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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Procter, whats Next in a Club Marketing Era?

A number of my readers are interested in my former employers activities in marketing and those relationships to technology.  In the latest Cinci Enquirer,  (you may have to register for access) an extensive article on where P&G is going, and how it is testing new marketing methods, like the Club-Replenishment idea.  Razor blades and now detergents.   Whats next?   Sounds like you need a closer modeling of consumer and marketing.

As a person whose retirement is linked to how they are doing, I continue to follow this.

Capital One Advances Alexa Finance Skills

Always looking for ways to advance the idea of using a virtual assistant.  Here new work by Capital One.  To what is this marketing versus assistance?    What else use is useful for hands free interaction?

In Business Insider:  
In March, Capital One began allowing users to check credit card balances and transactions as well as pay bills via Alexa, Amazon’s smart home virtual assistant.

Now, the firm is expanding that service to include home and auto loan payments, according to CNET. Alexa users will be able to enable the Capital One skill in the Alexa mobile app, link it to their mortgage or car payments, and use the device to ask for payment information or pay the next bill. Users will be required to enter a PIN to access the information.

The addition of new skills could indicate that Alexa functionality has been popular among Capital One customers. 19% of North American adults were “very interested” in connected device payments as of last year, a number that’s likely increased as devices like Alexa have become more widely available and accessible.  ... " 

Creating Omni Encounters

Its always about creating as many encounters as possible.   In the old days of advertising these were created in your head.  Now there are just many more possibilities.

The Store of the Future Creates Omni-Encounters
A look at why retailers should relax the boundaries among "channels" in their Omni-channel retail strategies ... " 

SAP on Digital Transformation

Useful thoughts, always cautious about the hype versus reality view ...  So what does it mean when pushed by a major vendor?   Long term engagement?

Digital Transformation: Separating Reality from the Hype
Jonathan Becher Chief Digital Officer at SAP

Digital transformation is a term that has clearly taken its place in the current business lexicon. But what does it really mean? Does it represent the latest zeitgeist or a true opportunity? Is it nothing more than a way for consultants and vendors to sell more of their wares?

Like many catchphrases, digital transformation can mean many things to many people. So what makes for a true digital transformation? ....  " 

Interview with Mobileye

Getting the data right is the most important part.

Vision Sensors by Mobileye.     An interview.

Though Google has become the US face of the driverless car movement, other companies have been developing similar technology for more than a decade. Mobileye is one of them, with a $10 billion valuation and a huge head start in a potentially enormous market. Professor David Yoffie discusses why a company many have never heard of will be a linchpin in the future of self-driving automobiles. ... " 

A History of Data Mining

In Dataconomy.  Quite a few things left out based on my own experience.  A little too much emphasis paid to neural methods.    Patterns of all sort were being driven by statistics since regression and Bayesian.    Still a good reminder of where we have come from.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Towards IoT Standards Alliances

Towards IoT alliances to create useful standards for the smart home.  Will this lead to improved security as well?    Could also lead to more standardized data for analytics.

Bayesian Learning Explained

In KDNuggets.  Good piece on Bayesian learning.  Comparison made to frequentist statistical reasoning.  Could have used this some time ago to explain the idea to some colleagues.   Still technical, but links well to real world problems and related software solutions.

Combining Human and Machine Knowledge

Combining human and machine intelligence, a favorite thought.  People as peripheral.   How do we do it effectively?

System predicts 85 percent of cyber-attacks using input from human experts

Virtual artificial intelligence analyst developed by the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab and PatternEx reduces false positives by factor of 5. ... "     by Adam Conner-Simons | CSAIL 

Predictive Maintenance

In O'Reilly.  Nicely done introduction.  Uses Cortana Intelligence Suite.

Predictive maintenance meets predictive analytics
Danielle Dean introduces the landscape and challenges of predictive maintenance applications in the manufacturing industry.  Video by Danielle Dean July 19, 2016 ... " 

Supply Chain Lessons

Via Matt Waller.  Practical thoughts.

Seven Supply Chain Lessons from a Former Walmart CEO
by Alexa Cheater

Inheriting an organization facing one of the toughest retail environments in history, Mike Duke helped Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and biggest private employer, navigate an intense period of economic, social, and technological change while delivering strong financial results. As CEO from 2009 to 2014, he worked to restructure the company and made sure it not only grew, but grew with integrity.

Named one of Forbes top 10 most powerful people in 2013, Duke built his expertise by learning from and interacting with everyone—from world leaders to first time Walmart customers. Coming from a logistics and distribution background, he helped the company enter Africa and grow in China, Latin America, and other markets.

As one of the keynote speakers during Gartner’s Supply Chain Executive Conference, he shared seven important lessons he’s learned over the years. While not directly about supply chain, they can all easily be applied to managing the complexities of this rapidly changing industry ... " 

Friday, July 29, 2016

How to Build a Slack Bot

I was intrigued by the idea of constructing an 'intelligent' bot in Slack.    Have used Slack already for some time., Here is a nicely done example.  Using a Python API.   Programming skill required, but you can get the idea.   Its about gathering public data, extracting the right parts, performing simple logic, publishing the results back to Slack.  Pretty straightforward.  Intelligence?   No, but a repetitive way to program a simple service on data in a known system.   Leveraging social infrastructure can create Bots.

There is even a Slack data science community.

Marketing Your Personal Data

A old idea, but new ways of making it happen.   Digi Me: 

" ... started out in 2009 as an innovative tool that enabled users to gather their social content. We won Le Prix d'Argent from over 700 entrants at the LeWeb Startup Competition 2013 after attracting significant funding from UK and US investors.

Our groundbreaking technology allows consumers to gather together their personal data and share it on their terms with businesses in a mutually beneficial value exchange.

Now we are partners with leading brands including Toshiba and Lenovo and we are working with world-leading businesses in the health, insurance, FMCG, financial and telco sectors. We are also setting up a 'living lab' involving all the citizens of a European country later this year. ... " 

Facebook's Plans for Virtual Reality

A considerable push it seems. The public is not quite ready, but the influence of a Facebook could steer that.

Other Social Channels

Many of the posts in this blog are referred to on twitter at https://twitter.com/franzd    Lately the topics most covered are: Analytics (using a very general definition here), Digitization, Marketing, Social,  Retail, Supply Chain, Smart home, Business Process ....

