Category Archives: Development

Building AI Is Hard—So Facebook Is Building AI That Builds AI

“…companies like Google and Facebook pay top dollar for some really smart people. Only a few hundred souls on Earth have the talent and the training needed to really push the state-of-the-art [AI] forward, and paying for these top minds is a lot like paying for an NFL quarterback. That’s a bottleneck in the continued progress of artificial intelligence. And it’s not the only one. Even the top researchers can’t build these services without trial and error on an enormous scale. To build a deep neural network that cracks the next big AI problem, researchers must first try countless options that don’t work, running each one across dozens and potentially hundreds of machines.”


This article represents a true picture of where we are today for the average consumer and producer of information, and the companies that repurpose information, e.g. in the form of advertisements.  
The advancement and current progress of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, analogously paints a picture akin to the 1970s with computers that fill rooms, and accept punch cards as input.
Today’s consumers have mobile computing power that is on par to the whole rooms of the 1970s; however, “more compute power” in a tinier package may not be the path to AI sentience.  How AI algorithm models are computed might need to take an alternate approach.  
In a classical computation system, a bit would have to be in one state or the other. However quantum mechanics allows the qubit to be in a superposition of both states at the same time, a property which is fundamental to quantum computing.
The construction, and validation of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, algorithm models should be engineered on a Quantum Computing framework.

Time Lock Access: Seal Files in Cloud Storage

Is there value in providing users the ability to apply “Time Lock Access” to files in cloud storage?  Files are securely uploaded by their Owner.  After upload no one, including the Owner, may access / open the file(s).   Only after the date and time provided for the time lock passes, files will be available for access, and action may be taken, e.g.  Automatically email a link to the files.  More complex actions may be attached to the time lock release such as script execution using a simple set of rules as defined by the file Owner.

Solution already exists?  Please send me a link to the cloud integration product / plug in.

AI Personal Assistants are “Life Partners”

Artificial Intelligent (AI)  “Assistants”, or “Bots” are taken to the ‘next level’ when the assistant becomes a proactive entity based on the input from human intelligent experts that grows with machine learning.

Even the implication of an ‘Assistant’ v.  ‘Life Partner’ implies a greater degree of dynamic, and proactive interaction.   The cross over to becoming ‘Life Partner’ is when we go ‘above and beyond’ to help our partners succeed, or even survive the day to day.

Once we experience our current [digital, mobile] ‘assistants’ positively influencing our lives in a more intelligent, proactive manner, an emotional bond ‘grows’, and the investment in this technology will also expand.

Practical Applications Range:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous Coach , Mentor – enabling the human partner to overcome temporary weakness. Knowledge,  and “triggers” need to be incorporated into the AI ‘Partner’;  “Location / Proximity” reminder if person enters a shopping area that has a liquor store.  [AI] “Partner” help “talk down”
  • Understanding ‘data points’ from multiple sources, such as alarms,  and calendar events,  to derive ‘knowledge’, and create an actionable trigger.
    • e.g. “Did you remember to take your medicine?” unprompted; “There is a new article in N periodical, that pertains to your medicine.  Would you like to read it?”
    • e.g. 2 unprompted, “Weather calls for N inches of Snow.  Did you remember to service your Snow Blower this season?”
  • FinTech – while in department store XYZ looking to purchase Y over a certain amount, unprompted “Your credit score indicates you are ‘most likely’ eligible to ‘sign up’ for a store credit card, and get N percentage off your first purchase”  Multiple input sources used to achieve a potential sales opportunity.

IBM has a cognitive cloud of AI solutions leveraging IBM’s Watson.  Most/All of the 18 web applications they have hosted (with source) are driven by human interactive triggers, as with the “Natural Language Classifier”, which helps build a question-and-answer repository.

There are four bits that need to occur to accelerate adoption of the ‘AI Life Partner’:

  1. Knowledge Experts, or Subject Matter Experts (SME) need to be able to “pass on” their knowledge to build repositories.   IBM Watson Natural Language Classifier may be used.
  2. The integration of this knowledge into an AI medium, such as a ‘Digital Assistant’ needs to occur with corresponding ‘triggers’ 
  3. Our current AI ‘Assistants’ need to become [more] proactive as they integrate into our ‘digital’ lives, such as going beyond the setting of an alarm clock, hands free calling, or checking the sports score.   Our [AI] “Life Partner” needs to ‘act’ like buddy and fan of ‘our’ sports team.  Without prompting, proactively serve up knowledge [based on correlated, multiple sources], and/or take [acceptable] actions.
    1. E.g. FinTech – “Our schedule is open tonight, and there are great seats available, Section N, Seat A for ABC dollars on Stubhub.  Shall I make the purchase?”
      1. Partner with vendors to drive FinTech business rules.
  4. Take ‘advantage’ of more knowledge sources, such as the applications we use that collect our data.  Use multiple knowledge sources in concert, enabling the AI to correlate data and propose ‘complex’ rules of interaction.

