Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘iod

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: Watson’s Next Job

with one comment

As I mentioned in my last post, yesterday was day 3 of Information On Demand 2012 here in Las Vegas.

There was LOTS going on out here in the West.

We started the day by interviewing keynote speaker Nate Silver (see previous post) just prior to his going on stage for the morning general session. Really fascinating interview, and going in to it I learned that his book had reached #8 on The New York Times best seller list.

In the IOD 2012 day 3 general session, IBM Fellow Rob High explains how IBM’s Watson technology may soon help drive down call center costs by 50%, using the intelligence engine of Watson to help customer service reps faster respond to customer queries.

So congrats, Nate, and thanks again for a scintillating interview.

During the morning session, we also heard from IBM’s own Craig Rinehart about the opportunity for achieving better efficiencies in health care using enterprise content management solutions from IBM.

I nearly choked when Craig explained that thirty cents out of every dollar on healthcare in the U.S. is wasted, and despite spending more than any other country, is ranked 37th in terms of care.

Craig explained the IBM Patient Care and Insights tool was intended to bring advanced analytics out of the lab and into the hospital to help start driving down some of those costs, and more importantly, to help save lives.

We also heard from IBM Fellow and CTO of IBM Watson Solutions’ organization, Rob High, about some of the recent advancements made on the Watson front.

High explained the distinction between programmatic and cognitive computing, the latter being the direction computing is now taking, and an approach that provides for much more “discoverability” even as it’s more probabilistic in nature.

High walked through a fascinating call center demonstration, whereby Watson helped a call center agent more quickly respond to a customer query by filtering through thousands of possible answers in a few second, then honed in on the ones most likely that would answer the customer’s question.

Next, we heard from Jeff Jonas, IBM’s entity analytics “Ironman” (Jeff also just competed his 27th Ironman triathlon last weekend), who explained his latest technology, context accumulation.

Jeff observed that context accumulation was the “incremental process of integrating new observations with previous ones.”

Or, in other words, developing a better understanding of something by taking more into account the things around it.

Too often, Jeff suggested, analytics has been done in isolation, but that “the future of Big Data is the diverse integration of data” where “data finds data.”

His new method allows for self-correction, and a high tolerance for disagreement, confusion and uncertainty, and where new observations can “reverse earlier assertions.”

For now, he’s calling the technology “G2,” and explains it as a “general purpose context accumulating engine.”

Of course, there was also the Nate Silver keynote, the capstone of yesterday’s morning session, to which I’ll refer you back to the interview Scott and I conducted to get a summary taste of all the ideas Nate discussed.  Your best bet is to buy his book, if you really want to understand where he thinks we need to take the promise of prediction.

Written by turbotodd

October 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Freakonomics @ IOD: Examining Data Ain’t No Monkey Business

with 2 comments

Apologies in advance if you had no incentive to show up at the Freakonomics keynote session earlier this morning at Information on Demand, because it was, without question, the highlight of my week here in Las Vegas (aside from the Bengal tiger I discovered hiding in my hotel bathroom).

Freakonomics co-authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner expound on sex, lies, economics and monkey business in their hilarious Information on Demand 2010 keynote session.

Just as with Malcolm Gladwell last year, author Stephen Dubner and economist Steven Levitt artfully integrated some of the themes of the event into their two-man show, and in the process perhaps nearly stole the whole show.

Dubner spoke first, asking the audience to “raise your hand if you’re a genius,” then recognizing the power of his own incentives, warned us away from stealing Levitt: “Find your own, he’s mine.”

Two best-selling books and a documentary movie later, I can’t say as I blame him.  Dubner kicked the session off explaining how he and Levitt came into one another’s orbit, arguing that he was fascinated Levitt was using data to find out what was going on in “the real world.”

Levitt, on the other hand, explained how he eventually became the accidental economist who was abysmal at math and clueless when it came to different varieties of derivatives, but was still able to muscle through at the encouragement of his father, who had found his own niche as a medical researcher on “intestinal gas.”

“The king of farts,” went the GQ profile headline about his father, joked Levitt, before Dubner returned to the stage and kidded that that made Levitt “the prince of farts.”

All hot air aside, Levitt explained his niche became the study of the nichest, yet fascinating, realms of data, and the people who helped unravel them.  Ultimately, though, Levitt was studying the power of incentives, and how they motivated — or didn’t — people across all walks of life.

