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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Evaluating Machine Learning Algorithms in R

Part of the problem with open source methods, like those in R, is that there are too many options.   How do you know which to use?  For research, for production?  Machine Learning Mastery provides some good thoughts on how to evaluate options.  With examples.

Study of Human Capital in the Cognitive Era

Mention and further discussion

Study of Human Capital in the Cognitive Era   Via Jim Spohrer.   Pointing towards how jobs will evolve.   My recent experience has indicated that jobs, even those that are focused technically, are getting more socially complex.   In order to translate, curate and deliver results.

" ... This post is the first in a series by the Growthology team, where we will take a look at some of the topics discussed in State of the Field, a compilation of knowledge on entrepreneurship research written by the leading experts in the field.  ... 

Brink Lindsey, author of the book Human Capitalism, writes that “the central importance of human capital in today’s economy is a response to the rise of social complexity.” As society has become increasingly complex, jobs have become more highly skilled, the workforce has changed, and the study of human capital has become increasingly mainstream.

While financial means are important for a startup’s success, I argue that human capital is equally important. Human capital within entrepreneurship is one area Growthology will expand on throughout the course of this year. Several of my colleagues’ posts have presented different points of view on human capital matters (workers, students and crowdfunding to name only the most recent). ... " 

A Look at Text Classification

From an introduction, to simple methods, to depth  This was an area we used extensively for 'content' analysis to understand consumer responses.  Most recently have looked at it as a method of classifying written comments in compliance documents.  New methods in machine learning have improved it considerably.

Text Classification & Sentiment Analysis tutorial / blog   
Posted by Ahmet Taspinar  

We all know that with Machine Learning you can automatically classify text documents or analyze its subjectivity. We've just released a guide that gives a brief introduction to Text Classification. 
It cover the three most used classifiers; Naive Bayes, Maximum Entropy and Support Vector Machines and will give practical examples in the form of the sentiment analysis of book reviews.  ... "
 

Ground Based GPS

So many crucial services depend on GPS today.    Beacons are a technology that address this.  We examined indoor location finding for retail.   Also may be key for implementing an IOT of many things, behind many walls, in new contexts.

In the SA:
The terrestrial network could eliminate the GPS’s blind spots and advance indoor mapping ... 

Anyone who has struggled to pinpoint his or her location in a mall, airport or urban canyon amid skyscrapers has experienced a GPS gap firsthand. In fact, the global positioning network is filled with them: buildings, jammers and the landscape itself can block a signal's path between GPS satellites and receivers in a smartphone or other digital device. Technologies such as Apple's iBeacon have attempted to fill in holes with linked sensors that track indoor location using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but a new ground-based system by Australian company Locata is the first to produce a signal that merges seamlessly with the GPS network. And it is incredibly accurate. ...  " 

Syngenta and Soybean Seeds

In Informs.  The use of analytics in agriculture:

" ... At first blush, the problem seems relatively simple and inconsequential: How do you breed a better soybean seed?

It turns out that the soybean, like many of Mother Nature’s living organisms, is incredibly complex; a soybean is comprised of 950 × 106 genome base pairs [1], which makes traditional cross-breeding a costly, time-consuming, trial-and-error process based on a trillion possible design options and iterations while cross-breeding selected plants with other plants with promising traits  – with no apparent near-optimal solution in sight.

The problem quickly becomes even more complicated when environmental constraints are taken into account. Simply cultivating more land and using more water and fertilizer are no longer viable options in order to boost production. And so the problem becomes: How do you optimally produce a better soybean seed and therefore a more productive soybean crop on the same amount of acreage without additional irrigation and fertilization?

And then you have to take into consideration the big picture: In a world where providing food for an ever-growing population is perhaps humanity’s greatest challenge, a world where soybeans are a vital source of protein for humans as well as livestock, how do you provide an environmentally sustainable solution to improve soybean crop output through more efficient plant breeding? ... 

That was the problem facing Syngenta, a global Swiss-based agribusiness that makes and markets crop seeds and agrochemicals. The company’s innovative and cost-saving (to the tune of $287 million) answer – utilizing high-end analytics to improve food supplies for an increasingly crowded planet – resulted in it winning the prestigious 2015 Franz Edelman Award for distinction in applications of analytics, operations research and management science.    ....  " 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The AI Behind Watson

A reexamination of current cognitive methods, and their use of knowledge representations, led me to this 2010 article:  The AI behind Watson, from AAAI magazine.  Nicely done overview. Necessarily dated, but a useful place to start.    Historical and also focused on the Jeopardy challenge.  How differently are things being done in applications today? Also:   Index of DeepQA technical papers that form the basis of Watson.  See also AAAI.org.

Raspberry Pi Laptop

In Indiegogo: A proposal that takes the basic board and adds keyboard and display, then lets you update the system. Nice idea that could lead to other innovations.

Make Everything Seamless in Retail

Make Everything Happen At Once
Executing on the hybrid purchase model of online shopping and in-store pickup. ... " 

Machine Learning Reshaping our World

I like the enthusiasm of this, but I disagree somewhat.  True, ML is a kind of learning.  But its still not necessarily easy to get it the right data to learn with, or to configure the ML to make it learn the right thing, or to take the solution and install it into the right business process to provide value.

In DSC, Machine Learning Reshaping our world
by Bernard Marr

Machine learning is inherently different. Rather than telling a computer exactly how to solve a problem, the programmer instead tells it how to go about learning to solve the problem for itself.
Machine learning is really just the very advanced application of statistics to learning to identify patterns in data and then make predictions from those patterns.  This website has a gorgeous visualized walkthrough of how machine learning works, if you are interested. 

Machine learning started as far back as the 1950s, when computer scientists figured out how to teach a computer to play checkers. From there, as computational power has increased, so has the complexity of the patterns a computer can recognize, and therefore the predictions it can make and problems it can solve.  .... "

Friday, January 29, 2016

Inside Stephen Hawking's Head

Climb Inside Stephen Hawking's Head in BBC's Stunning Film
Inside His Head, which is on the BBC website, imagines a journey inside Hawking's mind and combines clips of his distinctive robotic "voice" with some awesome animation.
Aardman's Animated Video Celebrates 2016 Reith Lectures  ....

