Equifax Hack Has Led to Oracle Toughening Up

October 19, 2017

According to a timely piece in SearchOracle, its parent company has muscled up in response to its recent troubles, according to the article, “Machine Learning and Analytics Among Key Oracle Security Moves.”

This comes on the heels of the infamous Equifax hack, which was made vulnerable due to a weakness in Apache Struts. To their credit, Oracle has owned up to the problem and made it public that they are not going to wilt in the face of criticism. In fact, they are doubling down:

Oracle’s effort to help IT teams reprioritize their defenses, he said, takes the form of a new unified model for organizing data, rolled out as part of an updated Oracle Management Cloud suite. Advanced machine learning and analytics will enable automated remediation of flaws like Struts…

The story continues:

(Oracle’s) approach to machine learning is uniquely its own, in the sense that it is being delivered as a core enhancement to existing offerings, and not as a stand-alone technology that is personalized by a mascot or nickname — a la Einstein from Salesforce or Watson from IBM.

We like that Oracle isn’t trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater, here. We agree, there are a lot of things to like and overhauling would not be the solution. Via analytical improvements, we suspect that Oracle will recover from the Equifax snafu and be stronger for it. They certainly sound like their focus is on that.

Patrick Roland, October 19, 2017

Google Eyes AI in China

October 19, 2017

Google wants to elbow its way into Chinese markets.  As the most populous country in the world, China is more or less an untouched by Google and it is a big, potential market for the technology company.  The South China Morning Post shares that Google is trying to get another foothold in the country: “Google Looking To Build Its Own Team Of Artificial Intelligence Specialists In China.”  Google wants to build an artificial intelligence team in China as the country plans to become the world leader in AI by 2030.  It is not unthinkable that China could obtain this title as the country is making advances in other technology fields.

Google wants a piece of the Chinese profit pie and their job postings Web site lists several opportunities in the Middle Kingdom.   Google has been posting AI job postings based in China since May.  China is not only a populous country, it is also one of the most powerful countries in the world and is stretching its wings in order to compete with more technological heavy countries such as the United States, Canada, Western Europe countries, South Korea, and Japan.

With new technological innovations comes the potential for big profits and China is ready to invest and earn.  China’s artificial intelligence market is predicted to grow 50% each year, which is much higher than the 20% the world market is expected to grow.  Google has plans to be part of that picture:

The timing of Google’s recruitment drive for artificial intelligence specialists on the mainland coincided with its creation in May of a business division, called Google.ai, dedicated solely to that field.  At Google’s annual developer conference held in San Francisco that same month, company executives announced a range of artificial intelligence initiatives. These included adopting machine learning to enhance Google Search and enabling Google Maps to automatically detect street signs.

Google has pressured China in the past to change its policies or the company would not conduct business with it.  Google, however, has caved to China’s demands and has changed itself.  It does not come as a surprise because Google is profit and research driven and China is an untapped market for it.  Emphasis on the profit portion.

Whitney Grace, October 19, 2017

Artificial Intelligence Will Make Humans Smarter at Work

October 17, 2017

Relatively no industry has been untouched by the past decade’s advances in artificial intelligence. We could go on and make a laundry list of which businesses in particular, but we have a hunch you are very close to one right now. According to a recent Enterprise CIO article, “From Buzzword to Boardroom: What’s Next for Machine Learning?” human intelligence is becoming obsolete in certain fields.

As demonstrated in previous experiments, no human brain is able to process as much data at comparable speed and accuracy as machine-learning systems can and as a result, deliver a sound, data-based result within nanoseconds.

While that should make you sit up and take notice, the article is not as apocalyptic as that quote might lead you to believe. In fact, there is a silver lining in all this AI. We humans will just have to work hard to get there. The story continues:

It must also leave room for creativity and innovation. Insights and suggestions gained with the aid of artificial intelligence should stimulate, not limit. Ultimately, real creativity and genuine lateral thinking still comes from humans.

We have to agree with this optimistic line of thinking. These machines are not exactly stealing our jobs, but forcing humans to reevaluate their roles. If you can properly combine AI, big data, and search for your role, chances are an employee, like yourself, will become invaluable instead of obsolete.

Patrick Roland, October 17, 2017

Everyone and Their Dog Is a Search Expert

October 13, 2017

Young people get frustrated when they help older people with technology.  There are considerable sighs, rolling eyes, and the situation often ends in yelling.  One frustration young people are forced to deal with is teaching an older person how to use a search engine.  Trying to explain how to enter information into the text box, the meaning of keywords, and how to tell the difference between results is not easy.  However, search engines like Google, Bing, and Yandex try to make the search process as easy as possible so everyone can become a search expert.

Learning how to search is not the only thing people have trouble learning.  Tech Viral wrote about the top “how to” searches in the article, “Here Are The Top 100 ‘How To’ Searches That People Want To Know.”  Xaquin GV researched how people use Google as the answer all “how to” tool and discovered the most popular searches.  Among the top “how to “searches are how to make money, how to tie a tie, how to draw, how to kiss, how to lose weight, how to make pancakes, and how to get pregnant.