Mistakes Managers Make with Analytics

In the HBR.  Very good points.  Have seen all of these in action.  Some aspect of them come up with every engagement.  Choosing one, not considering the needs and issues behind integration.  If what you plan to do is so good it needs to be integrated with existing business process.  That integration can be painful.  Need to be better ways to make the integration standard.

Creatives Shouldn't Worry About AI

In one way it is like fearing the typewriter or telephone.   But will this latest evolution be fundamentally different?  I see no indication of that yet.  It is still incremental.   Creatives will use it creatively. ... "

Why Creatives Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Artificial Intelligence
Deutsch chief technology officer Trevor O'Brien on why you should stop worrying about AI, and love how it will improve your job.

Pivoting to Digital

A look mostly at large company examples.   In Knowledge @ Wharton: 

" ... How Industrial Firms Can Pivot to Digital Business Models In the fourth 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 industrial companies can learn how to think like a digital disruptor and reorient their business models accordingly. 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. They also wrote a book called The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models. ... " 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Watson Personality Insights

Just today I happened to be reintroduced to Personality Insights on the Watson Developer Cloud.  Had taken an earlier look.   Basic version is free to work with.   Can any provide me concrete examples of its use in the wild?   A personality classifier / transducer for the millions?   Marketing tool?  Python code connects .   " ...  Personality Insights extracts and analyzes a spectrum of personality attributes to help discover actionable insights about people and entities, and in turn guides end users to highly personalized interactions. The service outputs personality characteristics that are divided into three dimensions: the Big 5, Values, and Needs. While some services are contextually specific depending on the domain model and content, Personality Insights only requires a minimum of 3500+ words of any text. ... " 

More posts on Watson Personality Insights

Game Based Learning

An obvious space for the idea, would like to see it taken further.  See my long term coverage of gamification and serious games at the links below.  We even had some successes in the otherwise somber enterprise.   Still following.

The rise of game-based learning by Alice Savage meets the children taking gamification to the next level by learning to code through their own games  ... 

With many affordable products on the market, game-based learning is becoming a recognisable feature of the British classroom. Learning subjects through games can greatly improve pupil engagement in a subject and provide teachers with instant feedback, analytics and other teaching tools that can tailor a learning programme for each individual student. The rise of game-based learning has now paved the way for a new level of engagement from students with new opportunities arising for them to learn to make their own games  ... " 

Wolfram Alpha Sidebar Assistant

Been away from it for a while, but now you can put add-ons for Google Drive as a Wolfram Alpha Assistant sidebar.    Free,   A sometimes forgotten interactive AI approach that is worth a look.  Will go back for a try.  "... Now we would like to introduce a new way to harness the power of computation with the Wolfram|Alpha Add-ons for Google Drive. These free add-ons for Google Docs and Google Sheets enable you to bring up a Wolfram|Alpha sidebar next to your file or get Wolfram|Alpha results instantly, all without interrupting your workflow. To install these add-ons in your Google Drive, click the buttons at the top of our support page. ... " 

Being a Change Agent via Analytics

Like the simplicity angle ....  

How to be a change agent using analytics By Lisa Bodell

What does it mean to be a change agent in business today? When I spoke to the audience at IBM Vision 2016 in May 2016, the theme was from the title of my book, Kill the Company. Yes, it’s a provocative title—and it’s intended to be. Too many companies today suffer from what I call “the twin evils of complexity and complacency.” I believe that the leaders of companies, and indeed, people up and down the organization chart, need to be change agents. They need to kill the company—metaphorically speaking—to challenge the status quo and help their organizations break free of rules, structures and ways of working that have outlived their usefulness.

Of course, it’s not really the companies themselves that we should kill. Instead, what I think people need to do is to kill the things that hold our companies back. We need to eliminate complexity and complacency in the form of organizational inertia and the endless, enervating processes and procedures that can sap an organization’s energy and stifle innovation. ....  " 

Technology and Skills

In Medium:  A look at how technology is influencing our skills.   Technology has always moved skills to new places.  Retraining takes time and experiences.   So there will be gaps for individuals. You will need to be predictive to determine whats hype and whats not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Working with Emerging Market Data

Working with emergent market data, some useful rules of thumb.   In the HBR.   " ... Emerging-market data can be challenging to work with due to significant data gaps, biased data, and outdated or incorrect numbers. Of course, these issues can cause a headache for any company, in any market. But because they are so prevalent when it comes to emerging-market data, the challenges are exacerbated. They can lead executives to make misguided investment decisions, and put a company’s reputation and jobs at risk. ... " 

Supply Chain Metrics in Household and Beauty

Good report out of SupplyChainInsights.

Supply Chain Metrics That Matter: A Focus on Household Products, and Beauty Companies – 2016
" ... Report Details: This report is based on analysis of financial balance sheet and income statement data within Household Products and Beauty industries, for the period of 2006-2015. The data is collected from YCharts. ,,,, 

Objective: To use financial balance sheet and income statement data to better understand the state of Household Products, and Beauty supply chains and to determine which companies’ supply chains did the best on the delivery of a portfolio of metrics over the last decade.

Highlight: Within the Household Products, and Beauty industries companies are stuck on the critical metrics that drive value. Most regressed in delivering improvement on the Supply Chain Metrics That Matter. This analysis highlights the performance of new supply chain leaders. Clorox and L’Oréal are winners of the Supply Chains to Admire analysis for 2016, with Estée Lauder posting results as a strong finalist. .... " 

Encyclopedia of Interaction

An update on this work, which I first examined in 2011.  Still apparently a free resource.   The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed. ...  from the  Interaction Design Foundation. which now also sells courses in the area.  

Defending the Power Grid

Further applications to other kinds of monitored networks, IOT applications.

Detecting Cybersecurity Threats by Taking the Grid's Pulse   By Peter Fairley:    " .. DARPA teams are building grid defenses using phasor measurement units that combine GPS and power sensors ... " 

Future of 3D Printing

Good forward looking article in CACM on the future of consumer 3D printing.

