Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category
It was a big weekend in music… and in artificial intelligence.
Ford Motor Company announced that it had made Detroit’s biggest investment yet in self-driving technology, acquiring a majority stake in artificial intelligence startup Argo AI for $1 billion.
Silicon Angle reported that Argo was founded by veterans of self-driving car projects at Google and Uber, and that Argo AI will become a subsidiary of Ford under the new deal.
“As Ford expands to be an auto and a mobility company, we believe that investing in Argo AI will create significant value for our shareholders by strengthening Ford’s leadership in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term and by creating technology that could be licensed to others in the future,” said Ford President and Chief Executive Mark Fields.
– via SiliconANGLE
On a related AI front, Chorus.ai, a sound-centric AI firm looking to extract insights from audio, garnered a $16M Series A.
TechCrunch is reporting that Chorus will join conference calls, record and transcribe content in real-time, and then have its platform flag important action items and topics that came up over the duration of calls.
At press time, it was not yet clear what Chorus.ai would make of toilet sounds flushing in the background for those individuals who forgot to go on mute, but this blogger suspects it could lead to a whole other content types with respect to conference call actions.
IBM today announced that it broke the U.S. patent record with 8,088 patents granted to its inventors in 2016, marking the 24th consecutive year of innovation leadership.
IBM’s 2016 patent output covers a diverse range of inventions in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, cognitive health, cloud, cybersecurity and other strategic growth areas for the company.
IBM inventors were granted more than 22 patents per day in 2016, enabling the company to become the first to surpass 8,000 patents in a single year. IBM researchers, engineers, and designers generated more than 2,700 patents for inventions related to AI, cognitive computing and cloud computing.
More than 8,500 IBM inventors residing in 47 states and territories and 47 countries are responsible for IBM’s record-setting 2016 patent tally. IBM inventors based in New York received over 2,700 patents, while IBMers based in California and Texas were granted over 1,000 patents each.
The United States is home to more than half of IBM’s $5.4 billion annual investment in research and development. This substantial commitment to unlocking new technologies is what has long propelled IBM into new markets, allowing it to create value for clients and opportunity for its employees, including the 25,000 Americans the company has pledged to hire over the next four years.
IBM made a significant announcement earlier today concerning new technologies designed to help companies and governments tackle Big Data by making it simpler, faster and more economical to analyze massive amounts of data. The new data acceleration innovation results in as much as 25 times faster reporting and analytics.
Today’s announcement, which represents the work of hundreds of IBM developers and researchers in labs around the world, includes an industry-first innovation called “BLU Acceleration,” which combines a number of techniques to dramatically improve analytical performance and simplify administration.
Also announced was the new IBM PureData System for Hadoop, designed to make it easier and faster to deploy Hadoop in the enterprise. Hadoop is the game-changing open-source software used to organize and analyze vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, such as posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, online transaction records, and cell phone location data.
The new system can reduce from weeks to minutes the ramp-up time organizations need to adopt enterprise-class Hadoop technology with powerful, easy-to-use analytic tools and visualization for both business analysts and data scientists.
In addition, it provides enhanced Big Data tools for monitoring, development and integration with many more enterprise systems.
IBM Big Data Innovations: More Accessible, Enterprise-ready
As organizations grapple with a flood of structured and unstructured data generated by computers, mobile devices, sensors and social networks, they’re under unprecedented pressure to analyze much more data at faster speeds and at lower costs to help deepen customer relationships, prevent threat and fraud, and identify new revenue opportunities.
BLU Acceleration enables users to have much faster access to key information, leading to better decision-making. The software extends the capabilities of traditional in-memory systems — which allows data to be loaded into Random Access Memory instead of hard disks for faster performance — by providing in-memory performance even when data sets exceed the size of the memory.
During testing, some queries in a typical analytics workload were more than 1000 times faster when using the combined innovations of BLU Acceleration.
Innovations in BLU Acceleration include “data skipping,” which allows the ability to skip over data that doesn’t need to be analyzed, such as duplicate information; the ability to analyze data in parallel across different processors; and greater ability to analyze data transparently to the application, without the need to develop a separate layer of data modeling.
Another industry-first advance in BLU Acceleration is called “actionable compression,” where data no longer has to be decompressed to be analyzed.
Not IBM’s First Big Data Rodeo
The new offerings expand what is already the industry’s deepest portfolio of Big Data technologies and solutions, spanning software, services, research and hardware. The IBM Big Data platform combines traditional data warehouse technologies with new Big Data techniques, such as Hadoop, stream computing, data exploration, analytics and enterprise integration, to create an integrated solution to address these critical needs.