Disruption from 3D Printing

In McKinsey:  " ... 3-D printing takes shape ... Additive manufacturing is evolving quickly. Senior executives should begin preparing for five disruptions that will accompany it. ... "  

Only Humans Need Apply. Davenport and Kirby on Smart Machines

Attended an MIT Webinar covering the topic of the forthcoming book:

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines   – Available May 24, 2016  by Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby    (Will post talk here)    Will follow with a review.

They write:
" ... An invigorating, thought-provoking, and positive look at the rise of automation that explores how professionals across industries can find sustainable careers in the near future.

Nearly half of all working Americans could risk losing their jobs because of technology. It’s not only blue-collar jobs at stake. Millions of educated knowledge workers—writers, paralegals, assistants, medical technicians—are threatened by accelerating advances in artificial intelligence.

The industrial revolution shifted workers from farms to factories. In the first era of automation, machines relieved humans of manually exhausting work. Today, Era Two of automation continues to wash across the entire services-based economy that has replaced jobs in agriculture and manufacturing. Era Three, and the rise of AI, is dawning. Smart computers are demonstrating they are capable of making better decisions than humans. Brilliant technologies can now decide, learn, predict, and even comprehend much faster and more accurately than the human brain, and their progress is accelerating. Where will this leave lawyers, nurses, teachers, and editors?  ... ' 

Getting IOT Speaking the Same Language

In O'Reilly: How do we ultimately get all IOT systems to speak the same language?   A good, generally non technical exploration.

Making Digital for the Analog

In K@W: Interesting view of the topic.  How can we be digital when we are ultiamtely analog?

" ... Deftly managing the duality of analog and digital operations is a must for today’s businesses. But while companies understand the importance of moving toward digital, they have varied interpretations of what this means. However, a focus on the customer will keep them anchored, says Dinesh Venugopal, president of digital and strategic customers at Mphasis.

Knowledge@Wharton recently interviewed Venugopal about what digital transformation looks like for his company and its clients at the “Fast Forward: Executive Strategies for Personal Digital Transformation” summit, sponsored by Mphasis. What follows is an edited version of that interview. ... " 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Kate, a Platform for Machine Intelligence

 ... Wayne Imaino from IBM Almaden Research Center, presented: “Kate, a Platform for Machine Intelligence."   Slides here.  .... 

Please find the schedule of presenters herefor 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 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. ... " 

Automating Multiple Streams of Biometric Analysis

I see that iMotions is out with a method that can analytically combine eye tracking, facial expression, ECG and more.   Have not used their devices and methods, but combining streams of data would be interesting.  This is analogous to ensemble methods in analytics.  Does this further need a cognitive, in a true sense, method to combine results?    More here.

Customer Centricity

Our long time Wharton Correspondent Peter Fader in Forbes.  Podcast: " .... Customer centricity is something we all intend to do–it sounds like it means being “into” your customers. You are interested and focused on them right? Well, not really. Customer centricity as defined by Dr. Peter Fader of Wharton might be different than what you think. I saw Dr. Fader speak at the 2nd Annual Customer Centricity Conference–there was a debate with the audience around the purpose of a brand. It quickly became clear everyone disagreed about customer centricity especially as it relates to the purpose of a brand. According to Fader, customer centricity is when the brand identifies the most valuable customers and surrounds them with relevant products and services. ... "   by Blake Morgan

See much more from Peter Fader in the tag link below.

Art and Science of Customer Data at Kroger

More peeks into the value of analytics in retail.  All analytics is art and science.  Design and algorithms.

"  ... Supermarket retailers walk a fine line as they work to connect with shoppers on mobile devices without alienating customers who still use on paper circulars, said Matt Thompson, Kroger's vice president of digital business. Kroger's solution has been to create several ways for shoppers to connect, including circulars, mobile applications and an online Savings Center that's personalized for each shopper .... 

“When you start to peel back the layers, customers’ needs are very different,” he said.  ... For example, Thompson said that surveys found 50% of Kroger shoppers still use paper circulars when planning their trips to the store. Meanwhile, 40% of customers download mobile coupons before shopping at Kroger. ... " 

Personalizing Product Offerings

Design to allow such personalization is key. In Inc: Why Business Personalization is the Key to Long-Term Success ... We're leaving the old business model of offering standard product selections behind and embarking on a new business model where personalization rules the purchase process. ... "  A number of very different examples.    Also consider the stage at which differentiation can occur for supply chain benefits.

More from Cognitive Assistance Symposium

More from:   AAAI FSS-15 Cognitive Assistance Symposium - Part 2
by Frank Stein, Director of Analytics Solution Center at IBM.  At the link, more from other parts of the report.

" ... This is a continuation from my earlier post. The afternoon session of Day 1 started with 2 interesting talks on cognitive assistance for helping those with cognitive disabilities. Madelaine Sayko described Cog-Aid which would include a cognitive assessment, recommender system (based on the assessment) and an intelligent task status manager to help the patient. Then Daniel Sontag, DFKI, described the Kognit technology program which includes tracking dementia patient’s behavior using eye tracking and mixed reality displays to assist the patient perform activities in daily living. We expect to see more in this area in future symposiums.  ... " 

DeepMind can Beat a Top Go Player

First it was checkers, then chess, and now finally the Japanese game Go.  AI continues to evolve. From Google.  AlphaGo by Deepmind.   Another example of leveraging neural net methods.

" .... This paper published in Nature on 28th January 2016, describes a new approach to computer Go that combines Monte-Carlo tree search with deep neural networks that have been trained by supervised learning, from human expert games, and by reinforcement learning from games of self-play. This is the first time ever that a computer program has defeated a human professional player.

The game of Go is widely viewed as an unsolved “grand challenge” for artificial intelligence. Despite decades of work, the strongest computer Go programs still only play at the level of human amateurs. In this paper we describe our Go program, AlphaGo. This program was based on general-purpose AI methods, using deep neural networks to mimic expert players, and further improving the program by learning from games played against itself. AlphaGo won over 99% of games against the strongest other Go programs. It also defeated the human European champion by 5–0 in tournament games, a feat previously believed to be at least a decade away.

