HonkinNews for October 18, 2016 Now Available

October 18, 2016

From the wilds of rural Kentucky, Stephen E Arnold highlights the week’s search, online, and content processing news. Two services make it easy to buy a product with a mouse click. Will Amazon’s eCommerce business be threatened by eBay and Pinterest? Plus, this week’s program comments about Google and Pindrop, National Geographic’s new topographic maps, and another of Yahoo’s mounting public relations challenges. The program explains that Google is taking a step toward marginalizing the “regular” Web in favor of the mobile Web. You can view the video shot in eight millimeter film from a cabin in a hollow at this link.

Kenny Toth, October 18, 2016

eBay and Corrigon: Heading in the Right Direction?

October 14, 2016

I find eBay fascinating. Many things for sale; for example, $3,000 Teddy bears. I wonder what those are.

I read “eBay to Acquire Corrigon Ltd.” Interesting. I learned about Corrigon, an Israel-based image search and analysis outfit, about seven years ago. The company’s technology can “look” at a digital image and recognize objects in the image. Coirrigon’s pitch, as I recall it, introduced me to the concept of “dynamic browsing.” I thought most browsing was, by definition, was dynamic, but why ask questions which marketers cannot or will not answer. The buzzwords are the intellectual food which gives me Delhi belly.

One application of Corrigon’s technology is to identify objects in a photo can create a link to a shopping site where one can purchase that object. For instance, I am looking at this image:


The Corrigon system will, in theory, point me to this type of entry on another Web site:


What if I really want the model’s shirt? Well, that may be an issue.

Corrigon has some law enforcement and intelligence applications as well. My hunch is that eBay wants to allow a person to see something, buy something.

The method adds layers and performs image parsing. The method is fine but the approach can add compute cycles. Latency when shopping is a bit of brown bread.

The write up informed me that:

Corrigon’s technology and expertise will contribute to eBay’s efforts with image recognition, classification and image enhancements as part of its structured data initiative. There are three parts to eBay’s structured data initiative: first, collect the data; second, process and enrich the data; and third, create product experiences.Corrigon will support the second and third parts – processing and enriching the data and creating product experiences.

Let’s think about how an eBay user accesses information in the digital flea market now. A person navigates to the site and plugs in keywords. The system then generates a bewildering array of options and some listings. A user then scans and clicks the laundry list of listing. Then the user reads individual listings. Then the user presumably buys the best listing. Heaven help the user who needs to hunt for the link to ask the seller a question. Etc. etc. etc.

eBay’s purchase of Corrigon is going to make eBay into a zippier shopping experience. Well, that’s the theory.

eBay’s challenge is my fave Craigslist and obviously the Bezos beastie. I asked myself, “Perhaps eBay should do some interface work and poke around its core search functionality?”

Stephen E Arnold, October 14, 2016

HonkinNews for October 11, 2016 Now Available

October 10, 2016

The most recent HonkinNews video is now available at this link. Stories include Yahoo’s most recent adventure: A purple light Y-Mart discount of $1 billion dollars on the Verizon purchase offer. Learn how Google Translate handles a Chinese poem about ospreys, not government administration. Included in the seven minute program is information about IBM Watson in the third grade and Bing’s secret to revenue success. These stories and more like the diffusion of the idea of “good enough” search. Direct from Harrod’s Creek in rural Kentucky… HonkinNews for the week ending October 11, 2016.

Stephen E Arnold, October 10, 2016

HonkinNews for October 4, 2016 Available

October 4, 2016

This week’s HonkinNews is available at this link. The feature story explores Palantir Technologies’ love-less love relationship with the US Army. Palantir’s approach to keeping its government customers happy is innovative. We also comment about Google’s blurring of cow faces in StreetView. Learn why SearchBlox is giving vendors of expensive, proprietary enterprise search systems cramps in their calves. Microsoft continues to pay users to access the Internet via Edge and use Bing to search for information. How much does the US government spend for operations and maintenance of its systems? The figure is surprising, if not shocking. This and more in HonkinNews for October 4, 2016.

