/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Monday, October 23, 2017

Looking Back at Second Life

Yes, it still exists, and has roughly the same number of users.   Surprised me.  We did quite a bit of experimentation with it.  Worked with several large IT  groups looking at ways to make it useful.  Even a way to do research in that other world that might mirror our real world.    At the end of the day it was not very useful for us.  Does it still merit examination as an environment for marketing experiments,  or a retail architecture?  Experimented with using worlds to interact with the abstractness of data.  Virtualitics is doing that today.  Good piece that shows what Second Life is today. 

Returning to Second Life
Long after its grandest ambitions have faded, the platform still boasts people and profit.   By Samuel Axon in ArsTechnica .... " 

Spotting a Machine Learning Opportunity

 Good thoughts, though not quite enough cautions on the implementation.  It contains risk as well as payout.   Also very much like the immediate inclusion of business subject matter experts.  To best measure potential value and understand risk.   Also make clear the need for the right data.  This approach is very much the same in any kind of analytical method. 

How to Spot a Machine Learning Opportunity, Even If You Aren’t a Data Scientist   By Kathryn Hume in HBR

Artificial intelligence is no longer just a niche subfield of computer science. Tech giants have been using AI for years: Machine learning algorithms power Amazon product recommendations, Google Maps, and the content that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter display in social media feeds. But William Gibson’s adage applies well to AI adoption: The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.

The average company faces many challenges in getting started with machine learning, including a shortage of data scientists. But just as important is a shortage of executives and nontechnical employees able to spot AI opportunities. And spotting those opportunities doesn’t require a PhD in statistics or even the ability to write code. (It will, spoiler alert, require a brief trip back to high school algebra.)

Having an intuition for how machine learning algorithms work – even in the most general sense – is becoming an important business skill. Machine learning scientists can’t work in a vacuum; business stakeholders should help them identify problems worth solving and allocate subject matter experts to distill their knowledge into labels for data sets, provide feedback on output, and set the objectives for algorithmic success .... " 

FBI Fails at Device Decryption

As the article suggests, one more example of another blind spot in accessing data.   And no indications that the big IT and Communications companies are helping.  FBI Tried and Failed To Access 7,000 Devices Because of Encryption.  In CIO Mag.

IBM Process Modeling and Automation Anywhere

Attended the first webinar given about the partnership of Automation Anywhere and IBM notably about the integration of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) with other business processes.  A very good high level view.    There are essentially three parts to be considered:

  Business Process Modeling (BPM)  (IBM has this capability)
  Robotic Process Automation (RPA)   IBM does not do this, AA does, but IBM has a rules engine JRules that could be further applied to RPA,
  Operations Decision Management (ODM)  Being integrated with the other parts by IBM.

And IBM has Watson, which could tie together with the other parts, especially at a lower level to provide supporting solutions to humans or systems.  Watson was not brought up by IBM,  nor was the term AI used,  but participants brought up its integration. IBM seemed to indicate it could be applied as needed.

The participants also asked if this could be integrated with ERP systems.  The answer was yes.  No specific ERP was mentioned.  Are the ERP systems planning anything like this?

We saw these needs starting in the expert systems era,  but the integration of the different kinds of needs were forced with rule based systems.  An approach that ultimately failed.   The systems then and those now will also need close maintenance.

See the tag RPA below for more.

Can we Teach Robots Ethics?

Non technical look at the problem.   Or can we teach robots our ethics?  In the BBC:

Can we teach robots ethics?
We are not used to the idea of machines making ethical decisions, but the day when they will routinely do this - by themselves - is fast approaching. So how, asks the BBC's David Edmonds, will we teach them to do the right thing?

Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics

Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics

Head of the Institute: Prof. Dr. Alin Albu-Schäffer

The Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics develops a wide array of robots to enable humans to interact more safely and efficiently with their surrounding environments. The robots are designed to act in surroundings inaccessible or dangerous to humans as well as to support humans in everyday life and work.

Our robots mimic and extend upon the manipulation and locomotion capabilities of humans on a functional level. In a more general sense, they perform any tasks of locomotion and interaction with the environment with a wide range of autonomy to suit different tasks. As a key aspect for the usability of robots, we address the interfaces to humans through multimodal human-robot interaction. ... "

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Metaphors and Algorithms as Sources of Knowledge

" ...  Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series on Thursday Oct 26, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (7:30 am PT US and 4:30 pm in Spain).  Our presenter this week is Xavier Busquets Carretero, ESADE, Ramon Llull University in Spain, who will present “Metaphors and Algorithms as Sources of Knowledge.”

