that Walmart was acquiring menswear e-tailer Bonobos. While Amazon did make a bigger splash with its $13.7 billion foray into organic groceries, Walmart beefed up an e-commerce stable that already includes the acquisitions of digital natives Jet.com, Shoebuy, ModCloth and Moosejaw.

Collectively, these M&A deals have set Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce company, on a direct collision course with Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, to be the “everything store” in an omni-channel world — where consumers no longer distinguish between shopping online and offline. And it pits two Baby Boomer mavericks, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, against Walmart’s e-commerce chief Marc Lore, the Gen X founder of Jet.com.   .... " 

AI as the Face of Your Brand

A useful informed survey.   We attempted to use AI as brand equity.  When does it work?  Particularly in the case of assistants, we often anthropomorphize.  Why or why not?

When AI Becomes the New Face of Your Brand
H. James Wilson,Paul Daugherty, Nicola Morini Bianzino  in the HBR

In the world of marketing, brand anthropomorphism can be a powerful mechanism for connecting with consumers. It’s the tactic of giving brand symbols people-like characteristics: Think of Tony the Tiger and the Michelin Man. Today some companies are taking brand anthropomorphism to a whole new level with sophisticated AI technologies.

Consider advanced chatbots, like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana. Thanks to the simplicity of their conversational interfaces, it’s quite possible that customers will spend increasingly more time engaged with a company’s AI than with any other interface, including the firm’s own employees. And over time Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, and their individual “personalities,” could become even more famous than their parent companies.

The implications are numerous. As chatbots and other AI technologies increasingly become the face of many brands, those companies will need to employ people with new types of expertise to ensure that the brands continue to reflect the firm’s desired qualities and values. Executives should also be wary of how AI increases the dangers of brand disintermediation. As brands assume more and more AI functionality, businesses must proactively manage any potential ethical and legal concerns.

To study those issues and others, we surveyed how AI is being implemented at more than 1,000 global companies. We found that many of those firms are already using (or have been experimenting with) AI to orchestrate the brand experience across a number of business processes. These include customer service (39% of companies), marketing and sales (35%), and even the managing of noncustomer external relationships (28%) where brand power is key, such as in attracting top talent into the organization’s recruiting pipeline. Studying those deployments led to several insights around three new types of decisions executives face at the intersection of technology, personality, and strategy. .... " 

Bonsai AI Gears

Of interest, with somwhat  different purpose it would appear, than approaches like Algorithmia.  Gears seems to address the problem of having a Python based code running on multiple devices.   And further testing implementation.

Bonsai intros Gears, a new feature that lets users run their own AI models  by Mike Wheatley In SiliconAngle. 

 Artificial-intelligence development platform provider Bonsai AI Inc. has unveiled a new feature called Gears that allows data scientists run machine learning models created on alternative platforms.

The idea is that Gears can transfer independently developed models onto the Bonsai platform, where they can be monitored more easily. .... "

Algorithmia

Algorithmia  (Invested in by Google)

Build Intelligent APPS

We're a Common API for Algorithms, Functions, and Models that run as scalable Microservices. 

Developer Superpowers on Demand 

Expand your toolbelt with access to a growing library of more than 3,500+ algorithms, functions, and models that enable you to create, share, and remix algorithmic intelligence at scale – All powered by a community of world class developers, researchers, and organizations. Optionally choose to monetize your contributions through an open marketplace where royalties earned reflect the the value of your algorithm, function, or model.

Explore the marketplace .... 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tracking, Measuring AI Research

Very good effort.  Much more detail at the link.  Putting it on my alert list. From the EFF: Electronic Frontier Foundation,  which I have little watched lately.   Plus also see Algorithmia.

This pilot project collects problems and metrics/datasets from the AI research literature, and tracks progress on them.

You can use this Notebook to see how things are progressing in specific subfields or AI/ML as a whole, as a place to report new results you've obtained, as a place to look for problems that might benefit from having new datasets/metrics designed for them, or as a source to build on for data science projects.

