Bitext and MarkLogic Join in a Strategic Partnership

June 13, 2017

Strategic partnerships are one of the best ways for companies to grow and diamond in the rough company Bitext has formed a brilliant one. According to a recent press release, “Bitext Announces Technology Partnership With MarkLogic, Bringing Leading-Edge Text Analysis To The Database Industry.” Bitext has enjoyed a number of key license deals. The company’s ability to process multi-lingual content with its deep linguistics analysis platform reduces costs and increases the speed with which machine learning systems can deliver more accurate results.

bitext logo

Both Bitext and MarkLogic are helping enterprise companies drive better outcomes and create better customer experiences. By combining their respectful technologies, the pair hopes to reduce data’s text ambiguity and produce high quality data assets for semantic search, chatbots, and machine learning systems. Bitext’s CEO and founder said:

““With Bitext’s breakthrough technology built-in, MarkLogic 9 can index and search massive volumes of multi-language data accurately and efficiently while maintaining the highest level of data availability and security. Our leading-edge text analysis technology helps MarkLogic 9 customers to reveal business-critical relationships between data,” said Dr. Antonio Valderrabanos.

Bitext is capable of conquering the most difficult language problems and creating solutions for consumer engagement, training, and sentiment analysis. Bitext’s flagship product is its Deep Linguistics Analysis Platform and Kantar, GFK, Intel, and Accenture favor it. MarkLogic used to be one of Bitext’s clients, but now they are partners and are bound to invent even more breakthrough technology. Bitext takes another step to cement its role as the operating system for machine intelligence.

Whitney Grace, June 13, 2017

Verizon: The Spirit of Yahoot

June 9, 2017

I surmised from “Confirmed: Verizon Will Cut ~15% of AOL-Yahoo Staff after Merger Closes” that the spirit of Yahoot will live. At least for a while.

Here’s the passage I highlighted in Yahoot purple:

The proportion of jobs being made redundant across AOL and Yahoo is around 15 percent globally, we have confirmed with our sources. This shakes out to as many as 2,100 jobs being lost as part of the corporate merger.

With a price tag close to $5 billion, the new top dogs for Yahoot will have to shake a leg to:

  • Get their money back
  • Generate new, sustainable revenues as mobile search grows beyond 60 percent of search traffic
  • Innovate in ways that open new revenue streams which are themselves profitable.

Yahoot is Oath with a colon.

How does one search for “Oath with a color”? Wonky names can pose some challenges for the New Age search and retrieval systems.

My query for Oath with a colon on Yandex.ru returned these results:

image

I then tried the same query on that popular service Izito and got these results:

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My conclusion: When creating a name, it is a good idea to consider how that name is processed by online search systems.

Oath with a colon is likely to generate some results which will leave Yahoot customers wondering what’s where.

Yep, one Yandex.ru link points to a dictionary and the definition does not mention Verizon. Why would it? And the Izito number one hit reminds me that Oath is the acronym for the State of New York’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Yahoot! I suppose I should think of Yahoot as Oath with a colon. Love those cute names I do.

Stephen E Arnold, June 9, 2017

The WSJ Click Crater

June 7, 2017

Big name, old school publishers share a trait. These folks perceive themselves as a traffic magnets. I have been in meetings in which the shared understanding was that a publisher’s “brand” would sustain a flow of a digital revenue.

Again and again the “brand” fallacy proves itself. Examples range from the original New York Times’ online service (hello, Jeff Pemberton) to the Wall Street Journal’s early attempt to make its content available in a sort of wonky online interface decades ago (hello, Richard Levine?).

I just read “WSJ Ends Google Users’ Free Ride, Then Fades in Search Results.” The main point: The brand magnet is weak. Without the Google attracting eye balls and routing traffic to the Murdoch “blue chip”, the WSJ has found itself in a click crater.

What’s the fix?

Well, dear WSJ, the answer is to buy Adwords. Yep, the WSJ has to fork over big money per month to get the traffic up. Then the WSJ has to figure out how to monetize that traffic.

That’s not easy.

