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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Curriculum for Cognitive Science

Fascinating new discussion I am participating in is underway.  Follow along.   Will pass along excerpts here.

A New “Science of Cognitive Computing” Curriculum
Posted by Jim Spohrer ...

Currently, I am working on a new “science of cognitive computing” curriculum for IBM with our partner universities and others to allow people of all ages to design, build, understand, and work with cognitive mediators.  The curriculum is inspired in part by the work of Douglas Engelbart, an American engineer and inventor, and an early computer and Internet pioneer, who urged us to work quickly to augment human intellect to address complex, urgent problems.

Initially,  we plan to use the curriculum to show people how to design and build cognitive mediators that augment their personal and professional memories and suggest profitable connections and conversations between people – a type of relationship-oriented computing.   Later, we plan to use the curriculum to help people understand how intelligence (capabilities to perform useful tasks) develops in people and machines using specific data sets and learning algorithms, both unsupervised (evolution) and supervised (culture) algorithms.  Finally, we plan to use the curriculum to help people explore how best to work with their cognitive mediators, individually and collectively. ... " 

Giving your Assistant a Personality

How much personality does a virtual assistant need to get acceptance from the public?  At what point is it entertainment, engagement  .. even trust?    Usually in a given context.    Shades of the MS Paperclip, which was thought cute,  gave useful information,  but was mostly mocked.  Was even attentive.  It had some personality.

   Differrent too is the claim by Google that  'Google Assistant', will support a human-like multiple stage conversation rather than just bare answers. With the system learning and thus adapting to the interaction.  Thats human-like, more than bot-like.   Not just having pat chosen answers from a database.  .   Seems Google is now hiring an artist to visualize the personality.

Will A Robot Be Your Boss?

Inevitably.  Maybe not your next boss.  But soon.   Also depends upon the definition of boss and robot ... but machine learning systems will be tracking what is done and needed, and some system will suggest what should be done next.  And test it for compliance to its design.  And in some cases, replace you.   Get ready for change.   Inevitable.   Inc Mag (registration required) a related article.

Beacons Doubling

Have seen and been asked about a number of applications.   Our environment is becoming more aware, attentive to needs and requests.  This is a form of location aware bots.

Beacons Double This Year, On Way To 400 Million In Market by Chuck Martin
While there will be billions of Internet-connected consumer things ranging from wearables to appliances, one of the most visible objects for marketers still will be beacons, at least into the foreseeable future. ... " 

Samsung Adds Ads to the Smarts

Have been a user of Samsung Smart TVs for some time now.  Have noticed that updates to the OS have started to add more advertising oriented capabilities.  Geeting closer to malware.   We are not asked about these updates. Other makers are also in the process. May be time to move towards less smarts, before they take over, In the Verge. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Microsoft Flashback for Mobile VR

In VRFocus: 

Microsoft’s FlashBack Aims to Redefine Mobile VR
Real time rendering could be a thing of the past with this new concept ... 

Microsoft, well-known for its development of the augmented reality (AR) head-mounted display (HMD), the HoloLens, has identified and outlined in its latest virtual reality (VR) endeavour the cons to each of the existing HMD and in turn has presented its own solution to conquer these faulted technologies with FlashBack, its own “unorthodox” answer to mobile VR but with the power of tethered VR HMDs. .... 

The main concept of FlashBack is rather than to render images in real-time, which can take up a lot of power, but to pre-render and store all possible images that the viewer can potentially come across, resulting in a more powerful, smooth, and energy-efficient mobile VR HMD.  .... " 

What the IOT will Disrupt

In SiliconAngle.   This is fairly obvious, would like the suggestions presented a lower level, but it is still a good overview that is worth a scan.    A look at the Bain & Company report previously mentioned here.  With instructuve infographics.

On Monetizing Data

Some useful but very general thoughts.  Some sort of direct monetary value and risk attribution under a given context would be most useful.  We already have some idea of the value of particular cases of cleansed data, can that be leveraged more broadly?

Creative Titles Energizing Workers

I recall a few cases where people have revealed their non traditional and  unusual business title, and I am more likely to remember them.    In the HBR. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mapping Entrepreneurs

Lone entrpreneurs?  Bain maps them.  Surprising truths.  From the WSJ.  

" ... Far from being disconnected outliers, entrepreneurs thrive best when they operate in tight-knit networks, nurture fellow risk takers, and trade know-how and capital.

The Endeavor organization together with my colleagues at Bain & Co. mapped this social network of entrepreneurs across multiple generations and multiple continents—even in some of the harshest terrain for innovation, such as Buenos Aires, Istanbul and Mexico City. For example, they surveyed more than 200 Argentine entrepreneurs, asking such questions as:

Who inspired you?
Who invested in your company?
Who mentored you?   .. " 

Summary of Google AI Plans

In O'Reilly: Good summary of recent Google AI announcements and predictions, positive and negative..    With links to specifics.   " ... Parsey McParseface + Google's AI plans ... Google's AI plans have made the news recently with a series of AI-related announcements, summarized by Google CEO Sundar Pichai's comment at Google I/O: "Things previously thought to be impossible may, in fact, be possible."      ... " 

(Simple) Data Science in the Press

My colleague Kaiser Fung, in his Junkcharts Blog,  on the use of dubious fractured statistics in the press.  The NYT notably has created a 'data science' team.  Considering the notion of the median vs the average in effectively describing data in the press.   As always, instructive.

Considering Data Science Workflow

Is not the same thing as workflow which is being targeted by data science to improve.   This seems to be obvious, but forgotten.  Data science is a set of experiments to determine if technology, existing or proposed, can be used to 'solve' elements of improvement.

You always have to have an eye also on the business process this solution will be installed in.  That process will likely include, people, changing contexts,  competitors .... the weather ... suppliers and other un or semi controllable influences.   I had mentioned an interesting CACM paper on data science workflow.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Testing Amazon Echo from a Browser

Amazon has provided a way to directly test Echo skills and other capabilities from a browser with voice input.  Useful for testing capabilities directly without the device.  Makes the browser operate like a Dot device. From the Developer community.    Echosim.io

Retailer to Use Tango for Augmented Reality

I recall a number of related applications for inserting architecture elements into a space.   Augmenting reality by manipulating chosen insertions.    How can this be made as easy as possible?  Tango would provide space sensing and area-learning capability.    Does it also imply the need for handsfree manipulation?     In CWorld:

" ... Wayfair Inc. , a Boston-based, 14-year-old e-commerce company that sells home furnishings, is working on an app based on Google's Project Tango technology that would put augmented reality, and  
If all goes as planned, customers using Wayfair's app would go beyond looking at a photo of a love seat or table, reading the measurements and wondering how the piece would look in their living room.

The app would use Project Tango's mapping, computer vision, depth-sensing, 3D-motion tracking and machine-learning technology to allow customers to see – on their Android smartphone or tablet – how a piece of furniture would look in their home. ... "  

Making Chatbots at Google

Kurzweil writing chatbots for Google.  This can mean many things.  But mimicking the conversation and leveraging of expertise like we do with humans, with contextual focusing and modeling, adapting and learning is a powerful thing.   Expect to see something interesting to come out of this.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Amazon Fresh Moves Forward

It was thought that Amazon could not provide fresh delivery and experience at scale.

SpartanNash looks toward growth with Amazon partnership
SpartanNash has teamed with Amazon to distribute dry and chilled groceries for the online retail giant's Amazon Prime Now service and has recently added distribution for the Amazon Fresh program  ... "   

More Virtual Reality Consumer Engagement

Kellogg sponsors Captain America VR game
Kellogg is capitalizing on the box office success of "Captain America: Civil War" by sponsoring a mobile virtual reality game. Loyalty program members who make purchases from partner outlets can receive a Marvel-branded cardboard VR headset. .... " 

Still find the use of VR viewers uncommon among consumers.

