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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

More on MIT Open Source AutoML: ATMSeer

More on the topic, and some additional background information and links.  Very powerful concept that that should continue to expand.  Automation is the word,   See also Google AutoML, at tag below.

MIT Researchers Open-Source AutoML Visualization Tool ATMSeer    by  Anthony Alford   ... 

A research team from MIT, Hong Kong University, and Zhejiang University has open-sourced ATMSeer, a tool for visualizing and controlling automated machine-learning processes.
Solving a problem with machine learning (ML) requires more than just a dataset and training. For any given ML tasks, there are a variety of algorithms that could be used, and for each algorithm there can be many hyperparameters that can be tweaked. Because different values of hyperparameters will produce models with different accuracies, ML practitioners usually try out several sets of hyperparameter values on a given dataset to try to find hyperparameters that produce the best model. 

This can be time-consuming, as a separate training job and model evaluation process must be conducted for each set. Of course, they can be run in parallel, but the jobs must be setup and triggered, and the results recorded. Furthermore, choosing the particular values for hyperparameters can involve a bit of guesswork, especially for ones that can take on any numeric value: if 2.5 and 2.6 produce good results, maybe 2.55 would be even better? What about 2.56 or 2.54?

Enter automated machine learning, or AutoML. These are techniques and tools for automating the selection and evaluation of hyperparameters (as well as other common ML tasks such as data cleanup and feature engineering). Both Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure provide commercial AutoML solutions, and there are several open-source packages such as auto-sklearn and Auto-Keras.  ...."

Trust and Sponsoring Currencies and Contracts

In just a few hours there has been a considerable pushback on Facebook being trusted with cryptocurrencies:

Facebook’s cryptocurrency has a trust problem
Libra isn’t as decentralized as a normal cryptocurrency
By Russell Brandom in The Verge ...

Spells out some of the technical and management issues, existing around the notion of decentralization ....  "

Wal-Mart Overhauls Jet Management

An indication of less attention to direct online ordering?

Walmart in big overhaul of Jet.com  In ChainStoreAge    By CSA STAFF

Walmart is making some big changes at the online retail startup it bought for $3.3 billion in 2016.

The discount giant is merging Jet.com’s retail, technology, marketing, analytics and products teams into the rest of its digital business. The role of president of Jet will be eliminated, and Simon Belsham, who currently holds the title, will leave the company in early August. Walmart announced the changes in a blog post.

“Bringing together talent from Jet and Walmart into joint teams has created more opportunity for our business and our people,” said Marc Lore, founder of Jet.com and president and CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S. “With the teams creating synergy and Jet becoming even more focused, we don’t have the same need for a dedicated leader.”

Moving forward, Jet’s team leaders will report to Kieran Shanahan, who oversees Walmart’s online food, consumables and health-and-wellness categories. Jet will continue to operate as a standalone site.  ... "

Facebook Teams to Produce Cryptocurrency

Whats the ultimate of this?  Payment/Procurement angle?  Examining.  Note the broad number of participants.  And will also include the ability to integrate secure smart contracts.

Facebook launches cryptocurrency with Visa, MasterCard, Uber, and others  Facebook plans to bring payments to Whatsapp and Messenger in 2020.   By Timothy B. Lee in  ArsTechnica

Facebook is leading a broad coalition of companies and organizations launching a new cryptocurrency, the company announced on Tuesday. The cryptocurrency, called Libra, will be backed by a basket of conventional currencies and other stable assets, preventing the wild price swings that have plagued bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies.

The new cryptocurrency will serve as the foundation for a new payment feature for Facebook Messenger and the Facebook-owned Whatsapp. Facebook says it is creating a new subsidiary called Calibra to oversee its payment initiatives. This is partly to reassure people who are concerned about Facebook's privacy record. .... 

 .... Facebook and the Libra Association released a lot of information on Tuesday morning, and I haven't read it all. There's a new programming language called Move that's optimized for secure smart contracts. There's an in-depth explanation of the Libra blockchain. And there's more information about how Libra's peg to conventional currencies will work. Stay tuned for a much deeper dive into Facebook's ambitious new platform in the coming days. ... ' 

Automated Machine Learning

Bill Vorhies reports on Gartner and Forrester's look at automated machine learning.  Ultimately a key advance for AI and its broad use.  List and analysis of major players.    Click through for outline of advances and Bill's take.

Automated Machine Learning (AML) Comes of Age - Almost   Posted by William Vorhies in DSC

Summary:  Forrester has just released its “New Wave™: Automation-Focused Machine Learning Solutions, Q2 2019” report on leading stand-alone automated machine learning platforms.  This is our first good side-by-side comparison.  You might also want to consider some who were not included.