Our AI ‘Life Partners’ may grow in knowledge, and mature the relationship between man and machine.   Incorporating derived rules leveraging machine learning, without input of a human expert, will come with risk and reward.

The Race Is On to Control Artificial Intelligence, and Tech’s Future

Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft are using high salaries and games pitting humans against computers to try to claim the standard on which all companies will build their A.I. technology.

In this fight — no doubt in its early stages — the big tech companies are engaged in tit-for-tat publicity stunts, circling the same start-ups that could provide the technology pieces they are missing and, perhaps most important, trying to hire the same brains.

For years, tech companies have used man-versus-machine competitions to show they are making progress on A.I. In 1997, an IBM computer beat the chess champion Garry Kasparov. Five years ago, IBM went even further when its Watson system won a three-day match on the television trivia show “Jeopardy!” Today, Watson is the centerpiece of IBM’s A.I. efforts.

Today, only about 1 percent of all software apps have A.I. features, IDC estimates. By 2018, IDC predicts, at least 50 percent of developers will include A.I. features in what they create.

Source: The Race Is On to Control Artificial Intelligence, and Tech’s Future – The New York Times

The next “tit-for-tat” publicity stunt should most definitely be a battle with robots, exactly like BattleBots, except…

  1. Use A.I. to consume vast amounts of video footage from previous bot battles, while identifying key elements of bot design that gave a bot the ‘upper hand’.  From a human cognition perspective, this exercise may be subjective. The BattleBot scoring process can play a factor in 1) conceiving designs, and 2) defining ‘rules’ of engagement.
  2. Use A.I. to produce BattleBot designs for humans to assemble.
  3. Autonomous battles, bot on bot, based on Artificial Intelligence battle ‘rules’ acquired from the input and analysis of video footage.

Apple iOS Email: Boldly Building an AI Rules Engine

When selecting the ‘flag’ option on an email, one of the menu options shown is ‘Notify Me…’  When anyone replies to that email thread, the person/me is notified.

This Apple iOS email feature, ‘Notify Me…” seems like a toe dip into an AI Email Rules Engine with the one condition and without customization. Is a full blown engine in the Apple product roadmap akin to Outlook?  Has this feature been ‘out there’ for awhile, and I just missed it?

Regardless, a more powerful, robust AI Rules engine, yet keeping the iOS simple, and elegant design could enhance business savvy user’s experience.

Notify Me Feature
Notify Me Feature

Cloud Storage and DAM Solutions: Don’t Reign in the Beast

Are you trying to apply metadata on individual files or en masse, attempting to make the vast  growth of cloud storage usage manageable, meaningful storage?

Best practices leverage a consistent hierarchy, an Information Architecture in which to store and retrieve information, excellent.

Beyond that, capabilities computer science has documented and used time and time again, checksum algorithms. Used frequently after a file transfer to verify the file you requested is the file you received.  Most / All Enterprise DAM solutions use some type of technology to ‘allow’ the enforcement of unique assets [upon upload].  In cloud storage and photo solutions targeted toward the individual, consumer side, the feature does not appear to be up ‘close and personal’ to the user experience, thus building a huge expanse of duplicate data (documents, photos, music, etc.).  Another feature, a database [primary] key has been used for decades to identify that a record of data is unique.

Our family sharing alone has thousands and thousands of photos and music. The names of the files could be different for many of the same digital assets.  Sometimes file names are the same, but the metadata between the same files is not unique, but provides value. Tools for ‘merging’ metadata, DAM tools have value to help manage digital assets.

Cloud storage usage is growing exponentially, and metadata alone won’t help rope in the beast. Maybe ADHOC or periodic indexing of files [e.g. by #checksum algorithm] could take on the task of identifying duplicate assets?  Duplicate  assets could be viewed by the user in an exception report?  Less boring, upon upload, ‘on the fly’ let the user know the asset is already in storage, and show a two column diff. of the metadata.