I subscribe to the dead tree edition of the newspaper. The digital version is allegedly available to me as part of my subscription. I don’t bother. The WSJ is not able to provide me with an email and a temporary password so i can enter data from the newspaper’s mailing label into the WSJ online system. Nah, I have to phone the WSJ. Go through a crazy process and I don’t want to do this. I am okay with a magic marker and a pair of scissors.

I learned from the Bloomberg write up:

Executives at the Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., argue that Google’s policy is unfairly punishing them for trying to attract more digital subscribers. They want Google to treat their articles equally in search rankings, despite being behind a paywall.

Right, click crater.

Bad Google. Baloney.

Publishers fumbled their digits. Don’t believe me? Chase down someone involved in the early versions of the Times Online or the Dow Jones News Service.

These did not work.

Why?

A newspaper is one thing. Online information is another.

Bad Google. Wrong. Publishers with horse blinders can find their way to the stable. Anything else is tough.

Stephen E Arnold, June 7, 2017

Antidot: Fluid Topics

June 5, 2017

I find French innovators creative. Over the years I have found the visualizations of DATOPS, the architecture of Exalead, the wonkiness of Kartoo, the intriguing Semio, and the numerous attempts to federate data and work flow like digital librarians and subject matter experts. The Descartes- and Femat-inspired engineers created software and systems which try to trim the pointy end off many information thorns.

I read “Antidot Enables ‘Interactive’ Tech Docs That Are Easier To Publish, More Relevant To Users – and Actually Get Read.” Antidot, for those not familiar with the company, was founded in 1999. Today the company bills itself as a specialist in semantic search and content classification. The search system is named Taruqa, and the classification component is called “Classifier.”

The Fluid Topics product combines a number of content processing functions in a workflow designed to provide authorized users with the right information at the right time.

According to the write up:

Antidot has updated its document delivery platform with new features aimed at making it easier to create user-friendly interactive docs.  Docs are created and consumed thanks to a combination of semantic search, content enrichment, automatic content tagging and more.

The phrase “content enrichment” suggests to me that multiple indexing and metadata identification subroutines crunch on text. The idea is that a query can be expanded, tap into entity extraction, and make use of text analytics to identify documents which keyword matching would overlook.

The Fluid Topic angle is that documentation and other types of enterprise information can be indexed and matched to a user’s profile or to a user’s query. The result is that the needed document is findable.

The slicing and dicing of processed content makes it possible for the system to assemble snippets or complete documents into an “interactive document.” The idea is that most workers today are not too thrilled to get a results list and the job of opening, scanning, extracting, and closing links. The Easter egg hunt approach to finding business information is less entertaining than looking at Snapchat images or checking what’s new with pals on Facebook.

The write up states:

Users can read, search, navigate, annotate, create alerts, send feedback to writers, with a rich and intuitive user experience.

I noted this list of benefits fro the Fluid Topics’ approach:

  • Quick, easy access to the right information at the right time, making searching for technical product knowledge really efficient.
  • Combine and transform technical content into relevant, useful information by slicing and dicing data from virtually any source to create a unified knowledge hub.
  • Freedom for any user to tailor documentation and provide useful feedback to writers.
  • Knowledge of how documentation is actually used.

Applications include:

  • Casual publishing which means a user can create a “personal” book of content and share them.
  • Content organization which organizes the often chaotic and scattered source information
  • Markdown which means formatting information in a consistent way.

Fluid Topics is a hybrid which combines automatic indexing and metadata extraction, search, and publishing.

More information about Fluid Topics is available at a separate Antidot Web site called “Fluid Topics.” The company provides a video which explains how you can transform your world when you tackle search, customer support, and content federation and repurposing. Fluid Topics also performs text analytics for the “age of limitless technical content delivery.”

Hewlett Packard invested significantly in workflow based content management technology. MarkLogic’s XML data management system can be tweaked to perform similar functions. Dozens of other companies offer content workflow solutions. The sector is active, but sales cycles are lengthy. Crafty millennials can make Slack perform some content tricks as well. Those on a tight budget might find that Google’s hit and miss services are good enough for many content operations. For those in love with SharePoint, even that remarkable collection of fragmented services, APIs, and software can deliver good enough solutions.

I think it is worth watching how Antidot’s Fluid Topics performs in what strikes me as a crowded, volatile market for content federation and information workflow.