" ... Bill Decker, chairman of the Association of 3D Printing, agrees the consumer market for 3D printers is largely untapped, although he noted, "Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, the big box retailers are betting on it." What is helping to "escalate the market are small, handheld 3D printers sold by Brookstone, such as the 3Doodler, which is like an electric toothbrush, an advanced glue gun." Such products, Decker said, are inexpensive, and because they do not require software like their desktop brethren, are super-easy to use.

Decker adds, "It’s a disruptive technology, and you’re seeing more and more of it in education, on the Internet, and with e-publishing. And when the kids see it and use it in school, they want to have it at home." ... " 

Predix Opening to Development

GE Opening Development.
 " ... General Electric has more than a century of industrial experience, but its five-year-old GE Digital division hopes to leverage outside expertise in its IoT mission. This week the company is hosting the first developer conference for its GE Predix software platform, where it will announce developer kits to help get the ball rolling on new IoT projects.

Predix started as an internal tool for GE to monitor products like jet engines that it had already built and sold. Now the company is offering it to others as a platform for capturing and analyzing data about all kinds of industrial assets. It can collect many kinds of information about those assets and, with customers’ permission, combine inputs from many users to learn things like when a piece of factory equipment is likely to fail. ... " 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Conversation about the State of AI

Link to talk with Peter Norvig who is Director of Research at Google.  We used his text as an intro to AI and it is still very popular.  This is not ot a technical talk.  It is very non hype.

It reminds me of similar discussions in the early 90s on AI.  Notable that 'rule based systems',  is still brought up, just as it was back then. Also the implication that there is no magic as yet,  or really any automatic autonomy.  Just hard coding ahead.   Also a continued nod to open source systems.

Applications of AI technologies: Peter Norvig in conversation with Tim O'Reilly
Exploring the rise of conversational interfaces, how AI will change the way programmers create software, and open source tools for AI and machine learning. ...  "

Video by Tim O'Reilly -  Peter Norvig   July 19, 2016

Putting Digital in Perspective

 In CustomerThink: 

" ... This year, the number of smartphones, tablets and connected devices is expected to cross 7 billion – that will mean more connected devices than there are human beings on earth. With more and more people owning smart gadgets, these devices are going to have an increasingly bigger influence on our communication patterns, online habits and of course, our buying habits, and globally, organisations are trying hard to keep up with this shift by leveraging Digital Business Technology themselves. ... 

Consider what Tesco did in Korea around four years ago. In 2011, Tesco’s affiliate, Homeplus in South Korea, had to deal with a strange situation in order to meet its aspiration of market leadership: While it was a problem that Homeplus did not have enough stores as its main competitor did, the real problem though seemed to be the very lifestyle of their potential customers – given that Koreans were extremely hardworking, they just didn’t have enough time to go shopping. So even if Homeplus was to set up enough stores, it was going to be a challenge to get people to visit the store. ... 

The killer plan Homeplus came up with was to set up virtual grocery stores in strategic locations like subways and metro stations – they erected posters of products and groceries just like they were displayed at their stores – each item displayed in the poster came with a QR Code that provided product details such as pricing, etc, and could be scanned from an app on a smartphone into a virtual shopping cart. What’s more, the delivery of their checked-out items could be timed conveniently. Customers could now use their smartphones to buy grocery as they waited for their trains or whenever they found time as they commuted."

For Better Decisions: Get more Varied input

In Inc.    Big observer of the decision process.  How do you improve the decision process?  Get a diversity of input.     People that fundamentally think about the process in different ways.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Google Data Studio Beta

Brought to my attention. Looks interesting.  Seems a limited trial.   Will report on this.

" ... Beautiful data stories start here

Google Data Studio (beta) provides everything you need to turn your data into beautiful, informative reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable. Data Studio lets you create up to 5 custom reports with unlimited editing and sharing. All for free — currently only available in the U.S. .... " 

Nestle Innovation Platform

Previously mentioned,  my former colleague Pete Blackshaw announces Nestle's Open Innovation  Platform. :

" ... I’m extremely excited to unveil our new “Open Innovation” platform, Henri@Nestle.com (http://Henri.Nestle.com). Check it out! If you are an entrepreneur, tech enabler, or partner, sign up and tag your interest areas. Henri facilitates the rapid sharing of ideas and solutions in response to business challenges. Four challenges are now up, including one related to Nespresso and sustainability, micronutrient deficiency, and the future of bottled water. Each brief owner clearly outlines expectations, and we’ve tried to make the platform mobile friendly in every way possible. 

“With the ingenuity and innovative spirit of startups Henri@Nestlé can help address some of the world’s biggest nutrition, health and wellness challenges, creating funded opportunities to drive real impact at scale," said my colleague Gerardo Mazzeo, Global Innovation Director. ...  " 

See also Procter's Connect and Develop.

P&G Sells UK Product Innovation Center

Does innovation need location anymore?   It has been debated.   Known as the Egham Center.   In Bizjournals:

" ... Procter & Gamble has agreed to sell a major product innovation center near London that employs more than 600 people engaged in the research and development of the Cincinnati-based company’s beauty brands. ....  intends to lease back the complex of buildings known locally as the Rusham Park Technical Centres from the buyer, Royal Holloway, University of London, for the next three to five years as part of the deal.   ...  " 

Need for Dynamic Machine Learning

In one sense all typical, static machine learning methods are wrong.  That is they are based on past data, and the context that drove that data has changed.   The question is,  are the resulting models 'too wrong' to get useful results from?  Integrating dynamic (time varying) elements to the model can address this.  It does often add considerable complexity to the modeling effort.   A good introduction out of DSC on this topic.  

History of Measuring Time

In Gizmag, a remarkable illustrated look at the history of the stopwatch,  A very favorite topic, the history and process of measurement.  One of my earliest jobs was to wander a factory with a stopwatch to look for opportunities.

Solutions to VR Motion Sickness

Surprisingly, though I have some tendency to have motion sickness, have never seen it in VR demonstrations, though these have usually been short.  Some solutions.  via Columbia University Research.

Cyber Social Learning Systems

Cyber-Social Learning Systems   Via Jim Spohrer

Cyber-social learning systems (CSLS) deeply integrate digital computing with human and social phenomena to drive rapid learning by, and improvements in, the functioning and performance of societal systems at all scales. As such, CSLS promise to transform health care, education, communities, security, and many other sectors. The next major frontier in research and development is the integration of cyber-physical with complex human and social systems and phenomena at scale.  .... " 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Magic Leap and China Augmented Reality Shopping

Video at the link.  Suggesting further advances in China retail technology.