At EFF, we're ultimately most interested in how this data can influence our understanding of the likely implications of AI. To begin with, we're focused on gathering it.

Original authors: Peter Eckersley and Yomna Nasser at EFF. Contact: ai-metrics@eff.org.

With contributions from: Gennie Gebhart and Owain Evans .... " 

Apple and Cisco in the Enterprise

Worked with Cisco in the innovation space, they are impressive for infrastructure.   Saw this same goal for companies to take a look at their digital operations at a recent talk by GE.

With Cisco, Apple weaves itself into enterprise infrastructure

" ... Apple and Cisco confirmed the two firms are working together in lots of ways, including the new announcement around Cisco Security Connector, which should appear late this year.

Cisco says this system lets enterprises take a deep look at what is happening on enterprise-owned mobile devices. .... " 

Analog Brains

We tend to think of 'analog' as an ancient technology,  long superseded by digital.  So businesses are constantly figuring out how to 'go digital'.   And thus become better, faster, smarter.  I learned analog computing before digital, but that is only rarely done today.   We first went digital in the 40s because it turns out that many things we like to do fast,  like arithmetic, are easier to codify that way. That's good.

 But most of the nature that we depend upon remains analog.  Our brains, our sensors, our muscles, our neurons.  So why shouldn't we think of our models of complex systems that way?  Most recently, deep learning, using models of 'neurons', turn to be very successful as perception engines.   Still digital, but analogs of some very analog forms.

In CACM:
Building a Brain May Mean Going Analog    By Neil Savage 
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 60 No. 7, Pages 13-15 ... "

3D Printing and Retail

Most interesting for the examples and discussions here.  As I have suggested, still a niche market.

How will 3-D printing take hold at retail?   by Tom Ryan

According to a survey from Interactions, 95 percent of shoppers are looking forward to purchasing products created through 3-D printing. And nearly 80 percent are inclined to spend more at a retailer that can help create their own products through 3-D printing. .... 

Yet the technology, around since the late 1980s, continues to take a slow path to retail. ... " 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Note Taking

Have been reexamining note taking systems.  Had only briefly looked at OneNote before.    Nicely done.  The basic ideas should be fundamental, and easily connected to the many channels now online. Would also be useful to think forward to how this knowledge can be gathered online, annotated and maintained.

Microsoft wants OneNote to be the go-to classroom app
Take that, Evernote..... 

Rob LeFebvre, @roblef

Models of China Ambitions and Directions

Wharton has published a special, multi segment piece on new China Strategy and Economics.  We did lots of work trying to understand the direction of China using advanced agent models.  Often touched upon in this blog.     This article touches on many of our interests, including infrastructure, retail, manufacturing, supply chain strategy and beyond.   At a high level, but valuable for its setting the stage.   The below piece is one example, lots more pointed to at the link:

China: New Ambitions, New Directions

" ... China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, for example, would stitch together roads, ports, railways and other links from East China through Southeast, and South and Central Asia over to Europe. It exceeds in scope the Marshall Plan that rebuilt post-war Europe. Beyond that, China is by far the biggest source of financing for many of its neighbors. The Export and Import Bank of China alone lent $80 billion in 2015, compared with $27 billion from the Asian Development Bank. All this expands China’s economic and geopolitical sway across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. .... " 

Who Does Selfies?

Or perhaps the nature of derived meta data about self imagery.

Selfies: We Love How We Look and We're Here to Show You

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology say they have analyzed 2.5 million selfie posts on Instagram to determine what kinds of identity statements people make by taking and sharing selfies. The researchers found nearly 52 percent of all selfies fall into the appearance category, meaning pictures of people showing off things such as their makeup, clothes, and lips. In addition, the team found that pictures about looks were twice as popular than the other 14 examined categories combined, which included social selfies, ethnicity pictures, travel, and health and fitness.

