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Monday, November 30, 2015

The Twitter Connection

Many of these posts are selectively linked to from twitter.  Follow along with hashtag threads for many topics I  cover.   Over 8K tweets cover technical and topical areas.  My handle on  Twitter is @FranzD.   Follow along.

CPG and the Smart Home

Smart Homes: The Next CPG Battleground?   Recall some of the examples we have seen that bring buying to exactly the right place in the home.  By touch or voice.   Tag links below.  The domestication of retail?

by Don Scheibenreif:

Will the smart home be the next battleground for CPG brands?
This is one of three impacts I write about in How Digital Business Will Create Consumer Growth Opportunities in Consumer Goods Manufacturing. 

Gartner estimates that 30 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020 (see “Forecast: Internet of Things, Endpoints and Associated Services, Worldwide, 2014”). In the consumer sector, Gartner predicts that as many as 500 smart devices might be connected to a smart home by 2022 (see “The Future Smart Home: 500 Smart Objects Will Enable New Business Opportunities”). A majority of these things, such as connected coffee machines, lawn irrigation sensors or wearable technology, will create demand for a wide range of consumer products and change the dynamics of consumer decision making when intelligent things become part of the mix ... " 

Watson Trends looks at Holiday Toy Shopping

In Forbes.  Looks fairly obvious,  but it is  the specific forecast number that make a difference to the elements of the supply chain involved.

Unilever Foundry Program with Competitors

More background from CPG giant Unilever on how they handle interactions with startups.   here about their Foundry interactions.   Note in particular their connection to competitive companies.  Volume of connection is impressive.

" ... After using its Foundry program to link with marketing-tech startups its first 18 months, Unilever is expanding the scope to reach potentially competitive companies in its own categories for joint projects. 

The move comes as Unilever opens a U.S. branch of the London-based Foundry, which quickly has grown into one of the bigger corporate efforts to reach out to startups. The program so far has vetted 4,000 startups, of which 80 have done pilot projects with Unilever brands and 40 have scaled into broader assignments. In total, Unilever has spent $15 million with startups under the program – up from $6 million when the company last cited a number at Cannes in June.After using its Foundry program to link with marketing-tech startups its first 18 months, Unilever is expanding the scope to reach potentially competitive companies in its own categories for joint projects.  ... " 

Slowing Move to Digital

Marketers say trade partners are holding them back from shifting TV spend to digital

Marketers from some of the world’s biggest FMCG brands including Johnson & Johnson and Pernod Ricard have suggested that their shift in marketing pounds away from traditional channels, namely TV, is being hampered by a lack of education on the effectiveness of digital by the retail giants that buy their goods.

Johnson & Johnson - the company behind brands like Neutrogena, Johnson’s Baby Care and Listerine - has been investing more time and budget into programmatic, particularly in the UK where it has run a number of trials in recent months.  ..... "

Free Bayesian Networks Research eBook

New Book Release:
from Bayesian Networks & BayesiaLab

A Practical Introduction for Researchers By Stefan Conrady and Lionel Jouffe,  382 pages, 433 illustrations

Our long-awaited book is now available for free download. It was released just in time for the 2015 BayesiaLab Conference in Fairfax, Virginia.

Link at: http://www.bayesialab.com/book  Requires registration

A hardcopy version of the book is available for ordering via Amazon. .. " 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

An Amazon Inspector for Security Compliance

Amazon previews a compliance and security service. Nice idea, have heard related ideas suggested.   Security certification approach.   Indemnification?

" .... Andy Jassy, svp at Amazon Web Services, positions the service in the following way: "Inspector is an automated security assessment service that finds security or compliance issues when deploying applications on AWS."

As organizations leverage the cloud for the rapid delivery of applications and services, opportunities arise where security vulnerabilities may be overlooked as a tradeoff for speed.  Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for Amazon Web Services, sees this service as a way to “shorten the time between code complete and code tested and deployed.” Barr also adds that “many organizations do not have enough security personnel on staff to perform time-consuming manual checks on individual servers and other resources.” ...  " 

Cognitive Assistance at Work

Excellent slides by Hamid R Motahari, of IBM Almaden, about the idea of a cognitive assistant in the workplace.   Includes one of my favorite topics, how such systems can work within a formally understood business process.  Very well presented.  Some very interesting indications of the directions that IBM is taking into the idea.  Also an indication of where the considerable difficulties still are.  Essential.   Linkedin Discussion at CSIG,

Emphasis for Simplified Analytics

Blog of interest.  An attempt to simplify news coming out of analytics.  Good idea.  But .... Its not always about Big Data.  But it is all about improving business process.   Lets emphasize that.

Visualizing Small Species in our Lives

Brought to my attention, somewhat specialized, but links to some of my work and interest in Botany, horticulture and agriculture.   It is also useful to see unexpected linkages between sciences. " ...  Rob Dunn and the scientists, communicators and volunteers in his lab aim to tell the stories of the small species–whether on our bodies, under our beds or in our backyards–humans interact with every day but tend to ignore. The ecology and evolution of these species in our private places has barely begun to be explored ... " 

Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service

Though I came out of an enterprise that was largely an Oracle shop, I have been only minimally involved with them since then.  Now I see that Oracle and the Larry himself are out promoting deep analytics and cloud data visualization.   Even storytelling.  On mobile too.   Worth a deeper look. Video too.

" ... Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service is Generally Available Now!
By Jernej Kaše .... 

Data Visualization Cloud Service (DVCS)  is now generally available!  This new offering empowers business users to go from raw data to actionable business insights in just a few minutes.

What’s New
Data Visualization Cloud Service (DVCS) is a new cloud service that provides rich, consumer-style analytics, including intelligent data visualization, self-service data discovery, visual storytelling, as well as mobile consumption and authoring capabilities.  With DVCS, any user can blend and visually analyze data from all relevant sources in just a few clicks, and quickly uncover and share hidden patterns and actionable insights. All of this can be done without the need for expert IT resources, resulting in faster time to value and significant increases in ROI. ... " 

Many Dimensions of Big Data

Paul Hofmann, longtime correspondent, on the many dimensions of Big Data.   Always provocative on how data and viz can be used in business,

" ... As storage gets ever cheaper, many organizations are collecting and keeping unprecedented quantities of data — quantities that will only continue to grow as new systems come online. But how can IT departments deliver data that can actually solve business problems in a timely manner?

In part one of a two-part interview with The Enterprisers Project, Paul Hofmann, chief technology officer of data visualization company Space-Time Insight, offers some ideas. ... " 

Sample Beautiful Science Visualizations

In Visualnews.  A little less about data visualization, more about visualizing science in general. Another example of something to enthuse the scientist within you, and scientists of any age you know.  Pass it on to your children.  Impressive.

" .... Katy French .... Follow @katyifrench
Good information design simplifies complicated concepts. But when it comes to your good old science textbook, many of those concepts were relegated to black-and-white text and the occasional line drawing. Thanks to the proliferation of data visualization and information design, designers worldwide are visualizing the fascinating science, from biology to physics, in the worlds we know (and those we have yet to explore). Here are 7 science visualizations that will make you smarter.  ...  "

Saturday, November 28, 2015

What Amazing Bosses Do

I liked this.   In the HBR:  Motivating People .... What Amazing Bosses Do Differently  ... by Sydney Finkelstein

Manipulating Live Faces

Applications?  Entertainment I imagine.

Via the CACM: " .... Computer scientists from Stanford University and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany say they have created a process dubbed "live facial re-enactment" that can instantaneously transfer facial expressions. ....  The researchers say with the new technique, a person's smile would appear seamlessly on live video of another person's face, even if the second person is not smiling. ... "

Amazon vs Wal-Mart

Walmart vs. Amazon: Can Bentonville Beat a Rival That Values Growth Over Profit?
One Seems to Have Upper Hand in Fight for Online Dominance; the Other May Have Secret Weapon in Millennials  ... " 

Microsoft Happy with Hololens Pre Applications

In VRFocus: Indication that Microsoft is getting many applications for their Hololens virtual reality approach. Looking forward to applications for the enterprise.

Using Sound Waves to Hack Data

Not a new idea. Research on this and related ideas were done at the Pentagon in the mid 70s.  It has always been a potential security issue.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Predictive Analytics in the Supply Chain

Nicely done overview of the topic.  Sounds like an outline of areas I worked in for a long time.   I do have to ask: What has changed since we started work in this area in the 70s?   I saw evidence of similar work being done in the 50s.   So?   The problems areas are the same.  More data, especially in real time, is available now.  Statistical and fundamental math are largely the same.  Computers are now faster and processors can now be used in parallel.  Some new methods exist that allow us to model some problems closer to the way decisions are really made.   Decision makers expect better, real time results.  The last point, increased expectations, always at hand answers, may be the biggest driver of all.   It gets your decision makers tightly involved.

From the article:  Summary:  Predictive analytics are increasingly important to Supply Chain Management making the   process more accurate, reliable, and at reduced cost.  To be at the top of your game as a supply chain   manager you need to understand and utilize advanced predictive analytics. .. "    by William Vorhies   Original post in Data Magnum blog

Feature Engineering Tips

So what is feature engineering?  Fundamentally it is the most important part of data science.  Or of any analytic method, from the simplest to the most complex.  Features are the data variables you include in your model.  Or often more importantly, the data you leave out of your model.  Or how your data can be combined or 're-engineered' to make it most useful.  Often you do not know what data features you have, or can measure, or even exist at all.   So its a good idea to thoughtfully understand which are important.  DSC on engineering them, with link to a white paper.    by Patti Tillotson

Brain Pickings and More

In the NYT Books Review:
‘Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs,’ by Lisa Randall   ...  review  by Maria Popova who is the founder of BrainPickings.org and an M.I.T. Futures of Entertainment fellow.  ... On brains, intelligence, stoytelling, entertainment, culture and more.  Will attempt to curate further here ...   I consider myself mostly a brain picker as well.

Online Retail Needs Instore Experience

Yes, apparently for at least some customers,  and for those customers, to achieve maximum revenue.  See also Herb Sorensen's take on this.   More here after his Amazon store visit.

Why Online Retailers Need Physical Stores to Improve Customer Experience by Shereen Dindar
It’s been almost a month now since Amazon surprised analysts by opening a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle, Washington on November 3.

The online retailer is going head-to-head with small, independently owned bookshops by offering the personalized benefits of in-store shopping combined with the convenience of online shopping.

Amazon’s move represents a growing trend by online retailers to add brick-and-mortar locations to their businesses. It appears they now realize that online shopping will never offer a great customer experience. And in today’s marketplace, customer experience is everything. ... " 

Semantic Folding and Knowledge Processing

Semantic Folding ...

Note the mention of Jeff Hawkins, who we connected with long ago.   Posts re his Numenta company.  Technical, with intriguing implications.

The Semantic Folding Theory (SFT) is the attempt to develop an alternative computational theory for the processing of language data. While nearly all current methods of processing natural language use word statistics, Semantic Folding uses a neuroscience based mechanism of distributional semantics. After capturing a given semantic universe of a reference set of documents by means of a fully unsupervised mechanism, the resulting semantic space is folded into each and every word-representation vector .... 

These vectors are large, sparsely filled binary vectors. Every feature bit in this vector not only corresponds but also equals a specific semantic feature of the folded-in semantic space and is therefore semantically grounded. The resulting word-vectors are fully conforming to the requirements for valid word-SDRs (Sparse Distributed Representation) in the context of the Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM) theory by Jeff Hawkins. While the HTM theory focuses on the cortical mechanism for identifying, memorizing and predicting reoccurring sequences of SDR patterns, the Semantic Folding theory describes the encoding mechanism that converts semantic input data into a valid SDR format, directly usable by HTM networks. ... ' 

Data Modeling Tools

Emphasizing the visual.  Nice overview.  Would this generally influence your choice of data tools?

Top 6 Data Modeling Tools ... by Zygimantas Jacikevicius

Businesses these days rely heavily on data to make important decisions on a day-to-day basis. The flow of correct and consistent data is of great importance for business users to make quick and well informed decisions. The flow and relationships of data need to be defined and structured to ensure best results. This process is called Data Modelling. To avoid human error and speed up the process specialised software is used to help with building a logical data model, a physical data model, creating DDL and being able to build reports to describe and share the model with other stakeholders. This list is the top tool pick from the consultants here at Data to Value. ... " 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How the Internet of Things is Changing Work

Lots of interesting examples,   I clip below the obvious example in logistics.  But collaboration and other enterprise examples are also good

How the Internet of Things is Changing Work
Here's how Technologists think the world of IOT will change the workplace and how its already changing how we do business today.  By David Lumb

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an exciting concept, a future where "billions of things are talking to each other," as technology consulting company SAP describes it. We’ve seen gadgets and domestic appliances connect to the Internet and ping your smartphone with info, but it’s becoming more clear that these toys are a prelude to a vastly connected world. And yet, we spend most of our day at work. Here’s how technologists think the world of IoT will change the workplace—and how it’s already changing how we do business today.... " 

" ... IoT is already filtering into logistics support in another way with so-called "cognitive outsourcing"—aka, letting computers do the heavy thinking for us. Think about IBM’s Watson, says Hack, a resource of computing power that sifts through mountains of data to present conclusions by citing patterns that most humans can’t discern—or at least, can’t discern quickly. Cognitive outsourcing will speed up work (so long as we trust our algorithms) by speeding up not just the flow of information, but the flow of conclusions. ... " 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fast Image Classification

Something we tried to do, but never at this speed. In Flowingdata.  Neuraltalk2.

Giving Marketers Access to Data

In the HBR.  Well put, its not only getting them access, but also useful access.  In a form they can understand and can leverage.  That starts with data visualization.   See also Procter's 1 Consumer Place.    And fundamentally:

" .... Marketers these days can capture and analyze sales patterns in minute detail. They can geolocate customers and mine transaction histories. They can see patterns emerge from wholly new information streams, such as what people are saying about the company on social media. Because much of the data flows into a company in real time, they can also see what their customers are up to right now.

That’s the way it works in theory, anyway. In practice, all this data usually sits in different places — a company’s legacy CRM systems, its loyalty program databases, new cloud-based applications, third-party servers, and so on. That makes it hard to access. Sometimes marketers must wait in line to get the data they need served up to them by IT. ... " 

Intel Corp on Device Reliance

Correspondent John Stine on devices and more, This comes to mind as I am about to switch phones and add a new communications channel.

" ... During a separate seminar at that same technology summit, Jon Stine -- Intel's global director of sales and strategy for retail, hospitality and consumer goods -- outlined why retailers are spending so much to perfect their mobile and multichannel shopping strategies.

Americans are spending 9.9 hours per day on screens (mobile phone, TV, personal computer and tablet, among others). Intel data reveal that 60 percent to 65 percent of U.S. consumers begin their shopping by going online.

Still, as much as 90 percent of purchases are made in stores. That means serving customers online and in stores is a must for retailers like Wal-Mart, Stine said.

"Being agile and flexible has never been more important for retailers than right now," he added, noting that the mobile phone has become "the remote control for your daily life."

As we become accustomed to websites that load and refresh in 20 milliseconds, saving time has become as high a priority as saving money.

Brown noted that through its app, and the ability for customers to order and pay without ever interacting with a person, Starbucks has shaved a full minute off the time it usually takes to get in and out with a cup of coffee. That adds up to about 5 million minutes a month being saved.

More and more consumers are demanding that the in-store shopping experience be as fast as it is online. We're looking for what Stine described as the "living, breathing Internet." ... " 

IBM Makes SystemML Freely Available

The continued competition to provide free and open source analytics integrated with their offerings.    Consider the power of integrating cognitive systems like those that have grown from Watson, and these analytics.

