Looking for an AI Silver Bullet to Make Software Smart? Keep Looking

October 24, 2014

Here in Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky there is not too much chatter about machine learning. It is hunting season. Time to get out the Barrett Automatic Rifle and go hunting for varmints.

Sundown yesterday when calm returned to the hollow, I read “Machine-Learning Maestro Michael Jordan on the Delusions of Big Data and Other Huge Engineering Efforts.”

My thought after reading the IEEE article was that I was really tired of the artificial intelligence yap yap. Now a whiz at UCal Berkeley is pointing out that some of the methods are a “cartoon.”

The Dr. Michael Jordan says:

I think data analysis can deliver inferences at certain levels of quality. But we have to be clear about what levels of quality. We have to have error bars around all our predictions. That is something that’s missing in much of the current machine learning literature.,,if people use data and inferences they can make with the data without any concern about error bars, about heterogeneity, about noisy data, about the sampling pattern, about all the kinds of things that you have to be serious about if you’re an engineer and a statistician—then you will make lots of predictions, and there’s a good chance that you will occasionally solve some real interesting problems. But you will occasionally have some disastrously bad decisions. And you won’t know the difference a priori. You will just produce these outputs and hope for the best. And so that’s where we are currently.

In short, marketing hyperbole takes precedence over the plodding realities of the steps required of a person aspiring to a PhD in statistics is supposed to follow.

With regard to the applications that deliver predictive outputs, Dr. Jordan says:

But unless you’re actually doing the full-scale engineering statistical analysis to provide some error bars and quantify the errors, it’s gambling. It’s better than just gambling without data. That’s pure roulette. This is kind of partial roulette.

I strongly recommend you read the interview. I would not involve a search or content processing marketer in the exercise, however.

Stephen E Arnold, October 24, 2014

Stone Temple Consulting Creates Knowledge Panel to Test Google, Siri, and Cortana

October 24, 2014

The article titled The Great Knowledge Box Showdown : Google Now vs. Siri vs. Cortana on Stone Temple Consulting compares the capabilities of the three platforms with 3086 queries.

“This was a…knowledge box comparison, not a personal assistant comparison. For purposes of this study, a “knowledge box” or “knowledge panel” is defined as content in the search results that attempts to directly answer a question asked in a search query…”

The article provides a long list of the sort of questions posed to the three platforms and the ways that the different systems answered correctly and incorrectly. Knowledge boxes might appear in the form of a carousel (a set of images or info above the search results) or as step by step instructions (provided, for example, in response to a question about how to make a certain recipe.) Ultimately, the article found,

Google Now returns twice as many results as Siri and nearly three times as many results as Cortana. This is clear evidence that Google is much further down the path with this type of work than either Apple or Cortana.”

It also is important to mention that according to the article errors occur 15 percent of the time in the best system for mission critical situations. Hmmm.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 24, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

G2 Crowd Announces Business Intelligence Leaders

October 24, 2014

The article titled Tableau, Qlikview, TIBCO, SAS, and Oracle Lead G2 Crowd’s Business Intelligence Ratings on Venture Beat discusses the winners and losers of the Fall 2014 best business intelligence ratings. G2 Crowd claims the position of “unbiased” reviewers of business software. They launched in 2013 and have since collected tens of thousands of verified reviews. The leaders in BI mentioned above were headed off by Tableau Desktop in first position. The article states,

“Either there’s exceptional quality in the BI software, or BI users seem to be fairly easy-to-please people — at least those who rate the software they use. “Overall, G2 Crowd users were satisfied with the business intelligence products they reviewed,” G2 Crowd said in a statement. “Across all products, reviewers reported the product they use meets their requirements at an average rate of 81 percent, and on average reviewers said they were 81 percent likely to recommend the product they use.””

As may be obvious from the list in the article’s title, the industry leaders are all very established companies. Overall, not too many whizzy new vendors make the cut. As for the losers, those relegated to the “Niche” category of low market penetration doubled with low client satisfaction, only two companies fit the bill: Pentaho and Birst. See the full list here.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 24, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Google Compared to Mainframes

October 23, 2014

I read ”Peak Google.” I found the analysis interesting. You can work through the 2,000 word write up as your time permits. I want to highlight one facet of “Google may be toast” analysis.

The hook is a chart that shows how mainframes were eclipsed by PCs. This is the first time I have seen the fortunes of Google compared to those of the mainframe.

The suggestion is that upstarts will capture and dominate Google in native advertising. Okay.

But the comparison to the mainframe sector? Ouch.

Stephen E Arnold, October 23, 2014

Google: When Stanford and CMU Cannot Deliver

October 23, 2014

I read “Google Partners with University of Oxford for Future AI Research.” Oxford has a pretty good bookstore. One hopes no errant sparks ignites the labyrinth. Cambridge has a river and a sci-tech reputation which strikes me as quite good. Downhill since the days of that idler Sir Isaac Newton?

