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Saturday, April 30, 2016

AI and Human Values

Just this week looked back again at the work by Cyc to understand human common sense.    But that is only part of the challenge.   We will need to address values as AI advances.  Can values be readily defined in something like an ontology?

Digital Genies
A.I. researcher Stuart Russell discusses the uncertain work of helping artificial intelligence understand human values.  By Jacob Brogan .... " 

Quantum Advances

Some additional quantum computing advances.  Some worry that these methods will make encryption less secure.

Internet of Things Needs Design

Well, yes, have been saying this for decades, even when the 'thing' was only an attached RFID strip. Classic architecture and standards argument.  Make it 'Open' too, please.    In the HBR:   Largely non-technical.

Confidence vs Intelligence

Generalized thought, but useful.   A little like 'A for effort'.  Acquired skill is still very useful.  Backing up your confidence also useful.

Here Is Why Confidence Will Always Trump IQ
Having a high IQ is great, but confidence is a much more potent trait when it comes to success in the workplace and in life. .... "      By Ilya Pozon, Founder, Pluto.TV

Customer Relationships Beyond Advertising

Podcast and text.  The continued transferal of control to the customer.
" ... How many times do you block advertising in an app or online? Yet, many companies persist in this marketing technique. In a new book, Wharton marketing professor Yoram (Jerry) Wind and The Wharton Future of Advertising Program executive director Catharine Findiesen Hays argue that the consumer is in control, and they want to interact with companies in new ways. Their book, Beyond Advertising: Creating Value Through All Customer Touchpoints, addresses ways companies can develop a more integrated relationship with those they serve. .... " 

Another IFTTT Like Tool for Automated Workflow

This has always been a good idea, surprised there has not been more competition.  Still not ready, in development.  Implications for combining IOT activity.  I would like to see more analysis inserted in such workflows, beyond just detecting and responding to signal.  This could be a way to insert an intelligent bit inside a workflow.

Microsoft has created its own IFTTT tool called Flow,  in the Verge,  By Tom Warren

If This Then That (IFTTT) is an incredibly popular tool that enables features for web services like Twitter to generate an email through automation and lots more. Microsoft appears to be working on a similar tool for businesses to create automated workflows. Twitter user h0x0d discovered Microsoft Flow, a preview service that connects a number of cloud services together.

Microsoft's Flow is designed to connect services like Twitter, Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Office 365. Microsoft lists a number of example "flows" (recipes), including the ability to generate SMS alerts from emails, pull tweets into Excel, or get Slack notifications when a file is uploaded to a Dropbox folder. You can even create flows to copy files from OneDrive for Business to SharePoint. ... " 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Open AI Gym is Now in Place

An Open AI Dojo, some are calling it.  To set up standards for AI.  It is an open Beta.

" ... We're releasing the public beta of OpenAI Gym, a toolkit for developing and comparing reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms. It consists of a growing suite of environments (from simulated robots to Atari games), and a site for comparing and reproducing results. OpenAI Gym is compatible with algorithms written in any framework, such as Tensorflow and Theano. The environments are written in Python, but we'll soon make them easy to use from any language.

We originally built OpenAI Gym as a tool to accelerate our own RL research. We hope it will be just as useful for the broader community. .. " 

Amazon as a Logistics Company

In Fastcompany: They certainly need the best of efficiency in supply chains and logistics.    But it is still ultimately an innovative retailer.

Enterprise Ontology Frameworks

An investigation brought this to my attention.  Ontologies can give organization to many kinds of analytics processes.

The Enterprise Ontology Reference Framework
The Global University Alliance (GUA) is an open group of academics with the ambition to provide both business and academia with state-of-the-art insights. Through its ties with the LEADing practice community, which includes large firms and governments, the GUA is able to evaluate and valorize its scientific output. Since 2004, the members of the GUA strive for a continuous improvement of their expertise through the research, comparison, analysis and development of Best and LEADing Practices in Business. Throughout this process, the GUA built its own implicit ontology that revolves around its expertise of Best and LEADing practices.

As ontology formally represents knowledge as a set of concepts within a domain, and the relationships between those concepts, it can be used to model a domain and support reasoning about concepts. The Global University Alliance has used the concept of ontology as both a shared vocabulary and the very definition of its objects and concepts. In order to go the next steps and fully use the potential of its ontology. .... " 

NY Times Continues to Push Virtual Reality

Continued effort to change a basic form delivery of journalism.

In Engadget: 
NY Times sends 300,000 Google Cardboard viewers to subscribers
The Gray Lady wants to virtually fly you to Pluto. .... " 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Samsung's Personal Assistant: Otto

And yet another assistant example: Samsung's Otto.  Always attentive.  Seemingly more oriented to the internet of things. Video directed like a security camera.   Still a prototype.   In the Verge:

" ... Samsung is pushing hard into the Internet of Things, and in an effort to show off its new ARTIK IoT platform, the company created Otto, a personal assistant robot similar to the Amazon Echo, but a bit creepier. Otto has a microphone and speaker, can answer questions when prompted like Siri or Alexa, and can control smart home devices like thermostats and lights, just like the Echo.

But it also comes with an HD camera and can stream live video to your mobile device or PC, essentially acting as a security camera when you're not home. Users can adjust the viewpoint of the camera from their phone as well. We all know that just about anything can be hacked these days, and having a device that's always listening is already concerning for some people, but adding an HD camera that can stream live video of your home to the mix brings it to another level. ... " 

And in Engadget. 

Seeing AI Interest and an AI Talent Grab

Indications of where the interest is, and where the talent is coming from.  I see it myself in a number of general inquiries I see that ask  How do we do that? And what is cognitive?  How much is available and how much ready-built.   And especially how it works in the enterprise with existing technology investments and other technologies still expanding, like Data Science. More In Nature: 

McDonalds and Gaming Tablets

In the Verge: A look at how McDonald's is testing and potentially integrating tablets into store experiences.  Not enough detail in the article.  This opens the conversation to many new possibilities.  For example,  the use of Bots.

" .... McDonald's is installing Samsung Galaxy tablets in its fast food restaurants across the UK as part of new initiative called "Experience of the Future." While the tablets won't be used to order food, they will offer basic access to the internet, mobile games, and social media apps. It's not clear which model of Galaxy tablets will be used, but the devices are being loaded with software from an enterprise company called SOTI instead of Samsung. ... " 

Wal-Mart Largest IT Investor

Surprising that they are tops across industries:  Details.  In RISNews: 

" ... For the second year in a row retail powerhouse Walmart has spent the most money on IT ($10.5 billion) — more than another other company across industries, by a lot. IDC annual report, Worldwide IT Wallet, ranks Walmart ahead of second place finisher Wells Fargo & Company by over 65%.

When it comes to scale few companies can come close to rivaling Walmart in shear IT maintenance costs, let alone on developing new technologies — which the retailer has done plenty of over the past few years. ... " 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Smartstones and Speech

Mentioned here a number of times, I have a small connection ...

An Entrepreneur Makes Speech a Reality for All
" ... Smartstones, Inc., a company taking great leaps in improving communication technology, is today releasing a new product that will directly improve millions of lives. GlobalMindED is proudly committed to supporting the innovative efforts of companies like Smartstones, whose products and services increase access, equity and opportunity for people of all backgrounds and abilities. Smartstones’ new development impacts not only those with communication challenges and their families, but also serves to democratize education and the exchange of information. ..... " 

Cisco and Much Smarter LED Lighting

Taking LEDs beyond lighting, to the Internet of Things:
" ... In PoE lighting, both electricity and data flow over Ethernet cables that connect to LED troffers and luminaires, which become network nodes and which typically include sensors detecting not only lighting conditions, but also things like room occupancy, temperature, and security. It is taking root the way Ethernet-powered Voice over IP (VoIP) telephony did some 20 years ago before becoming today's office staple. ... " 

Research in a Virtual World

Can you do research in a virtual world?  Simulation has often been used to create a model of a system, and then do research, such as sensitivity analysis, in that world.  Here a step beyond that in CACM.