Stephen E Arnold, June 5, 2017

About That Freedom of Speech Thing

May 26, 2017

I read “G7 Summit: Theresa May to Ask World Leaders to Launch Internet Crackdown after Manchester Attack.” The Internet means online to me. Crackdowns trigger thoughts of filtering, graph analysis, and the interesting challenge of explaining why someone looked up an item of information.

The write up interpreted “online” as social media, which is interesting. Here’s a passage I highlighted:

The prime minister will ask governments to unite to regulate what tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter allow to be posted on their networks. By doing so, she will force them to remove “harmful” extremist content, she will suggest to G7 members at a meeting in Italy.

The named companies have been struggling to filter inappropriate content. On a practical level, certain inappropriate content may generate ad revenue. Losing ad revenue is not a popular notion in some of these identified companies.

The companies have also been doing some thinking about their role. Are these outfits supposed to be “responsible” for what their users and advertisers post? If the identified companies are indeed “responsible,” how will the mantle of responsibility hang on the frames of Wild West outfits in Silicon Valley. The phrase “It is easier to ask forgiveness than seek permission” is a pithy way of summing up some Silicon Valley action plans.

The write up enumerates the general types of digital information available on “the Internet.” I noted this statement:

She [Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister] will also call for industry guidelines to be revised by the tech companies to make absolutely clear what constitutes harmful material, with those that fail to do so being held to account.

The impact of Ms. May’s suggestion may create some interesting challenges for the companies facilitating the flow of real time information. Will Silicon Valley companies which often perceive themselves as more important than nation states will respond in a manner congruent with Ms. May’s ideas?

My thought is that “responsibility” will be a moving target. What’s more important? Advertising revenue or getting bogged down in figuring out which item of information is okay and which is not?

At this moment, it looks to me as if revenue and self interest might be more important than broader political considerations. That Maslow’s hierarchy of need takes on a special significance when Silicon Valley constructs consider prioritize their behaviors.

What happens if I run an online query for “Silicon Valley” and “content filtering”? Bing wants me to personalize my results based on my interests and for me to save “things for later.” I decline and get this output:

image

I particularly liked the reference to Silicon Valley sending “its ambassador” to Appalachia. Sorry, Ms. May, my query does not encourage my thinking about your idea for responsible censorship.

Google displays an ad for social media monitoring performed by GFI Software in Malta. I am also directed to hits which do not relate to Ms. May’s ideas.

image

Google interprets the query as one related to third party software which blocks content. That’s closer to what Ms. May is suggesting.

Neither search giant points to itself as involved in this content filtering activity.

That tells me that Ms. May’s idea may be easy to articulate but a bit more difficult to insert into the Wild West of capitalistic constructs.

Digital information is a slippery beastie composed of zeros and ones, used by billions of people who don’t agree about what’s okay and what’s not okay, and operated by folks who may see themselves as knowing better than elected officials.

Interesting stuff.

Stephen E Arnold, May 26, 2017

China and Facebook: Coincidence, Trend, the Future?

May 23, 2017

I read “China Clamps Down on Online News With New Security Rules.” The main idea is that China is taking steps to make sure the right news reaches the happy Internet consumers in the middle kingdom. Forget the artificial intelligence approach. China may be heading down a more traditional water buffalo path. Human herders will keep those bovines in line. Bad bovines become Chinese beef with broccoli. The Great Firewall is, it seems, not so magnificent. VPNs are on the hit list too. Monitoring is the next big thing in making sure 1.2 billion Chinese are fully informed. The question is, “Didn’t the previous online intercept and filtering mechanism work?” Who knew?

Image result for philosophical problem

I also noted “Facebook Is Hiring a Small Army to Block Murder and Suicide Videos.” The point of the write up is that the vaunted revolution in artificial intelligence is not so vaunted. To find and censor nasty videos, Facebook is embracing an old-fashioned approach—humans. The term for this digital “fast food” type workers is moderators. The moderators will be part of Facebook’s “community operations team. If the “real journalism” outfit is correct, Facebook’s COT has a cadre of 4,500 people. For those lucky enough to work at the Taco Bell of deciding what’s “good”, “appropriate,” or “Facebooky”, I learned:

Facebook says the people hired to review Facebook content for the company will receive psychological support…

I would imagine that it might be easier to hire individuals who don’t worry about free speech and figuring out the answer to such questions as, “Exactly what is Facebooky?” Tom Aquinas, John Locke, Socrates, Bertrand Russell, and  Descartes are not available to provide their input.