Like the guy at the IRS who realized there weren’t really 7 million people named “Fluffy,” and how, almost overnight, 7 million people suddenly disappeared from U.S. tax rolls when the Social Security # started being required by filers in 1987 and they could no longer file their ghostly dependents!

Levitt went on to explain he wanted to become the kind of “real economist” who, when he made a mistake, could throw world markets “into convulsions.”  But of course, to be a real economist, he’d have to be good at math, so instead focused on problem sets that nobody else was interested in.

Dubner returned to the fore to explain one of those scenarios, a Yale researcher named Keith Chen who wanted to understand the impact of money in a monkey economy.

That is to say, how capuchin monkeys would react to having money introduced into their milieu (in this case, a research cage at Yale).

The hilarity of the story that ensued couldn’t possibly be done total justice in my retelling here, but know that it had the makings of a great story which you can read more about here in a New York Times article by the authors.

The long and short of it is that monkeys don’t monkey around with money much, at least not how Chen the researcher thought they might, particularly when said money interferes with what the monkeys really wanted more of (food and sex), but they did find a novel way to fit money into their Yale cage monkey business.

As Dubner explained the lesson, economists are all about measuring preferences (revealed and declared), and that the monkeys started to buy more food when the prices of the things they liked to eat most went up, not unlike people.

Ultimately, it’s all about loss aversion, whether the loss be more food or sex.

Speaking of the latter, Levitt returned at this point to close out the session, using another anecdotal example that demonstrated the power of pricing in that most marginal of markets, prostitution.

Never one to shy away from the fringes, Levitt explained how he became acquainted with a high dollar escort in Chicago through a “mutual acquaintance” and who was interested in helping him with his research on the economics of street level escorts.

Turns out, the escort had a Palm Pilot filled with useful data for his investigation, but also came loaded with a background in computer programming and now street business savvy, and she was ultimately able to one-up Levitt when he asked her to lecture to one of his classes, charging a full $100 more per hour than her standard hourly rate, but apparently giving one of the best lectures at the University of Chicago that his students had had in their entire four year tenure.

Though it may not have said much about he and his colleagues’ teaching abilities, the story did reveal to the global IOD audience that Levitt and Dubner continue to unearth powerful data where seemingly none exist, and to relate the revealing insights behind that data in a way that gives testament to the truths and lies of the human condition.

Written by turbotodd

October 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Visa: Winner Of 2010 Information on Demand Innovation Award

leave a comment »

Visa Inc., the global payments technology company, and IBM today announced that Visa is the winner of IBM’s annual Information on Demand 2010 Innovation Award.

This is in recognition of Visa’s leadership in using cutting-edge information technology and real-time data analytics to drive growth, prevent fraud, and improve the consumer payment experience.

More People Go With Visa

With more than 1.8 billion Visa cards accepted at millions of retailers and ATMs around the globe, Visa’s global network, VisaNet, processes a growing number of increasingly complex electronic payments.

Visa’s ability to not only manage but master information in real-time, providing its clients and Visa cardholders with a growing number of information-based services, sets the company apart as a leading innovator in payments today.

“Few people recognize the critical role VisaNet plays in not only transaction processing, but delivering business intelligence and real-time information that empowers financial institutions, retailers, and Visa account holders,” said Mike Dreyer, Chief Information Officer, Visa, Inc. “Only because Visa is able to touch each transaction generated from our products can we deliver this level of innovation that fuels commerce globally and expands the utility and reach of digital currency worldwide.

Dreyer was in attendance at the event and spoke during this morning’s keynote session in an interview conducted by IBM Software VP, Robert Leblanc, about Visa’s progress with information analytics.

Visa was recognized by IBM for achievements to date in information management and a visionary plan to further transform Visa’s business. By harnessing and analyzing the data behind each transaction, Visa is adding value to the traditional payment transaction and providing its clients with improved business intelligence.