In The WSJ: 
" .... Programmers of artificial intelligence software got a new tool to work with Monday, when International Business Machines Corp. announced that a proprietary program known as SystemML would be freely available to share and modify through the Apache Software Foundation.

The letters ML stand for “machine learning,” a hot technology in Silicon Valley that enables computers to find common patterns in large amounts of data. Machine learning has been used to teach computers tasks such as predicting phrases entered into search engines, recognizing faces in photos and detecting unusual moves in stock prices.  .... " 

More about SystemML.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Essentials of Innovation

McKinsey's new Podcast format:

Why are some big companies simply better innovators? The leaders of McKinsey’s Innovation practice, Erik Roth and Nathan Marston, explain the critical factors. ... 

The Essentials of Innovation
Why are some big companies simply better innovators? In this first episode of the McKinsey Podcast, the leaders of McKinsey’s innovation practice, Erik Roth and Nathan Marston, talk with the editor-in-chief of McKinsey Quarterly, Allen Webb, about the strategic and organizational factors that distinguish successful innovators—and why having a chief innovation officer isn’t usually the best way to go. .... " 

Graph Visualization and Analytics Tools

Piece on commonly used graph visualization tools.    One less known and not mentioned is Polinode, which I was recently introduced to.   Every data scientist should such a tool available for understanding the topology of complex networks.

One Marketing Metric

I like simple metrics, especially linked to actual funds,  but are these accurately measurable and stable?  In Adage: " .... One Marketing Metric to Rule Them All? Group Believes It Has One .. Lengthy Test Across 100 Brands Is Step Toward Linking Marketing To Cash Flow ... " 

Brick and Mortar Analytics

On the use of analytics for physical stores.  In Forbes.  I was reminded of this as I looked back on some methods we worked in the 90s.  More data, but not very different today.

Will Training for New Skills Have No Value?

Posed in CWorld: An interesting premise.  As we learn to augment people with new skills using virtual assistants,  will these first replace the most valuable and difficult skills?    I covered a number of these issues in recent months while examining how segmented tasks can augment people using assistants (VDAs).  As was suggested a long time ago, is it the skilled knowledge worker that may now be ripe for replacement?  Any task you may have wanted to train yourself for,  may already be under cognitive automation.  Consider the data science case,  where there are now attempts underway to automate many elements of analytics.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kinds of Thinkers in Collaboration

In the HBR:    How should organizations link to collaboration tools?  Just dealing with that myself in a new organization.   Who adapts and how?   Good piece.

" ....  In most organizations, there’s a standard set of tools we use to form, lead, and manage teams. These include personality tests, skill profiles, and team roles. When you put a team together, you consider people’s personalities: are they an introvert or extrovert, risk-taker or risk-avoider, analytical or intuitive? You consider their skills: What is their specific area of talent, experience, or expertise? And you consider their potential role on the team: What will their contribution be to the team’s purpose? ... " 

Microsoft Tries an OpenFog Consortium

Fog computing they are calling it?  Won't set up a tag for that quite yet.

Microsoft helps accelerate IoT with new OpenFog Consortium

Rich Internet of Things (IoT) applications distribute application logic between the cloud and remote devices. Some IoT application logic is best suited for remote devices at the edge of the network, such as first order filtering and batching of data, while other IoT application logic is best suited for cloud, such as rich analytics and insights over aggregate data – as well as controlling and updating remote devices. .... 

Today, Microsoft announced it is working with ARM, Cisco, Dell, Intel and the Princeton University Edge Laboratory to form a consortium that aims to speed up the development of core technologies around that support these scenarios, referred to as “fog computing.” ... ' 

Innovations in Engines for Aviation

As I learn more about GE Aviation, More innovation in Big Scale Manufacturing.   In their innovation blog:

GE Reports: Just Like The Wright Flyer, GE’s Turboprop Business Was Born In A Bike Shop ... GE unveiled a new advanced turboprop engine yesterday that produces 10 percent more power than its peers and burns 20 percent less fuel. ... " 

Hololens to Provide Demo in Volvo Showroom

In Engadget:  An example of VR being used to provide engagement for marketing.  Does this provide actual value or just novelty?    First Hololens example with a real commercial client example I have seen.   Are there others out there?

Speed of Marketing Automation

Consider in addition attentive or analytical methods to detect needed intervention.

Traveling at the speed of culture: can marketing automation keep up?
For successful brand campaigns that emerge based on real-time reactions to culturally relevant events, marketing automation capitalizes on these moments by driving consumer engagement.
Our latest marketing meme, driven by "war rooms" and 24/7 trendspotting teams, has data-driven marketers using insights to create memorable customer experiences that are linked to topical, cultural moments. These are not just a brand promise and not only singular interactions, but a combination of several relevant moments of truth (or MOTs) - the kinds of engaging moments of truth popularized by Google in 2011. Each touchpoint is personal, customized, and responsive of the actions and interests of the individual. ... " 

Origins of Graphic Communications

And link to TED talk on alphabets and graphics.
' ... "Why are these 32 symbols found in ancient caves all over Europe?"
Genevieve Von Petzinger, a paleoanthropologist associated with the University of Victoria (British Columbia), is concerned primarily with symbols in Ice Age European cave art dating to the Upper Paleolithic (40,000-10,000 BP), but she also has her eye on possible predecessors in Africa and parallels across Asia all the way to Indonesia. ... " 

Wal-Mart and Facial Recognition

Did Walmart cross a line with its facial recognition test?
By Matthew Stern

Whether or not the public at large will accept the use of facial recognition in their daily lives remains to be seen, but it is clear that retailers are willing to investigate whether the controversial technology has a role to play in stores. Fortune, for example, recently reported that Walmart had been testing the use of facial recognition technology to identify shoplifters. ... " 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Translating Megaphone Assists

A simple example of an assistant.  A megaphone at Tokyo Airport translates.  We have started to see examples of realtime translation. But imagine the same device being augmented with additional contextual information.   An ideal avenue of assistance?  Or does the need for common sense reasoning override the application?

Algorithmic Morality

Some classic examples of how we allow  humans to make deeply moral decisions.  Now how will these be handled by machine learning delivered algorithms?  Machine ethics?   And interpreted by the law? Second time in a career that I have been exposed to this.  Will it be solved this time?  See also the talk last week on this subject by Erin  Burke..

In Technology Review:   " ... Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill .... Self-driving cars are already cruising the streets. But before they can become widespread, carmakers must solve an impossible ethical dilemma of algorithmic morality.  .... " 

Persuasion in Marketing

Eric Barker:   Have been following up his writing and linking in Barking up the Wrong Tree:  The latest take:  NYPD Hostage Negotiators On How To Persuade People: 4 New Secrets.    His blog has lots of interesting social and psych pieces of broad relevance.   And of course marketing is strategic persuasion, and advertising is operational persuasion.  So there has relevance well beyond hostage negotiation.  Recommended.

Pitney Bowes Location Intelligence

Back in the enterprise we used the Mapinfo GIS system for location and mapping.    They were acquired by Pitney Bowes.  Now that location intelligence system is used by GE in its Predix platform.  The Mapinfo Pro systems still exist.  This is a useful integration of GIS and location analytics.  They write:

" ... What is Location Intelligence?
Location Intelligence is the capability to understand complex relationships between location and data in order to drive better business decisions. It enables organizations to derive meaningful insight by harnessing the power of location to solve business problems, deliver location-based services or manage assets. ... "

Logistic Regression vs Decision Trees

Decision trees were a favorite method in the enterprise, in part because the solution could be easily understood.   Now think of them in relation to Logistic regression for use in classification:

" .... By  Lalit Sachan in Blogon 05/10/2015 ... 
Classification is one of the major problems that we solve while working on standard business problems across industries. In this article we’ll be discussing the major three of the many techniques used for the same, Logistic Regression, Decision Trees and Support Vector Machines [SVM].