More intriguing is that Google is adding “workshops” for humans. Presumably, Google has cracked the problem of figuring out what’s in and what’s out under the US Constitution’s First Amendment. The high power Google smart software are getting a spring tune up. But humanoids will be working on identifying hate speech if the information in “Google Search Changes Tackle Fake News and Hate Speech.”

For a moment, I thought there was some similarity among the China, Facebook, and Google approaches. I realized that China is a real country and it is engaged in information control. Facebook and Google are “sort of countries”? Each is engaged in a process of deciding what’s okay and what’s not okay?

Am I worried? Not really. I think that nation states make decisions so their citizens are fully informed. I think that US monopolies operate for the benefit of their users.

The one issue which gives me a moment’s pause is the revolution in big thinking. China, Facebook, and Google have obviously resolved the thorny problem of censorship.

Those losers like Socrates deserved to die. Tom Aquinas had the right idea: Stay inside and focus on a greater being. Descartes was better at math than the “I think and therefore I am” silliness. Perhaps the spirit of John Locke has been revivified, and it is guiding the rationalists in China, Facebook, and Google in their quest to decide what’s good and what’s bad.

Three outfits have “Russell-ed” up answers to tough philosophical questions. Trivial, right?

Stephen E Arnold, May 23, 2017

Did IBM Watson Ask Warren Buffet about Value?

May 19, 2017

I read “$4 Billion Stock Sale Suggests Warren Buffett’s Love Affair with IBM Is Over.” The subtitle caught my eye. What would Watson think about this statement:

Berkshire Hathaway’s founder Warren Buffett has admitted that buying IBM shares was a mistake. He has sold 30 percent of his 81 million shares because the company failed to live up to the expectations it held in 2011.

If I had access to a fully functioning (already trained) IBM Watson, I would ask Watson that question directly.

Last night I was watching the NBA playoff game between the technically adept Houston team and the programming-crazed San Antonio team. There in the middle of a start and stop game was an IBM Watson commercial.

Let me tell you that the IBM Watson message nestled comfortably amidst the tats, the hysterical announcers, and the computer-literature crowd.

IBM has a knack for getting its message out to buyers with cash in their hands for a confection of open source, home brew, and acquired technology.

Why doesn’t Warren Buffet get the message?

According the the write up, Mr. Buffet explains what message he received about IBM:

… IBM “hasn’t done what, five or six years ago, I expected would happen – or what the management expected would happen, if you look back at what they were projecting, and how they thought the business would develop. “The earnings have been obviously disappointing. I mean, five or six years ago, I think they were earning $20+ billion pre-tax and maybe it’s $13 billion now, and I don’t think the quality of the earnings has improved. “It’s been a period when it’s been tougher than they thought and it’s been tougher than I thought. But I was wrong. I don’t blame them. I get paid to make my own decisions, and sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong.

Interesting but not quite as remarkable as smart software being advertised to NBA fans. Air ball.

Stephen E Arnold, May 19, 2017

AI Might Not Be the Most Intelligent Business Solution

April 21, 2017

Big data was the buzzword a few years ago, but now artificial intelligence is the tech jargon of the moment.  While big data was a more plausible solution for companies trying to mine information from their digital data, AI is proving difficult to implement.  Forbes discusses AI difficulties in the article, “Artificial Intelligence Is Powerful Stuff, But Difficult To Scale To Real-Life Business.”

There is a lot of excitement brewing around machine learning and AI business possibilities, while the technology is ready for use, workers are not.  People need to be prepped and taught how to use AI and machine learning technology, but without the proper lessons, it will hurt a company’s bottom line.  The problem comes from companies rolling out digital solutions, without changing the way they conduct business.  Workers cannot just adapt to changes instantly.  They need to feel like they are part of the solution, instead of being shifted to the side in the latest technological trend.