Please point your web browser to https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491password=cognitive.   Use audio on computer or 855-233-7153 in the US  ...  PIN Code: 43179788    Non-IBMers, please use the "guest" option instead of entering your email

A link to slides and a recording of each call should be available on the CSIG website (http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/). 

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

Thank you.
Dianne Fodell

IBM Global University Programs

Amazon Rekognition

Impressive tutorial embedded here and information about available face and image recognition services.   This is a place to understand a major piece of where AI has been moving.   And now its all available as a service.  Show this to your computer oriented kids or colleagues.   APIs can leverage you to valuable capabilities.

Amazon Rekognition
Deep learning-based image recognition
Search, verify, and organize millions of images

Amazon Rekognition is a service that makes it easy to add image analysis to your applications. With Rekognition, you can detect objects, scenes, faces; recognize celebrities; and identify inappropriate content in images. You can also search and compare faces. Rekognition’s API enables you to quickly add sophisticated deep learning-based visual search and image classification to your applications.

Amazon Rekognition is based on the same proven, highly scalable, deep learning technology developed by Amazon’s computer vision scientists to analyze billions of images daily for Prime Photos. Amazon Rekognition uses deep neural network models to detect and label thousands of objects and scenes in your images, and we are continually adding new labels and facial recognition features to the service.

Rekognition’s API lets you easily build powerful visual search and discovery into your applications. With Amazon Rekognition, you only pay for the images you analyze and the face metadata you store. There are no minimum fees and there are no upfront commitments. ....   "  

About AI: Build a Face Recognizing Doorbell

I was reminded of how good the O'Reilly sites on AI were by my last post.    Especially about AI and advanced tech topics.      I had somehow missed the piece below, which is a good DIY piece for IOT, AI, voice interfaces and the smart home.   If you build this, you will have a good idea of the challenges involved.   In particular about how you can integrate multiple capabilities and services that are available.  Also a great instructional family project.   Will take a closer look.  Let me know your experiences.

Build a talking, face-recognizing doorbell for about $100  By Lukas Biewald .... 

DIY with Amazon Echo and Raspberry PI: Recognize thousands of people at your door every month, for pennies. .... " 

(Update)  And similarly using Tensorflow   --------------- 

How to build a robot that “sees” with $100 and TensorFlow
Adventures in deep learning, cheap hardware, and object recognition.

By Lukas Biewald September 21, 2016

Gain an intuitive understanding of the concepts and tools for building intelligent systems with "Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn and TensorFlow," by Aurélien Géron. ....  

Evolution of Chaos

Excellent piece.   Have only rarely see this concept used in the enterprise, deserves more examination.    Here with an intro and then pointers to more.  My tag points to more resources I have gathered, including a free pdf book ....

The evolution of chaos
Kolton Andrus explores the evolution of chaos engineering and explains why it’s becoming the go-to approach for building resilient systems. 

This is a keynote highlight from the O'Reilly Velocity Conference in London 2017. Watch the full version of this keynote on Safari.

You can also see other highlights from the event. ..... " 

Security Eyeball Home Hub

Security solutions seem to be in vogue, added to the architecture of the smart home.  Naturally an extention to home control hubs.   Here something unique:

The Moon is a floating eyeball that can control and monitor your house
By Mark Austin  in DigitalTrends   .... "

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Top 10 Machine Learning Algorithms for Beginners

Nicely done intro from KDNuggets:  I have followed KDNuggets long before Machine learning and AI got sexy again, well worth a follow.

I. Introduction

The study of ML algorithms has gained immense traction post the Harvard Business Review article terming a ‘Data Scientist’ as the ‘Sexiest job of the 21st century’. So, for those starting out in the field of ML, we decided to do a reboot of our immensely popular Gold blog The 10 Algorithms Machine Learning Engineers need to know - albeit this post is targetted towards beginners.

ML algorithms are those that can learn from data and improve from experience, without human intervention. Learning tasks may include learning the function that maps the input to the output, learning the hidden structure in unlabeled data; or ‘instance-based learning’, where a class label is produced for a new instance by comparing the new instance (row) to instances from the training data, which were stored in memory. ‘Instance-based learning’ does not create an abstraction from specific instances.  ...  " 

Danger of a Botnet of Things

Well known security expert suggests that the net is in danger.