All of the above listed algorithms are used in classification [ SVM and Decision Trees are also used for regression, but we are not discussing that today!]. Time and again I have seen people asking which one to choose for their particular problem. Classical and the most correct but least satisfying response to that question is “it depends!”. Its downright annoying, I agree. So I decided to shed some light on it depends on what.  ... " ..... '

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Building Predictive Models

Good,  non technical article in DSC about building predictive models.   No hype, suitable for executive use.  All this is fairly standard stuff, basic approaches,  but I like to see it stated in different ways.   You are always trying to be predictive when doing analytics.  You are trying to do something predictively better.

Its just how much the system can provide prescriptive  results.  Less prescription means the analyst/scientist needs to evaluate, compare and implement some alternative results. That's not always easy, and needs its own form of business knowledge, science and art.   And sometimes, even often, you can get valuable insight from just visualizing data.

Windows at 30 and our first Interaction

Mashable piece on the history of Windows.    Back then, a small group of us from the enterprise flew out to Redmond to see a demo of Windows 1.    Bill Gates, all by himself, gave a demo.  A couple of reporters joined the group.  

Demo went fairly well, with only one minor glitch and short reboot. Reporters asked my group some questions, but we were careful to not say anything that would imply endorsement.

Reporters then turned to Gates with questions.  I was very impressed that although he looked like he was 15 years old,  he deftly handled the interaction.    We had thousands of Windows packages in the enterprise soon after that.

How Hard is it to Build A Cognitive Assistant?

Jim Spohrer, Director, Global University Programs at IBM, co traveler on the issue of how to build and benefit from AI with cognitive methods, poses these questions. See the tags below.  Answer and join in at the link.   I will create a thread on this.

How long does it take to build a cognitive assistant?

Looking for feedback on these statements:

Cognitive Systems Institute Group (CSIG) members generally agree that....

1. Building cognitive assistants is still very hard, but will get easier in the future (see predictions)

2. Building cognitive assistants for all occupations can benefit from O*NET information (see "algorithm")

3. Building cognitive assistants for many emerging areas today requires pooling expertise and resources by building relationships between academia-industry-government (see model)

Thoughts? Please comment and let me know what you think...   "

My starting thoughts:  It is harder than we think even now.  It depends on what kind of assistant you are thinking about.  Simplicity, focus and clear value .....

Difficulty of Persuasion

Seth Godin on the difficulty of persuasion.  This is a really fundamental thing in all of business. Stories and targeting worldviews.

Voice to Text Using Siri

On voice to text using Siri, just examined.

" .... Beause people like leaving voicemails but don't like listening to them, Apple is reportedly looking at using its digital personal assistant Siri to provide voice-to-text service via iCloud Voicemail. The service could launch sometime in 2016.

Siri, which made its debut with the iPhone 4S in 2011, is an intelligent assistant technology that lets users ask questions and give voice commands to their iOS devices. Other such assistants include Microsoft Relevant Products/Services's Cortana and Google's Google Now.

The company's employees have apparently been testing "a new kind of voicemail service," Business Insider reported today, citing sources knowledgeable about Apple's Siri developments. The service would allow users to direct incoming calls to Siri instead of their regular iCloud Voicemail services; Siri would then answer the calls, transcribe the callers' messages and text the resulting messages to the users.  ... " 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Analytics for Innovation

Via former colleague Julie Anixter:

Kobi Gershoni great piece on why Product Developers need to read the external signals  .... 

" ... How can you use big data to increase your chances of success at the fuzzy front-end through big data analytics? At the recent IE Product Innovation Summit in Boston, we shared our firm’s learnings to date and showed how it can work in a case study on Keurig.* (*Keurig is not a Signals’ client and all research is Signals’ own for demonstration purposes.)

There is tremendous potential for strategic insights to be derived from external big data – yet most data science remains in the proverbial lab and is not made actionable for decision makers. Our goal was to harness the power of external big data to produce high-level business insights that are immediately actionable for business leaders.  ... " 

Theory vs Practice of Data Science

  After a long time of practicing what we called 'analytics',  I  have just, for the first time taken an engagement that includes the term 'data scientist'.  So what is the difference between theory and practice?  Nice piece out of a recent conference makes the case with some reasonable but flexible descriptions.  Also some thoughtful supporting graphics.

Getting to Wow in Sales

In K@W: An old article that still makes an excellent point.  Its more than just about the retail price.

Searching and Shopping with Images

Image recognition, manipulation and delivery.  Have yet to see this very useful in shopping.  Practical example uses exist in enterprise knowledge interaction.  Several early examples looked at how to search untagged advertising images.

AI Advances Make It Possible to Search, Shop with Images
Deep learning software has dramatically improved image recognition tools. Pinterest and Shoes.com are testing it out on shoppers. ...  " 

Raising Digital Quotient

From McKinsey: 

" .... With the pace of change in the world accelerating around us, it can be hard to remember that the digital revolution is still in its early days. Massive changes have come about since the packet-switch network and the microprocessor were invented, nearly 50 years ago. A look at the rising rate of discovery in fundamental R&D and in practical engineering leaves little doubt that more upheaval is on the way. .... 

For incumbent companies, the stakes continue to rise. From 1965 to 2012, the “topple rate,” at which they lose their leadership positions, increased by almost 40 percent1 as digital technology ramped up competition, disrupted industries, and forced businesses to clarify their strategies, develop new capabilities, and transform their cultures. Yet the opportunity is also plain. McKinsey research shows that companies have lofty ambitions: they expect digital initiatives to deliver annual growth and cost efficiencies of 5 to 10 percent or more in the next three to five years. ... " 

Extracting Value from Big Data

Really a subset of how you extract value from any data.  Both the data you have and the data you can acquire from public or acquire or commission.  A goal directed,  combinatorial, likely cognitive problem. Intel Corp in Datanami says data value is still evasive.   So is an opportunity.

First Brain MRI, 30 Years Ago

Heady Times: This Scientist Took The First Brain Selfie And Helped Revolutionize Medical Imaging
Early one October morning 30 years ago, GE scientist John Schenck was lying on a makeshift platform inside a GE lab in upstate New York. The itself lab was put together with special non-magnetic nails because surrounding his body was a large magnet, 30,000 times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. Standing at his side were a handful of colleagues and a nurse. They were there to peer inside Schenck’s head and take the first magnetic resonance scan (MRI) of the brain.

Schenck is one of the GE scientists whose work is featured in Breakthrough, the new six-part science TV series developed by GE and National Geographic Channel. The episode, titled Decoding the Brain and directed by Brett Rattner, aired last Sunday. ... " 

Includes more details and Video link of program

More on the MRI tag from GE.

Germany and Digital

In the Economist: " .... Does Deutschland do digital? ... Europe’s biggest economy is rightly worried that digitisation is a threat to its industrial leadership ..." 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Detecting Emotion in Computing

From the BBC:   Reminds me of work done to understand how people react to product.   And a new kind of connection in an internet of things?

" ... That is the project Daniel McDuff has been working on at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, where he is developing emotion-reading computers.

It could eventually lead to machines that have emotional intelligence, or even everyday objects that are able to empathise with our moods - a mirror that knows how you feel about the way you look, a fridge that can offer you food that matches your state of mind or a car that recognises when you are stressed. ... " 

Neosensory

What company intends to create new senses for the Umwelt using the principle of sensory substitution via a sonic vest?   Neosensory   See tags below for more.

Microsoft Believes Data Science will become Tailored, Automated.

More on the topic of automating data science.  Utilizing cognitive and AI advisory functions that are intelligent.   Agree, but there will continue to be need for more tailored and exploratory expertise.  See tag below for many more examples I have covered.

Why Microsoft’s data chief thinks machine-learning tools are like tailored shirts .... A marketplace for intelligent APIs will bring 'mass production' to machine learning and data science

When Microsoft's data chief thinks about the future, he sees a world where developers create applications that leverage machine learning and predictive analytics without the help of a data scientist.

Joseph Sirosh, the corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft's Data group, likens the state of machine-learning tools to an age decades ago when people bought tailored shirts. In a similar way that mass manufacturing now lets people grab a shirt off the rack, he says a similar transition is coming to application development.  ... " 

Watson Based Trend App

In Datanami: An app for the holidays that tracks consumer trends.

