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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Alexa Powered Lamp by GE

Had heard of this late last year, it is here:

GE's Sol lamp is the world's first Alexa-powered desk lamp, and it's brilliant  ... "

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant can no longer be contained to the company's Echo devices.

From smartwatches to Echo clones like the Eufy Genie, device makers are eager to integrate Alexa voice controls into everything imaginable. Late last year, GE announced the C by GE Sol, the world's first Alexa-powered smart LED lamp that requires no additional hardware or setup, and now it's finally available.

You plug it in, connect your Amazon account, and — boom — you're living in the future.  ... " 

Only $200 for preorder.

AI is Marketing Hype?

My team and I were involved in the last big hype cycle of AI.  We lost a large chunk of investment in the space.   So the question is a reasonable one.   What should we do?  How should we invest?

  There have been very big advances that we need to take note of, and use, but these have not launched us into an era of general artificial intelligence.  That remains in the future.   The applications of today are still narrow,  but clearly very valuable.    You cannot ignore them.  I am applying them now.  But it will need another jump forward to get real AI.  When?  I believe still decades away.

Is A.I. Just Marketing Hype?
Why are the big breakthroughs always five to 20 years in the future?   By Geoffrey James in Inc ....   "

Emergence of Practical Augmented Reality (AR)

I am a long time experimenter with the concept of AR in Business.  We experimented with very early (1980s) applications with specialized hardware.  For things like manufacturing line maintenance. Packaging analysis.   Applications were too cumbersome and narrow to be successful.  There was also a flurry of AR apps without extraordinary hardware assistance, also not very impressive for practical enterprise applications.

Now we are starting to see AR being embedded in real phones, with the potential for value beyond gaming. Below a list of ARKit enabled apps for the iPhone in IOS 11.  Beyond games.  Will be taking a look.

iOS 11 ARKit apps are appearing at the App Store
By Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Now that Apple has put reality distortion inside every iPhone, we’ll get to explore new realities with apps like these.   While Face ID may be capturing headlines, its Apple’s ARKit that will make a much bigger difference to iPhone user’s lives.

AR-ready apps set to launch

The company directed attention at gaming during its recent iPhone X launch, but entertainment apps are not all you should expect as the first ARKit-enabled apps appear.

Here are some of the first wave of AR-ready apps to be made available at the App Store around the launch of iOS 11. More are appearing rapidly at time of writing.  ... " 

Wal-Mart and in Aisle Checkout

Continue to follow the idea of in-aisle checkout, see my tag below.

Walmart deploying tech that lets in-store shoppers check out — on their own    By Deena M. Amano-MCCoy

Walmart is expanding the deployment of its Scan & Go mobile app, which is being tested in approximately 12 stores across Northwest Arkansas, Florida, Texas and Georgia. The chain is now rolling out the app for use in at least 10 additional locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Nashville markets. The stores will offer the solution by the end of the month, said Walmart spokesman Justin Rushing in an interview with Chain Store Age. .... " 

Nike Customizing Sneakers

Customization or perhaps late stage differentiation.  But note only for a limited time and place.  Plays to the current craze for fast delivery.  Adds a level of exclusiveness.  Discussion at the link too.

Nike customizes shoes for ‘sneakerheads’ in under an hour
 by Matthew Stern

Sneaker customization is a growing trend, one that appeals both to the fashion sense and the collector-mindedness of those shoe fanatics sometimes known as “sneakerheads.” Now Nike is offering a limited number of enthusiasts the chance to try out a new, fast form of customization technology.

Nike’s limited-time, invite-only event, called the Makers’ Experience, is taking place in the Nike By You Studio in New York, according to Engadget. Visitors choose from four possible packs of graphics and a few different color schemes to customize the upper portion of the shoe. They can also input custom text. The design is then projected onto a blank pair of sneakers the customer is wearing to demonstrate how the design will look. Once the final design is chosen, it takes an hour or less to create the final product. .... "

Constructing an Amazon Echo Skill via Java

How to construct an Amazon Echo Skill using Java    An introduction in Github.