Botnets of Things
The relentless push to add connectivity to home gadgets is creating dangerous side effects that figure to get even worse.

by Bruce Schneier  in Technology Review

Global Payment Systems

How can you help your local online business go global?
By Caroline Bullock
Technology of Business reporter

But then he came across a Dutch payment company, Adyen, whose payment processing platform harnesses machine learning to customise the payment method depending on which country the buyer is in.

Adyen's clients include heavyweights such as Netflix, Uber and Spotify, so Mr Whiteoak was surprised to find out how affordable its service was, with a minimum monthly invoice of $100 (£75) and transparent per-transaction processing and commission charges.

"Before we started selling outside of the UK we had a turnover of around £6.5m," he says. "Last year we posted 10.9 million, and with the bulk of our sales coming from overseas, this growth is directly linked to our ability to offer local payment methods."

Sales have grown 125% over the last three years, he says, proving that knitting and crochet is big business. .... "

Drones and Event Cameras

Drone With Event Camera Takes First Autonomous Flight     By Evan Ackerman

Inspired by insect eyes, an event-based camera tracks changes rather than recording images to help drones move fast and reliably.

A few years ago, Davide Scaramuzza’s lab at the University of Zurich introduced us to the usefulness of a kind of dynamic vision sensor called an event camera. Event cameras are almost entirely unlike a normal sort of camera, but they’re ideal for small and fast moving robots when you care more about not running into things than you do about knowing exactly what those things are.

In a paper submitted to Robotics and Automation Letters, Antoni Rosinol Vidal, Henri Rebecq, Timo Horstschaefer, and Professor Scaramuzza present the very first time an event camera has been used to autonomously pilot a drone, and it promises to enable things that drones have never been able to do before.  .... " 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Wal-Mart on Voice Technology and AI

Wal-Mart commenting on voice tech an their work with Google on voice ordering.  Also notice the direct mention of AI as changing environment in the near future.  Appears Wal-Mart is involved here.   See also the expert comments in this piece. 

E-commerce chief expects Walmart to ‘crush it’ over next two years   by George Anderson in Retailwire

Bigger is better when it comes to online sales and operations. That was one of the messages delivered by Marc Lore, chief of Walmart’s e-commerce business in the U.S., at The Wall Street Journal’s D.Live technology conference earlier this week.

Mr. Lore said Walmart is reimagining what retail and e-commerce will look like in the years ahead and making investments on a wide scale to own that future.

“E-commerce is a scale game,” Mr. Lore told the Journal. “We’re looking at a lot of different things right now, everything, in every sector.” ....

The retailer has also engaged with Google to enable customers to order products by speaking to their Google Home device or a mobile phone that uses Google Assistant. Walmart’s customers will need to link their accounts with the retailer to Google Express to take advantage of voice ordering.

“People use it [voice activated tech] for weather, use it for transportation, a little bit of shopping,” Mr. Lore told CNET. “And I think many people are writing it off, saying it’s kind of clunky [or] I don’t think I’m going to shop that way.”

Mr. Lore does, however, see advancements in artificial intelligence over the next five to 10 years dramatically changing people’s attitudes about voice tech.  .... " 

Wal-Mart Thinks the Future of Retail in VR

In our own experiments in virtual spaces, retail can work there, but only in contexts where you need to understand and manage space or appearance.    If your product does not deal with space, an assistant based retail interaction makes more sense.

Walmart's Store No. 8 showcases the future of VR

The event, a first of its kind for Walmart, drew an exclusive group of high-tech brands, technologists and venture capitalists to debut the latest in VR. .... "   

Corinne Ruff    @corinnesusan  in RetailDive

Another Invoke Review

Microsoft Expert looks at the Microsoft Cortana Invoke:

My week with Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Invoke speaker
My "non-reviewer's review" of the Haman Kardon Invoke speaker that works with Cortana: A solid device, but still not something I want or need. .... "     By Mary Jo Foley

Big Tech Controlling our Minds

Podcast of interest.

A ‘World Without Mind’: Big Tech’s Dangerous Influence

Author Franklin Foer reflects on the dangers of losing ourselves in a society dependent on a handful of tech firms.

  French philosopher Rene Descartes famously said “I think, therefore I am.” But in the digital age, what we think and how we live are being influenced in a big way by just a handful of tech firms: We are informed by Google and entertained by Apple; we socialize on Facebook and shop on Amazon.