Power of How Google Search Works

Its been a while since I have thought of Google search beyond the basics.  I knew there was more power and subtlety there, but not how to apply it.  Now in the BBC,  I was re-introduced to Google search and implications of how it works.

Big Data's Problem

Good piece with an apt warning.  Its always about some form of sampling.  Even if you could get all observations of the data, say if you are controlling an experiment,  you won't have all the contextual metadata.   I have had many people say that they have all the data, and that's why big data will work.   Better than in older days when they said they had a handful of observations. But ...

Big Data’s Small Lie – The Limitation of Sampling and Approximation in Big Data Analysis by Alexander Gray

Volume is the most prominent of big data’s “3 Vs.” Yet, the “big” in big data analysis is often a misnomer. Most big data analysis doesn’t look at a complete, large dataset. Instead, it looks at a subsample and works on approximations, which prevents enterprises from getting the most valuable insight from their data. .... " 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kasisto Virtual Assistant

My continued look at virtual assistants "  ..... AI-Driven Virtual Assistant from Kasisto Powers India's First Mobile-Only Bank ... Asian banking innovator DBS Bank makes strategic investment in Kasisto ... "  Some good details in the press release.

Processor Runs from Ambient Radio Waves

In Extremetech: Consider the Internet of Things or Wearable implications

" .. A new research initiative between a University of Washington team and TU-Delft in the Netherlands has created a microprocessor that can power itself through stray radio waves and receive programmable updates in the same fashion. While the CPU in question is exceedingly weak by modern standards (it’s a RISC-derived 16-bit microcontroller clocked at just 16MHz), it’s an order of magnitude more powerful than any other device that’s powered by ambient energy in the environment with no battery required. This has significant implications for Internet of Things development and for ambient computing as a whole. ... ". 

Boosting Scientific Discovery CSI Talk

Dear Professors, Students, IBMers and others, 

Just a reminder about our Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series on Thursday April 28, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (7:30 am PT US).  Our presenter this week is Xiaolin (Andy) Li,  from the University of Florida, who will present “CognitiveEngine: Boosting Scientific Discovery.”  

Please point your web browser to https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491password=cognitive.   

Use audio on computer or 855-233-7153 in the US (other countries numberhere) PIN Code: 43179788    Non-IBMers and Non-Members, please use the "guest" option instead of entering your email.   

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

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

Thank you and please let me know if you would like to be a presenter on an upcoming call!  
Dianne Fodell

Knowledge for Discovery

Brought to my attention, a topic always brought up that we also experimented with:

Accelerating Discovery: Mining Unstructured Information for Hypothesis Generation
by Scott Spangler ( Principal Scientist for Watson Health Innovations )

October 9, 2015 by Chapman and Hall/CRC
ISBN 9781482239133 - CAT# K23259
Chapman & Hall/CRC Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery Series

They write:

Provides you with an awareness of the key technologies and benefits of accelerated discovery in science

Describes a general methodology for accelerating scientific discovery through unstructured analytics

Presents tools, techniques, and best practices for implementing text mining in practice
Includes ten real-world problems and examples that illustrate applications of accelerated discovery in molecular biology, pharmaceutical research, microbe analysis, and other areas

Unstructured Mining Approaches to Solve Complex Scientific Problems

As the volume of scientific data and literature increases exponentially, scientists need more powerful tools and methods to process and synthesize information and to formulate new hypotheses that are most likely to be both true and important. Accelerating Discovery: Mining Unstructured Information for Hypothesis Generation describes a novel approach to scientific research that uses unstructured data analysis as a generative tool for new hypotheses.

The author develops a systematic process for leveraging heterogeneous structured and unstructured data sources, data mining, and computational architectures to make the discovery process faster and more effective. This process accelerates human creativity by allowing scientists and inventors to more readily analyze and comprehend the space of possibilities, compare alternatives, and discover entirely new approaches.

Encompassing systematic and practical perspectives, the book provides the necessary motivation and strategies as well as a heterogeneous set of comprehensive, illustrative examples. It reveals the importance of heterogeneous data analytics in aiding scientific discoveries and furthers data science as a discipline. .... " 

Omnichannel Complicates Demand Planning

Interesting conversation in Retailwire:

How is omnichannel complicating demand planning?
By Tom Ryan

Demand planning "has become an enigma" for supply chain professionals, according to the sixth annual "State of the Retail Supply Chain" from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and Auburn University's Center for Supply Chain Innovation.

Broadly, the challenges include an ever-increasing number of SKUs, tremendous price pressures, demanding customers willing to switch loyalties in a moment, and a multitude of order fulfillment options. .... " 

Monday, April 25, 2016

NeuroWine Claimed

A more direct sensory link than the usual examples.  

SA neuroscientists develop first NeuroWine
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 20 Apr 2016
A South African team of neuromarketers and neuroscientists created the world's first NeuroWine, a wine that was developed by taking the tools and technologies that are traditionally used in neuroscience and applying them to the art of wine-making.   ... " 

Retirement a Flawed Concept

Interesting thoughts in the HBR: Retirement is a Flawed Concept.  Will comment when I finally try it.

New Sensors for an Internet of Things

An internet of things is also connected to its environment, which needs sensors to detect context.  Context can drive analytics with data.  Looking for new ways to connect and interact in the smart home.

 " ... Helium is releasing new sensors, applications and development tools as it builds out a comprehensive product line. The company's latest product is a new sensor called Helium Green, which can monitor temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, motion, and light. ... 

The sensor hardware offers three years of battery life on two AA batteries. It can be plugged into a mesh network of interconnected devices through the emerging IEEE 802.15.4 standard, which is behind Zigbee and Google's Thread protocols. .... "  

An IKEA Virtual Reality App

Always liked the innovation that has come out of IKEA,  Here a sims-like VR App.  Have not tried yet, but will.  How well does this work as VR, as engagement?

Basic Apache Spark Utilization

Good basic, mostly non technical introduction:

Basic Spark Utilization for Analytics in Big Data
by Atif Farid Mohammad

Apache Spark is a Big Data Analytics Engine, which runs in both memory as well as on disk. It is 100 times faster, if we run it using in-memory processing. It is still 10 times faster than standard MapReduce on the disk also. Apache Spark process interactive processing using Spark SQL to process real time queries. The use of Spark is also helpful for the Data Scientists to run their Machine Learning algorithms, as Apache Spark provides iterative processing also.  ... " 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beginners Guide to Chatbots

Well done article in Medium, with reasonable definitions and pointers to examples and resources.  The distinction is made between those driven by machine learning and AI.  Of course do also take a look at the bot examples featured in this blog over the years.  A very early example of engaging bots that used AI.  See also the Facebook Chatbot Group.

Supply Chain Numbers at Amazon and Wal-Mart

A look at retail heavyweights, their numbers and some key innovations:

Supply Chain News: Walmart and Amazon by the Numbers 2016
Our Annual Review of the World's Two Most Important Retailers

I think it is rather safe to say that the two most prominent US retailers today are Walmart and Amazon.com.

