Insight

Forging Ahead in the New AI Economy

"Forge Ahead" photo of arrow on pavementWe are seeing the beginning of the new artificial intelligence economy. This has many parallels to the infrastructure-as-a-service wave led by Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provided the world with access to highly-scalable compute capacity. AI technologies are being exposed as core infrastructure via the cloud, enabling companies to build smarter applications and services.

If you think you aren’t already a part of the AI economy, think again. Most of us are already participating through our interaction with popular applications and services. For example, Google Maps uses AI technology to better understand Street View images to give more accurate directions; and both Siri and Google Now use a combination of speech recognition, language understanding, and predictive modeling to act as digital personal assistants.

So the big question is: why now? Historically, AI technologies have been limited by a lack of data, insufficient compute capability, and poor algorithms. We’re now witnessing the convergence of three major forces: ready access to massive data, highly scalable on-demand compute capability, and a number of core algorithmic breakthroughs that enable us to better train robust AI systems. This is a perfect storm that has resulted in significant advances in computers’ ability to understand text, images, video, and speech. Read more

Want a music suggestion? Just ask DJ Twitter.

screen shot of a seevl hack in action via Alexandre Passant.Alexandre Passant, founder of seevl, which we have covered before, has hacked together a cool proof of concept. He describes the project as using “Twitter As A Service,” and it leverages Twitter, YouTube, and the seevl API. As Passant describes, “The result is a twitter bot, running under our @seevl handle, which accepts a few (controlled) natural-language queries and replies with an appropriate track, embedded in a Tweet via a YouTube card.”

He continues, “As it’s all Twitter-based, not only you can send messages, but you can have a conversation with your virtual DJ.”

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Tim Berners-Lee: What Kind of Internet Do We Want

timbernersleeExchange Magazine recently wrote, “Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web 25 years ago. So it’s worth a listen when he warns us: There’s a battle ahead. Eroding net neutrality, filter bubbles and centralizing corporate control all threaten the web’s wide-open spaces. It’s up to users to fight for the right to access and openness. The question is, What kind of Internet do we want? Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. He leads the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), overseeing the Web’s standards and development.” Read more

Colorado Learns about The Internet of Things

Still image from the video about Internet of Things (source: New York Times)The Denver Post recently reported that, “After a strong earthquake rattled Napa Valley early Sunday, California device maker Jawbone found out how many of its UP wristband users were shaken from their sleep and stayed up. About 93 percent of its customers within 15 miles of Napa, Calif., didn’t go back to sleep after the 6.0 quake struck at 3:20 a.m., said Andrew Rosenthal, senior product engineer for wellness at Jawbone. But what use could come from that information? “Why not tell people to go to work at 11 a.m. on Monday,” he said. The anecdote represents just one example of information being generated by what technologists call “The Internet of Things,” a topic Rosenthal and other panelists discussed Tuesday at the Colorado Innovation Network Summit in Denver. The summit continues Wednesday at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.”.

The article also states, “As recently as 2005, most households had “The Internet of Thing” — a desktop or laptop computer connected to the Internet, said Eric Schaefer, general manager of communications, data and mobility for Comcast Communications.

By 2010, “The Internet of Wireless Things” started to appear with the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets. The next phase is what Schaefer called “The Internet of Disjointed Things.” Schaefer described one co-worker who has 25 applications to run items in his home, many on different platforms. He predicts that those systems, by 2020, will communicate and operate with one another and be everywhere, a trend that ever-increasing broadband capacity will allow.”

Read more here.

Combining Connectivity with Cognitive Computing

Photo of David LoshinA recent report from David Loshin states, “As our world becomes more attuned to the generation, and more importantly, the use of massive amounts of data, information technology (IT) professionals are increasingly looking to new technologies to help focus on deriving value from the velocity of data streaming from a wide variety of data sources. The breadth of the internet and its connective capabilities has enabled the evolution of the internet of things (IoT), a dynamic ecosystem that facilitates the exchange of information among a cohort of devices organized to meet specific business needs. It does this through a growing, yet intricate interconnection of uniquely identifiable computing resources, using the internet’s infrastructure and employing internet protocols. Extending beyond the traditional system-to-system networks, these connected devices span the architectural palette, from traditional computing systems, to specialty embedded computer modules, down to tiny micro-sensors with mobile-networking capabilities.”

