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IoT connectivity options – unpacked

October 8, 2017 Leave a comment

If you’ve been ever confused by the myriad of IoT connectivity options (WiFi, Z-wave, ZigBee, etc.), this article does a great job of laying out the differences between them. Worth a read.

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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.

Categories: technology, 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: 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: ,

Silicon Valley high

August 13, 2017 Leave a comment

If you work in Silicon Valley and have ever wondered if what others are doing or saying is plain bonkers, there may be a (previously undisclosed) reason according to a recent article in 1843: A lot of people are doing LSD to “improve their productivity”. Although numbers are of course hard to come by, there are some clues in the article:

  • A¬†group on Reddit now has 16,000 members, up from a couple of thousand a year ago indicating a ~8x jump
  • Apparently most of the billionaires without exception use LSD

Interesting read. Keep in mind when meeting that next Silicon Valley leader.

Machines, platforms, crowds

machine platform crowd

In a new book, Machine, Platforms and Crowds, the authors (Messrs. McAfee and Brynjolfsson, both from MIT) do a good job of stepping back and look at the overall tech landscape and what it could mean for how companies operate.

This is not their first rodeo (they have previously written good books – e.g. The Second Machine age) and it shows. A chunk of the material is repetitive, but there are good sections on the economics of platforms, the potential impact of Blockchain on companies and how companies should think about each of the key tech trends. Their central thesis is the competition is not between machine vs. man, platform vs. app or core vs crowd, but really that the smart companies will leverage both sides of the coin. Some tidbits:

  • As of 2012, Google was not using deep learning at all; by 2015 it was being used in about 1200 projects
  • In the mid 1990s, the US had ~2400 newspapers and generated about $46B in revenue. By 2013, total revenue had fallen by 70%
  • 2017 was the first year in the last 50 years that a new indoor mall didn’t open in the US
  • An estimated 130M books have been published throughout human history, of which about 30M are the Library of Congress.
  • Between 2011 and 2016 Apple acquired 70 companies, Facebook more than 50, and Google almost 200

Overall, worth a read. If you are in a hurry, they were also featured on a A16Z podcast recently.

Categories: books, future, technology Tags: ,

China’s rising star in AI

20170715_WBC259

Nice article in the Economist about China’s rising star in AI. A few points that caught my eye:

  • China has ~40% of the world’s trained AI scientists.
  • China has a leg up on data: It has more internet users (~700M) than any other country.

Worth a read.

Categories: technology, trends Tags: ,