Walmart earns that place due to its stature as the world's largest merchant (and company) and one that represents often a substantial share of many consumer goods companies' total sales. Amazon obviously earns a spot as the dominant ecommerce company, which is where all the action seems to be right now. Amazon continues its phenomenal growth - hardly even slowing down in the face of the law of big numbers - and has been an innovation machine in terms of fulfillment and more (e.g., Dash button). .... " 

Failing and Succeeding in the Digital World

Podcast in Knowledge@Wharton: 

It is counterintuitive to celebrate failures as well as successes. But that is precisely what needs to happen if companies wish to spark a culture of innovation, says Ganesh Ayyar, CEO of Mphasis, a major IT services company. Fear of failure can paralyze many firms from taking on the kind of experimentation needed to face smaller, nimbler digital competitors. At the forefront of this change is the CEO, who has to go through his or her own digital transformation to ably lead the troops. And the journey is worthwhile because analog companies can learn to become digital aggressors instead of victims, Ayyar says.

Knowledge@Wharton recently discussed with Ayyar the personal and enterprise-wide digital transformation required for executives and companies to thrive in the digital age. What follows is an edited version of that conversation. ... " 

A Look at the Virtual Assistant Landscape

Nicely done visual of what is going on, with considerable variance in the definition of assistant.  Useful to see the extensive examples here.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Browsing the Web in Virtual Reality

Has been proposed a number of times.   Is this useful?  Likely to be created and used?  In the relatively early days of the Web you could browse 2D representations of the organization of the web as a tree.  To my knowledge this was not widely used.  VR could take this further, into something called WebVR, which would visualize and gameify the interaction as a 3D space, wearing a viewer.   The article covers what this is all about, and why it is not happening as fast as we might have expected.

Procurement Undergoing Digital Revolution

Thoughts on a Deloitte study in Supply Chain Digest.  " .... After a Period of People Expansion, Procurement Now Being Asked to Do More with Less; the Two Tracks for Digitization ... " .  An area I have followed for years, further, see the tag below.

Soft Robotic Fingers

We addressed this issue for a robotics application.  Haptics is touch.

In the CACM:

Soft Robotic Fingers Recognize Objects by Feel

Daniela Rus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has led the development of bendable, stretchable robot fingers that can lift and handle delicate objects.

The silicone rubber digits do not need specific commands for grasping various objects, but instead expand to accommodate an item and grasp radially. ....  "

Alexa Voice Service with Java on Raspberry Pi

I am very late to this, I see lots of people have it working.  All the steps are there, but its an advanced project that requires buying a number of additional parts, some programming understanding, and attention to detail, should be considered experimental ...

This project demonstrates how to access and test the Alexa Voice Service using a Java client (running on a Raspberry Pi), and a Node.js server.    ..... 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Marketing AI

Examples of coming Marketing AI.  by Jeremy Wilson

" ... With all the buzz about artificial intelligence and the launch of the Facebook bot marketplace, I thought it might be helpful to look at the potential implications for marketers over the next 12 months and provide a relatively jargon-free look at some of the near-term opportunities and tips on how to start to prepare for them. At a high level, it's about using AI to power more direct interactions between brands and people, focusing on faster, smarter responses to their questions and needs. ... "  

Magic Leap Virtual Reality

In Wired: A new kind of  virtual reality augmentation, with much less needed equipment in the way?   Making it a kind of augmented reality without some of the clumsiness?  Still under development, with lots of funding appearing.   Worth following.  And the related patents. 

" ... Virtual reality overlaid on the real world in this manner is called mixed reality, or MR. (The goggles are semitransparent, allowing you to see your actual surroundings.) It is more difficult to achieve than the classic fully immersive virtual reality, or VR, where all you see are synthetic images, and in many ways MR is the more powerful of the two technologies.

Magic Leap is not the only company creating mixed-reality technology, but right now the quality of its virtual visions exceeds all others. Because of this lead, money is pouring into this Florida office park. Google was one of the first to invest. Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, and others followed. In the past year, executives from most major media and tech companies have made the pilgrimage to Magic Leap’s office park to experience for themselves its futuristic synthetic reality. At the beginning of this year, the company completed what may be the largest C-round of financing in history: $793.5 million. To date, investors have funneled $1.4 billion into it ... " 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Google Sees AI and Cloud as its Future

Have heard this mantra from a number of directions this week.  " .... Google believes its superior AI will be the key to its future .... Sundar Pichai sets its sights on AI and the cloud  .. "   In the Verge.   Cognitive AI can help form the decisions, and the cloud can make the supporting data available and correct.

Data Gathering, Displaying, Connected Contact Lens

Wearable, even bionic solutions to augmented reality:

Samsung is developing a contact lens camera, triggered by blinking, that can also project images into the eye ... 

Samsung is exploring the development of a contact lens that can project images directly into the users’ eye, take photographs and connect wirelessly to a smartphone, a patent application has revealed.

The South Korean copyright authority has published a 29-page application made by the consumer electronics firm two years ago, reported the technology blog Sammobile, offering a rare insight into a science fiction vision of a future technology that could be closer than we think.

The lens could overlay internet-connected services directly into the user’s line of sight, in an example of what is known as augmented reality. It could also discreetly – even covertly – take photographs. The device would be controlled by eye movements or blinking, according to the patent, and it would connect with a smartphone. .... " 

Conversational Voice Bots From Baidu

Considerable work done by Chinese company Baidu in voice interfaces, with indications of Bot like interaction to AI.  A good group to follow.  They have a huge test bed of possibilities.  Have yet to see a demo of their approaches.  Especially how voice links to conversation and knowledge.  See the Baidu links below.  (Send me more).

" ... Last November, Baidu reached an important landmark with its voice technology, announcing that its Silicon Valley lab had developed a powerful new speech recognition engine called Deep Speech 2. It consists of a very large, or “deep,” neural network that learns to associate sounds with words and phrases as it is fed millions of examples of transcribed speech. Deep Speech 2 can recognize spoken words with stunning accuracy. In fact, the researchers found that it can sometimes transcribe snippets of Mandarin speech more accurately than a person. ..."

The Analytics Edge

Was pointed to this book:

The Analytics Edge: by Dimitris Bertsimas,  Allison O'Hair, William Pulleyblank

They write:

This book covers the science of using data to build models, improve decisions, and ultimately add value to institutions and individuals.

The philosophical underpinnings of the book are that real world problems are usually complex and often will defined; they do not come with labels, meaning that they are not necessarily regression problems or optimization problems. The only objective reality is data, which itself may be incomplete and of questionable quality, and the role of models is to facilitate the solution of real world problems. Problems and data play a leading role in this book, while models play an essential but supporting role. This is in contrast with the vast majority of books and classes available today, in which methods play the leading role.

Dimitris Bertsimas is the Boeing Professor of Operations Research and the co-director of the Operations Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, recipient of numerous research awards and co-founder of six Analytics companies.

Allison K. O'Hair is a Lecturer in Operations, Information and Technology at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has a Ph.D. in Operations Research from MIT, and is a former Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

William R. Pulleyblank is Professor of Operations Research at the United States Military Academy, West Point. Previously he was Vice President of Business Optimization in IBM and before that led the BlueGene supercomputing project in IBM Research. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has served on a broad range of business and government advisory boards. .... " 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Comparison of Public Clouds

In CWorld:  Interesting most because is covers current different features of public clouds.  " ... Public cloud review: Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Joyent ... " 

Smart Spaces and Cognitive Mediators

Smart Spaces - People with Cognitive Mediators

Organizational Change and the Digital Economy:
A Computational Organization Science Perspective

Yes, spaces are one way to think about this. But also Jobs/roles. Or even Responsibilities/Expectations. Data/Risks/Insurance ... moving on to more abstraction. The place or need creates a fundamental organization of cognitive value. Great example is the O*Net database example of jobs and tasks, talked here previously. ...  More.  

Why Forecasters Are often Wrong

In Knowledge@Wharton; Why forecasting is often not on the mark.  A favorite author J Scott Armstrong, and a number of others talk about the limitations of accuracy of forecasting, its current capabilities, and thus why data often used to drive analytical models can be wrong.

On Industrializing Data Science

Nicely done, non technical piece in Data Science Central.  Covering many of the topics and issues now being considered and debated.

3D Printing Ceramic Parts

Parts of aircraft engines. An unexpected advance.  Was just introduced to advanced ceramics uses in engines.

" .... HRL’s trick is to formulate special resins that can be used as the ink in a printer. They are made out of polymers but carry in their molecular structure silicon and other elements found in ceramics. These resins are loaded into 3-D printers to make parts with baroque shapes, such as corkscrews and sheets of intricate lattices. Then those parts go into a furnace to bake out the organic polymer components, leaving behind ceramic material. ... " 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Following Neuromarketing Beyond the Hype Cycle

In Adage:  Interesting view of the apparent advance of the use of neuromarketing, especially by Nielsen.  Often covered here.  Have followed this progress for some time, sometimes quite closely by being involved with companies that have experimented with the idea.  Still unconvinced.  There is always quite a bit integrated bias going on in high hype domains.  Ask me about it.  

Blockchain Addressing Counterfeit Drug Problem

Blockchain Technology Could Help Solve $75 Billion Counterfeit Drug Problem

Counterfeit drugs are a growing problem, but one company wants to use blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin, to help eradicate it by creating an open and trusted record of where drugs have come from. ... 

According to CoinDesk, management consulting services company Accenture proposed the initiative at a meeting of the HyperLedger Project, which is run by the Linux Foundation and seeks to build an open-source repository of blockchain code that will address current gaps in the technology. .... " 

Automating Data Science

In the DSC:

Data Scientists Automated and Unemployed by 2025!
Posted by William Vorhies

Summary:  The shortage of data scientists is driving a growing number of developers to fully Automated Predictive Analytic platforms.  Some of these offer true One-Click Data-In-Model-Out capability, playing to Citizen Data Scientists with limited or no data science expertise.  Who are these players and what does it mean for the profession of data science? ... " 

Testing Facebook Chatbots

Certainly Facebook has the largest and most varied domain to test the idea. How 'AI strong' can a chatbot be?   Does it need to be?   Companies testing:    In CWorld:   " .... When The Muppets Studio wanted Miss Piggy to be able to chat with her fans, executives there decided to connect her with a new Facebook Messenger chatbot. ... 

"We were very interested in creating an opportunity for Miss Piggy to connect with her fans in a very personal way," said Debbie McClellan, vice president of The Muppets Studio. "Messaging is a natural way for people (and internationally famous pigs) to communicate. Chatbots made it possible for Miss Piggy to engage in one-on-one conversations and to develop a deeper relationship with her fans."....  '

Monday, April 18, 2016

Google Books Copyright Case

Success, I think for broad knowledge access.  Long followed.  In the CACM:

Fair Use Prevails as Supreme Court Rejects Google Books Copyright Case
The Supreme Court on Monday declined (PDF) to hear a challenge from the Authors Guild and other writers claiming Google's scanning of their books amounts to wanton copyright infringement and not fair use.  .... " 

Inventory Accuracy with RFID

Ultimately we sought accuracy in inventory at shelf and warehouse by RFID driven transparency.   Here an example of success:

RFID Brings Lululemon's Inventory Accuracy to 98 Percent
The women's sportswear retailer has increased its e-commerce sales by tracking the locations of millions of goods as they move throughout its stores.
By Claire Swedberg  .... " 

Listening to Customers

Are you really listening to what your customers are saying?  We did, but many companies do not.  McKinsey writes:

Too many companies squander the treasure that is customer feedback. The solution is systematically measuring the customer’s voice and integrating it into a culture of continuous feedback. .... " 

The Form of Driverless Cars

Driverless Cars Must Have Steering Wheels, Brake Pedals, Feds Say
Autonomous vehicles could meet current safety standards, but only if they include standard features found in traditional models By Larry Greenemeier on March 16, 2016

Doing it Smarter, Faster, Better

Brought to my attention:

Mind Over Matter
Everyone wants to be more productive. And as a result, there is a not insignificant industry of books, conferences, and speakers pitching miracle cures for getting things done more effectively. To a degree, each addition to the genre seems counterproductive. Wouldn’t it be more, um, productive to spend our time plowing through the dozens of primers already on our shelf than to take the time and expense of buying a new one? ... 

In most cases, the answer to this question is yes. But in his writing — and in a recent interview — Charles Duhigg makes a convincing case as to why his new book, Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business (Random House, 2016), deserves our attention. It is an engaging, fast, and worthwhile  .... " 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Marketing Bots

This article doesn't provide much useful detail.  But the direction is clear.  Bots can provide simplified applications of AI in any communicating system.  Then adapt them to provide all sorts of value propositions.   Results produce produce patterns of interactions that can be further adapted.

" ... But social networks and messaging companies are now moving to welcome bots into their networks. Helping companies set up marketing or customer service bots is seen as a new revenue source.

Popular mobile messaging services Kik and Telegram have both set up “bot shops,” where you can find automated accounts. Most are very simple, for example providing horoscopes, or helping you send money to other users. But some companies are setting up more complex, interactive bots for marketing purposes.  ... " 

Biofactories of the Future

Pointing to a Nature article of interest. " ..... From an evolutionary perspective, yeast has no business producing a pain killer. But by re-engineering the microbe's genome, Christina Smolke at Stanford University in California has made it do precisely that. ...  

Commoditizing Software

And further by adding new tools to integrate code and problems, and codes written by multiple people.

Commoditization of Coding

The cloud- or industry-specific approach is another facet of commoditization involving product line extension -- where once there was one SKU, now there are many that give a vendor the ability to further penetrate the market.

Prior to industry-specific CRM, cloud computing or Software-as-a-Service was the ultimate commoditization of IT. Pay by the drink, don't buy anything other than your personal device, let some other party pay for the back-office administration and acquisition costs. It's hard to see how you commoditize further, but who knows? ..... ' 

Gaming Industry Technologies

We often looked to to the gaming industry for hardware and software that was driving decisions and operations.  Here a good set of examples of current technology being used.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

AI for High Frequency Trading

Via the Financial Revolutionist:

Note the statement that this simulates the insights of experienced traders.   So more of an expertise based system rather than a machine learning approach?  Likely some combination of the two. Which brings together business process knowledge and deep analytics.   An ideal mixture!

Securities Houses turn to AI for High-frequency trading
 In the age of ultra-high-frequency trading, financial institutions are turning to artificial intelligence to improve their stock trading performance and boost profit.

     One such company is Japan's leading brokerage house Nomura Securities. The company has been pursuing one goal: to simulate the insights of experienced stock traders with the help of computers. After years of research, Nomura is set to introduce a new stock trading system for institutional investors in May. ... " 

Combining Data and Creativity

Broadly a favorite topic.    Ultimately it has always been there as a combination of generate-and-test methods.  Your creativity will always be tested in the market.  But now the data defines the world better than it ever has.  So why not involve it early?  

Combining Data and Creativity in Marketing
by Rick Delgado   

Of all the uses of big data analytics for businesses, one of the most popular and effective is its utilization in the marketing world. With detailed information about customers, brands, and marketing efforts, it’s little surprise that big data would make such an impact among marketers of all types of companies. When it comes to marketing, big data solutions are plentiful, but the more that marketing becomes data-driven, the more worry there is that the emphasis on numbers could end up crowding out the more creative side. For many years now, creativity has dominated the marketing sphere, but with more businesses leaning toward the importance of using data to influence all decisions, creativity has almost taken a backseat. The key to achieving new levels of success for marketers is the effective combination of both sides of the equation. .... " 

Friday, April 15, 2016

What Exactly is a Bot?