You know you’ve come of age when the major review publications like Gartner and Forrester publish a study on your segment.  That’s what’s finally happened.  Just released is “The Forrester New Wave™: Automation-Focused Machine Learning Solutions, Q2 2019”.

This is the first reasonably deep review of platforms and covers nine of what Forrester describes as ‘the most significant providers in the segment’.  Those being Aible, Bell Integrator, Big Squid, DataRobot, DMway Analytics, dotData, EdgeVerve, H2O.ai, and Squark.

I’ve been following these automated machine learning (AML) platforms since they emerged.  I wrote first about them in the spring of 2016 under the somewhat scary title “Data Scientists Automated and Unemployed by 2025!  ... " 

GM Thinks new Brain for its Cars

Recently had a software update performed on my one year old MAzda, took too long and required too much testing to verify its correctness.

GM thinks up new electronic brain for its cars, allowing over-the-air updates    By Stephen Edelstein in Digitaltrends   @SAEdelstein

The array of infotainment and driver-assist features in new cars makes their electrical systems as important as engines, transmissions, and other mechanical bits. That’s why General Motors is giving its cars’ electronics a major overhaul, with a new “digital vehicle platform” designed to support more tech. The new electronics platform debuts in the 2020 Cadillac CT5, and should roll out to most other GM vehicles by 2023. .... "

Monday, June 17, 2019

Fortnite Gaming Powers Business Technology

We examined examples of game engines for analytic applications early on.  Now seeing the addition of VR and other immersion techniques.   Management still needs some help understanding this.  Best way is to start with currently used analytic methods and then extend from there to show augmentation.  Some good examples in this article of use.

Engine Behind 'Fortnite' Powers Business Technology 
The Wall Street Journal
By Agam Shah

Businesses are tapping the gaming-engine software of "Fortnite" and other videogames for applications ranging from car design to drug discovery. Gaming engines exploit complex calculations performed by hardware like graphics processing units to create photorealistic three-dimensional visualization and simulation, in addition to physics models. In conjunction with virtual reality (VR) technology, gaming engines let designers and engineers invent products, visualize sophisticated designs, and structure worker-training programs. Designers at McLaren Automotive are using Epic Games' Unreal Engine to create, assess, and refine digital car models, expediting a process that formerly relied on drawings and modeling clay. Meanwhile, the U.K.'s C4X Discovery Holdings uses gaming engines to discover new disease-fighting molecules, with chemists employing VR headsets and in-house software to configure virtual molecules for more precise targeting.   ... "

Police Ask for Registration of Doorbell Cameras

Been intrigued by components of the smart home that can collaborate with a neighborhood for security.  Been following the ring Doorbell capabilities in this space for several years.    With an aim to create a 'smart neighborhood' by sharing video among users of the device.  In our area there are video contributions every few days.  Video clips are stored, but no recognition analysis is done.  This US Today article shows how police departments are asking for registration of cameras to aid them as well.  Statistics mentioned are interesting.

Use Your Phone as an ID

Make sense to use an encrypted means to identify oneself with a phone.

Germans can soon use their iPhones as virtual ID cards
iOS 13's expanded NFC support will make it possible.

By Jon Fingas, @jonfingas .... in Engadget

Data Science Behind Top Machine Learning Tools

KDNuggets examines top data science machine learning tools.  With considerable data visualizations at the link.

Tags: Anaconda, Apache Spark, Big Data Software, Deep Learning, Excel, Keras, Poll, Python, R, RapidMiner, scikit-learn, Software, SQL, Tableau, TensorFlow

We identify the 6 tools in the modern open-source Data Science ecosystem, examine the Python vs R question, and determine which tools are used the most with Deep Learning and 
By Gregory Piatetsky, KDnuggets.

Recently we reported the results of 20th annual KDnuggets Software Poll:
Python leads the 11 top Data Science, Machine Learning platforms: Trends and Analysis.
As we have done before (see 2017 data science ecosystem, 2018 data science ecosystem), we examine which tools were part of the same answer - the skillset of the user. We note that this does not necessarily mean that all tools were used together on each project, but having knowledge and skills to used both tools X and Y makes it more likely that both X and Y were used together on some projects. The results we see are consistent with this assumption.

The top tools show surprising stability - we see essentially the same pattern as last year.

First, we selected the tools with at least 20% of the vote. There were 11 such tools - exactly the same list of 11 tools as last year, although the order has changed a little. Keras moved up from n. 10 to n. 8, and Anaconda moved up from n. 6 to n. 5. Tableau and SQL moved down a little.