Kenny Toth, October 4, 2016

Google: The Blurred Cow Moos

September 29, 2016

I read “How a Blurry Cow Highlights Weaknesses in Google’s Face Recognition.” Write ups which criticize the Alphabet Google thing’s stellar technology ripple the pond in Harrod’s Creek. We learned:

The search engine’s algorithms accidentally blurred a cow’s face in the name of privacy.

Cows are people to in Harrod’s Creek. Many here in rural Kentucky use lab grown “meat” instead of terminating Bessie and grilling her prime parts.

The write up stated:

Like all machine-learning algorithms, though, Google’s must be trained using as many examples as possible. The blurry cow on the River Cam is proof that even with an image database as massive as Street View’s to learn from, the algorithms still aren’t perfect. To help further their training, Google is making appeals to third-party developers, who can harness the detection technology in their own websites and apps via an API.

Yes, we will assist the Google.

We highlighted this quote from a Google professional “spokesperson”:

“We thought you were pulling the udder one when we herd the moos, but it’s clear that our automatic face-blurring technology has been a little overzealous. Of course, we don’t begrudge this cow milking its five minutes of fame.”

Google has a sense of humor to accompany technology which is less than perfect. What happens when one applies Google facial recognition to an autonomous killer drone? My hunch is that Google will find a way to make light of the glitch.

Stephen E Arnold, September 29, 2016

HonkinNews for September 27, 2016, Now Available

September 27, 2016

This week’s HonkinNews video tackles Yahoo’s data breach. Stephen E Arnold reveals that Beyond Search thinks Yahoo is a hoot and tags the company Yahoot. Plus, HonkinNews suggests that Oliver Stone may want to do a follow up to Snowden. The new film could be “Marissa: Purple Sun Down.” Other stories include Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s opportunity to see the light with Dr. Michael Lynch’s Luminance. The video explains puppy bias and comments on Harvard’s interest in sugar and fat. You can view the seven minute video at https://youtu.be/64rJdlj4Lew.

Kenny Toth, September 27, 2016

Singularity 1on1: Fund Raising Event

September 22, 2016

Editor’s note: To donate to Singularity 1on1, click this link[.

In a conversation with Nikola Danaylov, the engaging entrepreneur behind Singularity 1 on 1, has tallied more than four million downloads. When I first met him, he referenced Socrates, the Athenian philosopher. Danaylov’s approach to information is based on questions. My thought is that he is the modern counterpart to the individuals who learn and cause others to learn via rigorous questioning. The remarkable video interview series has been featured on BBC, ArteTV, and TV Japan, among other high impact outlets.


The service, available at this link, is a conversation about exponential growth, accelerating change, artificial intelligence and ethics – because technology is not enough.

The main idea is that we are not experiencing a shift in technology but rather a shift in humanity.  So everything that we know for certain is certainly going to change if we are to survive the 21st century; for example, political processes, economics, law, religion, and the very meaning of what it means to be human.

Danaylov told me:

The blog is not meant to provide definitive answers, but rather, to ask the tough questions in an attempt to generate discussion, provoke thought and stir the imagination. It aims to spark a conversation about the impact of technology, exponential growth and artificial intelligence where everyone’s opinions and participation are greatly encouraged.

He added:

So while I do not shy to provide my opinion but place no claim on its superiority because the goal is to get the audience actively involved in the ever-evolving conversation about the future of humanity.

From my vantage point, Singularity Weblog’s value may be not so much in the answers it provides, but in the Questions it raises — the kind that everybody could or should be asking.

In addition to the video interviews, Singularity Weblog:

  • Publishes relevant articles by Socrates and his friends.
  • Posts interviews with the best scientists, writers, entrepreneurs, film-makers, journalists, philosophers and artists.
  • Brings attention to relevant news stories, films, media and scientific developments.
  • Provides an online discussion forum where readers and supporters can start a conversation on issues important to them.
  • Gives people a platform to write and share your own great content.

Danaylov is deeply in love with learning but keenly aware that his personal knowledge is always going to be dwarfed by his ignorance: a man who knows that he doesn’t know; a man with many questions and few answers of his own… Thus Singularity Weblog is, and will always remain to be, an open and collaborative work in progress. And Nikola is, and will remain to be, a student and a host, rather than a teacher or an owner.