VisaNet, the world’s largest retail electronic payments network processes more than 100 billion transactions each year representing more than $4.8 trillion in value. Its centralized processing architecture enables Visa to analyze information in real-time and is a catalyst for innovations. Visa information-based services are among the most advanced in the payments industry, they include:

  • Real-Time Fraud Monitoring: Visa’s Advanced Authorization risk scores are based on a global view of fraud and spending patterns across the entire Visa network. Because VisaNet processes more electronic payments globally than other networks, Visa has unique capabilities to identify fraud on individual accounts and coordinated attacks on multiple accounts across the system, enabling an issuer to potentially stop fraud at the check-out, before it occurs.
  • Transaction Alerts: Visa transaction alerts are sent on behalf of financial institutions directly from VisaNet, Visa’s global processing network, typically within seconds of a transaction occurring. Alerts are triggered when the transaction meets certain criteria the account holder has selected and are delivered directly to the account holder via email or SMS text message. Visa’s transaction alerts let consumers monitor their accounts for unusual activity and take immediate action if they believe a potentially fraudulent transaction is taking place.
  • Offers: Visa account holders are able to receive offers from merchants directly to their mobile phone. Offers range from discounts and loyalty points that can be redeemed at the point of sale. For consumers and merchants alike, this service ensures the most relevant offers are sent in a timely manner, helping increase merchant traffic, loyalty and customer satisfaction. Merchants benefit from better targeting and more efficient marketing spend and cardholders get more of the offers they want.

Visa is currently working with IBM as part of a global initiative to continue Visa’s heritage of analyzing payment system data to deliver ever-greater value to customers and cardholders. The initiative is designed to further enhance Visa’s ability to deliver real-time business intelligence to global clients and account holders, and will help ensure Visa’s information-based services remain a key competitive differentiator.

IBM’s Innovation Awards are given out annually at IBM’s Information on Demand Conference. Winners are selected among thousands of clients that are using IBM technologies to transform their business.

Written by turbotodd

October 25, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Information on Demand 2010, Opening Session Keynote: Gain Insight, Optimize Results

leave a comment »

At this morning’s opening keynote session of the IBM Information on Agenda 2010 event, Robert Leblanc immediately got down to the business at hand: Telling organizations everywhere the basic rules of the road on how to work towards establishing their own effective Information Agenda.

With Blue Man Group-ish performance troup Cobu first setting the agenda for the conference with a beat all its own, Leblanc answered in turn and explained the conference theme: “Gain Insight, Optimize Results.”

Robert Leblanc, IBM VP Middleware for IBM Software, expounds on the opportunities of an information agenda at Information on Demand 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

Leblanc is the Senior Vice President, Middleware Software, for the IBM Software business, and opened his comments by citing from the IBM 2010 Global CEO Study, which had three key findings in terms of what CEOs are looking for these days: 1) Embody creative leadership; 2) Reinvent customer relationships; and 3) Build operating dexterity.

Leblanc posed a few key questions to set the stage: How do I share information in more of a two-way manner with my clients?  How can I modify my products and services to better serve clients? How can I draw insight from the organization that is specialized to the client set I’m going after?

In other words, information management professionals, CEOs need your help!

A quick sound byte, related Leblanc: There will be 44X as much data and content over the coming decade, from 800K petabytes in 2009, to 35 zettabytes in 2020.

Yet people are starved for the right info and insight.  More sound bytes:

  • 1 in 3 make critical decisions without the information they need.
  • 1 in 2 don’t have access to the information they need to do their jobs.

Clearly, there’s a gap between information and outcomes.

That’s partially due to the Information Explosion, wherein organizations haven’t aligned their information needs with their business processes, or determined how to make the right information available when and wherever it’s needed throughout the organization.

In short, how to get to one version of the truth.

After being joined by customers CenterPoint Energy and Visa, who explained how their own organizations are using an IBM Information Agenda to get the right information to the right people when and wherever they need it, Leblanc summarized the roadmap for establishing your own Information Agenda.

First, he said, you need to plan an information agenda that aligns with your business decisions.  Second, you need to master your information to ensure it is accurate, relevant, and governed (and with a nod to increasing governance and regulatory requirements around the globe).

And finally, you must work to apply business analytics to anticipate and shape business outcomes, because increasingly, information is going to come from everywhere, requiring a response characteristic of radical flexibility and extreme scalability.

Leblanc summarized that no matter where in the organization you sit — C-Suite, Business Analystcs, Executive — you can take the lead on mapping out and setting your own information agenda.

%d bloggers like this: