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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Visualizations in R

I was reminded of this,  Machlis Musings ... By Sharon Machlis  5 data visualizations in 5 minutes: each in 5 lines or less of R  ...     Nicely done.  Does not mean everything is this simple, but simple is always a good place to start.

Plotting Analytics Terminology

An interesting article in the SAS blog on the evolution of 'data mining', actually a term less used these days.   They quote the image below about how a number of capabilities overlap, which was published by SAS in 1998.  

The terms all still exist today,  are understood.  But how they overlap and refer to specific available methods is still very debatable.    Some are narrow, some very broad. I am involved in designing a course that addresses just this confusion today.     Worth thinking about each of the terms.

Recipes for Training and Understanding Delivery

In Adage:

Why Martha Stewart Doesn't Feel Sorry for Media Companies
Mogul Talks Facebook Live, Future of Magazines and the 'Advertiser Dilemma'  .... 

Fascinating piece on how Martha Stewart is experimenting with Facebook to produce demonstrations of cooking, crafts etc.    As an amateur chef myself have always thought about the model of the 'food recipe' for training.   A recipe consists of a statement of resources,  skills,  context and process.    And a means to economically deliver it and then to measure its effectiveness.   Could be used beyond that for other kinds of training as well.   She talks also about other advertising media changes.

Hadoop Effectiveness

A good overview of Hadoop and how it fits into data management and analytics.    To what degree will open source approaches change our view of analytics?

See also: Hadoop: What you need to know:   Learn about the basics of how Hadoop works, why it's such an important technology, and how you should be using it without getting mired in the details. ... "  by Donald Miner

EU Eldercare Effort

This was an area we looked at as we explored consumer robotics in the smarthome,  See the tag for past examinations.

Netcarity is a European project researching and testing technologies which will help older people to improve their wellbeing, independence, safety and health at home. Participants include scientist from academia and industry, psychologists, sociologists, carers, designers and representatives of regional authorities.   .... " 

Other eldercare robotics examples, looking for newer examples:

Yujin Robot

IOT and High Value Goods

In Readwrite: Not extremely new.  Had seen solutions by GE using essentially the idea in remote power plant applications. Active RFID applications.   The idea has also been applied to container tracking.   Pointer to an ROI analysis.   But do expect it to expand via the use of better location intelligence applied to analytical methods. Our own interests focused on case or grouped goods on shelf or in inventory.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Game that Speeds Language Learning

In the CACM:   Always the kind of gamification that should be of most value, one that turns a difficult, lengthy and tedious effort into obsessive fun.    But how often does this work well?   Where do the game mechanics make the most sense?

" ... In an effort to streamline the process of learning a second language, Cornell University researchers first created a "fun" aspect by adopting a video game format, then boosted the speed of learning by incorporating a social media "chat" function.

The researchers' most recent paper, Social Situational Language Learning through an Online 3D Game, was presented at the recent ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction conference (CHI 2016).

Mark Riedl, associate professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) School of Interactive Computing and director of the university's Entertainment Intelligence Lab, said the Cornell work "parallels my own studies of 'games with a purpose.' While we work with games that crowdsource common-sense knowledge data sets instead of education, we are trying to identify which game mechanics increase player enjoyment and also increase the accuracy of data produced by humans."  .... '   

Understanding Cognitive Applications: A Framework

" ... This a reminder about our Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series on Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (9:30am CT, 7:30 am PT).  Our presenter this week is Sue Feldman from Synthexis and Cognitive Computing Consortium, who will be presenting "Understanding Cognitive Applications:  A Framework.” 

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

Please find the schedule of presenters herefor the next several calls.   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.   .. " 

Nimble Resource Allocation with Analytics

Good piece on resource allocation by McKinsey.  I always point to this as a place to start to use analytics.  It is all about resources.  Using them better, to produce better results.  This does not have to include the newer, seemingly magic methods.  Just clearly accounting resources needed can lead to results.  Gather the data.  And that process can put you in a place to use better methods as they emerge.

And consider doing this dynamically:
" ... Companies that actively and regularly reevaluate where resources are allocated create more value and deliver higher returns to shareholders.

“Dynamic resource reallocation” is a mouthful, but its meaning is simple: shifting money, talent, and management attention to where they will deliver the most value to your company. It’s one of those things, like daily exercise, that helps us thrive but that gets pushed off our priority list by business that seems more urgent. .... " 

Advanced Consumer Drones

IEEE Spectrum looks at Drones.  In particular a drone that incorporates advanced autopilot capabilities.

Developer as CEO

In CIOInsight.   My reaction:  True, most CEO's  in consumer facing companies come out of marketing,  which is a kind of strategic, high level interface between goods and sales.   There are many exceptions, engineers can be CEOs.   A developer is a kind of designer-engineer.  But ultimately has to sell to the consumer, not to themselves.   So I say, its still an  exception.

Graph Databases Explosion

Always like the method because it directly integrates visualization and analytical methods.   Though most real data examples are difficult to understand directly from the visuals because of their density.    A good overview of methods. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Selling AI to Business Now

Have been involved in several era's that pushed the idea of AI.  So am interested in how it is being positioned today.  I also get inquiries from past and current executives and decision makers seeking to understand how it works with other blossoming technologies like Big Data and Analytics.   How can it be linked to data from inside and outside of the enterprise?  How can the systems effectively be delivered and maintained in changing contexts?

Its good to see that real examples are discussed in new ads, see the links below.  But it still requires a translation into your own business process needs and values.   Not always easy.  Best approach is to look for focused applications that require cognitive, i.e. thought-like, learning and language driven capabilities. Build basic working prototypes. These can then be expanded to broader applications.

IBM Wants You to Know That AI Is Not Futuristic -- It's Here Now ... New TV Ads Show How Cognitive and Cloud Are Changing the World     By Kate Maddox. ... 

Emotion vs Satisfaction

In the HBR, looking at elements of emotion vs customer satisfaction.

An Emotional Connection Matters More than Customer Satisfaction
by Alan Zorfas, Daniel Leemon

" ... Our research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows that the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level – tapping into their fundamental motivations and fulfilling their deep, often unspoken emotional needs  (for details, see our HBR article “The New Science of Customer Emotions”). That means appealing to any of dozens of “emotional motivators” such as a desire to feel a sense of belonging, to succeed in life, or to feel secure. ... "

The Disruption of Bots.

Been continuing a look at the practical use  of bots.  Here the history of chatbots, types of bots, and why they can be so disruptive.

Getting Started with Blockchain

A number of introductory articles on Bitcoin and Blockchain.  Important concepts to understand in a number of domains.

Intel Unveils a Drone

 Unexpected for a company like Intel, but they are certainly a provider of relevant tech.   Can expect some interesting and practical technology development.

Intel unveils a ready-to-fly drone, the Aero, to win over developers
Posted Aug 16, 2016 by Lora Kolodny 

At the Intel Developer Forum on Tuesday, Intel unveiled a new, hardware product — a ready-to-fly drone; specifically, a quadcopter, aimed at software developers rather than casual hobbyists or commercial drone operators.

Intel’s drone is a fully assembled unit that runs on Intel’s Aero Compute Board with a Linux operating system, RealSense for vision and comes with Santa Monica startup AirMap’s software development kit pre-loaded. AirMap, generally, helps drone users fly only where it’s safe and legal to do so.