Loshin added, “In this paper, geared to the needs of the C-suite, we’ll explore the future of predictive analytics by looking at some potential use cases in which multiple data sets from different types of devices contribute to evolving models that provide value and benefits to hierarchies of vested stakeholders. We’ll also introduce the concept of the “insightful fog,” in which storage models and computing demands are distributed among interconnected devices, facilitating business discoveries that influence improved operations and decisions. We’ll then summarize the key aspects of the intelligent systems that would be able to deliver on the promise of this vision.”

The full report, “How IT can blend massive connectivity with cognitive computing to enable insights” is available for download for a fee.

Read more here.

5 Ways to Add Machine Learning Java

javaSerdar Yegulalp of InfoWorld recently wrote, “After spending decades in the shadows as a specialty discipline, machine learning is suddenly front and center as a business tool. The hard part, though, is making it useful, especially to the developers and budding data scientists who are being tasked with the job. To that end, we rounded up some of the most common and useful open source machine learning tools we’ve spotted in the wild.” Read more

Alex Dayon of Salesforce.com on the Internet of Things

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Bruce Rogers of Forbes recently wrote, “There is a wave of digital disruption coming at CMOs from all fronts. The world has shifted over the past five years, mostly because of the emergence of the ‘internet of things’–a world where nearly everyone and everything is interconnected in a web enabled network. But according to Alex Dayon, former co-founder of Business Objects and now president of Salesforce.com’s applications and platform products, ‘we could call ourselves the ‘internet of customers’ because we’ve always connected devices and apps. It means there’s a customer behind it. By 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices. And behind every device, whether it’s a smartphone, a car, a toothbrush, or a light bulb, there is a customer’.” Read more

Why the Resume is Outdated

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Terence Tse, Mark Esposito, and Olaf Groth of the Harvard Business Review write, “While we are surrounded by a wave of new disruptive technologies and apps, HR still hasn’t improved how it evaluates the prospective workforce. Traditional hiring processes that revolve around CVs are no longer sufficient – they don’t pinpoint the right qualities demanded of leaders today, and their dated criteria obscures many talented individuals from even hitting the radar. There is nothing inherently wrong with resumes – they highlight applicants’ past achievements and experience. But while CVs are good at showcasing formal skills, they’re not very useful for identifying values and behavior.” Read more

Why the Role of the Data Scientist is Growing

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Kevin Casey of Information Week recently wrote, “Old-school organizations will fuel the next swell of data-driven initiatives in IT. So what’s in store for the early movers and, specifically, their big-data professionals? How will the data scientist and similar roles evolve? ‘The role is becoming bigger,’ said Olly Downs, chief scientist at big-data analytics firm Globys, in a recent interview. By bigger, he means in every way — what was once a niche is now, at least in some companies, a driving force.” Read more

The Future of Personalization

[Editor's Note: This guest article comes to us from Dr. Nathan Wilson, CTO of Nara. ]

Photo of Thomas Jefferson statue and modern person with smart device The Problem: Information has run amok.

There once was a time when the busiest and greatest minds –the Jeffersons, Hemingways and Darwins – would have time in their day for long walks, communion with nature, and leisurely handwritten correspondence. Today we awaken each day to an immediate cacophony of emails, tweets, websites and apps that are too numerous to navigate with full consciousness. Swimming in wires, pixels, data bits, and windows with endless tabs is toxic to you and to me, and the problem continues to escalate.

How do you connect to this teeming network without electrocuting your brain? “Filtering” is a simple, but ultimately blinding, approach that shields us from important swaths of knowledge. “Forgetting faster” is potentially a valid solution, but also underserves our mindfulness.

A History of Attempted Solutions So Far: How have we tried to solve information glut so far, and why is each solution inadequate?

Phase 1 – The Web as a Linnaean Taxonomy (1994-2000)

The first method to deal with our information explosion came in “Web 1.0” when portals like Yahoo! arose to elegantly categorize information that you could explore at your leisure. For instance, one could find information on the New England Patriots by following a trail of breadcrumbs from “Sports” to “Football” to “AFC East” and finally “New England Patriots” where you were presented with a list of topical websites.

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