IBM PureData System for Hadoop is the next step forward in IBM’s overall strategy to deliver a family of systems with built-in expertise that leverages its decades of experience reducing the cost and complexity associated with information technology.
This new system integrates IBM InfoSphere BigInsights, which allows companies of all sizes to cost-effectively manage and analyze data and add administrative, workflow, provisioning and security features, along with best-in-class analytical capabilities from IBM Research.
Today’s announcement also includes the following new versions of IBMs Big Data solutions:
- A new version of InfoSphere BigInsights, IBM’s enterprise-ready Hadoop offering, which makes it simpler to develop applications using existing SQL skills, compliance security and high availability features vital for enterprise applications. BigInsights offers three entry points: free download, enterprise software and now an expert integrated system, IBM PureData System for Hadoop.
- A new version of InfoSphere Streams, unique “stream computing” software that enables massive amounts of data in motion to be analyzed in real-time, with performance improvements, and simplified application development and deployment.
- A new version of Informix including TimeSeries Acceleration for operational reporting and analytics on smart meter and sensor data.
Pricing and Availability
All offerings are available in Q2, except the PureData System for Hadoop, which will start shipping to customers in the second half 2013. Credit-qualified clients can take advantage of simple, flexible lease and loan packages with no up-front payments for the software and systems that deliver a new generation of data analytics.
IBM Global Financing offers attractive leasing programs with 90-day payment deferrals for the PureData System for Hadoop, as well as zero percent loans for the broader portfolio of IBM big data solutions.
Scott Laningham and I first met around six years ago at SXSW Interactive. Scott was already well known for his developerWorks podcast series and blog, and he was walking around the conference talking to people, so we decided to sit down and do a podcast discussing all the cool things we’d seen and learned about during the conference.
It was the beginning of a wonderful and still ongoing collaboration, and since that time, Scott and I have shared the stage at numerous IBM conferences, interviewing industry luminaries, IBM executives and business partners, and other thought leaders.
But we always come back to SXSW Interactive. And so it was with 2013.
Scott and I sat down on Friday via Skype and chatted for nearly 30 minutes about all the interesting things we heard and learned about at this year’s event, the first time it reached over 30,000 attendees.
Some would say SouthBy has jumped the shark. I’m not so sure. I joked early on in the event last week that perhaps it had jumped a few dolphins.
Has it gotten a lot more crowded? Absolutely.
Has it stretched the outer limits of Austin’s hotel and transportation capacity? Without question.
Do you have to wait in long lines stretching halfway around the Austin Convention Center just to see a keynote? Yes yes yes.
And to my mind, it’s still worth every minute.
P.S. Scott has also established a new blog, which you can find right here on WordPress.
The way I see it, former elected U.S. president Al Gore and digital payments guru and solar/space explorer Elon Musk would have it one of two ways: Either we get our act together on Planet Earth and stop treating it as a discardable TV dinner, or we get on some rocket ships and get the %#*&#$ outta here!
Of course, space travel’s still a little too expensive for the average joe, considering our recent income disparities here in the U.S., so I suspect for now most of us really don’t have much of a choice but to stay here.
Mother Earth, we’re stuck with you, and it looks like you’re stuck with us!
Gore’s talk was the kind that made you want to go ahead and just put a gun to your head and pull the trigger. But with all this gun control talk, that’s about to become less of an option.
Orrrr, you can take a more positive and upbeat view of the world, and reason that since we created many of these problems, we oughta be able to lick ’em.
Gore’s latest book entitled The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change outlines just that, and Wall Street Journal technology editor Walter Mossberg sat onstage with Gore on Saturday to walk through some of those changes.
Gore explained the idea of “Earth Inc,” whereby we are realizing a “new stage of economic globalization with much tighter linkages and nexuses globally,” and that we have a “new relationship to the natural factors of production: labor, capital, natural resources.”
Think outsourcing, remote sourcing, robosourcing, rightsizing, and all that good stuff, and you get the general gist.
He also discussed the emergence of what he called “the global mind,” or the connections of thoughts and feelings of billions of people to each other and other devices (and vast databases…and sensors…and so on).
On this meme, he told an hilarious story about Swiss dairy cows which, with embedded sensors, are able to convey to their ranch overseers when they come into heat (for optimal reproduction). The first instance, Gore joked, of “interspecies sexting.”