CIO for the Federal Communications Commission Dr. David Bray said that:

The growth of AI may shift thinking in organizations. ‘At the end of the day, we are changing what people are doing,; Bray says. ‘You are changing how they work, and they’re going to feel threatened if they’re not bought into the change. It’s almost imperative for CIOs to really work closely with their chief executive officers, and serve as an internal venture capitalist, for how we bring data, to bring process improvements and organizational performance improvements – and work it across the entire organization as a whole.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are an upgrade to not only a company’s technology but also how a company conducts business.  Business processes will need to be updated to integrate the new technology, but also how workers will use and interface it.  Businesses will continue facing problems if they think that changing technology, but not their procedures are the final solution.

Whitney Grace, April 21, 2017

Alphabet Google Falls on Its Algorithms

March 24, 2017

Here in Harrod’s Creek, advertising is mostly hand painted signs nailed to telephone poles in front of trailer parks.

Real Advertising in Big Cities Does This

In the LED illuminated big cities, people advertise by:

  1. Cooking up some keywords that are used to locate products and services like mesothelioma or cheap tickets
  2. Paying money to the “do no evil” outfit Alphabet Google to put those ads in front of people who are searching (sometimes cluelessly) for a topic related to lung disease or flying to the land of milk and honey for a couple of hundred bucks
  3. Alphabet Google putting the ads in front of humans (or software robots as the case may be) who will click on the displayed message, banner, or video snippet
  4. The GOOG collects the money
  5. The advertiser gets leads
  6. Repeat the process.

The notion, like digital currencies, is based on trust. Advertisers trust or “believe” that the GOOG’s smart software will recognize a search for Madrid will require an airplane ticket and maybe a hotel. The GOOG’s smart software consults the ads germane to travel and displays a relevant ad in front of the human (or software robot as the case may be).

goofed for content

What happens when the GOOG’s smart software does everything except the relevance part?

The reaction in the non Sillycon Valley business world is easy to spot; for example, here are some examples of the consequences of the reality of what the GOOG does versus what advertisers and other true believers in the gospel of Google collides with faith, trust, and hope:

I could list more stories about this sudden discovery that matching ads to queries is not exactly what some people have believed.

Read more

Country to Country: Canada, Seize the Day in Technology

March 22, 2017

Canada has some excellent universities. Canada has enabled some of IBM’s nifty technology. And there was the BlackBerry moment. But the University of Waterloo soldiers on, unlike Napoleon.

Google apparently offered some country to country advice to Canada, assuming the information about the online ad giant is correct. I am referring to “Canada Must Seize the Moment to Lead in Tech Innovation, Google Canada Head Says.” That’s good advice, but I was under the impression that Industry Canada, go go provinces like Quebec, and assorted industry players like Rogers were already taking steps.

Well, I guess I was wrong. Google thinks that Canada can do more. I learned from the write up:

to seize its moment Canada’s tech industry needs to grow exponentially; focus on the regions and sectors with the greatest momentum; and ensure that today’s elementary, middle, and secondary school students are exposed to memorable STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) experiences before entering university.

There you go.

Google apparently suggested that leaders of high profile Canadian technology companies were not perceived as “leaders.” I wonder if that comes as a surprise to the employees of the companies these folks lead.

Google thinks Canada is “punching above its weight.” Yep, the rule of thumb is that to estimate a market in Canada, one takes the US market number and multiples by point two. Canada, therefore, should be winning more boxing matches with US companies. (I am not sure how the logic works out, but it apparently is intended to make the Google perception that Canada is not doing enough in technology easier to swallow.)

My hunch is that the suggestion is one of those “let’s get this over with” talks. When Google executives depart from the “playbook,” oddities like telling a country what to do become news. Google sells online ads, and its core technology comes from clever places and outfits like GoTo.com. Ah, it is easy to forget the history of the GOOG, isn’t it?

I have been tracking the company as country movement. Facebook wants to a giant focus group to become the way of the world. Google tried to get China to rethink its policies. How are these ideas working out?

Hop to it, Canada. Oh, Google won’t forget buying that nifty Montreal AI company with the very influential professor. Nevertheless, Google may not be able to go back in time, but it certainly wants Canada to go forward in a Googley way. IBM is demonstrating its speech recognition wizardry in Montreal. Better late than never for both outfits.

Stephen E Arnold, March 22, 2017

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