It’s time to reclaim our identities and reassert our intellectual independence, according to Franklin Foer, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and former editor of The New Republic, in his book, World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech. He recently joined the Knowledge@Wharton show, which airs on SiriusXM channel 111, to explain why these firms’ hold on society is a cautionary tale for the future.  .... "

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

Kroger Invests in New Tech

Followed Kroger for year, always had an impressive depth of tech use,  not as much breadth.  This and other efforts many be an example of new take.

Kroger unveils plan to invest in technology, store resets
“Restock” initiative includes private brand growth, digital shopping, meal solutions  Mark Hamstra  in Supermarket News
Kroger on Wednesday unveiled a series of strategic moves that include reducing its investments in new stores and leveraging technology to accelerate changes in assortments and improve customer service at existing locations.

As previously reported, the company also is considering the potential sale of its convenience-store division, a $4 billion business operating 784 locations in 18 states.

The “Restock Kroger” initiative will involve an accelerated and more data-driven effort around pricing, personalized communications with customers and a massive revamp of product assortments, executives form the Cincinnati-based company explained in Kroger’s annual Analyst Day. Kroger is the largest collector of food purchase data in the U.S., the company said, and it intends to use that data as a competitive advantage as it expands its efforts to provide meal- and food-shopping solutions. .... " 

First Review of MS Invoke Assistant

Well hardly a full service Butler, but we know that they mean.  Play music, order things and turn on the lights with your voice.  Breaking the existing infrastructures will tough without a real killer functionality, and I don't see mixing drinks emerging.   Smoother voice intelligence would be good.  Cost less than I was expecting, and I was already expecting better audio quality.    Have used Cortana from time to time under Windows,  and was never very impressed, but lets see what she does as part of a smart home.   Again I note that Harman-Kardon is part of Samsung, so lets see that than may imply longer term.

Review: What It's Like to Have Microsoft's Virtual Butler in Your Living Room  By Lisa Eadicicco in Time

Microsoft is out to prove that Amazon's Alexa and the Google Assistant aren't the only virtual concierges worth inviting into your home. After first teasing its Cortana-powered speaker last December, Harman Kardon's Invoke will finally launch on October 22 for $199. With Microsoft's Cortana butler built-in, the Invoke can recite the weather, control smart home devices and more, just like its Amazon and Google rivals.

Invoke's arrival along with similar high-end devices also marks a turning point for intelligent speakers. Potential buyers no longer need choose between high quality audio and having a smart assistant they can summon by voice. Early Internet-connected speakers, such as the first generation Echo and Google Home, provided good enough sound for casual listening. But audiophiles still turned to premium dedicated speakers to get superior sound. .... " 

Facebook Scours Posts and Comments

Facebook Tests Letting Marketers Scour Posts and Comments   in Adage.

By Garett Sloane. 

Facebook is experimenting with letting brands study people's posts and comments on the network in an effort to better inform their marketing.

The beta test, an extension of Facebook's Audience Insights API marketing tech platform, isn't expected to be widely available until next year, according to people familiar with the offering who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss something Facebook hasn't announced yet. Early ad partners, which include top agencies and media companies, are searching Facebook's vast history of public posts to see what topics, themes, brands and products are being discussed. Users' identities are withheld.  ....  "  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cortana Virtual Machine for Batch Machine Learning

This is not an open solution as I see it.

Cortana Intelligence and Machine Learning Blog
Announcing the Data Science Virtual Machine in Batch AI Service

Cortana Intelligence and ML Blog Team 
by Paul Shealy, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft.

We are pleased to announce the integration of the Microsoft Data Science Virtual Machine (DSVM) with the Batch AI service in Azure.