Other chip makers, like NVIDIA, Ambarella and Qualcomm, have been vying to gain market share in the burgeoning, if not yet clearly regulated, domestic and international drones market. .... " 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Delta's Digital Black Swan

In MIT Sloan:  A reminder of the problems of building centralized systems.  And a good definition of the Black Swan:   " ...   Taleb wrote that black-swan events have three characteristics: “rarity, extreme impact, and retrospective (but not prospective) predictability.” .... I don’t know if the power failure at Delta — and the chain of unexpected events that followed it — qualifies as a black swan by Taleb’s standards, but it must have felt that way to CEO Ed Bastian. The day after the failure, he apologized for the second time and ruefully explained that over the past three years, Delta has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars in technology infrastructure upgrades and systems, including back-up systems, to prevent what happened yesterday from occurring.”   ... " 

(Registration required)

Exploring the Uncanny Valley of Bots

Have long been a student and practitioner of engineering how people react to intelligent machines. And here we mean by a depth beyond just posing and answering questions, but how people actually engage, trust and build some relationship with machines.

One aspect of this,  that came out of robotics, is the idea of an 'uncanny valley', where people are averse to machines that seem too human-like.  Can also be applied to bots, as described below.  From the CACM:

The Edge of the Uncanny By Gregory Mone 
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 59 No. 9, Pages 17-19

" ... Mitsuku is quick-witted, occasionally confusing, and strangely engaging. She is also a chatbot, built from the A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) platform originally developed by Richard Wallace in 1995. She conducts hundreds of thousands of conversations daily, according to Lauren Kunze, principal of Pandorabots, the Oakland, CA-based company behind the technology. "She doesn't really do anything," Kunze says. "She's not designed to assist you. She can tell you the weather or perform an Internet search, but she's really just there to talk to you, and she's wildly popular with teens. People say, 'I love you' and 'you're my best friend.'"

The appeal is not accidental. The designers of chatbots like Mitsuku and the engineers of physical social robots have made significant advances in their understanding of how to build more engaging machines. Yet there are still many challenges, one of which is the unpredictability of humans. "We just don't understand how people are going to react to physical or software robots," says University of Southern California computer scientist Yolanda Gil, chair of SIGAI, ACM's Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence. "This is one kind of technology where people continue to surprise us."

While there are no absolute guidelines for building effective social robots or engaging chatbots, a few common themes have emerged.

Uncanny Expectations

One frequently cited theory in social robotics is the Uncanny Valley, first described by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970. The Uncanny Valley contends there is a risk in building machines that are too human, that instead of attracting people, realistic androids can have a repulsive effect because of their "uncanny" resemblance to real humans. The reasons for the aversion are varied. Researchers have found evidence that highly capable androids bother people because they represent a threat to human uniqueness, or that on a subconscious level, they actually remind us of corpses. ... " 

Most Practical Big Data Uses

Bernard Marr pushes his book 'Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results'  in Forbes.   With real world examples. Non technical outline of big data analytics uses.  Had not heard of the examples he gives.

Improved Analytics through Crowdsourcing

In Sloan Review.      Requires registration.
" ... Syngenta developed an award-winning suite of analytics tools by tapping into expertise outside the organization — including talent available through open-innovation platforms. .... 

How does a company operating outside the major technology talent centers gain access to the most innovative data scientists that money can buy? Assuming you can’t recruit the right data analysts to join your team full time, how do you tap into contractors with the knowledge and creativity you need outside your technical core? In a nutshell, this was the predicament Syngenta AG faced in 2008.

Syngenta, an agrochemical and seed company based in Basel, Switzerland, was formed in 2000 by the merger of the agribusiness units of Novartis and AstraZeneca.    ... " 

Requires a different kind of management and control of results.

Practical Predictive Analytics

Good non technical piece that takes you on a journey of useful thoughts.    Interesting infographics and statistics as well.

You Always Need more Data

All the Data and Still Not Enough!
Claudia Perlich discusses tricks to the art of predictive modeling in situations where the right data is scarce.  Video by Claudia Perlich August 2, 2016

Every Windows 10 PC can have Hololens

Now calling it 'mixed reality', makes some sense, distinguishing the terms augmented versus virtual reality has sometimes been difficult, but trying to push another term is confusing too.  Mixed means what?  Recently saw a Hololens demo at a Microsoft store and it was impressive.  But will this be a break in the use of augmented reality by consumers, by the enterprise?   Beyond gaming.  Still no clear golden application.  And its still expensive.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mood Science and the Internet of Things

Anyone who works with advertising and marketing ideas wants to measure and influence aspects of mood in  a number of context.   Much has been made of neuromarketing ideas in recent years.   'Things'  that can  influence mood could be packaging, product, context, promotion, shelf and fixture.

And things that influence, can also measure and interconnect.   Measuring means data you can leverage it.  We mocked up a number of related ideas, starting with the simplest RFID tags.   Consider links with Beacons too.    Lots of interesting thoughts in the article linked to below.

These IoT Sensors Want to Know How You Feel – And Maybe Even Change Your Mood  Posted by William Vorhies  

Summary:  Sensors that know how you feel?  Sensors that want to change the way you feel?  When did that happen and better yet how?  ... 

Mood Science
" ... I’ve been tracking the uses of IoT sensors particularly those with human interaction (think Fitbit) but I didn’t see the big picture until I came across this article “Design for Mood: Twenty Activity-Based Opportunities to Design for Mood Regulation” by Pieter M. A. Desmet, a member of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology.  This is one of those articles you know you should trust because it contains a reference bibliography of 169 learned articles.

For the most part it seems that in academic circles the desire to determine how to ‘regulate mood’ is pretty benign and generally couched in terms like improving subjective well-being.  After all who doesn’t want an extra helping of well-being? .... " 

Product Association Rules Using R

Nice DSC article by Gregory Choi  that relates directly to retail purchasing. How do I mine for associations in purchasing based on past buying data?  Could be used to put together bundles for possible co marketing. This uses the old and overworked  'diapers and beer' example.  Using R as an sample methodology.

Lineages of Creativity in Research

Nature article looks at the 'Phd-Family' trees of scientists and in particularly mathematicians.  I don't find it too surprising that there are a small number of lineages.  Like the degrees of of separation findings.  But I do like the analysis and visualization included.  Reminds me of work we did to understand how creativity moved through the enterprise using social media and email trails.  In particular one of the reasons for us being an early user of email was to ease interaction in R&D and with outside researchers.

Juno Skims Close for More Atmosphere Data

Today the Juno probe skims close to Jupiter.  With an aim to get a much better understanding of its atmosphere.  Not the topic of this blog, but my earliest analytics dealt with modeling solar atmospheres,  so the topic of our understanding this is close to my interests.  The only place I still seek to read some of the technical reports and papers.

Should be some great new imagery that comes out of this interaction.  Some images to be released next week.   After this another 35 close passes are planned.   Continually amazed at the ability to get this quantity of data from such a distance, and in this case,  solar powered by a much more far away sun.

Programmed for Procrastination?

We are programmed to delay work.   So what do we do?  See also the tag below on the topic, I have mentioned a number of other good pieces  on this topic.

How to Hack Your Brain to Destroy Procrastination, According to Harvard Research ...   How to beat the “Tomorrow Syndrome” that almost everyone faces.    posted  by Elle Kaplan  

Following the Euro

Long have been a follower of the EU and Euro and the implications of the union.  Especially how the regulatory structure influences innovation.  Newly published.  Podcast and text.

The eurozone project was “flawed at birth” notes a new book by Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz, ... who teaches at Columbia University and is a columnist for  The New York Times. He also was former chief economist for the World Bank .... 

In The Euro, How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe, Stiglitz outlines the key problems in how the eurozone was structured, and how the politics of yesterday — and today – are smothering economic growth and causing deep social problems and steep unemployment, eight years after the financial crisis. He also offers some ideas for making improvements. Knowledge@Wharton spoke with Stiglitz about his book, published this month, and about how the dominant economic consensus of the last 30 years is fast crumbling on the Knowledge@Wharton Show that airs on Channel 111 on SiriusXM. ... " 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Beacon System for Push Notification

A very simple idea, a small device that can generate an alert for a push notification based on context and location. .  Note this is unrelated in function to the Amazon Dot, even though it looks similar.

