Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘2018

Perspectives on AI

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MIT’s "The Download" recently reported that China’s artificial intelligence startups scored more funding that America’s last year.

Of $15.2 billion invested globally in 2017 in AI, 48 percent went to China and 38 percent to America. That’s the first time China’s AI startups surpassed those in the U.S. in terms of funding.

But The Download also observes competition continues to be fierce across the board. AI startup investment rose 141 percent in 2017, and 1,100 new AI startups appeared last year.

The R&D and overall AI market may, in fact, be moving too fast.

In a separate report from Science Magazine, an analysis revealed that AI may be grappling with a replication crisis when it comes to research:

AI researchers have found it difficult to reproduce many key results, and that is leading to a new conscientiousness about research methods and publication protocols….The most basic problem is that researchers often don’t share their source code. At the AAAI meeting, Odd Erik Gundersen, a computer scientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, reported the results of a survey of 400 algorithms presented in papers at two top AI conferences in the past few years. He found that only 6% of the presenters shared the algorithm’s code. Only a third shared the data they tested their algorithms on, and just half shared "pseudocode"—a limited summary of an algorithm. (In many cases, code is also absent from AI papers published in journals, including Science and Nature.)

Why are researchers holding back?

The article argues researchers believe some code may be a work in progress, or could be owned by a company or held tightly by a researcher eager to stay ahead of the competition.

IBM Research offered some assistance a the recent AAAI meeting, a tool for recreating unpublished source code automatically. Itself a neural network, it scans an AI research paper looking for a chart or diagram describing a neural net, parses those data into layers and connections, and generates the network in new code.

At this week’s Index | San Francisco conference, on Wednesday at 9 AM PST, New York Times journalist and author John Markoff will be hosting a session entitled "Perspectives on AI." You can register to watch the livestream here.

Written by turbotodd

February 19, 2018 at 10:11 am

Posted in 2018, AI, artificial intelligence

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How Are YOU Watching These Olympics?

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So how are you watching these Olympics (if at all)?

I have to say, the whole time 15 hour time difference between here and PyeongChang isn’t exactly helping, either.

I don’t have cable, but have been recording the games via my TiVo and over-the-air broadcasts on NBC. 

The problem is, by the time I’m ready to watch a prior’s day performance, fast forwarding through the parts I want to watch, the morning news shows have already blown the news: Shaun White won his THIRD gold medal in snowboarding!

I guess you can’t embargo the news of a gold medal so easily (although NBC has tried). And I still go back to fast forward and see all the juicy bits, like Shaun flying through the air in one of his “1440s.” That way, I skip all the commercials.

The Wall Street Journal’s “CMO Today” e-newsletter today reported that NBC’s partnership with Snapchat for the Olympics is paying off, with 32 million users having watched its coverage thus far. Snap reports well over 90 percent of its audience watching Olympics coverage is under 35. All the people over 35 still think Snap is a tea-like drink (Snapple).

I also tried to download the NBC VR app so I could see Shaun flying through my VR goggles. Boy, was that a mistake. NBC wanted me to first lay claim to which cable provider I use.  Will they never learn?  Here I was, ready to go out of my way to download this VR app from NBC, and they were worried about whether or not I was paying a cable bill, instead of getting my eyeballs (and, presumably, driving up their ad rates).

The very same day, Ryan Murphy, he of “Glee” and “American Horror Story” fame, signed a $300 million, multi-year deal with Netflix.

Not with NBC or Disney or ABC.

This is the beginning of the end of the beginning, a new day for content consumption is at hand.

Stay tuned.

Written by turbotodd

February 15, 2018 at 9:38 am

Bronze, Silver and Gold

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Happy Monday.

Congrats to our U.S. Olympic medalists in Pyeonchang (thus far), with Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson leading the way in men’s and women’s slopestyle snowboarding events, respectively, with each garnering the first U.S. gold medals of these Winter Olympics.

In men’s luge, U.S. team member Chris Mazdzer grabbed a silver medal Sunday night (apparently unexpectedly), while Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu won bronze medals in the team figure skating competition.

Well done all around!

If hacking’s more your sport, though, you may want to check out Sam Kim’s feature about North Korean hackers on Bloomberg. According to Kim’s report, their mission is to use their hacking skills to make money by any means necessary, and they, too, seem to be going for the gold…admittedly that of a different variety.

Meanwhile, Apple has intimated some changes in its software development lifecycle, according to AppleInsider. According to the story, Apple will move away from annual “zero day” releases” as the company works to minimize software bugs while giving its engineers more flexibility in scheduling.

As an example, the company will focus on the next two years of iPhone and iPad software updates, rather than “cramming features into a single update,” reports Apple Insider.

New improvements to iOS could still come later this year, including Animoji characters in Facement, enhancements to Do Not Disturb, deeper integration of Siri into Spotlight, and a revamped Stocks app (yawn).

But a big update in 2018 could see the ability to run several windows in one app on the iPad, one that would allow users to switch between apps just like tabs in a web browser.