Amazon, Robotics and Jobs

Amazon Just Showed Us What Really Happens When Robots Replace Jobs

They've already got 100,000 robots and are adding (a lot) more.
 By Lisa Calhoun   in Inc.  Video below. 

There are as many opinions about jobs and artificial intelligence as there are people who have them. A Vanguard global economist recently said AI will replace 1in 2 jobs. A new survey of AI researchers said most believe AI will outperform people at rote work like translating, surgery and transportation in 10 years. Fighting fire with fire, Google is offering a new AI job search. Marc Andreessen, founder at top venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, says humans have always been afraid whatever latest tech would take their jobs--and it's never happened. Meanwhile, some of the most automated factories in the country--like Tesla's gigafactory--can't hire fast enough because the demand for the product outpaces even well-automated labor.

Amazon is giving us the biggest real life case study about what happens when jobs--in this case, warehouse jobs--are replaced by robots. According to a recent New York Times article, Amazon has about 100,000 robots already. You can get a glimpse of what this looks like in this Youtube video of an Amazon fulfillment center .... " 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Open AI Framework by Microsoft and Facebook

From the Facebook research blog.  A further indication of the progress in standardizing how such systems should be built and maintained.   Would be useful to now compare this to work by Google in TensorFlow.   Is it comparable?

Facebook and Microsoft introduce new open ecosystem for interchangeable AI frameworks

By: Joaquin Quinonero Candela

Facebook and Microsoft are today introducing Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX) format, a standard for representing deep learning models that enables models to be transferred between frameworks. ONNX is the first step toward an open ecosystem where AI developers can easily move between state-of-the-art tools and choose the combination that is best for them.

When developing learning models, engineers and researchers have many AI frameworks to choose from. At the outset of a project, developers have to choose features and commit to a framework. Many times, the features chosen when experimenting during research and development are different than the features desired for shipping to production. Many organizations are left without a good way to bridge the gap between these operating modes and have resorted to a range of creative workarounds to cope, such as requiring researchers work in the production system or translating models by hand.

We developed ONNX together with Microsoft to bridge this gap and to empower AI developers to choose the framework that fits the current stage of their project and easily switch between frameworks as the project evolves. Caffe2, PyTorch, and Cognitive Toolkit will all be releasing support for ONNX in September, which will allow models trained in one of these frameworks to be exported to another for inference. We invite the community to join the effort and support ONNX in their ecosystem. Enabling interoperability between different frameworks and streamlining the path from research to production will help increase the speed of innovation in the AI community. .... " 

Quartz Guide to AI

 Appears to be a guide useful for the non technical executive.   Good definition of terms at the end.  Intriguing view of the recent progress of AI and why companies care.  Reviewing.

Quartz Guide to AI    Don't Fear the AI ...

The Quartz guide to artificial intelligence: What is it, why is it important, and should we be afraid?
What is artificial intelligence? Why is it important? Why is everyone talking about it all of a sudden? If you skim online headlines, you’ll likely read about how AI is powering Amazon and Google’s virtual assistants, or how it’s taking all the jobs (debatable), but not a good explanation of what it is (or whether the robots are going to take over). We’re here to help with this living document, a plain-English guide to AI that will be updated and refined as the field evolves and important concepts emerge.  ... " 

Getting Design Tips from the Brain

Always interested in the choices made in bio mimicry of any kind.   The architecture will be key.

Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains 
The New York Times   By Cade Metz

Researchers are taking biological cues to remodel computing after the human brain to overcome the physical limits of semiconductors. "The existing [computing] approach is out of steam, and people are trying to re-architect the system," says former Stanford University president John Hennessy. Newer machines are no longer channeling all tasks through a single chip, but instead fragmenting them into smaller jobs distributed among farms of less power-consumptive, specialized chips. Former U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program manager Gill Pratt expects an artificial intelligence "Cambrian explosion" to come from this trend, as the specialized low-power chips operate similarly to the brain. This architecture is yielding significant milestones, such as Microsoft's creation of a neural network with superior speech-recognition capability compared to people. Using graphics-processing units and specialized chips to respectively teach neural networks tasks and perform them could potentially help devices eventually accommodate more, and more complex, operations on their own.   ... ."   (May require Subscription) 

Interiew with Mobileye for Driverless

Getting the data right is the most important part.