Blockchain Disruption of Financial Services

How Blockchain Technology Will Disrupt Financial Services Firms
In the second article of the series, “The Network Revolution: Creating Value through Platforms, People and Technology,” authors Barry Libert, Megan Beck and Jerry (Yoram) Wind look at how blockchain technology will prove to be a major disruptor to the public and private sectors, starting with the financial services industry. Libert is CEO of OpenMatters and Beck is the chief insights officer. Wind is a Wharton marketing professor and director of Wharton’s SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management. The authors would like to thank LiquidHub for sponsoring the research for this series.  .... "


Brought to my attention.   Consulting for innovation, valued change.   Adjacency.

Who We Are
The premise for Elemence is that innovation is able to thrive when ideas are allowed to connect and recombine across traditional boundaries. We are a multidiciplinary team for uncovering practical adjacencies across a vast array of intellectual property, invention, operations and business models. Our methods present a lower risk, high impact, adaptive approach to creating opportunities and solutions for new services, products and their manufacture.

Elemence is able to provide these services through unparalleled advisory, consulting, and outlook services tailored to meet the innovation needs of diverse businesses and decision makers within those organizations. The end result is an outcome-oriented approach where our collective success is measured by business impact.   ... " 

Critical Importance of Subject Matter Experts

Absolutely.  I usually call it context understanding.  And that  understanding comes from having subject matter expertise close at hand.   In Information Management.  " .... "Know thy self, know thy enemy" says Sun Tzu in 'The Art of War'. Creating a domain/data model and relying on subject matter experts throughout the development of the ML system will certainly guarantee you a success. And finally, your product, albeit highly specialized, will not be a threat to the domain experts, but rather a natural extension of their abilities. True experts cannot be substituted. ... " 

When Wifi Finds You

In Sloan Review:

" ... If WiFi can find you — instead of you trying to locate a signal for it — the result could be smarter homes, more efficient businesses, and password-free WiFi. According to researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), it could also make drones safer by helping them avoid specific locations (including their operators) accurately, or help find lost devices with uber-accurate tracking. It could even enable you to find friends and family members in, for example, a train station or museum in countries where WiFi is not as prevalent as in the U.S., without the need to connect to a WiFi infrastructure.

Developed by a team led by Professor Dina Katabi, the new “wireless localization” technology, called Chronos, operates somewhat like sonar and radar, but with far greater precision. It locates users by calculating the time that it takes for data to travel from one device to another (for example, a cell phone and a wireless router).  ... " 

Google Launches Free Data Viz Tool

In CWorld:
" ... Google is doubling down on its commitment to the business analytics market with the launch of a new free data visualization tool. 

The company has launched Data Studio, a free version of the data visualization tool it introduced as part of an analytics suite it unveiled earlier this year. It includes a wide variety of data connectors to let customers visualize data from Google AdWords, Google Sheets and other Google products. ... " 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Misunderstanding Positive Emotions

Misunderstanding Positive Emotion A Conversation With June Gruber

" ... This work we've been doing in positive emotion and psychopathology has the potential to change the way we think about all kinds of emotions. I'm focusing on positive emotions here, but you could bring in negative emotions to broaden our scope of what emotions are; they're not inherently good or bad. There's this idea we call emotional valence. That's why we call certain things positive emotions and certain things negative. That valence label is not its inherent value. What it has the possibility to do is suggest that whether or not an emotion is adaptive for you is all dependent—what we call context-sensitive. Emotions are fine-tuned to help us navigate particular situations, particular encounters, and no one emotion is necessarily always good or always bad for a situation.  ...                                
That's what this has the possibility to say, that we should throw out and abandon simplistic notions of valence is value: Negative emotions are bad, we should avoid those; positive emotions are good, we should embrace them. We should think more carefully about when, where, and how a given emotion will help us or hinder us. ..... " 

Flu Prediction Cognitive System

Using Watson, Twitter and CDC Data for predicting flu epidemics. Modeling under specific contexts. By Prof. Dr. Gordon Pipa, University of Osnabrueck  Embedded in the slide presentation.....    Audio recording.   Reminiscent of some of our own work in bioterror modeling , previously mentioned here.

Future of Food Supply in the Hands of AI

Any complex system that requires the direction and interaction of many people and machines. And whose output also depends on many uncontrollable external variables and influences, continuous changes in context, market dependencies,  can be strongly benefited by cognitive AI.   Also requires a complex supply chain. Thus Wired and the food supply and AI.

Detecting Bias in Algorithms

In Engadget:   Pointers to a paper from Carnegie.  Though a quick read would say that this would address only certain kinds of algorithmic bias.  Technical.  Worth a read.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Talk On Cognitive Computing

" ... Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series on Thursday May 26, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (7:30 am PT US and 4:30 pm in Germany).  Our presenter this week is Prof. Dr. Gordon Pipa, University of Osnabrueck, who will present  “Cognitive Computing." 

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

  ... 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. ... " 

Games that Teach Coding

In the CACM:   Games that teach coding.

' ... "Research with computer programming interventions in early childhood settings has shown that children as young as five years old can master fundamental programming concepts of sequencing, logical ordering, and cause-and-effect relationships,’’ according to a report by Tufts University educators that looked specifically at the game ScratchJr.

Games that teach coding have been used successfully both in the classroom and independently, says Alice Steinglass, vice president of Product & Marketing at Code.org. Games like those found at https://code.org/learn "teach the foundational concepts of computer science and are great ways to get students to learn concepts in a way that’s friendly and motivating,’’ she says. ... " 

Getting from Labs to Reality in Innovation

Was part of a retail innovation lab for years. So this is very interesting.  We tried, but did not make the transition from lab to reality very well.  Were more interested in having fully formed ideas to arrive, whether in startup or big company proposals. In Innovation Excellence. ... '

Sales and High Growth Companies

From McKinsey: The Sales Secrets of High-Growth Companies ... The authors of Sales Growth reveal five actions that distinguish sales organizations at fast-growing companies. .... " 

European Commision on Digital Platforms

In the Economist (registration required) on pricing and Google in the online world.   Are Google (and other large digital platform holders) preventing competition by buying up potential competitors early with their cash?  Also the data resources needed?   In particular with regard to online platforms. Very difficult to forecast the future of small startups.  (Been asked to look at the forecasting aspect of this, so some of the tabs will be filled out later) 

Reshaping Open Science

Opening science and the data always involved.

A Reboot of the Legendary Physics Site ArXiv Could Shape Open Science
To get a sense of just how important arXiv is, consider these stats. In 2014, the site passed its million-paper mark. It received 105,000 submissions in 2015 alone, and last year boasted over 139 million downloads. It has become the go-to place to find out what’s going on right now—in the fields it covers, and in the workscapes of individual scientists. “When I give seminars, I give the arXiv numbers for my papers,” says David Hogg, an astronomer at New York University. “Why? Because I know that my arXiv papers are available to any audience member, no matter what their institutional affiliation or library support.”  ... " 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ahold Optimizes Customer Data

How Ahold USA Optimizes Customer data

Collecting customer data and figuring out how to use it is a challenge for all retailers, one that Ahold USA has met by managing its data to help the company make decisions about different shopper segments and target the selection and prices of its merchandise, according to Nick Bertram, the retailer's senior vice president of merchandising strategy and support. "Customers aren't in one spot. They are omnichannel, and they need to see us in print, online, in their phones and everywhere they go. We're not limiting ourselves. We're just trying to be smarter in every place we play in," Bertram said. ... " 

National Retail Federation (5/23) 

Learning with Less Data

In Technology Review: Learning things with far fewer examples.    Pushes at the edges of what is meant by learning,  and varying kinds of errors that define success in varying contexts.    Also, at the edge of innovative creativity and analogy.