Seeing this more generally as a way to construct an IoT network in a smart home that can react intelligently to its inhabitants and mobile devices.

In FastCodesign:  This $20 Dot Makes Push Notifications Way Less Annoying ... Now on Kickstarter, these small Bluetooth beacons contextualize how your smartphone behaves based on your location.

" ...  GPS just doesn't have the granularity to determine whether or not you're in your bedroom or your home office, which is why companies like Apple use supplementary hardware called iBeacons to provide customers contextual information throughout their stores. Google has a similar project, called Nearby, that pings users in public places like museums and stores.

Dot is a set of beacon-like devices for your home and other personal spaces that allow you to contextualize your push notifications. A Dot is essentially a Bluetooth beacon that you stick on any surface. As your smartphone gets closer, it can detect the exact distance based upon signal strength, and send a push notification when you get within a certain distance. What's cool about Dot is that you can program that notification to contain anything, through an app inspired by popular internet recipe-making platform IFTTT (an acronym for "If This, Then That"). A Dot can just as easily be programmed to remind your roommate to take out the trash as it can turn on the smart lights to your bedroom when you walk in the room. ... "  

Hacking the Turing Test

The Turing test is a measure of 'intelligence'  which came out of the AI era, has a number of flaws.  In the CACM: 

" ... The test currently can't determine if a person is talking to another human being or a robot if the person being interrogated simply chooses to stay silent, new research shows.

While it's not news that the Turing test has flaws, the new study highlights just how limited the test is for answering deeper questions about artificial intelligence, said study co-author Kevin Warwick, a computer scientist at Coventry University in England.  .... " 

Triggers of Behavior

BJ Fogg worked with us in a number of projects in the enterprise.

Why behavior matters more than thought leadership
Triggering habit-forming behavior Stanford University researcher BJ Fogg posited that you need three things for human behavior to occur: motivation, ability and a trigger. Triggers are divided into two types: internal and external. External triggers provide us with guidance .... " 

Google Analytics 360 Suite

Screens and more screens, mobile and stationary.    How does this change the decision space?

Marketing analytics for a multi-screen world.

Say hi to the Google Analytics 360 Suite, built for the enterprise. It helps you better understand people, and how they behave, by giving you a better handle on all your marketing data — and deep insights you can use.

82% of consumers turn to mobile to help make a product decision. Are you accounting for mobile’s influence in the consumer journey?

Source: Google/Ipsos, "Consumers in the Micro-Moment" study, March 2015

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New and Improved Wolfram Alpha

Another of the general virtual assistants.  It has been a while since I have checked it out, but was impressed then.  I have yet to see this applied in a real situation to how it might perform as a useful assistant.  Can someone show me an example?   In this new version, there are quite a few domain template examples at the link you can explore for free.


New and Improved Wolfram|Alpha »

We've made big changes to Wolfram|Alpha and Wolfram|Alpha Pro. Current Pro subscribers will automatically get access to new features like Web Apps that provide a custom, form-based interface organized by topic. Web Apps are ideal for new and longtime users wanting help structuring queries for unfamiliar topics.

If you aren't currently a Wolfram|Alpha Pro subscriber, choose from the following options to get these and other great benefits:

Wolfram|Alpha Pro: Use Wolfram|Alpha Web Apps to explore personal and professional interests in areas like fitness, culinary math, personal finance and much more, plus analyze and visualize your own data.

Wolfram|Alpha Pro Premium: Go Premium for the highest upload limits, extended computation time, access to all Web App collections and priority product support. .... 

More in their newsletter.

Talk on Understanding Cognitive Systems

Our presenter this week was Jim Spohrer from IBM. who presented  "Understanding Cognitive Systems."   Worth taking a look at.   

Slides here.  .... (Presentation to follow)

We encourage those who join the calls to add questions and comments to https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Cognitive-Systems-Institute-6729452  

Emotion Analysis API

More companies are looking at text analysis ....

AlchemyLanguage Emotion Analysis API is Generally Available, and It’s Getting Better

Many in the field of Cognitive AI research and development speak of the importance of context. Context could be visualized similar to that of an onion, with multiple levels of nested, related and non-related context. But perhaps one of the most important layers is Emotional context, as it has the power to transform dynamic decision making internal to the intelligence.”

—Brennon Williams, Chief Executive Officer & Founder of Iridium Systems and Robotics Corporation

On July 1st, 2016, the Emotion Analysis capability in AlchemyLanguage became Generally Available for production use. Now, with our latest updates, you can use Sentiment & Emotion Analysis to understand social data at a deeper level than ever before.

AlchemyLanguage users take their Sentiment Analysis one step deeper to detect five distinct emotions in text – joy, fear, sadness, anger, and disgust. Users employ our sentiment and emotion capabilities to discover emotional trends in social media, prioritize inbound social data, and more. ... " 

Power BI Now Does Twitter Analytics

Been looking at the analysis of twitter streams lately, new from MS Power BI.  A campaign management solution template.

Microsoft Power BI Blog
Announcing the brand & campaign management solution template for Twitter  Justyna Lucznik, Program Manager

Today we are excited to announce the release of the brand and campaign management solution template for Twitter. Imagine you are an event manager who has spent the past few months planning a conference, lining up speakers, and coordinating catering, venues, and transportation. The big week is approaching, and you want to make sure everything goes smoothly. You want to understand what is well received and respond to negative sentiment immediately. You want to recognize which topics related to your event are trending and how those change across time. You want to find your biggest influencers, fans and critics.

Now imagine that you can set up sophisticated analytics that could answer all those questions for you in the space of five minutes.

Our new brand and campaign management solution template will help you do just that. Whether you manage an event, product, or marketing campaign, you can use our template to quickly and easily do analytics on top of Twitter data. All you will need to get started are Twitter credentials, the search terms you want to track, and an Azure subscription. (Don’t worry if you don’t have one – we help you get started with a trial as well).  ... "  

FindFace at Large

Was reminded by the Economist: Frankenstein's Paperclips. of the rogue Russian face recognition system called FindFace. Can we expect AI from beyond our regulated world to create new dangers?  Yes, we can.  Introduction in Kaspersky.  And in The Atlantic:   How Russia's New Facial Recognition App Could End AnonymityFindFace's technology may one day allow anyone to identify you with their phone.

Language Modeling a Billion Words

This is a technical, but interesting, tutorial on how to use noise-contrastive estimation (NCE) to train a multi-GPU recurrent neural network language model on the Google billion words data set.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Not all Data Created Equal

Interesting piece that gets to my mantra of data assets.  And combining data for additional and profitable leverage. Requires free registration.

Some of the most profitable decisions are made by combining data in novel ways, but creative combinations of data can also spawn unknown risks. Learn how your organization can balance risk and reward in a data-driven economy.

By Gregory Fell and Mike Barlow

Macy's and Mall Intelligence

In CustomerThinks.  Mall AI,  Previously described.  To what degree is conversational retail enough?

If you follow retail trends, you know that department stores are in trouble.

As shoppers have headed online and to discount stores, traditional mall department stores are struggling to define their niche and halt falling profits. Many are now focused on creating a better in-store experience in hopes of motivating customers to shop in person.

One of the most interesting customer experience initiatives is coming from Macy’s, which also announced last week that it is closing 100 of its stores.

In 10 of its U.S. locations, Macy’s shoppers can now use artificial intelligence through their mobile devices to help them navigate the shopping experience. The “Macy’s on Call” service allows customers to type natural language questions into Macy’s website instead of asking a sales associate. But unlike most online chat tools, this one is powered by IBM’s Watson cognitive computing service. Over time, Watson will learn to give better answers and customize them to specific stores.  ....   " 

Internet IoT everywhere

In ReadWrite:  Good review, nontechnical and even addressing part of the CPG space:

" ... The Internet of Things is taking over the world. Well, maybe not in a literal global domination kind of way, but just about every “thing” we interact with these days has the potential of becoming part of the growing Internet of Things. This is a big opportunity for companies that produce these products to expand their reach into the rich tech sector.