Vision Sensors by Mobileye.  (Now part of Intel)    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. ... " 

Google Expands Listening Research

A movement towards more voice driven assistance?  As a Google Home user I have not seen very much in changes there.   Still fairly narrowly applied.

How Google wants to build a world where every device is listening in TechRepublic   By Nick Heath

The firm is gathering speech samples from people across the globe, as part of a push to get simple voice recognition everywhere, paving the way for voice commands throughout our homes. ... " 

New Designs in Delivery Drones

How will these influence changes in the supply chain.
Designing Delivery Drones,   with video.

Odd Delivery Drone Design Carries Cargo While Keeping it Safe
By Dyllan Furnes in DigitalTrends

As delivery drones become more commonplace, this new design may help keep packages safe and secure on transit.

Researchers at EPFL have designed an origami-inspired delivery drone that could someday carry cargo, while keeping it safe in a cage along the way.

When unfurled, the drone can fly above buildings and traffic, while carrying a package up to 500 grams (a bit over one pound). When folded up, the drone is small enough to fit into a backpack.

Developed in EPFL’s Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, the delivery drone was designed to combine two functions. On one hand, the drone transports cargo; on the other hand, it serves as a protective packaging, acting like a resilient cage to keep cargo safe during its transit. .... " 

AI System Behavior

Teaching AI Systems to Behave Themselves
The New York Times  by Cade Metz

A small but growing community of artificial intelligence (AI) researchers is beginning to explore mathematical techniques that aim to prevent machines from demonstrating unexpected, unwanted, and harmful behavior. Safety concerns are growing as AI moves into online services, security devices, and robotics. Researchers at OpenAI are developing algorithms that can learn tasks through hours of trial and error while receiving regular guidance from human teachers. The researchers believe algorithms that combine human and machine instruction can help keep automated systems safe. OpenAI is working to build reinforcement-learning algorithms that accept human guidance to ensure that systems do not stray from assigned tasks. Some researchers in the field are working to ensure that systems do not make mistakes on their own, while others aim to prevent hackers and other bad actors from exploiting AI flaws.  ,,, " 

Podcast on Lego

Have followed Lego for years.  Both as a creative toy, and as a means to model more generally.

How Lego Can Rebuild Its Business

Wharton's David Robertson discusses what went wrong at Lego.

Danish toymaker Lego recently surprised its industry watchers when it announced plans to trim its 18,200-strong workforce by about 8% to shed about 1,400 jobs after seeing revenue drop for the first time in 13 years. Lego said revenue fell by 5% to Danish krone 14.9 billion (US$2.4 billion) in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year as sales weakened in mature markets such as the U.S. and parts of Europe. The drop is a shock for the toymaker, whose annual revenue nearly quintupled between 2007 and 2016 to DKK 37.9 billion (US$6 billion). But the warning signs were clear when revenue growth slowed from 25% in 2015 to 6% in 2016.

Lego said it would take steps to simplify operations that have become increasingly complex as a result of double-digit growth. “We have added complexity into the organization which now makes it harder for us to grow further,” said Lego chairman Jorgen Vig Knudstorp. “We have now pressed the reset-button for the entire group.” Lego will build a “smaller and less complex” organization to simplify its business model and reach more children. In some markets, Lego will clean up its inventories across its entire value chain. .... " 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Towards a loss of Anonymity

Face recognition app taking Russia by storm may bring end to public anonymity ... FindFace compares photos to profile pictures on social network Vkontakte and works out identities with 70% reliability ...  " 

On Managing Cyber Risk

Of interest:

Security Researcher at UpGuard, Roane Holman 

The Executive's Guide to Managing Cyber Risk  (Requires registration) 
Regardless of what stage of digital transformation an enterprise finds itself at, the same risks and challenges await at every turn– namely, in the areas of security, compliance, and data management. Learn actionable strategy with this new report...  

Just How Smart are Smart Machines?

Very good piece from some of our communications with MT Sloan.  Read the whole thing.  May require some registration.   Again, very non technical, management  approach to the question.