Augmenting Work with VR

Related to recent thoughts.  MIT Sloan on the relevance of reinventing work with Virtual Reality, Need some more good examples.   If anyone has some, especially ones beyond the usual, will post them for discussion here.

Head Mounted Displays and Knowing Your Space

In VR Focus, an overview of current announcements in head mounted displays and also notably Project Tango.  Advertisers and marketers have taken notice, but I have yet to see an example of the use of a  head mounted display 'in the wild'.  Though we created one ourselves when testing Google Glass in a local Panera.   Still most interested in enterprise applications.

As I have mentioned a number of times, we tested several augmented reality systems years ago.   Still as I see it, has the firm requirement of hands free applications in the enterprise.  Different from voice driven Apps.  Impressed with movement forward with Tango, which builds models of space. Ultimately you will need to know the space you are operating in.

And more on Project Tango.

Balancing Automation and People

Finding the right balance between automation and people
This talks about fast food, primarily McDonald's, but the breadth of the problem in retail is considerable.  As robots and smarter in store devices evolve, this will change the way jobs are seen. How are they more than just labor cost? ... "

Monday, May 23, 2016

Scientific American Looks at Deep Learning

A good introduction.  But still a narrow view.

Unveiling the Hidden Layers of Deep Learning
Interactive neural network “playground” visualization offers insights on how machines learn By Amanda Montañez   ... " 

Scalable Database Design

Had not heard of the specific concept, but make sense.  ....

What Makes a Scalable Database?
Database scalability is a concept in database design that emphasizes on the capability of a database to handle growth in the amount of data and users. In the modern applications sphere two types of workloads have emerged – namely analytical and transactional workloads. Planning for workload growth must take into account operating system, database design and hardware design decisions. ... " 

Data Science and Machine Learning Online Encyclopedia

Another in process development from DSC.  Exploring, but it will take some time.  Bravo DSC.

" .... This is one of the first comprehensive machine learning, data science, statistical science, and computer science repository -- featuring many brand new scalable, big-data algorithms published in the last two years, such as automated cataloging, causation detection, or model-free tests of hypotheses, in addition to the classics. The original title for this project was Handbook of Data Science, but over time, it grew much bigger than an handbook. This is still an ongoing project. ... " 

IOT Central Biweekly Digest

With coverage of a recent conference.  Interesting articles.  Am a  member and actively following.  " ... We went to IoT World last week in Santa Clara, California, where over 150 vendors and 10,000 attendees were there showing there wares and making connections. More posts on that soon. In the meantime, here's our third issue of the IoTC Bi-Weekly Digest. If you're interested in being featured, we always welcome your contributions on all things IoT Infrastructure, IoT Application Development, IoT Data and IoT Security, and more. All members can post on IoT Central. Consider contributing today. ... " 

Autonomous Corporations Predicted

I remember making a presentation in the late 1980s that implied we would soon have portions of our enterprise running autonomously.  The term "lights out" manufacturing facilities was mentioned.  Now predictions   In TechCrunch,   Are we now already there?   Yes in some domains, industries and narrowly defined application areas   But there is still much work to be done.  We do need to start thinking about the implications for jobs.  and beyond:

" .... A new paradigm of economic cooperation is underway — a digital democratization of business. ...  Over the past couple of weeks a project with no mainstream press has become the second biggest crowdfunding project in history. It’s not crowdfunding a product, an artwork or a new cryptocurrency. It’s crowdfunding — or more accurately, crowd-founding — a corporation called “The DAO.” This is a corporation whose bylaws are written entirely in code.     .... " 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Condensed Guide to Data Science

Nicely done introduction by Vincent Granville of DSC,  links to many useful resources.  Good list, condensed, but still lots there, and considerable variability in technical depth,  Which if you discuss computing languages, is necessary.

Hitchhiker's Guide to Data Science, Machine Learning, R, Python  by Vincent Granville

Thousands of articles and tutorials have been written about data science and machine learning. Hundreds of books, courses and conferences are available. You could spend months just figuring out what to do to get started, even to understand what data science is about. .... 

In this short contribution, I share what I believe to be the most valuable resources - a small list of top resources and starting points. This will be most valuable to any data practitioner who has very little free time.  .....  " 

DSC is an excellent resource to follow.

Body Cameras for All

Do Police Body Cameras Really Work?
Sometimes police body cameras accomplish their intended purpose, but other times they backfire. And nobody knows why  ....  By Barak Ariel

A considerable IEEE analysis piece on the use of body cameras by police.    Which I think does not establish well enough what 'working' means.  The conclusion, they are not as effective as we might think.    Is it because such actions and and reaction occur in extreme situations?  Worth a look.

Also relates more generally to cams that could be attached to all of us, all the time.   Or while we work, or ... ?    To help us share work and progress with minimal effort.  Record effort. Or be monitored?  Orwellian yes,  Somewhat akin to 'Life logging', covered in this space for years, but seems to gone out of fashion, except for police work.

Recalls work we did with consumers, for pay in a laboratory setting, who wore such always-on cameras in the aisle during shopping.  Later I saw this done with unobtrusive EEG caps. The 'test consumer' could engage with product which then recorded their neurological state.   Could that be added to other such cameras to indicate emotional readiness in a difficult situation, warning the wearer?

Technology Behind Viv

In Medium.  A system that writes its own code.  Though what exactly that means is unclear to me. Not classic machine learning.   My first question is always, to what specific goals and in what context?  Examining.

" ... Viv uses a patented [1] exponential self learning system as opposed to the linear programed systems currently used by systems like Siri, Echo and Cortana. What this means is that the technology in use by Viv is orders of magnitude more powerful because Viv’s operational software requires just a few lines of seed code to establish the domain [2], ontology [3] and taxonomy [4] to operate on a word or phrase. ... " 

Sales People Embracing Silence

In Customerthink.  More silence anyway.   Words still need to get across but listening is primary to understand which ones.    " ..... They say you have two ears and one mouth for a reason, but why is it so difficult for many (if not most) salespeople to deal with more than a few seconds of silence? In fact, studies suggest that after asking a question, the average salesperson waits no longer than 2-3 seconds before rephrasing the question, answering it themselves, or changing the topic. .. " 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Anti Drone

Not unexpected.  Reminds me of a number of anti RFID blocking methods that were sold, but not widely.    Privacy here is more physical.   In ArsTechnica:  Dronebuster will let you point and shoot command hacks at pesky drones ...   ... Not exactly a jammer, the "gun" exploits library of drone control protocols. .... " 

RFID Intelligence on Toys

In RFIDJournal.    Disney Research Explores Ways to Add RFID Intelligence to Robots, Toys
Walt Disney Co.'s lab network, together with scientists from MIT, the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon, has developed systems that the company could use to help robots identify individuals, as well as to track everyday interactions between people and things. ... " 
By Claire Swedberg

RFID was early, simple IOT, so consider the implications.  Intelligent toys have long been covered in this blog, see the Toys tag link below.

Retail: Mortar vs Digital

In Retailwire: "The best retailers will strike the balance between brick-and-mortar and digital. Some are already doing it.", Shep HykenChief Amazement Officer, Shepard

Kroger Expansion Plans

In the Cincinnati Enquirer  "  Kroger's big $4 billion expansion plan  "   

Kroger has big expansion plans in 2016.
" ... How big? ... Enough to build both the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati and the Great American Tower at Queen City Square – five times. Enough to rebuild the Brent Spence Bridge – twice. Enough to buy Convergys and Chemed combined – not just the Downtown buildings, but both entire companies. ...  It's spending more than $4 billion to open new stores, expand or renovate old supermarkets and upgrade technology and logistics to support them.  ... " 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Google Declares an AI Spring

Words from Google's AI chief.  Driven by machine learning and specific advances in language and image understanding at Google. Cognitive knowledge interaction by Watson.    Retail voice channels by Amazon.  And others. And also the increasing development of intelligent frameworks like 'Assistants' and 'Bots' to act as channels for services to people and other systems.  As a person who lived through the last 'winter', I am watching.

Another Messaging App or Service Concierge

In Verge:   Did remind me of Hangouts at first, but then with AI and better voice recognition included.   More assistant like.    Concierge like.    A replacement of Apps?   That gets you to the service that you need.   Built on Google Assistant?  Now just convince a few hundred million people to switch over. Available this summer.

" ... Google is announcing a new messaging app today. It's called Allo and its main feature is a Google assistant that's built right in. Google says it'll be available later this summer — for free — on both iOS and Android.

Allo (pronounced like "Aloe" and not like "'allo, guv'nor!") is a mobile-only app that you might think is meant to replace Google's other messaging app, Hangouts. But you'd be wrong. Allo is explicitly meant to be a fresh start for Google's new communication's division (which also runs Hangouts and Project Fi).

"It's really liberating to start from scratch sometimes," says Erik Kay, director of engineering, communications products. And Allo does feel like a fresh new start. Its interface is clean and easy to understand, with some clever little innovations on what you've seen in other chat apps like WhatsApp or Messenger. ...  " 

Apple Store and Modern Retail

We used the Apple store as a model for potential future retail.   In Retailwire, recent look and criticism of its redesign and implications for complex technical retail.  Its still a crowded place, but is it now just aesthetics?

Amsterdam as a Smart City

Via MIT Sloan, only available for a limited time.  What overlaps exist with supply chain issues?   How about cognitive data interaction?  May require registration.   Possibly also available from EY. See also the Amsterdam Smart City Knowledge Center. 

 Data Driven City Management. A Close Look at Amsterdam’s Smart City Initiative
by  Michael Fitzgerald

Many major cities recognize the opportunity to improve urban life with data analytics, and are exploring how to use information technologies to develop smarter services and a more sustainable footprint. Amsterdam, which has been working toward becoming a “smart city” for almost 7 years, offers insights into the complexities facing city managers who see the opportunity with data, but must collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders to achieve their goals. The city’s chief technology officer, Ger Baron, makes it clear that their efforts are still early days: “I can give you the nice stories that we’re doing great stuff with data and information, but we’re very much at a starting point,” he says...... " 

Blockchain for Data Origin and Accuracy

Have worked on several projects in the last few years that dealt directly with this broad concept.  Is your data correct?   Accurate?   A governance challenge

In Information Management: 

" .... Blockchain technologies—the technical foundation for Bitcoin—could be key tools for confirming data origin and accuracy, tracking updates and establishing true data authority for millions of different data fields, according to a new study from International Data Corp. (IDC) .... 

"At a time when IT security, information accuracy and reliability are of paramount importance to government, blockchain is seen by many as a potentially powerful tool for IT managers,” said Shawn McCarthy, IDC Government Insights research director. ... " 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Let's Teach our Computers

Wired brings up a very old idea in AI.  You should not have to write code that computers use to operate with.  That's messy, prone to error and expensive,  In particular it is hard to maintain as our world changes.   Computers should have 'brains' like we do, and should be able to learn simply by being shown lots of examples of what is 'right' under given conditions.  

And to a degree we are getting closer to doing  this, but the data and learning methods and context still need to be arranged very carefully and tested repeatedly.  And usually differently for different contexts. Still the goal, the great challenge remains.  There is something called 'Machine Learning' which is very clever, but it is not yet close to universal learning.

Further, good piece in Wired.   It is not quite the 'end of code'.

Google Creates an Assistant

Technology review reports on today's I/O presentations:

I like the model of a 'Concierge',  it was the same method we used in our own bot experiment.  Break up information sources into key segments of data, knowledge, people, analysis and more.  Deliver conversationally on contextual results, build searches, models of key needs, and continue to update and learn from the world.   Just a minor challenge.

" ... Google has done well out of its search box. We have come to use it more and more as our collective dependence on computers and the Internet has grown – helping Google swell to its gigantic size.

But on Wednesday Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said it was time to move on from the conventional search engine that his company was built on. He unveiled Google Assistant, an evolution of Google search designed to act like a virtual concierge.

If you search Google for “movies tonight” on your phone today it will display the films in local theaters. With the Google Assistant you can have a short conversation to get that same information, learn about the suggested movies, and book the tickets. For example, you could ask for movies nearby and then add “I want to take the kids” to see only family friendly suggestions. After perusing the options you could ask “Is Jungle Book any good?” to hear a summary of reviews, and then book tickets by saying “I want four tickets to the 8:30 showing.”  ... ' 

Data Sensemaking in a Noisy World

CSIG invited talk today by K. Selcuk Candan Arizona State University : ...   “Data-Driven Sensemaking in an Evolving, Noisy World”.   which is almost always the challenge with real world data .  Slides here.

Google's Renewed Focus on AI

Out of the Google I/O conference this week.  Good overview. A continuation of their long time attention on the application of AI.  Have been covering a number of these items in this blog.  Continue to get queries from the enterprise on how these are best tested and readily applied.  There is still much work to do before these are completely off the shelf for company specific applications.

Walt Mossberg also provides some commentary. 

Gazerecorder Eye Tracking

Brought to my attention by a client connection.    In Sourceforge, a new version 1.9 of Gazerecorder  " ... WebCam Eye Tracking for usability testing ... " .  See also their web site.    A broad overview with images. 

Measuring Conversions

In InternetRetailer: Been a bit out of marketing measurement lately, but its something we were keen on.  Here suggesting we look closer at conversion cycles rather than rates.   " ... The issue here is fundamental: how do we define the concept of “conversion?” I believe we need to start thinking of conversion as a process and not as an action. We need to stop talking about conversion rates, and start talking about conversion cycles.  ... ".  Useful thoughts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Project Tango Area Learning

Mentioned previously here for retail applications.

From Google I/O

Streaming at the link.  (My apologies I thought these would be recorded at the link, but apparently are not.  Only streamed at time indicated.  If anyone has a link to the recording, let me know and I will replace with a link here)  An intro has been placed at the link below for now.

Introducing Project Tango Area Learning
May 18, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM / Stage 1 | Hercules  (PST) 

Motion tracking on a mobile device has already enabled a whole new range of experiences, but what would be possible if your Project Tango device could have a memory? With Area Learning, Project Tango can not only see the space around you, but it can also remember the space around you. This opens up a new range of possibilities for Project Tango developers - attach virtual objects to the world that remain in place even when you restart an app, design multiplayer experiences and know the exact location of each player, pause/resume AR/VR experiences, and eliminate motion tracking drift. We'll go over basic concepts of area learning and best practices for Project Tango developers. ..  ... " 

Announced that a Tango enabled phone will be announced by Lenovo  this year.
Tango devices will be made available next month. 
Further announcements to be made here on May 18 at 3 PM PST. 

Google Home to Compete with Amazon Echo

Announced today, the Google Home.  Previously code named the Chirp. Similar in form to the original Echo, but with more design choices.  Google is know to have some of the best voice AI systems around.  See also the Viv, by the same developers.

This new device also includes some of capabilities most often asked of the Echo. Like multi speaker control.  It brings in a number of initial partners to provide content, and some are the same as on the Echo.

   Also tries to cover similar retail and smart home capabilities. Like music, impulse services and smart lighting.  At this time it is not open to third party 'skill' developers. As in the Echo, there is no embedded screen.  I find that design choice interesting.  You leave out a sensory channel on purpose and create a new kind of presence.   No price has been announced, it is due to be out later this year.  

On the Science of Touch

A little strangely, from the New Yorker.   A favorite topic, since we were always interested in how to create new kinds of touch in retail experiences.   Plus there was always interest in covering all the senses, and touch was always one of the most mysterious.    " ... Feel Me ... What the new science of touch says about ourselves. ... ". 

Using Analytics to Build Extraordinary Apps

Today at Google IO:

Streaming at the link.  (My apologies I thought these would be recorded at the link, but apparently are not.  Only streamed at time indicated.  If anyone has a link to the recording, let me know and I will replace with a link here)

Use analytics to build extraordinary apps 

May 18, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM / Stage 2 | Hydra  (PDT)

The average smartphone user taps and swipes their way through 1GB of data each month. But how can you turn user behavior into meaningful insights that help you build a brilliant app? The answer is app analytics! In this session we'll explore the key metrics you need to know through the app lifecycle using real examples. From first release to a thriving user base, we'll show you how to detect user delight, user dissatisfaction and how to grow your app into a successful business. ... " 

Watson Analytics Updated

Have not seen yet, worth a look.  In EWeek: 

At its Vision 2016 conference, IBM announced a newly redesigned interface and new features for its Watson Analytics solution.

IBM has upgraded its Watson Analytics cognitive computing solution with a new user interface and a handful of other new features to make it easier to use.

Watson Analytics is a cloud service that takes IBM's Watson cognitive computing technology and the company's predictive analytics capabilities and puts them in the hands of business users.
In short, Watson Analytics helps to empower citizen data analysts. Citizen analysts can use the technology in a self-service fashion to gain new insights from big data. IBM Watson Analytics helps users unlock the value of data they already have in their systems, as well as new, valuable external data sources they may not even know they need. ... " 

Apprenticeships in the US

In K@W:  Making a comeback?  Yes, I think so, for example a good place would be in data science and programming, which are at least 50% practiced - skill based to do well.  And do in a standardized way. Elsewhere are well.   I recall my father detailing his grueling experiences as a machinist's apprentice.

These are not necessarily done best in the University setting, we saw that a long time ago.  Perhaps a model that has university and experienced practitioners linked together? Also saw that in a recent experience, but the company was not willing to create the needed apprentice environment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Virtual Reality Changing Lives

A non technical piece by the BBC about how involved experts believe virtual reality is changing our world.  

" ... Virtual Reality (VR) has been with us for many decades - at least as an idea - but the technology has now come of age. ... And it's not just gamers who are benefiting from the immersive possibilities it offers.

Four experts, including Mark Bolas - former tutor of Palmer Luckey, who recently hand-delivered the first VR handset made by his company Oculus Rift - talked to the BBC World Service Inquiry programme about the future of VR.  ... " 

Komiko Focuses on Sales Relationships

Former colleagues of mine brought this to my attention, embedded analytics.

Focus on relationships, not management.
Why are you spending your weekends updating a CRM system,
when all of the data is already in your communication tools?

Komiko lets you focus on building relationships and close deals and not bother with the admin work. Messages and documents are captured seamlessly and augment accounts, contacts, opportunities and leads.

It scores opportunities and leads based on communication frequency, recency and the importance of people involved. It helps you know "who is who" in an account and identify the right person to approach the account.

Komiko will create follow up tasks for you, help you execute them with contextual information and template support. .... 

Barriers to Growth

In the HBR:   Intriguing views by executives.  " ... It’s a common story in business today. Eighty-five percent of executives say that the greatest barriers to achieving their growth objectives lie inside their own four walls, according to research by Bain & Company. In the largest companies, this rises to 94 percent of executives who believe that their most difficult challenges are internal, not external. ...  "

Will We be Able to Talk to Machines?

Stephen Wolfram on talking to machines and AI.   All about talking to and at machines.  The classic case of Eliza, the first conversational system is brought up.  What will be the ultimate power of conversational machines.

Target Selling Connected Health

Interesting piece in Retailwire, with discussion.  Consider if these could ultimately create a digital hub, connected to health practitioners at the store, live those we are starting to see at Pharmacies.

" ... Now Target is making a wellness move that appears to be further carving out the healthy niche it sees itself filling. The chain is debuting a portion of the store called the "Connected Health" section.

The retailer is promoting two fitness-tracking products from health device company Qardio as the flagship products of the new section, according to Digital Trends. The devices, QardioArm (a wireless blood pressure tracker) and QardioBase (a wireless smart-scale) are not new to Target's shelves, but customers will now be able to try out the devices in the store's new section. ... " 

A Dash Button for an Internet of Things

I have been testing the Amazon Dash buttons for some time. Nice, simple idea.  That implemented some of our innovation center ideas.   Now Walter Riker reports that that they have been generalized to perform other tasks.   Now as a signalling button in the internet of things?   Some hints of linking to other devices like the Echo. Thinking the possibilities.

In AndroidAuthority:
" ... Amazon’s Dash Button could just be a piece of hardware that would order you some toilet paper with the click of a button when needed, or perhaps some more dog food, but the company’s new Dash button isn’t for re-ordering products at all — it’s a programmable button that hooks users into the Internet of Things. ... 

The AWS IoT button connects to Wi-Fi and relies upon Amazon’s AWS cloud services. Because of this, can be easily programmed to do pretty much anything. Examples of some things the Dash button can be used to do include switching on your Phillips Hue lights, hail an Uber, send a Tweet, or even hook into Slack. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels even said that if there’s a chore you can with Alexa, you can assign it to one of these buttons. ... " 

Cost is $20, but currently unavailable. They write a more technical set of goals:

An easy way to get started with the Internet of Things, based on the Amazon Dash button hardware, the AWS IoT button is a developer kit that can be programmed to control internet-connected devices and services. ... " 

This programmable Wi-Fi button is designed to help developers learn how to use AWS IoT, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Simple Notification Service and other Amazon Web Services.

Use the button to count items, track usage, initiate a call, send alerts or start and stop a process.

Eliminate the hassle of writing device-specific code; code in the cloud to configure your button's single, double, and long clicks. ... " 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Audible now has Channels

I see that Audible audio book services has just added something called Channels, in Beta, which appears to be a podcast, short story and other short audio pieces capability.  For now its a free add on and you can subscribe to various channels of interest.

Learning at Deloitte


Deloitte Focuses on Learners’ Strengths
No. 5: Deloitte is committed to developing its learners’ specialties, providing the best service to clients and continuously staying on the cutting edge of learning. ... "  by Andie Burjek

Amazon Open Sources Deep Learning Software

In VentureBeat:
" ... Amazon has suddenly made a remarkable entrance into the world of open-source software for deep learning. Yesterday the ecommerce company quietly released a library called DSSTNE on GitHub under an open-source Apache license. .... 

Deep learning involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data and then getting them to make inferences about new data. Several technology companies are doing it — heck, it even got some air time recently in the show “Silicon Valley.” And there are already several other deep learning frameworks to choose from, including Google’s TensorFlow. .. " 

Strategy for Industry 4.0

A Strategist’s Guide to Industry 4.0
Global businesses are about to integrate their operations into a seamless digital whole, and thereby change the world. ...   by Reinhard Geissbauer, Jesper Vedsø, and Stefan Schrauf  ....

Watson as Lawyer

Watson doing legal.  It fits, generally the analysis and application of textual info that might fit a prescribed legal ontology.   Such as corporate governance, compliance, etc.  Further Linking that to supporting data.   The biggest problem may be the maintenance of the required description of knowledge.