" ... The app seeks to create another consumer use case for the Watson cognitive technology platform that leverages natural language processing and machine learning to glean insights from heaps of unstructured data. In the case of Watson Trend, IBM hopes to offer consumers sounder advice on, say, what color tie to buy hubby, than traditional social media pointers designed to advise consumers on purchasing decisions.

“With this app we are trying out the idea that Watson’s insights can go beyond the usual gift guide to help users find and give more inspired gifts,” IBM declared.  " ... '  

Watson Trend App:
" ... Put a personal shopper in your pocket
At IBM, we wanted to see if putting the cognitive power of Watson in the hands of consumers could make their holiday season easier. Use the app to go beyond best seller gift guides. Get daily feeds about what products are trending and why. See forecasts for where trends are headed. And share with us your feedback so we can make Watson the most valuable personal shopper to ever fit in your pocket.  ... " 

Regulation and Liability of Cognitive Machines

" ... Our Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series call this week,   on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 10:30 am ET (7:30 am PT).  Our presenter on Thursday is Erin Burke, Assistant Dean & Director of Pre-Law Advising at Fordham University , who will be presenting "Regulation and Liability of Cognitive Machines ."    I hope you will join the call.    Slides here.

Dial-In Number(s):   888-426-6840, Participant Code:  48982031.  Dial in on the phone and also Join Web meeting:  https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491password=cognitive.  Non-IBMers, please use the "guest" option.   

Please find the schedule of presenters here for the next several calls and please sign up for making a presentation by sending a note to me (fodell@us.ibm.com).   A link to slides (if used) and a recording of each call will be available on the CSIG website (http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/).   

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

IEEE Technical History Online Promotes Understanding

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) now has an online history section.  What I like about IEEE is that they often cover the intersection of computing and other technological progress.  So many of can now say we have seen very rapid changes in this domain.

Applying IOT to Agriculture

In CWorld: Not a new thing.  But the ability to integrate streams of real time data from agriculture is of interest.   And integrating it with external weather data leverages it further.

Understanding Data Streams

Good straightforward piece from the SAS Institute.  You may have to register.

Understanding Data Streams in IoT
The large array of connected devices, often referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), is delivering an array of new data from the sensors they contain. This data offers the promise of new services, improved efficiency and, possibly, more competitive business models. ... " 

You Can Draw

Short TED style talk on drawing.  We experimented with using graphical recording methods for documentation.  Here is another example how basic techniques can get you started.   It takes only a little bit of practice.

Predicting Parent Purchases from Behavior

In Retailwire:   EBay predicts parents' purchases 

EBay Advertising U.K. has launched a predictive targeting tool for identifying and segmenting "parent" shoppers. The launch is part of a larger push to use online behavior to better engage shoppers across life stages. How effective do you think predictive targeting tools based on online shopping behavior will be? ... ' 

Leveraging big data behavior. The comments suggest that there will be high risk in making errors.

Learning Language in a Neural Net

Steps forward in the linking of neural networks and something brain like?  Some detail here:

A network of artificial neurons learns to use human language

A computer simulation of a cognitive model entirely made up of artificial neurons learns to communicate through dialogue starting from a state of tabula rasa .... 

University of Sassari ... 
Summary:
A group of researchers has developed a cognitive model, made up of two million interconnected artificial neurons, able to learn to communicate using human language starting from a state of 'tabula rasa', only through communication with a human interlocutor. This research sheds light on the neural processes that underlie the development of language. .. "

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Machine Learning and Cybersecurity

In Datanami: Visual look at how machine learning is applied.   " ... While there has been extensive academic research into the use of machine learning technology in cybersecurity, we’re just now beginning to see security tools that actually leverage the technology in the field. Startups like Invincea, Cylance, Exabeam, and Argyle Data, are leveraging machine learning techniques to power security tools that are faster and more accurate than what major security software vendors offer today..... " 

Why Google Outsourced TensorFlow

Interesting take.   To promote AI innovation. Anticipate  taking a look.

" ... Google last week open sourced TensorFlow, a new machine learning library used in deep learning projects. Even though the Web giant has just started using the software in its products, it apparently felt the need to donate it to the world. But why?

TensorFlow was originally developed by researchers and engineers working on the Google Brain Team within Google’s Machine Intelligence research organization for the purpose of conducting research into deep neural networks, Google says on the TensorFlow website. ... " 

" ... TensorFlow is complete enough for Google employees to use it, but it’s not anywhere near a complete product. The TensorFlow website says that while the framework sports an easy to use Python interface and a no-nonsense C++ interface, “we’re hoping to entice you to contribute SWIG interfaces to your favorite language — be it Go, Java, Lua, Javascript, or R.” ... " 

Biologically Inspired Question Answering

 Via Jim Spohrer.    See the previous CSIG talk on this work.

In Kurzweil AIIBM’s Watson shown to enhance human-computer co-creativity, support biologically inspired design ... Watson Engagement Advisor AI system was trained to "learn" about biologically inspired design from biology articles, then answer questions.

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers, working with student teams, trained a cloud-based version of IBM’s Watson called the Watson Engagement Advisor to provide answers to questions about biologically inspired design (biomimetics), a design paradigm that uses biological systems as analogues for inventing technological systems.

Ashok Goel, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing who conducts research on computational creativity. In an experiment, he used this version of Watson as an “intelligent research assistant” to support teaching about biologically inspired design and computational creativity in the Georgia Tech CS4803/8803 class on Computational Creativity in Spring 2015. Goel found that Watson’s ability to retrieve natural language information could allow a novice to quickly “train up” about complex topics and better determine whether their idea or hypothesis is worth pursuing.  ... " 

Marketing Planning, Fast and Slow

Some interesting thoughts on planning in CustomerThink.  I would like more thoughts on operational planning and decision making now that we have more and faster data.

" ... With less than two months remaining in 2015, many marketers have already started planning their marketing efforts for 2016, and most others will begin their planning process over the next few weeks. To develop a successful marketing program for a B2B company, marketers must make several important decisions, and those decisions require answers to a number of questions. Some of the most critical questions are ... " 

Another Open Source Machine Learning Platform

H2o.ai notes the use of Apache Spark:

Why H2O?
H2O is for data scientists and business analysts who need scalable and fast machine learning. H2O is an open source predictive analytics platform. Unlike traditional analytics tools, H2O provides a combination of extraordinary math and high performance parallel processing with unrivaled ease of use. H2O speaks the language of data science with support for R, Python, Scala, Java and a robust REST API. Smart business applications are powered by H2O’s NanoFastTM Scoring Engine.... "

And more:

" .... H2O is an open source platform for data scientists and developers who need a fast machine learning engine for their applications. H2O.ai, the company behind the service, today announced that it has raised a $20 million Series B funding round led by Paxion Capital Partners (the new firm of GoPro board member Michael Marks) and existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Transamerica. New investor Capital One Growth Ventures also joined this round. In total, the company has now raised $34 million.

The H2O platform the company’s main product, but it also offers a number of tools around that platform. These include Sparkling Water, which combines the Apache Spark data processing engine with the H2O platform (see where that name comes from?), as well as Flow, an open source notebook-style user interface for H2O (similar to iPython notebooks).  ... " 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Google is Answering More Complex Questions

In the Verge: An example of the logic behind simple questions.   Google is doing much better.  I have been noticing.   But these questions would be easy for a human with ready access to the right data. So is this AI?  Remember the challenge of common sense.   Common sense is hard. It is beyond smart lookup.

Email as Virtual Assistant

Recently I participated in a think tank regarding the future of virtual assistants.  Lots of varying opinions about what they would be able to do and when.   Will they be standalone, or linked to your current systems, and how?  CW makes the obvious call about where they should reside.   I know some people are cringing.  Perhaps a better place to start is from search?