Just How Smart Are Smart Machines? 
Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby

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

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

Output Visualization for Analytics

Good practical piece out of the latest  Informs Analytics Magazine.   They still prefer to call it analytics rather than data science.    And its always been 'Machine Learning', though not called that. You have always learned from your data via machines, software and data

Output visualization of machine learning analysis
By Navneet Kesher

Data science is more than just building machine learning models; it’s also about explaining the models and using them to drive data-driven decisions. In the journey from analysis to data-driven outcomes, data visualization plays a very important role of presenting data in a powerful and credible way.  .... " 

This Blog on Twitter

From nearly the beginning, this blog has been connected to Twitter.   You can follow it there from my handle @FranzD.  I  selectively mention many posts here.   Some people find that simpler to follow.  See: https://twitter.com/franzd

Wineries of the Future

Here a big proponent of digital makeovers, though I do wonder when basic physical process should be replaced by automation.   Impressive attempt here I had not heard of.  A control room that looks like a nuclear plant.    Good description here, with lots of images.

A look at the Winery of the Future     by Sam Slaughter in Digital Trends.

When winemakers a century from now look back on the technology that changed the game, one winery is going to stand out: Palmaz Vineyards in the Napa Valley. Though ordinary in appearance at first glance, an amazing array of custom-built technologies lurking in a subterranean lair bolster the winemaker’s craft with exacting science.

Located on 610-acre parcel located northeast of downtown Napa, the vineyeard is run by the Palmaz family, who originally came from Argentina. They purchased the property in the mid-90s and had to start from scratch, as the previous owner had let the ground go fallow.

When they set out to make the winery, the Palmaz family wanted to take the land into account. They drilled 4,900 core samples around the property to understand the various soil compositions, then tailored the entire layout of the vineyard around the findings – a departure from the simple rectangular parcels that dominate the surrounding area.

Another goal was to have access to as many available options at the time of blending as possible.

“What if we could build a facility to leverage all these unique regions and never allow them to be combined until the moment of blending? Then, to take that one step further, never make consolidations of any kind,” Palmaz says. Take these two elements, throw in three years of planning, seven of construction, and two of finishing touches, and a winery was born.   ... " 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Pickle Index

Always liked the idea of a non-sequential novel.  It has been tried many times, never successfully for my taste.  Is it here now?

No relation.  InWired: 

The Pickle Index is a delightfully Weird, App-Driven Novel like no other. .... 

Through The Pickle Index—an app, a hardcover, and a paperback book—users enter into Destina, a dystopian world governed by pickle consumption. .... 

The fact is, The Pickle Index is not a traditional novel, nor is it a conventional app. When Eli Horowitz and Russell Quinn set out to create the multimedia storytelling experience, they made a conscious decision to eschew hallmarks of design like accessibility and ease of use. Instead, they provide multiple entry-points into an intricate and immersive world. In doing so, they’ve reimagined what a digital literary experience can be. .... " 

Algorithmically Determining Justice

In the Alumni Mag, a considerable, but non technical piece that addresses the use of analytical methods to automate crime detection and apply penalties.   Moving closer to the world of the minority report?

The Pennsylvania Gazette
Black Box Justice   by Trey Popp     28 Aug 2017

Richard Berk designs computer algorithms that predict crime. As courts and cops increasingly use his and similar tools to shape everything from parole decisions to street policing, Berk has a warning: accuracy comes at the cost of fairness, and citizens must decide where justice lies.  .... " 

Hive Robotics

Swarming robotics to perform tasks collaboratively is something we examined in warehouse applications.  A different, but structurally similar problem came up recently and I did some searching for the state of the art. This example came up.  A way to mock up the idea at least.   See the video linked to:

In these bot hookups, the machines meld their minds    In Science News: 

New composite robots take coordination to a new level   By Maria Temming   Meet the first fleet of hive-minded robots.

These robots can latch onto one another and link up their individual “nervous systems” — the network of connections between their computer processors, cameras, wheels and other gadgetry — to create a single-minded machine. The composite robots, reported online September 12 in Nature Communications, pave the way for a new generation of machines that can change their shape on the fly.

