Alexa – an under-appreciated platform

September 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Nice article in MIT’s tech review magazine on the rise of Amazon’s Alexa platform. A couple of tidbits to whet your appetite:

  • It was more than 5 years ago when Amazon filed the fundamental patents for this; the device launched in 2014
  • Amazon has about 70% of the all such voice powered AI devices
  • Amazon has about ~1000 jobs for Alexa posted, with about 20% of those for ML engineers
  • There are about 15k “skills”/apps for Alexa today

The main takeaway for me was the fact that now Amazon has access to a boatload of human speech interaction, giving it a potential leg up on Google with it’s historical dominance in text search. Worth a quick read.

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Categories: technology, trends Tags: ,

Rethinking what drives success

September 5, 2017 Leave a comment

barking up the wrong treeI don’t often write about self help books. However, it’s not often that one comes across such an entertaining one as the new book – “Barking up the wrong tree” by Erik Barker.

It does a good job of calling BS on a number of success drivers and in a really fun way. The book is chock full of examples, anecdotes, references to other studies. Now granted if you have been keeping up with the other popular books, chances are that you would have heard about say 60% of what he says. But it’s not often that one sees Einstein’s “contract” with his wife in the same book as the success techniques of Genghis Khan.

Worth a read. At a minimum it will make you laugh.

Categories: books, tips Tags: ,

Et tu Bloomberg?

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

As if ML killing off consulting wasn’t enough, FT reports that Bloomberg has launched a consulting practice focused on brand, communications and marketing to start with. Apparently they already have 5 clients, plan to hire up to 25 more this year and charge around $150-200k a month for a team. Worth a quick scan.

Categories: consulting, trends Tags: ,

The end of consulting?

August 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Provocative article in HBR (“AI may soon replace the most elite consultants“) that predicts that the end is near for management consulting firms, basically through a combination of ML + a voice interface. It’s a bit sparse on data, but it catalogs a bunch of scenarios where a management team could potentially ask Alexa (e.g.) a set of questions that they would normally hire a consulting team for.

My thoughts on whether this will come to pass are obviously biased. I think companies use consultants for a variety of reasons, only some of those being ones that can be fully automated. However, it would be presumptuous to assume that ML won’t be able to help / supplement what consultants do. In fact, most consulting firms that I know about are already preparing the next generation of consultants to be even more analytically savvy.

Worth a quick read.

Funny: Cubicles

August 30, 2017 Leave a comment

What it feels like to have a dead end job? (Sorry couldn’t resist)

Dead End Job

Categories: humor Tags:

Funny: Tech problems

August 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Another classic from the New Yorker to start the week.

printer problems

I don’t think I have had this with a printer, but definitely with a projector.

Categories: humor, technology Tags: ,

Cars account for ~60% of airport revenue

August 16, 2017 Leave a comment

 

airport revenue

Apparently car parking & rental car concession fees account for ~60% of non-aeronautical fees for airports in North America. (I would have put the figure for retail / food at a much higher level than that.)

Given the juggernaut that is ride-sharing, this share is likely to take steep tumble: Although consultants used to have to rent cars in the old days, I’ve yet to meet a consultant who’s not addicted to Uber.

Categories: interesting, travel, trends Tags: ,