The cutoff for this group of 11 is a natural one, since there is a big gap between n. 11 (Apache Spark, with 21%) and n. 12 (Microsoft Power BI, 13%).

We used the same Lift measure as in our 2017 analysis and 2018 analysis.
We then grouped together the tools with the strongest association, starting with Tensorflow and Keras, until we arrived to the figure 1 below. We made the patterns easier to see by showing only associations with abs(Lift1) > 15%.     ... "

Penser Analytics

Just saw some demonstrations from Penser Analytics.  Nicely done.  Now integrating AI capabilities.  More to follow.

Penser Analytics

Sherlock is the only analytics platform that meets the needs of business and IT. It empowers organizations to make sense of large data volumes, get answers to their toughest business questions, build beautiful data visualizations, and ensure one version of the truth (1VOT) – at any scale, on any device within a minute.

A powerful, flexible platform
Penser Analytics is built to enable organisations to quickly deploy sophisticated advanced analytics to meet the demands of every user in every organisation.

Natural Language based analysis
Type in your question in plain english

Effortless predictive analytics
Unleash machine learning without any programming

Rapid hypothesis testing
Test various scenarios within minutes before taking decisions.  ... " 

Airbus Tests Hololens

An example of the use of Hololens and VR/Mixed Reality for advanced manufacturing systems.  Most obvious space for this, which we tested .... integrating large quantities of background information such as blueprints and online analyses and metadata for manufacturing compliance specifications. 

Airbus works with Microsoft to trial HoloLens in aircraft manufacturing
Aircraft company Airbus believes mixed reality systems, powered using headsets such as HoloLens, will drive its digital manufacturing strategy .... "

In-Doors Bluetooth Tracking

I note that my bluetooth on IOS is now default on.    Beacons are not new, just their broad use of data acquisition.   You are being watched.

In Stores, Secret Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move
As you shop, “beacons” are watching you, using hidden technology in your phone.
By Michael Kwet

Imagine you are shopping in your favorite grocery store. As you approach the dairy aisle, you are sent a push notification in your phone: “10 percent off your favorite yogurt! Click here to redeem your coupon.” You considered buying yogurt on your last trip to the store, but you decided against it. How did your phone know?

Your smartphone was tracking you. The grocery store got your location data and paid a shadowy group of marketers to use that information to target you with ads. Recent reports have noted how companies use data gathered from cell towers, ambient Wi-Fi, and GPS. But the location data industry has a much more precise, and unobtrusive, tool: Bluetooth beacons.

These beacons are small, inobtrusive electronic devices that are hidden throughout the grocery store; an app on your phone that communicates with them informed the company not only that you had entered the building, but that you had lingered for two minutes in front of the low-fat Chobanis.   ... " 

Future of Mind with AI

The most important direction is the ability to enhance our own capabilities.  Discussion in The Edge.

How AI Technology Could Reshape the Human Mind and Create Alternate Synthetic Minds

A Conversation With Susan Schneider [1.28.19]

I see many misunderstandings in current discussions about the nature of the mind, such as the assumption that if we create sophisticated AI, it will inevitably be conscious. There is also this idea that we should “merge with AI”—that in order for humans to keep up with developments in AI and not succumb to hostile superintelligent AIs or AI-based technological unemployment, we need to enhance our own brains with AI technology.

One thing that worries me about all this is that don't think AI companies should be settling issues involving the shape of the mind. The future of the mind should be a cultural decision and an individual decision. Many of the issues at stake here involve classic philosophical problems that have no easy solutions. I’m thinking, for example, of theories of the nature of the person in the field of metaphysics. Suppose that you add a microchip to enhance your working memory, and then years later you add another microchip to integrate yourself with the Internet, and you just keep adding enhancement after enhancement. At what point will you even be you? When you think about enhancing the brain, the idea is to improve your life—to make you smarter, or happier, maybe even to live longer, or have a sharper brain as you grow older—but what if those enhancements change us in such drastic ways that we’re no longer the same person?

SUSAN SCHNEIDER holds the Distinguished Scholar chair at the Library of Congress and is the director of the AI, Mind and Society (“AIMS”) Group at the University of Connecticut. Susan Schneider's Edge Bio Page  ... " 

AI Chips Surge on the Edge

Methods and needed software innovations still being hashed out.