In previous robots made up of many smaller machines, each robotic building block maintained control over its own nervous system. It was “a little bit like if we had a bunch of people joining together to do something,” explains study coauthor Marco Dorigo, an engineer at Universit√© Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. “They were trying to coordinate by exchanging messages with neighbors without anyone being in charge.” These multi-bodied robots could link up to create different shapes, unlike solo devices. But the lack of centralized control meant the robot collectives were clumsier and had slower reaction times than stand-alone bots.  .... " 

Considerations with Combining AI and Data

An interesting and lengthy piece in InfoQ on key issues with the construction and delivery of AI solutions. Use of data ontologies are mentioned,  a good idea.   Their key takeaways are instructive:

- Machine learning in turn is frequently fueled by big data but can also be fueled by traditional data sources.

- No matter what the scope is, we have to select data that is appropriate to the domain of the problem space

- Information from highly diverse sources needs to be parsed, curated, packaged, contextualized, and componentized for consumption by users or ingested by systems.

- While machine algorithms play an important role in both the preparation of data and interpretation of user intent, these types of applications require a significant amount of knowledge engineering to be successful.

- Thinking about data as a service and the platform as an orchestration layer between business problems and technology solutions can help organizations achieve dramatic improvement in data scientists productivity. .... " 

Much more at the link.

AI Protecting Us

This reminds me of the many 'maintenance'  type systems we worked with.  Warnings can be very useful.  Then add a recommendation tailored to the situation.  And a dialog for the details of  implementation.

Treating Cancer, Stopping Violence . . . How AI Protects Us
By BBC News 

For some, the spread of artificial intelligence and robotics poses a threat to our privacy, our jobs – even our safety, as more and more tasks are handed over to silicon-based brains. .... " 

Groups Lie More than Individuals

In Analytics Magazine:

" ... When organizations are exposed for large-scale deceptive or corrupt behavior, often it is not the actions of one or two employees, but a coordinated effort of many individuals, to include upper level management. Prominent examples include the bankruptcies of WorldCom and Enron, and even more recently, the alleged issuance of faulty emissions certificates by German car manufacturer Volkswagen. The study, “I lie? We lie! Why? Experimental Evidence on a Dishonesty Shift in Groups,” explores what motivates a group of people, especially those who previously behaved honestly, to work together to deceive.

The study authors, Martin G. Kocher, Simeon Schudy and Lisa Spantig, all of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, studied 273 participants in both individual and group situations. Participants, who were paid for their role in the study, were shown video of dice rolls and asked to report the number shown on the die. The higher the reported die roll, the larger the monetary compensation. Participants were evaluated on an individual basis, and in two group settings: one in which all members of the group must report the same die roll to receive a payoff, and another in which members do not have to report the same die roll to receive a payoff. In the group settings, members are able to communicate with each other via a chat feature.

“We observed that groups lie significantly more than individuals when group members face mutual financial gain and have to coordinate an action in order to realize that financial gain,” Kocher says. ... " 

Friday, September 15, 2017

First lets Replace all the Lawyers

From the O-Reilly Newsletter:  (At the link there are lots of links for more detail)

DoNotPay steps into the Equifax breach

The Equifax data breach could expose about half of the US population to risk of identity theft, and—as has been widely reported—the credit-reporting company has bungled its response in many ways. Joshua Browder, a Stanford student who initially created the DoNotPay robolawyer to help people fight parking tickets, has already expanded its powers to help homeless people find housing and refugees apply for asylum. He has now added a new wrong for the bot to right. DoNotPay is taking on Equifax, enabling people to sue the company in small claims court in all 50 states, for up to $25,000, at no charge for the bot's services. Browder explains how it works in this CNBC interview.

+ Watch: Will bots replace lawyers? Joshua Browder's talk at the 2016 Next:Economy Summit. 

+ Wall Street traders: It's your turn to start worrying about robots.  .... " 

Small Companies Competing with Watson

I am part of this ecosystem myself. Certainly the small company cannot  afford a complete installation from IBM.  But IBM has made open capabilities available via Watson Bluemix, so assembly work can be done by cheaper contractors,  or the work can be done internally.  IBM has also published a number of end to end tutorials for cognitive AI use.   And in a number of cases provided fully autonomous, focused domain systems like Watson Analytics.

