A Blog by Jonathan Low


Dec 12, 2018

How Companies Are Using AI To Detect Unfresh Food

Improving safety and reducing waste. JL

Paul Sawers reports in Venture Beat:

Machine learning and hyperspectral imaging, a technique that combines spectroscopy and computer vision, assess the quality of food in factories. While the human eye perceives the color of light in three wavelength bands, hyperspectral cameras cover a wider spectrum to see beyond what’s visible to humans. Cameras and machine learning software can serve up information on the quality of food including how fresh it is, its expected shelf-life, and any contamination that may be present by scanning the food from the outside.

Beyond the Tesla Bubble, the Future Of Electric Cars Is In China

It's the world's biggest market for car sales and electric sales have continued to grow even as the market matures and becomes saturated.  JL

Echo Huang reports in Quartz

A decade ago, China surpassed the US to become the world’s biggest car market. (And) sales of new-energy vehicles (NEVs), including battery-powered, plug-in hybrids, and fuel-cell electric cars, kept growing despite the overall sluggish auto market. That's thanks to China’s support for NEVs, which includes government subsidies and license plate controls on diesel cars. NEVs now account for 0.6%  of all the vehicles on the road in China. The country wants NEV sales to make up 20% of the total auto market by 2025.

UK Develops AI-Powered Predictive Policing, But...

The algorithms rely on existing data, which presumes the accuracy of the information and that it is free of assumptions or biases. A very big if.

Police mug shot of 1930s American gangster, Lester 'Baby Face' Nelson.JL

Edd Gent reports in Singularity Hub:

The solution will rely on AI to scour police records and statistics to find those at risk. Machine learning will analyze police databases, crime logs, stop and search records, custody records, and missing person reports, identifying those at risk of committing or becoming a victim of gun or knife crime, and those who could fall victim to modern slavery. Statistical modeling analyzes police databases to identify 32 indicators that could predict those likely to persuade others to commit crimes. These generate the top 200 “influencers” which identify those vulnerable to being drawn into criminality.

Automakers' New Pitch: Don't Buy This Car, Try A Subscription

To a populace increasingly accustomed to Lyft, Uber and Zipcar, 'subscribing' as a means of car ownership now makes greater sense due to lower costs and less hassle. JL

Stefan Nicola reports in Bloomberg:

Automakers say selling cars via subscriptions can help them stay relevant for a younger generation raised on ride-hailing and car-sharing. Volvo's strategy of steering drivers
toward “subscriptions” (is) akin to streaming services such as Netflix or Spotify. Customers pay a single monthly bill that covers various fees and repairs—a plan that Volvo expects to account for half its output by 2025. “It’s very transparent, a hassle-free way of having a car.”

Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night - And They Don't Keep Secrets

That location tracking data is all for sale. Yes, all of it. JL

Jennifer Valentino-DeVries and colleagues report in the New York Times:

At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information. Those businesses track 200 million mobile devices in the United States, about half those in use. A sample of information gathered in 2017 and held by one company reveals people’s travels in detail, accurate to within a few yards and updated 14,000 times a day. These companies sell, use or analyze the data to cater to advertisers, retail outlets and hedge funds seeking insights. Sales of location-targeted advertising reach $21 billion.

What Great Data Analysts Do

Identifying not just the what, but interpreting the why, how - and what if? JL

Cassie Kozyrkov reports in Harvard Business Review:

Today’s fashion in data science favors flashy sophistication with a dash of sci-fi, making AI and machine learning the darlings of the job market. (But) if your experts are solving the wrong problems, your investment in data science will suffer. Their curiosity pushes them to develop a sense for a sensibly-curated set of insights that decision-makers are more likely to care about. The primary job of the analyst is to say: “Here’s what’s in our data. Perhaps it will inspire the decision-maker to pursue the question." The result is that the business gets a finger on its pulse on previously-unknown unknowns.

Dec 11, 2018

Google's CEO Had To Remind Congress That He Doesn't Make iPhones

Well, at least they weren't asking about landlines...or the telegraph. That's progress...JL

Adi Robertson reports in The Verge:

In any congressional hearing about technology, at least a few lawmakers will use Silicon Valley executives as their own personal tech support staff. Usually, the questions involve products that their companies actually make. Google CEO Sundar Pichai got unlucky at a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee today, when Rep. Steve King (R-IA) asked Pichai to explain why his daughter’s iPhone was acting strangely. Pichai hesitated. “Congressman, the iPhone is made by a different company.” King, undeterred, decided that the brand of the phone wasn’t really important. “It might have been an Android."