A toothbrush is worth $5 by itself. A toothbrush that tracks how well you brush your teeth can be sold for many times that amount. The toothbrush company goes from creating plastic handles and bristles to producing electronic devices with transmitters, sensors, and more. This can be a great thing for that company. It expands its reach and makes it a more tempting target for investors. ... " 

One Click Product Placement

When I first read this I was confused.  What does this mean?  We had studied product placement approaches since Soap Boxes in the silent era. And the general idea has existed for a long time.  But now take it further and make it adaptive by product segment too.  Good discussion at the link ..

Amazon tests one-click product placement

While offering original movies and TV shows has long been touted as a perk to boost Prime membership, Amazon is rolling out another way to capitalize on its content: product placement.

In Japan, Amazon has teamed up with entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo to insert product placements into an Amazon Prime Video TV show exploring Japanese cuisine.

“The first shows will exhibit dishes from the northern island of Hokkaido and feature local comedy duo Taka and Toshi, who found nationwide fame with Yoshimoto,” according to Nikkei.

Viewers will be able to tap Amazon’s “1-Click” icon to order certain products featured in the program.

The initially planned four episodes will run around 40 minutes each. Future videos will feature other places in Japan, as well as “some locations overseas,” Nikkei says.

“The idea that you could have whatever you want by just clicking a button is certainly enticing, but having the ability to constantly consume is a weird future, to the say the least,” wrote Leslie Horn on Vocativ, a news site focused on media and technology. “Although, I’m sure most people have had the experience of watching, say, an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s ‘No Reservations,’ and wondered what the culinary oddity he’s sampling tasted like. With Amazon’s new strategy, one wouldn’t have to wonder.”

The one-click proposal expands on the Dash Button, Amazon’s one-click replenishment system launched in 2015; the one-click “Buy it Now” button on its website, as well as the one-command ordering through the Echo voice-enabled assistant.  .... " 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Data Snooping in Practice

Good piece on the topic, though I had never called it that.    Thought it was something about security.  Another example of the lack of standards in the industry. Too many terms have come from different disciplines.   Here described as a bias of human nature,    Also known as:   Data dredging, data fishing, data snooping, and p-hacking.

" ....Data snooping is essentially the practice of finding patterns in data that don’t actually reflect the real world. Data scientists may know it by other names, like overfitting the curve or confusing the noise for the signal. The simple definition makes it sound like data snooping would be fairly easy to avoid. However, because of the way the human brain works and how it’s wired to spot connections in seemingly disparate pieces of data and events, it’s one of the most difficult biases to eliminate.

Data scientists are particularly prone to data snooping bias when they’re doing freeform exploratory data analysis, as opposed to attempting to prove or disprove a hypothesis before digging into the data. Traditionally, the best way to eliminate the data snooping bias is to institute strict controls in their experiments before they begin. Chasing interesting results once the experiment has started is a good way to fall victim to the snoops.

Over the years, data snooping has been one of the toughest biases to correct for in the world of applied statistics. In particular, data scientists and statisticians who work in the financial field are more prone to data snooping than in other industries, argues MIT professor Andrew Lo.  .... " 

On Quantum Computing

In the Edge,  a conversation with Seth Llyod, Professor, Quantum Mechanical Engineering, MIT; Principal Investigator, Research Laboratory of Electronics; Author, Programming the Universe.
Non technical, practical and thoughtful view of where we are going.

" ... Thinking about the future of quantum computing, I have no idea if we're going to have a quantum computer in every smart phone, or if we're going to have quantum apps or quapps, that would allow us to communicate securely and find funky stuff using our quantum computers; that's a tall order. It's very likely that we're going to have quantum microprocessors in our computers and smart phones that are performing specific tasks.

This is simply for the reason that this is where the actual technology inside our devices is heading anyway. If there are advantages to be had from quantum mechanics, then we'll take advantage of them, just in the same way that energy is moving around in a quantum mechanical kind of way in photosynthesis. If there are advantages to be had from some quantum hanky-panky, then quantum hanky‑panky it is.   ... " 

Dangers of Marketing Optimization

Have been involved in a number of marketing optimization projects in the brands.   Are the new attempts at predictive analytics causing us to expect too much with these methods?   We called this 'analytics', and now its called 'Predictive Data Science'. Bottom line this is an attempt to allocate marketing dollars for best results.

All indications are that 'optimizing' is better than using gut feelings.  But that was determined long ago.  How much better are modern methods?   No indications that this is causing any strangulation of efforts due to mis-allocation of resources.  Adjustments are always made when changes in context change occur.

The efforts involved are covered in this Adage article.  A look at consumer behavior.   When you add the consumer behavior suggested,  the results are not 'optimal',  saturation is not a new thought.   The model is just wrong.

" ... It's often cheaper to reach that level of overkill on mobile and digital media, but it's not impossible to do it on TV, either, with narrowly focused cable TV or other low-rated buys that can end up serving lots of impressions to the same people.

The problem isn't entirely the narrowness of the targeting. It's also too much spending on media relative to creative. Brands using more targeted media need multiple ads and creative approaches to avoid wear-out or advance a storyline, particularly if they value frequency of impressions or need to keep their brands top of mind in product categories with short purchase cycles, said Mr. Briggs. ... " 

Visual Consulting Book

Friend and colleague David Sibbet who taught us many visualization techniques is writing a new book.  Many links below at the tab to his work.

" ...President and Founder of The Grove Consultants International—organizational consultant and information designer, building on years of experience in leadership development, strategic visioning, organization change, and futures study—author of leading-edge group process tools and models for facilitation, team leadership, and organizational transformation. These reflections are for Grove colleagues worldwide.

Preparing to Write—Visual Consulting
I am preparing to write a new book called Visual Consulting: Designing & Leading Change, potentially as a fourth in the Wiley visual leadership series. This one will be co-authored by The Grove’s VP of Global Learning, Gisela Wendling, Ph.D., an expert on personal and organizational transformation. It seems right that after so many changes in our own lives, that we focus now on our learning about change, and engage the exploding global network of visual practitioners about how to become skilled consultants with this orientation. Our leading of The Grove’s new Designing & Leading Change workshop the past two years is fueling this new project. .... " 

Samsung Scoop Speaker

A competitor to the Amazon Echo?   Indications of voice activation.  Samsung Scoop.  Advanced cognitive skills are unclear.  But note Samsung previous devices like S Voice, and Otto, which hinted at cognitive AI skills.

" .. Samsung has designed a Bluetooth-connected speaker with a microphone that certainly looks like it could compete with Amazon’s voice-activated Echo and the forthcoming Google Home.

Samsung today submitted documents for the device, currently named Scoop, to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The documents include photos of the device and a manual. ... 

Clearly the Scoop is meant to be mobile, as it comes with a strap, suggesting that you could carry it around while it’s hanging from your wrist. You’d be able to use “Samsung-approved chargers” to power it up, including one for the Scoop that would be sold separately. And a light on the top of the gadget would tell you when it’s out of juice, according to the manual. Also on the top are volume up and down buttons, as well as a play button that doubles as a Bluetooth pairing button, the manual indicates. Next to a power button on the side, a cover hides a USB jack and a charging port, a photo shows. ... " 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Limits to Prediction

Santa Fe Institute workshop on the limits to prediction.   Every practitioner knows there are limits to prediction.  Systems may be chaotic, or influenced by unknown context.   The implications?   Fundamental thoughts.  Have now worked with several entities that depended on their capabilities of prediction.  

Case Based Reasoning and Chatbots

 Resources for integrating Case based reasoning (CBR) and bots. The integration could be a natural way to deliver intelligence in a bot.  We used CBR in a number of early applications.

