Turbotodd

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

Archive for April 2017

IBM Brings Anaconda Open Data Science Platform To IBM Cognitive Systems

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IBM announced today that it is working with Continuum Analytics to offer Anaconda, a leading Open Data Science platform, on IBM Cognitive Systems.   Anaconda will also integrate with the PowerAI software distribution for machine learning and deep learning that makes it simple and fast to take advantage of Power performance and GPU optimization for data intensive cognitive workloads.

As one of the fastest growing fields of machine learning, deep learning makes it possible to process enormous datasets with millions or even billions of elements and extract useful predictive models. Deep learning is transforming the businesses of leading consumer Web and mobile application companies, and it is quickly being adopted by more traditional business enterprises as well.

IBM developed PowerAI to accelerate enterprise adoption of open-source machine and deep learning frameworks used to build cognitive applications.

PowerAI reduces the complexity and risk of deploying these open source frameworks for enterprises on the Power architecture and is tuned for high performance. With PowerAI, clients can realize the benefit of enterprise support on IBM Cognitive Systems HPC platforms used in the most demanding commercial, academic and hyperscale environments.

These Cognitive Systems are built with IBM’s POWER8 leveraging NVIDIA’s high-speed NVLink interface to NVIDIA’s Tesla Pascal P100 GPU accelerators. The CPU to GPU and GPU to GPU NVLink high bandwidth connections give a performance boost to deep learning and analytics applications. The CPU to GPU NVLink interface is only available on POWER8 CPUs.

“Anaconda is an important capability for developers building cognitive solutions, and now it’s available on IBM’s high performance deep learning platform,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president of Cognitive Systems. “Anaconda on IBM Cognitive Systems empowers developers and data scientists to build and deploy deep learning applications that are ready to scale.”

The Anaconda platform brings powerful capabilities for large-scale data processing, predictive analytics, and scientific computing to simplify package management and deployment. Developers using open source ML/DL components will now be able to use Power as the deployment platform and take advantage of Power optimization & GPU differentiation for NVIDIA. 

Written by turbotodd

April 17, 2017 at 8:56 am

Posted in 2017, AI, anaconda, cognitive, power

Home of the Whopper Fail?

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“Okay Google, what is the Whopper Burger?”

And that is how the gauntlet was thrown down on the new battlefield yesterday for garnering advertising eyes…errr, ears… in the home assistant device age.

The very same company that encouraged Facebookers to delete their Facebook friends just to get a free burger, and whose mascot who strangly appeared in the corridor with Justin Bieber just before the Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather fight, has taken guerrilla marketing into the AI age.

First, a little on how Google Home works. Like it’s progenitor, Google Home has a trigger phrase whereby it starts to listen to its owner. In Google’s case, it’s “Okay Google…” followed by the person’s request.

So Burger King figured it would get some free digital media by building some TV ads that made a call out to the Google Home device, whereby it said “Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?”

To which one would logically ask, from whence came the answer?

In Burger King’s case, reports The Verge, they decided to use the Wikipedia entry, which Burger King apparently edited to read as follows:

“The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100 percent beef with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame-seed bun.”
– via The Verge

Never mind the fact, The Verge observes, that it sounds an awful lot like ad copy, or that just about anybody (Ronald McDonald, anyone?) could go and edit it on a whim.

To make this even more “meta,” the “Whopper Burger” Wikipedia entry now has a reference to this whole escapade:

On April 12, 2017, Burger King released a new commercial, in which an employee states that he had to find a different way to explain a Whopper because they only had 15 seconds, after which he states “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?”. The dialogue was designed to trigger voice searches on Android devices and Google Home smart speakers configured to automatically respond to the phrase “OK Google”.[81] The specific query causes the device to read out a snippet sourced from Wikipedia’s article on the Whopper. However, prior to the ad’s premiere, the article had been edited by a user who was believed to have ties to the company, so that Google’s automatically-generated response to the query would be a detailed description of the Whopper burger that utilized promotional language. The edits were reverted for violating Wikipedia’s policies discouraging “shameless self-promotion”.[82][83] Furthermore, the snippet became the target of vandalism; at one point, the relevant section listed the sandwich’s ingredients as including “rat meat” and “toenail clippings”, and some users reported that Google Home had relayed information from vandalized revisions.[84][85][81] A few hours later, Google disabled the ability for the ad to trigger automatic voice detection on these devices, preventing the promotional query from being read. Wikipedia also semi-protected the Whopper article to prevent the promotional descriptions or vandalism from being re-inserted.[84]
– via en.wikipedia.org

I kind of gave away the denouement there at the end — Google caught on to the cunning King of the Burger and, before it could spend all that money from all those hard-earned Whoppers on its TV media buy, whose spots would set Google Home assistants a burgerin’ across the country, Google disabled the ability for the ad to trigger the automatic voice detection.

