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Content Analyst Sold to kCura

March 30, 2016

kCura, an e-discovery company, purchased Content Analyst. Content Analyst was a spin out from a Washington, DC consulting and services firm. According to “kCura Acquires Content Analyst Company, Developers of High-Performance Advanced Text Analytics Technologies

Content Analyst’s analytics engine has been fully integrated into Relativity Analytics for eight years, supporting a wide range of features that are flexible enough to handle the needs of any type or size of case — everything from organizing unstructured data to email threading to categorization that powers flexible technology-assisted review workflows….By joining teams, kCura will bring Content Analyst’s specialized engineering talent closer to Relativity users, in order to continue building a highly scalable analytics solution even faster.

Content Analytics performs a number of text processing functions, including entity extraction and concept identification for metatagging text. When the initial technology was developed by the DC firm specializing in intelligence and related work for the US government, the system captured the attention of the intelligence community. The systems and methods used by Content Analyst remain useful.

Unlike some text processing companies, Content Analyst focused on legal e-discovery. kCura is the new Content Analyst. What company will acquire Recommind?

Stephen E Arnold, March 30, 2016

Expert System Does a Me Too Innovation

March 29, 2016

Years ago I was a rental to an outfit called i2 Group in the UK. Please, don’t confuse the UK i2 with the ecommerce i2 which chugged along in the US of A.

The UK i2 had a product called Analysts Notebook. At one time it was basking in a 95 percent share of the law enforcement and intelligence market for augmented investigatory software. Analysts Notebook is still alive and kicking in the loving arms of IBM.

I thought of the vagaries of product naming when I read “Expert System USA Launches Analysts’ Workspace.”

According to the write up:

Analysts’ Workspace features comprehensive enterprise search and case management software integrated with a customizable semantic engine. It incorporates a sophisticated and efficient workflow process that enables team-wide collaboration and rapid information sharing. The product includes an intuitive dashboard allowing analysts to monitor, navigate, and access information using different taxonomies, maps, and worldviews, as well as intelligent workflow features specifically designed to proactively support analysts and investigators in the different phases of their activities.

The lingo reminds me of the early i2 Group marketing collateral. The terminology has surfaced in some of Palantir’s marketing statements and, quite recently, in the explanation of the venture funded Digital Shadows’ service.

I love me-too products. Where would one be if Mozart had not heard and remembered the note sequences of other composers.

Now the trick will be to make some money. Mozart, though a very good me too innovator, struggled in that department. Expert System, according to Google Finance, is going to have to find a way to keep that share price climbing. Today’s (March 22, 2016) share price is in penny stock territory:

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Stephen E Arnold, March 29, 2016

Not So Weak. Right, Watson?

March 25, 2016

I read an article which provided to be difficult to find. None of my normal newsreaders snagged the write up called “The Pentagon’s Procurement System Is So Broken They Are Calling on Watson.” Maybe it is the singular Pentagon hooked with the plural pronoun “they”? Hey, dude, colloquial writing is chill.

Perhaps my automated systems’ missing the boat was the omission of the three impressive letters “IBM”? If you follow the activities of US government procurement, you may want to note the article. If you are tracking the tension between IBM i2 and Palantir Technologies, the article adds another flagstone to the pavement that IBM is building to support it augmented intelligence activities in the Department of Defense and other US government agencies.

Let me highlight a couple of comments in the write up and leave you to explore the article at whatever level you choose. I noted these “reports”:

The Air Force is currently working with two vendors, both of which have chosen Watson, IBM’s cognitive learning computer, to develop programs that would harness artificial intelligence to help businesses and government acquisitions officials work through the mind-numbing system.

The write up identifies one of the vendors working on IBM Watson for the US Air Force. The company is Applied Research.

I circled this quote: “The Pentagon’s procurement system is the “perfect application for Watson.”

The goslings and I love “perfect” applications.

How does Watson learn about procurement? The approach is essentially the method used in the mid 1990s by Autonomy IDOL. Here’s a passage I highlighted:

But first Watson must be trained. The first step is to feed it all the relevant documents. Then its digital intellect will be molded by humans, asking question after question, about 5,000 in all, to help understand context and the particular nuance that comes with federal procurement law.

How does this IBM deal fit into the Palantir versus IBM interaction? That’s a good question. What is clear is that the US Air Force has embraced a solution which includes systems and methods first deployed two decades ago.

What’s that about the pace of technology?