In the write up, I read:

The focus for this [Google Oxford] partnership and the research that will hopefully emerge from it is on improving an AI’s ability to recognize images and objects, and to enhance natural language processing. Both of these fields are vital if AI is ever going to go anywhere in our human world, and they’re also vital if Google wants some of its products, like the self-driving cars, to become actually usable.

I thought that in the early days of Google’s book scanning, Oxford was a participant. Some of the scans I saw were thrilling. Anyone for 19th century railroad schedules.

Hey hey for Oxford. Cambridge may want to put on some lip gloss and take Googlers sculling on the River Cam. There may be bucks to be had.

I assume that Dr. Stephen Hawking, former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, is not up to snuff.

Stephen E Arnold, October 23, 2014

Wall Street Journal Forecasts Microsoft Purchase of Equivio

October 23, 2014

The article titled Microsoft to Buy Israel Text-Analysis Vendor Equivio: Report on ZDNet covers the potential purchase reported recently by the Wall Street Journal. According to the article, Equivio’s main draw for Microsoft is the product Zoom, a legal tool for document organization. The article states,

Equivio has been working with Microsoft technologies, including Windows XP, SQL Server and SharePoint Server, since 2006, if not earlier. The company develops text-analytics products for legal and compliance e-discovery tasks. Its main product is Zoom “a court-approved machine learning platform for the legal area”. Zoom organizes collections of documents in meaningful ways, while quantifying and visualizing the decision space. So you can zoom out for the big picture. Or zoom in to find just what you need.”

The price of the purchase is reported at $200 million dollars. This may sound steep, but makes sense when some of the users of Zoom include The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Microsoft has been in the habit of buying up text-processing technology, and has overseas cash to spend on companies outside of the U.S. (only a month ago Microsoft spent 2.5 billion on Mojang, the Stockholm-based Minecraft creator.) Microsoft had no comment on the deal, but the Wall Street Journal has been right before.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 23, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

The Many Hats of Watson the Supercomputer

October 23, 2014

The article titled IBM Opens Watson Headquarters in NYC Amid New Cognitive Milestones on eweek cheers Watson on in his many current pursuits. New York’s Silicon Alley is Watson’s new home, near Facebook and Cooper Union. As Watson settles in (accompanied by an entourage of 600 IBM employees, which is less than half of the staff assigned to Watson overall) IBM continues to hype their supercomputer. The article states,

“IBM describes Watson as a groundbreaking platform that represents a new era of computing based on its ability to interact in natural language, process vast amounts of big data to uncover patterns and insights, and learn from each interaction… An interactive client experience lab will serve as a place for IBM clients to experience Watson and learn how it can help transform their businesses. In addition, the headquarters will host a design lab for continuously enhancing the user experience…”

Universities are also embracing Watson, with initiatives at ten top schools teaching Watson programming courses this semester, and CUNY students competing to develop Watson-based apps. In the meantime, Watson is being kept busy learning Spanish, improving cancer care, advising college students, and powering better travel experience through WayBlazer. When does Watson rest?

Chelsea Kerwin, October 23, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Connecting Enterprise Content Management to SharePoint

October 23, 2014

In the enterprise, anything that makes creating connections easier is a necessity. And it seems that open source has had a greater and greater role to play in facilitating connections between content, especially in conjunction with SharePoint. The latest news comes out of CMS Wire in their article, “Alfresco Connects ECMs To SharePoint.”

The article begins:

“Alfresco just reaffirmed its good-guy enterprise content management (ECM) credentials. It’s contributing an open source integration called Chemistry Pars to the Apache Software Foundation. Using Chemistry Parts, enterprises will be able to connect Microsoft SharePoint to just about any major ECM system on the market — including Alfresco, obviously — using the open standard Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS).”

Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search with an interest in SharePoint. He maintains ArnoldIT.com and created a separate SharePoint feed for those who need to keep up with all the latest news, tips, and tricks. Keep an eye out for all the latest industry updates. Arnold will make them available.

Emily Rae Aldridge, October 23, 2014

Hakia Offline

October 22, 2014

In April 2014, I cited a report that suggested Hakia was moving forward. It now appears that the Hakia Web site has gone dark. Information about Hakia’s semantic system is available in this interview with Riza C. Berkan.

Stephen E Arnold, October 22, 2014

Sprout Lacks an Idol Function

October 22, 2014

I read “HP Will Unveil new Computing Product Called Sprout Next Week.” I am not sure I understand a multi function device that combines a touch screen, an overhead projector, and a 3D scanner. Why? An important function is missing.’

Where is Autonomy Idol? It’s a multi billion dollar technology wonder. A “Powered by Idol” would be a nice marketing touch.

Shortly after the acquisition, I heard that HP wanted to embed Autonomy Idol in a range of devices. Well, after three years, why isn’t Idol included in Sprout?

I can envision the late night TV ad now. I want to see a touch screen, overhead projector, and 3D scanner promoted as the next American Idol.

Stephen E Arnold, October 22, 2014

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