Why email is a better virtual assistant
For Cortana, it's inside the Windows 10 search box on the task bar or conjured up with the microphone icon. You'll also find Cortana through a voice command on Android and, soon, living inside a dedicated iOS app. And if one report is accurate, Cortana will also live in your ear, accessible through a tiny hearable computing device. ... " 

Telling Stories with Data

 I like the combination of story and lifecycle.  Lifecycle implies a story.

6 Ways to Tell Stories with Data Throughout the Customer Lifecycle
by Alexandra Samuel

Data-driven storytelling is poised to be the next big trend in content marketing. Indeed, companies are already harnessing its power at every stage in the customer relationship lifecycle—from building up-front brand awareness to reminding customers of their success. Here’s how to use data at each step in the marketing journey:  .... "

Levels of Sophistication

A little dated, from 2011.  But I thought of interest.  In the DSC:

" .... In a research report on analytics by MIT and IBM (Kiron, et al. 2011), three progressive levels of analytical sophistication for organizations are defined as aspirational, experienced, and transformed (See Table 1). In transformed organizations, analytics is used at all levels, day to day, strategically. It is considered an integral part of everything, including the culture. These organizations have high proficiency in both data management and analytics in terms of usage, skills, and tools. Both data management and analytics are enterprise-driven and are ingrained in the enterprise culture. Transformed organizations have robust data and analytics foundations and management competencies, making it possible to capture, combine, and analyze information from disparate sources, and to disseminate it across the organization so that individuals at all levels can consume it. In these organizations, one finds that processes, practices, and behaviors are aligned with the fundamental belief that business decisions at all levels should be based on data analysis. ... " 

End of Traditional Marketing

In Knowledge@Wharton:
" ... There’s been talk for some time that traditional marketing is dead. But now that 70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends, and only 10% trust advertising, it’s clear that social media connections are driving the change. ... 

Traditional marketing has been taking it on the chin for a couple of years now as consumers show they value as far more authentic the product and service recommendations they receive from those they know, especially via social media. In this opinion piece, Curtis Hougland, co-founder of Ideaology, a not-for-profit social media agency for social good, notes that the rise of Ad Blocker is symbolic of the tectonic shift in advertising and marketing now underway. (Follow Curtis on Twitter @curtis_hougland.) .... " 

Teaching Machines to Understand us

Facebook's work in AI and Deep Learning.  Largely nontechnical article in Technology Review:

Teaching Machines to Understand Us
A reincarnation of one of the oldest ideas in artificial intelligence could finally make it possible to truly converse with our computers. And Facebook has a chance to make it happen first. ... "

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hands on Look at Hololens

Was impressed by an early look at Hololens and the potential integration with Windows, especialy for prototype building, but disappointed  that its availability has been delayed.  Here a Siliconangle view of Hololens.  Considerable detail, with some partner examples of its use.  I am always looking for enterprise applications of VR,  especially those that can be integrated with standard architecture, as we experimented with for years.

Success of Pixar

In Innovation Excellence:  Piece on the success of Pixar.  Intriguing view about how a company can produce value through innovation.

" ... Yet in his memoir, Creativity, Inc., Pixar founder Ed Catmull writes that “early on, all of our movies suck.”  The trick, he points out, is to go beyond the initial germ of an idea and undergo the time consuming and laborious work it takes to get something “from suck to not-suck.”

That takes more than talent, it takes a deeply collaborative process that has been honed over decades.  At the center of that process—and all creative processes, in fact—is productive feedback.  While at most places, feedback is often a fairly informal, freewheeling exercise, at Pixar, it is a highly disciplined affair.  And that, as it turns out, makes all the difference. ... " 

The graphic shows Pixar in a Box, the tag below has more on that and past mentions of Pixar here.

Executive Coaching for Academics

David E Goldberg and ThreeJoy

It's called "3 Reasons for The Coming Revolution in Executive Coaching For Academics" and it discusses how changes in universities and colleges are accelerating the use of coaches for more and more academic leaders and faculty. I hope you'll take a quick look at it and perhaps pass it along to a friend, teacher, or colleague who might be able to use it.  .... " 

Vint Cerf on the Internet of Things

In the CACM:   Cites existence of chaotic protocols rather than standards.

" ... A number of significant challenges face the continuing development of the Internet of Things (IoT), according to Google chief Internet evangelist and former ACM president Vint Cerf. ... 

Speaking at the Seventh Cyber Security Lecture at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering labeled "The Coming Age of the Internet of Things," Cerf observed that a lack of standards could hinder the expansion and/or operation of the Internet of Things, which will come to include smart homes, smart cities, and the smart grid. ..  "

Readying for Space Storms

Early in my data career I modeled solar behavior and activity.  The problem continues to be better defined.   And it is being addressed.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fail at Scale

In CACM: Reliability and the science of graceful failure.  Abstract, full article requires registration.

More Google Micro Moments

Continue to be interested in how tasks are done as part of a larger job.  How about Mid task corrections?   ThinkWithGoogle writes:  " ...  91% of Smartphone users will turn to their phones for ideas in the middle of a task ... " .   Mixes with some of Google's writings on micro moments.   How are tasks assembled to produce value.    How then is a virtual assistant to insert itself into the process of a job?  As what kind of resource?

Reputation is Our Most Important Asset

Have been involve in several investigations lately that have born this out.  K@W article that discusses the elements of reputation.   A personal exploration here that provides some good tips for the modern, more often many step, career journey.

Cross Screen Addressability

Often talked about in the industry, now here.

AT&T Tests Cross-Screen Addressable Ads
Marketers Can Reach Same Consumer on TV and Mobile Devices

Through a partnership with Opera Mediaworks, AT&T's system lets marketers run an ad on TV that targets a household matching a certain set of criteria, and then serve up a mobile ad and other relevant and interactive content to those same consumers on their devices. ... " 

Your Brain Making Decisions

In Knowledge@Wharton: Brains on decision making, how do they influence what we do and how we do it.   See also the recent videos by David Eagleman in tag below.

" ... Platt’s latest research looks at the confluence of factors involved in decision-making — from the primitive parts of the brain that respond to the most basic of needs to the push and pull of external forces and opinions. The more we understand about the mechanisms in the brain that influence decision-making, Platt says in this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, the more we can make better decisions. Platt is also a professor of neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and a professor of psychology at Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences. ... " 

Friday, November 13, 2015

More on the NYT's VR

More details of the apparent success of this test.  Also about some of the production differences required for producing VR content.   How do you get advertisers to try this?  When is it appropriate and engaging?  Beyond just novel.   In Adage: 

How Mini, GE, Google and The NY Times Created a Watershed Moment for Virtual Reality ... Publisher Delivered One Million Google Cardboard Devices and Plans More

The New York Times' virtual reality app was downloaded more times in its first four days than any Times app before, and viewers spent an impressive average of nearly 15 minutes using it, according to the Times. That's a welcome result for the involved players, which spent unusual time, energy and money trying to achieve liftoff with a nascent consumer technology.

The project was the biggest ever for Cardboard, the VR viewer from Google that is literally made mostly from cardboard plus two plastic lenses. Its largest prior effort came last July, when Google distributed 100,000 of the devices on behalf of AT&T for the "It Can Wait" campaign against texting and driving. Last weekend, around 1 million Cardboard viewers landed on the doorsteps of Times home-delivery subscribers along with the paper.  ... " 

Thinking Humans in the Computing Loop

An idea we played with for years.   Why not integrate humans deeply into processes that need judgement and intelligence?   Even if only temporarily until we figure our how to do it otherwise. The question is how do we closely integrate people and machines, each with their particular skills?   Heard about Crowdflower only this year, great start.   Understand too, that humans and machines can both be wrong in their own particular ways.  Consider modeling the business process involved in understand how they will interact.  Track early results to adapt the model to reality.  This turns out to be an excellent way to put decision process in the loop.