In March 2016, AlphaGo will face its ultimate challenge: a 5-game challenge match in Seoul against the legendary Lee Sedol, the top Go player in the world over the past decade.  ... " 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Complex Storytelling in a Digital, Analytical Age

Storytelling is a requirement in any business.  It describes the business process.  And if you are changing a business process, you need to accurately describe the change you propose.  However complex.  But analytics gives additional options, and lets you understand their implications.  That is more than just telling the story you want told.  It is more than storytelling.

That's my addition as to why analytics is powerful.  Its more than just what this piece says:  Storytelling thrives in a digital age.

Assisting Online Buyers

The idea of assisting buyers online with cognitive AI is a very old idea.  Very natural too, because it is a resource and data intensive interaction.  Insert the virtual assistant in the stream between buyer and company.   Here is an interesting case study from North Face.

Culture: Data and Analytics Everywhere

In O'Reilly:  What does it mean to be data driven?   An often unspoken thought in the enterprise.  We are even if we do not know it today.    " .... Data analysis can change an organization’s future -- but only if it’s used in the present, every day, by everyone. ... " .  Some useful thoughts.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Marvin Minsky and AI

I see that Marvin Minsky, AI pioneer, died a few days ago.  " ... American cognitive scientist in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AI laboratory, and author of several texts on AI and philosophy ..."   He inspired us in the late 80s.  Both in the area of using AI in industry, and in applying neural nets for pattern recognition in consumer studies.  That foundational neural network research led to deep learning.

We visited the AI lab  he founded at MIT. Students of that lab staffed our group.  We met a few times, spoke at some of the same conferences, and received some of his critical and impish humor along the way.  Minsky's First Law:  Words should be your servants, not your masters.   ... Minsky's Second Law: Don't just do something. Stand there. ,,,   The Edge does a nice job in Remembering Minsky.     His WP article.

Wal-Mart Invests in Bangalore Data Analytics

I spent some time in Bangalore, gave a talk to a future looking group there, and found some exciting things going on.

In Computer Weekly:
Retail giant Wal-Mart is investing heavily in its IT development centre in Bangalore, turning the city into its most important centre outside the US   ... US retail giant Wal-Mart is planning to invest heavily in data and analytics technology and services at its Bangalore-based development centre. ... " 

Sony and IOT

In GigaOM: 
" .. The first is that Sony is forming Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) from all the units contributing to Playstation, hardware, software, and network, effective April 1. Sony has set the new company up with a US headquarters — San Mateo, CA — with a single CEO, Andrew House ... 

.... The second is that Sony is buying Altair, a chip manufacturer for IoT smart appliances. This is a $212 million investment, taking the company way out of its niche in smartphone camera chips. Last year, Sony bought Toshiba’s image sensor operations, which is part of the same strategic plan: to grow into a major IoT manufacturer of chips and sensors.... "  

Microsoft Linking Cortana AI to Mail

Been disappointed by the value of Microsoft's virtual agent Cortana.  Too often just acting as a front end to their search engine Bing.  Now they are said to be adding more intelligence and inferring tasks from email.   In CWorld.   Controversy is that this is akin to spyware?  But any kind of assistant needs links to your operating knowledge.  

Microsoft Opens its Deep Learning Toolkit

Been taking a deeper look at the neural net based process of deep learning.  Now Microsoft has released its own Deep Learning toolkit.  There are many good resources online at a number of technical levels.  I have related our own experience in using neural nets here a number of times, the reasons behind the advance in its use now are interesting.   See the neural net tab below.

Monday, January 25, 2016

AI Comes to the Factory Floor

IBM Works with IOT Startup.  Expected this direction much earlier, we worked on similar maintenance related approaches.    See Wi-Next.      See competitive (?)  work in GE Predix Cloud.

" ... Wi-STREAMS™ Platform is a complete and powerful edgeware solution that allows manufacturers to make their machines smarter thanks to a very simple-to-understand value proposition and high ROI, representing a huge opportunity both for vendors of machines and manufacturers in industries with very low margins (such as Fast Moving Goods and Food Service).

The Wi-NEXT Wi-STREAMS™ Platform helps manufacturers to improve process efficiency and quality control even in highly automated environments, usually a plant floor, or in challenging low-cost environments, for example at Point of Sale, with a high ROI due to the low initial cost and simple deployment. ... " 

Jerry Kaplan on the State of AI: Humans Can Still Apply

Product Details Jerry Kaplan talk at Google.  Kaplan was one of the founders of Teknowledge, who we partnered with in the 1980s.  The partnership led , among other efforts, to a coffee blending system that saved many millions of dollars in costs, by specifically emulating human expertise, connecting it to analytical methods and extending the use of that expertise.  Now that we are addressing the challenge again, the book should be worth reading.

" ... Serial entrepreneur, and futurist Jerry Kaplan visited Google’s office in Kirkland, WA on Nov. 4, 2015 to discuss his book: “Humans Need Not Apply A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”
... " 

My notes on the talk:  "  ... we worked with him at Teknowledge.  I remember him being quite level headed on the idea of AI at the time and has continued that view ...  its not 'AI', its really much better automation.   Also its really about tasks, not jobs.  So we still need to think of discrete tasks.   Watson is just a very clever search and prioritization method, not intelligence.  This is all good news, makes it likely all this work will be useful for industry in many ways.   Industry people, like ourselves, have to make sure that the systems called AI or machine learning or whatever, need to make sure they deliver.  In the past management was too quickly enamored with the AI thing.  But note also that some very useful things came out of the work done .... that is still very possible.  The marketing people are very willing to take advantage of industry to sell more solutions.   ... "

Microsoft R Server

In CWorld:   Continued movement by big IT players into advanced analytics services.

" ... Microsoft this week took the next step following its acquisition of Revolution Analytics last year by unwrapping an advanced-analytics platform of its own based on the open source R programming language.

Dubbed Microsoft R Server, the platform works with Windows, Linux, Hadoop and Teradata software. It's now available on the Microsoft Developer Network and via Microsoft's DreamSpark educational program.