" ... The main goal of jCOLIBRI is to provide a reference platform for developing CBR applications. With the term “platform” we mean that it defines a clear architecture to design CBR systems plus a reference implementation of the components required to build them.  This architecture has been designed to be extensible and reusable across different domains and CBR families.

''... Although the main scope of the framework is the research community, a relevant feature of jCOLIBRI is its support for large scale commercial applications. It means that our software can be used not only to do rapid prototyping of CBR systems but also for developing applications that will be deployed in real scenarios. This feature is exemplified, for example, by its straightforward integration into web environments.

jCOLIBRI takes advantage of several years of experience from the first version released in 2005. Therefore, the current architecture solves many problems found in its predecessor but reuses the design choices that demonstrated to be good ideas. ..  ' 

Via Jim Spohrer, some examples of CBR architectures:

jCOLIBIRI (CBR)   http://gaia.fdi.ucm.es/research/colibri/jcolibri

MyCBR (CBR) http://www.mycbr-project.net

The image at the upper right is in an article from the University of Trier.

Re Emergence of Google Glass

According to this piece it has never gone away.  We spoke with Google on uses, and never got a very supportive answer.   I get the idea that at the time the snarky press had already eroded some of the possible augmented reality style possibilities.  Saw some impressive medical applications demonstrated, without a scary headset.

Algorithm/Problem Categories for AI and Data Science

Like this statement of solution categories:  10 Algorithm Categories for A.I., Big Data, and Data Science by Chris Pehura:  

Crunchers:  These algorithms use small repetitive steps guided with simple rules to number crunch a complex problem ... 
Guides: These algorithms guide us on how to best navigate a policy, process, or workflow ... 
Advisors:  These algorithms advise us on our best options ... 
Predictors: These algorithms predict future human behaviors and events by using small repeatable decisions ... 
Tacticians:  These algorithms tactically anticipate short-term behaviors and react accordingly. ... 
Supervisors: These algorithms strategically anticipate behaviors and plan accordingly. ... 
Lifters:These algorithms help us by automating our mundane and repetitive work freeing us to do what we’ve been hired to do. ...  
Partners: These algorithms bring out the best in us. They have a large amount of subject matter expertise in our area allowing us to be more productive and more focused ...  
Okays:  These algorithms have subject matter expertise in multiple areas allowing groups of us to do all our foundational analytical work ...
Supervisors:  These algorithms have key subject matter expertise for how our business works. They manage us and our efforts  ... 

Details are debatable, I would have kept it simpler, five would have done it sufficiently, and there will always be overlaps. but does make you think of the activity involved, and data and methods needed.   plus value represented.   Good descriptions at the links, with much further supporting information.

Original article with much more detail.  http://bizcatalyst360.com/10-algorithm-categories-for-a-i-big-data-and-data-science

DSC Quote, with more background:  http://www.datasciencecentral.com/profiles/blogs/10-algorithm-categories-for-a-i-big-data-and-data-science

Impact of AI on Jobs

Thoughtful piece with many interesting links.  Good this pointed me back to Irving Wladawsky-Berger's blog.  Was on a panel with him in the 90s.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

A collection of observations, news and resources on the changing nature of innovation, technology, leadership, and other subjects. ... 

The Long Term Impact of AI on Jobs - Some Lessons from History
The June 25 issue of The Economist includes a special report on artificial intelligence.  AI has been making extraordinary progress in the past few years.  It’s ironic that after years of frustration with AI’s missed promises, many now worry that its mighty power is now upon us while we still don’t know how to properly deploy it.  Some fear that at some future time, a sentient, superintelligent general AI might pose an existential threat to humanity.  But while being dismissive of such dire concerns, many experts worry that the real threat is that AI advances could lead to widespread economic dislocation. ... " 

Forklift Simulation Using VR

Interesting idea.  If was one of the ideas we considered for warehouse and plant training, but the technology was not well enough evolved to make it workable.  A related example addressed common issues of machine and line repair.  Probably should be a service provided or adapted by the forklift suppliers or manufacturing system designers.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sway Storytelling

Brought to my attention, Microsoft's Sway storytelling system.  Lets you bring in other content from  systems and create stories.  Has been criticized as not different enough from Powerpoint to avoid its falling into its problems.

" ... Sway is a digital storytelling app for work, school and home that makes it quick and easy to create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more. Add your content, and Sway will do the rest. -- Tell your story with interactive content -- Bring your Sway to life with interactive multimedia content. It's easy to add text and your images from OneDrive and your device, or snap them right into Sway with your built-in camera. 

Also add videos, maps, tweets, Vines, interactive charts, graphics and GIFs. -- See suggested search results based on your content -- Sway suggests searches to help you find relevant images, videos, tweets, and other content that you can drag and drop right in to your creation. No need to juggle apps and web pages to find what you want.   ...... " 

More Smart Dust

More on Neural Dust.  More IOT nodes in more places?   Heard this called 'motes' before, but this takes it smaller yet.    The passive use of power generation is very interesting.  Applications, especially in medical applications, at the link.

Is smart dust the IoT vector of the future? by Cate Lawrence
The notion of smart dust sounds like a work of science fiction but scientists at University of California Berkeley have developed a “neural dust” that can be implanted into the body, to monitor internal nerves, muscles or organs in real time.

The sensors are about the size of a large grain of sand contain a piezoelectric crystal that converts ultrasound vibrations from outside the body into electricity to power a tiny, on-board transistor that is in contact with a nerve or muscle fiber. A voltage spike in the fiber alters the circuit and the vibration of the crystal, which changes the echo detected by the ultrasound receiver, typically the same device that generates the vibrations. The slight change, called backscatter, allows them to determine the voltage. .... " 

AI in Business

Remember outlining a similar report some time ago.   Really helps to layout who will use it and how.  I am seeing a move back to the term 'AI' too.

The AI business landscape
A data-driven analysis of companies that are adopting artificial intelligence.   By Aman Naimat 

This post is the beginning of an investigation into the business market for artificial intelligence, which culminated in a free report about the larger AI market.  ... " 

Download the full report at the link.

Free NASA Online Research Archive

A wealth of information.  Does not contain all research papers produced by NASA.

NASA’s new online archive is a treasure trove of free research articles
" ... NASA launched a free online archive for science journal articles that were funded by the space agency. The archive, which was announced this week, is called PubSpace, and it will make available research and data that are often hidden behind the subscriptions and paywalls of scientific journals. PubSpace will be managed by the National Institutes of Health as part of its own database called PubMed Central. ... "      Service is here.

GIF's and All that

A considerable look at the history of the GIF, a graphic format, developed in 1987,  that opened the door to online visualization.  Even animating things.   We recall when you had to do considerable work in getting GIF's to display in a simple browser, used them to communicate with researchers. How there was an attempt to eliminate them.  But they are still here,  as controversial as ever.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Future of Retailing Technology is Now

Forbes article.  Generally put, but good piece:

The Future Of Retailing: The Technology Revolution Is Now
by Walter Loeb ,   Contributor

I believe that retailing is undergoing a revolutionary change. Merchants are no longer the driving force for retailers. This is a major change that will be hard to swallow. In the past merchants interacted with customers. They talked to them as a market. Now these same customers are demanding products and services that match their specific needs. In other words, the customer is now in charge.   ....  " 

Using Neural Networks with R

Back in the first go around with neural networks we had to write our own, but now its easily available via R.  (And many other places)  This is a reasonable introduction, but not really best for an actual application.    But if you know how R is used already, it gets you to what you need to test a solution architecture.    In KDNuggets.

Software and Management

Technology and the “End of Management”
FrontiersBlog July 27, 2016    Lynda Gratton

No, software will not render managers obsolete, but you will need to be more skilled than ever before. ... "  

Agree with that, but also expect to be 'augmented" more, and get lots of analyzed data while you manage.