AppleInsider also suggests the company is still on track with project “Marzipan,” which will help developers port iOS apps to the Mac more easily and run a single, unified code base.

If you’re looking for a shorter term fix, AppleInsider also reports the company is working on an iOS 11.3 update that will give users the ability to check the health of their device’s battery (especially important after the Apple battery scandal), and choose to enable or disable automatic throttling of older devices to prevent random shutdowns.

That update is also expected to include four new Animoji, support for Messages in iCloud, ARKit 1.5, and tweaks to Apple Music and Apple News.

Written by turbotodd

February 12, 2018 at 9:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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East Bound and Down

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LiveTrucking reported yesterday that a self-driving semi truck from Embark just completed its first cross-country trip.

Unlike in “Smokey and the Bandit,” the self-driving software did not have to pick up a case of beer in Texarkana along the way, and never had to stop to use the restroom.

The tractor trailer completed a 2,400 mile trip from LA to Jacksonsville, Florida in five days, and according to Embark’s CEO, Alex Rodriguez, the truck traveled for “hours at a time with no disengagements.”

The technology used in the Embark truck includes machine learning software, as well as data from five cameras, three long-range radars, and two light detecting sensors so that it may map its surroundings in real time.

But lest ye be worried about all those trucks displacing us humans, there was a real person in the truck for the entire ride, and the human took over whenever the truck got off the highway to unload or traverse local roads.

For now, the machines and humans are working together, according to Embark.

“By allowing automation to work together with local drivers to handle less desirable long haul routes, we will be able to increase productivity to address the current 50,000 driver shortage while also creating new local driving jobs that attract younger drivers for the industry,” Rodriguez said.

For me, this new technology just won’t be complete until the autonomous truck can get on a CB radio and report “There’s a bear at your back door!”

 

Written by turbotodd

February 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Made on Earth by Humans

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How about that launch by SpaceX yesterday afternoon of the Falcon Heavy rocket?

If you didn’t see that Webcast, it’s well worth checking out.

According to SpaceX’s website, the Falcon Heavy is now the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two, with the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lbs!). That’s a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage, and fuel.

Furthermore, Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.

In space, your mileage may vary (especially flying Elon Musk’s personal Tesla, which was, in this case, the primary payload — that, and an endless loop of David Bowie’s "Life on Mars.")

It was also quite something to see the two side boosters re-enter the earth’s atmosphere, fire up their re-entry burn, then plop down and land safely back on their pads at Cape Canaveral, ready to be re-purposed for future use.

Elon Musk did a TV interview this AM, in which he explained his greatest fear yesterday was seeing a big explosion on the launchpad, only to then see a tire rolling down the road with the word "Tesla" on the side.

Those fears have been put to rest, at least for this inaugural launch.

As for the upper stage, it will (hopefully) move through the Van Allen belts and, if it continues to operate as planned, will do another engine burn before heading into deep space on a Mars orbit.

And just in case Falcon Heavy meets any extraterrestrials or Martians on the way, he put a simple message on a circuit board:

"Made on the earth by humans."

Some really smart and inspiring ones.

Written by turbotodd

February 7, 2018 at 8:24 am

Posted in 2018, elon musk, space

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Broadcom Sweetens Qualcomm Offer

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Reuters is reporting that Broadcom Ltd. sweetened its bid to buy Qualcomm Inc. for more than $121 billion, its “best and final offer.”

If the deal were to go through, it would be the largest in tech history, writes Reuters.

Qualcomm indicated it would review the revised proposal and will have no further comment on it until the board completes its review. In November, Qualcomm had rejected the original $103 billion bid as  undervaluing the company.

Singapore-based Broadcom is known for its connectivity chips used in products ranging from mobile phones to servers and Qualcomm provides chips to mobile carrier networks to deliver broadband and data – a business that will benefit significantly due to the roll out of 5G wireless technology.

Written by turbotodd

February 5, 2018 at 9:56 am

Not So Super Ads

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This is the first time in years where the actual football game, the reason for the Super Bowl, steadily outperformed that of the TV commercials.

What is supposed to be a high peak for marketeers everywhere fell flat on its face in this year’s roster of ads, with agencies and clients taking few, if any, real chances and offering us the same old boring work we can pretty much see the rest of the year.

Sure, there were a couple of exceptions — the Tide media blitz was clever, and Jeff Bezos’s Alexa losing her voice was funny — but overall, it seemed as if Madison Avenue had decided to phone it all in this year.

Perhaps after a year of constant presidential Tweeting and daily new churn about Russia investigations and ill-fated memos, the agencies were just too tired to do much else.

Then again, it was a huge missed opportunity, to make something of this moment, perhaps to even acknowledge in a celebrated manner that the grand moment of TV advertising has probably had its place in the sun and is ebbing into the twilight of marketing history, replaced by data- (and lest we forget, bot-) driven marketing, with creativity taking a back seat to results.

We are firmly ensconced in a performance-driven economy, and marketers are going to increasingly demand performance-driven results.

Me, I just miss Socks the Puppet. 

And helluva football game!

Written by turbotodd

February 5, 2018 at 9:07 am

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