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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Microsoft is Selling Alexas

Just started looking at updated Cortana and how it integrates with Echo. Still minimally.  Makes sense for Cortana to be the ecosystem wing to best support Office solutions. 

Microsoft is selling Amazon Echo speakers in its stores in Engadget
It's continuing to shift away from Cortana as a mainstream assistant.  by Jon Fingas, @jonfingas

Microsoft's deepening relationship with Amazon's Alexa now extends to its stores. WalkingCat and others have noticed that Microsoft is carrying both the new Echo Dot and the regular Echo in its online and retail stores. The company isn't just supporting Alexa, then -- it's encouraging you to buy into Amazon's ecosystem.   ... "

Use Weight Regularization to Reduce Overfitting of Deep Learning Models

Overfitting is a classic problem with all models.  It means you are finding the solution to a particular set of data, rather than a generalized problem.  This should be found afterward in testing against new data,  but can be dangerously misleading.   Jason Brownlee discusses approaches to reduce overfitting.   Follow Jason, lots of good nuggets.

Use Weight Regularization to Reduce Overfitting of Deep Learning Models   by Jason Brownlee  in Better Deep Learning

Neural networks learn a set of weights that best map inputs to outputs.
A network with large network weights can be a sign of an unstable network where small changes in the input can lead to large changes in the output. This can be a sign that the network has overfit the training dataset and will likely perform poorly when making predictions on new data.

A solution to this problem is to update the learning algorithm to encourage the network to keep the weights small. This is called weight regularization and it can be used as a general technique to reduce overfitting of the training dataset and improve the generalization of the model.

In this post, you will discover weight regularization as an approach to reduce overfitting for neural networks. .... "

McKinsey on Digital Strategy

Digital strategy: The four fights you have to win  By Tanguy Catlin, Laura LaBerge, and Shannon Varney   in McKinsey

Yesterday’s tentative approaches won’t deliver; you need absolute clarity about digital’s demands, galvanized leadership, unparalleled agility, and the resolve to bet boldly.

If there’s one thing a digital strategy can’t be, it’s incremental. The mismatch between most incumbents’ business models and digital futures is too great—and the environment is changing too quickly—for anything but bold, inventive strategic plans to work.

Unfortunately, most strategic-planning exercises do generate incrementalism. We know this from experience and from McKinsey research: on average, resources don’t move between business units in large organizations. A recent book by our colleagues, Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick, seeks to explain what causes this inertia (strategy’s social side, rooted in individual interests, group dynamics, and cognitive biases) and to suggest a way out (understanding the real odds of strategy and overhauling your planning processes to deliver the big moves that can overcome those long odds).

All this holds doubly true for digital strategy, which demands special attention. Leaders in many organizations lack clarity on what “digital” means for strategy. They underestimate the degree to which digital is disrupting the economic underpinnings of their businesses. They also overlook the speed with which digital ecosystems are blurring industry boundaries and shifting the competitive balance. (For more on why companies often fall short, see “Why digital strategies fail.”) What’s more, responding to digital by building new businesses and shifting resources away from old ones can be threatening to individual executives, who may therefore be slow to embrace (much less drive) the needed change. .... " 

Smart Cities and Blockchains

Never thought of this particular kind of approach.  Security of Why versus good database architectures?     Intriguing  thought. 

10 Ways Blockchain Is Revolutionizing Smart Cities
By Sergio.  (Excerpt) 

Blockchain will transform smart cities of the future. #p3smartcity
Blockchain technology is boosting the bottom line of private and public sector

It’s touted as the “secret sauce” that will transform smart cities of the future, establishing trust and transparency in government through an immutable digital record — one that’s able to connect sky’s-the-limit endpoints while being virtually hack proof.

Blockchain technology took the digital world by storm in 2009, when it debuted as a digital ledger book for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Since then, it is being used to reshape the way business is done in industries ranging from finance and healthcare to manufacturing — and, of course, government.

In a nutshell, blockchain is a new kind of encrypted database that is decentralized, distributed, and unassailable. It creates a digital record that is amazingly secure and is easily accessible to the public.

Smart cities worldwide are using blockchain as the foundation of plans to enhance urban living. Headlines are filled with innovations from locations like Dubai, which aims to cement its status as a global leader in the smart economy as the first blockchain-powered government, and Moscow, which recently became the first city to use blockchain in an e-voting system designed to eliminate corruption and voter fraud.

But the public sector isn’t the only segment of a smart city that stands to benefit from blockchain technology. The private sector is also realizing its potential to reimagine key business processes and help companies of all sizes compete on a more level playing field and therefore advancing their ability to be strategic partners to smart city projects.   ....  "

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Update-AI Chemical Reaction Prediction

Missed this, well worth a look

Talk by Teodoro Laino (Chemistry, Technical)

"Artificial Intelligence for Chemical Reaction Predictions: IBM RXN for Chemistry”   from IBM ... Exploring the nearly  endless chemical space  Chem. Sci., 2018, 9, 6091-6098v  ... 

" ...  Organic synthesis is one of the key stumbling blocks in medicinal chemistry. A necessary yet unsolved step in planning synthesis is solving the forward problem: given  reactants and reagents, predict the products. We treat reaction prediction as a machine translation problem between SMILES strings of reactants-reagents and the products. We show  that a multi-head attention  ... " 

Freely available now:  research.ibm.com/ai4chemistry
The first, FREE AI web service for predicting chemical reactions. ... "



Mindmap for Managers about Data Science

Nicely done,   Though would have liked more connection from the map to details.  But worth a scan.

Intro to Data Science for Managers [Mindmap]  Posted by Igor Bobriakov in DSC

Data science has become an integral part of many modern projects and businesses, with an increasing number of decisions now based on data analysis. The data science industry is experiencing an acute shortage of talents, not only of data scientists but also of managers, having some understanding of analytics and data science. As a manager, you can ultimately become the company's expert in data usage, creating opportunities for the evolution of your organization. Whether you are working with a team of data scientists, as a part of a data-driven business, or you are interested in implementing data science solutions — you shall have some data knowledge and understand its organizational capabilities.   ... " 

Predicting Crime

Course we have long been able to predict likelihood,  its very close, but when does it flip over to making a decision, what are the broader implications of that decision and what is the risk of that decision?

Can we predict when and where a crime will take place?     By Mark Smith in the BBC

The new crime-fighting weapon of choice for a growing number of police forces around the world isn't a gun, a taser or pepper spray - it's data. But can computer algorithms really help reduce crime?

Imagine a gang of bank robbers arriving at their next heist, only to find an armed response unit already waiting on the corner.

Or picture walking down a dark alley and feeling afraid, then seeing the reassuring blue lights of a police car sent to watch over you.

Now imagine if all of this became possible thanks to mathematics.

Ever since the Philip K Dick novel The Minority Report, which was later turned into a Tom Cruise blockbuster, was published in the 1950s, futurists and philosophers have grappled with the concept of "pre crime". ... " 

Autonomous Cars will Upend Transportation

A podcast and transcript at the big question:  What will our personal transportation look like in a decade or less?


How Autonomous Vehicles Will Upend Transportation
Nov 14, 2018 Books Business Radio Law and Public Policy Podcasts  North America driverless cars

The former vice president of research for GM outlines how robotic driving technology will entirely reshape transportation.

Supports K@W's 
Innovation Content

The Quest to Build the Driverless Car -- BurnsAutonomous vehicle technology is advancing rapidly, and hard-core promoters contend that driverless cars could soon be the norm rather than the exception. Many other knowledgeable analysts, however, say widespread adoption of fully autonomous cars is many years — perhaps decades — away. The chief reason for the delay is the years it will take to generate the vast amount of data required to make self-driving cars fully safe. But whenever it finally takes over, driverless technology will do much more than ease daily commutes: It will also have a profound impact on the world’s economy, notes Lawrence Burns, a former corporate vice president of research, development and planning for General Motors who supervised and encouraged GM’s development of robotic driving technology. His new book with Christopher Shulgan is titled, Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car — And How It Will Reshape Our World. He joined the Knowledge@Wharton show on SiriusXM to talk about how a driverless world will map out. .... "

Digital Transformation

And I had just posted about Predictive maintenance.   Here elevator maker Thyssenkrupp AG talks about the technology and how it links to their own experience in digital transformation.   See my previous notes on Thyssenkrupp tag below.   Good piece here:

An elevator maker reveals the ups and downs of digital transformation  By Paul Gillin in SiliconAngle

A list of the 10 large companies that have most successfully transformed their businesses through technology published in the Harvard Business Review last year included many of the usual suspects – and one that many people probably wouldn’t even recognize.