Hidden Costs of Industrial IOT

In Read Write Web: Cisco report.   If these are truly hidden costs, the business models are not very well done.

A recent report indicates that while firms are benefiting from investments in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the complexity of the technology can prove costly.

An April white paper entitled “The Hidden Costs of Delivering IIoT Services”, was authored by Cisco Jasper, a global IoT platform. The white paper determined that companies saw “internal productivity and efficiency” as the key incentives to integrating new IIoT technology into their business models.

And with IDC predicting over 30 billion IoT devices by 2020, connected equipment looks to become ubiquitous in the coming years.

However, the rush to integrate IIoT can weigh on companies who aren’t prepared for the added costs. .... " 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

MIT Custom Programs

MIT Building custom programs.  For possible use by organizations.   Video.  " .... CIO.com's Sarah White visits MIT's campus to speak with associate dean, Peter Hirst, about MIT's custom programs that educate IT leaders and organizations on enabling digital transformation and innovation in the enterprise. ... " 

Update on Hyperloop

Update:  High speed, maglev, in-vacuum transportation of people and cargo in relatively narrow pipes. People stacked in a recumbent style of seat.  Windowless, but perhaps with virtual reality displays.

Impressive and futuristic  effort, probably doable in the longer term. Though I wonder about drilling through mountains, earthquakes, security, maintaining near vacuums and more.

This is also most useful at scale for long trips, where the infrastructure needs will be enormous.  And in  the short term, the slower, but very adaptable, competition from self driving vehicles.  I do like the idea of adding cargo potential. Unlike the Mars trip, here I would readily take a test trip.  Invite me. Following.

Tracking Flights with Echo

Amazon Echo can now track flights via Kayak in Skills.  I tested in a realistic case.  Quite bumpy ride, you have to be too precise in your language.  Also does not match to what I really needed.  I needed to set up a monitor of a flight where Echo would periodically alert me as changes occur, and then the ability to modify the alert vocally.  Kayak says they will be improving the skill.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Become a Marketing Detective: Induction to Deduction

More takes on the idea of 'Small Data' proposed by my former collaborator Martin Lindstrom in his recent book: Small Data: Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends ... "    Another way to look at this is as an 'inductive' approach, where you are selectively looking for especially valuable patterns in data.  That method can be used for data, large or small.

In Big Data,  statistics is the usual tool of choice to make sense of the complexity.   With less data, even small data, you need the insight of a detective to find patterns that are useful, or can be combined with your internal insight rules of thumb to get to results.  That's deduction.  That's being a marketing detective.   The article linked to below takes such a Sherlock Holmesian approach to some examples for innovative marketing.

Why can this be more interesting than the world of 'Big Data'?  Because it can take the leverage closer to the 'business processes' we use every day.  More sense and less magic is easier to implement and appreciate.

See:   strategy+business: Corporate Strategies and News Articles on Global Business, Management, Competition and Marketing  ... A Not-So-Elementary Exploration of Brand Insight ...  " 

1843 Magazine Technology

I see that the Economist has started a new magazine.  The 1843 Magazine, which has a technology component, which I have started to follow.  Will pass along links as appropriate.  No depth, well written, euro bias, sometimes interesting.  Has an alerting newsletter.   Apparently does not have a pay wall, but will follow that.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bob Johansen Books

I was reminded that Bob Johansen, former colleague, also at the Institute for the Future (IFTF) and frequent consultant to us, writes at Berrett Koehler Publishers, is in the process of writing a new book.  " ... I’m writing a new book that starts off where my 2009 book, Leaders Make the Future left off. ... " .  Looking forward to it.   More on his books, some of which I have reported on here, at his BK Site. 

On Bots

The O'Reilly Newsletter is on bots ....  nicely done descriptions, mostly non-technical.   Worth it as an introductory read, or passing on to executives with links to more detail.  Also see my tab links to Bots, which cover a number of enterprise style applications.  By the Economist:

What's a bot?
A good bot is a marriage of low-friction interface and artificial intelligence. The interface lets a user ask a question, state a fact, or express a wish in text or speech. The AI takes familiar human language, extracts information from it, organizes it, and acts on it. 

2016 may become "the year of the bot." After a decade of texting and messaging on smartphones, consumers are comfortable with conversational interfaces, and AI has finally progressed to the point where it can offer useful responses to practical queries. 

Bots promise to inject information, intelligence, and online services into just about any scenario—a key underpinning of the Next Economy that Tim O'Reilly has described. Bots will give workers superpowers, make networks more accessible, reorder user experiences, and build new ecosystems. 

The Economist explains the commercial motivations for bots, and Will Schenk explains their technical underpinnings. .... " 

Half of Web Traffic is non-Human

In CWorld: I recall a statement like this before, and have also seen evidence of this when examining peaks in web analytics.   The volume still amazes me.   It must be very easy to do, and have real incentive. You do need to be careful about using web stats.

" ...  "We used to think of bots as passive ambient noise," Cremin said. "That's now changed to the point where they actually interact with the sites they visit and mimic human traffic exactly." ... Bots are commonly used to generate "clicks" and false ad revenue, but in some cases, they make purchases online with the goal of influencing prices, Cremin said. ... " 

Probabilistic Programming

Technical piece on the topic.  have not seen this approach used directly:

" ... Probabilistic programming allows for automatic Bayesian inference on user-defined probabilistic models. Recent advances in Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling allow inference on increasingly complex models. This class of MCMC, known as Hamiltonian Monte Carlo, requires gradient information which is often not readily available. PyMC3 is a new open source probabilistic programming framework written in Python that uses Theano to compute gradients via automatic differentiation as well as compile probabilistic programs on-the-fly to C for increased speed. Contrary to other probabilistic programming languages, PyMC3 allows model specification directly in Python code. The lack of a domain specific language allows for great flexibility and direct interaction with the model. This paper is a tutorial-style introduction to this software package.  ... " 

Beacons and Ad Timing

  In Mediapost: Beacons Determine Best Time To Send Ads, ID When Shopper 'Due' For Store Visit by Chuck Martin 

Beacons were always good at being able to trigger a message or ad based on a consumer’s location, but now they’re being used to better predict exactly when that message should be sent.

And based on recent testing, it looks like adding the right time into the purchase cycle can actually increase purchase intent.

In a campaign for Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner, such a targeting campaign achieved 55% average brand awareness, 25% post-engagement purchase intent and 3 times ROI, according to data from InMarket, the beacon platform company, and digital agency Crescendo Collective. .... " 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Business Models for the Internet of Things

Some good thoughts on making it work.

The business of Things
Developing a workable business model for the consumer IoT isn’t just important—it’s urgent.
By Alasdair Allan May 12, 2016

Alasdair Allan will talk more about the Internet of Things and data privacy in a session, Data privacy in the age of the Internet of Things, at Strata + Hadoop World London 2016, May 31 to June 3, 2016.

There really is only one business model on the modern Internet, and that’s advertising. People have refused to subscribe to services or pay for content. Instead, advertising supports the services that sit underneath almost everything we do on the Web. Think for a minute about how your day-to-day experience of the Web would be different if Google charged a monthly subscription fee for its search service, or used a micro-payment based approach to charge on a search-by-search basis. .. " 

Project Tango from Google for Consumers?

Sensor fitted phone coming?   Rumors that this will be announced at IO meetings next week.  It was often mentioned as a means to navigate inside physical retail.  Or for advanced real estate interaction? Will this ultimately be a kind of phone delivered augmented reality method?  Following.  See Google Project Tango.   See previous Tango mentions on tag below.

Disney Makes Objects Smart

Disney makes objects smart using RFID tags.   In the Verge.  Gets back to an old question, where should the smarts be?   Simple tagging can place the smarts involved in the network, a hub, or in the cloud.