The word Bot has started to be used again.  But what is it?    I was struck by Matt Galligan's piece in Medium which takes a broad look at the definition.  We built one that for a short time in the 80s represented a major brand's equity.   See the 'Mr Clean' link tag below for more on that.  A Bot to us meant a system that interacted with you.  It did not attempt to fool you into think it was intelligent, but clearly had a hint of AI, and in the end gave you some value for interacting.  Such a system could have access to as much knowledge and logic as necessary to make it of value.

Poets and Script Writers for Virtual Assistants, Bots

In the WaPo:  Intriguing idea.  Make a Virtual Assistant as human and engaging as possible with clever writing and narratives.   I have seen aspects of this work in assistants.   Integrating humor, entertainment, music, social interaction can soften assistance.   But do remember that the directed communications provided do need to be focused, credible and correct.   Else its not assistance.

If we define Bots as further engaging in a conversation about assistance, the need for defining a clear narrative of interaction is even more important.

Future of Economics in Machine Learning

Makes sense.  Both economics and machine learning are driven by pattern detection and re application.

 " .... Economists have largely preferred to act within their own field and interpretations. However, the rise of big data challenges, data analytics, and machine learning is beginning to change all that. In the summer of 2015, Susan Athey, a Professor of Economics of Technology at Stanford attracted a crowd of over 250 economists for a one-day instructive session on machine learning. In the article publinshed on Quora.com recounting the event, Athey stated that she thinks machine learning will have an “enormous impact” on the field of economics especially as economists learn to tailor their methodologies to include machine learning. .....  " 

Stormy Evolution of Mathematics

A network visualization of the evolution of mathematics.  Pretty narrow interest but still an example of how to visualize networks.

Media Services Getting Smarter

A continuing trend.  Intelligence can consist of including higher level services.  But these have to be correct and consistent under varying data contexts.  That last part is probably the hardest thing to achieve.  Contexts can be many things:  Industry, customer demographics, history of interaction ... and more.   Consider too the implications of of error varying under each context as well.  Note the mention of 'workflows' below, that also has the potential of specifying context.

Microsoft is bringing automatic video summarization, Hyperlapse, OCR and more to Azure Media Services
Azure Media Services, Microsoft’s collection of cloud-based tools for video workflows, is about to get a lot smarter. As the company announced at the annual NAB show in Las Vegas today, Media Services will now make use of some of the tools Microsoft developed for its machine learning services for video, as well. ... "

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Accenture Builds a Virtual Assistant called MyWizard

Continued efforts to build virtual assistants.  Named MyWizard.    Note the industry specific elements and knowledge.  How much local learning?    I like the statement of it dealing directly with business outcomes.   Looking further.  Can I get a demo?

Accenture Launches Intelligent Automation Platform to Deliver Smarter, More Efficient Application Services that Improve Business Outcomes  .... " 

The intelligent automation platform, Accenture myWizard, augments human technologists with virtual agents powered by artificial intelligence, armed with analytics capabilities and the ability to tap Accenture’s vast technology and unique industry knowledge  .. " 

" .... The platform is able to mine Accenture’s vast, cumulative knowledge base of vertical industry operating models, process flows and key performance indicators, giving Accenture myWizard a unique set of business domain experience that can identify and support tangible business results. Hosted on Microsoft Azure, Accenture myWizard’s liquid, plug-and-play architecture makes it “tomorrow-proof” with the ability to add in new capabilities as artificial intelligence matures. .... " 

List of Virtual Assistants covered.

Bots Auto Captioning Photos

An area I worked in both in the enterprise, and with a startup.   Google and Facebook have done work in this area.  Now Microsoft is also doing such captioning, apparently with some problems.  Bad problems.   The implications of error have come of much in recent bot / AI examples.   It is interesting that this is being characterized as a bot, we never used that word.  More of an image recognition and tagging problem.  We need a better definition of the bot concept.  To me it has an element of interaction, rather than just processing.

Connecting Analytics to Data

Good thoughts in the Cisco Blog:

" ... In every industry data is being created in places it never has before, creating hyper-distributed data environments. It is becoming increasingly hard to reach that data, secure that data, and much less draw an insight and enable a person or process to take action on the data. But data is not the problem – connected data is the problem.

The ability to secure, aggregate, automate, and draw insights from an organization’s own data – with speed – will define value for that organization. When you connect people, process, data and things, technology becomes an enabler and new opportunities emerge ... " 

Doing Data for Startups

From Matt Ritter

Good thoughts on the topic, have worked with startups in this area, and it is quite different.

Free guide and more here at the link.  He writes:

Everybody is a scientist. Everybody uses data to make decisions.

You don’t have to work at Google or be a researcher at Harvard to benefit from a better understanding how how to generate insight and knowledge from raw observations (not numeric always ones!) These articles are designed to help everybody draw better conclusions from the information in front of them, and communicate those data-backed insights to drive better group decisions.

Science moves in jumps and starts, and new articles are available when they are complete, not on a schedule of arbitrary deadlines. The best way to stay up to date is to join the email list (Red button the right!)    ....  "

Mass Customization

We looked at this a number of ways, in particular how customization could be applied at different stages of manufacturing and delivery.  Driven by optimal cost and efficiency.    Related, in the HBR:  Operations Management  The Four Faces of Mass Customization  by James H. GilmoreB. Joseph Pine II ...   " ... We have identified four distinct approaches to customization, which we call collaborative, adaptive, cosmetic, and transparent. When designing or redesigning a product, process, or business unit, managers should examine each of the approaches for possible insights into how best to serve their customers.  :  ... " 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mycroft Virtual Assistant Advances to Developers

Mycroft, an always listening virtual assistant:

An artificial Intelligence for everyone?

Challenging to Amazon Echo, Siri, Cortana ...

In Kickstarter development.

Their FAQ addresses some of the questions.

And Blog.

Apr 4, 2016  
Saturday was monumental. We shipped our very first Kickstarter Early Bird Hardware Dev Kit. These dev kits are the alpha Mycrofts ordered by the developers who are helping to make Mycroft a reality. (photo credit Zach Spears) We want to send a big  ... " 
Isn’t Mycroft just a clone of Amazon’s Echo?
Echo is a great product, but Mycroft has a lot of additional features. Mycroft doesn’t lock you into an “ecosystem”. The platform is open source, so you can access a wide variety of data sources. Mycroft also has more input and output options. It has USB, HDMI, RCA and access to the 40 pin Raspberry  Pi 2 GPIO bus. ... " 

Also an interview in Startland.

Thinking a Retail Internet of Things

In Retailwire: Some good thoughts and comments about the retail IOT.  When we first started to examine the transparency of an RFID driven internet of things, we had very similar thoughts.  Now add how analytics will be used, and how 'Bots' will be used to attentively determine what to do next and query patterns to drive operational states.  This last part is where the decison/cogniitve/AI can reside. Still a challenge.  And a very big opportunity.

Why Free NYC Wifi?

In the Washpo.  Really far beyond just providing easy and free communications between  people and services.  I am reminded of the early case of free Wifi in airports, which competed with pay services that had already been established.  How does this compare?    " ... At this very moment in New York City, you can walk up to one of 65 futuristic kiosks, punch in an email address on your phone and instantly receive a wireless Internet connection that follows you around town. ... " 

How Smart are Smart Machines?

In MIT Sloan:  Well put, we need to link cognitive abilities to the specifics of business need.

The number of sophisticated cognitive technologies that might be capable of cutting into the need for human labor is expanding rapidly. But linking these offerings to an organization’s business needs requires a deep understanding of their capabilities.  ... 

