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Archive for the ‘trends’ Category

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: ,

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.

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: ,

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.

China’s rising star in AI

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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: ,

TensorFlow on fire

A snippet from an article in MIT’s tech review magazine on Google’s efforts to beat AWS and Azure via its ML prowess caught my eye

At the University of Toronto, an AI center that has schooled many of today’s leading researchers, lecturer Michael Guerzhoy teaches TensorFlow in the university’s massively oversubscribed introductory machine-learning course

Steve Ballmer was right. It’s all about the (next generation of) developers.

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