Last April Microsoft completed its acquisition of Revolution Analytics, provider of the Revolution R Enterprise (RRE) product on which R Server is now apparently based. Though Microsoft has renamed the software R Server in the Linux, Hadoop and Teradata versions, it's retaining the RRE name in the Windows version of the software. .... " 

Looking forward at BI

Forward view of Business Intelligence. PDF eBook by IBM:

" ... Making smarter business decisions quickly and confidently drives business value across an entire organization. To accomplish this
in today’s competitive global marketplace, leading organizations are complementing their current approaches to business intelligence (BI) and analytics. ... 

In particular, top organizations are:
• seeking to incorporate deeper insight into their reports and dashboards
• making that information available to more people who may interact with it on the device of their
choice
• expanding the use of analytics to solve more business challenges.

This eBook discusses how to drive BI deeper into an organization with easier to use descriptive analytics solutions and how to transform an organization from being reactive to being pro-active by embedding predictive and prescriptive analytics in existing BI solutions. ... " 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Experience versus Innovation

General look in Innovation Excellence.   A simplistic way to look at this is it is a form of 'generate and test'.  With inexperienced youth generating and experienced people testing the ideas.   But things like organization and culture tear that idea up.  And mere efficiency making it harder yet.   More like two states of operative mind that everyone needs.

RFID and Beacons

We experimented with this in lab settings to test in store product interactions.  More likely meaningful in areas like apparel.  A further enablement of Beacons.

RFID Pops Up in Mobile Interactive Stores
ShopWithMe pop-up stores are visiting cities and selling merchandise via RFID technology that displays product information automatically when a shopper picks up a product and tries it on at a fitting room, and also streamlines the purchase process. ... "

Creating Business Value Through Graph Analytics

Graph Analytics is an interesting topic, but how it creates value is often hard to describe.    A well known vendor Neo4j, provides some good examples of its value and use.  Its more than just a descriptive method.

Business Value of Graphs
Sustainable Competitive  Advantage: Creating Business Value through Data Relationships by Kamille Nixon

" ... Where does sustainable competitive advantage come from? It’s not from data volume or velocities, but from the knowledge of relationships in your data. Even three years ago, you may not have given DBMS choice much thought, figuring you could create the right applications if you had a crack team of database professionals and developers. Today, however, while you still need great people, changes in application, market, and user requirements also necessitate that you unlock business value from data relationships.

Traditional databases were conceived to digitize paper forms and automate wellstructured business processes, and still have their uses. That said, RDBMSs cannot model or store data and its relationships without complexity, and performance degrades with the number and levels of data relationships and data size. What’s more, adding new types of data and data relationships requires schema redesign that increases time to market. For these reasons, RDBMSs are inappropriate when data relationships are valuable in real time  ... " 

Slopegraph Visualizations

Image result for slopegraphHave seen them often, but was unaware of the term.  Most packages today support them, from Tableau to Python to R.    I like the simplicity.    In ForumOne:

" ... Slopegraphs are a great means for comparing data point, often between two points in time, but also on other dimensions. As Andy Kirk says, “The typical application for using a slopegraph is for a before and after story.” They plot two data points, or sets of pairs of data points, on parallel, vertical scales, connecting each pair by a line. The slope of the line shows the degree of difference between each side of the pair.

Slopegraphs are creations of Edward Tufte, who first introduced one in his 1983 book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. It seems they were little used for some time, but have recently re-emerged. ... " 

A Look at Bayes Theorem

In Sciam:   Bayesian thinking is growing.   Here a largely non technical look at its value and limitations.   Nice read.   In general I find methods driven by Bayesian are underused as opposed to over used.     The error of confirmation bias is a long time interest of mine, and in the article:

 " .... Bayesians claim that their methods can help scientists overcome confirmation bias and produce more reliable results, but I have my doubts.

And as I mentioned above, some string and multiverse enthusiasts are embracing Bayesian analysis. Why? Because the enthusiasts are tired of hearing that string and multiverse theories are unfalsifiable and hence unscientific, and Bayes’ theorem allows them to present the theories in a more favorable light. In this case, Bayes’ theorem, far from counteracting confirmation bias, enables it. ... " 

Watson and Vineyards

IBM has been talking much about weather data and internet of things.  So it is natural to see this piece about a process control style application to the watering of vineyards in CA.   The broad idea is not new, we saw it being used a decade plus ago.  Look forward to seeing how Watson 'cognitive' approaches can improve it.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Martin Lindstrom: Small Data

 I see that former colleague Martin Lindstrom has a new book forthcoming: Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends .  Have not seen it yet, but I like the premise.  Take a look at their pre publicity. 

Answering Why

Why? A Discussion about Cognitive Architectures and Deep Thinking!
Jack Park from TopicQuests Foundation " ... a foundation dedicated to the support and evolution of open source knowledge gardening ... "  gave a provocative presentation this morning that will get you thinking about artificial intelligence systems that can answer Why questions.  .... "   To see and hear to a replay of today's presentation, go to: http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/ and select recording next to Jan 21 presentation. ... " 

New Google Glass

In CWorld: Look at the possible evolution of Google Glass, and likely competitors.  Still just attentive (and intrusive)  rather than VR  immersive.

Remembering Photos with Deep Learning

In CACM:  Deep learning photo memorability

" ... Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) say they have developed an algorithm that can predict how memorable or forgettable a given image is almost as accurately as humans.

The MemNet algorithm builds on previous work by CSAIL researchers to develop a similar algorithm for facial memorability. The researchers fed the algorithm, running on a deep-learning network, tens of thousands of images from several different datasets that had been given a "memorability score" by human subjects. When they pitted MemNet against human subjects by asking both to predict how memorable people would find a never-before-seen image, the algorithm performed 30% better than existing algorithms and within a few percentage points of the average human performance.   ... " 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Three Hundred Thousand Drones Registered with the FAA

In CWorld:  Look to the skies today, they will be changing.   More unexpected consequences will be arriving.

Have some Raspberry Pi

Just starting this book. Not very technical, but you need to be somewhat geeky to engage.  Quite an impressive amount of software comes along:  Starting with Scratch, Python and Mathematica.   Want to understand how the IOT will work?   Also a great way to get the kids into computing, hardware and software.  Essential for a technically oriented child.  You can buy the needed hardware now for as little as $5. That's a buy.