Smart Machines
If popular culture is an accurate gauge of what’s on the public’s mind, it seems everyone has suddenly awakened to the threat of smart machines. Several recent films have featured robots with scary abilities to outthink and manipulate humans. In the economics literature, too, there has been a surge of concern about the potential for soaring unemployment as software becomes increasingly capable of decision making. Yet managers we talk to don’t expect to see machines displacing knowledge workers anytime soon — they expect computing technology to augment rather than replace the work of humans. In the face of a sprawling and fast-evolving set of opportunities, their challenge is figuring out what forms the augmentation should take. Given the kinds of work managers oversee, what cognitive technologies should they be applying now, monitoring closely, or helping to build? ... " 

ISSIP Talk: On Services Research

" ... This week’s presenter for the ISSIP Service Innovation Weekly Speaker Series is Niels Feldmann from Karlsruhe Service Research Institute. As we heard from Professor Prof Dr Gerhard Satzger that KSRI has been working on a number of research and education programs since it’s inception. This week, Niels will continue last week’s presentation with an example program.

·         Niels Feldmann https://www.ksri.kit.edu/english/team_301.php
·         Prof. Dr. Gerhard Satzger https://www.ksri.kit.edu/english/team_282.php
·         Karlsruhe Service Research Institute http://www.kit.edu/english/
·         https://www.linkedin.com/in/gerhard-satzger-679b2021
·         https://www.linkedin.com/in/niels-feldmann-9833452

ISSIP Service Innovation Weekly Speaker Series
Wed 7:30 am pacific time (San Francisco time zone)/ 10:30am EST
Co-hosts: Haluk Demirkan, Jim Spohrer, Yassi Moghaddam, DJ Christman, Heather Yurko

Imprecision in Computing

In the CACM:  Decrease precision.  For Saving energy apparently.   How is this making anything better?    The amount of energy involved seems minimal.  Yet understanding precision is important in large and complex problems is important.  Yesterday had a conversation about the wildly increased precision in imaging, since early Defense department experiences.  Perhaps not seen as necessary at the time, but considerable advantages have been derived since.

Ford and the Smart Home

Somewhat unexpected, but car makers linking to the Smart Home. The further integration between car and home.

 Major automakers are driving full speed into the smart home marketplace, as Ford announces future plans to integrate with the Amazon Echo.

According to a Ford press release, the company is working to integrate the Amazon Echo with SYNC Connect–the infotainment center in new Ford vehicles. The idea is that homebuyers will be able to control smart home devices from Ford vehicles. ... " 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Building a Reco Engine with a Graph Database

Building a recommendation Engine ... Powering recommendations with a Graph Database.  I like the idea of decision process starting with a visualization.   " You May also like …" ... Product recommendations help businesses maximize their online revenue. It requires advanced technology, but this is now available off-the-shelf, and is already being used by Wal-Mart and other market leaders.

“You may also like” is a deceptively simple phrase that encapsulates a new era in customer relationship management. In offering the advice, businesses maximize the value they deliver by providing highly targeted, real-time product recommendations to their online consumers.

Don't Neglect Business Process Models

In CIO:  Agree, based on my observations, there is less business process modeling (BPM) being done today. Fewer people even know what it is.  This is based on the assumption that you can find some results, some patterns, with data science or Big Data, that will be 'magic enough' without really knowing how exactly how it will be applied.

This is a mistake. Every data analytics model should include at least a sketched out model of the business process being influenced.    Any complex analytics should not go forward without a complete understanding of the business process involved. Else how do you know you are doing something useful?

Watson, Big Data and Genomics

More emphasis on health applications. " ... IBM Watson takes analytics prowess overseas: Supercomputer to work on big data and genomics in Italy .... Computing giant to invest up to $150M to create European Center of Excellence, with focus on personalized medicine and more. ... " 

3D Printing and the Supply Chain

In Gartner:  Obviously very dependent on form and assembly needs of the products involved.  But will become increasingly in play as the technologies evolve.

Changing Employee Behavior and Attitude

In McKinsey: Leaders must consider new ways to change the attitudes and behavior of employees.

" ... The psychological contract that traditionally bound employees to their employers has been fraying. Many of today’s workers, having experienced the pain of the economic downturn and large-scale layoffs, no longer feel as much loyalty and commitment to their organizations as they did even a decade ago. Job hopping has been described as the “new normal,” and millennials are expected to hold 15 to 20 positions over the course of their working lives. ... " 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Rulex: Modeling for Rule Based Decision Making

Had spent some time looking at rule based approaches to doing predictive decisions.  Brought to my attention:  Rulex:

 " ... Understand, Forecast, Decide.
New generation advanced analytics tools for proactive decision makers. ... 

Big Data, Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics, Modelling, Forecasting and Data Challenges Beyond all the keywords, you are fighting Complexity.  Rulex gives you the tools to dominate it. ... " 

Economics of Disruption

Digital strategy: Understanding the economics of disruption
Responding to digital disruption isn’t about creating a list of digitization priorities; it’s about identifying where you are vulnerable and where you can create value.  .... " 

A Building Sends a Friend Request

Way back when, during my early days of innovation, I worked at the Pentagon, a remarkable place.     So this article seemed so striking I had to copy the link and send it to several old colleagues.  Newsweek & Science:  Dear Silicon Valley: The Pentagon has sent you a friend request. ... " .  Buildings don't send friend requests,  but real innovation has now extended so far beyond groups like Darpa.   An example of an innovative internet of building things?   Or just Synecdoche?

Asking the Right Questions of Big Data

Good thoughts here.  Though having observed enterprise examples, it can be as little as asking any relevant questions of big data.  Align questions with key decision processes. You can learn a lot about process it self by working with the data itself.  Too often I have seen too much emphasis on getting a solution, rather than getting value.   Further ..

On Linear Regression

Good, non technical discussion.   Probably the most important method to really understand well.  Since it is most used.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Driving Light Show with Pattern Recognition AI

An example of using sensors to drive performance light position.  In the BBC.  Ultimately a good example.  The sensors gather data.  Patterns can be matched to scripts (goals).   Adaptations to performance are made to achieve results.  Potential to learn by feeding back results to performers ( or script writers) . Whole thing recorded for later strategy adaptation.  So what is AI?  The advanced machine learning / pattern recognition. Not dissimilar from more complex versions of adaptive process control.

What Problem are you Solving?

Good thoughts in Inc.   I add:  Most of us have a list of things that we know are problems for our industry.  So it becomes a matter of prioritizing potential value.  But there are so many solutions, or partials solutions, floating about, it has become more of an assignment problem.

New Data in Multimedia Research

Bart Thomee of Yahoo Labs discusses "YFCC100M: The New Data in Multimedia Research" (cacm.acm.org/magazines/2016/2/197425), Contributed Article in the February 2016 CACM. ... 

See also, on Yahoo! Labs.  Here we note:  " .... On February 17, 2016, Yahoo announced that Yahoo Labs is shutting down and replaced with Yahoo Research ... " 

Existing Technology to Assist Disabled

In CACM:  A good overview of the topic.  We exist in a world where common, but still remarkable technologies are being broadly applied.    I was reminded too, that everyone has some form of disability, current or in the future, so this is broadly applicable.

See also: Enhancing abilities.   Madelaine Sayko from Cognitive Compass, presenting "Enhancing Ability Through Smart Cognitive Support Systems."     And more at the tag below. 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Posing the Warrant Canary

 The BBC poses the concept of a 'warrant canary'

A legal statement that something is not true, by its mere existence?

" .. A warrant canary is a statement saying a company has not received secret requests for user data by government or law enforcement officers.    ..... 

It is named after the birds that were taken down mineshafts to alert workers to toxic gases.  If the canary died in the mine the workers knew they had to leave quickly.  ..... 