New Artificial Intelligence Chips Lean Toward the Edge in NAnalyze

What a difference a year makes. Few companies had enjoyed the sort of bull run AI chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA ) had been on, returning more than +1200% between June 2015 and June 2018, eventually hitting a market cap of about $175 billion by September 2018. Then everything went south – literally – as the market took a historic plunge in the fourth quarter, taking Nvidia with it. However, while many companies have bounced back, Nvidia has continued to languish, sitting at a valuation of about $88 billion, pretty much where it was circa May 2017 when we compared its AI chip technology against AMD (AMD). Now, over the last five years, the two chip manufacturers have returned almost identical value to investors, while a number of upstart startups have risen to also challenge Nvidia’s supremacy with new artificial intelligence chips.  ...." 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Florida Allows Self-Driving Cars without Backups

Are we read for this yet?

Florida allows self-driving car tests without backup drivers
It's the latest state to court autonomous driving startups.

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas in Enagdget

Companies that want to test their self-driving cars will have an easier time of it in the Sunshine State. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill allowing companies to test autonomous vehicles without backup drivers. It also lets occupants text, watch video or otherwise enjoy themselves without running afoul of distracted driving rules. They'll need to meet insurance requirements, but that's about as far as it goes.

The measure takes effect July 1st. .... " 

Apple to Implement iPhone Crypto Wallet Payment, Blockchain?

Speculation it seems, but intriguing to get this into the broader consumer use space.   Payment with Cryptocurrencies>

Apple may be prepping to turn your iPhone into a crypto wallet
Apple's CryptoKit is likely the first step in enabling the exchange of private and public keys that will unlock the ability to make purchases using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies stored on your iPhone.
           
 .... "By Lucas Mearian
Senior Reporter, Computerworld |   ... " 

Implementing Manufacturing Analytics

Good thoughts to start with.   Start simple and obvious.  Does not have to be 'AI'.  There is always fruit to be gathered.

Here’s How To Implement Manufacturing Analytics Today
Here's how to implement manufacturing analytics today, in a world where big data, business intelligence, and artificial intelligence are steadily expanding.

By Megan Ray Nichols ...

Military Needs Explainable AI

Well we all need explainable methods,   and this always means explainable in a context.   Reminds me of the After Action Review ....  AAR ....  We used it to support our results  and their outcome.  And learning about the next outcome.   Its about context and context is about metadata used for specific decisions process involved. 

What Is Explainable AI and Why Does the Military Need It?
Go to the profile of Benjamin Powers    By Benjamin Powers in Medium

Last summer, the Defense Science Board’s report on autonomy found that investing in artificial intelligence (AI) warfare is a crucial part of maintaining the United States’ national security and military capability. As the report reads, “It should not be a surprise when adversaries employ autonomy against U.S. forces.” In other words, AI warfare is likely on the horizon; it’s just a matter of who gets there first.

This immediately sparks dystopian and apocalyptic reactions from most people, who may envision a Terminator-esque system that will at some point choose to overthrow its human masters. But don’t worry. We aren’t there just yet. The report concludes that “autonomy will deliver substantial operational value across an increasingly diverse array of DoD missions, but the DoD must move more rapidly to realize this value.” Meaning that while the value of autonomy is clear from a military perspective, the Department of Defense has to devote more money and time to realize its full potential — and do so quickly.

Those robots would be a result of artificial general intelligence (AGI), which is only a small area of research within AI that works on neural evolution and, perhaps in time, the creation of sentient machines. Much more prevalent, however, is machine learning (a computer’s ability to learn without being explicitly programmed) and neural nets (computer systems modeled on the human brain and nervous system) being drawn upon to augment human decision-making capabilities. Indeed, the Department of Defense is charging ahead with Project Maven, which established an Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team to have computers and neural nets lead the hunt for Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. The project synthesizes hundreds of hours of aerial surveillance video into actionable intelligence, which is then reviewed by analysts.

The thing is that we often don’t really know why AI makes the decisions or recommendations it does. While the computing capacity of AI expands on an almost daily basis, the study of how to make machine learning explain its decision-making process to a human has languished. So, while AI might recommend a target or offer up what it deems important intelligence footage, it can’t tell the military why. The extent of an explanation currently may be, “There is a 95 percent chance this is what you should do,” but that’s it.

This is why the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched a call last year for proposals as part of its newly created Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) program. The project’s goal is to develop a variety of explainable machine learning models while maintaining their prediction accuracy and to enable human users to understand and trust (while managing) the artificially intelligent partners being developed. After fielding hundreds of proposals, the XAI program settled on 12 that would make up the various areas of focus under the XAI umbrella. (DARPA puts out a call for nascent programs and then funds them for an amount of time under the program umbrella.)  .... " 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Learning from Camera Feeds

Technically interesting.  Learning by seeing, like we do.

