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Using AI In An Uncertain World

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Like anything else in life except death and taxes (and even the particulars of these are uncertain), uncertainty is something that humans deal with every day. From relying on the weather report for umbrella advice to getting to work on time, every day actions are fraught with uncertainty and we all have learned how to navigate an unpredictable world. As AI becomes widely deployed, it simply adds a new dimension of unpredictability. Perhaps, however, instead of trying to stuff the ...

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Considering Bias & Cognitive Systems

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When we examine the differences between humans and cognitive systems, we often point to lack of bias in automated systems vs. the unavoidable biases that humans bring to making judgments. But is that really true? The fact is that every time we select a training set, write an algorithm or design a ranking scheme, we are building in our biases of how the world is ordered, and what is more or less important in any category. We build in relationships ...

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Where Are We With Cognitive Computing Today? Part 2.

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I recently had the opportunity to attend a focus group, sponsored by SAS Institute, on cognitive computing adoption outside the US. The group of early adopters attending this focus group was proceeding with caution. They had the bruises from past new technology experiments and don’t believe the hype around AI today. In each case, it was apparent, however, that they had support from high-level management, and that they were starting with a proof of concept, or several. We have heard ...

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Where Are We With Cognitive Computing Today? Part 1.

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Cognitive computing is emerging as a significant part of the next generation of computing. Because it is early days in this new generation of computing, there is still no widespread understanding of what it is and how it differs from some of its relatives: AI, internet of things, machine learning, conversational systems, bots, or NLP. We see in both the US and in Europe that companies are very interested, but are mostly still at the experimentation and proof of concept ...

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Takeaways: O’Reilly AI Part 3

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Among the featured speakers at the O’Reilly AI Conference were Lili Cheng of Microsoft Research, and Oren Etzioni, director of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Their views offer contrasting perspectives: AI product design and development lessons from Microsoft and some hard data about expectations for market development from the AI think tank.

Lili Cheng, Microsoft Research. Microsoft’s bot, Xaoice, now with 40 million users, was rolled out first in China, and then Japan. Like Amazon’s Echo, it has a suite ...

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Takeaways: O’Reilly AI Part 2

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Among the speakers at the O’Reilly AI Conference were the eponymous conference producer and long-time tech industry guru Tim O’Reilly, and Genevieve Bell, representing Intel, one of the premium sponsors of the event. This is what I thought were the primary messages they delivered.

Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media. Tim was upbeat about AI and its potential to “change the game” of business. He cited complex problems that will always arise when we change the nature of the relationship between people and ...

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Takeaways: O’Reilly AI

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The first O’Reilly AI Conference served up an AI smorgasbord of ideas at the end of September in New York. We continue to struggle with the resurgence of use of the term “AI” throughout the mainstream press. As we have pointed out, simplistic definitions are erecting big hurdles to useful understanding of the field. Artificial intelligence is a large umbrella term that includes: machine learning of all types, digital assistants, conversational systems, Internet of Things, image and speech recognition, emotion ...

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Legal Issues: Can we depend on algorithms to make decisions?

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In the cognitive computing era, there are plenty of tough technical challenges. Their difficulty pales, however, when compared to the social and legal issues these new technologies raise. Increasingly, we rely on algorithms to help us sort through the complex factors that lead to making a decision. Often this reliance is not based on knowing whether the algorithm is dependable. Articles by Julia Angwin in the New York Times and ProPublica on Aug. 1st celebrate a decision by the Wisconsin ...

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Required reading: Only Humans May Apply

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I’ve been reading Only Humans May Apply, a new book by Tom Davenport and Julia Kirby.  This witty, well-researched and highly readable book makes a case for cognitive computing as augmentation for humans, rather than as a replacement for them through job automation.  Although it cites plenty of scary numbers about jobs that will be lost, that’s just a springboard for presenting five strategies for surviving the evolution to the cognitive computing era.  Each strategy forces you to consider what ...

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Health at Watson Analyst Day

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It was apparent at the Watson Analyst Day on May 23rd that IBM’s message has been refined over the five years since Jeopardy, and that it has begun to gel. Just as we in the Cognitive Computing Consortium have moved from a vague understanding that we were dealing with a fundamentally new phase in technology, so too has IBM’s understanding of what cognitive computing is, and what it’s good for become much more solid.

A core point of emphasis from IBM ...

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