It’s a pain for me, and quite possibly many cloud storage users.  As more people jump on cloud storage, this feature should be front and center to help users grow into their new virtual warehouse.

The industry of cloud storage most likely believes for the common consumer, storage is ‘cheap’, just provide more.  At some stage, the cloud providers may look to DAM tools as the cost of managing a users’ storage rises.  Tools like:

  • duplicate digital assets, files. Use exception reporting to identify the duplicates, and enable [bulk] corrective action, and/or upon upload, duplicate ‘error/warning’ message.
  • Dynamic metadata tagging upon [bulk] upload using object recognition.  Correlating and cataloging one or more [type] objects in a picture using defined Information Architecture.  In addition, leveraging facial recognition for updates to metadata tagging.
    • e.g. “beach” objects: sand, ocean; [Ian Roseman] surfing;
  • Brief questionnaires may enable the user to ‘smartly’ ingest the digital assets; e.g. ‘themes’ of current upload; e.g. a family, or relationship tree to  extend facial recognition correlations.
    • e.g. themes – summer; party; New Year’s Eve
    • e.g. relationship tree – office / work
  • Pan Information Architecture (IA) spanning multiple cloud storage [silos]. e.g. for Photos, spanning [shared] ‘albums’
  • Publically published / shared components of an IA;  e.g. Legal documents;  standards and reuse

Project Change Management, Microsoft Solutions

Project Facilitators, Managers, and Stakeholders, please read on…

If you’ve been charged with managing project changes, there are many Microsoft solutions that may be used by a wide array of users with varying degrees of technical experience.

  1.  Word

When the project team members are not comfortable with “technology”, MS Word may be as adventurous as you can get.

Your stakeholders believe each of your change requests have their own story to tell,  and the story should be told in MS Word.  Each of the Change Requests (CR) contain the ‘story’ of the item as well as an appended comments for each of your meetings’ notes.

The solution is a beast to manage if the product/process is used for more than a month, i.e. in an ongoing basis.  Details of the CRs can easily fall by the wayside, as well as prone to human error for the evolving descriptions and historical audit trail in the comments section.

NOTE: Free form text, excluding organizing data into Word tables.

2. Excel

MS Excel is a step up from Word, but is still susceptible to similar issues.  On the positive side, tables have the ability to be sorted, and filtered.  The content/tables may be exported into an email, MS Word doc, etc.  Both MS Word and MS Excel alone do share an additional issue, Change Requests (CR) are not version controlled at the record level.  Both Excel and Word files can be imported into a document management system, e.g. SharePoint, and the docs will have a check in/out audit.  Adding/Changing text on new/existing CRs becomes problematic, and prone to errors, and inconsistent audit of comments.

3. Project

Send them a PDF of the Project Plan.  Companies have few licenses of MS Project, and sharing a project plan with the team is most likely done by exporting the Project Plan to PDF.   When reviewing / updating the project plan in real time with the team (e.g. SMEs, Stakeholders), they collectively see the effect of adding tasks, updating duration, and dependencies.   Itemizing tasks of the team, and grouped by parent activities will help the team stay ‘on task’. The non-PMs do not need access to the Project Plan for edits; this is performed 1:1 or in a team setting with the PM facilitating.

4.  SharePoint

SharePoint is a document and workflow management system among other things.   ‘Out of the box’ capabilities enable users to track a project, Gantt charts to task management, most everything needed to manage a project, including N number of personalized views of the project data,.  The SharePoint platform, out of the box, seems to cater to the laymen as well as the technical savvy.

5. Team Foundation Server (TFS)

TFS covers the entire application lifecycle, part of which enables the team to track their backlog items.  Backlog items may be correlated to other ‘objects’, such as test cases.  All aspects of the project such as development,  builds, unit test case execution, task tracking, and backlog items reside in TFS.  For the tech laymen, i.e. business sponsor, little knowledge transfer is required for using the solution for backlog management.

6. Office Access

Yes, I’ve seen a UI on top of an Access database to manage change.  Actually, I’ve built one way over a decade ago.  It’s a lot of maintenance, just like any solution built from scratch.  With so many options out there, this would not be my first choice.

Click here for an extensive list of project management solutions.