Why human-in-the-loop computing is the future of machine learning
Now that machine learning is becoming more and more mainstream, some design patterns are starting to emerge. As the CEO of CrowdFlower, I’ve worked with many companies building machine learning algorithms and I’ve noticed a best practice in nearly every successful deployment of machine learning on tough business problems. That practice is called “human-in-the-loop” computing. Here’s how it works:

First, a machine learning model takes a first pass on the data, or every video, image or document that needs labeling. That model also assigns a confidence score, or how sure the algorithm is that it’s making the right judgment. If the confidence score is below a certain value, it sends the data to a human annotator to make a judgment. That new human judgment is used both for the business process and is fed back into the machine learning algorithm to make it smarter. In other words, when the machine isn’t sure what the answer is, it relies on a human, then adds that human judgment to its model.  .... " 

Smart Machines Evolving with us

Interesting thoughtful piece suggesting that our intelligence is co-evolving with AI.  As a practical student of the emergence of AI,  I agree that it is harder than we think we know.   In Nautilus:

When it comes to artificial intelligence, we may all be suffering from the fallacy of availability: thinking that creating intelligence is much easier than it is, because we see examples all around us. In a recent poll, machine intelligence experts predicted that computers would gain human-level ability around the year 2050, and superhuman ability less than 30 years after.1 But, like a tribe on a tropical island littered with World War II debris imagining that the manufacture of aluminum propellers or steel casings would be within their power, our confidence is probably inflated. ... " 

How IOT is already being Used

Fairly obvious, but it is worth reviewing, with statistics.  In the HBR:   " .... We did an open-source analysis of IoT user behavior, looking at 1,000 IoT technology platforms and services and more than 279,000 early adopter interactions with IoT devices. We found that consumers want an IoT that provides personalized services that can be adapted to different contexts. As with the Industrial IoT, the human IoT promises to be transformative. ,,, " 

Death of Gene Amdahl, IBM Architect and then Competitor

Our enterprise was one of the first users of his competitive mainframe environment, when there was little large scale competition.  Was interesting to see the background of Amdahl and how he became a competitor.  He also had some early insight into parallel computing.   In CWorld.

Tailored Analytics: Wolfram Financial Platform

More movement towards tailored analytics.  Here the Wolfram Financial Platform.  Obvious inclusion of methods like time series analysis.  Consider tailored tools vs automated tools.  Also note the inclusion of workflows. Business process.   Worth looking at.

" ....  Algorithmic agility has come center stage in finance. Yet finance tools are often outmoded—failing to use modern, smart computation from other fields. Wolfram Finance Platform injects ultimate computation into finance workflows—increasing your competitiveness in areas as diverse as option pricing, risk analysis, enterprise system development, and interactive reporting. ... " 




Swarms of Drones

Swarms have been covered here a number of times.   Some additional applications immediately come to mind beyond warehouse inventory.   Being tested now.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Games and Cognition

Simon Ellis, a PhD student from RPI, presented "Aleph, A Cognitive Game-playing System for Tabletop Games."     Slides.   With comparison to Watson.

Please find the schedule of presenters here for the next several calls and please sign up for making a presentation by sending a note to me (fodell@us.ibm.com).   A link to slides (if used) and a recording of each call will be available on the CSIG website (http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/).   

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

SailFish Exchange for Data Curation

A clever idea.  A Pinterest for data.  Approach to data democratization.   From Booz Allen Hamilton
  .
Sailfish™ Exchange
Socially Charged Data Curation
Sailfish Exchange simplifies the data curation process. Using a social community, you can find, collect, and share your data sets. ...  "



Innovation and Risk in Private Label

My own observation is that there has been considerable innovation in private label.   It does make sense that it would be first used for the low hanging fruit of emulating existing product.   Thus minimizing risk. With the data that retailers have this could easily be modeled.

In Retailwire: 
Although it should be a great place to make small bets, "Private label has historically had a high aversion to risk. And innovation requires risk," says Bob Shaw, president and CEO of Concentric Marketing. .... " 

Switching Technology Stacks

In DSC: This often occurs in the modern analysis world, we have to switch among data and methodology stacks, while balancing cognitive load.   Which is why automating aspects of this can be very useful.

" ...  Cognitive load is a term applied to the overall effort used in working memory for an individual performing a task. Faced with any technology choice, we tend to concoct an approximation in our minds of the cost of effort, compared to the benefit of change.  The cost that has been on my mind recently – is that of cognitive load. Even thinking about the irony of that statement adds to my cognitive load.

GE Seeks Internet of Things Dominance

In Forbes: GE To Take On IBM In The Race For IOT Dominance
  
by Theo Priestley , 

General Electric announced yesterday the creation of a new unit with the aim to become the leader in the Industrial Internet of Things race. GE Digital will integrate GE’s Software Center, the expertise of GE’s global IT and commercial software teams, and the industrial security strength of Wurldtech. This new business model will be led by Bill Ruh, formerly GE’s Vice President and Global Technology Director and now newly appointed as Chief Digital Officer. ...  " 

BlockChains in Azure

My interest here is in smart contracts.  Blockchains as a service, now by Microsoft in Azure. Can these self adapt to their regulatory environment?   Warn us when they are no longer of value?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Service Competency

ISSIP Service Innovation Weekly Speaker today was Dawn M. Rennick, Consultant/Program Manager at Wells Fargo.

Title of the presentation :  Moving the High Tech Industry Forward Toward Service Science Competency: A Case Study of the ABC Association.

Slides:   https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-LefvPi_EioYW02eTl4Nm1HSTg/view

API's for Machine Learning

An overview of a number of APIs for machine learning in Kdnuggets.  Also a look at the challenges involved for using this approach.  High level overviews of API's including those from IBM, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. I note that the ones in the IBM list are those included in the Watson portfolio. Worth consideration for using machine learning and decision implementation  inside your application.

Report on the NYT Virtual Reality App

Had my doubts about this.  But is a new kind of photo journalism and means to tell a story.  Is product placement next?  How do you determine the place for VR casts?  A means to introduce many to the VR idea.  Have not seen it,  plan to. A positive review:

Virtual reality in reality: The NY Times app makes a difference
Offering a compelling and important news feature can turn the Google Cardboard VR viewer from a toy into a important aid to storytelling. .... " 

John Scully on Minding the Design Gap

Design gap. New term for me, but have seen it happen in tech and in consumer package goods.

" ... John Sculley earned a name for himself in the world of business leading Pepsi and Apple, but his ambitions encompass far more than the C-suite. A lifelong entrepreneur, he’s now working with several startups, but is most focused at this moment on pushing into the smartphone game with a company called Obi Worldphone — which is not, he assures us, trying to compete for customers with the signature product of the tech giant he once led.

Recently, Sculley dropped by Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111, to talk about technology, design gaps, and his book, Moonshot! Game-Changing Strategies to Build Billion-Dollar Businesses. He also discusses his views on the new film “Steve Jobs,” in which he is portrayed by actor Jeff Daniels, and what Jobs was like as a person. .. ." 

Articles on Personal Assistants

Recent articles on Virtual Personal assistants:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150710005433/en/

http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21664071-technology-firms-are-competing-become-consumers-personal-secretaries-big-implications

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/541131/baidus-duer-joins-the-virtual-assistant-party/

http://thenextweb.com/insider/2014/10/27/beyond-siri-google-now-cortana-future-virtual-assistants/

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/viv/

Deep Learning for Computer Vision

Webcast recording.  Good introduction.  Via Pete Warden

How to Get Started with Deep Learning in Computer Vision

There have been big improvements in image analysis over the last few years thanks to the adoption of deep learning neural networks to solve vision problems, but figuring out how to get started with them isn't easy.

In this webcast Pete Warden will walk through some popular open-source tools from the academic world, and show you step-by-step how to process images with them. Starting right from downloading the source and data, setting up the dependencies and environment, compiling, and then executing the libraries as part of a program, you'll be shown how to solve your own computer vision problems .... " 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Shelf Scanning Robotics

A little scary in the aisles.  We sought to re purpose security cameras to do this kind of thing.  Also crowdsourced the governance of shelves with cameras. Note the analytics and auditing mentions.

