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The Massive Unintended Consequences of Self-Driving Cars
May 8, 2017
Car residual prices are collapsing, based on an alert that crossed my desk last week, and it struck me that we haven't considered much the secondary impacts of having self-driving cars, and the changes that will result from turning automobiles into four-wheeled elevators. Many industry players are treating self-driving cars much like cruise control: a nice-to-have option.
AI Is Still in Its Formative Years
May 4, 2017
The convergence of algorithmic advances in multilayer neural networks, the evolution of PC graphics processing units as massively parallel processing accelerators, and the availability of massive data sets fueled by the Internet and widely deployed sensors -- big data -- has enabled a renaissance in software neural network modeling techniques commonly referred to as "deep learning," or "DL."
Microsoft Aims to School Google With Education Onslaught
May 3, 2017
Microsoft on Tuesday launched a major effort to bulldoze its way into the educational computing space carved out by Google, with the introduction of a streamlined operating system called "Windows 10 S," a range of new collaborative programs for K-12 schools, and two new Surface laptops aimed at the college student market. The Surface laptop runs on the Windows 10 S operating system.
Apple May Be Prepping Siri for Smart Home Duty
May 3, 2017
Odds appear good that Apple will be joining Amazon and Google in the smart speaker competition with a Siri-powered device it plans to introduce at WWDC next month. The new home-AI product reportedly will have excellent acoustics with one woofer and seven tweeters, and the processing power of an iPhone 6. Its price tag likely will be higher than Amazon's Echo, which sells for $179.
Reasoning in CRM
May 1, 2017
It gives some measure of the importance we give to AI that I went to two conferences last week and sat through two panel sessions on the subject. At CRM Evolution, I was part of the discussion in a breakfast session. At the Oracle CX show, executives involved in the adaptive intelligent applications product line tried to define the basics in a session for analysts and reporters.
What People Don't Get About Tesla
May 1, 2017
Tesla is like Apple in that it represents a revolution in thinking. Although everyone seems to focus on the electric power plant, that is really a small part of the Tesla revolution. If Musk were to launch an almost-identical company but with gas engines, it would cut through the market like a hot knife through butter. The electric part isn't as much a sales accelerant as it is an impediment.
Then and Now
April 26, 2017
A few years ago, when Oracle was busy buying companies to fill out its front-office cloud offering, RightNow developed a "day in the life" video that has stuck with me. It was shown at RightNow's last user meeting as an independent company. In fact, at the conference where it debuted, Oracle announced its acquisition of RightNow. The video's importance was as a harbinger of things to come.
Our Sci-Fi Future: Silly vs. Terrifying
April 25, 2017
The future is now, or at least it is coming soon. Today's technological developments are looking very much like what once was the domain of science fiction. Maybe we don't have domed cities and flying cars, but we do have buildings that reach to the heavens, and drones that soon could deliver our packages. Who needs a flying car when the self-driving car is just down the road?
The iPhone Model's Impending Obsolescence
April 24, 2017
VCRs gave way to DVD players, which in turn have given way to streaming services. Brick cellphones evolved into flip phones, which were swapped out for two-way pager phones and then wiped out by the iPhone model. Tape players gave way to the Walkman CD player, which gave way to the iPod, which also ended up in the iPhone model. I think we soon will see another big industry shift.
Facebook's Latest Moon Shot: I Think, Therefore I Type
April 21, 2017
Facebook on Wednesday told its F8 conference audience about two new cutting-edge projects that could change the way humans engage with devices. Over the next two years, the company will work on a new technology that will allow anyone to type around 100 words per minute -- not with fingers, but using a process that would decode neural activity devoted to speech. What Facebook envisions is a technology that would resemble a neural network.
Facebook Builds a VR Space, but Will Anyone Come?
April 19, 2017
Facebook has announced the beta launch of Facebook Spaces, a new app that allows users to connect with friends and colleagues in an interactive virtual reality environment. It provides a way for social media users to hang out as they might otherwise in person -- even bridging great distances -- noted Rachel Franklin, head of social VR at Facebook. An avatar represents each user in the VR world.
Google Spins VR Experiences on the Web
April 14, 2017
Google on Thursday announced compatibility of its WebVR on Chrome with its low-cost Google Cardboard virtual reality system. It also launched WebVR Experiments, an online showcase for virtuality reality content in development. WebVR became available on Daydream-ready phones earlier this year. The newly launched WebVR Experiments are essentially proof-of-concept offerings.
Bixby Will Be Seen but Not Heard When Galaxy S8 Launches
April 13, 2017
Samsung on Wednesday said that Bixby Voice will not be operational when its Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones hit the market. Some Bixby features -- Vision, Home and Reminder -- will be active when the phones become available on April 21, Samsung said, but the Bixby Voice capability won't show up until later this spring. The delay may be due to a weakness in Bixby's English language chops.
Why VR Is Failing
April 10, 2017
As a market, we seem to have trouble learning that three key elements are necessary for a new technology to take hold: It has to appear complete, it has to be compelling, and it has to seem like a value -- that is, be affordable. Compared to what we have today, the car that opened up the automotive market in the U.S. was none of those things -- yet it was incredibly successful.
Gadget Ogling: Samsung Swings, Plus Live 360 Cameras and Smart Tuners
April 7, 2017
Samsung is back with a new pair of flagship smartphones it desperately needs to be hits in the wake of previous handsets that were a touch too, erm, explodey. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have dispensed with the physical home button and added an artificial intelligence assistant, screens that so very almost kill the bezel, and fingerprint sensors on the rear. It's a smart, striking design.
