A Blog by Jonathan Low


Dec 13, 2017

Will B2B Become the Business Tipping Point For Artificial Intelligence?

The business of business is sales. Which means that if AI is to optimize its promise, it will demonstrate that it can turbocharge the selling process. JL

Pete Eppele reports in Forbes:

AI has seen cycles of hype and disillusionment. This cycle feels different. Practical business applications that drive measurable value will grow. Critical inflection points will precipitate the widespread acceptance of AI . First, the build-versus-buy gap will grow to a chasm. Second, a C-suite customer focus will yield high returns. Third, AI will supercharge all sales channels, from individual reps to ecommerce. AI will maximize customer potential while putting more salespeople to work.

PepsiCo Reserves 100 Tesla Semis at $20,000 a Pop

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and logistics costs while gaining some public relations benefits from both environmental cred and Tesla's brand umbrella. JL

Megan Geuss reports in ars technica:

PepsiCo plans to use the trucks to distribute sodas and snack foods within a 500-mile radius of its manufacturing centers. It is analyzing optimal use —either sending lighter snack loads longer distances or shipping heavy beverages shorter distances. PepsiCo’s US fleet currently relies on 100,000 conventional semis, but has promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030. That distant deadline may play into (it's) willingness to wait two years for Tesla’s electric trucks.

Scientists Who Built Internet Tell FCC Plan To End Net Neutrality Means It Has No Idea How Internet Works

Among those attacking the FCC's all but foregone conclusion are Internet Protocol co-inventor Vint Cerf, World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

But this vote has nothing to do with public opinion or expert testimony or, heaven forfend, logic; it has to do with the major US telecoms, Verizon and ATT, seeking additional revenue growth as their once-dominant wireline business dies in the face of mobile tech.

The question is whether this will become a 'be careful what you wish for' moment, as price increases for internet access may spark innovations to work around the telecom oligopoly. JL

Karl Bode reports in Tech Dirt:

It doesn't matter to the FCC that the vast majority of the 22 million public comments on its plan think it's a stupid idea. It doesn't matter than 800 startups have warned the FCC  its attack on the rules undermines innovation, competition, and the health of the internet. And it doesn't matter that 190 academics, engineers, and tech-policy experts have told the agency that its repeal will dramatically harm the internet -- or that the FCC's justifications for the reversal make no technical or engineering sense.

Why Google Leads In the Race To Dominate Artificial Intelligence

Best talent most broadly applied to optimize the most scalable commercial opportunities, from YouTube to Waymo. JL

The Economist reports:

The most frenzied rush is for human talent, which is far more scarce than either data or computing power. Demand for AI “builders” who can apply machine-learning techniques  in creative ways far exceeds the number of top students. Google uses AI to categorise content, to identify people and group them. AI is embedded in Android. Google Brain is regarded as the best research group at applying machine-learning profitably. DeepMind has increased energy efficiency of  data centres and its Go experiment was a public-relations coup.

Apple's $400 Million Purchase of Shazam: Lessons From a Wounded Unicorn

$400 million is still what they call 'real money,' but it may signal that the flagrant billion dollar unicorn madness is ending. JL

Chris O'Brien reports in Venture Beat:

Once upon a time, every entrepreneur believed if they just got enough eyeballs, ad dollars would follow. Today Facebook and Google have a stranglehold on the digital ad market. Plus, giants like Apple are simply sitting on too much cash. Buying a company like Shazam at a massive discount becomes a question of “Why not?” Shazam will make a nice addition to Siri. Or it will be baked into Apple Music. That price (is) ominous for unicorns with valuations above $1 billion. The low sale price should serve as a warning that a correction is coming, following a period of venture capital excess.

How Artificial Intelligence Will Impact the Future of Investing

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to play an important, possibly dominant role in investment decision-making, as the combination of high speed data analysis and predictive quantification make it a competitive necessity.

But as the following articles explain, getting the algorithmic assumptions right  is proving harder than expected. JL

Nishant Kumar reports in Bloomberg, Bradley Hope and Juliet Chung report in the Wall Street Journal:

Machine learning’s prowess in finding investing opportunities beyond the reach of humans makes the technology alluring. “If computing power and data generation keep growing at the current rate, machine learning could be 99% of investment management in 25 years,”(But) the protean nature of the markets means yesterday’s relationships can vanish as investors figure them out and take advantage. This isn’t a problem faced by machine learning in other fields, such as converting human speech to text; engineers can count on speech to have the same basic characteristics.

Dec 12, 2017

Here's How the Next Big Thing Really Happens

Collaboration between people, organizations - and sectors. JL

Greg Satell reports in Inc:

To accelerate innovation, strengthen links between discovery and commercialization. Scientists need feedback from private industry so they can focus on ideas with the most potential in the marketplace, while private companies need insight into current research in order to prepare for the future. Collaboration between government labs, academic institutions and private businesses will be key to maintaining our technological and competitive edge. If we want to win the future, we need to invest in it.