In Mashable: 
Magic Leap demo in China shows augmented reality shopping
The incredibly secretive augmented reality startup Magic Leap showed off another demonstration of its technology this week, this time using Chinese apps. 

During a discussion with Alibaba CMO Chris Tung in China, Magic Leap's chief marketing officer Brian Wallace gave audience members a look at how the technology works. The early look for Alibaba makes sense given the Chinese company's role as a major investor in Magic Leap. .... "

Autonomous Selection of Mars Laser Targets

An example of autonomy for a complex system.  Here the Curiosity Rover on Mars.   At one level this is similar to closed loop process control, but with more complex sensor analysis being done in that loop.  

Assume this increases accuracy, speed in going through analysis goals ... and even decreases targeting labor required to enact,  thus decreasing cost.     So is  closed loop process control we did in manufacturing, though the adjustments here appear to start to arise to the strategic.   Article and image examples:

From the Jet Propulsion Lab: 
  " .... NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is now selecting rock targets for its laser spectrometer -- the first time autonomous target selection is available for an instrument of this kind on any robotic planetary mission.

Using software developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, Curiosity is now frequently choosing multiple targets per week for a laser and a telescopic camera that are parts of the rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. Most ChemCam targets are still selected by scientists discussing rocks or soil seen in images the rover has sent to Earth, but the autonomous targeting adds a new capability. ... "

Kinds of Choice in Decision Process

I have been a long time student of decision methods, and the concept of a 'Hobson's Choice' (i.e. take it or leave it)  came up recently.  The formal classification of different kinds of related decisions are described in this WP article.

  Not to say this concept is often brought up when modeling decision trees or processes.  It is much more invoked when describing observed and often bizarre human decisions.  But could we tag a tree describing business process to make it more useful?  Is this inherently what is done with Bayesian methods?    Seems this should also be thought about when automating data science.   Thoughts?

Programming with Objects

A technical piece that won't mean much to you unless you have done professional programming in the last decades.  I did some of that in the early days of what was called OOP, and remember misgivings when the 'sharable' aspects of code broke.  I don't go there much anymore, but have a deep appreciation of the needs addressed,  We all wanted ways to efficiency re-use what others had done,   maintenance could be so much easier.  No?   Yes, if you didn't build things that were by themselves fragile.  Read for insight.    In Medium.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Singularity University

I was reminded of Singularity University

" ... What is Singularity University?
Our mission is to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity's grand challenges.  .... 

"Singularity University is an opportunity to bring people from every conceivable walk of life with people that share a common aspiration that is to do better, to be better, and to make a positive impact on people's lives."   ...  '

Following Watson Facing Cybercrime

Continuing to follow Watson to determine what the ideal application is.  Is it mostly about big and volatile knowledge, appropriately indexed?   Leveraged with machine learning.  To find appropriate cases for reapplication?  That's what I have seen so far as part of application proposals.   Not AI ... but certainly a form of 'Practical Intelligence'.    And maintaining that knowledge via focused learning.

Example, Recently in  Wired:

" ... IBM announced that Watson is taking its cognitive learning chops to the cloud, where it’ll apply them to analyzing, identifying, and (hopefully) preventing cybersecurity threats. But first, it’s going to have to learn. Fast. .... 

There are already plenty of computer-enhanced approaches to combating cybercrime, most of which involve identifying outliers or abnormalities—like when a user logs a few too many failed password attempts—and determining whether those constitute some sort of threat.

Collecting and analyzing this type of data can and does work. It’s not ideal, though. First, there’s simply too much of it; according to a recent IBM report, the average organization sees over 200,000 pieces of security event data every single day. There’s simply no way to keep up with it all. And while solutions like MIT’s recent AI2 can trim down the number of incidents a human researcher needs to sift through, there’s still the fact that the data points being considered are only a small part of the picture.  ... " 

What is Cognitive Analytics?

Good question.  Larry Smith gens up a good answer:

"  ....  Cognitive analytics focuses on the analytical thinking you do in your mind, just with a cognitive machine. With cognitive computing technology as its backbone, cognitive analytics provides people a thinking partner to process and analyze information in context to their decision-making process. Cognitive analytics creates a human-machine partnership to help people make better, clearer and faster decisions.  .... " 

Read the rest.  So a focused virtual assistant to do the 'math' that people don't like to do?   It does mean we have to link to an interaction or conversation with the cognitive machine.  So we can see how Facebook Messenger's interaction, with their billion users,  is a good place to try.  But will that work, or will the bots just annoyingly get in the way?

Disruption Considered

 Been asked about the concept recently,  not that well defined,  but a case where extreme examples are obvious.    In the consumers mind, or business?    In McKinsey:

" ... Incumbents needn’t be victims of disruption if they recognize the crucial thresholds in their lifecycle, and act in time.  ... " 

Targeting Physical Out of Stocks

Seen a number of related methods,  this PG article looks at methods that combine image recognition and robotic methods.    We also looked at a method that could use streams from security cameras to count shelf items to address planogram compliance and detect out of stocks.    I liked the idea of multi-tasking.    Further in Progressive Grocer. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Importance of Data Management

Some good thoughts here.  Recently have seen the particular importance of how data is changing over time.    Metadata is important and may differ in quality and nature over time as well.  Good to consider when understanding the nature of the data involved as it supports a particular application.

AI, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning: A Primer

AI, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning: A Primer by Frank Chen
“One person, in a literal garage, building a self-driving car.” That happened in 2015. Now to put that fact in context, compare this to 2004, when DARPA sponsored the very first driverless car Grand Challenge. Of the 20 entries they received then, the winning entry went 7.2 miles; in 2007, in the Urban Challenge, the winning entries went 60 miles under city-like constraints.

Things are clearly progressing rapidly when it comes to machine intelligence. But how did we get here, after not one but multiple “A.I. winters”? What’s the breakthrough? And why is Silicon Valley buzzing about artificial intelligence again?