Entertainment Portals: Streaming VOD and Live Broadcasts, Games, News

Netflix is a subscription-based film and television program rental service that offers media to subscribers via Internet streaming.

Amazon Instant Video is an Internet video on demand service. It offers television shows and films for rental or purchase.  Selected titles offered free to customers with Amazon Prime subscription.

Bland definitions of what is formulating to be entertainment portals, encompassing multiple media types:

  • Games
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Photos
  • News
  • Social [Platform Integration]
  • Television
  • YouTube
Entertainment Portals:

All or some of the above media types, licensed for distribution,  are served through one or more portals.

Licensing content to be offered across several platforms requires a robust DAM.  Digital asset management (DAM) consists of management tasks and decisions surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets.  The DAM products/processes looks like it will continue to bloom as distribution models are ‘experimented’ by the providers

  • Amazon [Instant]
  • Apple ecosphere
  • AOL
  • Cablevision – Optimum
  • Facebook [social]
  • G+ [social]
  • MSN
  • Netflix
  • ReMake – a fictitious Entertainment portal
    • the project team iterates through user design input, and remakes the UI, [and Workflow]  bi-weekly based on consumer feedback
  • Twitter [social]
  • Verizon FiOS
  • Yahoo
Segmented portals, containing one or two media types
  • Music and Music Games,  name that tune;
Industry Standards for Interfaces to/from Entertainment Portals
  • Search Catalog [by …]
    • API returns ‘Stream able’ / Playable URL for a VOD or Broadcast feed.

How Microsoft Gets Back into Mainstream Popularity

The HoloLens may propel Microsoft back to the ‘Cool’ kid on the block.    The HoloLens has the potential to “fly off the shelves” in tandem to Windows 10.

Ever since I saw the movie Blue Thunder, I wanted my own Heads-up display (HUD).   Here are a few suggestions for implementation:

Must Have’s

  • ‘Priced to sell’:   Even if the cost of the hardware is reduced to a thin the margin, that may or may not be enough.   From day one, these “Windows into Windows” must be viewed as essential to the ‘enhanced’ OS package, like ‘Windows 10 Home Media’.
  • Microsoft, Enable Channel Sales (DELL, HP) to offer Microsoft Windows 10 and HoloLens ‘Media’ package deals, together both the OS and the HoloLens are offered at a reduced price.
  • The HoloLens and Windows 10 User Interface (UI) significantly enhances how the consumer interacts with Operating Systems.
  • [Channel] Sales may offer bundled HoloLens / Windows 10 applications, e.g. Minecraft;
  • Analyze / prioritize top 10 (N)  opportunities for application development, and produce internally, and/or with partners.
    • Partners may range from software vendors to accredited training programs, e.g. flight school XYZ
  • Intuitive  and feature rich developer APIs:
    • Provide the HoloLens developer a software ‘Simulator’
    • Products with source code examples
    • Quick path from development to market: Lean application vetting process; including the vetting of app developers.
  • Education levels 6 to 12 and beyond can benefit, segmented by: the sciences (e.g. Chemistry, Microbiology, Physics);  Trade Schools such as Automotive and HVAC;
    • Colleges and Universities may be early adopters, and expand their Massive open online courses to including remote participation, e.g. medicine
  • Applying for an ‘operator license’?  HoloLens, accompanied with a licensed operator,  allows users to wear the HoloLens, and follow a step by step, interactive tutorial within the vehicle, e.g. Car, Boat, Helicopter, Truck, Airplane, etc.

Click here:  comprehensive list of Augmented Reality (AR) apps.

Interesting articles on Microsoft’s Hololens:

Microsoft dives deeper into HoloLens details: ‘Holographic processor’ role revealed

Microsoft leaps into 3D computing with Windows Holographic and HoloLens

Hands-on with Microsoft’s HoloLens: The 3D augmented reality future is now

 

Microsoft HoloLens

 

Human Evolution: Technology Continues to Transform Socieities for Generations

In the last 20 years, I’ve observed technology trends, and Tech achievements have risen and fallen from the mainstream.  Tech has augmented our lives, and enhanced our human capabilities.  Our evolution will continue to be molded by technology and shape humanity for years to come.

Digital Asset Management (DAM)

Everything you might find on your computer from emails to video are digital assets.  Content from providers, team collaboration,  push and/or pull asset distribution, and archiving content are the workflows of DAM.