Who said the former President doesn’t have a great sense of humor?
Of course, all that data and all those sensors could also lead to a stalker economy, and Gore didn’t shy away from the dark side of his six predictions.
For example, the idea that our democracy has been “hacked” and that Washington, D.C., and public policy, are now completely controlled by the moneyed interests on K Street. “The Congress is utterly incapable of passing any legislation,” Gore asserted, “unless it was approved by the special interests.”
Gore also warned us that we’re rapidly outgrowing the idea of growth, something Doug Rushkoff reminded us of in his session on “Present Future.” We’ve enslaved ourselves in outmoded economic transaction models, one that don’t take into account our ever over-social-mediated, present-oriented present tense, a tense most of us don’t even bother living in anymore (Think about all those folks who ignore you at dinner whilst they disappear into cyberland on their iPhones).
So what’s the antithesis, we all become a new collective of philistine Unabombers?
Nothing that dramatic. Well, not unless you’re Elon Musk.
The founder of SpaceX joked early in his interview with Chris Anderson on Saturday that “I’d like to die on Mars…just not on impact.”
Could we have a virtual, trans-universal drum roll, please?
Musk extolled on the “how’s” of going into space, and how his plans include building multi-stage rockets that are re-usable, thereby making space exploration more cost-effective.
He also indicated that he’s “all in,” having put most of his fortune into Tesla (his electric car company), SpaceX (his space company), and Solar City (to try and capture energy from the sun just in case things don’t work out so well on Mars?)
But Musk never left me really understanding *why* he so desperately wanted to leave Planet Earth? Was he trying to escape alimony payments from his first ex-wife? Did he want to mine the asteroids? Did the CIA want to speak with him about his attempt to purchase Russian ICBMs back in 2001?
If Elon couldn’t explain the need to get our asses (and assets) into outer space, Dr. Mae Jemison and her Star Trek-studded crew (including LeVar Burton) on the 100YSS mission certainly could!
An abbreviation for “100 Year Starship,” agree with it or not, 100YSS’s mission is clear: To make the capability of human travel beyond our solar system a reality within the next 100 years.”
Not for its own sake, mind you, but to “identify and push the radical leaps in knowledge and technology needed to achieve interstellar flight…” Pause one second…Anddddd…”while pioneering and transforming breakthrough applications that enhance the quality of life for all on Earth.”
Finally! A space bound mission with a realistic and practical hedge that I could get behind!
Hey boys and girls, we can certainly go across the universe in search of Marvin The Martian, but just in case we either A. Can’t get there or B. can’t find the elusive little bastard, let’s make sure we learn something that could help the people left back here on the home planet.
Imagine, Dr. Jemison suggested, what it would take to figure out in terms of energy production to get us to the nearest star (which, she reminded us, is a mind bogglingly long ways away). All that technology would have profound implications for use back here on earth.
“Pursuing an extraordinary tomorrow,” Jamison extolled, “creates a better world today.”
From your lips, Dr. Jamison, to the U.S. Congress’ ears.
Well, the introduction of the BlackBerry 10 OS has come and gone, Research In Motion renamed itself as “BlackBerry,” the new company announced two new products, and the market mostly yawned.
Then again, many in the market seemed to find something to love about either the new interface and/or the new devices. David Pogue, the New York Time’s technology columnist (who typically leans towards being a Machead), wrote a surprisingly favorable review . Then again today, he opined again in a post entitled “More Things To Love About The BlackBerry 10.”
With that kind of ink, don’t vote the tribe from Ottawa off of the island just yet!
As I pondered the fate of the BlackBerry milieu, it struck me I hadn’t spilled any ink lately myself about IBM’s Watson, who’s been studying up on several industries since beating the best humans in the world two years ago at “Jeopardy!”
Turns out, Watson’s also been looking to apply to college, most notably, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Yesterday, IBM announced it would be providing a modified version of an IBM Watson system to RPI, making it the first university to receive such a system.
The arrival of Watson will enable RPI students and faculty an opportunity to find new users for Watson and deepen the systems’ cognitive computing capabilities. The firsthand experience of working on the system will also better position RPI students as future leaders in the Big Data, analytics, and cognitive computing realms.
Watson has a unique ability to understand the subtle nuances of human language, sift through vast amounts of data, and provide evidence-based answers to its human users’ questions.