From types of machine intelligence to a tour of algorithms, a16z Deal and Research team head Frank Chen walks us through the basics (and beyond) of AI and deep learning in this slide presentation. ... " 

Micro Moments During Mobile Shopping

Via Think with Google.  A Guide with statistics.

Shopping Micro-Moments Guide: How to Be There and Be Useful for Shoppers

Mobile has forever changed the way people shop. A shopper's smartphone is there for them anytime, anywhere in countless micro-moments. The question for retailers is: Are you prepared to meet these shoppers in the moments that matter most? Explore this guide—full of new research on consumer trends—to find out how to be there and be useful in this new digital landscape. .... " 

Bringing Intelligence to Data Handling

Linking AI and data, in an efficient and semantic (meaning linked)  manner, then utilizing integrated machine learning, is a huge leveraging point.

In Medium: 
" ... “Why has AI so dramatically changed in the last few years compared to 30, 40, 50 years ago when it was started?” He answered his question, saying, “It’s all the power of data.” He then used the refinement of mass-manufactured clothing processes improving to the point where people can find what they want to wear instead of having it specifically tailored to them as an analogy for the possibilities now open through effective data usage.

“When you have these finished APIs, application development becomes very simple,” he said. “You just grew those applications together, those APIs together, and you get a very powerful application all residing in the cloud, supported with the SLAs of the cloud, and backed by a company like Microsoft. And that creates unreasonable speed in developing intelligent applications. That’s a huge revolution. ... "

InsightETE Seeks Root Cause in Process

Just brought to my attention, and applicable to all kinds of process measuring and management.  Whats more important than determining root cause in a process?    Digging deeper, join me.

Welcome To InsightETE
Founded in 1999, InsightETE is the brain child of founder and systems engineer Bill Johns.

InsightETE is the first and only company in the world to offer a proprietary and patented method (PATENT No.: US 7,577,701 B1) to perform root cause analysis in 15 minutes or less.

InsightETE’s software gives you the ability to measure and troubleshoot IT system performance on a granular level. No other company in the world can truthfully claim the same ability.

InsightETE clients can measure true response time, track service levels, and reduce outages as they root out problems from their verified source. What’s more, they see an increase in their customer service satisfaction by eliminating service level disagreements.  ... " 

Analytics Magazine

Long before data science and machine learning, there was Analytics.  Here is their most recent e-newsletter.    Subscribe.  Always some useful information.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Exploring Databases: The Indiana Project

I much like the premise here, often we find ourselves spending much time exploring, and even just finding databases.

Letizia Tanca - Exploring Databases: The Indiana Project

Latizia Tanca, Professor at Politecnico di Milano, gave a wonderful presentation today on "Exploring Databases: the Indiana Project" as part of our Cognitive Systems Institute Speaker Series. Please continue the conversation here in this discussion group with Letizia, who's work can be found http://tanca.faculty.polimi.it/.  

Slides here.  Presentation here. Further CSIG discussion here.

" ... Big Data, and its 5 Vs – volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and value – have been talked about a lot. In the latest ACM SIGMOD blog post, Letizia Tanca is writing about the Double V for Big Data: Wisdom. Reciting an extract from her blog: …not only we want to make sense of the data, whether they are big or not, but we can, and should, extract from them a worth that makes us wiser, doubling the Value. Read more at: http://wp.sigmod.org/  .... "

Facebook's AI Chatbots Now Serve a Billion Users

Its claimed that Facebook Messenger now has a billion users,  and those billion users can be served by a swarm of AI chatbots,   Will those billion users be served well enough, to some sort of useful and profitable end, so that the users of Messenger will take the Bot's advice?   Or will they leave for the exits?  Further  Discussed in CWorld.  The AI will have to be good and very adaptive to the users. How much will this handle a conversation rather than just a tailored ad or notification?

Machines Replacing Humans

Good thoughts from the McKinsey Quarterly.  Agree there will be dramatic differences by sector, but do also expect some dramatic speedups.

Where machines could replace humans—and where they can’t (yet)
By Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi

The technical potential for automation differs dramatically across sectors and activities.

As automation technologies such as machine learning and robotics play an increasingly great role in everyday life, their potential effect on the workplace has, unsurprisingly, become a major focus of research and public concern. The discussion tends toward a Manichean guessing game: which jobs will or won’t be replaced by machines?  ... " 

Wearable, IOT Memory

In CWorld: New kinds of very low power memory for Wearables and IoT by Samsung and IBM.

DSC Surveys Data Science Techniques

Index to useful article lists from Data Science Central.  Click through to their site for search details.  Join the the group.  Very nicely done articles from introduction to in-depth.  I have not linked them all, but go to DSC for more.

" ... These techniques cover most of what data scientists and related practitioners are using in their daily activities, whether they use solutions offered by a vendor, or whether they design proprietary tools. When you click on any of the 40 links below, you will find a selection of articles related to the entry in question. Most of these articles are hard to find with a Google search, so in some ways this gives you access to the hidden literature on data science, machine learning, and statistical science. Many of these articles are fundamental to understand the technique in question, and come with further references and source code.

Starred techniques (marked with a *) belong to what I call deep data science, a branch of data science that has little if any overlap with closely related fields such as machine learning, computer science, operations research, mathematics, or statistics. Even classical machine learning and statistical techniques such as clustering, density estimation, or tests of hypotheses, have model-free, data-driven, robust versions designed for automated processing (as in machine-to-machine communications), and thus also belong to deep data science. However, these techniques are not starred here, as the standard versions of these techniques are more well known (and unfortunately used) than the deep data scienceequivalent. To learn more about deep data science,  click here. Note that unlike deep learning, deep data science is not the intersection of data science and artificial intelligence.