The researchers also note the prevalence of ethnicity selfies as an indication that people are proud of their backgrounds. Overall, 57 percent of selfies were posted by 18- to 35-year-olds, while the under-18 age group posted about 30 percent of selfies, and the 35-and-up group posted only 13 percent of selfies. In addition, most selfies are lone pictures, and are not taken with a group.

From Georgia Tech News Center  .... "

A Chat Bot for Company Knowledge

I got a note recently that I should try Obie as a chat bot based on corporate knowledge provided in Slack.  I have now used Slack for several projects,  fine as a chat space for team projects,  somewhat quirky,  hard to integrate with typical and existing knowledge streams.    One of our AI goals had been to figure out how to link AI with corporate knowledge streams, old and new, static and dynamic, internal, supplier and public knowledge, structured and unstructured.    A remembrance engine we called it.  Perhaps a Knowledge Graph?   Is that what we are approaching here.?  Back to the wall we ran into:   How will it be maintained?   Just by updates in chats?   Back to the general problem of intelligent dialog.

Q&A With the Developers of Obie: A Chatbot for Company Knowledge  by Roland Meertens 

 Tasytt launched Obie: a Slack chatbot for company knowledge. Teams can ask "what, how, or where" questions such as "What is our computer policy". Obie either finds the answer in one of your documents or will ask you to provide him with the answer so he can give it next time someone asks the same questions.

Obie has integrations with several existing services: Google Docs, Confluence, Google sites, Evernote and Dropbox. This means companies don't have to start from the ground up with training Obie. Giving Obie access to this existing knowledge ensures a short training period for Obie.

InfoQ reached out to founder and CEO Chris Buttenham to ask him some questions about Obie.

InfoQ: We tried Obie a little bit in our Slack, but had the idea that it did not analyze our previous conversations. Is this a feature that will be added in a future version?

You could probably imagine you’re not the first to ask this question! Although it would seem that content living in Slack would be a natural place Obie would start, we actually feel that most conversations are fairly unstructured and somewhat useless when it comes to organizing team knowledge. We’re definitely considering adding content that lives within Slack as something Obie can reference, but we feel the low hanging fruit is the rich content scattered across multiple sources within an organization.    ... " 

Closer Look at Amazon Echo Show

A closer review of the Amazon Echo Show, essentially a full Amazon Echo with a screen added.    As skills are built for it,  should add a visual dimension to assistance.  Google Home has this already through 'casting', but I have yet to see it well used.  Of course adding a visual element adds value to the sometimes awkward voice interface, which is great for hand-free interactions,  but thinner bandwidth creates limitations for description,  requiring the need to change channels.     The longer term outcome for general interfaces will be interesting.  Will these be specialist or replace the keyboard and screen?

In Engadget: 
Amazon Echo Show review: Seeing is believing
The virtual assistant Alexa has a 'face' for the first time.  ... "

Another look in Digital Trends. .... "

Bots Making up Languages

How might we be able to use this to teach and learn from Bot communications?   As suggested below, this is probably not a formal language, as we understand it.  But any stream of data from any sensor is a language of sorts,  which we seek to interpret, first in an obvious sense, and then to look for more complex patterns that we can use for leverage.  I like the general idea here.  Can we find deeper patterns in these kinds of communications?

What an AI's Non-Human Language Actually Looks Like    In The Atlantic
 Researchers at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research lab have found that bots they were training to negotiate with each other began conversing in a non-human language without human supervision. Although visually the bots' language appears completely nonsensical, a lab spokesperson says Facebook's data shows that sometimes such dialogues ultimately lead to successful negotiations.

Other AI researchers have reported witnessing machines developing their own languages, including languages with a coherent organization, defined vocabulary, and syntax, although they do not always communicate meaning that is comprehensible to humans. For example, scientists from OpenAI describe bots learning to talk in an abstract language and resorting to non-verbal communication when language communication is unavailable.

University of Pennsylvania professor Mark Liberman doubts the Facebook bots' language will have longevity — partly because it is completely textual as opposed to human language's basis in speech and gestures, and partly because they will likely be outdated by future machine-learning algorithms. ... " 

Scalable Data Unification

Have not read yet, but starts at some of the right issues.