The essay also examines the top 100 ‘How to’ searches conducted worldwide, and the results are very illustrative. Xaquin divided those searches into categories, with visual representations of how popular each of them is.

The search results mostly revolve around activities that are adult responsibilities along with a few surprises that concern current trends.  Everyone can become an expert at any activity with a few simple keystrokes and tutorial guides.  YouTube makes “how to” guides more helpful and even more dangerous when people try to copy the experts at parkour, skateboarding, and daredevil activities that should never be tried at home kids.

Whitney Grace, October 13, 2017

Google Search Data Utilized for Financial Analysis

October 6, 2017

Here is a short honk to point out an interesting new use for search data. A financial analyst is relying on it to make a key prediction, CNBC reports in, “Analyst Predicts Great Amazon Sales Results Because of What He Sees in Google Search Data.” Reporter Tae Kim writes:

Piper Jaffray’s Michael Olson reaffirmed his overweight rating for Amazon, citing the company’s web search analysis which pointed to robust June quarter sales growth for the e-commerce giant. …

Olson said the firm’s web analysis revealed search interest for Amazon-related words grew 24 percent year over year in the June quarter versus 23 percent growth in the March quarter. He cited how Piper’s search analysis had a 95 percent correlation with Amazon’s retail sales unit growth in the previous 37 quarters.

Such interest may be spurred by Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, and by the company’s strong growth in this year’s second quarter. The innovative analyst’s company, Piper Jaffray, has been in business since 1895. It is nice to see a venerable firm embrace a fresh idea, but will Olson’s prediction prove correct?

Cynthia Murrell, October 6, 2017

The Future of Visual and Voice Search

October 4, 2017

From the perspective of the digital marketers they are, GeoMarketing ponders,  “How Will Visual and Voice Search Evolve?” Writer David Kaplan consulted Bing Ads’ Purna Virji on what to expect going forward. For example, though companies are not yet doing much to monetize visual search, Virji says that could change as AIs continue to improve their image-recognition abilities. She also emphasizes the potential of visual search for product discovery—If, for example, someone can locate and buy a pair of shoes just by snapping a picture of a stranger’s feet, sales should benefit handsomely. Virji had this to say about traditional, voice, and image search functionalities working together:

A prediction that Andrew Ng had made when he was still with Baidu was that that ‘by 2020, 50 percent of all search will be image or voice.’ Typing will likely never go away. But now, we have more options. Just like mobile didn’t kill the desktop, apps didn’t kill the browser, the mix of visual, voice, and text will combine in ways that are natural extensions of user behavior. We’ll use those tools depending on the specific need and situation at the moment. For example, you could ‘show’ Cortana a picture of a dress in a magazine via your phone camera and say ‘Hey Cortana, I’d love to buy a dress like this,’ and she can go find where to buy it online. In this way, you used voice and images to find what you were looking for.

The interview also touches on the impact of visual search on local marketing and how its growing use in social media offers data analysts a wealth of targeted-advertising potential.

Cynthia Murrell, October 4, 2017

Search and Privacy: A Quick Update

October 3, 2017

In my files, I had a copy of “Duck Duck Go: Illusion of Privacy.” This document comments on the hurdles a public Web search system must jump over in order to deliver privacy. You can find the write up at this link. If you want to test some privacy-oriented search systems, there are some DuckDuckGo.com alternatives. I am not endorsing these outfits; I am passing along some links because within the last couple of years I learned that privacy is part of the marketing for these systems: [a] Ixquick which is now Startpage at www.startpage.com. This is a metasearch engine which means that the user’s query is passed (in theory anonymously to Bing, Google, Yandex, et al). [b] Unbubble.com (Note that this European service asserts “strong privacy.” The link is www.unbubble.eu  [c] Gibiru service (www.gibiru.com) emphasizes anonymous search. Gibiru provides a link to the Firefox Anonymox plug in. But the most recent version of Firefox has been tricky for us, however. My personal view on search anonymization is that when I research my books about cyberosint, the Dark Web, and eDiscovery for cyber intelligence, I assume that I have a number of individuals thrilled with the sites we uncover, write up, and describe in our lectures and webinars. In short, I avoid trying to be “tricky” because I can explain the thousands of queries we run about many exciting topics. See www.xenky.com/darkwebnotebook for a sampler.

Stephen E Arnold, October 3, 2017

Watson Seeks to Fix Legal System

September 19, 2017

The United States imprisons more people than any other country in the world.  The justice system, however, is broken and needs to be repaired.  How can this be done?  IBM’s Watson might have the answer.  Engadget shares that: “Watson Is Helping Heal America’s Broken Criminal-Sentencing System” and it could be the start of fixing the broken system.  One of the worst problems in the US penitentiary is overcrowding and that most of the incarcerated people are in a minority ethnic group.