Thyssenkrupp AG, a German materials giant that can trace its roots back more than 200 years, made the list on the strength of the 47 percent of its total sales that now come from new growth areas. .... " 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Nissan to invite Google onto Car Dashboards

A step forward on automotive driver/occupant interaction.   The rolling channel.  Closer than this, I think.   How will driverless vehicles effect/change this?

Nissan will invite Google into its cars’ dashboards starting in 2021 By Ronan Glon in Digitaltrends

Nissan and its major partners, Renault and Mitsubishi, have turned to Google for help in developing a brand-new infotainment system. The yet-unnamed software will begin booting up in dashboards all around the world in 2021 and help the Alliance reach its goal of building more connected vehicles by 2022. …. "

Can AI Fix Disaster Relief?

Visuals are interesting here in the linked article below.  Another example of where there needs to be strong, real-time collaboration with human interactions.

Disaster Relief Is Dangerously Broken. Can AI Fix It? 
By Katharine Schwab in FastCompany

The use of artificial intelligence in disaster relief is gaining favor as weather-related catastrophes grow in frequency and severity. For example, a startup founded by Stanford University's Ahmad Wani has launched a machine learning platform to help cities respond to floods with specialized maps that update in real time so emergency crews can determine where aid is most needed. Wani said a key challenge was enabling rapid, city-wide analysis of structural engineering to better predict damage. The Flood Concern risk map was based on an earlier algorithm that digests building construction and retrofitting data, integrated with information on building materials and surrounding soil properties, to predict earthquake damage. Flood Concern crunches vast data volumes based on water-flow physics, previous flood data, and satellite imagery to approximate water depth, direction, and speed and localize areas at most risk; demographic data is layered atop the prediction so emergency planners can anticipate areas with the most likely at-risk residents. .... " 

Which Data Science Project?

We  dealt with exactly this, with AI projects and with and any new tech projects.    Below article very nicely put piece worth reading.    Even more straight forwardly put:  Start simply, where you have data, know your goals, can define current process and measures.   Increase credibility to leverage new projects.

How to Decide Which Data Science Projects to Pursue   By Hilary Mason in the HBR

In 2018, every organization has a data strategy. But what makes a great one?

We all know what failure looks like. Resources are invested, teams are formed, time goes by — but nothing comes of it. No one can necessarily say why; it’s always Someone Else’s Fault.

It’s harder to tell the difference between a modest success and excellence. Indeed, in data science they can they look very similar for perhaps a year.  After several years, though, an excellent strategy will yield orders of magnitude more valuable results.

Both mediocre and excellent strategies begin with a series of experiments and investments leading to data projects. After a few years, some of these projects work out and are on their way to production.

In the mediocre strategy, one or two of these projects may even have a clear ROI for the business. Typically, these projects will be some kind of automation for cost savings, or applying machine learning to an existing process to improve its efficiency or performance. This looks a lot like success, and it may suffice, but it’s missing out on the unique advantages of an excellent data strategy.

In an excellent strategy, more data projects have worked out, and they were surprisingly cost-effective to develop. Further, the process of building the first few projects inspires new project ideas. In an excellent strategy, the projects will include automation and efficiency and performance improvements, but they will also include projects and ideas for new revenue generation and entirely new businesses driven by your unique data assets. The data teams work well together, build on each other’s work, and collaborate smoothly with their business partners. There’s a clear vision of what the machine-learning driven future of the business can look like, and everyone is working together to achieve it.  .... "

Digital Health Ecosystems in Japan

We spent sometime trying to understand Japan's needs, and noted their particular emphasis on eldercare solutions.  Impressive work in robotic solutions:

Building digital ecosystems in Japan  From McKinsey.

Two Merck Healthcare digital specialists explain their company’s transformation and the impact it has had on patients.... " 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Smart Connected Consumer Products

A topic we often worked on in in the innovation center, excellent infographic overview when connected
to the smart city.  Smart at all sorts of levels.  (full clickable graphic at the link)

Reimagining Smart Cities with the Arrival of Smart Connected Consumer Products  Posted by Aarti Sharma in IOT Central

We are fast moving towards a future where cities will feature hundreds and thousands of smart connected objects, talking to each other, exchanging and producing meaningful data and insights, basically reshaping the urban landscape into intelligent and autonomous systems. Internet of Things will be at the heart of this technological transformation, as sensors and digital tags will find their way into various physical city infrastructure, monitoring traffic, weather, crime and even rat infestations! However, it’s not just hardware IoT and sensors that will provide city planners and authorities to gain more visibility into the working and management of a city. Smart connected products or ordinary consumer products tagged with digital ID’s and digital twins can open up new dimensions in how we imagine Smart Cities to function.

For the sake of painting a picture of the role of connected products within Smart Cities, let’s consider a pharmaceutical company supplying critical drugs to a city. Enabling every drug product at batch and serial item level to have a digital twin of its physical self will allow for exchange of product related data to happen between manufacturer, the supply chain, the city authorities, end consumers and the products themselves. Read on to see how the pharmaceutical industry could look like in the not so distant future.     ....   "  (excerpt, much more at the link)  .... ' 

Reducing Customer Friction

Nicely put.   Would add, personalized for this particular customer ....  Read the whole thing

How to Reduce Friction    By Shep Hyken

As most of you (hopefully know), my latest book, The Convenience Revolution, is all about making the customer experience as frictionless as possible. In the book, there are six Convenience Principles with plenty of examples, and many of our followers have read my articles and watched my videos on these powerful concepts. The other day I was interviewed and asked, “How does one get started?”
My flippant answer could have been, “Read the book and find out,” but instead I gave an answer that was simple and applicable to any type and any size business. Now, this is a very basic explanation of the process. It’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s where you want to start.  : ... ' 

Benford's Law and Data Science

Used it from the very beginning in enterprise data science.  well worth understanding,  especially for anomaly cases in finance or research fraud.   Even in finance we found relatively few people that had heard of it or how to use it.  Good, mostly non technical overview.

What is Benford’s Law and why is it important for data science?

By Tirthajyoti Sarkar
Sr. Principal Engineer | Ph.D. in EE (U. of Iilinois)| AI/ML certification (Stanford, MIT) | Data science author | Open-source contributor| AI in Simulations

We discuss a little-known gem for data analytics — Benford’s law, which tells us about expected distribution of significant digits in a diverse set of naturally occurring datasets and how this can be used for anomaly or fraud detection in scientific or technical publications.

We all know about the Normal distribution and its ubiquity in all kind of natural phenomena or observations. But there is another law of numbers which does not get much attention but pops up everywhere — from nations’ population to stock market volumes to the domain of universal physical constants.

It is called “Benford’s Law”. In this article, we will discuss what it is, and why it is important for data science. 

What is Benford’s law?

Benford’s Law, also known as the Law of First Digits or the Phenomenon of Significant Digits, is the finding that the first digits (or numerals to be exact) of the numbers found in series of records of the most varied sources do not display a uniform distribution, but rather are arranged in such a way that the digit “1” is the most frequent, followed by “2”, “3”, and so in a successively decreasing manner down to “9”.  ... " 

Bob Herbold on Tech Talent

My former boss makes the case about retaining tech talent.  Link to interview

Former Microsoft COO Concerned About US Universities vs. China: ‘The Big Risk for Tech is Talent’

Former Microsoft COO Bob Herbold discussed in an interview (below) the fact that computer science and engineering schools are now competing strongly with US universities. He says that even though the US tech sector continues to be strong, the big risk is talent and China has significantly strengthened their universities:

We (the US tech sector) continue to be strong, but the big risk is talent, frankly. What’s happening in China is that they are pouring a ton of money into these massive research centers. Secondly, they significantly strengthened their universities. So today, if you rank the top ten engineering schools in the world, such as U.S. News & World Report just did, you get five of them basically in Asia which is a real surprise compared to ten years ago.   ... "

Shared Machine Learning Mistakes

You can always learn from mistakes.   Especially in the case of technologies where the methods are still evolving.   And what is the inherent risk involved in wrong answers?  And naturally any ML project integrates several technologies.  Also good to see multiple cases and industries.