The Seven Tenets of Scalable Data Unification
by Michael Stonebraker, Chief Technology Officer, Tamr Inc.

Executive Summary

This paper defines the concept and process of data unification and compares different technical approaches to achieving the desired end-state of clean, accurate, consolidated data sets. It then proposes seven tenets that must be considered by data management practitioners who seek to unify large volumes and varieties of data. .... " 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Theory of Agile Constraints

Newly discovered in InfoQ:

Evan Leybourn of IBM on the Theory of Agile Constraints ... 
Business Agility in general   ..... 

He defines (full interview at the link): 

I wrote about this in my article on, and with apologies to Eliyahu Goldratt, “Evan’s Theory of Agile Constraints”.
"An organisation can only be as agile as it's least agile division!"   ... 


Very basically, the Theory of Constraints is that there is a constraining factor in any process. More importantly, that there will always be a constraining factor. The Theory of Agile Constraints is that, in an organisation, there will always be a constraint to business agility. 20 years ago, that was IT. That was your software team. And that’s why it was logical for Agile, capital “A” Agile, to emerge in that domain. Today the constraint to agility isn’t IT, but rather it’s the PMO, HR, finance, or legal department.   .... " 

Turing Award at 50

Twitter Stream from ACM's 'Turing Award at 50' meeting this week.  Watched small part of it, inspirational and am glad to see it will be made available on going, details at the link.

ACM Marks 50 Years of the ACM A.M. Turing Award and Computing's Greatest Achievements

Since its inauguration in 1966, the ACM A. M. Turing Award has recognized major contributions of lasting importance in computing. Through the years, it has become the most prestigious technical award in the field, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of computing.”

During the next several months, ACM will celebrate 50 years of the Turing Award and the visionaries who have received it. Our aim is to highlight the significant impact of the contributions of the Turing Laureates on computing and society, to look ahead to the future of technology and innovation, and to help inspire the next generation of computer scientists to invent and dream.

ACM’s Celebration of 50 Years of the ACM Turing Award will be livestreamed during the event on June 23 – 24, and available for viewing on demand afterwards. ... "  

Saturday, June 24, 2017

New Origami Folding Algorithm

A favorite and surprisingly useful topic.  Heard of this being developed.  'Any structure' is an interesting statement,  but will the folding itself be usefully practical?   Even so a remarkable result.

New Algorithm Generates Folding Patterns to Produce Any 3-D Origami Structure   By TechXplore 

In a 1999 paper, Erik Demaine—now an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science, but then an 18-year-old PhD student at the University of Waterloo, in Canada—described an algorithm that could determine how to fold a piece of paper into any conceivable 3-D shape.

It was a milestone paper in the field of computational origami, but the algorithm didn't yield very practical folding patterns. Essentially, it took a very long strip of paper and wound it into the desired shape. The resulting structures tended to have lots of seams where the strip doubled back on itself, so they weren't very sturdy.

At the Symposium on Computational Geometry in July, Demaine and Tomohiro Tachi of the University of Tokyo will announce the completion of a quest that began with that 1999 paper: a universal algorithm for folding origami shapes that guarantees a minimum number of seams. .... " 

Snap Getting Better Store Sale Measures

Snap acquires Placed to better measure in-app ads to in-store sales
Placed is able to attribute brand’s digital, TV and out-of-home campaigns to store visits and in-store sales.
Tim Peterson on June 5, 2017 at 9:10 pm
Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, has acquired location analytics firm Placed, a company spokesperson said on Monday, confirming a GeekWire report published earlier in the day.

The spokesperson declined to say how much Snap paid for Placed — Bloomberg reported the price to be $125 million — but it’s easy to see how buying Placed — which measures store visits and offline revenue generated by digital, TV and out-of-home ads — could pay off for Snap.