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi: Electronic Projects with Python, Scratch, and Linux Paperback – November 6, 2014
by Matt Richardson  and Shawn Wallace

" ... What can you do with the Raspberry Pi, the inexpensive credit card-sized computer? All sorts of things! If you're learning how to program, or looking to build new electronic projects, this hands-on guide will show you just how valuable this flexible little platform can be.

This book takes you step-by-step through fun and educational possibilities. Write programs in Scratch and Python. Use the Raspberry Pi with Arduino. Create Internet-connected projects. Play with multimedia. With Raspberry Pi, you can do all of this and more.

Get acquainted with hardware features of the Raspberry Pi
Learn enough Linux to move around the operating system
Draw graphics, play sounds, and handle mouse events with the Pygame framework
Use the input and output pins to do some hardware hacking
Discover how Arduino and the Raspberry Pi complement each other
Integrate webcams and the Raspberry Pi Camera Module into your projects

Create your own Pi-based web server with Python ... "

See also the RaspberryPi org
And,  Programming the Raspberry Pi

Open Innovation at Electrolux

Open Innovation at Electrolux. Appliance manufacturer we worked with for a while.  The how is always interesting, but also the kinds of application being addressed:  " ....   she presented several Electrolux open innovation success stories, including one of a company that approached the multinational offering a system to automatically calibrate assembly lines.  They didn’t want any money, but were looking for partners to help them test their solution and share risks.  Today, that company is a trusted supplier. ... " 

Creating Value with Advanced Analytics

Repeating this, it is well put,  Its about where decisions are needed: Bain Company brief:

It’s easy for tech-savvy executives to get excited about Big Data and advanced analytics these days. Newly available tools allow companies to do things they couldn’t do before, like recommending specific products to online buyers or mining workers’ compensation claims data to recommend better treatment options for injured employees. But whiz-bang capabilities don’t create real value unless an organization incorporates these new techniques into its day-to-day operations.

What does that mean in practice? The best way to understand any company’s operations is to view them as a series of decisions. People in organizations make thousands of decisions every day. The decisions range from big, one-off strategic choices (such as where to locate the next multibillion-dollar plant) to everyday frontline decisions that add up to a lot of value over time (such as whether to suggest another purchase to a customer). In between those extremes are all the decisions that marketers, finance people, operations specialists and so on must make as they carry out their jobs week in and week out. .... " 

Watson Analytics Short Demo

Short, good,  demonstration via Holly Nielsen of IBM:

2 Minute Dashboard With Watson Analytics
Watch Francis Hall take some typical sales pipeline data from a spreadsheet, and create a compelling, interactive dashboard in under 2 minutes: .... " 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Slack and Skype

Was just introduced to Slack and liked it.  Especially for better email focus.  Now what will its (still limited) integration with Skype look like?   More on the integration in CMSWire:

" .... According to the Skype blog, the integration mirrors much of the way other services work in Slack. All you have to do is type /Skype to begin a conversation with a member of your team. For example, Slack includes several other slash commands like /close, /away, and the always popular /giphy to perform a related commands.

Teams that want to integrate this into their own Slack can do so by adding the Skype button and selecting which channel you want it to work with first. You’ll then be able to launch a Skype conversation, or join an existing one, with any of your Skype contacts in that channel. .. " 

UL Standards for Wearables

In CWorld:  Particularly interesting that they will address privacy issues.

" ... UL, formerly called Underwriters Labs, soon expects to certify wearables for safety and security, including user privacy. ... Founded in 1894 and more commonly known for certifying appliances for electrical safety, UL is developing draft requirements for security and privacy for data associated with Internet of Things devices, including wearables. A pilot program is underway, and UL plans to launch the program early in 2016 ... " 

Simulating Human Behavior

From the CACM: 
" ... Researchers at the Charles III University of Madrid (UC3M) in Spain are working on the IBSEN project, which is investigating how to build a system that recreates human behavior.

The researchers say the technology could be used to anticipate behavior in a socioeconomic crisis, create more human-like robots, or develop avatars of artificial intelligence.

"We are going to lay the foundations to start a new way of doing social science for the problems that arise in a society that is very technologically connected," says IBSEN project leader Anxo Sanchez.

The researchers say they are preparing experiments that will simultaneously present certain problems of cooperation, social problems, and economic games to thousands of people in order to discover hidden patterns in their decisions. The researchers will use this information to create a simulator of human behavior. ... " 

Students and Cognitive Assistants

Via Jim Spohrer.  More broadly the concept and direction of COG assistants is covered here.

" .... CEOs need cognitive assistants, and on the other side of the spectrum - students do as well: CSIG is the Cognitive Systems Institute Group - we work to connect research faculty/students to IBMers to submit IBM align grant proposals with the mission of cognitive assistants for all occupations - doctors to chefs to student advisor.... "    

Additive Manufacturing at GE Aviation

 In GE Aviation's Bike Shop Blog:

" ... TIME magazine noted that GE Aviation is producing the interior of its fuel nozzles for the new CFM LEAP engine by using additive manufacturing.  It results in reduced component weight and better fuel efficiency while providing for a more durable part.

 With additive manufacturing, the LEAP fuel nozzle interior can be made as one part in a laser machine.   The same part produced conventionally would require brazing and welding together about 20 different parts.

 When you think of innovations that are changing our world, you tend to immediately think of Silicon Valley,” Luckerson said. “This GE innovation is happening in the heart of the United States, in Ohio.” .... "

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Analyzing the Internet of Things

Teradata's Bill Franks on the IOT.   Nice concise thoughts.  Like Big Data, the IOT's engine is analytics and then translating that to decison.  Not sure we need another acronymn (AoT), but I accept it as a reminder of the fundamental need for value from data.

" .... To date, a lot of effort has been put into creating sensors, deploying them, and generating masses of data. However, lagging behind that effort is the analysis of the data. As with any data, no value is driven without analysis and action. It would have been better if more thought was given to how to utilize the data generated prior to creating sensors that stream it out. Given that we are where we are, the best path forward is to begin to aggressively analyze the data of the IoT. This is what I, and others, have begun to call the Analytics of Things (AoT). ... "

Alchemy API Language

Brought Back to my attention.