Model-Based Reinforcement Learning from Pixels with Structured Latent Variable Models

By Marvin Zhang and Sharad Vikram  in Bair
  
Imagine a robot trying to learn how to stack blocks and push objects using visual inputs from a camera feed. In order to minimize cost and safety concerns, we want our robot to learn these skills with minimal interaction time, but efficient learning from complex sensory inputs such as images is difficult. This work introduces SOLAR, a new model-based reinforcement learning (RL) method that can learn skills – including manipulation tasks on a real Sawyer robot arm – directly from visual inputs with under an hour of interaction. To our knowledge, SOLAR is the most efficient RL method for solving real world image-based robotics tasks.  ... "

Amazon Seeks to Redefine Itself

A somewhat mysterious report on the BBC, but what this new 'big' will mean is unclear.  Breadth versus depth?  Dangers of major regulatory push backs?

Amazon's next big thing may redefine big    By Dave Lee in BBC Tech  North America technology reporter

"I see Amazon as a technology company that just happened to do retail," begins Werner Vogels, Amazon's chief technology officer.

"When Jeff [Bezos] started Amazon, he wasn't thinking about starting a bookshop. He was really fascinated by the internet.”

Only "mortal humans", he tells me in an interview, ever saw Amazon as merely a retailer. So the question now is: what will Amazon become next? And are mere mortals ready for it?

Its recent Re:Mars event in Las Vegas demonstrated clearly - through presentations about machine-learning, robotics and space - that the firm is going through a transition phase that, if successful, will redefine its relationship with the public.

Amazon's incredible, sophisticated systems are no longer being used just to serve up good deals, fast delivery times, or cheap web storage. Its big data capabilities are now the tool of police forces, and maybe soon the military. In the corporate world, Amazon is positioning itself to be the “brains” behind just about everything.

In short, New Amazon could make today's Amazon look quaint in both scale and power.  ... " 

History and Current State of Teradata

Have encountered Teradata a number of times as it related to retail analyics.  They turn 40 and encounter yet more competition.   A considerable piece on their state and future.

Teradata Turns 40, Takes Off Gloves, Readies for a Fight    By Alex Woodie in DataNami

The past, present, and future of Teradata collided yesterday at the company’s headquarters in San Diego, California, where 1,500 employees and guests – including four of the company’s original founders — gathered to celebrate the company’s improbable 40-year run. And facing tough competition in the analytics ring, Teradata’s CEO vows to go on the offensive.

The odds were stacked against Teradata from the very beginning, when a group of computer scientists gathered in Jack Shemer’s garage in Brentwood, California. It was the summer of 1979, and the future was not what you would call bright.

“All I remember is interest rates were astronomically high,” said Jerry Modes, one of Teradata’s co-founders, in a video that played on a large outdoor screen. “Carter was president….We decided to start a company right in the worst time there was.”

“Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, the price of gold went from $350 to $850 dollars an ounce,” said Phillip Naches, another co-founder, in the video (which you can view here). “The prime rate went from 8% to 22%, and we knew that there was a big recession was coming on.”

“It was not an environment conducive to being a startup,” Shemer said in the video. “Being a startup, you know you’re going to live or you’re going to die.  You don’t want to fall on your sword or fall on your six shooter. You want to make sure you take a rifle shot and succeed.”

The founders were all technically adept, but they relied on Shemer, Teradata’s original CEO, to shake some money loose from the venture capitalists, which was not an easy task given the economy at the time.

“He could charm the birds out of the trees,” Teradata co-founder David Hartke said in the video. “He went around to many investors and talked them into investing with Teradata.”  .... "

Friday, June 14, 2019

Drug Supply Chain Blockchain Pilot

Useful example of supply chain blockchain pilot with major supporters. More details at the link.

IBM, KPMG, Merck, Walmart team up for drug supply chain blockchain pilot   By Ron Miller @ron_miller  in TechCrunch

IBM announced its latest blockchain initiative today. This one is in partnership with KPMG, Merk and Walmart to build a drug supply chain blockchain pilot.

These four companies are coming together to help come up with a solution to track certain drugs as they move through a supply chain. IBM  is acting as the technology partner, KPMG brings a deep understanding of the compliance issues, Merk is of course a drug company and Walmart would be a drug distributor through its pharmacies and care clinics.