Machine learning lessons: 5 companies share their mistakes
Machine learning can also go terribly wrong, making you regret that enthusiastic rush to adopt
Bob Violino By Bob Violino
Contributing Writer, InfoWorld

Machine learning is one of those hot technology categories that has lots of business and technology executives scrambling to see how their organizations can get in on the action. Done right, machine learning can help you create more effective sales and marketing campaigns, improve financial models, more easily detect fraud, and enhance predictive maintenance of equipment—to name a few.

But machine learning can also go terribly wrong, making you regret that enthusiastic rush to adopt. Here are five ways machine learning can go wrong, based on the actual experience of real companies that have adopted it. They’ve shared their lessons so you can avoid the same failures. ... " 

Ford Working on Robot Delivery

More self driving delivery.   Ford it seems is a new player.  The customer process of retrieving goods from a driverless vehicle should be interesting.  But likely inevitable.

Ford teaming up with Walmart and Postmates on robot deliveries
Self-driving vehicles delivering groceries in Miami
By Andrew J. Hawkins   @andyjayhawk

Ford is joining forces with Walmart and Postmates to create a grocery delivery service using self-driving vehicles in Miami, the companies announced Wednesday.

Ford has been using Miami as a test bed for its self-driving vehicles since earlier this year. And more recently, the auto giant joined with Postmates to see how people ordering takeout food would interact with an autonomous delivery van.

Now Ford is moving to the next stage: grocery delivery. The company says it will experiment with different vehicle types, as well as modifications to those vehicles needed to keep perishable food items fresh. It will also experiment with a variety of scenarios, such as multiple deliveries on one trip and the user experience of retrieving delivery items from a fully driverless vehicle. ... " 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New Technology Enabling Alibaba to Sell $30.8 Billion

Impressive combination of tech being used to provide sales volume.   AI, Blockchain, Cloud,  Cooling, Supply Chain, Energy consumption  ...  So leading edge tech is not all hype, given the right problem.

" ... The technology enabling Alibaba to sell $30.8 billion in Double 11 goods ... From artificial intelligence to datacentre cooling, machine learning, and blockchain, Alibaba used new technology to surpass its record 11.11 Global Shopping Festival sales figure set last year by 45.3 billion yuan.  ... 

The Technology Enabling Alibaba to Sell $30.8B in Double 11 Goods
in ZDNet    by Asha McLean via CACM

Alibaba used artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other technologies to rack up $30.8 billion in gross merchandise volume through its 24-hour Global Shopping Festival on November 11 (11/11, or “double eleven”). The company employed AI to enhance the shopping experience for buyers and sellers, and pushed the envelope of its cloud infrastructure to process a high volume of transactions. Alibaba optimized the performance of the global Internet data centers (IDCs) hosting its online stores with the DC Brain intelligent operating platform, which uses machine learning to forecast electrical consumption and power usage effectiveness for each IDC in real time, controlling each to lower overall energy consumption. Also used by Chinese shoppers was Mobile Taobao, a global tracking system app that uses the Internet of Things and blockchain to confirm products bought by consumers via dual authentication and two-way encryption. The app tracks the real-time location of items through location-based services and global positioning systems.  .... "

Here Come the New Neural Sticks

This was brought up before, but the idea seems to have advanced.    A trained 'stick' that contains the AI needed for Edge applications.   Faster now it implies to deliver the network needed.  Somewhat narrow?  Like they said for Drones and IOT.    Or say if you wanted packaging to be smart? I like the direction.

Intel Aims to Simplify AI with ‘Neural Stick’ Update   By Alex Woodie in Datanami

Intel today unveiled an upgraded Neural Compute Stick that it claims will dramatically simplify the roll-out of neural network inference applications in drones, IoT, and edge devices.

It may look like a standard USB thumb drive, but the Neural Computer Stick 2 (NCS2) that Intel unveiled today at its AI conference in Beijing is much more than that. In fact, the little device boasts a Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU) manufactured by Intel’s subsidiary Movidius, which powers a neural network used for predictive applications.

Intel’s NCS devices are designed to simplify the roll-out of AI technologies in edge devices. A data scientist equipped with a laptop can convert pre-trained deep learning models onto the NCS device, which plugs into any standard USB 3.0 port.

The NCS is designed primarily (but not solely) for computer vision and related applications. The neural network running in the NCS enable developers to build applications that can identify and classify objects at a high level of accuracy.  

Intel says that since it launched the original NCS in 2017, more than 10,000 developers have used the technology — along with the associated Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit — to build AI applications that tackle real world challenges.  ... " 

Report on Watson Health

Did IBM overhype Watson Health's AI promise?
IBM's Watson Health division has been under fire for not delivering on its promise to use AI to enable smarter, more personalized medicine. But IBM officials maintain that hospitals are seeing benefits.  ... "
             By Lucas Mearian  in ComputerWorld

Microsoft Buys XOXCO for Chatbot Design

Last year saw a live demo of Microsoft quickly building a chatbot from the framework of a FAQ data base in Azure.  Was impressive.  But of course doing this well is still some task,  engineering the design of behavior, needs and interaction.   Now they are diving deeper.  Certainly Chatbots are the most understandable implementation of 'AI',  so this can be a good entry point for much more

 Microsoft buys chatbot company to juice its AI projects
The tech giant wants to help businesses leverage artificial intelligence.

By Rachel England, @rachel_england in Engadget

Research company Gartner believes that by 2020, conversational AI -- or chat bots -- will be the predominant go-to for customer support in large organizations. So if you've got a question or a problem, chances are you'll be talking to a computer about it. Tech companies will need to make sure their capabilities are on point, then, which is likely why Microsoft has just acquired software design and development studio XOXCO.... " 

Botkit Creator XOXCO.  Created https://howdy.ai/   for Slack.

Overview of Google Home Assistant Ecosystem

Good overview, largely non technical.   Good point about motivation of the typical consumer.  But it may ultimately lead to expectations that this is now a common part of the typical home.    I have both Alexa and Google systems in place and continue to look at how the system supports the intelligence needed in the home.

The Google Assistant smart home ecosystem is slowly starting to take shape    Can the Home Hub be part of a multiplier effect?
By Dieter Bohn      @backlon  in theVerge

At an event in San Francisco yesterday, Google gave the press a tour of a smart home featuring its Google Assistant products. Notably, the new Google Home Hub was there. It was, in many ways, pretty typical: here’s how you can turn on the lights, command a TV to play Stranger Things on Netflix (it’s always Stranger Things on Netflix), and start or stop a Roomba. But Google also showed off a handful of new features for both Assistant and its Google Home products.

On their own, none of these new features are particularly revolutionary. Taken together, they certainly don’t add up to a compelling case for why somebody who is already enmeshed in Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem should switch over. What they did do, however, was begin to present a coherent idea of how Google thinks its Assistant should work in a smart home and across its own products. .... " 

See also Google's Holiday oriented positioning of the Google Assistant :

Create your smart home for the holidays with the Google Assistant
By Lilian Rincon
Product Management Director, Google Assistant

Published Nov 14, 2018  ... "

Statistics for Machine Learning Models

Nicely done look at the problem, by the always  useful Jason Brownlee.   Follow his writing subscribe to his tutorials.

 Statistics for Evaluating Machine Learning Models  by Jason Brownlee  

Tom Mitchell’s classic 1997 book “Machine Learning” provides a chapter dedicated to statistical methods for evaluating machine learning models.

Statistics provides an important set of tools used at each step of a machine learning project. A practitioner cannot effectively evaluate the skill of a machine learning model without using statistical methods. Unfortunately, statistics is an area that is foreign to most developers and computer science graduates. This makes the chapter in Mitchell’s seminal machine learning text an important, if not required, reading by practitioners.