Finally, to discover in which contexts and applications the 40 techniques below are used, I invite you to read the following articles:
   40 Data Science Techniques
  1. Linear Regression 
  2. Logistic Regression 
  3. Jackknife Regression *
  4. Density Estimation 
  5. Confidence Interval 
  6. Test of Hypotheses 
  7. Pattern Recognition 
  8. Clustering - (aka Unsupervised Learning)
  9. Supervised Learning 
  10. Time Series 
  11. Decision Trees 
  12. Random Numbers 
  13. Monte-Carlo Simulation 
  14. Bayesian Statistics 
  15. Naive Bayes 
  16. Principal Component Analysis - (PCA)
  17. Ensembles 
  18. Neural Networks 
  19. Support Vector Machine - (SVM)
  20. Nearest Neighbors - (k-NN)
  21. Feature Selection - (aka Variable Reduction)
  22. Indexation / Cataloguing *
  23. (Geo-) Spatial Modeling 
  24. Recommendation Engine *
  25. Search Engine *
  26. Attribution Modeling *
  27. Collaborative Filtering *
  28. Rule System 
  29. Linkage Analysis 
  30. Association Rules 
  31. Scoring Engine 
  32. Segmentation 
  33. Predictive Modeling 
  34. Graphs 
  35. Deep Learning 
  36. Game Theory 
  37. Imputation 
  38. Survival Analysis 
  39. Arbitrage 
  40. Lift Modeling     ..... " 
Follow us on Twitter: @DataScienceCtrl 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fabric Software for Visual Programming

New way to visually program.  I built software for years, so understand the embedded power,  but always believed there had to be a better way.  Can visual methods be precise enough to construct algorithms, and reduce errors and document its own process?   Visuals shown are impressive: 

" ...  Fabric have just announced that it will be introducing a new visual programming tool which the company believes will be make creation both easier and more dynamic. SIGGRAPH 2016 will mark the debut of the software.

An addition to the existing Canvas visual programming suite, Blocks which will ship with Fabric Engine 2.3 will expand on the existing functionality and Blocks allows users to create solutions they’d previously only been able to envision through writing code.

“Blocks are Canvas graph containers for user-provided functionality within a preset – the “block” inside a “for” loop is literally a Canvas graph. With Blocks, technical directors can create complex presets (either graphically or with code) exposing only the controls that make sense for non-technical users to modify. Users can then modify the preset by filling in the content of the blocks – visually — without needing to know all the details of the preset.” Explains the company in their announcement.... " 

When and Why of Causation

Adam kelleher
Physics PhD; Principal Data Scientist at BuzzFeed  : Thoughtful Medium piece:

" ... So what is causality good for? Anytime you decide to take an action, in a business context or otherwise, you’re making some assumptions about how the world operates. That is, you’re making assumptions about the causal effects of possible actions. Most of the time, we only consider very simple actions: I should eat, because the causal effect of “eating” on “hunger” is negative. I should show more impressions of this ad, because the causal effect of impressions on pageviews is positive. What about more complex interventions? What about the downstream effects? Maybe showing more impressions of the ad increases pageviews of it, but it draws traffic away from something more shareable, reducing traffic to the site as a whole. Is there a way to make all of the downstream causal effects obvious? Is there a way to make causal assumptions explicit, so their merits can be discussed, and our model of the world can improve?  ... "  

Buying Disruption in Personal Care

Buying into Disruption.

Unilever Buys Dollar Shave Club for $1 Billion   
Deal represents a big win for Dollar Shave Club’s investors.
Unilever announced on Tuesday evening that it is getting into the razor business, by agreeing to acquire Dollar Shave Club.

No financial terms were disclosed, but multiple sources close to the deal tells Fortune that Unilever  UK  is paying $1 billion in cash for the Santa Monica, Calif.-based business. That same source says that Unilever approached Dollar Shave Club about the acquisition.

Dollar Shave Club founder and CEO Michael Dubin will continue to run the company, which will operate its direct-to-consumer razor business as an independent entity. The acquisition should help Dollar Shave Club expand faster into new geographies (it’s currently in three countries), and significantly improve its distribution abilities in existing markets. ... " 

(Update) Discussion in Retailwire.

Macy's Tests Watson AI

In Yahoo Finance.  some of the details are interesting. Most interesting would be, the value of services a system provides, beyond just specials based on loyalty information and location.

" ... Macy's is testing a mobile tool using artificial intelligence that lets shoppers get answers customized to the store they're in — like where a particular brand is located or what's in stock — that they would normally ask a sales associate face-to-face.

The tool, which the nation's largest department store chain calls a "mobile companion," can be accessed for now through a browser and will accept questions in 10 U.S. locations about products, services and facilities. It uses natural language and offers feedback in seconds.

It's developed by IBM Watson — the Jeopardy-winning "cognitive computing" service and is designed to keep learning more about the store's customers. That's a key element as Macy's seeks to spur sluggish sales, make being at the store more enjoyable and distinguish itself from online portals and specialty retailers.  .. " 

VR for Marketing

Always looking for real life applications beyond the game.   Marketing is an engagement angle.

3 Ways Virtual Reality Is a Marketing Game Changer
Virtual reality is all the rage for gamers, but what does it mean for marketing?  by Larry Kim

Automatic Tutors

In The Echo, a quite long ago talk with Daniel Hillis about the web, about knowledge and its evolultion.   Also the realm of 'automatic tutors' and what they could mean when having access to universal knowledge.  How are these like bots and virtual assistants emerging today?  We certainly have stored much more knowledge today, but its hardly universal or complete.  Semantic webs and Linked Data are still not common in industry.   Why?    "Aristotle" (the Knowledge Web)  by W. Daniel Hillis  ....

Procter Tests Direct Online Subscription

In MarketWatch:  Procter tests direct online subscription service for Tide Pods.  Already available from Amazon via a Dash button.  This finally circumvents major channels like Amazon and Wal-Mart.   This was, in the past, avoided to not disturb important channel relationships.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Semantifying the Use of Data

Was recently involved in a project  thinking about how semantics can be a good way to make the best use of your data.  Make real sense of data and how it is related to other data.  Here is the argument, with a rough architecture. It is more work, constructing and maintaining, but well worth considering.   Semantify -ing, they are calling it. 