Watson is being implemented to repair this disparity.  Human judgment can be swayed by the smallest item, so implementing artificial intelligence may make the justice system more objective.  AI is not infallible is can wrongly sentence convicts.  The best solution right now is to use a mixture of AI and real human logic.  IBM works hand and hand with Ohio’s Montgomery County Juvenile Court System to start a pilot program that provides a judge a summary of a child’s life in order to make better choices for his/her care.

Judge Anthony Capizzi is eager to use the AI care-management system, because it will help him synthesize information better and hopefully make more informed decisions.

With this system, however, the judge is afforded a more-complete view of the child’s life, her essential information displayed on a dashboard that can be updated in real-time. Should the judge need additional details, he can easily have it pulled up. [Capizzi said], ‘If I have 10 care providers in my region, can Watson tell me — because of where that child lives, their educational background, their limitations, their family — is there a better one for that child versus the nine others?’

The Watson-based system will deliver more accurate answers the more information fed into it.  The hope is that it will be implemented in the other Ohio counties and other systems will be developed for other justice systems.  There is still the potential that the Ai could become biased, but there is always a learning curve to make the system work and build a better justice system for the future.

Whitney Grace, September 19, 2015

SEO Write Up Explains How to Create a Web Page within Google Local

September 18, 2017

Blogger.com may be sitting on the sidelines. An injured thigh muscle maybe? How can a business create a presence in Google results without a Web page?

That’s the question “Local SEO” tries to answer. And answer the question it does.

The write up does a good job of explaining how to create a “free” Web page about your business complete with images.

My thought is that the Google may be enriching its trove of information with free services that foreshadow content creation.

Instead of searching for user-created blog content in Google News via a wonky hidden option, the user created content can just “live” within the Google Local system.

That’s one way to deliver “unified search.” Remember that concept from the universal search assertions from about 10 years ago.

Fragmentation in Google services? What fragmentation? There’s no fragmentation in Android and there is no fragmentation in Google search results as long as one runs separate, serial queries across Google Books, Google News, et al. Oh, and Blogger.com. Perhaps not for long?

Stephen E Arnold, September 18, 2017

Product Search: Hard Numbers or Flights of Fancy?

September 16, 2017

I read “Amazon Shakes Up Search, Again.” I was not aware of Amazon’s shaking up search because there are numerous ways to define the term. The write up narrows “search” to people in three countries who buy products or look for product information online. Ah, good, I think.

My hunch is that the “shake up” is related to the data that suggests Amazon has three times as many product searches than Google. The assertion did not “shake” me up because Google’s product search is not particularly useful. I thought that Froogle had a shot at becoming a daughter-of-Amazon, but the GOOG lost interest. Sure, I can search for a product using Google, but the results are often not what I want. Your mileage may vary.

But back to the write up. I noted some factoids which may be useful to those who are giving talks about product search, those who work for a consulting firm and must appear super smart, or folks like me who collect data, no matter how wild or crazy.

Here we go with the “shake up” from 3,100 consumers in the US, Germany, and the UK:

  • 72 percent use Amazon to research a product before buying the product
  • 51 percent use Amazon as a way to get “alternative ideas”
  • 26 percent use Amazon to get information and price when they plan on visiting a real store
  • 84 percent of “searchers” in the US use Google
  • 71 percent of “searchers” in the US use Amazon
  • 36 percent use Facebook in the US use Amazon
  • 24 percent use Pinterest in the US use Amazon
  • 31 percent use eBay in the US use Amazon
  • 80 percent in the UK use Google
  • 73 percent use Amazon in the UK
  • 9 percent use Bing in France
  • 6 percent us Bing in the UK
  • 6 percent use Bing in Germany
  • 20 percent of searchers use Bing
  • Amazon stocks or “carries” 353 million products. Put aside the idea that percentages usually work on a scale of zero to 100, please:
    • 59 percent are “health and beauty”
    • 57 percent are “music, movies, or games”
    • 55 percent are “books”
    • 52 percent fashion or clothing
    • 46 percent are home appliances
    • 40 percent are furniture and home furnishings
    • 39 percent are toys
    • 34 percent are sports equipment and clothing
    • 26 percent are garden equipment and furniture (?)
    • 26 percent are food and grocery
    • 9 percent are beer, wine and spirits.

So if there are 353 million products and the percentage data are correct, the total percentage of products is 443 percent. I did not the duplicate furniture entry but counted the percentage anyway. Also, there was no value for garden equipment and furniture so I used “26 percent”. Close enough for millennials steeped in new math.

My math teacher (Verna Blackburn) in my freshman year of high school in 1958 had an dunce cap. I think I can suggest one research report author who might have been invited to wear the 24 inch tall cap. The 443 percent would shake up deal Miss Blackburn. She also threw chalk at students when they made errors when solving on the blackboards which were on three walls of her classroom. The fourth wall looked out over asphalt to the smokestacks of the former RG Letourneau mortar factory. Getting math wrong at that outfit could indeed shake up some things.

Stephen E Arnold, September 16, 2017

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