Yet, I learned that Danaylov is of the strong belief that we can attain profound insights by asking challenging questions in the company of good people, gathered within an open, informal and interactive symposium. Danaylov hopes to be the midwife, and Singularity Weblog – the setting, where you come to examine the questions, search for your answers, challenge, be challenged and, ultimately, give birth to your own ideas.

It is for this reason that, having spent the past six years producing over 900 articles and interviewing more than 190 of the world’s best known experts, Danaylov has made his treasure trove of information available without charge.

He has a crowd funding campaign underway. Beyond Search readers can support his work at InterviewTheFuture.com.

I asked him what’s next for Singularity 1on1 and the Web log. He replied:

After doing 200 interviews I have learned that it is perhaps best to keep those secret until they are totally recorded, edited and ready for publishing. So you will have to subscribe to the Singularity 1on1 podcast to find out.

As part of my support for Danaylov’s information service, I noted this statement from Darian Wawer:

“There are probably only three things that have impacted my life to such an extent. Carl Sagan with his love for science, Elon Musk and his dedication to improving the quality of the world we live in and finally, the third person would be… Nikola Danaylov with his website Singularity Weblog. Obviously, there are a thousand people whose work I deeply appreciate (Kurzweil, Natasha-More, and so forth) but you are the hub that allows us to stay connected. You have also committed and sacrificed a lot to do so. You are the real deal.”

For more information about Danaylov’s impact, see https://www.singularityweblog.com/testimonials.

Stephen E Arnold, September 22, 2016

HonkinNews for September 20, 2016 Available

September 20, 2016

Stories in the Beyond Search weekly video news program “HonkinNews” include LinkedIn’s censorship of a former CIA professional’s post about the 2016 election. Documentum, founded in 1990, has moved to the frozen wilds of Canada. A Microsoft and Nvidia sponsored online beauty contest may have embraced algorithmic bias. Google can write a customer’s ad automatically and may be able to alter users’ thoughts and actions. Which vendors of intelligence-centric software may be shown the door to the retirement home? The September 20, 2016, edition of “HonkinNews”, filmed with old-fashioned technology in the wilds of rural Kentucky is online at this link.

Kenny Toth, September 20, 2016

HonkinNews, September 13, 2016 Now Available

September 13, 2016

Interested in having your polynomials probed? The Beyond Search weekly news explains this preventive action. In this week’s program you will learn about Google new enterprise search solution. Palantir is taking legal action against an investor in the company. IBM Watson helps out at the US Open. Catch up on the search, online, and content processing news that makes the enterprise procurement teams squirm. Dive in with Springboard and Pool Party. To view the video, click this link.

Kenny Toth, September 13, 2016

Image Search: Colors and Patterns

August 30, 2016

When I search for an image, I often look for an individual. I have noticed over the years that the automatic search function for Google Images delivers facial matches (sometimes) and colors and patterns. Here’s an example.

This image comes from my snaps of a recent trip to a far off place far from Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky.


When I plug the image into Google’s automatic image search, the system returns images like these:


To my untrained eye, it certainly appears that Google’s image search has returned images which evidence the colors and patterns of the original. Sure, none of these is a juice bar, but if I were looking for a similar image, it strikes me that the Google does the job.

Apparently not. 500px sees the world from its unique perspective. I like the word “unique.”

I read “500px Launches Way to Search for Photos by Colors or Designs.” Another image search system is a net gain. I learned from the write up:

500px has created a new way to discover photos, based not on textual descriptions but on swatches and colors. The company today launched Splash, a search engine that lets you simply select a color or design to begin filtering photos that match your mood.

I highlighted this passage:

“This is a way of searching images that has never been done before,” explained 500px head of product Kelly Thompson.

If I understand the system, I can draw a sketch and 500px technology will figure out what matches my drawing. Problem: I cannot draw. I can scan. I can trace. If I rely of these methods, Google can “match” my uploaded image.

Oh, the unique 500px search allows you, gentle reader, to purchase the image the system presents.

Poor Google, left behind again from some entrepreneurs’ point of view. For me, I am okay with the Google Images’ approach.

Stephen E Arnold, August 30, 2016

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