Predicting Bots Everywhere

The CEO of Automation Anywhere on How Robotic Process and Automation will Transform the Workplace  by Jacob Morgan

What is in this episode and what you should care:

Mihir Shukla is the CEO of Automation Anywhere, an enterprise software company. They are redefining how work gets done by introducing the idea of a digital workforce platform and digital workers that work alongside human employees. This combination is designed to help the human employee accomplish more than they ever could alone. Automation Anywhere has 300 hundred employees in 10 offices worldwide. Mihir’s goal is to become one the world’s largest employer without having any employees. How will they accomplish this? Projections show in the next four years, Automation Anywhere will reach 3 Million software bots worldwide which are producing at the capacity of 3 Million people. While they are a software company, the production levels are so high that they are the world’s largest employer in the digital age.  .... " 

Tactile Intelligence

 Intelligence requires sensors,  so the sense of touch needs to be refined for robots to have complete intelligence.  Good piece on developments in this area:

 Why Tactile Intelligence Is the Future of Robotic Grasping
By Vincent Duchaine

The simple task of picking something up is not as easy as it seems. Not for a robot, at least. Roboticists aim to develop a robot that can pick up anything—but today most robots perform “blind grasping,” where they’re dedicated to picking up an object from the same location every time. If anything changes, such as the shape, texture, or location of the object, the robot won’t know how to respond, and the grasp attempt will most likely fail.

Robots are still a long way off from being able to grasp any object perfectly on their first attempt. Why do grasping tasks pose such a difficult problem? Well, when people try to grasp something they use a combination of senses, the primary ones being visual and tactile. But so far, most attempts at solving the grasping problem have focused on using vision alone.   ...  " 

Nest Camera with AI

In CWorld:  Nest camera detects people in its images.  Continue to see more examples of the use of AI pattern matching methods in consumer systems, like face recognition for system access.

Microsoft Dynamics

Brought to my attention for examination and review.   Microsoft Dynamics is an  amalgam of Microsoft's CRM and ERP offerings.  How will this ultimately be integrated to systems like Linkedin after acquisition? As a skill and HR database to provide resources for analysis?  Indications are that this will be further integrated in coming days.

   Via Wikipedia:

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software applications. Microsoft Dynamics applications are delivered through a network of reselling partners who provide specialized services.[1] Very few installations are made without the aid, and cost, of these resellers. In its 2013 update, the first since 2009, Microsoft removed many capabilities of users to access features such as report-writing without the intervention, and cost, of members of their approved reseller network .[2] Microsoft Dynamics is part of Microsoft Business Solutions. Dynamics can be used with other Microsoft solutions, such as SharePoint, Yammer, Office 365, Azure and Outlook. The Microsoft Dynamics focus industries are retail, service, manufacturing, financial services, and public sector. Microsoft Dynamics provides business solutions for both small & medium businesses and Enterprise . ....  " 

Monday, July 18, 2016

On Useful Intelligence Augmentation

A talk with Pattie Maes about Intelligence augmentation, a favorite topic,  We had been members of the Media lab years ago, and had been intrigued by her practical consumer applications of AI.   She continues to address useful AI, in Echo: 

" ... Maes: I started out doing artificial intelligence, basically trying to study intelligence and intelligent behavior by synthesizing intelligent machines. I realized that what I've been doing in the last seven years could better be referred to as intelligence augmentation, so it's IA as opposed to AI. I'm not trying to understand intelligence and build this stand-alone intelligent machine that is as intelligent as a human and that hopefully teaches us something about how intelligence in humans may work; instead what I'm doing is building integrated forms of man and machine, and even multiple men and multiple machines, that have as a result that one individual can be super-intelligent. So it's more about making people more intelligent and allowing people to be able to deal with more stuff, more problems, more tasks, more information. Rather than copying ourselves, I'm building machines that can do that. ... " 

Another in Aisle Scanning Test

RetailWire contains a good piece on in aisle checkout, covering many of the impediments to its implementation. A long time retail tech subject here.   Tested it in many contexts:  by Tom Ryan:

A new Sam’s Club opening on July 21 in Columbia, SC will be one of the first Sam’s in the country to offer Scan & Go shopping.

The Scan & Go mobile app promises to make members’ checkout process faster and more convenient by allowing shoppers to scan UPC codes on items as they load them into their carts. When done shopping, customers pay directly on their phone from anywhere in the club and bypass the checkout line.

Unfortunately, Scan & Go-type technologies seem to be in continual trial mode despite the promoted advantages of walk-around budget monitoring and speedier checkout. .... "  

Analytics and Performance Management

Good piece by John O'Rourke  because it addresses how analytics can be directly connected to business process.  Part of every business  process is to understand how and why things are operating now, and are likely to operate under contextual changes in the future.   Then linking the measurement to specific action.    Always like to see that emphasis.

More Virtual Humanity

In CNet: 

Justine Cassell has taken her virtual assistant Sara on a road trip.

They're in Tianjin, China, where Carnegie Mellon University's associate dean of technology strategy and impact traveled to offer a glimpse of tomorrow at this week's Annual Meeting of New Champions.

Sara, for "socially aware robot assistant," has spent the past several days greeting hundreds of people coming to the event, hosted by the World Economic Forum, at a station showcasing the office of the future.

A life-size face and torso on a big-screen TV, Sara served as the front end to the event app. That presentation might make you think of Max Headroom, the stuttering AI character from the 1980s show. But Sara is as professional as Max was wacky.  ... " 

Pokemon Go and Retail

Is Pokemon Go the new phenomenon, and will it bring augmented reality mainstream?   I do remember when this was expected of 4 Square too.   Interesting emerging stats in Adweek article below: 

" .... Nintendo's surprise hit Pokémon Go mobile app is going gangbusters, increasing the gaming company's value by $7 billion.

The location-based game, which came out Thursday, uses augmented reality to place Pokémon characters in the real world for users to find and collect. The mobile app became immensely popular almost immediately and is already causing small businesses to tweak their in-store marketing. Tech vendor Similar web predicts the app will amass more daily active users than Twitter in the coming days.  .... " 

And more about location than augmented reality, in Time,

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Data Driven Business Strategies

 I like the closer to business process premise ....  Following up.

Gartner Report: Mastering Data and Analytics: ‘Table Stakes’ for Digital Business

Executive Summary: 

“The transformation to digital business is not incremental.”

The time is now for today’s marketing and analytics leaders to boldly pioneer not just new data-driven strategies, but entirely new data-driven business models. According to Gartner, enterprises not working to develop digital business models and supporting infrastructure today will find themselves functionally behind within three years. ...''

with registration

New: Digital Industry Insider

Digital Industry Insider:  

"The future of industry is digital. GE and BI Studios have co-created Digital Industry Insider, dedicated to bringing you what you need to know about digital industrial news and events.