(Updated) Virtual Reality, Game Design, and The Future of Education

(Update) A Favorite topic of mine on the CSIG call.  This is by new IBMer responsible for Virtual reality and education.  Good talk! :   (See also the gamification tag below)

" ... Just a reminder about our Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series on Thursday May 12, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (7:30 am PT US).  Our presenter this week is Aldis Sipolins, from IBM Watson Research,who will present  "Virtual Reality, Game Design, and The Future of Education." 

Slides for talk.  Recording to be posted later.

" ... Aldis Sipolins is a new IBMer (started in March), virtual reality evangelist, and lifelong videogame nerd. In December 2015 he defended his dissertation in Psychology - Visual Cognition & Human Performance at the University at Urbana-Champaign. His topics of study include cognitive training, skill acquisition, neuromodulation, and virtual reality. In his time at UIUC he founded a VR research lab, where he developed 3D tests of cognitive abilities using the Unity3D videogame engine. Until recently, he was co-founder, CEO, and Chief Scientist of a virtual reality startup developing brain training videogames. He is currently running the Virtual Classroom project as Head of Virtual Reality and Game Design for IBM Research: Education and Cognitive Sciences at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center. ... " 

Please find the schedule of presenters here for the next several calls  ... and  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.   ... " 

Google Plans to Chirp the Echo

In NDTv:  Rumors out there that Google and others will soon announce challengers to the Amazon Echo.   If anything Amazon has shown that consumers are interested in getting help from talking virtual assistants.   The players are all also talking 'smart home' hub applications.    But what is likely to best drive sales of such systems?  Information, music, advice, retail, search, some PC function replacement?

" .... Google is reportedly working on its own Amazon Echo-like speaker which is said to integrate the search engine as well as voice-based virtual assistant. ... Recode reports that Google's device to compete against Amazon's Echo has been internally codenamed "Chirp" and will look like the company's OnHub wireless router. ... " 

Will this Computer Stop?

Fascinating experiment underway at MIT that addresses the deep math behind every computer. I remember programming my first simulated Turing machine.  Set off a a deep 'aha' that has left me engaged.

By Jacob Aron in New Scientist:

One hundred and fifty years of mathematics will be proved wrong if a new computer program stops running. Thankfully, it’s unlikely to happen, but the code behind it is testing the limits of the mathematical realm.

The program is a simulated Turing machine, a mathematical model of computation created by codebreaker Alan Turing. In 1936, he showed that the actions of any computer algorithm can be mimicked by a simple machine that reads and writes 0s and 1s on an infinitely long tape by working through a set of states, or instructions. The more complex the algorithm, the more states the machine requires.

Now Scott Aaronson and Adam Yedidia of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created three Turing machines with behaviour that is entwined in deep questions of mathematics. This includes the proof of the 150-year-old Riemann hypothesis – thought to govern the patterns of prime numbers. ... " 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Apple Must Move Beyond the Wow

In Knowledge@Wharton:   Good piece.

Why Apple Must Move Beyond the ‘Wow’ Moment
Apple’s disappointing second quarter earnings – including the first-ever drop in sales for the iPhone – sent the company’s stock tumbling for eight consecutive trading sessions. It was the first such drop since 1998 and, coupled with comments by activist investor Carl Icahn that he has dumped his shares in the company, it accelerated worries about how Apple will deliver the strong future growth that investors have come to expect. ....   "  

Process Assessment

This was new to me, but addressing measurement in services: Software-mediated Process Assessments (SMPA)  in IT Service Management   An Australian Research Council Linkage Project

Detailed paper.

Was unaware of this, brought to my attention.

On Shelf Availability

A common measure in retail.  Out of stocks    The ability to select replacements for your regular buy. A customer lost potentially forever?   Then what is the bottom line.

Quantum Bayesian Networks

Brought to my attention by Robert Tucci.  Now following.  I have been mostly an observer of the development of quantum computing methods for years, helped some folks look at what kinds of problems would be most amenable to this method.   Also have used Bayesian networks to solve analytics problems.  But still scratching my head on the useful combination of these methods.  See the Technical blog.   See also Wave Watching.   which I see mentions some of D-Wave's work.

Analytics and Organization

In McKinsey: 
" ... In a new survey, executives say senior-leader involvement and the right organizational structure are critical factors in how successful a company’s analytics efforts are, even more important than its technical capabilities or tools. ... " 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Package Delivery by Drone?

In IEEE Spectrum.  Google and package delivery by drone with project Wing. Implications for supply chains.  Is this serious?

Smart Home Vacuum

In Spectrum IEEE: Extensive technical and practical review of the Neato Botvac.   A robotic vacuuming solution for the home.  We studied how narrowly focused robotics could be delivered to the home and the potential for onboard cleaning products. A key application for smart home robotics.   Even this area, the solutions have not flourished.

More Accurate Translation with AI

In CACM: Teaching computers better translation with AI methods.  " ... It is currently possible to translate words with high rates of accuracy via Google Translate, but this technique can still yield poor sentence structures and frequently misconstrued meanings. ... " 

Proximus Retail Analysis

Brought to my attention:  Proximus.

Acquire. Analyse. Improve.

Real-time insights
Our unique technology tracks every single customer in-store to an accuracy of 1.5m every second without cameras nor smartphones. 

Optimal product placement
Directly measure the impact of any campaign in your store: number of views and time customers spend in front of each product. 

Efficient staff management
Let us suggest strategic changes in your store: our BigData technology analyses the results in nearby stores to optimize yours. .... " 

The Patient Will see You Now

In MIT Sloan:

Digital technology empowers patients to set their own course of care.

" .... Digital technology is empowering patients to participate in developing their own treatment plans, but only if the organization’s culture is ready and willing, says Kristin Darby, CIO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. “We crave constructive disruption, so we are always challenging ourselves with the question, ‘how can technology positively impact our patients?’ If there’s value for the patient, we’re interested and we dig deeper.” Darby spoke with MIT Sloan Management Review guest editor Gerald C. Kane about how digital disruption has changed her company's leadership perspective. ... "

Monday, May 09, 2016

Support Vector Machines

On support vector machines. Often for classification.   An overview. Somewhat technical.

" ... Support Vector Machines are perhaps one of the most popular and talked about machine learning algorithms. They were extremely popular around the time they were developed in the 1990s and continue to be the go-to method for a high-performing algorithm with little tuning.  In this post you will discover the Support Vector Machine (SVM) machine learning algorithm ...  "

Human Perception and Data Visualization

A look at what we know about the topic.  In Medium.  Research and art.  Nice outline of what we think we know and where to find out more ...

" ... There is visualization in practice and there is visualization in theory and research. Each should inform the other, but it typically doesn’t happen that way. Kennedy Elliot, a graphics editor at the Washington Post, provides a rundown of one branch from the research side of things: human perception. There are quite a few studies. ... "  

More Revealed on Virtual Assistant Viv

Viv, from Siri's creators, is the virtual assistant of your dreams
It's one step closer to giving us the AI from "Her."

Siri made the world aware of the potential of virtual assistants, but several years after its release, it's still a bit basic. Siri can only do certain, very specific tasks, and she doesn't play well with third-party services. So for their next product, Viv, the minds behind Siri aimed to build a much more capable virtual assistant. And at this point, it looks like they've succeeded, judging from a brief demonstration at TechCrunch Disrupt in NYC today. .... " 

Includes video.

Challenging Metrics

Challenging  metrics, usually a good thing to do, even in a thought experiment.  In Adage:

Why Google's 'Time Spent' Metric May Not Be the Best Measure
Marketers Need an Accurate Way to Measure How Their Content Is Performing  By Jerrid Grimm.