DSVM is a family of popular VM images published on Azure with a broad choice of machine learning, AI and data science tools. All tools are pre-configured giving you a ready-to-use, on-demand, elastic environment in the cloud to help you perform data analytics and AI development productively. You focus less on IT administrative tasks and more on your data science with the DSVM.   .... Read more at Batch AI Overview and see their recipes for examples with TensorFlow, Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, Keras, Chainer, and others.  ... " 

Intel and Amazon Partner on Voice Tech

Intel and Amazon partner on voice recognition tech
The Intel Speech Enabling Developer Kit is now up for pre-order.
 By Timothy J. Seppala, @timseppala

Intel and Amazon are partnering to combine the former's silicon and smarts with the latter's Alexa voice platform. The chipmaker has introduced the Intel Speech Enabling Developer Kit to provide a "complete audio front-end solution for far-field voice control," according to a press release. The idea is that Intel has done the hard work of designing the mic arrays and voice systems and that all developers will need to do is write applications for them. It offers algorithms for echo cancellation and beam forming, wake words, an 8-mic array and the company's dual digital signal processor. ... " 

Intel Delivers Neural Network Chips

Intel delivers Nervana Neural Network Processor chips for AI workloads  By Mike Wheatley

After pushing the concept of using Field Programmable Gate Arrays as accelerators for artificial intelligence and deep learning neural networks, Intel Corp. is taking the next step with the launch of its first batch of dedicated AI chips.

The chip giant today announced it will soon ship what it says are the first processors built specifically for AI workloads. Intel said its new Nervana Neural Network ... "

More on Bixby, AI on Appliances Everywhere

I was at the local Lowe's recently and saw some of their Smart  Frig's.  A sign mentioned  assistant Bixby, but not that it was available there yet.  But first time I had seen Bixby mentioned at all in a retail setting.   They have the platforms,  just need the value in context.  Our innovation research indicated there was a place for it.

SiliconAngle reports on Bixby:
 AI everywhere: Samsung aims to bring updated Bixby digital assistant to every device

Bixby, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s smart digital assistant, no longer will be trapped inside the Korean giant’s smartphones, as the company today announced plans to make it available on its own smart TVs and refrigerators and eventually other companies’ products. .... "

By Robert Hof in SiliconAngle.

Forecasting Challenge

I had mentioned superforcasting  again, was brought to my attention that they have had a hybrid competition under way for a while.  Are looking for volunteers.  Worth a look.

Samsung Does 8 Nanometer

Samsung has the hardware.  Will neural chips follow?  Implications for Bixby?

Samsung leapfrogs Intel again with 8-nanometer chips
Working with Qualcomm, Samsung can "rapidly ramp up" to production.

By Steve Dent@stevetdent in Engadget .... "

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Samsung Announces Bixby 2.0 for IOT

Today announced Bixby 2.0 and SmartThings Cloud. Been following for a long to see what they might do with smart home appliances.  They have the appliances in many homes that could be the platform. Even hear some hints of that we hosted early Samsung smart appliances;   But have seen nothing to indicate it will happen.

Samsung is all talk about the IoT with Bixby 2.0 and SmartThings
Samsung talked up an ambitious vision, but it's all theoretical for now.
By Samuel Axon 

Samsung's annual developer conference at Moscone West in San Francisco doesn't always get a lot of public attention; in past years it has often focused on things like Tizen app development. But at this year's conference, the company focused on launching a new platform for connected devices in the home, the car, and elsewhere—or at least, a collection of previously existent platforms that are getting updated and combined into a new one.

That new platform is called SmartThings Cloud, and it unites existing Samsung IoT services like SmartThings, Samsung Connect, ARTIK, and Harman Ignite. Frankly, Samsung's offerings have been a confusing mess of different platforms and services with overlapping functionality and purposes. It's a rebranding, which could mean little, but developers may be hopeful that it also means an actual restructuring of resources and products to unify what Samsung is doing across all of these. .... " 

Also comments in TheVerge. 

Online and Amazon Continue Move Forward

With interesting data and comments on the topic by retail experts.  And even with some classic retail help:  Kohl’s opens Amazon shops in Chicago  ....

Online and Amazon to grow more dominant over the next decade
By George Anderson  In RetailWire

Consumers will continue to make more purchases online while cutting back on in-store purchases over the next decade, according to a report by FTI Consulting, which forecasts total online spending in the U.S. to surpass $1 trillion by 2027.

Online sales, which now account for roughly 12 percent of total retail sales, excluding auto and gas, will grow to 22 percent over the next 10 years, according to the estimates.

“The impact of accelerating online sales growth has been evident in the past two years, with elevated levels of retail bankruptcies and announced store closures amid a non-recessionary environment,” said Christa Hart, a senior managing director in FTI’s retail & consumer products practice, in a statement. “If online sales double by 2023, as we expect, stores will have to contend with the prospect of losing the same amount of sales to the online channel in the next six years as they did in the previous 16. The frustration for many retailers is that even building a complex and expensive omnichannel enterprise has just kept them in the game instead of leading to renewed profitability.”

The biggest beneficiary of the shift from stores to online will be Amazon.com, according to FTI. The e-tailer, which currently accounts for 34.2 percent of online sales, will see its share grow to more than 50 percent of the market by 2027, the firm estimates. .... " 

Amazon Suggests Apartment Hubs

An you might take this beyond to other sectorizations, like retirement centers.   And imagine using assistant leverage to extend this into every apartment.  We experimented with a number of 'locker' solutions in our innovation centers.  Other sectors?

Amazon Has a New Way to Get Stuff Into Your Apartment
The final mile of the logistics chain is being conquered.
By Keshia Hannam  in Fortune.

... Amazon has taken another step toward consolidating control over the process that leads goods from the warehouse floor directly to the doors of its customers. To that end, the retail giant has just introduced Hub by Amazon, which are Amazon-owned locker systems installed in apartment buildings.

By partnering with some of the nation’s largest apartment building owners and managers, the e-commerce giant has already signed contracts to install Hubs in buildings with more than 850,000 units across the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal.

The lockers are able to receive packages from any major carrier, such as FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service. The physical modular unit, which is about 7 feet by 7 feet and has 42 lockers in various sizes, is accessible 24 hours a day and costs landlords $10,000 to $20,000 upfront with no further monthly fees. According to the Journal, “most landlords said they don’t plan to charge residents but to offer it as an amenity. They could also make back some of that cost in savings on staff labor.”  .... " 

China IQ Test for Assistants?

Am somewhat skeptical about such tests, its not raw 'IQ" , but rather how well a system provides value in context.  Still it will be interesting to see how such a system could be a starting point for assistance systems.  Aiming to take a look at this.   Measures are always important, but in specific useful contexts.

Now There's an IQ Test for Siri and Friends 
Technology Review   October 13, 2017

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have developed an intelligence test that both machines and humans can take, and used it to rank intelligent assistants such as Google Assistant and Siri on the same scale used for humans. The test is based on the "standard intelligence model," in which systems must have a way of obtaining data from the outside world. They must be able to transform the data into a form they can process, they must be able to use this knowledge in an innovative way, and they must feed the resulting knowledge back into the outside world. The researchers found that even a six-year-old human outperforms the most advanced digital assistant, which according to this test is Google Assistant. However, machine intelligence is rapidly improving. In 2014, Google Assistant scored 26.4 on this test, compared with a score of 47.28 in the most recent test.  .... "

Soft Robotics from Liquid Metals

Been intrigued by 'soft robotics' that can change shapes    Here new work out of U of Sussex, that can transform.    Applications?   Programmable materials in changeable environments. 

Researchers at the University of Sussex and Swansea University in the U.K. say they have applied electrical charges to manipulate liquid metal into two-dimensional shapes such as letters and a heart. The team notes the results mark an "extremely promising" new class of materials that can be programmed to seamlessly change shape, a breakthrough they say could lead to new possibilities in soft robotics and shape-changing displays. "This is a new class of programmable materials in a liquid state which can dynamically transform from a simple droplet shape to many other complex geometry in a controllable manner," says University of Sussex researcher Yutaka Tokuda. The team says the electric fields used to shape the liquid are created by a computer, meaning the position and shape of the liquid metal can be programmed and controlled dynamically. The research was presented this week at the ACM Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (ISS 2017) conference in Brighton, U.K. .... " 

Apple and GE Join for Industrial Mobile IOS

Apple isn't known for industrial, so this is an interesting spin.   Note also the predictive spin using I assume machine learning.  Much more about the work at the link.   I was an early tester of GE Predix, and its aimed at this kind of application.   See much more at tags on it here.

Apple and GE join forces to build industrial apps for mobile devices   By Maria Deutscher

 Apple Inc. and General Electric Co., two companies that have vastly different business priorities most of the time, are joining forces in the mobile market.

With a new partnership announced this morning, the two companies will collaborate on targeting professionals in the industrial sector who use iOS devices for their work. The alliance revolves around Predix, the cloud platform that GE has developed to help organizations analyze sensor data from physical assets such as manufacturing equipment. According to the company, this information can be employed for everything from usage tracking to predicting technical problems in advance.  .... " 
And more in TechRepublic.

Amazon Show vs Google YouTube

Brought to my attention weeks ago.  Just because they are in competition with assistants?  Or is it some technical aspect of how marketing value is shared in Youtube videos.  We need to know that channels, especially new ones, are stable.    Below look is thoughtful.   Including comments.  Supposedly being negotiated now,  will be following that.

Google pulls YouTube off the Amazon Echo Show
Goodbye, cooking lessons and music videos    by Dieter Bohn    ....  "

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Amazon, Microsoft and Healthcare

Will it be head to head or collaborative?  Microsoft  has already said they were collaborating with Alexa systems in their recent meeting.  Future health systems may need to do more listening than speaking.    More below:

Amazon may be going head-to-head with Microsoft in healthcare
Amazon isn't the only one of the big cloud vendors looking to expand its healthcare footprint. Microsoft's been there, done that, and is continuing to invest in the space.....   

 By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft

Intelligent Workflow Drones

Logical, first I had seen this stated this way. But then anything that does work to perform useful tasks or gather data should ideally be integrated into a workflow. Formally or informally.

Intelligent Workflow Drones  by Biren Gandhi   in Cisco Blog

Commercial drones are moving from a novelty item to an indispensable business tool, with PwC pegging the potential opportunity size at $127B in its report, “Clarity from Above”. However, there is a key element that is needed before drones can be successful in enterprise applications: they must be integrated into regular workflow systems, instead of existing in their own silos.

It’s like saying “let’s talk” instead of “let’s talk over a telephone” in the world of voice communication.

An example of this is showcased below. A few months ago, Cisco’s Enterprise Routing and Mobility team partnered with FlytBase and AeroTestra to showcase end-to-end enterprise workflows involving fleets of drones. Cisco’s Spark, WebEx and Drone ASAP products were integrated with Built.io’s Digital Transformation Platform to create this unique solution .... "

Algorithms teaching Algorithms

The ultimate AI play has devices teaching each other in context.

AI Algorithms Are Starting to Teach AI Algorithms

Automating machine learning will make the technology more accessible to non–AI experts.   by Will Knight,  Technology Review

At first blush, Scot Barton might not seem like an AI pioneer. He isn’t building self-driving cars or teaching computers to thrash humans at computer games. But within his role at Farmers Insurance, he is blazing a trail for the technology.

Barton leads a team that analyzes data to answer questions about customer behavior and the design of different policies. His group is now using all sorts of cutting-edge machine-learning techniques, from deep neural networks to decision trees. But Barton did not hire an army of AI wizards to make this possible. His team uses a platform called DataRobot, which automates a lot of difficult work involved in applying such techniques. ... " 

Garmin Speak Adds Alexa Option

Garmin Speak puts Amazon Alexa in your car,  It's now available for $150.   By Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon

Gamin's GPS devices already feature voice control, but if you'd prefer to have Alexa onboard, its latest product is more your jam. The GPS device maker has just released Garmin Speak, which it says is the first in-vehicle device with hands-free access to Alexa. It's a tiny little thing, measuring just around an inch-a-half with a LED light ring and an OLED display that shows turn-by-turn directions. You can talk to the voice assistant through it the same way you'd talk to Alexa through an Echo: just say "Alexa" and follow it up with a voice command. ... "

Report from the Smart Kitchen Summit

Used to attend these kinds of meetings,  to feed our own innovation center experiments, always had to separate the reasonable from the outlandish.  In say a decade long frame.  I am a cook from way back so I do appreciate what is useful and is not.  Even for volume or time stressed situations.   Good piece, with useful links, note the considerable number of Alexa enabled appliances, but how to make voice control a generally useful capability will be a creativity challenge.

Your Future Kitchen has a Smart Oven, a Burger flipping bot, and 36 Bacon Programs   By Jenny McGrath from DigitalTrend.

Last year, we predicted some of the changes that we’d see in cooking over the next decade, including precision cookware. The Smart Kitchen Summit, which was held this week in Seattle, brings together device makers, chefs, and other experts to discuss the future of food. And based on some of the items that were featured at the annual event, we may be able to get precisely cooked, hyper personalized dishes from our ovens sooner than we thought.

Major appliance brands such as Kenmore and Whirlpool are on board with embracing the smart kitchen. Both announced Alexa-enabled appliances, including fridges, dishwashers, and ranges earlier this year. There aren’t a ton of ways for Alexa and these appliances to interact yet, but manufacturers see including smart technology as a way to continuously add new features to old machines. But even people who swear they’ll never talk to their oven will see a benefit.... "