Advertisers like Procter & Gamble and Unilever are pressuring digital ad sellers like Google, Facebook and Snapchat to prove that the money brands spend on ads results in people spending money on the brands’ products. As a result, Google, Facebook and Snapchat have stepped up their measurement capabilities, especially when it comes to measuring if a digital ad led to a real-world purchase. .... " 

Getting Direct to Consumer Right

From CustomerThink, detailed piece on how Gillette is doing direct to consumer, followiing un a number of moves to deliver quality razor blades with new pricing and replenishment models.
Gillette Shows How to Get It Right When Going Direct to Consumer (DTC).  Will continue to see new approaches  like this.

Procter Captures Flying Insects

Not a thing normally in their space.  No IOT dimension indicated.

Procter & Gamble Introduces Zevo™ Flying Insect Trap for 24/7 Flying Insect Protection in Your Home without Chemical Insecticides

Business Wire Business WireJune 20, 2017
CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports the ending of the United States’ 8th warmest and 11th wettest spring on record, entomologists are predicting the beginning of an increase in flying insects this summer for homes across most of the country. To combat the nuisance of these insects, Procter & Gamble (PG) has made limited quantities of Zevo™ available to US consumers. Zevo™ is a new in-home insect control product that continuously eliminates flying insects without chemical insecticides.    .... " 

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170620006063/en/

SiriusXM Now Streams on Amazon Echo

Full subscriptions or streaming individual shows from SiriusXM are now accessible via voice on Echo.  Trial subscriptions available.

Shopping with AR

What the best way to shop using Augmented Reality?   Apple and IKEA team up.  Planning for the advanced AR capabilities in future I-Phones.

Apple Team Up With IKEA To Create AR Shopping App

Apple users will soon be able to see what furniture from IKEA fits their home using augmented reality.   By Rebecca Hills-Duty in VRFocus:

Apple have begun making a push towards augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology recently. With news that SteamVR would be supporting Mac platforms, and the iPhone 8 expected to have advanced AR capabilities, Apple have teamed with well-know furniture store IKEA to create an AR shopping app to show off some of Apple’s new focus.

The app is designed to help customers in choosing what kind of furniture and accessories they wish to buy for their home. By using an iPhone camera to view the customer’s home, and overlaying the image of the furniture in question over the top, it is possible to get an impression of what the sofa, or table or lamp would like like when placed in the home, allowing customers to make more informed buying decisions. .... "

Google to Stop Reading Your Email for Targeting

Somewhat surprised at this.  Probably the most obvious thing, after search,  that Google does that is the base of much of its considerable revenue.  It has been often criticized.  At the same time so much indicative data has been gathered on us by now, and other behavior, like search is still being tracked to note and maintain our knowledge graphs.   May be no additional value to continue to do it.  Or perhaps Google has discovered it can infer it from its AI?

Google Will Stop Reading Your Email to Target Ads  In Extremetech
One of Google’s most controversial practices over the years has been the automated scanning of email contents. Google used that data to target ads inside Gmail, which it places at the top of the list in your social and promotions tabs. Google now says it will end the practice of targeting ads based on email text, but the decision was not made by the Gmail or advertising teams. It comes from Google’s cloud unit, which is responsible for selling G Suite business subscriptions. ....  " 

Also from Adage.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Watching How the Giants Buy AI

Below reminds me of our own attempts to buy AI during the last explosion.  And we did, buying some considerable equity positions.  Of course the scale was far less than Google's acquisitions.   Ultimately these investments lost money.   Still, it was the way then , as it is now, to understand what had real value in the marketplace.  Also, specifically, what Algorithmia is doing, was brought up at the time as a good idea to establish. develop and market needed ideas.  Watching now.

Google’s secretive AI fund makes first public investment in Algorithmia   By Maria Deutscher

 In May, word leaked that Google has set up a venture capital fund run by engineers rather than professional investors and focused exclusively on backing artificial intelligence startups. The existence of the fund received official confirmation today after it was named as the lead contributor to a $10.5 million round into Seattle’s Algorithmia Inc.