Similarly, the existence of a warrant canary on a website indicates the "all clear". When it disappears, visitors might assume the website has received classified requests for data. .. " 

Recently the site Reddit removed their 'Warrant Canary'    .... so  Either ....   the canary is dead and they have had secret requests   or   they are afraid of being sued for having the canary signal there in the first place    or    ?

Blockchain Explained

In O'Reilly.  Good, but still technical, utilizes code to make the comparisons.

" ... Defining blockchains by analogies and applications

Blockchain is a buzzword, and though it's thrown around often, it's rarely explained. Here's how blockchain compares to Git, Raft, and other technologies to give you a sense of what blockchains really are and how they present a unified framework to solve problems that are presently solved by many disparate tools. .... " 

Watching and Learning for AI

The ideal AI would be akin to a small child.  It could observe, learn and reapply that which they have learned.  Build its knowledge and skills.  To this end we experimented with neural nets in their early days, but only in a sense that they could be formed into a very primitive model of a learning system.   A relatively small number of inputs and outputs. Now the much acclaimed 'Deep learning', uses the same principles, but advances them with better hardware and improved learning algorithms.   But still for relatively narrow goals.

Suppose you could then observe the interaction of a game and people.   Still a relatively focused interaction,  in a limited space called the game.    But many, many more inputs than neural nets today. Not the generalized AI we would like to see.   But a move forward towards that goal.

Such an effort described in the CACM.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Martin Lindstrom Podcast on Small Data

Martin Lindstrom discusses his new book about 'small data'

Small Data coverMartin Lindstrom has spent time with 2,000 families in more than 77 countries to get clues to how they live — resulting in the acquisition of what he likes to call Small Data. In his new book, Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends, he argues that the Small Data explains the why behind what Big Data reveals. Knowledge@Wharton recently spoke with Lindstrom on the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111.

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

Now how can such data be connected with structured and unstructured data?  Is this about the story,  or is there a deeper connection.

Store Formatting by Kroger and other Retailers

In Retailwire:  Something we examined in the innovation centers.  At both the shelf and broader store design level.  Here some interesting views of how this is linked to demographics.  How has the emergence of online changed these designs?   Comments by other observers is also interesting.

SAS on Machine Learning

Good, high level, largely non technical view of machine learning from SAS:  Machine Learning ... What it is & why it matters  Machine learning is a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building. Using algorithms that iteratively learn from data, machine learning allows computers to find hidden insights without being explicitly programmed where to look. .... " 

I add:  Course its not only about the data analytics.  Its also how decisions create data and use data to alter their progress.  The alteration has the potential to create value.  So don't forget to capture the decision process.

Boston Childrens Thinking Voice Hubs

Voice as a means to deliver health 'Know How':

In addition to the three partnerships announced last year, Brownstein told Xconomy there's a partnership in the works with Amazon to “embed Children’s Hospital know-how” in the Amazon Echo, the company's Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a voice control hub for connected home devices and services. 

This would be the second health-focused partnership for Amazon Echo in a fairly short timeframe, as the company just added Fitbit integration earlier this month. Just what that partnership will entail, Brownstein wouldn't say, but some of his other comments in the interview suggest a direction. ..." 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

More on Generating Smells

This is a topic that we covered in the innovation center, and this blog has covered for about the same time.  Have seen dozens of examples claiming generated digital scent.  We looked and tested how it could be integrated into retail.  By package, shelf, zone and even specific to interaction.  Most recently seeing the ability to integrate the idea into the smart home.  Here in Technology Review, some new developments and a good description of the difficulties involved.  Below, lots more coverage of the idea.

SAP Startups on Augmented Reality and IOT

From SAP's Startup focus blog.  Emphasizing augmented reality and internet of things applications. Not unexpected or really novel applications, but good to see a major player showing examples of what this might look like in the enterprise.   Includes a video example.  An element of the 'Smart factory'. Worth a look.

What Do We Mean by Shopper Journey?

In Retailwire:   Varying definitions.  Suggest you read Herb Sorensen's book, soon to be republished in a second edition: Inside the Mind of the Shopper, about the science of retail. He takes it down to the data involved.

Shrinking Organization Charts: Replaced by Data Patterns

Thoughts on the shrinking org chart.   Interesting and lengthy piece.   Key thoughts, yes, it is shrinking, but it is still as complex.  Parts of it are now being replaced by patterns in data.   All we need to do is find them.  Or at least know they might exist.

A pointer is made to the HBR article on P&G's Business Sphere effort.  Which is not quite on point to what was being talked about, but certainly could be.

See much more on the Business Sphere effort at the tag link below.

Samsung Developing new IOT Operating System

In CWorld:  Previously reported on.  Would like to see a demonstration of where this is going, especially how it might include connections with proposed standards.

" ... Samsung is developing a new operating system for the Internet of Things, hoping to make a bigger role for itself in the millions of smart home appliances, wearables and industrial equipment that are coming online.

The OS, which will be open source and hasn't yet been named, will help devices to execute simple tasks quickly without human intervention. For example, the software could instruct a door lock to open and the lights to come on as a person approaches their home. ... " 

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Alibaba Exceeds Wal-Mart

Alibaba Surpasses Walmart As Largest Retail Company In The World
 by Tyler Durden on 04/06/2016

We may not have the exact numbers yet, but in a filing with the SEC on Tuesday, China's online retail behemoth Alibaba Group announced that it had "become the largest retail economy in the world" at the end of its fiscal year on March 31, "as measured by gross merchandise volume (GMV) on its China retail marketplaces." As IBT notes, the company has yet to declare its financial results for its last quarter and the complete fiscal year, but the announcement makes it clear that BABA surpassed the $482.1 billion in 2015 revenues reported by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for its fiscal year ended Jan. 31. ... " 

Camera Live Streams VR

Quite an impressive capability.   In Mashable.  New levels of real time immersion.  Imagine the complexity of the editing.

Amazon Acting like Walmart

Is Amazon acting like Walmart in the 80s?  In Retaillink:

" ... Amazon's investments in trucks, planes, cargo boats and drones continue to drive speculation on whether the company is building a full-scale delivery platform. But an RBC Capital Markets analyst has drawn attention by likening the moves to Walmart's shift to tighten supply chain costs three decades ago.

"At the core, we think the decisions Amazon is making today parallel those made by Walmart during the 1980s, as the company began to integrate itself more fully with its suppliers to aggressively reduce costs across all aspects of its business, especially the supply chain," wrote John Barnes in a note last week. "This can accomplish two things: reduce costs in any way possible and ensure that customers receive goods in a timely manner year round." ... "

Inside the HoloLens Hardware

A much anticipated hardware technical look inside the MS Hololens, their virtual reality system and headset.   This is a hardware technical overview.  To me the inclusion of depth perception and 'spatial sound' were particularly interesting sensory aspects. Still it seems game oriented, and a completely un tethered VR system., which makes it unique.

 To get access you need to apply with a proposed application, and pay a fairly hefty $3K cost.  Most interesting is the close connection with Microsoft's other infrastructure, which may lead to interesting solutions. Still looking for enterprise examples rather than narrow applications.  Will follow with these as I see them.

Natural Language Access to Data: Where Reasoning Makes Sense

Looks to be a good talk .... 

" ... Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series on Thursday April 7, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (7:30 am PT US).  Our presenter this week is Richard Waldinger from SRI International who will be presenting "Natural Language Access to Data: Where Reasoning Makes Sense." 
 Slides here.

Please point your web browser to https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491password=cognitive.   Use audio on computer or 855-233-7153 in the US (other countries numberhere) PIN Code: 43179788    Non-IBMers and Non-Members, please use the "guest" option.   
Please find the schedule of presenters herefor the next several calls and please sign up for making a presentation by sending a note to me (fodell@us.ibm.com).   A link to slides and a recording of each call should be available on the CSIG website (http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/).   