The idea is to give each drug package a unique identifier that you can track through the supply chain from manufacturer to pharmacy to consumer. Seems simple enough, but the fact is that companies are loathe to share any data with one another. The blockchain would provide an irrefutable record of each transaction as the drug moved along the supply chain, giving authorities and participants an easy audit trail.

The pilot is part of a set of programs being conducted by various stakeholders at the request of the FDA. The end goal is to find solutions to help comply with the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act. According to the FDA Pilot Program website, “FDA’s DSCSA Pilot Project Program is intended to assist drug supply chain stakeholders, including FDA, in developing the electronic, interoperable system that will identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed within the United States.”  .... " 

Blockchain Foundational

Quite a strong statement, but the examples are worth watching.

FedEx exec: Blockchain will become a foundational layer – for everything

Like the internet, blockchain will eventually underpin new business models – and the movement in that direction has already begun.
           
By Lucas Mearian in Chomputerworld

BOSTON – While blockchain may never be a panacea for solving all business transaction problems, it will eventually become a foundational technology across industries that will lead to new business models.

Before that can happen, however, proprietary blockchains will have to run their course and be replaced by open software and industry standards that enable distributed ledgers to communicate across competing businesses and borders, according to Dale Chrystie, a FedEx business fellow and blockchain strategist. .... " 

Voices in AI: David Cox

As always an excellent piece, one of 84, read the rest of the GigaOM pieces:

Voices in AI – Episode 84: A Conversation with David Cox   By Byron Reese

Episode 84 of Voices in AI features host Byron Reese and David Cox discuss classifications of AI, and how the research has been evolving and growing

Listen to this one-hour episode or read the full transcript at www.VoicesinAI.com

Transcript Excerpt:

Byron Reese: This is Voices in AI, brought to you by GigaOm and I’m Byron Reese. I’m so excited about today’s show. Today we have David Cox. He is the Director of the MIT IBM Watson AI Lab, which is part of IBM Research. Before that he spent 11 years teaching at Harvard, interestingly in the Life Sciences. He holds an AB degree from Harvard in Biology and Psychology, and he holds a PhD in Neuroscience from MIT. Welcome to the show David!

David Cox: Thanks. It’s a great pleasure to be here.

I always like to start with my Rorschach question which is, “What is intelligence and why is Artificial Intelligence artificial?” And you’re a neuroscientist and a psychologist and a biologist, so how do you think of intelligence?

That’s a great question. I think we don’t necessarily need to have just one definition. I think people get hung up on the words, but at the end of the day, what makes us intelligent, what makes other organisms on this planet intelligent is the ability to absorb information about the environment, to build models of what’s going to happen next, to predict and then to make actions that help achieve whatever goal you’re trying to achieve. And when you look at it that way that’s a pretty broad definition. ...." 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

ACM-IMA Data Science Summit on June 15

Upcoming, will be attending.

Livestream Lets You Virtually Attend ACM-IMS Data Science Summit on June 15

 If you can’t attend the ACM-IMS Interdisciplinary Summit on the Foundations of Data Science in person, access the livestream starting on June 15 at 9 AM PDT.

This event, organized by ACM and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, promises to be a stimulating day of distinguished speakers and panelists addressing topics such as deep learning, reinforcement learning, fairness, and ethics, in addition to discussions about the future of data science:

9:05-9:40 AM Keynote Talk: "Making the Black Box Effective: What Statistics Can Offer," Emmanuel Cand├Ęs

9:40-10:20 AM Panel: Deep Learning, Reinforcement Learning, and Role of Methods in Data Science

10:35-11:15 AM Panel: Robustness and Stability in Data Science
11:15-11:55 AM Panel: Fairness and Ethics in Data Science
1:00-1:35 PM Keynote Talk: "Deep Learning for Tackling Real-World Problems," Jeffrey Dean
1:35-2:10 PM Keynote Talk: "Machine Learning: A New Approach to Drug Discovery," Daphne Koller

2:20-2:55 PM Panel: Future of Data Science

Managing Moments of Truth

Was a very early user of the concept of MOT, so this struck  me,   Have to be measurable, understandable by decision makers, influence-able as part of a real process.  And then:

Get Scientific about Managing Moments of Truth   By Mitch Belsley in Customerthink

James Dodkins the CX Rockstar recently put out a video detailing the 5 Dimensions of Moments of Truth where he briefly outlined how to manage Moments of Truth (MOT’s) based on 5 simple and measurable dimensions. We wanted to delve deeper into these dimensions to give you a clear line of sight to understanding how effective management of Moments of Truth can lead to delivering world class experiences for your customer and achieving business outcomes.