In this post, you will discover statistical methods recommended by Mitchel to evaluate and compare machine learning models. .. " 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wal-Mart's In-store AI Lab

Useful to do this in a real operating store.   Many of details of  technology and analytics delivery are best seen in the messy operating world of retail.  We tried to quickly move our laboratory tests to real stores.   Also makes sure you get it right for both associates and shoppers and physical context.   The 'low stocks on shelves' detection was a common challenge.

Walmart puts AI to the test in an in-store lab    by Tom Ryan in Retailwire with expert comment.

Walmart is opening a laboratory inside a small Walmart in Levittown, NY to test artificial intelligence (AI) applications for both associates and shoppers.

The Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL), according to TechCrunch, will see how AI can be used to identify low stocks on shelves, when items are on the wrong shelf and spillages. Walmart is also looking for a better understanding of when shopping carts are running low near the store’s entrance, according to the report. 

Hardware, software and other equipment have been installed, but the lab is not yet operational. IRL is part of Walmart’s incubator Store No. 8. and being led by the Kepler Project. The Kepler team, according to past reports, is also testing computer vision and cashier-less technologies similar to the Amazon Go experience.

In late October, Sam’s Club said it was opening a cashier-less concept in Dallas that enables shoppers to use its Now app to not only pay for purchases, but access smart shopping lists, store maps and augmented reality tech to access product information. Like IRL, some features support store operations.   ... " 

Coaching Networks: Humanity's Fighting Chance

The recent look at the concept of the Nudge Theory and Nudge Engines led me to a reference about 'Coaching Networks'.  Term was new to me.   Can it be that AI itself will keep us from being automated out of job?  Seems to be the premise.  Like the idea.  Examining.

Coaching Networks / AI
Coaching Networks: Humanity’s Fighting Chance
Artificial intelligence is about to give humanity a fighting chance to win the race against automation.
By Gordon Ritter, Founder + General Partner

" ... We don’t view artificial intelligence as a threat that replaces us, but as an asset that helps us unlock our full potential as people. Our prediction: the consumer internet is about to radically transform into a framework that rescues us from passive addiction and places human creativity, productivity, and brilliance firmly at the forefront of the future.  ... " 

Watson and VMWare

Some really technical points being made about the ease of constructing and maintaining virtual architectures. How much does this contribute to architectures for intelligence?  To the extend that these will be complex, need to be delivered broadly and easy to maintain in context. 

IBM and VMware Advance Partnership to Accelerate Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Adoption and Digital Transformation    By GlobeNewswire,   

More than 1,700 global businesses, including Banca Carige and CNH Industrial adopt IBM Cloud and Services for VMware solutions

BARCELONA, Spain, Nov. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today at VMworld® Europe 2018, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW) announced new offerings to help accelerate enterprise hybrid cloud adoption. This includes a new IBM Services offering to help migrate and extend mission-critical VMware workloads to the IBM Cloud, and new integrations to help enterprises to modernize applications with Kubernetes and containers.

To date, the IBM and VMware partnership has helped more than 1,700 enterprises including Banca Carige and CNH Industrial adopt IBM Cloud for VMware solutions.

According to research from Ovum, while 20 percent of business processes have already moved to the cloud, 80 percent of mission-critical workloads and sensitive data are still running on-premises because of performance and regulatory requirements [1]. Businesses need an open, hybrid cloud approach to developing, running and deploying applications in a multi-cloud environment. IBM and VMware are delivering new solutions to help enterprises accelerate hybrid cloud adoption without incurring the cost and risk typically associated with retooling operations, re-architecting applications and re-designing security policies.

As part of today's news, IBM is enabling a fully automated, highly available managed global cloud architecture for mission-critical VMware workloads designed to help enterprises prevent downtime for cloud applications and automate failovers within an IBM Cloud region. This architecture will be managed by IBM Services and can be deployed across IBM Cloud's 18 availability zones in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific. ... " 

7-Eleven Implements Scan and Go

Yet another example of the No-Checkout concept, now being tested at some 7-Eleven convenience stores.  As it suggests this creates not so much a clear convenience advantage,  but a strong brand interest for these stores.  Where one often expects to wait.   Will  the idea soon take over retail as it becomes an expectation? The adoption seems to be speeding up.

7-Eleven to Launch Scan-and-Go at 14 Dallas Stores 
USA Today  By Zlati Meyer

7-Eleven is rolling out a scan-and-go transaction option at 14 stores in Dallas, with a planned expansion to other U.S. cities next year. The Scan & Pay feature is available for customers using the chain's smartphone app, allowing them to scan in their intended purchases as they walk through the store. Scan & Pay also ties into the 7Rewards loyalty program, so customers can learn about deals and promotions. Emory University's Ryan Hamilton said the addition of scan-and-go technology is a "major branding advantage" that could make more consumers favor 7-Eleven over other convenience stores, since "The biggest complaint about retail shopping is waiting in line and checking out." ... "

Monday, November 12, 2018

AI for Chemical Reaction Predictions

CSIG (Cognitive Systems Institute Group) Talk — Nov 15, 2018 - 10:30 AM ET
Talk Title: Artificial Intelligence for Chemical Reaction Predictions - IBM RXN for Chemistry 

Speaker: Dr. Teodoro Laino, IBM Research - Zurich   10:30-11am US Eastern 

Abstract: Organic synthesis is one of the key stumbling blocks in medicinal chemistry. A necessary yet unsolved step in planning synthesis is solving the forward problem: given  reactants and reagents, predict the products. We treat reaction prediction as a machine translation problem between SMILES strings of reactants-reagents and the products. We show  that a multi-head attention MolecularTransformer model outperforms all algorithms in the literature, achieving a top-I accuracy above 90% on a Common benchmark dataset. Our  algorithm requires no handcrafted rules, and accurately predicts subtle chemical transformations. Crucially, our model can accurately estimate its own uncertainty, with an uncertainty  score that is 89% accurate in terms of classifying whether a prediction is correct. I will present the underlying model as well as the free online platform for reaction predictions, named  IBM RXN for chemistry, http://rxn.res.ibm.com 

Bio: Teodoro Laino received his degree in theoretical chemistry in 2001 (Universityof Pisa and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa) and the doctorate in 2006 in computational  chemistry at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy. His doctoral thesis, entitled "Multi-Grid QM/ MM Approaches in ab initio Molecular Dynamics" was supervised by Prof. Dr.  Michele Parrinello. From 2006 to 2008, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the research group of Prof. Dr. Jürg Hutter at the University of Zurich, where he developed  algorithms for ab initio and classical molecular dynamics simulations. Since 2008, he has been working in the department of Cognitive Computing and Industry Solutions at the IBM  Research - Zurich Laboratory (ZRL). The focus of his research is on complex molecular dynamics simulations for industrial-related problems (energy storage, life sciences and nano-  electronics) and on the application of machine learning/artificial intelligence technologies to chemistry and materials science problems. 

Zoom meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/7371462221; Zoom Cailin: (415) 762-9988 or (646) 568-7788 Meeting id 7371462221 
Zoom International Numbers: https://zoom.us/zoomconference 
Check http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/for recordings & slides, and for any date & time changes 
Join Linkedin Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/6729452/ (Cognitive Systems Institute) to receive notifications 
Thu, Nov 15, 10:30am US Eastern https://zoom.us/j/7371462221 

More Details Here : http://cognitive-science.infb/commun;ty/weekly-update   (slides and recording will be posted here)    @sumalaikä 

 @teodorolaino of @IBMResearch on #ArtificialIntelligence for Chemical Reaction Predictions - IBM RXN for Chemistry in weekly talk series: cognitive-science.info/community/week…  #CSIGnews #opentechai #issip #MachineLearning  @KarolynSchalk @mattganis

Kroger Making Cinci a High Tech Hub

Good information and details here.  Have followed Kroger's efforts since we collaborated with our innovation center. Very impressed at what Kroger is doing now.   I make it a point to visit every demonstration store and report on the tech here.  My clients often comment on what is going on.  Consider also the University centers here as well.  Keep it moving!

 ... If anyone wants to collaborate with me and my blog in helping drive the hub forward,  connect with me on Linkedin and lets talk. ... Franz Dill

Kroger Is Intent on Making Cincinnati a True Tech Hub    By Randy Hofbauer -  in Progressive Grocer

The Kroger Co.'s technology arm is partnering with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber to attract top technology talent from across the globe and turn the city into a true tech hub.

