A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jan 17, 2018

Google To Make Building Artificial Intelligence Algorithms As Easy As Drag and Drop

Smart strategy. Expand access for AI in order to grow the market - and associated revenues for Google. JL

Dave Gershgorn reports in Quartz:

Cloud AutoML (is) a cloud service that allows average folks to train a custom AI algorithm. The service will start with still images, but Google plans to expand this to all of its AI offerings. Google is trying to expand the group of people who can access and use AI software, rather than offer new capabilities. People who don’t know how to code can build and deploy an algorithm on their own. AutoML edits a customer’s algorithm to optimize it for a specific task, like recognizing images of car models or yogurt brands.

China Bets On Facial Recognition In Bid For 'Total Surveillance'

The most significant feature is not the placement of digital surveillance cameras nationwide, but the effort to merge the images with narrative and transactional personal data. JL

Simon Denyer reports in the Washington Post:

It will use facial recognition and artificial intelligence to analyze the mountain of video evidence. These efforts merge a vast database of information on every citizen, a “Police Cloud” that aims to scoop up medical records, travel bookings, online purchase and even social media comments — and link it to everyone’s identity card and face. The US with 62 million surveillance cameras, actually has higher per capita penetration rate than China, with around 172 million

How Artificial Intelligence Is Opening New Opportunities For Chipmaking Startups

Let's pause to remember who put the silicon in Silicon Valley. But artificial intelligence works best with new kinds of chips.

Which means startups may have as much of an opportunity to succeed as the established giants like Intel and Nvidia. JL

Cade Metz reports in the New York Times:

A.I. works better with new kinds of computer chips. Suddenly, venture capitalists forgot all those roadblocks to success for a young chip company. Today, 45 start-ups are working on chips that can power speech and self-driving cars, and five of them have raised more than $100 million from investors. Venture capitalists invested more than $1.5 billion in chip start-ups last year. Chip start-ups will face competition from Nvidia, Intel, Google. But everyone is starting from the same place: a new market.

Measuring Audiences On the Web, Especially For Video, Is Getting More Complicated

It's not just that the audience is getting its information and entertainment from increasingly disparate sources - often at the same time - but that the very nature of the engagement may involve multiple senses such as visual, aural, numerative and digital.

Marketers and measurers are struggling to catch up. JL

Benjamin Mullin reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Total audience size defined by comScore or Nielsen is only one factor in an ad buying equation that includes engagement and content quality.“I don’t rely on any single source to make a decision.” “Unique visitors” as a benchmark to compare website audiences has become outmoded when content is disseminated on social media and other platforms. Digital has moved to distributed approaches. Audiences were undercounted by use (of) unique visitors as a baseline. (So) media companies have invested in social-first video.

As Voice Continues Its Rise, Marketers Are Turning To 'Sonic Branding'

Cognitive 'shorthand' employing visual and now aural imagery is becoming increasingly urgent for brands attempting to cut through the technological clutter facing all consumers. JL

Katie Richards reports in Adweek:

As Amazon’s Echo or Google Home Assistant become more embedded in daily lives, it’s becoming important for brands to create emotional connections without visuals, just sound. Cue sonic branding—the use of a sound, song or melody to reinforce a brand’s identity. Visa found that sound could make consumers feel safe and secure in their transactions, and that 81% of shoppers have a more positive reaction to Visa if it incorporated sound or animation into its marketing.

Is the Bitcoin Bubble Bursting - And Will It Take Other Markets With It?

Professional investors may have thought there was an opportunity to be gained from retail investors headlong rush into cryptocurrencies.

But tax law changes benefitting repatriation of financial assets and other cyclical phenomenon have combined to roil the markets.

Bitcoin et al will survive in some form, probably under regulation, but in the meantime, prediction remains hard, even with great data. JL

Eric Lam, Lionel Laurent and colleagues report in Bloomberg:

Bitcoin lost  48% from its Dec. 18 high. The cryptocurrency’s 60-fold increase during the past three years dwarfed the Nasdaq Composite Index’s gain during the headiest days of the 1990s. It outstripped the Mississippi and South Sea bubbles of the 1700s. It even topped the Dutch tulipmania of the 1630s. “Having no clear fundamental value and largely unregulated markets, coupled with a storyline conducive to delusions of grandeur, makes this the very essence of a bubble,”

Jan 16, 2018

Hawaii Five-UhOh: Did the Mobile Internet Break Emergency Alerts?

The good news is, everyone did get the message.

The bad news is, this system - like all systems - is neither mistake-proof nor capable of addressing the compounding that mobile technology now offers. JL

Ian Bogost reports in The Atlantic:

America’s emergency notification systems were first built for war, and then rebuilt for peace. A false alarm in Hawaii shows that they didn’t anticipate how media works in the smartphone era. Media have consolidated in devices everyone holds in their hands and pockets, but which work best with small quantities of narrow-bandwidth information. Someone pressed the wrong button on a computer, which then did exactly what it was programmed to do.