Currently, Watson’s fact-finding prowess is being applied to crucial fields, such as healthcare, where IBM is collaborating with medical providers, hospitals and physicians to help doctors analyze a patient’s history, symptoms and the latest news and medical literature to help physicians make faster, more accurate diagnoses. IBM is also working with financial institutions to help improve and simplify the banking experience.
Rensselaer faculty and students will seek to further sharpen Watson’s reasoning and cognitive abilities, while broadening the volume, types, and sources of data Watson can draw upon to answer questions. Additionally, Rensselaer researchers will look for ways to harness the power of Watson for driving new innovations in finance, information technology, business analytics, and other areas.
With 15 terabytes of hard disk storage, the Watson system at Rensselaer will store roughly the same amount of information as its Jeopardy! predecessor and will allow 20 users to access the system at once — creating an innovation hub for the institutes’ New York campus. Along with faculty researchers and graduate students, undergraduate students at Rensselaer will have opportunities to work directly with the Watson system.This experience will help prepare Rensselaer students for future high-impact, high-value careers in analytics, cognitive computing, and related fields.
Underscoring the value of the partnership between IBM and Rensselaer, Gartner, Inc. estimates that 1.9 million Big Data jobs will be created in the U.S. by 2015.
This workforce — which is in high demand today — will require professionals who understand how to develop and harness data-crunching technologies such as Watson, and put them to use for solving the most pressing of business and societal needs.
As part of a Shared University Research (SUR) Award granted by IBM Research, IBM will provide Rensselaer with Watson hardware, software and training.The ability to use Watson to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence has enormous potential to help improve decision making across a variety of industries from health care, to retail, telecommunications and financial services.
IBM and Rensselaer: A History of Collaboration
Originally developed at the company’s Yorktown Heights, N.Y. research facility, IBM’s Watson has deep connections to the Rensselaer community. Several key members of IBM’s Watson project team are graduates of Rensselaer, the oldest technological university in the United States.
Leading up to Watson’s victory on Jeopardy!, Rensselaer was one of eight universities that worked with IBM in 2011 on the development of open architecture that enabled researchers to collaborate on the underlying QA capabilities that help to power Watson.
Watson is the latest collaboration between IBM and Rensselaer, which have worked together for decades to advance the frontiers of high-performance computing, nanoelectronics, advanced materials, artificial intelligence, and other areas. IBM is a key partner of the Rensselaer supercomputing center, the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, where the Watson hardware will be located.
Flanked by the avatar of IBM’s Watson computer, IBM Research Scientist Dr. Chris Welty (left) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student Naveen Sundar discuss potential new ways the famous computer could be used, Wednesday, January 30, 2013 in Troy, NY. IBM donated a version of its Watson system to Rensselaer, making it the first university in the world to receive such a system. Rensselaer students and faculty will explore new uses for Watson and ways to deepen its cognitive computing capabilities. (Philip Kamrass/Feature Photo Service for IBM)
IBM’s SmartCamp Global Finals are slated to be held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on February 7th.
The SmartCamp initiative was launched in 2010 with the goal of identifying early-stage entrepreneurs who are developing business ventures that would align with the IBM Smarter Planet vision, and give them the visibility, mentoring, and resources that only a large company like IBM can provide.
On the 7th, eight startups from around the world will compete in New York City for the title of “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.”
The IBM SmartCamp Global Finals will bring together leading venture capitalists, industry experts, press, analysts, entrepreneurial organizations and academics to network and celebrate entrepreneurship.
The Global Finals will feature eight startup finalists from around the world, from Kenya to France to Singapore. The eight finalists not only come from all walks of life, but they offer a broad range of innovative solutions that all have the potential to make the planet a whole lot smarter.
Finalist HistoIndex, a startup from Singapore, has an imaging solution which will allow for earlier detection and better treatment of fibrosis.
GetWay, a big data startup from Brazil, enables any industry to precisely monitor real-time sales data in retailers spread all over a territory.
And QuintessenceLabs, from Australia, has harnessed the properties of nature as described by quantum science to fortify the protection of data in-transit, at-rest and in-use.
You can be a part of the excitement on February 7th at the SmartCamp Global Finals, where you’ll have the opportunity to network with innovators, business leaders, and experts from around the world, hear the startup finalists’ presentations, and witness the naming of a new IBM Entrepreneur of the Year.
Go here to learn more and to register to attend the event. As an FYI, I had the great privilege of helping cover the event last year in San Francisco, and recorded a video with Scott Laningham (embedded in this blog post) where I summarized what I learned.