The effort begins with CincyisIT.com, which is powered by Kroger Technology. The portal will reach new markets through digital outreach, national conferences, career fairs and special events, all while introducing a new audience to Kroger's technology arm and businesses throughout the Cincinnati area.

"CincyisIT.com invites technology talent from our city and around the world to explore career opportunities, engage with regional training events and discover our vibrant community," said Denise Haskamp, manager of human resources for Kroger Technology. "Kroger Technology is committed to partnering with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber through exciting initiatives like this program to continue designing a region with endless opportunities."

Kroger has been furthering its technological prowess and working hard to put Cincinnati on the map as a major tech hub. Recently, it announced a planned innovation lab within the University of Cincinnati’s 1819 Innovation Hub. Housed within the Uptown Innovation Corridor, the 1819 Innovation Hub serves as a “beacon of community innovation and impact in partnership with higher education,” and is claimed to be the region’s newest destination for “thinking, making, doing, discovery and delivery.” ... "  ... ' 

Amazon and Apple Collaborate in Retail?

The two teaming up could further yet create a yet more powerful retail power.  Plus consider the deeper AI capabilities in combination.   Or are the naturally just competitors?

Amazon and Apple get co-opetitive
by Matthew Stern in Retailwire  more detail and expert retail opinion at the link.

More Apple products are getting the stamp of approval from Amazon, which will officially enable the sale of a range of new devices on-site from the tech brand.

Amazon is approving the sale of the latest iPad Pro, iPhone and Apple Watch models by authorized resellers rather than just through the third-party marketplace, according to TechCrunch. Independent sellers will, in fact, have their listings removed. Amazon already allows the official sale of some products, such as laptops and Beats headphones.

The change in the trade partner relationship raises questions about the extent to which Amazon considers Apple to be a competitor and what Amazon’s long-term plan might be for the device market. The two companies have been involved in an ongoing push/pull over their competitive devices, with Amazon sometimes removing Apple products from its site or Apple refusing to play ball with Amazon in some other manner.  .... "    

SAP Acquires Qualtrics

Long time user of SAP in our enterprise.  Note the $8 Billion cost, seems quite steep.  I see them as a Customer Feedback Platform, see also here for comparison to other players.  In things of the complexity of SAP it is all about the customer experience, and especially as new tech is blended in.

 SAP Aquiries Qualtrics, Propel It Forward In The AOC?

By Faith Adams, Analyst,    Forrester

Yesterday, SAP announced that it is acquiring Qualtrics for a hefty $8 billion in cash.  https://www.qualtrics.com/

For SAP, this does make some sense. SAP is often perceived as being a legacy provider that struggles to play in the consumer space, and this acquisition may be able to help it make a larger data play. It may also enable SAP to close the loop when it comes to some of the VoC gaps in its C/4HANA CX suite that was announced earlier this year. But all of this is to be determined.  ... " 

Where are Voice Assistants Succeeding?

Considerable interesting statistics in this article.  What skills can drive new behaviors?  New or just a more efficient channel and location based play?

Voice tech like Alexa and Siri hasn’t found its true calling yet: Inside the voice assistant ‘revolution’
Until we invent something that wouldn’t be possible without voice, we’re just repurposing online content for our ears. 

By Rani Molla   @ranimolla in ReCode ..."

Dynamic Programming

We did lots of work in this space for certain kinds of business problems, following some new developments.   This kind of problem could in the future be addressed by Quantum Computing.   Technical:

Prof Patrick H. Madden  SUNY Binghamton   CSD  pmadden@acm.org, explanatory slides from talk last year:

and an introductory article that is unconnected with the above:

Dynamic Programming vs Divide-and-Conquer  Or Divide-and-Conquer on Steroids

In this article I’m trying to explain the difference/similarities between dynamic programing and divide and conquer approaches based on two examples: binary search and minimum edit distance (Levenshtein distance).

The Problem
When I started to learn algorithms it was hard for me to understand the main idea of dynamic programming (DP) and how it is different from divide-and-conquer (DC) approach. When it gets to comparing those two paradigms usually Fibonacci function comes to the rescue as great example. But when we’re trying to solve the same problem using both DP and DC approaches to explain each of them, it feels for me like we may lose valuable detail that might help to catch the difference faster. And these detail tells us that each technique serves best for different types of problems.

I’m still in the process of understanding DP and DC difference and I can’t say that I’ve fully grasped the concepts so far. But I hope this article will shed some extra light and help you to do another step of learning such valuable algorithm paradigms as dynamic programming and divide-and-conquer. ... 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Nudge Theory Now delivered by a Nudge Engine

First the Nudge Theory, now a Nudge engine to make you notice it. Calibrating the use, timing and strength of the nudge may be the most important thing to to figure out.  If you have resources, there should be better ways to efficiently use them.   And better to do that all along the process than just at the end.   How will people used to typical management process react?  I even recall some of the softest 'informational' nudges, like of MS Paperclip being rejected.

After two years in stealth mode, the former head of HR at Google reveals his new startup  By Simone Stolzoff in Quartz

" ... In a blog post,   Bock described Humu’s flagship product, called Nudge Engine. It’s an app that uses behavioral science and machine learning to deliver workers personalized “nudges” throughout the workday. Nudges can be simple reminders to thank a coworker who has been doing a good job or to seek out the opinion of a quieter team member during a meeting.

Though the word “nudge” might have a soft connotation, the theory that underlies Humu’s technology comes from hard science. Professor Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in economics last year for his research on “nudge theory,” which proved that small prompts can have a big impact on people’s behaviors. ...  " 

Block Chain Will Break Big Tech Hold on AI?

Seen things akin to this proposed.   And push backs that just a better database system could do the same thing.   Which is correct?  The article does not make it very clear.

 How the Blockchain Could Break Big Tech’s Hold on A.I.

Ben Goertzel, the chief scientist at Hanson Robotics, with the humanoid robot Sophia — an alternative to Amazon’s Alexa — in the Hong Kong office of SingularityNET, where he is chief executive. He wants Sophia to reach out to other artificial intelligence providers if she can’t find answers to users’ questions.  By Nathaniel Popper in the NYT, limited access, subscription.

SAN FRANCISCO — Pairing artificial intelligence and the blockchain might be what you would expect from a scammer looking to make a quick buck in 2018.

The two concepts, after all, are two of the most buzzed about and least understood ideas in the tech universe.

And the blockchain, the database design introduced by Bitcoin, has lately been the most popular route for anyone looking to raise money for an idea that sounds too good to be true.

Despite how easy the combination is to mock, the idea of applying the blockchain to artificial intelligence is attracting a growing roster of serious entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, many of them with impressive academic credentials.

Dawn Song, a computer science professor at the University of California, and Ben Goertzel, the chief scientist at Hanson Robotics, have been among the big names arguing that the blockchain could be a crucial way to push back against some of the most worrying trends facing the field of artificial intelligence.

Many A.I. experts are concerned that Facebook, Google and a few other big companies are hoarding talent in the field. The internet giants also control the massive troves of online data that are necessary to train and refine the best machine learning programs.

Professor Song, Dr. Goertzel and other entrepreneurs say they believe the blockchain could encourage a broader distribution of the data and algorithms that will determine the future development of artificial intelligence.    ... "

How, Where is Machine Learning Evolving?

We were long used to analytics staying static in  method and application.   Well thats not the case, at least not yet.   Some good comments here in this excerpt:

Four ways machine learning is evolving, according to Facebook's AI engineering chief
Yangqing Jia, director of engineering for Facebook's AI platform team, on the changing field of machine learning.    By Nick Heath in TechRepublic

Machine learning is slowly changing the world — helping cars to "see" the world around them and virtual assistants to understand our questions and commands.

Driving forward machine-learning research are companies like Facebook, Google and Baidu — each of which are identifying new applications for the technology.

But how is the field of machine learning changing and what factors are shaping its future direction?

Yangqing Jia, director of engineering for Facebook's AI platform team, spoke about the changing nature of the field at the recent AI Conference presented by O'Reilly and Intel AI in London.