Zunum's Hybrid-Electric Planes Could Disrupt Commercial Flight Industry
April 5, 2017
Zunum Aero, a startup backed by Boeing and JetBlue, on Wednesday announced that it was developing regional hybrid-electric aircraft with backing from Boeing's HorizonX innovation cell and JetBlue Technology Ventures. The planes, which will have 10 to 50 seats, are scheduled for launch in the early 2020s. Zunum aims to democratize access to fast, affordable travel.
AI Confusion Widespread Among Consumers
April 4, 2017
Most people think they know what the term "artificial intelligence" means, based on the results of a survey Pegasystems released Tuesday. However, their responses suggested that they probably don't fully understand how it's being used today, including in the customer service realm. Researchers polled 6,000 adult consumers in the United States, the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany.
Now World's Second-Wealthiest, Bezos Travels to Different Drumbeat
April 3, 2017
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has entered more rarefied air, having leapfrogged billionaires Amancio Ortega and Warren Buffett to become the second wealthiest person in the world. Bezos -- CEO of the e-commerce retailer and cloud services provider -- last week enjoyed a jump of $1.5 billion to $75.6 billion net worth, after his company announced a deal to acquire Souq.com.
Salesforce Offers AI-Powered CRM for Financial Advisors
March 31, 2017
Salesforce this week announced Financial Services Cloud Einstein, an AI-based CRM tool for financial advisors. It gives users a holistic view of each client's household and wealth ecosystem and lets them leverage Salesforce's AI technology to seek out new business opportunities. Einstein Opportunity tracks clients' sentiments, competitor mentions, and overall engagement.
It's Mud Season Again
March 29, 2017
It's mud season here in New England -- that time of year when everything merges into an amorphous mess. The gray sky merges with a gray landscape made into slop by continual rains and dirty gray melting snow. It's hard to tell where one thing ends and another begins. Eventually the sun comes out and dries everything, the sky becomes distinct from the horizon, plants bloom, and order is restored.
Elon Musk Plans to Build a Human-AI Interface
March 29, 2017
Tech visionary Elon Musk has launched a startup, Neuralink, dedicated to developing technology that will connect human brains directly to a computer. This venture is in its very early stages, Musk confirmed. Neuralink, which Musk is funding privately, is a medical research firm that aims to develop "neural lace" -- a technology that could allow the implanting of small electrodes into the brain.
Too Much Communication
March 28, 2017
The world is a smaller place because we have so many ways to connect and communicate, but it has created a generation gap, a gap of classes and perhaps even a culture gap. This may seem like a serious contradiction; after all shouldn't more means of communication bring us closer together? The obvious answer is yes, but unfortunately this is not the case.
Blockchain: CRM's Next Frontier
March 22, 2017
We've seen a parade of technologies coming into the front office since 2000, including browser-based cloud computing, social media, mobile technology, workflow, journey mapping, and big data and analytics. It's typical that at first there's only a tenuous relationship between the technology and CRM's original mission, but over a short time innovators adopt and commercialize the innovation.
Apple May Alter the AR Competition
March 21, 2017
Apple is stockpiling resources to make a splash in the augmented reality market. The company reportedly is not only marshaling internal resources behind its AR efforts, but also hiring talented outsiders and acquiring companies with expertise in AR hardware, 3D gaming and virtual reality software. The new outsiders include engineers who worked VR headsets for Google and Microsoft.
Why Tech Can't Help Donald Trump and Most CEOs
March 20, 2017
The new president is making almost the identical mistake President Obama made during his first two years. Trump has picked a major entitlement to hang his hat on -- the same major entitlement, healthcare -- and shortly will discover what most CIOs know: You don't mess with anything that touches everybody. The likely outcome will be that like Obama, Trump will lose the house in the next election.
Analytics and Workflow
March 15, 2017
There's a big difference between B2C and B2B analytics that no vendors seem to be addressing, and it involves the consumption model. I recently spoke with K.V. Rao, founder and chief strategy officer of Aviso, an analytics company focused on sales, and his unabashed opinion is that "if you're trying to expose insights and make things consumable, you have to address workflow."
Gadget Ogling: Note-Taker Triumphs, Classic Nokia Returns, and Audio Thrills
March 14, 2017
Transcribing speech is tedious, but until voice recognition truly can handle all manner of accents and verbal tics, it's a necessary evil. Hands up, everyone who thinks I wouldn't want a machine to take care of that for me. No one? Good. Titan Note records and transcribes audio, with a particular trick up its sleeve: It can discern different speakers when it's transcribing.
Intel Bets $15.3B on Mobileye's Self-Driving Car Tech
March 14, 2017
Intel has agreed to acquire Mobileye, a developer of autonomous vehicle technology, for $15.3 billion. Intel will integrate Mobileye's computer vision and mapping technology for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles into its Automated Driving Group, to be led by MobileEye CTO Amnon Shashua. Intel SVP Doug Davis will oversee engagement across various Intel groups, and report directly to Shashua.
Google Nabs Kaggle to Stay Ahead of Data Science Curve
March 13, 2017
Data Science Community Kaggle will be joining Google Cloud, said Fei Fei Li, chief scientist of Google Cloud AI and machine learning, at last week's Google's Next '17 conference. The Kaggle community, which includes 800,000 data experts around the world, use the network to stay up to date on the latest innovations in data science and machine learning, according to Li.
Despite Intense Scrutiny, Uber Lays Another Egg
March 10, 2017
Already under the microscope for claims of sexual harassment and questionable labor practices, Uber this week said it would ban the use of a controversial technology to block regulatory authorities from monitoring its operations. The company's "greyballing" technology is designed to hide the standard city app view in specific cases -- for example, from former riders blocked for being abusive.
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What best sums up your attitude toward Facebook?
It's a wonderful communications tool if used responsibly.
It has way too much power for any one company.
It does a lot of good beyond connecting people.
It has changed the world for the worse.
Can't live with it, can't live without it.
I don't have time for it.
I have no interest in it.