When a customer enters into a moment of truth, everything is on the line for the company: revenue, loyalty, the entire relationship. We take a scientific approach to managing these moments to align our investments with specific outcomes and generate an optimal return.

Here’s how we manage the 5 dimensions of moments of truth:  .... "

Simplifying the Complex

As does most everyone, as long as it also includes tools needed to create true and complete models that are useful for process.

Microsoft Wants to Simplify Machine Learning

Ahead of its Build conference, Microsoft  today released a slew of new machine learning products and tweaks to some of its existing services. These range from no-code tools to hosted notebooks, with a number of new APIs and other services in-between. The core theme, here, though, is that Microsoft is continuing its strategy of democratizing access to AI.

Ahead of the release, I sat down with Microsoft’s Eric Boyd, the company’s corporate vice president of its AI platform, to discuss Microsoft’s take on this space, where it competes heavily with the likes of Google and AWS, as well as numerous, often more specialized startups. And to some degree, the actual machine learning technologies have become table stakes. Everybody now offers pre-trained models, open-source tools and the platforms to train, build and deploy models. If one company doesn’t have pre-trained models for some use cases that its competitors support, it’s only a matter of time before it will. It’s the auxiliary services and the overall developer experience, though, where companies like Microsoft, with its long history of developing these tools, can differentiate themselves. ... ? 

Rise of Agile Employee

Ultimately what we need.    Else will more easily replaced by autonomous solutions.  Sure we need narrow advanced expertise,  but many more 'hands' to implement, apply and test.   For now agile-adaptable.  Forrester has some good thoughts and video:

The Rise Of The Agile Employee
Alyson Clarke, Principal Analyst Forrester

Digital leaders tell us that they often struggle to find the right people with the right skills, and competition for elite talent is fierce. As their firm becomes more advanced in their digital journey – embracing new technology, evolving their business models, and the skills and talent they need to execute on that becomes even harder to find.

Many already realize that traditional methods of recruiting and acquisition will no longer be enough, and for some – that are really digitally advanced – the supply of skills they need doesn’t even exist.

Watch the video below to learn more about Forrester’s latest report on digital talent, “The Rise Of The Agile Employee” which looks at what digital leaders can do to continuously cultivate the next generation of digital talent, and set themselves up for success with fast, agile skills development. .... "

Categorizing Images on Airbnb

A problem type we worked on for years, for applications like advertising archives and ad and copy re-use.

Categorizing Listing Photos at Airbnb  in Medium
Large-scale deep learning models are changing the way we think about images of homes on our platform.

Authors: Shijing Yao, Qiang Zhu, Phillippe Siclait

Airbnb is a marketplace featuring millions of homes. Travelers around the world search on the platform and discover the best homes for their trips. Aside from location and price, listing photos are one of the most critical factors for decision-making during a guest’s search journey. However until very recently, we knew very little about these important photos. When a guest interacted with listing photos of a home, we had no way to help guests find the most informative images, ensure the information conveyed in the photos was accurate or advise hosts about how to improve the appeal of their images in a scalable way.  .... "

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Making the Road Easier

Seems this kind of assistance would be of value in many domains.

Life on the Road Easier as Truckers Adopt Digital Tech 
The Wall Street Journal
Angus Loten

Trucking, logistics, and supply-chain operators are adopting digital tools, including artificial intelligence (AI), to improve long-haul freight shipping. Fleet operator Hub Group has introduced AI-powered capabilities to ensure more efficient delivery and raise productivity; these capabilities exploit more than 10 million data points gathered by sensors and other equipment the company has been incorporating into its truck fleet over the past two years. Hub CIO Vava Dimond said the initiative hopes to mitigate truckers' paperwork burden with an app that tracks and automatically fills out route logs and proof of delivery notices. Older transportation companies are being pressured to modernize by developing platforms that combine various datasets to track orders, truck locations, and other vital information in real time, and boosting fuel expenditure and scheduling efficiency. ... " 

Cutting Out of Stocks: Reality and Perception

A favorite topic.   Availability is essential to support marketing, else whats a shelf placement for?   Thus too while online works well.

Stores have cut out-of-stocks. Why don’t consumers know that? in Retailwire  by Andrew Blatherwick

Research shows that online retailers have significantly lower service levels when compared to traditional retailers that operate warehouses and stores. Still, the perception persists that Amazon.com can quickly and efficiently deliver any product to your doorstep, while brick-and-mortar retailers constantly run out of stock on items. Why the disconnect and, more importantly for traditional merchants, how do you overcome that perception?