Watch Out Watson: Small Companies Threaten IBM’s Artificial Intelligence
Innovative, smaller companies show that there can be a more cost-effective way to approach AI than complex systems like IBM's Watson. .... " 
By Teresa Riva

Marketing Skills for the Amazon Show

Key will be how new skills integrate with the capabilities of the device, and innovations of marketing, looking forward to see the possibilities.    Lots of video content out there,  but how will this be different from

Marketers find a new video platform: Amazon Echo Show
By Ilyse Liffreing in DigiDay

The Digiday Content Marketing Summit is coming up next month in Vail, Colorado, and we’re opening up a limited number of complimentary passes for content marketers from brands. Interested? Apply here.

When Amazon’s Echo Show officially launched on June 28, publishers rapidly announced video-optimized skills for the device, while Amazon only partnered with a handful of brands to do the same. Reviewers swiftly critiqued the device for not having enough visual skills.

But it seems the fever is building for the $230 audio and video device. More brands are now optimizing their Amazon skills for the new Echo Show.  .... " 

Oracle's Adaptive Intelligence for CX

Oracle is calling it adaptive intelligence, and is pushing it for better customer experience.

Oracle OpenWorld: Got Customers? Better Get AI For The Best Customer Experience    Linda Currey Post , Oracle in Forbes.

Better customer experiences will be a central topic at Oracle OpenWorld 2017, which takes place October 1 to 5 in San Francisco. Oracle experts, customers, and industry thought leaders will share how artificial intelligence (AI) technology is enhancing customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty by offering consumers the best possible interactions across all channels.

Oracle’s approach to AI, known as Adaptive Intelligence, combines several technologies, including data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. AI-powered systems can recognize images, understand language, learn from data, and emulate human intelligence.  Oracle’s recently introduced suite of Adaptive Intelligent applications is focused first on applying customer insights derived from AI to the transformation of customer experience, and will soon span the enterprise to include applications for finance, human resources, and supply chain management.   .... " 

Job Losses and Automation

Basically, we don't know the numbers, the complexity of the system involved is large.

Statistics on job losses due to automation are sensationalist: Anthony Schofield, Deloitte   By Prachi Verma

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A TensorFlow Tutorial

Have now seen several tutorials, this one starts simply   I will be following the other parts and give some commentary as I can.   For a definition of TensorFlow, see how Google describes it at their site:

 .... TensorFlow™ is an open source software library for numerical computation using data flow graphs. Nodes in the graph represent mathematical operations, while the graph edges represent the multidimensional data arrays (tensors) communicated between them. The flexible architecture allows you to deploy computation to one or more CPUs or GPUs in a desktop, server, or mobile device with a single API. TensorFlow was originally developed by researchers and engineers working on the Google Brain Team within Google's Machine Intelligence research organization for the purposes of conducting machine learning and deep neural networks research, but the system is general enough to be applicable in a wide variety of other domains as well. ... " 

Tensorflow Tutorial : Part 1 – Introduction

By Vivek Kalyanarangan on September 12, 2017  

In this multi-part series, we will explore how to get started with tensorflow. This tensorflow tutorial will lay a solid foundation to this popular tool that everyone seems to be talking about. The first part will focus on introducing tensorflow, go through some applications and touch upon the architecture.
This post is the first part of the multi-part series on a complete tensorflow tutorial –

Tensorflow Tutorial – Part 1: Introduction
Tensorflow Tutorial – Part 2: Getting Started
Tensorflow Tutorial – Part 3: Building the first model ..... " 

How China is doing Digital

Quite a good piece, with statistics of interest. Updated details here.

China’s digital economy: A leading global force

By Jonathan Woetzel, Jeongmin Seong, Kevin Wei Wang, James Manyika, Michael Chui, and Wendy Wong

China is already more digitized than many observers appreciate and has the potential to set the world’s digital frontier in coming decades.