Build Smarter Apps With AlchemyLanguage
12 Semantic Text Analysis APIs Using Natural Language Processing

Pioneering Easy-to-build Smart Apps for 
Understanding Customer Needs and Predicting Their Behavior The AlchemyAPI cloud platform makes it easy to create smart apps that deeply understand the world's conversations, reports and photos so you can align your business with customer preferences and intent. We help you take action. Boost revenues. Cut costs. All by quickly transforming vast numbers of web pages, tweets, emails and images into facts and knowledge on how people feel about your product, campaign, offer or service. ... " 

The Future of Programming

Have become involved in looking how algorithmic knowledge is stored lately, and this has required looking at alternative coding methods.  Visualization of process is a key element to describe the related knowledge to decision makers.  The future of coding is important.  In Infoworld.

Rules for Tough Decisions

 3 Timeless Rules for Making Tough Decisions  In the HBR:  by Peter Bregman .... Some good simple thoughts.  Now might these also be systematized as part of a simulation.  As part of  different contexts?  And then crowdsourced in some way, since people are likely to interpret them in different ways?

Employee Engagement Formula

How do companies engage with their own employees?  In the HBR:

" .... IDEO’s origin story sometimes sounds like a myth or a fable, but it’s actually true. David Kelley founded the company with a simple goal: to create a workplace made up of his best friends. In the beginning he did, in fact, bring in some of his closest buddies to launch the Silicon Valley firm that would become IDEO. More than 30 years later, we’re a global design company that employs more than 650 people. Obviously, we didn’t get to that size by hiring only our friends. But David’s early intention still greatly informs the way we work. There are, in fact, four elements of our culture that came directly from his founding statement. We think they’re essential factors in keeping employees engaged — not just at our company, but at any company. ... " 

Data Science Studying Data Scientists

Nice piece by Bob Hayes.   I like the structural aspects included.    Classification of skills can be imprecise too.  How does that imprecision influence the results.  The factor analysis, eigenvalue based approach used is well worth the read.   " .... Empirically-Based Approach to Understanding the Structure of Data Science by Bob Hayes, PhD    ... Based on a study of 620+ data professionals, we found that data science skills fall into three broad areas: domain expertise (in our case, business), technology/programming and math/statistics. I discuss the implications of study findings for current data scientists, would-be data scientists and the recruiters who try to find them. ... " 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Challenges for Home Robotics

 In IEEE Spectrum:  A good look at the challenges still unmet for home robotics.   A topic I have looked at for a number of years.  And while the press has claimed broad success for a long time, it has not happened.  Why?  The article does a good job of exploring,  regarding hardware and software aspects.   There are still considerable challenges.  Largely non-technical.

Microsoft, P&G Supported Skip App in Test

Mentioned here previously, the Skip in aisle checkoutApp is now in test.   Note the connection to the Azure analytics platform which leverages data gathering from shopper behavior.  See also Krogers test in this area.   We tested  the concept for years.

" ...  A grocer in Scranton, Pennsylvania is about to dramatically change the way his customers shop.

By the end of the year, Gerrity's Supermarkets' nine stores will be using new checkout technology, technology that could someday replace its checkstands.

With an app called Skip – as in "skip the line" – shoppers will be able to scan items as they shop, placing them in their bag as they go. They can enter their payment information (like a card number) into the app and pay for their items before they leave, all on their phone. ... " 

For details see Goskip.com

Miss Piggy and Imperson Chatbots

Marketers see Chatbots as a means to engage with Virtual Assistants. Facebook's Messenger is an example mentioned here before. How does personality create engagement to deliver intelligence and services? Imperson from the Disney Accelerator is an example of how this is being done. We did this with Mr. Clean. Is this relevant beyond marketing? I think so. Miss Piggy is a sample chatbot you can explore. Link here.

Reputation in the Age of the Internet

In the Edge: The internet has changed the means and the metrics.  You could always sculpt your reputation, but not as easily as you can today.  Positive and negative. What are the correct measures?

Social Media Working for Customer Service

Seen evidence of this recently, but it is typically at the touch of our fingertips these days.

Social Media not Working for Customers Service?
Despite promises to eliminate long waits on hold and speed consumers to empowered associates, the use of social media to handle customer service issues remains stubbornly ineffective for most retailers. How optimistic are you that social media will ultimately develop into an effective customer service tool?  ... 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Light Bulb as Single Source for a Smart Home

Update: More out of CES.  New solutions for the smart home.
Edison would be impressed.  A Challenge to Amazon Echo?

In Business Insider: 
" ... It's a lightbulb that's also a Bluetooth wireless speaker. It can also search the web, read your calendar for appointments, and text or alert you if it detects noises like a smoke alarm or a baby crying. Oh, and of course, it will also light a dark room.  ...  "

The Sengled Voice bulb.   A technical look.

Update:  Very related, the Sony Multifunctional Light.  More AI will be everywhere,

Study: Brick and Mortar Appeals to Customers

Study: Brick-and-mortar still appeals to customers
According to the annual Global Shopper Study from mobile solutions provider Zebra Technologies Corp., more than three-quarters (76%) of shoppers feel positively about shopping in stores and nearly one-half think that technology solutions are helping retailers enable and improve their shopping experience..... " 

Data Mining and Reporting Blog

Brought to my attention,  The Data Mining Reporting Blog, by Rosaria Silipo, Principal Data Scientist at KNIME.com AG.  The blog covers data analytics in general and not only KNIME.  Have added it to my reading list, looks to have some excellent technology value.  See the latest post:  Anomaly Detection for Predictive Maintenance with Time Series Analysis  ... of particular interest.

Thinking Practical Analytics Culture

In CustomerThink: Some good thoughts on the topic.  It is also a culture thinking about data, both available and needed. Plus creating an interaction between production value and experimental tools. And reapplying the work you do as useful packaged, understandable  services.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Knowledge Representation Matters

In CACM:   By Yoav Shoham   via David Geddes.