The four-year-old startup is on a mission to ease the deployment and use of AI models. To that end, it offers two platforms aimed at reducing the massive amounts of manual work normally involved in the task.

The first is a marketplace through which researchers and developers can share their algorithms without the logistics of the delivery posing an obstacle. On the provider’s side, Algorithmia offers analytics features for monitoring model usage along with a monetization option geared towards submitters that wish to sell their algorithms on a commercial basis. These capabilities are joined by programming interface that enables buyers to embed solutions from the marketplace into their applications. Algorithmia runs models in the cloud to spare users the trouble of operating them on their own.  .... " 

Secret Algorithms and Rule of Law

Challenges posed in Technology Review.  Slightly different from what was posed in the 80s.   But unsolved.

Very broadly, if we don't know what an algorithm does,  how do we know that it obeys laws?   And in what context of data?

Sending people to jail because of the inexplicable, unchallengeable judgments of a secret computer program undermines our legal system.

Imaginary People

We are not far from generating very convincing faces of people.  Even making them dynamic.  And if you put these on humanoid robots?   Give them Generative AI?   In the Verge: 

" .... As we get better at making, faking, and manipulating human faces with machine learning, one thing is abundantly clear: things are going to get ~freaky~ fast.

Case in point: this online demo hosted (and, we presume, made) by web developer AlteredQualia. It combines two different research projects, both of which use neural networks. The first is DeepWarp, which alters where subjects in photographs are looking, and the second is a work in progress by Mike Tyka dubbed Portraits of Imaginary People. This does exactly what it says on the tin: feeding a generative neural network with a bunch of faces and getting it to create similar samples. .... "

Intelligent Edge Computing

HPE and GE Digital try to break IT/OT silos for intelligent edge computing   by R. Danes  

" ... an interview at HPE Discover in Las Vegas, Nevada, Anthony Rokis (pictured, right), vice president of software engineering, Predix, at GE Digital, agreed that the edge must get smarter to fulfill IoT’s promise.

GE and and HPE are converging on IoT edge and compute strategies, Rokis told John Furrier (@furrier) and Dave Vellante (@dvellante), co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio ... " 

Home Furnishing

I examined some early attempts at using online methods for buying home furnishing, usually with online camera interaction.  The idea of selling furnishing online is reemerging.  How does the Browser-Buyer change occur?   Piece in Think with Google.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Value Delivery Modeling Language (VDML)

Brought to my attention again.   Should this be the place to start for any project that claims to generate value?  Even doing a simplified model can act as a prototype from which to build from.  To test prototypes with people and other systems.  We used other BPM methods, but these were not as focused as was necessary.  Has anyone done this?  Point me to some examples.  Reconsidering.

Has been used with Watson and other AI/Expert systems for Smart Service Systems

http://www.omg.org/spec/VDML/       Also search in GitHub  …

Value Delivery Modelling Language
Value Delivery Modeling Language (VDML) is a standard modeling language for analysis and design of the operation of an enterprise with particular focus on the creation and exchange of value.

In 2009, the Object Management Group (OMG) launched a Request for Proposal (RfP) to develop a standard for value modeling. The goal of this RfP is to integrate the different existing value models and give a complete overview of the business logic of an organisation. To reach this goal, the standard has to satisfy nine requirements .... "

Purpose, use, examples of VDML  VDMBee

Use in Cognitive Computing and Watson Discover.

IFTTT Public Access Data Project

Very nice idea from  IFTTT about giving access to public data across devices.  I am an active IFTTT user.  Plan to test with public data.

IFTTT's Data Access Project Seeks to make Public Data More Accessible  By Kyle Wiggers 
You might not be familiar with IFTTT (short for If This Then That), but chances are you have seen it in action. The web-based service acts as a middleman between apps and hardware that would not otherwise talk to each other. Using IFTTT, you can trigger a Philips Hue bulb to turn blue when it begins to rain or have Facebook sync your status with Slack. IFTTT makes linking devices easier with improved developer program. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

On Thursday, IFTTT announced the Data Access Project, a program that seeks to make public data from more than 35 federal and state agencies more accessible, manipulable, and shareable across devices.