China has one of the most active digital-investment and start-up ecosystems in the world, according to a new discussion paper from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), China’s digital economy: A leading global force. China is in the top three in the world for venture-capital investment in key types of digital technology, including virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, robotics, drones, and artificial intelligence (AI). China is the world’s largest e-commerce market, accounting for more than 40 percent of the value of worldwide e-commerce transactions, up from less than 1 percent about a decade ago. China has also become a major global force in mobile payments with 11 times the transaction value of the United States. One in three of the world’s 262 unicorns (start-ups valued at over $1 billion) is Chinese, commanding 43 percent of the global value of these companies (Exhibit).  .... " 

Kroger Tests Kitchen 1883 Restaurant Concept

Had seen this done on the west coast, apparently with some success. ( At first I thought this would be in store or by store.  But that is unclear from the press release ) .  Comfort food makes sense, with regional and ethnic contributions. How can this be best linked to the store?

The Kroger Co. Introduces Restaurant Concept Kitchen 1883

CINCINNATI, Sept. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co.'s (NYSE: KR) Culinary Development team today announced a new restaurant concept, Kitchen 1883, which offers a fresh take on new American comfort food. .... " 

First store in Union KY in Fall of 2017.

Neato Maps Rooms

More cleaning, mapping.  Other applications in the smart home?

Neato D7
Neato Adds Persistent, Actionable Maps to New D7 Robot Vacuum
By Evan Ackerman in IEEE Spectrum

The Neato D7 remembers the layout of your home, allowing it to recognize virtual no-go lines and respond to them as it cleans, doing away with physical barriers.

Vacuums are the most successful consumer home robots ever, and they’re likely to remain so for quite a while, simply because they do quite a good job at keeping your floors clean in a reliable and affordable way. For robot vacuum manufacturers, this is a bit of a problem: As we very often point out in our reviews, lower-end models clean just about as effectively as more expensive ones, often making it difficult to justify an upgrade.

Today, Neato Robotics is introducing a new flagship robot vacuum that we think offers one of the most significant advances we’ve seen in years: persistent, actionable maps. Like its predecessors, the D7 uses a lidar sensor to create a map of your house as it goes, but now, the robot will remember that map and allow you to interact with it. Neato is starting off simple with what you’ll be able to do (like defining no-go zones), but it’s an incredibly powerful feature that’s necessary for the future of all home robots. .... " 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Age of Digital Assistants

Not a bad view, but the longer term potential is greater than implied.

The Age of Digital Assistants – What and when to expect?       By Shishir Kathurwar  in CustomerThink

“ The better we get, the less time you spend talking to customer service. It’s a gain for companies, but it’s also a gain for personal life.”– Alex Lebrun, Facebook M’s teacher  ... " 

More on my ongoing look at and development of Virtual Assistants.

Transitioning to Industrial AI

Some quite useful thoughts here, about work flow and production versus testing, retesting and retraining systems. Ultimately we learn this, but sometimes painfully.  Not different from implementing any kind of analytics or solution improvement based system.  Its fairly rare that it is rigorously done.

Transitioning from Academic Machine Learning to AI in Industry
Jeremy Karnowski and Emmanuel Ameisen, Insight AI  .... " 

Waymo Training Cars

Inside Waymo's Secret World for Training Self-Driving Cars

An exclusive look at how Alphabet understands its most ambitious artificial intelligence project

Alexis C. Madrigal ....

Watson Analyzing Social Tone

Instructive Watson Example, via O'Reilly

How can I use IBM Watson to analyze the tone of social media posts?
Learn how to use IBM Watson's APIs and natural language understanding to analyze the tone of social media posts like tweets.  Video.

By Matt Coatney  ... " 

Airbags for Robots (To protect the Humans they Work With)

From Idea Connection.  Includes a video.  Via Ideaconnection. 

Airbags for Robots Protect Co-Workers 

Inflatable airbags for robots could help to protect their fragile, human co-workers.

As robots begin to work more closely with humans, there is also an increased risk of accidental injury. To help reduce that concern, researchers from Germany’s Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics developed a Robotic Airbag that would be inflated automatically as the “cobot” (collaborative robot) moves about at high velocities. This cushion would eliminate the need for extra safety sensors, while also allowing the co-bot to work at maximum efficiency. .... "