A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jul 16, 2019

A Chinese AI Startup Is Tracking Lost Dogs Using Their Nose Imprint

Could human nose prints be next? JL

Natt Garun reports in The Verge:

A Chinese AI startup that supplies facial recognition software for the Chinese government’s surveillance program, is expanding its technology beyond humans to recognize different faces of pets. Much like how humans have unique fingerprints the company says it can register your dog by scanning the snout through your phone’s camera. Just like how a phone registers your fingerprint for biometric unlocks, the app asks you to take photos of your dog’s nose from multiple angles. It has an accuracy rate of 95 percent and has reunited 15,000 pets with their owners through the app.

No, You Don't Really Own Your eBooks

And whoever owns the digital rights has the authority to delete them. Which may partly explain why sales of ebooks have stalled and sales of actual books are on the rise. JL

John Warner reports in the Chicago Tribune:

Disappearing content has become normalized in the age of streaming content. The reason is  digital rights management, or DRM, which has now become a way for companies to wall you into their particular garden. It’s the reason why a Kindle book cannot be read on a Nook, and vice versa. You are not buying a copy but a license subject to whatever restrictions the company would like to set. It’s possible you do own some of the digital books you’ve  bought because some titles are sold without DRM, but my hunch is you have no idea which ones those are and probably didn’t pay any attention one way or another at the time of purchase.

The Reason PC Sales Rose For the First Time In Over A Year

Companies are demanding upgrades and suppliers, in addition to addressing those needs, are building inventory in anticipation of tariff-driven price increases. JL

Michael Tobin reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Personal-computer shipments rose in the second quarter for the first time since last year, as businesses sought upgrades to technology with new Windows 10 software and a shortage in processors eased. “Most laptops and tablets are manufactured in China, and sales of these devices in the U.S. could face significant price increases if  tariffs are imposed and vendors do not take quick action to respond.”

Ecosystems of Change Are Needed To Create Successful Digital Transformation

Innovation is organizational, procedural and systemic as well as technological. JL

Sonia Montegiove interviews Roberto Panzarani in Ingenium:

The word innovation cannot be associated with technology alone. It is necessary to go to the heart of the problem and to view innovation as a process which, starting from the context analysis, helps to understand the need to transform and triggers a change in business models, in the organization and therefore in the skills of the people involved.  "We have the perception of self-organization, in which every player of the ecosystem moves without a clear plan. And where until recently this attitude could limit growth, today it becomes devastating."

The High Price of Multi-Tasking

Do people really understand the tradeoff between perceptions of efficiency versus paying attention? JL

Daniel Willingham comments in the New York Times:

People don’t multitask solely because they see no harm in it; they perceive benefits. They say they multitask for efficiency, to fight boredom or to keep up with social media. (And) even if you fully appreciate the cognitive cost, you might tolerate it in exchange for the emotional lift. Be realistic about what poor task performance might mean, given that you’re not as good at multitasking as you believe. See if you can get the emotional lift without the cognitive cost. We need to pay attention to how much — or how little — we are paying attention.

How AI Is Transforming Business Models

With faster analysis of even greater amounts of data, traditional notions of competition, collaboration and innovation will have to adapt to both the breadth of new information available as well as the speed with which it can be applied. JL

Jayshree Pandya reports in Forbes:

AI is not only changing how businesses work; it is also transforming the traditional meaning of collaboration, competition, and innovation. While most AI initiatives create competitive advantage by perceiving an entirely new opportunity, enhancing current efforts, supplying a market segment that others have ignored, or creating new markets, connected devices that feed a constant stream of data about functionality, usage, production, needs and more to a central location will create more competitive transformations.

Jul 15, 2019

AI and Machine Learning Are Monitoring Volcanoes Globally

The implication is that many natural events like earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires and floods may also be identified by AI. JL

Science Daily reports:

More than half of the world's active volcanoes are not monitored instrumentally. A new volcano monitoring platform analyses satellite images using artificial intelligence. Artificial neural networks automatically detect large deformation events. Researchers trained them with computer-generated images mimicking real satellite images. The software learned to detect large deformations in real satellite data formerly not known to it. Researchers successfully tested  the Krakatau eruption in Indonesia in 2018, eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala.The system monitors 17 volcanoes worldwide including Popocatépetl in Mexico and Etna in Italy.