Google on Beacons Reshaping Marketing

In ThinkwithGoogle:

" ... Beacon technology is poised to change the way consumers interact with brands, making devices more helpful and revolutionizing the way retailers measure the offline impact of online ads.

 When it comes to cutting-edge marketing, one technology is top of mind: beacons. In fact, more than a million beacons are expected to be installed in U.S. retail stores this year alone. But right now, many marketers only think about using beacons to push phone notifications. At Google, we think beacons have the potential to do much, much more for consumers, brands, and marketers. 

To realize this potential, we created Eddystone and the Google beacon platform. With these platforms, beacons are no longer limited to communicating only with a brand's app. Brands can integrate beacons with Google products and services, as well as their own and their partners' apps. For consumers, this means a frictionless shopping experience, with fewer gaps between channels. For retailers, it means reaching the right person at the right time with the right message, with new and improved metrics to measure success.  ... "

Friday, August 19, 2016

Alexa and the Emerging Art of Conversation

An interesting exploration of conversational interfaces using the Amazon Echo.   What has it shown us so far?  I like it, but it still has a long way to go. You adapt as you use it, like you would with any conversational partner.  Is that the ultimate learning, we will learn?

What would Alexa do? Alexa shows what’s possible when conversational interfaces just work. By Tim O'Reilly

ROI of Customer Engagement

Always looking for new ways to measure.   But it takes lots of trials in different contexts, to understand the implications of measurement.

Calculating the ROI of Customer Engagement by Rachel Happe
We know that customer engagement matters. Yet much of our thinking about engagement remains simplistic. Most current definitions of engagement are bimodal – someone is either engaged or they’re not. But this is a limited view that hampers our ability to manage engagement in meaningful ways.

A more sophisticated understanding of engagement allows community managers to effectively influence and change it, and even to calculate an ROI for engagement. ... " 

Flying a Horse and other Creations

Been reading my former colleague Kevin Ashton's book:  How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery.  Very nicely done, worth the read.

Publishers description: 

To create is human. Technology pioneer Kevin Ashton has experienced firsthand the all-consuming challenge of creating something new. Now, in a tour-de-force narrative twenty years in the making, Ashton demystifies the sacred act, leading us on a journey through humanity’s greatest creations to uncover the surprising truth behind who creates and how they do it.

 From the crystallographer’s laboratory where the secrets of DNA were first revealed by a long forgotten woman, to the Ohio bicycle shop where the Wright brothers set out to “fly a horse,” Ashton showcases the seemingly unremarkable individuals, gradual steps, multiple failures, and countless ordinary and usually uncredited acts that lead to our most astounding breakthroughs. Drawing on examples from Mozart to the Muppets, Archimedes to Apple, Kandinsky to a can of Coke, How to Fly a Horse is essential reading for would-be creators and innovators, and also a passionate and immensely rewarding exploration of how “new” comes to be. ... 

Microsoft Links Power BI to R

 ... By Sharon Machlis

I remain pleasantly surprised at Microsoft's enthusiasm for adding R to its analytics ecosystem (and not [at least yet] fulfilling suspicions its end game is to fork a version of R that is semi-proprietary). 

Today offered another example, with an R for the Masses with Power BI webinar touting R as an option for data heavy-lifting within its Power BI platform. Granted, as an R user I'm biased, but it makes a lot more sense to lean on a language already in wide use for data work, as opposed to expecting people to learn its own DAX and M. During today's webinar, Microsoft revealed that its own survey showed more than 80% of respondents wanted to use R for advanced data work.

Power BI users could already run R scripts within the software to pull in data, to reshape and otherwise wrangle data, and to visualize data. During the webinar, Microsoft announced an R Script Showcase with examples designed to "find inspiration for leveraging R scripts in Power BI. There are already examples for using R to find clusters within your data, generate forecasts and create decision trees.   ... " 

On Patient Behavior

In every business where there are customers, its about their behavior.   Even in healthcare. Knowledge@Wharton talks about a new book:  How Patients Think: A Science-Based Strategy for Patient Engagement and Population Health. by Andrea LaFountain

Knowledge@Wharton: In this age of technology and big data, why is there still that disconnect between healthcare providers and patients?

" .... Andrea LaFountain: You kind of answered the question. Big data can be great, but it can also be an enemy depending on how we use the data. There’s an overreliance on what we call “claims data.” We look at the activities of the patient. We can see whether they are visiting the doctor or filling prescriptions, but it doesn’t give us the explanation behind the activities that we’re seeing. That’s what’s missing.

The data can show us the results of their decision. It doesn’t tell us why they are making the decision. So we can look at the data, and we can see that 26% of women with breast cancer stop taking their treatment early.

We can see that very clearly in the data. But how are they making that decision? That is not available in the data. So we speculate and we kind of impose our reasons why we think they are making that decision without actually getting into the scientific reasons behind why they are making those decisions.  .. " 

AliceBot Chatbot Engine

I am reminded of the Alice Bot which we experimented with in the 90s.   Now the idea has taken hold as a simpler way of delivering AI, especially for human natural language interaction.

About Alicebot:

A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) is an award-winning free natural language artificial intelligence chat robot. The software used to create A.L.I.C.E. is available as free ("open source") Alicebot and AIML software.

Try talking to A.L.I.C.E. just like a real person, but remember you are really chatting with a machine! A.L.I.C.E.'s Alicebot engine utilizes AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) to form responses to yourquestions and inputs.

Unlike other commercial chat robot software costing thousands of dollars, the Alicebot engine and AIML are freely available under the terms of the GNU General Public License (used by GNU/Linux and thousands of other software projects). The A.L.I.C.E. project includes hundreds of contributors from around the world.

You can read more about the history of A.L.I.C.E., or find out how you can participate in the A.L.I.C.E. development community. ... " 

More on the relationship to early AI.   And the Alicebot AI Foundation.  Relationship to the work of Joseph Weizenbaum.

Via Jim Spohrer.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Intel Acquires Nervana: How AI is Disrupting the Largest Industries

Unexpected, but have always been impressed with Intel's deep innovation, want to see hardware enhanced AI.

In Medium:   Standing on the Shore*: How AI is Disrupting the World’s largest Industries 

Artificial Intelligence is undergoing a massive acceleration driven by rapid growth in available data and rapid evolution of algorithms.

Intel’s acquisition this Tuesday of our portfolio company Nervana Systems validates that our companies’ platforms, driving this acceleration, are disrupting the world’s largest industries.

Our thesis is that a) increasingly powerful and inexpensive hardware that is machine learning/deep learning-friendly (lots of multipliers and fast memory; e.g., Nervana Systems), b) a flourishing of learning approaches running on that hardware, and c) large, novel data sets, now inexpensive to acquire and refresh, to train and drive those novel learning algorithms, is fueling a transformation of major global industries right in front of everyone’s eyes....  " 

AI and Human Safety: Steve Omohundro

AIBrainTalk: AI and Human Safety
On August 17, 2016 Steve Omohundro spoke to the “Million AI Startups” group about “AI and Human Safety”:

AI and robotics will create $50 trillion of value over the next 10 years according to McKinsey. This is causing their rapid development but six recent events show the need to be careful as they are integrated into human society. In the past few weeks we’ve seen three Tesla autopilot crashes, the Dallas police using a robot to kill a suspect, a Stanford Shopping Center security robot running over a small child, and the first “Decentralized Autonomous Organization” losing $56 million due to a bug in a smart contract. As we move forward with these technologies, we will need to incorporate human values and new principles of security so that their human benefits can be fully realized. ...  "

More and slides.

Naralogics: Understanding Decisions with Neural Networks

Always interested in how to represent and use models of decisions, especially how they are driven by data.   Today heard a talk by Nathan Wilson of Naralogics on the topic.  They are having considerable success in modeling decision process via biologically inspired neural networks.  His slides.  Recording.    Looking to see how these might be placed in the average data science toolbox.

See their also their blog, which points to a sandbox effort for their methods.

Short non technical explanatory pdf about this associative network method is linked to.

Inc Looks at Neuromarketing

Have been detached from technical neuromarketing efforts for a while now, you can see some writings from those efforts in the tag below.   Inc Mag takes a non technical look.  There is  usefulness to address this.  A sort of 'hints from neuroscience' view, as opposed to direct wiring the brain to understand the specifics of neural activity.

Staying Ahead of Smart Machines

A look at content generation using smart machines.  A newly discovered philosophical blog.   Lots of companies are considering the implications of AI today.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Driver Assistance vs Autopilots

Interesting story of varying language being used in describing the idea of 'driver assistance' when using and selling the Tesla.   Our language has to adapt to the physical consequences  And the legal consequences.  In ArsTechnica.

Microsoft's Open Mind

Not released yet, but apparently in process:

Open Mind: Microsoft's Visual-Studio-like suite for machine learning
Microsoft looks to be building a Visual-Studio-like tool suite for machine learning called Open Mind Studio.  By Mary Jo Foley .... "

If this implies a highly visual way to implement machine learning, I like it.

Hacks for Forgetfulness

The topic has always interested us.  In the modern world there are so many more things to remember.  But we have devices now, and they can provide cues in some context.    What are the best kinds of cues?  In Knowledge@Wharton.  With even some implications for retail.

Procter and Targeted Facebook

More on P&G's change in the use of targeted Facebook.

P&G Shakes Up Targeted Facebook Approach, Sparks Marketing Stir
Procter & Gamble announced yesterday the company has decided to scale back on their targeted Facebook advertisements, citing limited effectiveness.  The world's largest ad buyer will not cut back on the overall funding for Facebook advertisements, but instead will reduce the number of targeted ad buys. ,,, " 

Smart Cities, an IoT in Enterprise Introduction

Thingworx On Smart Cities.  A free e-book that requires registration:

" ... Current hype aside, the Internet of Things will ultimately become as fundamental as the Internet itself, with lots of opportunities and trials along the way. To help you navigate these choppy waters, this practical guide introduces a dedicated methodology for businesses preparing to transition towards IoT-based business models. With a set of best practices based on case study analysis, expert interviews, and the authors’ own experience, the Ignite | IoT Methodology outlined in this book delivers actionable guidelines to assist you with IoT strategy management and project execution. You’ll also find a detailed case study of a project fully developed with this methodology. ... " 

Using Anthropologic Thinking

In the HBR:  Using anthropology to get more our of social media.    We used anthropologists in the enterprise.  This article promotes more quantitative thinking than we typically saw from anthropology.  Something that may seem new:  'social listening' is something we had done for a long time.  Good introduction to the possibility of paying micro attention to conversations:

" ... There is something marketing managers seem to forget about the internet: it was made for people, not for companies and brands. As such, it offers managers a source of insight they never had — social listening.

Eavesdropping on consumers’ social-media chatter allows marketers to economically and regularly peer inside people’s lives as they are being lived, without introducing biases through direct interaction. Armed with traces of revealed opinions and behaviors, managers can at long last discover the manifestations and ripple effects of their actions on consumer behavior. Clear indications from marketing science underline how chatter affects sales, brand health, and even stock performance. Social listening competency will be critical to competitive advantage in the digital age. . .. "

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Innovation and the Language of the Corner Office

 Reminds of work we did to enhance executive information systems.   Back then and then later when we had more technology and live data to leverage.  Language is a big deal. And finally when we started to leverage AI concepts.   More digital now than ever.  Lots of threads in this blog on this, see tags below.   In Sloan Review:

When Innovation Meets the Language of the Corner Office  by Dave Rochlin

What are the best ways to tailor the language of innovation to the executive suite?

We have learned that innovation executives often feel poorly understood by their fellow executives. In turn, functional executives are often baffled by what they see and hear from their innovation teams.

This isn’t a big surprise. As with other business disciplines, innovation experts have their own language. Innovation processes now include journey mapping, need-finding, technology-scouting, business model canvasing, prototyping, design sprints, and more. While these processes and terms are becoming more widely used across organizations, they are not always fully embraced at the executive level. ... " 

Comparing Three Data Science Concepts

Nice quiz and a demonstration of the imprecision of the terms in use
AI vs Deep Learning vs Machine Learning   Posted by William Vorhies  
Summary:  Which of these terms means the same thing:  AI, Deep Learning, Machine Learning?  Are you sure?  While there’s overlap none of these is a complete subset of the others and none completely explains the others. ... " 

Neural Dust Health Sensors

In Cnet: Beyond Fitbit: 'Neural dust' puts invisible cyborg tech deep inside you ... New, tiny sensors could create superpowerful fitness trackers, move prosthetics forward and lead to treatments for conditions like epilepsy.  ... " 

Cooperative Robotics for Amazon

Like humans being augmented by AI, here in the physical world.

How Locus Robotics Plans to Build a Successor to Amazon's Kiva Robots
By Evan Ackerman

Locus’ robot is designed to work collaboratively with humans to fill orders in a warehouse. It’s a mobile base that can navigate autonomously using lidar to track its location in a pre-mapped area, with cameras and 2D barcodes for verification. Each robot knows the location of every item in the warehouse, and when an item needs to be picked for an order, the robot will navigate to that item and wait.

Humans workers are assigned to patrol warehouse zones, and when they see a robot waiting, the worker reads the item that it needs off the screen, picks it, and moves on. The robot then drives to the location of the next item that it needs, or heads for a shipping station. It’s a very efficient system, since humans aren’t carrying anything or having to roam all over a warehouse to fulfill one order: instead, they’re doing what they’re best at, which is identifying and picking objects off of shelves. ... " 

Towards Decision Networks

Of interest:  Decision Networks ...

  ...  Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series on Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 10:30 am ET US (9:30am CT, 7:30 am PT).  Our presenter this week is Nathan Wilson from Nara Logics, Inc. who will present "Biological Foundations for Deep Learning: Towards Decision Networks." 

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

Slides here.     More here: http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/      

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

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

IBM Global University Programs

Examples of AI in Marketing

Most of these are obvious, but I like them in a list.  They also are only AI in a limited sense.   Useful to think of every one of these for marketing applications.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monetizing Data, Considering Risk

Data as an asset is a continued exploration, mentioned many times here.  Our original view also looked at the risk of capturing and holding assets.  Negative valued assets.  Another view,   In SiliconAngle.

An Open Data Board Game

I like the idea of using games to show how systems work.  We used it to teach corporate and supply chain economics.  But it does not often work very well.   Not sure this one does either.   Seems like its aimed at teaching something else.  Some point about data itself being a universal solution.   But OK, its here, and you are free to try it.

You can now buy your own copy of Datopolis, the open data board game
Today the beta version of Datopolis, our open data board game, goes on sale via Gamecrafter for two weeks. Its creators Ellen Broad and Jeni Tennison tell the story behind it, how it was made and what you can expect from buying your very own copy.   By Ellen Broad and Jeni Tennison

Today we’re making the beta version of Datopolis, our open data board game, available for sale for two weeks. Don’t miss out!

What is Datopolis?
Datopolis is a board game about building things – services, websites, devices, apps and research – using closed and open data. It’s set in a town called Sheridan, which is gradually declining as shops close, teachers quit, hedgehogs go extinct and pollution rises. The tools that players build contribute to making Sheridan a healthier, wealthier, happier place to live.