There is a big difference between the attention artificial intelligence (AI) is currently receiving and that of the 1990s. Twenty years ago, the focus was on logic-based AI, usually under the heading of knowledge representation, or KR, whereas today's focus is on machine learning and statistical algorithms. This shift has served AI well, since machine learning and stats provide effective algorithmic solutions to certain kinds of problems (such as image recognition), in a way that KR never did. However, I contend the pendulum has swung too far, and something valuable has been lost.

Knowledge representation is not a single thing. While I think an argument could be made about KR as a whole, I will be focusing on the "applied philosophy" aspect of it—the logical representation of commonsense notions, with an emphasis on clear semantical underpinnings.
I will make the case for the most part through a personal story. The story starts with a paper I published in 2009 in the Journal of Philosophical Logic, continues with a research project at Stanford and Duke, later with a company called Timeful, and concludes with Timeful being acquired by Google in 2015. The point of the story is there is a direct link between the original journal paper and the ultimate success of the company.  ... " 

Link to a longer article.

Mobile Beacons

In Adage: More updates on beacons.   They continue to expand.   " .... Mobile Beacons to Explode, but They Aren't a Silver Bullet for Tracking ... Macy's, McDonalds and Target Have Lately Signed New Beacon Contracts ... " 

Slack as Company of the Year

Can Slack replace Email?   Just recently was introduced to the growing social network, for a specific, but broadly defined topic.  Will it work to drive focus?   Unlike other social spaces, will it get things done  (Twitter?) , without a lot of deadening overhead (EMail?).  I like it so far.  But how much different is it?  Its new, so it can be focused, but for how long?  I was intrigued by Slack's statement of  " ... "teachable principles" he wants his people to internalize. They include "Don't make me think," "More clicks is OK," and "Data won't settle any interesting question."  ... ".     Will report back with a full impression after a few months.   True ... Data alone won't answer any interesting questions.   More in Inc.com which said Slack was their company of the year.

Checkout in the Aisle

Mashable writes:   An old idea, back again.  Have followed it and related tests for years. How relevant will it be in an online world?  Now from Diebold.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

How Well Does Personalized Marketing Work?

In K@W:  How well does personalized marketing work?    " ...   “People Who Liked This Study Also Liked”: An Empirical Investigation of the Impact of Recommender Systems on Sales Volume and Diversity,” and “When Do Recommender Systems Work The Best? The Moderating Effects Of Product Attributes And Consumer Reviews On Recommender Performance,” were co-authored by Hosanagar and Carnegie Mellon business analytics professor Dokyun Lee.

Hosanagar recently sat down with Knowledge@Wharton to discuss what his research reveals about when we’re most likely to be influenced by those clever algorithms and how these systems are changing the way we discover new products.  ... " 

Microsoft R Server

A bit surprising  But a great way to make a strong connection to modern anaytics.   Available free for experimentation.   What are its advantages over open source R?

Microsoft R: One Big Data Tool To Rule Them All?
Microsoft  wants a slice of the big data analytics pie. Truth be told, it has already baked and served itself up a portion by acquiring the R-language and data crunching specialist Revolution Analytics, a purchase it completed in spring of 2015.

In non-developer-speak then, R is a popular open-source statistical computing language well suited to the ‘new’ world of enterprise class big data analytics. For the record, we used to call this stuff ‘data mining’ back in the 1990s (some people still do), so don’t believe ALL the big data hype you read — regardless, times have changed and we’re better at it now.

In Microsoft’s own words, the pitch here is as follows, “Microsoft R Server is your flexible choice for analyzing data at scale, building intelligent apps and discovering valuable insights across your business.” .... " 

Choosing Empathy

In the Edge on choosing empathy.  " ..... If you believe that you can harness empathy and make choices about when to experience it versus when not to, it adds a layer of responsibility to how you engage with other people. If you feel like you're powerless to control your empathy, you might be satisfied with whatever biases and limits you have on it. You might be okay with not caring about someone just because they're different from you. I want people to not feel safe empathizing in the way that they always have. I want them to understand that they're doing something deliberate when they connect with someone, and I want them to own that responsibility. ... " 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Psych and Economics in Hindsight

In Knowledge@Wharton: 
" .... In the new book Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, Richard Thaler, coauthor of Nudge and a behavioral science and economics professor at the University of Chicago, recounts his struggle to change the way traditional economists look at the impact of human psychology on economics. Wharton operations, information and decisions professor Katherine Milkman recently spoke with Thaler about why he wrote the book, where behavioral economics has had the most impact, and which decision-making bias he would remove if he had a magic wand. ... "  ... “The evidence for hindsight bias is overwhelming, and this has huge managerial implications.”

Shopping in the Virtual Aisle

Another example of virtual aisle interaction.  See my previous writing on this approach.   The laboratory approach is useful for easily setting up experiments, but it also needs the right kind of behavioral expert to drive the experiment and leverage the data.

Re-using Analytics Models in the Enterprise

Just revisited the Knime open source analytics visualization capability. In particular for the ability to   re-use templates for analytics in the enterprise.   Anyone out there doing this today?  The visual workflow method is appealing, though still technically less that easy for a non developer.  Could such a system help to automate the design of analytics based on a business process model?  Provide off the shelf models for given process model segments?

Changing Future Supply Chain

In Gartner.  Excellent piece on transitions that will shape the future supply chain.  " ... Six transitions that will shape the future of Supply Chain ... ".   Worked this space for years. Worth a close look.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

GE to Move HQ to Boston

Surprising somewhat.  Historically from Schenectady to NYC to Fairfield CT.  Now GE moves global HQ to Boston MA.   And in the WSJ.   Innovation, technology and university connections are touted.

Digital Watermarks

A method we experimented with:

Tech Partnership Looks Beyond the Bar Code With Digital Watermarks
Backers say watermark technology on product packaging can speed up supply chains and retail transactions   ... " 

Conversational Sensemaking

Dear Professors, Students, IBMers and others, 

Just a reminder about our Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series call this week, on Thursday,  ... will be Alun Preece from Cardiff University and Dave Braines from IBM  who will be presenting:  "Conversational Sensemaking."        .... Slides here.
   