It builds on the foundation of IFTTT’s partnerships with ProPublica and the city of Louisville, Kentuck, and IFTTT’s native integration with RSS feeds. Starting Thursday, it is flipping the switch on hundreds of public data sources across wide-ranging categories, including the Library of Congress, National Science Foundation, Energy Information Association, and more.  .... " 

Examples in TechCrunch

Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN)

Similar in type to 'generate and test' methods.
GAN network   Generative adversarial network    Imitative.
      for creating new things that are like another.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_adversarial_networks

are a type of artificial intelligence algorithms used in unsupervised machine learning, implemented by a system of two neural networks competing against each other in a zero-sum game framework. They were first introduced by Ian Goodfellow et al. in 2014.[1]

This technique can generate photographs that look authentic to human observers.

 ..... One network is generative and one is discriminative.[1] Typically, the generative network is taught to map from a latent space to a particular data distribution of interest, and the discriminative network is simultaneously taught to discriminate between instances from the true data distribution and synthesized instances produced by the generator. The generative network's training objective is to increase the error rate of the discriminative network (i.e., "fool" the discriminator network by producing novel synthesized instances that appear to have come from the true data distribution). These models are used for computer vision tasks.[1][3]. ..... 

AI Combing Through Your Data

An approach we worked on.   A kind of dynamic data mining approach.  Find the best leverage, estimate value.   Look for new combinations of data and analytic value.   The computing power is here now.

AI Can Comb Through Your Data to Create More Compelling Customer Experiences
by Blake Morgan in the HBR

The world has more data than ever before. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2020, we’ll produce 44 zettabytes every day. That’s equal to 44 trillion gigabytes. One gigabyte can hold the contents of enough books to cover a 30-foot-long shelf. Multiply that by 44 trillion. That’s a lot of data — too much for most companies to process. And yet front-line employees are still often left operating with data that’s “too little, too late.”

Most organizations are challenged to extract meaningful insights from their customer data when they’re drowning in so many data feeds. Data is not always shared efficiently. Many of the world’s biggest companies operate in silos — for example, their customer service and sales departments do not share a customer relationship management (CRM) database, and employees don’t collaborate around the customer to ensure a powerful customer experience. More often than not, employees in one department don’t even know the employees in other departments, let alone use data that spans the organization. This often results in wildly inconsistent customer experiences that make companies look disconnected and unfocused.

Organizations need to create easy and elegant customer experiences; how can they overcome their data challenges to satisfy increasingly fickle customers? ....

Machine learning offers one solution, if organizations can overcome their silos enough to implement it correctly. Each new customer action feeds back into the analytics engine, which helps inform the next best steps for a positive customer experience. For example, if a customer indicates through her online browsing habits that she’d prefer an Android phone instead of an iPhone, she’ll immediately start seeing an Android upgrade offer the next time she goes on Facebook.

Granted, some customers find it a bit creepy that brands can make their way into personal social media feeds in this way, so it’s important to make it easy for customers to opt out of social media targeting. However, companies can earn customers’ trust simply by being relevant and providing value. Just like in any relationship, a business can earn trust and loyalty by being a good listener and being there for the customer at a point of need. By leveraging automated analytics, customer interactions can fuel a continuous feedback loop that adapts in real time to add value at every touch point. .... "

Update on Kuri Robot


An update on the Kuri in home traveling 'friendly' robot  by Mayfield, and camera.   Says it can learn a space.  Now at 1080p.   Now can distinguish between dogs and people. Still, I think overpriced at $699 for the average home, smart or not. Indications it will be out by fall.  Had thought this might be best positioned as a security tool that can move to motion or noise.  No indication about how it can might be upgraded with skills or linked to databases.

Kuri home robot can tell your pets from people
The cute bot's camera 'eye' is also getting a 1080p upgrade .... 
By Jon Fingas, @jonfingas  in Engadget.