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

Thank you,
Dianne Fodell

IBM Global University Programs .... 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Robots Learn from Insects

Have heard relatively little about genetic methods lately, here as a means of adapting initial descriptive solutions. Worth considering to achieve some process optimization in complex situtations.

In CACM: " ... Paris Diderot University researchers, led by researcher Jose Halloy, have developed a way to generate a robot cockroach's behavior automatically using a combination of descriptions of cockroach habits, combining models of individual movements with group activity. The researchers then used evolutionary algorithms to optimize the models.  " 

Qlik Sense Stories

Via Qlik Sense:

" ... Charts and graphs may be some of the most commonly used tools for bringing data sets to life, but Narrative Science wants you to consider another one: stories.

Companies that use Qlik Sense data-visualization software can now download the free Narratives for Qlik extension and automatically create stories that explain what's most  

The company already helps enterprises put data-driven stories to work through its flagship Quill natural language generation platform. ... " 

New Enterprise Splunk

Splunk, A package that I used for an application some time ago, for datastream analysis, but is relatively little known, reports their enterprise version 6.4.   Adds new visualization capabilities.

Principal Component Analysis using R

Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was a favorite technique of ours for a long time, because it addressed the dimensionality of a problem,   So important for problems that had many socially influenced dimensions.  These problems also typically had relatively sparse data, because it could be expensive to obtain. Here a good example of PCA in R, and motivation for its use.   Worth knowing.

Datawheel to Visualize Open US Data

This looks to be a very good idea.  Automatically generated visualizations.

In Datanami:   New Platform Visualizes Open U.S. Data
by George Leopold

Federal agencies are sitting on tons of data, particularly in areas like healthcare, employment, weather and education. A new initiative called Data USA seeks to unleash this trove via a free and open platform that collects, analyzes and visualizes government data to help policy makers and executives better understand critical issues.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab teamed with management consultant Deloitte and data platform builder Datawheel to create the data visualization engine. The partners said Monday (April 4) the platform aggregates and visualizes publicly available date from such government agencies as the departments of Commerce, Education and Labor.

Users can browse and filter U.S. data and create visualizations designed to spot patterns related to local, regional and national topics related to employment, education and health policies. The data filter frames government information by location, industry, occupation and other categories ....  "

See Data USA    http://datausa.io/

http://www.datawheel.us/   Datawheel

Monday, April 04, 2016

Lifelogging Pauses

Gordon Bell was a big proponent, but has stopped doing Lifelogging.  Has the ubiquitous smart phone taken over for the approach?  Only if you automated periodic picture taking and recorded keystrokes. And made sure the phone was pointed in the right direction.

We examined variants of the idea for understanding consumer behavior in both laboratory and real life contexts.  Not enough work was done doing pattern analysis of the data gathered.  I see I have not written much about that experience here (see mentions in tags below).  May follow later.

New on IFTTT This Month

A number of new channels on IFTTT this month. For those that might want to sculpt out the operation of their smart home (or even smart office).   Including from Daikin AC controllers and GE Clothes Dryers.   See their many LG channels.   Even their BMW Labs Channel. And much more.   Hundreds overall.   See their recipes for the home.  And also follow their blog.    Surprised that more has not been done with this.  Is that because people can't rely on the channels being maintained?

So what is IFTTT?

IFTTT gives you creative control over the products and apps you love.

What are Recipes?

Recipes are simple connections between products and apps. There are two types of Recipes: DO Recipes and IF Recipes.

DO Recipes
DO Recipes run with just a tap and enable you to create your own personalized Button, Camera, and Notepad. The DO apps are available for iOS and Android.

IF Recipes

IF Recipes run automatically in the background. Create powerful connections with one simple statement — if this then that.

More here.

MIT Media Lab Changes Software Default to Encourage Open Source

MIT pushes free and open source, in Medium:

The MIT Media Lab is part of an academic ecosystem committed to liberal sharing of knowledge. In that spirit, I’m proud to announce that we are changing our internal procedures to encourage more free and open-source software.

Previously, software releases using free and open source licenses were approved by an internal committee. But since we’ve always allowed our developers to open-source their work, we’re eliminating the unnecessary hurdle: from now on any open source request will be viewed as the default and automatically approved. We respect the autonomy of our community members and will continue to let them choose whether to release their software as proprietary or open. But removing the open source approval step will level the playing field. ... " 

Conceptual Map of the FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software). Source: VARGUX via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ConceptualMapFLOSS.png

Spectral Clustering and Decision Process Improvement

Good, detailed piece in DSC on motivation for Spectral Clustering.  Not a method we used in the enterprise, never getting beyond K means and forest methods, but the case is made that better clustering methods can get you closer to the actual decision process. Getting closer to selectively using specific data resources to match and improve existing decision processes is valuable.

Thus the link to decision tree oriented methods.  Also related to segmentation methods driven by clustering.   Finally,  mentioned in the article, how this can be used to  the specific value of particular data assets. That was an area we looked at closely.  Will examine possibilities.  Ideas?

Machine Learning Empowering the Smart Phone

Makes sense, we are already seeing voice integration and the gathering and assembly and analysis of sensor data.  Better virtual assistants for given contexts should follow.

In Fastcompany:
Three Ways Google Predicts Your Smartphone Will Change The Future Of Work ... One Googler explains how machine learning will soon make your smartphone "a much more efficient and decisive problem solver."   ...... ' 

Improvisation and Virtual Onboarding

We experimented with this, but it was never implemented, perhaps for cultural reasons.  Found it to be be fascinating approach, especially the process involved.   And how will we be onboard with the use of virtual assistants?

" ... Virtual collaboration has become popular in the recent years, especially at the workplace, due to immense technological advances. According to a report, in 2011, around 79% of the U.S. workers prefer to work from home and are comfortable holding a job where at least part of the time they work within a virtual workplace. Keeping this in mind, many forward-looking organizations adopt different approaches for efficient group work and best practices of collaboration into virtual settings. But just like face-to-face meetings, meeting in virtual workplace has its advantages and challenges.... "

Technical Revolution in the Ear

In Co.Design
The Next Big Tech Revolution Will Be In Your Ear
Experts in UX, AI, and product design weigh in on the next big modality in computing. ..

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Industry 4.0

Interesting characterization of industry from the beginning to the Industrial Internet, mentioned here previously, we were members of its inception.  See tag links below for more coverage

In CustomerThink:
" ... The term Industry 4.0 was coined by German Government which indicates use of latest digital technologies like Internet of Things in manufacturing industry. 

Sometimes it is also known as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). It refers to the 4th industrial revolution.

Here is the brief history of industrial revolutions: 

Industry 1.0: use of water and steam power

Industry 2.0: introduced mass production with the help of electric power.

Industry 3.0: use of electronics and IT to further automate production.

Industry 4.0: digitization of manufacturing with the use of Internet of Things, Big Data, automation of processes with Robots, 3D printing, drones & Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In the Internet of Things, sensors having the ability to collect real time data which can be used by manufacturers and producers. The advancements in big data and powerful analytics means that systems can scan through the huge sets of data and produce insights that can be acted upon quickly.
... "

Who Does the Analytics?

This came to light in a recent project.   ....  and no one was willing to consider both alternatives.

Human or Machine: The Most Important Question in Analytics   by Tom Davenport

Arguably the most important questions in analytics these days is, “Who (or what) is going to make the decision?” There are two fundamental answers: a human or a machine. How the question is answered has all sorts of implications for what kind of people will do the analysis, what kinds of tools will be used, the process for the analysis, and so forth. ... "