We encourage those who join the calls to add questions and comments to the https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Cognitive-Systems-Institute-6729452on LinkedIn and we ask that you ask questions at the end of the call. ... " 

Digital Value in Customer Journey

 In McKinsey,  on becoming digital.   Journeys and digital destinies. Scale and speed is good too.

Speed and scale: Unlocking digital value in customer journeys
Even as organizations assemble digital building blocks for the long term, they also need short-term, pragmatic moves that meet customer expectations and protect core businesses today.

Digitization is a profound transformation.1 When a global bank reinvented its onboarding process for commercial clients, the results included dramatically reduced costs, a market-beating customer experience—and an exhausted organization wondering how ambitious it should be. Could it repeat what it just went through for the rest of its business? How could it possibly do more than one of these at the same time? Would it take years?

Companies that are achieving digitization at scale have found a better way. They have developed a distinct structure that enables them to digitize their most important customer experiences at scale and at speed—in a consistent way, with consistent resources, to produce consistent results. In doing so they transform much of the rest of their organizations, from product and process design through to technology and culture, becoming truly digital businesses. .... "  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

More on Project Tango

I remember hearing about Google Tango as a means for augmented reality overlays of product and purchasing decisions.  And also as a means of modeling 3D spaces.   But Google sees it further in Robots and Drones.

Towards an AI Health Care Boom

In FastCompany:  Good overview of the nearby AI possibilities.   During the first AI boom, it was the biggest surge research area, but quickly faded, primarily because even a narrow focus would not be useful enough.   " ... More than six billion dollars: That’s how much health care providers and consumers will be spending every year on artificial intelligence tools by 2021—a tenfold increase from today—according to a new report from research firm Frost & Sullivan. (Specifically, it will be a growth from $633.8 million in 2014 to $6,662.2 million in 2021.) ... " 

Open Innovation in CPG

Interview with my colleague Wayne Fisher

" ... For more than 25 years, Wayne Fisher worked for Procter & Gamble in a variety of Corporate R&D and Business Unit roles. 

He was an Upstream Product Development Manager, an Innovation Guide and a Technology Entrepreneur for P&G’s widely lauded Connect and Develop program. Wayne also introduced TRIZ and other innovation methodologies into the multinational, training thousands of engineers and scientists around the globe. He led the early discovery work on water soluble pouches, including Ariel laundry detergent Liquitabs and Cascade dishwashing detergent Action Pacs. Today, he is President of Rockdale Innovation and continues to work with P&G on a consultancy basis, as well as helping other multinationals install innovation best practices to drive revenue and profit growth. 

In this interview with IdeaConnection, Wayne shares his thinking about open innovation, the importance of effective problem definition, and the power and potential of creative problem solving. ... " 

Strategy vs Execution

Short,  interesting piece in the HBR, by Roger L. Martin:  " .... In a recent article, Paul Leinwand, Cesare Mainardi, and Art Kleiner presented some survey findings underscoring the well-established fact that few leaders (only 8%, according to their study) are good at both creating good strategies and putting them into practice. But they seemed to almost completely ignore a really interesting finding from their research, which is that leaders who are good at strategy are nearly always also good at execution — to the extent that making a distinction between the two is futile. ... " 

January February Analytics Magazine

" ... The cover story of the January/February issue of Analytics focuses on the relatively new management method of big data, it is all about what’s driving all the excitement concerning data lakes. But dive and swim at your own risk. You can also read about investments in the human element of analytics, leveraging predictive analytics, and the power of smart technologies. .... 

Analytics Magazine Digital Copy
Features

Deep Dive into Data Lakes
The premise, the promise, the potential of a new method for managing big data.
By Sean Martin

Get Smart: Digital Business Innovation
Smart technologies, services, processes and people add up to smart systems for every sector.
By Haluk Demirkan and Bulent Dal

Customer Lifetime Value
Leveraging predictive analytics adds key new insights for estimating familiar marketing metric.
By Matthew Lulay

Corporate Profile: BNSF Railway
Operations research and advanced analytics team helps power rail giant’s success now and in the future.
By Amy Casas

Changing the Game
How analytics and village stability operations can help defeat violent extremism around the world.
By Doug Samuelson  ..... " 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Open Source GO Language in IBM Mainframes

IBM hopes that Google's language, already in use by Docker and Kubernates, will stretch the open source ecosystem for its mainframes ... 

Google's Go, considered an up-and-coming language with usage in projects like Docker and Kubernetes, has netted another feather in its cap: a port to IBM's z Systems mainframe platform.

The port was cited on a GitHub list of repositories from the Linux on IBM z Systems Open Source Team. While IBM's mainframes are often viewed as legacy technology from years past, IBM wants to expand the horizons of its big iron systems with Go. ....  "

More on Go.

Social Media Analysis Using Watson Analytics

Saw a presentation today of the use of Watson Analytics using Twitter data.  Using the recent Golden Globes presentation as an example.  This comes from the collaboration between Twitter and IBM .  This demonstrates the use of automated and directed visual analytics and storytelling using Watson Analytics.   Good example.  For now this capability is free as part of Watson analytics.  Presentation Slides here.

Big Brand Virtual Reality

In VentureBeat: 
Big brands such as Coca-Cola, Nissan and HBO have been dabbling with virtual reality experiences, with some calling it the final frontier. Virtual reality could solve some of advertising's biggest issues, such as viewability and making messages stand out, writes Virool's Alex Debelov ... " 

Future of Ethics of People and Machines

Cambridge University looks at AI ethics in the interaction of people and machines.

The future of intelligence: Cambridge University launches new centre to study AI and the future of humanity ... 

The University of Cambridge is launching a new research centre, thanks to a £10 million grant from the Leverhulme Trust, to explore the opportunities and challenges to humanity from the development of artificial intelligence. 

Machine intelligence will be one of the defining themes of our century, and the challenges of ensuring that we make good use of its opportunities are ones we all face together
Huw Price

Human-level intelligence is familiar in biological “hardware” – it happens inside our skulls. Technology and science are now converging on a possible future where similar intelligence can be created in computers. ... "