DAM solutions are rapidly going main stream as small to medium sized content providers look to take control of their content from ingestion to distribution.  Shared digital assets will continue to grow rapidly.  Pressure by stockholders to maximize use of digital assets to grow revenue will fuel initiatives to  globally share and maintain digital asset taxonomies.  For example, object recognition applied to image, sound and video assets will dynamically add tags to assets in an effort to index ever growing content.  If standard taxonomies are not globally adopted, and continually applied to assets, digital content stored will become, in essence, unusable.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

All devices across all business verticals will become ‘Smart’ devices with bidirectional data flow.  Outbound ‘Smart’ device data flow is funneled into repositories for analysis to produce dashboards, reporting, and rules suggestions.

Inbound ‘Smart’ device data can trigger actions on the device. Several devices may work in concert defined by ‘grouping’ e.g. Home: Environmental. Remote programming updates may be triggered by the analysis of data.

  • AI Rules Engine runs on ‘backend’.  Rules defined by Induction,  through data analysis, and human set parameters,  executed in sequence
  • Device optimization updates, presets on devices may be tuned based on ‘transaction’ history, feedback from user, and other ‘Smart’ devices.
  • Grouped ‘Smart’ devices, e.g. health monitors’ data uploaded, analyzed, and correlating across group.  Updated rules, and notifications triggered.
  • Manual user commands, ad hoc or scheduled

… as a Service

Cloud ‘Services’ enables scalability on demand, relatively lower cost [CapEx] overhead, offsite redundancy, etc.  Provides software solutions companies to rapidly deploy to Dev., Test, and Prod. environments.  Gaming, storage, and virtual machines are just a few of the ‘…as a service’ offerings.  IoT analysis may reveal a new need for another service.

Human Interface

  • Augmented Reality A.R.

Integrates user to surrounding environment with overlay images to your eyes to REpresent anything, e.g. Identifies surrounding people with Twitter handle/user name above their heads.  Interacts with smartphone for Inbound and outbound data flow.  May allow App and OS programmers to enable users to interact with their ‘traditional’ software in new ways, e,g. Microsoft Windows 8+, current interaction with ’tiles’, may shift from a two to three dimensional manipulation and view of the tiles.  Tiles (apps) pop up when, through object recognition, predefined characteristics match, e.g.  Looking at a bank check sent to you from the mail?  Your Bank of America tile / app may ask if you want to deposit the check right now?

  • Virtual Reality, V.R.

As more drones, for example, collect video footage, may be used for people to experience the landscapes, beaches, cities, mountains, and other features of a potential destination, which may lead to tourism.  In fact, travel agencies may purchase the V.R. Headsets, and subscribe to a library of V.R. content.  Repository platform would need to be created.  Specs for the ‘How To’ on collecting V.R. Video footage should be accessible.  Hathaway real estate offers a V.R. tour of the house, from their office.

Autonomous  Vehicles (Average Consumer or hobbyist)

  • Cars 
  • Drones
  • Satellites 

Social Media Evolution

Driving forces to integrate with society puts pressure on individuals to integrate with the collective social conscious.  As digital assets are published, people will lunge at the opportunity to self tag every digital asset both self and community shared assets.  Tagging on social media platforms is already going ahead.   Taxonomies are built, maintained and shared across social media platforms.  Systematically tagged [inanimate] objects occur using object recognition. Shared, and maintained global taxonomies not only store data on people and their associated meta data, (e,g,  shoe size, education level completed, HS photo,etc.) but also store meta data about groups of people, relationships and their tagged object data.

The taxonomies are analyzed and correlated, providing better, more concise demographic profiles.  These profiles can be used for 

  • Clinical trials data collection
  • Fast identification of potential outbreaks, used by the CDC
  • The creation and management of AI produced Hedge Funds
  • Solicitation of goods and services

Out of Compliance

These three dreaded words you are guaranteed to see more and more often.  As all aspects of our lives become meta data on a taxonomy tree, the analysis of information will make correlations which drive consumers and members of society ‘out of compliance’.  For example, pointers to your shared videos of you skydiving will get added to your personal taxonomy tree.  Your taxonomy tree will be available and mandatory to get life insurance from a tier 1 company.  Upon daily inspection of your tree by an insurance AI engine, a hazardous event was flagged. Notifications from your life insurance company reminding you ‘dangerous’ activities are not covered on your policy.  Two infractions may drive up your premiums.