There’s a short version and a long version of Datopolis. The short version is useful for team workshops and away days – it can be played within 20-30 minutes, and gets people comfortable talking to each other and negotiating to build tools with data. The longer version is for people who really enjoy playing board games – it has added role cards, plenty of bad things happening in Sheridan to contend with, and generally more complexity.  ... " 

Medical Systems are not Written from a Cognitive Perspective

Via Larry Smith in Cognitive Systems Institute.     Gets to how these systems need to be written to augment, hopefully improving the systems that they model.

" ... If you ever looked at the medical systems we use to manage patient care you may be surprised to discover they were not designed or aligned to how healthcare professionals think about medical issues. Their brains think one way while existing medical systems store and present information many times in a counterintuitive way. This difference is a critical issue that is at the epicenter of some of our most pressing healthcare challenges. If we truly want to tackle our healthcare challenges (e.g. comprehensive patient care, healthcare costs, etc.) we need to address how medical systems are designed to support our healthcare professionals who care for all of us in so many ways.  ... " 

Game Transfer Phenomenon

A new term for me.  Essentially means addictive engagement with games or even any computer screen activity.   To the agree they transfer out of reality.    Now being seen beyond the domain of 'games',  and has the potential of being seen in virtual reality scenarios.   Have seen this kind of warning played out many times, but because of the quality of interaction in modern systems. and the ability to have them around at all times, is this now epidemic and dangerous?

On game transfer phenomenon.   GTP  Will be updated.

Is AI Becoming Mainstream?

Good Bloomberg article.  It still depends on the definitions involved,  If by machine learning we mean better analytics, and if by AI, we mean more embedded logic in systems that improve business process, yes I agree.   But if we are expecting in-depth, broad context human insight and intelligence,  its just not mainstream yet.   There are lots of interesting examples emerging, but they still take considerable effort to put in place.  I have seen a number of new and impressive examples recently.   On the rise yes, one we need to watch closely, but an element of hype is now also in play.

Rise of artificial intelligence & machine learning
This analysis is by Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Anurag Rana, Caitlin Noselli, Anand Srinivasan, Eshani Gupte and Courtney Cytryn . It appeared first on the Bloomberg Terminal.

Artificial Intelligence Strives to Be Critical Software Element

Artificial intelligence is becoming more prominent in the software industry as demand for analytics is driven more by growth in both structured and unstructured data. IBM’s big bet on Watson, Microsoft’s increased focus on Cortana and recent product launches and acquisitions, from Amazon to Apple, suggest its rising importance. Self-driving cars are the next frontier as applications move beyond the technology industry. Funding and M&A in the segment will likely be strong in 2016.
Watson to Siri, Artificial Intelligence Learns to Be Mainstream

Artificial intelligence products ranging from personal assistants to cognitive platforms are becoming mainstream in the software industry. As software packages grow increasingly “smarter,” with more predictive capabilities, these products are changing the industry landscape. New frameworks to examine both structured and unstructured data and new systems that can digest large quantities of data are accelerating the development of artificial intelligence and its commercial use across all industries.   ... " 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Fundamentals of Evaluating Data Science Models

Via DSC: Good overview of the basic methods for evaluating models.  Posted by Sandeep Raut.  Not complete, but these are the fundamentals that every modeler should know and understand, and be able to explain to decision making management.  Also mentions how important it is to link these to the particulars of the business process that needs to be improved.   " ... In general, the assessment used should be closely matching the business objectives. Using the right metric can have more influence on you model performance than the algorithm you use.
 ... ".    Plus some links to more reading.  

Weka Mini Course

A 14 step mini course by Jason Brownlee on using the machine learning system Weka.  Notable because it uses no programming code.  Nice for those procedurally rather than code oriented.  I can see some people liking this approach to understand the concept of machine learning.   Though you can make the case that ultimately the approach should be understood technically to better detect errors in process.   Still I like the alternative.  Notably too, I have yet to see Weka used in the enterprise versus Python or R.

Real Pins for Pinterest

In AdWeek:  Pinterest's Real-World Pins Let In-Store Shoppers Save Real Items to Virtual Boards DM9DDB tests the app in Brazil's biggest furniture store By Tim Nudd

I like the deal of connecting the real world to the virtual.  Here is an interesting real world retail test example.  Not sure this would work.  Reminds me of tests we did that got people tactically involved with design layouts, which seemed to have better engagement.

Should Your Business Be in the Cloud?

Good, non technical overview of the positives and negatives of moving your business into the cloud, by Richard Smith.

The Robot You Really Want

Butlers, Bartenders, Maids, Window-washers, Clothes washing, drying and folding and putting them away.   Its not the specification of the tasks, but doing them physically in varying contexts in a home that remains hard.

The Robot You Want Most Is Far From Reality
Technology Review (08/10/16) Andrew Rosenblum

House-cleaning robots will surely be popular, but building one will be a daunting challenge, according to researchers. Such a robot would need to analyze the types of messes in a house, formulate and execute a plan for room-by-room cleaning, and handle unexpected events. Maya Cakmak, a professor at the University of Washington who earned a three-year, $400,000 grant from the National Robotics Initiative last year to research cleaning robots, says the task goes beyond getting a machine to hold a tool to some surface. 

"There's the angle, how much you're pushing and pressure you're applying, how fast you move it, how much you move it, and even the orientation [of the tool] relative to the dirt," she says. Cakmak is using a technique called "programming by demonstration" to train robots in her lab. The machines learn by mimicking a researcher who shows a cleaning method for the robot's vision system.

 Ilker Yildirim, an expert in computational models of cognition and perception at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believes machines will need to more fully understand their environment. Cakmak says designs for homes may need to be more machine-friendly and robots may need to be hackable by end users because every house is different. ... " 

Cisco and Retailer of the Future

In the Cisco Blog:

" ... More than ever before, today’s consumers have more options about what to buy and where to buy it. With each interaction, they choose which retailers they support with time, attention, personal data, dollars and social capital. That’s no small investment to make, and as a result customers turn to retailers and brands that not only sell the products they want, but deliver the end-to-end experience they want.

Working with our research partner PSFK, Inc., Cisco has identified four key capabilities that support the customer experience while enabling today’s digital transformation. We discuss these capabilities in a recent joint paper on the “Retailer of the Future.”  ... " 


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Wal-Mart and Jet

Podcast on Knowledge@Wharton:

" .... Wal-Mart this week brought more muscle to its competition with Amazon by buying online shopping site Jet.com. Wal-Mart Stores will pay $3.3 billion for the two-year-old Hoboken-based firm. Jet.com’s “gain sharing” business model revolves around persuading customers to bunch their orders and pass on the savings in shipping costs with lower price tags.

Opinions are sharply divided over the wisdom of Wal-Mart’s move. For many analysts, however, Wal-Mart’s eagerness to strengthen its online attractiveness is seen as the right driver to grow its business, even if its strategies to achieve that goal are debatable.  .. " 

Introduction to the AWS IoT Button

Had heard of this recently, but just started to take a look.   Like the Dash buttons I still have in test for retail.  Consider it for the simple acquisition of data for analytics.

Post by Mihai Corbuleac:

The AWS IoT button provides a very simple way to control different devices around the home or outside. The best part is that it is very easy to both install and use. It is fully supported by AWS which is increasingly the home to many different technologies and solutions. The integration makes it very easy to achieve complex tasks in a simple way. ... 

It makes IoT approachable for people

With the IoT button, IoT is no longer something which only experts can dabble in. Now, anyone who has programming skills can easily test out different IoT applications and create their own through the IoT button. You can set it up in your house easily with a few scripts and an active connection to AWS. You need to create the AWS IoT resources, configure your button and create rules. There are great guides available on the internet as well as software so you can hit the ground running with it.

Customize to your heart’s will

The problem with closed systems is that they do not let people get creative. There are already much more complex devices than the IoT button available to purchase but most of them use a closed architecture which you and I cannot access or customize. Only limited development is possible on the terms of the device’s manufacturer. The IoT button, on the other hand, is pretty much customizable.   ... "