Stephen E Arnold, March 25, 2016

Expert System Is Getting with the AI Boomlet

March 17, 2016

I read “Cognitive Computing Specialist Expands US R&D.” The company is Expert System, founded in Modena (not Bologna) in 1989. The company will be celebrating its 27th birthday this year. Apart from Lexmark ISYS and OpenText’s Fulcrum, Expert System is one of the most senior vendors of semantic technology. To respond the vocabulary of IBM Watson, Expert System is now billing itself as a “cognitive computing specialist.”

The passage I highlighted with a quarter century old marker I found in my Expert System file box was:

The new labs in Palo Alto, California., and Rockville, Maryland., will focus on expanding the company’s Cogito cognitive computing software, the Italian company (EXSY.MI) said Tuesday (March 15). The U.S. locations expand the network of Cogito Labs that includes three in Italy along with facilities in Grenoble, France, and Madrid.

That’s a lot of research laboratories for a company whose share price has only recently blipped above $1.97. See this Google Finance chart. In the past six months, the company has deemphasized its “semantic” positioning and embraced the “cognitive” buzzword.

Other notable developments include:

  1. Breaking the company into two separate units. This news arrived in October 2015. See “Expert System Announces Plans to Structure U.S. Presence into Two Separate Companies for Public and Private Sectors.” The announcement followed hard on the heels of Expert System’s acquisition of the Temis outfit. Temis was created by a former IBM whiz but ran into a revenue ceiling several years ago. The Temis DNA may explain the “cognitive” appellation. I won’t go into the Watson-esque heritage. Just think rules. Training. Lots of time and human resources.
  2. A push into the high growth security sector. See “Expert System Launches Cogito Risk Watcher Software.” With the struggles some cybersecurity outfits are facing (example, Norse), one would think cybersecurity might be a somewhat crowded sector. In our research for the forthcoming “Dark Web Notebook,” we logged many references to Terbium Labs and Recorded Future, among others. We did not locate a single reference to Expert System’s Risk Watcher. Perhaps our research is incomplete?
  3. A deal with Quantic, a company with security intelligence solutions. See “Expert System Partners with Quantic Research for Security Intelligence Solutions.” Quantic Research is a subsidiary for the Holding Nivi Group, The Nivi Group is interesting. Here’s the message Google displays about the organization’s Web site:

warningThe google warning for Navi Group. March 16, 2016.

Interesting relationships. Expert System may want to do some checking to make sure that references in write ups about their innovations do not trigger oddball Google alerts.

To sum up, Expert System will be competing in some hot markets for top research talent. Maybe the downturn in unicorn valuations will free up some human resources for Expert System to hire?

The company  is definitely lab rich. The stock price suggests that revenue may be less fecund.

Stephen E Arnold, March 17, 2016

Text Analytics: Crazy Numbers Just Like the Good Old Days of Enterprise Search

March 16, 2016

Short honk: Want a growth business in a niche function that supports enterprise platforms? Well, gentle reader, look no farther than text analytics. Get your checkbook out and invest in this remarkable sector. It will be huuuuge.

Navigate to “Text Analytics Market to Account for US$12.16 bn in Revenue by 2024.”  What is text analytics? How big is text analytics today? How long has text analytics been a viable function supporting content processing?

Ah, good questions, but what’s really important is this passage:

According to this report, the global text analytics market revenue stood at US$2.82 bn in 2015 and is expected to reach US$12.16 bn by 2024, at a CAGR of 17.6% from 2016 to 2024.

I love these estimates. Imagine. Close out your life savings and invest in text analytics. You will receive a CAGR of 17.6 percent which you can cash in and buy stuff in 2024. That’s just eight years.

Worried about the economy? Want to seek the safe shelter of bonds? Forget the worries. If text analytics is so darned hot, why is the consulting firm pitching this estimate writing reports. Why not invest in text analytics?

Answer: Maybe the estimate is a consequence of spreadsheet fever?

Text analytics is a rocket just like the ones Jeff Bezos will use to carry you into space.

Stephen E Arnold, March 16, 2016

Xerox and Paper: A Lasting Love Affair

March 14, 2016

I can envision a person with a document in one language and no way to create a digital version so it can be pumped into an online translation service. Granted I have to think hard for scenarios outside of scriptwriters for the Jason Bourne films or some other low probability activity like a hard working person working in a government office in Bulgaria. But paper? Really?

I read “Xerox Adds Instant Translator Feature to Some of Its Printers.” The idea is that one puts in a page, the system digitizes the page, does the optical character recognition thing, and generates a version in the user’s language. Well, that’s the theory.

The write up says:

Just scan the original document, and the machine will instantly print it out in the language you choose among the 40 available.

