Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Sound the Same Droids

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Google is now making its lightweight version of the Google search app to all Android users globally.

TechCrunch reports that “Google Go” takes up a lot less space on phones — just over 7MB — and includes offline features for those with slow/intermitten Internet connections. Google claims SERPs are optimized to save up to 40% data.

New version also includes trending topics, voice search, image and GIF search, easy language switching, and AI-powered text-to-speech for reading pages aloud. Google Lens is also included, which lets users point their camera at objects and bring up relevant info.

I used a similar feature, Google Translate, on my recent trip to Mexico City. Many of the museum items only had Spanish placards, so when the lighting was right I could hold up Google Translate and get real-time Spanish to English translations. It was like magic.

Also on the Goog front…if you weren’t really all that into diagramming sentences when you were in grade school, VentureBeat reports that G Suite users are about to get spelling and grammar correction tools in Gmail that will offer corrections as you type.

So now we can all spell and write and grammatify exactly the same so we all sound like exactly the same Droids!

Written by turbotodd

August 21, 2019 at 10:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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TPS Reports Get AIed

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Interesting case studies are starting to emerge around AI.

One in particular I read about was Airbus SE, which The Wall Street Journal reported is using AI to squeeze cost out of its finance function.

The article reports that less than half of companies’ accounts payable activity worldwide is currently automated, according to the CFO Consulting practice at Accenture Strategy. That number is expected to rise to 80% by 2025.

Less than two years ago for Airbus Americas employees would review about 25,000 travel and expense reports filed by employees in Texas every year. Manual processing could take up to an hour to review.

The new system developed by AppZen matches reports against a repository of accepted vendors, expense types and amounts to spot anomalies. Now humans only review details seen as “noncompliant," which the Journal article reports is only one or two lines in a 30-line report.

If the report’s a go, it’s automatically validated and payment initiated, and if it’s flagged noncompliant, high risk reports are blocked from payment and reviewed by a human analyst.

Bottom line: Airbus’ initial investment of $50,000 paid off and resulted another $50,000 savings in year one, and they expect to save $100K this year and $200K in 2020.

You can learn more about some other AI cases here.

Written by turbotodd

August 20, 2019 at 1:46 pm

Posted in 2019, AI, artificial intelligence

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Texas Two Step

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CNBC is reporting that Twitter and Facebook have suspended numerous accounts they say are tied to a Chinese disinformation campaign against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Twitter indicated it had suspended 936 accounts likely related to the activity, and that the information was designed to sow political discord in Hong Kong. Facebook removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts, one of which had 15,500 followers.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, the computer systems of 23 small Texas towns have been seized and held for ransom in a widespread, coordinated cyberattack, according to a report from The New York Times.

Texas’ Department of Information Resources was “racing to bring systems back online” after the attack, and it was unclear who was responsible but that the state had described the attacker as “one single threat actor.”

Last year, there were 54 publicly reported attacks on city, county/state governments, court systems, emergency services, and school districts in Texas. So far this year there have been 61 (excluding these most recent attacks).

Now comes that lingering question: Pay the ransom and get your systems back, or lose a lot of data, time, and resources and possibly rebuild from scratch?!

You can learn more about IBM Security solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

August 20, 2019 at 9:41 am

Posted in 2019, cybersecurity, twitter

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Brave New World

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Happy Monday. Bloomberg is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook made a “very compelling argument’
that Apple might lose its edge to Samsung because due to tariffs on Chinese goods. 

China’s apparently moving on, with The Verge reporting that Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are collaborating on an AirDrop-style wireless file transfer protocol that will work between their devices with speeds of up to 20 MB/s. If you will, the Great Wireless Wall of China.

Also news on the crytocurrency front: Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has launched a crypto exchange for trading in bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash. And, Accenture is reporting that global fintech investments have dropped as Chinese fundraising has fallen sharply.

The U.S. remains the world’s biggest fintech market with $12.7B in first-half fundraising — such investments in China were at $820M, a huge fall from the $17.7B raised a year earlier.

Why the big drop? Increased U.S. scrutiny of foreign investments in the U.S., restrictions on Chinese firms’ access to U.S. tech, Huawei’s blacklisting, fears of a global recession and declining business capx investment (among others).

It’s a brave (and never boring) new world.

Written by turbotodd

August 19, 2019 at 10:34 am

Posted in 2019, apple, china, fintech

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Growing Wearables

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The wearables market is growing in North America, with Apple Watches continuing to lead the pack in shipments.

According to a report in VentureBeat, research firm Canalys cites in a new report that the market is now segmenting into two sweet spots, $200 to $299, and $400 to $499.

These two together now represent 60% of all shipments, and Apple also sent over 60% of its 4.7M global Apple Watch shipments to North America (a 32% quarter-over-quarter growth).

The $500+ market seems to have contracted significantly, and the $700+ market saw very few shipments.

Notably, Apple’s Airpods and Watches did not get a break in President Trump’s latest tariff reprieve for China (while laptops and cellphones did).

Be smart about what you ask Santa for for Christmas this year!

Written by turbotodd

August 16, 2019 at 9:50 am

WeIPO

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WeWork is finally gonna go public. The company filed today to raise $1B, and reported a $904M net loss on around $1.5B in 1H19. You people gotta start showing up to the WeWorks offices so the WeWorkers can WeWin.

The company has raised over $8B in venture capital since its 2010 founding, so it’s payback time!

For you sports fans out there, you might want to take a second look at Twitter. The company is now testing on Android a way for users to follow interests, as opposed to just other users.

This one is so long overdue it makes my head hurt. However, before you go off RTing, know that the topics will be curated by Twitter and the individual curated Tweets identified by the Russians…err, I mean, by the algos versus editors.

And know that during the time you were reading this post, Nvidia was out breaking more AI land speed records. Specifically, it broke the hour mark in training BERT, one of the world’s most advanced AI language models. Nvidia’s AI platform was able to train the model in just 53 minutes using one of its SuperPOD systems, which consists of 92 Nvidia DGX-2H systems running 1,472 V100 GPUs.

Who said talking to machines is a waste of time!?

Written by turbotodd

August 14, 2019 at 10:06 am

No Debate

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If you didn’t hear about IBM’s Project Debater earlier in the year when it debated a real live (and really smart) human, here’s your chance to learn more about what you missed out on the first time around.

Reader’s D: Project Debater uses machine learning and AI to form arguments and rebuttals in debates with humans. The technology was developed over a 6 1/2-year period, and drew on expertise in fields ranging from philosophy to NLP.

One of my favorite must read emails, “Morning Brew,” has a derivative called “Emerging Tech Brew,” and they just added some more color to the Project Debater palate:

“Six months ago, Debater squared off with a top-ranked human counterpart on the merits of preschool subsidies. Though the AI system lost, it strung together minutes-long speeches, crafted a rebuttal, delivered its points persuasively, and even cracked some jokes.”

What’s next:

“IBM’s not scheduling any rematches soon. Now, it’s “pursuing other directions to commercialize the technology and further the science,” [IBM Researcher Noam] Slonim said. That means converting the advanced research into language-comprehension tech for large companies.

There’s no debate in my mind whatsoever it’s a big step up in the field of AI.

Written by turbotodd

August 13, 2019 at 3:59 pm

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