The perception disconnect is rooted in the fact that customers have grown accustomed to high availability as retailers have improved their supply chains and technology over the last 20 years. For physical retailers, an out-of-stock is as clear as the hole on the shelf. It’s tangible, and shoppers experience a time delay in acquiring the out-of-stock item — whether by visiting a competitor’s store or placing an order online.

While ecommerce customers may be unimpressed by poor availability, they are far less inconvenienced because switching to a competing online retailer takes just a moment’s time and a few mouse clicks. The negative impact on long-term loyalty in the ecommerce scenario is lower because it’s easier to shop multiple online retailers than multiple traditional retailers.  ... ."

Brains and Maps

Freeman Dyson, a favorite source, talks brains and maps ......

The Brain Is Full of Maps in The Edge

A Talk By Freeman Dyson [6.11.19]

 I was talking about maps and feelings, and whether the brain is analog or digital. I’ll give you a little bit of what I wrote:

Brains use maps to process information. Information from the retina goes to several areas of the brain where the picture seen by the eye is converted into maps of various kinds. Information from sensory nerves in the skin goes to areas where the information is converted into maps of the body. The brain is full of maps. And a big part of the activity is transferring information from one map to another.

As we know from our own use of maps, mapping from one picture to another can be done either by digital or by analog processing. Because digital cameras are now cheap and film cameras are old fashioned and rapidly becoming obsolete, many people assume that the process of mapping in the brain must be digital. But the brain has been evolving over millions of years and does not follow our ephemeral fashions. A map is in its essence an analog device, using a picture to represent another picture. The imaging in the brain must be done by direct comparison of pictures rather than by translations of pictures into digital form. .... 

FREEMAN DYSON, emeritus professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, has worked on nuclear reactors, solid-state physics, ferromagnetism, astrophysics, and biology, looking for problems where elegant mathematics could be usefully applied. His books include Disturbing the Universe, Weapons and Hope, Infinite in All Directions, and Maker of Patterns. ..... "

Kids Echo

Now, with a 2+ old granddaughter, who has learned to interact vocally with an Echo, an interesting development.  Is it child abuse, as some have suggested?    How should privacy be differently addressed?

Amazon’s new Echo Dot Kids Edition comes in blue or rainbow colors  in TheVerge
Based on the third-generation Echo Dot

By Dan Seifert @dcseifert    .... "

Itunes Shutting Down, History and implications.

A favorite prof at Wharton discusses ITunes.  Long been interested in how the music industry has been changed by tech.

Game-changer to Digital Dustbin: Why iTunes Is Shutting Down

Wharton's Peter Fader and UT-Arlington's David Arditi discuss why Apple is shutting down iTunes. 

[Podcast] and transcript ....

If video killed the radio star, as the old song goes, then iTunes killed the record industry. Now, 18 years after Apple launched the music download store, the company announced that iTunes is shutting down.

During its Worldwide Developers Conference this week in San Jose, California, Apple announced iTunes will no longer exist as a digital jukebox but will be reformed into three separate apps for music, television and podcasts. While the change has been a long time coming —  sales of digital music downloads have dropped for six straight years, according to the Recording Industry Association of America  — it marks a significant shift in the company’s business model and in the kind of consumer behavior that Apple helped shape when it first opened the digital store in 2001. Music lovers were no longer bound to the full purchase of an album that was packaged and sold by a record label; they were free to buy single songs for 99 cents, which ushered in a new era of pick-and-choose consumption.

“iTunes is a cancer for the music industry. This was obvious 15 years ago … Good thing it will finally go away,” Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader wrote on Twitter. When Knowledge@Wharton asked him to explain his tweet on the K@W radio show on SiriusXM, Fader didn’t mince words. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.)  ... "

First Kroger - Ocado Fulfillment Center

Continued high tech improvements by Kroger.   Adds a number of jobs here.

Kroger breaking ground on $55M Butler County facility that will bring more than 400 jobs... 

Kroger and Ocado are set to break ground this morning in Butler County for the first-ever U.S. high-tech customer fulfillment center.

Kroger is investing $55 million to build the 335,000-square-foot facility at 6266 Hamilton Lebanon Road in Monroe, which will be the first of 20 in America.It’s expected to create more than 410 new jobs.MORE: Kroger’s robot-powered warehouse to create over 400 jobs in Monroe Kroger purchased the more than 98-acre property along Ohio 63 on March 20 for $3.1 million, according to Butler County Auditor’s Office records.The Ohio Tax Credit Authority voted last December to approve an 8-year, 1.362 percent tax credit for the project. .... " 

More in Forbes with video.