Training datasets are getting too big for humans to handle

In supervised learning, the system learns by example, typically by analyzing labelled data, for example, photos annotated to indicate whether they contain a cat.

The size of training datasets is often massive and continues to grow, with Facebook recently announcing it had compiled 3.5 billion public images from Instagram, labelling each image using attached hashtags.

"Data becomes a super important part in this AI ecosystem," said Jia.

"We know that lately, due to the internet era, we have a huge amount of data. That gives us a mass of data we can deal with."

The difficulty when datasets stretch to billions of images or videos is that manually labelling each one becomes too expensive and time-consuming.

"Data has become a gold mine but can we actually mine gold out of it?" said Jia.  ... "

Dinner with Algorithms

 A broad at how Amazon has changed the playing field, and will continue to do so, and what the reaction should be for CPG.

Dinner with Algorithms: Competing in the Amazon Era
By Guru Hariharan, Boomerang Commerce  in Consumergoods.

For consumer goods manufacturers, it is hard to understate the growing importance of e-commerce — especially Amazon.

In 2017, U.S. e-commerce grew by 16%, and Amazon represented over 70% of that growth. It doesn’t just stop there: Consumers are increasingly using data like reviews and ratings available on e-commerce sites to make decisions on what to buy in a physical store. 

This influence of e-commerce on the brick-and-mortar business presents a huge challenge for senior leaders of consumer packaged goods companies. There is a growing need for CPGs to transition their organizations from systems and processes designed for the brick-and-mortar era to smarter, technology-driven platforms designed for e-commerce. Here are the top reasons fueling this need:

1. Measuring online marketing ROI is easier
The way brands spend their advertising and marketing dollars is changing forever. In the world of physical stores, brands could buy an endcap or coupons, TV ads or online ads, but there was no easy way for them to measure their impact or ROI. 

In the world of e-commerce, brands can test a variety of marketing and product positioning techniques and receive real-time data on what works and what doesn’t to drive higher online (and offline) consumption.   ... " (And more in the full article at the link above)  ....

Robert Epstein on Creativity and Innovation

Epstein’s talk on creativity and innovation at the Cambridge Forum on Executive Leadership was one of the most exciting I’ve seen in years."

via D. L. Holland, Vice President, Group Human Resources, Bayer Corporation

Robert Epstein is passionate about advancing the behavioral sciences and helping people flourish. Scroll down to learn about his recent projects, or click left for specific topics. To learn about his recent research on the Search Suggestion Effect (SSE), the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME), and other new types of online influence .... 

To follow Dr. Epstein on Twitter, click here: @DrREpstein. ... 

Oil and Gas Operating Models

Mckinsey writes on petrochemical business process.

Technological change is poised to disrupt the drilling and completion business while introducing new ways of working. .... 

Sent from McKinsey Insights, available in the App Store and Play Store....

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Bixby Dev Tool Private Beta Annoncement

Have now particpated in several betas and Dev efforts for assistants.    Here some basics and links to application for Samsung Bixby.   Unclear how broadly such developments could be applied to smart home.  Am most interested  in how such development can integrate with the underlying device architecture, and integrate with other skills to increase the overall intelligence of human augmentation.    Also looking for potential integration with learned and pre established knowledge graphs.

Samsung Development.
Are you interested in the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Do you want to add voice assistance to your app, to simplify usage or increase productivity? Maybe you’re an early adopter who has a keen interest in new technologies? If so, submit an application to join the Bixby Developer Program Private Beta. Selected developers will receive access to the Bixby 2.0 developer portal, documentation, and the IDE.

The Bixby AI assistant:
Tracks your to-do list and presents what you need. 
Identifies landmarks and products that you capture with the device camera.
Understands you when you speak naturally.
Translate foreign languages.
Learns and adapts to you. .... 

For more details about Bixby features, see http://www.samsung.com/us/explore/bixby/overview/?redir=*Bixby*

For an introduction to using Bixby, see http://www.samsung.com/us/support/answer/ANS00062929/
 .... "

If anyone has thoughts on this, or would like to collaborate on such an investigation contact me. Via comments or Linkedin. 

Is it AI?

In Technology Review, a good, but still incomplete,  hand drawn,  decision tree to determine if something is 'AI'.    Covers the basics.   Good start.  Click through for the chart.

Is this AI?  We drew you a flowchart to work it out
The definition of artificial intelligence is constantly evolving, and the term often gets mangled, so we are here to help.     by Karen Hao   

What is AI, exactly? The question may seem basic, but the answer is kind of complicated.

In the broadest sense, AI refers to machines that can learn, reason, and act for themselves. They can make their own decisions when faced with new situations, in the same way that humans and animals can.

As it currently stands, the vast majority of the AI advancements and applications you hear about refer to a category of algorithms known as machine learning. These algorithms use statistics to find patterns in massive amounts of data. They then use those patterns to make predictions on things like what shows you might like on Netflix, what you’re saying when you speak to Alexa, or whether you have cancer based on your MRI.  ... " 

Unilever Shopkick and Image reco

Unusual promo that includes image recognition.

Suave Promotion Brings Image Recognition to Walmart   By CGT Staff 

Unilever’s Suave brand is promoting a Veteran’s Day cause program at Walmart using new 2D image recognition technology shopper rewards app Shopkick.

From Oct. 14 to Nov. 18, Suave is donating $1 to the nonprofit Fisher House Foundation for every limited-edition Suave package purchased. The brand’s goal is to raise $1 million.

Shopkick members can use the app to interact with the Fisher House “Helping Military Families” logo on Suave’s promotional packaging to receive “kicks” — the Shopkick program’s rewards currency.

In addition, Shopkick will donate 10% of the overall campaign budget to Fisher House, which provides access to a home-away-from-home (at no cost) for the loved ones of hospitalized veterans and active military personnel.

“2D image recognition has benefits for both brands and consumers,” said Shopkick’s chief executive officer Adam Sand. “Shoppers learn about product and company benefits and brands bring attention to cool campaigns, new product or packaging and what makes them unique.” ... " 

To Fork or not to Fork? Whats a Fork?

MIT's Tech Review is now running  a newsletter summary dealing with Blockchain , worth subscribing to.   From the the latest issue.  So you can vote on which version (Fork) of the software is 'best' in some way.  At a pretty high level, like which is most secure?

Blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and why they matter  

11.08: You can go your own way.

Welcome to Chain Letter! Great to have you. Here’s what’s new in the world of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. 

To fork or not to fork. If, every now and then, you forget that cryptocurrency is pretty weird, there’s nothing like a contentious hard fork to serve as a reminder. If there is disagreement within a blockchain network about a software upgrade, those who object can keep running the old chain after the upgrade, creating two separate currencies. But as weird as it is, it somehow seems appropriate that Bitcoin Cash, the product of last year’s most high-profile Bitcoin hard fork, is now facing a potential hard fork of its own. The real prospect of a blockchain split, which would happen November 15, has major players in the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem taking sides. ... "

So could I fork on the latest accounting software to get a better deal?   Scary.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Statistical Engineering Framework for Solving Large, Complex, Unstructured Problems

I got this late, I think you can still attend, I plan to ...

 ... On November 13, there will be a Chapter Meeting of the American Statistical Association Cincinnati Chapter (you do not need to be a member to attend!) at P&G's Mason Business Center (8700 Mason Montgomery Rd, Mason, OH 45040) from 2pm to 4 pm. There will be a talk given on Statistical Engineering by Allison Jones-Farmer (Van Andel Professor of Business Analytics & Professor, Farmer School of Business, Miami University) and William A. Brenneman (Research Fellow and Global Statistics Discipline Leader, Data and Modeling Sciences, Procter & Gamble Company). The abstract is provided below.

If you plan to attend, please send Jeremy Christman (christman.jc@pg.com) a note so that you can be added to the visitor list at P&G by Novenber 9.  (Send a note ASAP)

The Statistical Engineering Framework for Solving Large, Complex, Unstructured Problems:

More below the fold: 

More on Rival to Amazon Go in Japan

The idea continues to spread.