Yeah, but what if the source language is one that is not supported? Well, there’s dear, old Google Translate with a 100 or so languages.

Xerox. A pacesetter. How quickly will this function become available in Canon and Epson printers?

Stephen E Arnold, March 14, 2016

Online Translation: Google or Microsoft?

March 1, 2016

HI have solved the translation problem. I live in Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky. Folks here speak Kentucky. No other language needed. However, gentle reader, you may want to venture into lands where one’s native language is not spoken or written. You will need online translation.

Should I forget Systran and other industrial strength solutions of yesteryear. Today the choice is Google or Microsoft if I understand “2 Main Reasons Why Google Translate Is Ahead of Microsoft and Skype.” (The link worked on February 22, 2016. If it does not work when you read this blog post, you may have to root around. That’s life in the zip zip world today.)

Reason one is that Google supports more languages than Microsoft. The total is 100 plus. The write up is sufficiently amazed to describe the language support of the Alphabet Google thing as “mind blowing.” Okay.

Reason two is that Google’s translation function works on smartphone. The write up points out:

You can hand-write, speak, type, or even take a picture of a given language and Google Translate will translate it for you. Not only this but on Android, some of the translation features are available offline. So, some features are accessible even if you do not have access to the internet.

The write up does not dig too deeply into Microsoft’s translation capability. If you are interested in Microsoft’s quite capable and useful services, navigate to the Microsoft Language Portal. Google is okay, but one service may not do the job a person who does not speak Kentucky requires.

Stephen E Arnold, February 27, 2016

Data Insight: Common Sense Makes Sense

February 25, 2016

I am skeptical about lists of problems which hot buzzwords leave in their wake. I read “Why Data Insight Remains Elusive,” which I though was another content marketing pitch to buy, buy, buy. Not so. The write up contains some clearly expressed, common sense reminds for those who want to crunch big data and point and click their way through canned reports. Those who actually took the second semester of Statistics 101 know that ignoring the data quality and the nitty gritty of the textbook procedures can lead to bone head outputs.

The write up identifies some points to keep in mind, regardless of which analytics vendor system a person is using to make more informed or “augmented” decisions.

Here’s the pick of the litter:

  1. Manage the data. Yep, time consuming, annoying, and essential. Skip this step at your decision making peril.
  2. Manage the indexing. The buzzword is metadata, but assigning keywords and other indexing items makes the difference when trying to figure out who, what, why, when, and where. Time? Yep, metadata which not even the Alphabet Google thing does particularly well.
  3. Create data models. Do the textbook stuff. Get the model wrong, and what happens? Failure on a scale equivalent to fumbling the data management processes.
  4. Visualization is not analytics. Visualization makes outputs of numerical recipes appear in graphical form. Do not confuse Hollywood outputs with relevance, accuracy, or math on point to the problem one is trying to resolve.
  5. Knee jerking one’s way through analytics. Sorry, reflexes are okay but useless without context. Yep, have a problem, get the data, get the model, test, and examine the outputs.

Common sense. Most basic stuff was in the textbooks for one’s college courses. Too bad more folks did not internalize those floorboards and now seek contractors to do a retrofit. Quite an insight when the bill arrives.

Stephen E Arnold, February 25, 2016

Text Extraction from Medical Records

February 21, 2016

If you are interested in the application of text extraction methods to medical records, you may find “Extracting Information from the Text of Electronic Medical Records to Improve Case Detection: A Systematic Review.” if you act quickly, the paper may be available at this link. (If the link goes dead, well, that’s life in 2016.) The paper contains an algorithm table which includes the coding and diagnostic elements. Instead of identifying the specific systems and methods, the write up is an academic review of “studies.” But for those interested in the topic, the write up is worth a look.

Stephen E Arnold, February 21, 2016

Text Analytics Vendors for Your Retirement Fund

February 10, 2016

I located a list of companies involved in content processing. You may want to add one or more of these to your retirement investment portfolio. Which one will be the next Facebook, Google, or Uber? I know I would love to have a hat or T shirt from each of these outfits:

Api.ai
Appinions
Automated Insights
Bitext
Clueda
Cortical.io
Dataminr
DigitalGenius
Equivio
Health Fidelity
Jobandtalent
Linguasys
Medallia
MonkeyLearn
NetBase
NewBrandAnalytics
Semantic Machines
Sensai
Sentisis
Signal
Strossle
Sysomos
TEMIS (Expert System)
Texternel
Textio
Treparel
Viralheat
Wibbitz
Wit.ai

Stephen E Arnold, February 8, 2016

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