Robot Teaching Assistants

Reminiscent of the legendary Eliza system.  .... Expectations are being driven higher .... See this mornings WSJ,  may require  registration. Imagine Discovering That Your Teaching Assistant Really Is a Robot   More to follow on this effort, out of Georgia Tech.  This was for Prof Ashok Goel's AI course.

" .... Since January, “Jill,” as she was known to the artificial-intelligence class, had been helping graduate students design programs that allow computers to solve certain problems, like choosing an image to complete a logical sequence.

“She was the person—well, the teaching assistant—who would remind us of due dates and post questions in the middle of the week to spark conversations,” said student Jennifer Gavin. ... " 

More in my blog about related work at Ga Tech.

(Update) And more on the creation of the Assistant in the CACM.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Bots and Spam

Very interesting historical and technical view of Spam.   First the history and then the look at how the technical model of a markov chain is involved. Great example to think about how state models work.  And how these models start to look like the basic intelligence of Bots.

The claim is made that the first commercial Spam was sent in 1994.  That made me think, I am sure I saw Spam on groups well before then.  But then it may hang on what 'commercial' means, and the volume involved. Well worth a read from the technical perspective, has given me a few ideas already.

Smarter Bathrooms on the Supply Chain

A look at making consumer demand points made more intelligent.  An intelligent endpoint in the supply chain.   Here work by IBM and Kimberbly Clark.  In Readwrite:

" ... Kimberly-Clark Professional’s new Intelligent Restroom app was built using IBM Bluemix development platform and through the use of the IBM Internet of Things Foundation service, facilities managers collect data and alerts from sensors integrated into restroom amenities, from soap dispensers to air fresheners, as well as non-amenities like entrance doors. All the data is managed and monitored through a central dashboard that can be viewed on desktops or mobile devices remotely. ... " 

Shapes Constraint Language

Brought to my attention.  Technical.  Note the mention of data quality use, using the concept of 'shape',  a recent concern.

" .... The Shapes Constraint Language (SHACL) is an evolving specification produced by the W3C RDF Data Shapes Working Group. TopQuadrant is actively supporting the development of SHACL in the W3C Working Group towards its becoming an official Standard Recommendation alongside RDF, OWL and SPARQL. ....

So what is SHACL? First and foremost SHACL is based on RDF and covers similar ground like RDF Schema and the Web Ontology Language (OWL). SHACL can be used to describe the structure of data – be it stored in RDF or JSON or similar formats. SHACL provides an RDF vocabulary for classes, properties and almost arbitrary integrity constraints that instances need to fulfil. SHACL is not limited to classes and instances, but also includes a more generic concept called “Shape” that can be overlaid on any existing data. Schemas created with SHACL can be shared on the web to communicate the intended structure of your data to other people or tools. SHACL tools can improve Data Quality. .... " 

COGs Ladder

Procter & Gamble colleague George O Charrier recently passed away.  He developed a collaboration model called the COGs ladder.   In use by a number of groups today.  If you have an case studies of its use,  please pass them along.    " .... to help group managers at Procter and Gamble better understand the dynamics of group work, thus improving efficiency. It is now also used by the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, and other businesses – to help in understanding group development  .... "

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Linked Data in the Enterprise

I am reminded of the term,  definition from the WP below:    What are the best examples of its use in the enterprise?   The DBPedia is an easily understandable example, where the data is derived from the Wikipedia or similar data.    We examine the potential for DBpedia use.  Enterprise examples of use?  See tag links below.

" .... In computing, linked data (often capitalized as Linked Data) is a method of publishing structured data so that it can be interlinked and become more useful through semantic queries. It builds upon standard Web technologies such as HTTP, RDF and URIs, but rather than using them to serve web pages for human readers, it extends them to share information in a way that can be read automatically by computers. This enables data from different sources to be connected and queried.[1]
Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), coined the term in a 2006 design note about the Semantic Web project. ....  "

Toward a Layer of Common Sense

Admittedly dated, but been reexamining the 'common sense' ontology Cyc again recently, this article reexamines the premise and progress. Circa 2005. I recall thinking that we might be able to build our own ontologies on top of this one. Give them a layer of badly needed common sense.   Has anyone done that for enterprise applications?  Pointers to experience?

Seeking: Building AI that Builds AI

Building AI is hard work,  have been working on it for years.  Even if we are attempting to just improve relatively common cognitive business tasks.  Forgetting for now hoping to build complete 'brains'.   So can it be automated?   I ask further.  How should we look at the combination of supervised versus unsupervised training of such systems?  How should  we address the maintenance of such systems as their context evolves?   All big challenges.  In Wired, a look at how Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others are are looking  at this challenge to automation

Disrupting Manufacturing

In Brookings:

Disrupting manufacturing: Innovation and the future of skilled labor  by Daniel Araya and Christopher Sulavik

" ... The common assumption today is that robots will soon drive our cars, manage our work, and manufacture our goods. But what is the reality of disruptive innovation in U.S. manufacturing? And how should schools educate skilled labor for this new era?

Globally, manufacturing now accounts for approximately 16 percent of GDP and 14 percent of employment. While the industrial workforce in the United States is up from 11.4 million to 12.3 million, employment is still stuck at historical lows (not seen since the 1940s). More troubling still, labor force participation has been declining since 2009. In fact, over the past three decades, the gap between rich and poor has widened—reversing the prior trend toward a growing middle class. ... " 

Big Data University

Brought to my attention by Jim Spohrer, a community that pulls together a number of introductory segments on data engineering (broadly defined to include analytical and cognitive methods).

What is Big Data University?
An IBM community initiative, Big Data University is the world’s best education on big data. Learn about big data, data science and analytic technologies from experts using hands-on exercises and interactive videos. Best of all, it’s completely free.  .... "  

Friday, May 06, 2016

Seeing, Sensing and Reproducing Color

In the New Yorker:   The Search for Our Missing Colors, By Amos Zeeberg.  You would think that in our digital world we could sense, see and reproduce most any color.  Well, not quite.  What are the implications for the increasingly digital world of a lack of richness?  I recall in a project that sought to archive color advertisements, we were unable to do this even close to usefully.

Is RFID Ready for Prime Time in Retail?

Perhaps piggybacking on the IOT craze?  Our original prediction from the innovation center proved to be very wrong.  The particular lack of progress was fed by the lack of thinking about what could be done with the data, beyond the very obvious.   Will the intelligence be embedded in the broader network?   Are we now ready?  What will the implications be.

VR Revolutionizing Data Visualization

We experimented in this in a number of ways, virtual words and using 3D viewers ...  Visualization should also be part of the first few steps in any analytics project.

In Forbes, by Bernard Marr

" .. Visualization is often a key part of the ‘crucial last step’ in Big Data projects – large scale analytical operations designed to draw insights from the ever growing amount of digital data that we are generating and storing. While bar graphs and pie charts do their job of providing headline figures, today’s Big Data projects require a far more granular method of presentation if they are going to tell the full story. It must be simple for the user to identify and highlight correlations between perhaps billions of data points (in the case of really large scale projects such as fraud prevention in the financial services industry), which are often performed in real-time. ...  "

Designing Materials

In Nature:  A look at how machine learning can be used for material design.  Visually realized.   So why not for any other kind of parameter, or structure driven design?  We did this for package design a long time ago.  Now the hardware and software costs have plunged.

Burberry Using IOT

Wooing millennial shoppers with Internet of things.

" ... As an early adopter of IoT and connected digital technologies Burberry has successfully blended both physical and website in its Regent Street flagship store.  The store was built using digital first as the blueprint to provide consumers unique, personalized experiences via interactive mirrors, cultured areas to socialize, and digital based service and displays – all within a brick and mortar environment.  ... "