Amazon Go Has a Real Rival in Japan 
BY Yuji Nakamura; Yuki Furukawa

Tokyo, Japan-based Signpost Corp. has developed a system that could rival Amazon Go in terms of quickly providing consumers with products. The Super Wonder Register system uses cameras and artificial intelligence software to track merchandise purchases, without the need for clerks or cash registers. The system, which Signpost founder Yasushi Kambara said can be installed in any store, has already been deployed in a kiosk on the platform of a train station in Tokyo. Kambara said Signpost plans to install 30,000 systems in Japan by February 2021, including the Wonder Register, a simpler checkout terminal that identifies products using cameras. Said Kambara, "There are already automated highway tolls and turnstiles at train stations. In the same way, we want to automate store registers. That's my dream." ... ' 

Use WiFI to See Behind Walls

An expected privacy ploy.  More presence rather than details?

Using Wi-Fi to 'See' Behind Closed Doors Is Easier than Anyone Thought 
Technology Review

University of California, Santa Barbara researchers have developed a technique to see through walls using ambient Wi-Fi signals and an ordinary smartphone. The team said the new method allows for an unprecedented invasion of privacy, as bad actors using smartphones can localize and track individuals in their homes or offices from outside by leveraging reflections of ambient Wi-Fi transmissions. The system looks for changes in an ordinary Wi-Fi signal that reveal the presence of humans, which can be detected by walking near a room or building several times. The researchers said that "with more than 2 Wi-Fi devices in a regular room, our attack can detect more than 99% of the user presence and movement in each room we have tested."   ... '

Rethinking Training

Good piece in the HBR,   this needs to be done much better than it is.   With emphasis on retaining key knowledge.

Rethinking Training
Willy C. Shih, Howard Rudnick, Coleen Tapen

“When I graduated, I was 56. I was surprised that there were people who were not worried about my age and who believed I was still a valuable member of the workforce. You start to worry when you get close to retirement whether anybody wants to hire you…I was made to feel valued there regardless of what my age was or where I came from. It gave me back my self-confidence after losing my job.” —Darlene Mickelson

"... The conventional wisdom on retraining older workers is they are too old or set in their ways to learn new things and update their skills. We don’t agree. We think this is a narrow view that overlooks the significant value these people can bring to the economy. As a recent report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers suggests, investment in skill development in the United States is largely “front-loaded” during the first 25 years of life, after which public contributions to formal education are substantially smaller. Yet we live in a time when both demographics and the very nature of work are undergoing a dramatic shift. Rapid technological change, automation, globalization, and offshoring all serve to shrink industries and spawn new ones at what feels like an ever-quickening pace. The booming job market and the evolving nature of work are altering the skills American employers need in their employees, and we believe that reskilling should play a vital role in meeting these needs. We should not ignore the tremendous value that older workers can bring. And with life-spans increasing across the globe, many people need or want to continue to work to help fund their eventual retirement or just to stay active.      ... " 

Alexa App on Windows 10

I installed this and it worked well, all the smart home control capabilities work. No harm in installing it, though I don't see using it much.    I don't see that it eliminates Cortana, its still a matter of choice what you use.   Also in the notes below it mentions it cannot control the resident PC, but that will apparently happen soon.   That's when things get interesting, especially if it can work with other Windows Apps. 

Say goodbye to Cortana: An Alexa app is available on all Windows 10 PCs  in DigitalTrends

" ... Unfortunately, only select newer PCs are compatible with hands-free integration which allows for a “Hey, Alexa” phrase to wake the assistant. These include both the Acer Spin 5, HP Pavillion Wave, Acer Aspire 5, and the HP Envy. Everyone else without these PCs can still interact with Alexa manually by starting the app or using a keyboard shortcut.

Alexa on Windows 10 also doesn’t currently allow consumers to directly control their PC, but Amazon notes there are upcoming plans for adding the capabilities in 2019. Additionally, the Alexa Windows 10 app currently doesn’t support video communications or music services like Spotify or Pandora, according to Amazon. .... "

AI, Explain Yourself in Understandable Context

Further, when I see this I always want to add:  Explain Yourself in Context!   Its always needs to be something more than just simply a result.   I like the comment by Prof Ben Shneiderman, of whom I am a fan ...  its not close to consciousness, that is still far away, if ever.

AI, Explain Yourself   By Don Monroe

Communications of the ACM, November 2018, Vol. 61 No. 11, Pages 11-13

Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are taking over a vast array of tasks that previously depended on human expertise and judgment. Often, however, the "reasoning" behind their actions is unclear, and can produce surprising errors or reinforce biased processes. One way to address this issue is to make AI "explainable" to humans—for example, designers who can improve it or let users better know when to trust it. Although the best styles of explanation for different purposes are still being studied, they will profoundly shape how future AI is used.

Some explainable AI, or XAI, has long been familiar, as part of online recommender systems: book purchasers or movie viewers see suggestions for additional selections described as having certain similar attributes, or being chosen by similar users. The stakes are low, however, and occasional misfires are easily ignored, with or without these explanations.

Nonetheless, the choices made by these and other AI systems sometimes defy common sense, showing our faith in them is often an unjustified projection of our own thinking. "The implicit notion that AI somehow is another form of consciousness is very disturbing to me," said Ben Shneiderman, a Distinguished University Professor in the department of computer science and founding director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland. .... "

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Book on Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Though we used it a lot, were always warned it was only useful as a general view, and not to make decisions based on it.

Personality Puzzler: Is There Any Science Behind Myers-Briggs?

Author Merve Emre of Oxford University discusses her new book -- The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Training

Meyers Briggs book The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been widely used by businesses, universities, the military and other organizations for decades to assess personality. But there is very little, if any, science behind it. Merve Emre, associate professor of English at the University of Oxford and fellow at Worcester College, delves into the story behind the test with her new book, The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Training. Developed by a mother-daughter team with no psychological training, the Myers-Briggs test is supposed to indicate how people perceive and process the world around them. Emre recently joined the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on SiriusXM to explain why the test continues to captivate our collective imagination as part of the $2 billion personality testing industry.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows. .... " 

Its all About Immediately

Its all about Immediately.   First time I had heard the 'impatient consumer' mentioned so directly.  But they have a good point there.   We all are increasingly impatient.   They make some good suggestions, but not enough about measuring this now overwhelming impatience.   When does that measure of impatience overwhelm the result?   When does the consumer measurably balk at waiting?  We know we sometimes  want to wait for the 'reveal'.  How can we measure that for purposes of design?    These are questions, they are not necessarily answered well below.

How to help today’s impatient customers on every step of the purchase journey  Sara Kleinberg   Search, Consumer Insights, in Think with Google

When it comes to spending time, everyone wants to spend it wisely. More than ever, people are applying that mantra to how they shop as they look for more ways to get what they want immediately.

Wal-Mart Initiates Associate BYOD

I recall Wal-Mart always had strict policies about foreign devices,  to enforce security.   Makes sense to enforce these in specific purpose Apps.

Will Walmart’s bring your own device policy work for it and its associates?  by Tom Ryan in Retailwire.

Walmart has rolled out a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program that loads its suite of custom-built apps on associate’s smartphones to help them do their jobs on selling floors. Associates also receive a discount on their monthly phone bills.

In a blog entry, Brock McKeel, senior director of digital operations, said sales associates will continue to have access to Walmart’s digital network by checking out a handheld device at the back of the store. An additional “tens of thousands” of more such devices will be added to stores in coming months.

But enabling access to Walmart’s work apps through associates’ smartphones enables them to log in as soon as their shift begins.  .... "

Smart Locks Getting Smarter

Nothing unexpected, but one more piece to add to a smart home.

Schlage's new smart lock lets Amazon into your house
The Connect Smart Deadbolt will sell for $269 as part of the Amazon Key Smart Lock Kit.

By AJ Dellinger, @ajdell  ... "  in Engadget

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Bixby Developer Studio Tool from Samsung

Just saw the presentation on this.   Impressive from what I saw, claims to be able to work intuitively with conversational interactions.   Easy to build new 'skills', reasonable architecture, though it will take some work to see if it is sufficient.   This is far ahead of demos I have seen in the past,  where it was implied that all Samsung devices will have this.  In a conversation I had with a salesperson they told me a refrigerator would use it to be integrated into a smart home.   Note my previous posts here on Bixby and other assistants integrated into the smart home.  Will be taking a much deeper look soon.  Do pass me along any references you might have.