 .... Produced by BI Studios, Business Insider’s content marketing division, Digital Industry Insider is a digital content hub, specifically-designed to fuel organic story discovery and elevate the discussion around digitization in core industries like aviation, energy and healthcare.

With the Industrial Internet poised to outpace the consumer internet by 2020 – weighing in at $225 billion in potential market size – bringing the world’s biggest machines online and helping them communicate is the next industrial revolution. Digital Industry Insider is convening this conversation, unpacking this new frontier and its impact. ... " 

Nielsen on CPG Innovation

In FoodNavigator:

Nielsen unveils 2016 breakthrough innovation winners: There will be more change in CPG in the next five years than there was in the last 50

In 2015, the top 25 food and beverage companies generated 45% of category sales in the US but drove just 3% of total category growth from 2011 to 2015, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just 0.1%, according to Nielsen data. So if they are not driving growth, who is?

Private label drove 23% of the growth and grew at a 2.6% CAGR, while mid-tier companies drove 25% of the growth and grew at a CAGR of 3.2% over the same period, says Nielsen in its 2016 breakthrough innovation report. But it was the “long and mighty tail” of 20,000 companies below the top 100 who drove 49% of all category growth, with a CAGR of 6.3%.

“Our belief is that there will be more change in CPG in the next five years than there was in the last 50. Successful firms of the future will master consumer experiences, not just consumer goods.”  ... .

Google Building a Matrix?

In Adage:

What could the Alphatrix look like?

If Alphabet has its way, in a few years, we'll be living in connected homes intelligently powered by Google Home wearing Google VR headsets on our faces. We'll swap those out for Google Glass-like augmented reality devices when we leave the house. We'll wear connected clothing with built-into gestural controls powered by Google's Project Jacquard. We'll hop into self-driving cars powered by Android Auto. Waze will shift from monitoring traffic patterns to determining them.

Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs hints that it will soon be building connected cities from scratch. Imagine cars, traffic lights, parking spots, moving sidewalks, restaurants, retailers, hospitals and homes all instantly and harmoniously choreographed into one seamlessly orchestrated, um, matrix. Healthcare IT News has even suggested that Google Cloud Machine Learning could be used for "population health management" (maybe we will become batteries after all). ..... "

Semantic Ecosystems

Continuing a look at modern ontology capabilities,  We did work with Stanford's KSL to build ontologies of corporate data.

Semantic Ecosystems

Create a semantic ecosystem—evolve from disparate data to actionable knowledge.

TopQuadrant’s solutions empower people by providing them with connected, business-relevant information—an ecosystem of actionable knowledge. Using TopQuadrant’s TopBraid solutions, organizations transform diverse information into semantic assets.

Find out how TopQuadrant can help link your information assets to create a semantic ecosystem where meaningful interactions between people, applications and data occur consistently with a speed, accuracy and intelligence previously not possible.  ... " 

Reading TopQuadrant’s Blogs:
The Semantic Ecosystems Journal

Composing the Semantic Web – A TopBraid Developer’s Blog

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Better Digital Work Methods Needed

Again, I would point to some of our work on this to first and foremost getting all the right data to people as they need it to both support decisions and make constraints clear.   Further supported by analytic/cognitive agents.

  See Business Sphere.   Sadly, I don't think this was taken forward very well,  It sits stagnant,  except perhaps in the financial industry.  I am struck by observations that we still start with a big pile of Lego blocks, looking for new data and new solutions, repeating this each and every time.   Done often even in 'modern' data science.   Very wasteful.

Can we achieve a better, more effective digital workplace?
As a confluence of new apps and devices steadily flow into the enterprise, they're encountering a growing sense that the digital workplace has become too complex and fragmented to be properly effective. What can organizations do? .... by Dion Hinchcliffe   ... 

The Importance of Carefully Considering Outliers

Good short piece by Rick Delgado on the concept of outliers.  Very important that both the analyst and the decision maker understands this idea as it relates to collected data and decision problem.  Frequently brought up here (See below)  and in every consulting connection.  The article is non technical.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Predictive Models Improving Automated Decisions

Useful points,   Though there is is the question on 'how predictive' and how precise such models can be.

How Predictive Models Improve Automated Decisions
Written by: Colleen McClintock   ... 

Agility is a key focus and benefit in the discipline of decision management. Agility, in the decision management context, means being able to rapidly adjust and respond to business and market-driven changes. Decision management technologies allow you to separate the business logic from your systems and applications. Business analysts then manage and make changes to the business logic a separate environment. And they can deploy their changes with minimal IT involvement and without a full software development cycle. With decision management, changes can be implemented in a fraction of the time required to change traditional applications. This ability to address frequently changing and new requirements that impact key automated decisions makes your business more agile.

Being able to rapidly make and deploy changes is important. But how do you know what changes to make? Some changes, like those defined by regulations and contracts, are straightforward. If you implement the regulations or contract provisions accurately, the automated decision will produce the required results and therefore, make good decisions. However, many decisions don’t have such a direct and obvious solution. .... " 

Using GPS Underwater

Had studied alternative to GPS for location in indoor spaces.   Had not realized the complexity of it working underwater.  Say for locating and directing underwater drones.   In the Atlantic.  ....

Towards Adaptable Leaders

Could not be more correct, especially in the world of changing technology and business. But what do they look like, and what do they have to be adaptable to?    Admit to not knowing everything?  More.

A New Biology

Including the work of a biological game theorist.

From matchbook-sized models of living human organs to the surprising alternative-energy implications of symbiotic giant clams, the work of three new faculty members represents the changing face of bioscience at Penn.  ... By  Trey Popp

The Problem with Thinking You Know

Very key and interesting teaching conundrum.  I will be working with a varied group of students this fall, and the situation has come to mind.    by Bertand Meyer:

" ... The human mind is flexible; when taught well, many people can learn many subjects. But there is one case of absolute impossibility: you cannot learn something if you think you already know it -- and do not. ...  " 

Sounds obvious, but its not unless you make a point of measuring it.  But then how do you measure this understanding without a perfect test?

This also relates to management that believe they know something and can't learn otherwise.

Based on his experience teaching introductory programming.    Well worth understanding by anyone who teaches.

Considerable discussion in CACM.