“Okay Burger King, what do you do now???”

I guess they can just bask in the glory of their short-lived PR stunt, which brought far more attention to the Whopper than any Google Home assistant was ever likely to land.

Then again, the ultimate joke may just be on Google. The good Burger King PR for being so clever could very well rub off negatively on the broader home assistant market.

Burger King, I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a Google Home assistant today.

And for the record, all this craziness is precisely why I bought the Amazon Tap, the device that we humans have to hit a button to actually turn the thing on.

You know, that old-fashioned idea of the man actually controlling the machine?

Written by turbotodd

April 13, 2017 at 9:07 am

The Weather Company and Lyft Collaborate On Personalized Recommendations

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The Weather Company, an IBM Business, announced today that it has collaborated with Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and the popular ride-sharing service Lyft to provide Made for Samsung app users with personalized transportation recommendations.

The new integration syncs Google calendar events with forecasts for a user’s selected location, providing the forecast for those specific events as well as the ability to get a Lyft to the event if they choose to do so.

As part of this seamless experience, Made for Samsung App users will see a Lyft section in their event card. When a user clicks on the Lyft section they will be directed to the Lyft app (or the app store if the Lyft app is not installed) to book their ride. 

As one of the initial launch partners of the Made for Samsung Developer Program last year, The Weather Channel collaborated with Samsung to co-develop a unique weather experience. The Weather Channel for Samsung app is an exclusive app designed for Samsung smartphones, including the soon-to-be-released Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, as well as Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, and Galaxy Note5.

With the expansion of the platform, The Weather Channel invites service providers to connect with its users in a new and engaging way by helping them better understand people’s needs throughout their day.

“We know that weather can impact many areas of our lives and our users check our site and apps multiple times a day for the latest information. With this in mind, we want to seamlessly connect multiple services to help our users efficiently navigate the elements, streamline travel activities and potentially save time and money by providing them with the right information at the right time during their day,” said Domenic Venuto, general manager, consumer division, The Weather Company. “This is a great example of how we’re delivering on our goal to instill confidence and actively help people make better decisions.”

“With this integration with the Samsung mobile app and The Weather Company, we’re able to help users get from one place to another quickly and safely in varying weather conditions,” said Insiya Lokhandwala, director of strategic partnerships, Lyft. “We’re excited to collaborate with The Weather Channel on this new feature to provide users with enhanced service and travel experiences.”

The Lyft integration feature is now accessible for app users within the U.S., while The Weather Channel for Samsung App is accessible globally within the Galaxy Apps store.

Written by turbotodd

April 12, 2017 at 9:15 am

Posted in 2017, ibm, lyft, ridesharing, weather

Another Spanish Green Jacket

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If you’re a golf fan of any degree, and you watched the finish of the 2017 Masters in Augusta, Georgia yesterday, you know that once again it was a special Sunday finish for longtime Spanish pro golfer, Sergio Garcia.

Up to yesterday, Garcia had started in 73 major championship tournaments stretching back to 1999, and had never crossed the finish line first.

That all changed in a one-hole sudden death playoff after he, and English golfer and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, walked the 18th hole for the second time in a day. With Rose’s drive off to the far right side of the 18th fairway and into the pine straw, the green nearly hidden from view, Sergio had his opportunity to strike.

And boy did he, planting his approach inside ten feet of the flag, and eagerly awaiting Rose’s bogey finish before Garcia sank his birdie putt to put an exclamation point on his strong finish.

That it all happened on what would have been the 60th birthday of now deceased Spanish golfer and two-time Masters winner, and Garcia’s idol, Seve Ballasteros …well, it writes itself.

I had occasion to visit Augusta National and the Masters for the first time last week, and as a longtime fan and player of the game of golf, I will only say nothing can prepare you for the real thing.

I’ve watched the tournament on TV and virtually for the better part of 20 years — ever since IBM first started building the Masters Website — and the undulations and diverse topography of the course are something that can only be fully grokked in person. It is, in a word, simply majestic.

And par for the course, IBM continues to partner with Augusta National in order to bring the best of this world-class competition to fans around the world.

This year, we brought Watson along for a tee time — you can read more about Watson’s work behind the scenes here.

In the meantime, congratulations to Sergio, and Viva Espagna!

Another fantastic Masters is in the bag.

Written by turbotodd

April 10, 2017 at 9:04 am

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