Samsung opens Bixby assistant to developers
It's also launching in five European languages.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas in Engadget

Samsung is widening Bixby's reach in a big way. The company is opening its AI assistant to developers, giving them the power to build their own Bixby-based apps. A Bixby Marketplace will even help developers make money from the intelligent companion. There will be a Bixby Developer Studio tool for writing Bixby-friendly code.  ... "

Process Automation with RPA for Banking

Was just introduced to
    Automation Innovation newsletter from IBM,  See:https://www.ibm.com/automation
    Here is an excerpt from a sample article on RPA in Banking:

How one bank is using RPA to save millions   By Cheryl Wilson

“So far so good. The results we've seen have been pretty positive. We’re aiming, by end of the year, to record about USD 10 million in savings just by automating the processes we’ve identified so far.”  – Luis Benitez, VP, Digital Workplace Strategy, Banco Popular *

When it comes to robotic process automation (RPA), there’s hype around the promise of big, quick, easy ROI. True, there’s been localized success, especially for certain back office processes with lots of repetitive, cut-and-paste-between-systems work. However, with hype comes disappointment. Companies that rushed to install bots, often in isolation, are now rethinking and resetting their approach. They’re taking a more start to finish view of what success really looks like and rethinking what the technology needs to do based on real people doing real work with real outcomes on the line.

With approximately 8,000 employees and 880 branches in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, New York, Chicago and Florida, Banco Popular seems to have avoided the “love at first sight” RPA pitfalls. These pitfalls include seeing RPA as something more than just the tech tool it is -- a tool that needs to be part of an orchestrated and expertise-supported approach.   ... " 

Kinds of Data Scientists

I like the distinction, often useful.  But would add a distinction by problem domain, which often adds a further understanding of data types, sources, resources and restrictions that can be essential.  And a knowledge of ethics can also be domain specific.  Good general and non-technical piece ...

The Kinds of Data Scientist   By Yael Garten in the HBR

In 2012, HBR dubbed data scientist “the sexiest job of the 21st century”. It is also, arguably, the vaguest. To hire the right people for the right roles, it’s important to distinguish between different types of data scientist. There are plenty of different distinctions that one can draw, of course, and any attempt to group data scientists into different buckets is by necessity an oversimplification. Nonetheless, I find it helpful to distinguish between the deliverables they create. One type of data scientist creates output for humans to consume, in the form of product and strategy recommendations. They are decision scientists. The other creates output for machines to consume like models, training data, and algorithms. They are modeling scientists.   .... " 

Gait Recognition in China

Also something we looked at in the lab, was quite accurate in our testing.  Now in some use it appears.

China is now using gait recognition to identify people   By  Michael Grothaus in Fastcompany

The country already has an Orwellian social credit system and over 170 million CCTV cameras keeping an eye on its citizens night and day. Virtually all of those cameras can be used with facial recognition software to identify citizens in a snap. But now China is rolling out new gait recognition software that can identify someone even if their face is covered–just by analyzing how they walk, reports the AP.

Huang Yongzhen, the CEO of Watrix, one of the companies who make gait recognition software used by China, says their product can identify people from up to 50 meters (165 feet) away–even if their backs are turned to the camera. Speaking to the AP, Huang said:  ... " 

Customer Centricity Playbook

Mentioned this book by Peter Fader and Sarah Toms before, awaiting a copy.  Good topic.   Podcast and transcript. Now do we utilize this truth in engaging, marketing, servicing?  See also my previous post on the book.

How to Find Value in Every Customer

Wharton's Peter Fader and Sarah Toms discuss their new book, The Customer Centricity Playbook Customers are not monolithic. There are high-value customers, low-value ones, and plenty who fall in the middle. But they all matter for businesses that want to make the most out of them. That’s the message in a new book by Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader and Sarah Toms, executive director and co-founder of Wharton Interactive. The Customer Centricity Playbook: Implement a Winning Strategy Driven by Customer Lifetime Value is designed to guide businesses to the next level, where success is measured beyond mere dollars. Fader and Toms recently spoke on the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on SiriusXM about the importance of being customer centric.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows: .... '

Microsoft Makes Kaizala Free for 365 Subscribers

Kaizala seems to provide a number of network architectures for people working together.    Nice idea, how will it compare to the now popular Teams?    Do most people know the architecture that is needed, and will that architecture remain stable during the project?   Still like the idea.  Will be experimenting. 

Coordinate work across dynamic networks of people using Microsoft Kaizala    

 By Praveen Maloo  of Microsoft

Today’s workplace extends well beyond organizational boundaries, and there is an increasing need to connect your entire business value chain, including your Firstline workers, vendors, partners, suppliers, and customers. A disconnected value chain hinders productivity, slows down decision making, prevents the ability for insights to surface from the field, and creates potential for customer dissatisfaction. Today, consumer messaging apps are often used between people across the value chain, but this poses security, privacy and compliance risks to company data. Microsoft Kaizala aims to solve a lot of these challenges, especially in mobile-first, developing markets.

Microsoft Kaizala is a simple and secure mobile app, with easy sign-up using just a phone number. It enables networks of people to connect and coordinate work across their roles, spanning Firstline workers, vendors, partners, suppliers, customers, and citizens.  Many organizations are already doing amazing things with Kaizala.

Kaizala delivers on four key promises:

1. Communicate across dynamic networks: Kaizala supports diverse group types such as hub and spoke, hierarchies, and public groups – which model the communication needs of your organization. Use it to connect with your customers and partners or your Firstline workers. Temporal and geo-fenced groups make the set-up and discovery of groups easy, and large group size of up to 1 million users enables scenarios such as government-to-citizen communication .... "

(Apparently the 'free' version contains fewer capabilities than the full version, will examine)

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Introduction to the Community Data License Agreement

CSIG (Cognitive Systems Institute Group) Talk — Thursday Nov 8, 2018 - 10:30-11am US Eastern 

Talk Title: "Introduction to the Community Data License Agreement: An "Open Source" Agreement Specifically Designed for Data and Content Sharing and Analysis in the Big Data world

Speaker: Christopher O'Neill, IBM 

Abstract: This talk will provide a general introduction the Community Data License Agreement ("CDLA") family of agreements, published  by The Linux Foundation in late 2017. Topics will include the general structure of the agreements, with a particular focus on their unique  data analysis terms and other aspects in which they are designed to address the unique characteristics of data from an Intellectual  Property perspective. 

Bio: Christopher O'Neill is Associate General Counsel — Intellectual Property Law at IBM Corporation, based in Armonk, New York. In over  25 years at IBM, Mr. O'Neill has held a variety of positions, both in IBM's product businesses and in its litigation group. In his current role,  Mr. O'Neill has responsibility for a variety of matters, including IP indemnity matters, data rights issues, adversely-held patent matters,  and open source issues. He graduated from New York University School of Law in 1987 and is a member of the New York bar. 

Zoom meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/7371462221; Zoom Cailin: (415) 762-9988 or (646) 568-7788 Meeting id 7371462221 
Zoom International Numbers: https://zoom.us/zoomconference 
Check http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/ for recordings & slides, and for any date & time changes 

Join Linkedin Group: https://www.Iinkedin.com/groups/6729452/ (Cognitive Systems Institute) to receive notifications 
Thu, Nov 8, 10:30am US Eastern • https://zoom.us/j/7371462221 
More Details Here : http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/   (Also slides and talk recording will be placed here) 

More at: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/press-release/2017/10/linux-foundation-debuts-community-data-license-agreement/  #CSIGnews #opentechai #AI @KarolynSchalk @mattganis @jwaup @MishiChoudhary @t_streinz @hyurko

Google Health Monitor Systems via Nest

More health monitoring activity happening, now via Google.

Nest’s digital health ambitions revealed in records from secretive purchase of Seattle startup Senosis 

Google-owned Nest has been secretly laying the groundwork for a move into digital health products, a potential new line of business for a company that made its mark in smart thermostats and other connected home devices, according to previously confidential records obtained by GeekWire. ... "