Robot Makes Sure Stores Don’t Run Out of Doritos
A shelf-scanning bot called Tally will help make sure everything is in its place in supermarkets and other retail outlets. ...   The robot, developed by a startup called Simbe Robotics, is the latest effort to automate some of the more routine work done in millions of warehouses and retail stores. It is also an example of the way robots and AI will increasingly take over parts of people’s jobs rather than replacing them. ... " 

" ... Introducing Tally ... The World's First Fully Autonomous  ... Shelf Auditing & Analytics Solution .. " 

November December Analytics Magazine on Real Time

November/December Analytics Magazine is now Online

From real-time analytics to data reduction to the ongoing debate over whether humans make better decisions than machines, the November/December issue of Analytics Magazine, now online, has something for everyone ... 
  
Cover Story: 
The Reality of Real Time
by Larry Skowronek
Marketing and customer interaction: Four important areas where real-time analytics can provide real value.

Crowdsourcing 3D Maps

In MITTechReview: Build a 3-D Virtual World with This Crowdsourced Map of the Real World ... Mapillary is stitching together user-submitted photos to create an ever-changing 3-D map of the planet  .... " 

Good general idea, but will it replace something like Streetview, which is commissioned?  Perhaps augmented by commissioned drone eye views.  Had thoughts of using this approach for internal enterprise uses.  Agricultural and industrial applications?

Nomadic Computing Faster

In the CACM:  Nomadic computing speeds up Big Data Analyses.  " ... University of Texas at Austin professor Inderjit Dhillon, a 2014 ACM Fellow, concentrates on expediting big data analytics by using machine learning to reduce data to its most insightful parameters. His latest research, supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), is a non-locking, stochastic multi-machine algorithm for asynchronous and decentralized matrix completion (NOMAD). ... Dhillon says the algorithm can extract meaningful information from data much faster than other current cutting-edge instruments, as well as investigate data sets that break other leading software. .... " 

Technological Unemployment Talks

Talks from the World Summit on Technological Unemployment, was on September 15.

" .... The World Technology Network (www.WTN.net), a community of the world's most innovative individuals and organizations in science, technology, and related fields, launched the first-ever World Summit on Technological Unemployment on September 29, 2015, at the TIME Conference Center in the historic TIME & LIFE Building in New York City.

Accelerating technological unemployment will likely be one of the most challenging societal issues in the 21st Century. Never before in history are so many industries being simultaneously upended by new technologies. Though "creative destruction," in which lost jobs are replaced with new ones, will be a factor, our newest technologies have the clear potential to eliminate many more jobs than we create. With technology advancing at a geometric pace, robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D-printing, and other innovations with enormous disruptive potential will soon hit the mainstream. Billions of people worldwide are currently employed in industries that will likely be affected—and billions of new entrants to the workforce will need jobs.

While much has been written about the coming collision of rapidly advancing technology and an increasingly displaced workforce (a recent Oxford study predicts 47% of US jobs gone from technology within two decades), there has been no structured attempt at any level of government, academia, or industry to define, address, and even begin to conceive solutions to what may well be the greatest threat to our social fabric in the years ahead. ... " 

Toyota Invests in AI and Robotics

In IEEE Spectrum.  Continuation of the AI re-emergence.   Talk is interesting regards to the specifics.  Location specifics understandable, but I thought by now we could use distributed expertise better.   Have followed Toyota in this area for some time, see tag link below.

" ... Toyota recently announced that it is investing US $1 billion over the next five years to establish a new R&D lab headquartered in Silicon Valley and focused on artificial intelligence and robotics. The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) plans to hire hundreds of engineers to staff a main facility in Palo Alto, Calif., near Stanford University, and a second facility located near MIT in Cambridge, Mass. Former DARPA program manager Dr. Gill Pratt was named CEO of TRI, which will begin operations in January. We spoke to Dr. Pratt to find out how TRI plans to transform pure research into practical applications, and where all that money is going. ... " 

Alibaba's Singles Day Shopping Fest

In ClickZ: Upcoming.  Quite an international change. Number of  interesting details in the article.

" .. Alibaba wants to change the world's e-commerce landscape, using its Singles Day on November 11 as a springboard.

Alibaba's Singles Day is revolutionizing the way hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers shop online, and the group's founder is hoping this year's event will do the same in global markets.
The world's largest 24-hour online shop-a-thon kicks off at midnight on November 11. More than 30,000 brands will take part, offering heavy discounts, sales and other promotions. ... " 

Charted Cognitive Biases

A favorite topic, cognitive biases:  Here a list of 20 biases in chart form.  Never thought there were so many, but it is worth considering them all.  They skew reasoning that you do, even when you are working with good data and seemingly impeccable logic.   And sometimes it just makes your results wrong.  Have seen that in the real world.   I am putting just one row below, the full chart is at the link above, with some further discussion.  I think some of these can be collapsed,  but still like the individual example descriptions.




Monday, November 09, 2015

Kroger's Technology Store Ideas

Kroger is building the grocery store of the future
by Kate Taylor ....

An overview of a number of technologies that Kroger is testing in real stores .... Have seen several of them myself.  They deserve a close look.

Economist on BlockChain Trust

Well done.  Non technical.   A conversation I had with a financial technology expert made this clear:

The great chain of being sure about things
The technology behind bitcoin lets people who do not know or trust each other build a dependable ledger. This has implications far beyond the cryptocurrency ...  
 ... provides clear descriptions of how blocks are created and verified; the various flavors of blockchains (the bitcoin blockchain, distributed ledgers, and private ledgers); and the 3 most frequent uses of this technology: asset transfers, timestamped registry, and self-executing smart contracts.  ... " 

Data Disruption Stories

Just making my way through:  Data Disruption: 33 experts tell their stories.  Hardly secrets, but Free and nicely done.   Non technical.    Would suggest any manager read this.   Via Kirk Borne, who is one of the experts.  I like the broad set of ideas,  that could be widely reapplied. 

Google Open Sources their Machine Learning


Have seen a demo of an earlier version of this.  Was impressed by the visual approach, which can lead to better understanding by decision makers.  Recall we also looked at similar approaches for visual recognition and analysis.    Also emphasizes the sharing of application research, and its implementation in real world problems. Google says they have used these libraries in most all of their systems.   More will follow here  >

TensorFlow - Google’s latest machine learning system, open sourced for everyone
// Official Google Research Blog  (Includes introductory video)

Posted by Jeff Dean, Senior Google Fellow, and Rajat Monga, Technical Lead

Deep Learning has had a huge impact on computer science, making it possible explore new frontiers of research and to develop amazingly useful products that millions of people use every day. Our internal deep learning infrastructure DistBelief, developed in 2011, has allowed Googlers to build ever larger neural networks and scale training to thousands of cores in our datacenters. We’ve used it to demonstrate that concepts like “cat” can be learned from unlabeled YouTube images, to improve speech recognition in the Google app by 25%, and to build image search in Google Photos. DistBelief also trained the Inception model that won Imagenet’s Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge in 2014, and drove our experiments in automated image captioning as well as 
DeepDream.   ... " 

" ... TensorFlow has extensive built-in support for deep learning, but is far more general than that -- any computation that you can express as a computational flow graph, you can compute with TensorFlow (see some examples). Any gradient-based machine learning algorithm will benefit from TensorFlow’s auto-differentiation and suite of first-rate optimizers. And it’s easy to express your new ideas in TensorFlow via the flexible Python interface. ... " 

More on this, including decription of a test, and in Wired.

" ...  It’s open sourcing that engine, freely sharing the underlying code with the world at large. This software is called TensorFlow, and in literally giving the technology away, Google believes it can accelerate the evolution of AI. Through open source, outsiders can help improve on Google’s technology and, yes, return these improvements back to Google.

“What we’re hoping is that the community adopts this as a good way of expressing machine learning algorithms of lots of different types, and also contributes to building and improving [TensorFlow] in lots of different and interesting ways,” says Jeff Dean, one of Google’s most important engineers and a key player in the rise of its deep learning tech. ... "