jerryking + randomness   21

Everything still to play for with AI in its infancy
February 14, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

the future of AI in business up for grabs--this is a clearly a time for big bets.

Ginni Rometty,IBM CEO, describes Big Blue’s customers applications of powerful new tools, such as AI: “Random acts of digital”. They are taking a hit-and-miss approach to projects to extract business value out of their data. Customers tend to start with an isolated data set or use case — like streamlining interactions with a particular group of customers. They are not tied into a company’s deeper systems, data or workflow, limiting their impact. Andrew Moore, the new head of AI for Google’s cloud business, has a different way of describing it: “Artisanal AI”. It takes a lot of work to build AI systems that work well in particular situations. Expertise and experience to prepare a data set and “tune” the systems is vital, making the availability of specialised human brain power a key limiting factor.

The state of the art in how businesses are using artificial intelligence is just that: an art. The tools and techniques needed to build robust “production” systems for the new AI economy are still in development. To have a real effect at scale, a deeper level of standardisation and automation is needed. AI technology is at a rudimentary stage. Coming from completely different ends of the enterprise technology spectrum, the trajectories of Google and IBM highlight what is at stake — and the extent to which this field is still wide open.

Google comes from a world of “if you build it, they will come”. The rise of software as a service have brought a similar approach to business technology. However, beyond this “consumerisation” of IT, which has put easy-to-use tools into more workers’ hands, overhauling a company’s internal systems and processes takes a lot of heavy lifting. True enterprise software companies start from a different position. They try to develop a deep understanding of their customers’ problems and needs, then adapt their technology to make it useful.

IBM, by contrast, already knows a lot about its customers’ businesses, and has a huge services operation to handle complex IT implementations. It has also been working on this for a while. Its most notable attempt to push AI into the business mainstream is IBM Watson. Watson, however, turned out to be a great demonstration of a set of AI capabilities, rather than a coherent strategy for making AI usable.

IBM has been working hard recently to make up for lost time. Its latest adaptation of the technology, announced this week, is Watson Anywhere — a way to run its AI on the computing clouds of different companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, meaning customers can apply it to their data wherever they are stored. 
IBM’s campaign to make itself more relevant to its customers in the cloud-first world that is emerging. Rather than compete head-on with the new super-clouds, IBM is hoping to become the digital Switzerland. 

This is a message that should resonate deeply. Big users of IT have always been wary of being locked into buying from dominant suppliers. Also, for many companies, Amazon and Google have come to look like potential competitors as they push out from the worlds of online shopping and advertising.....IBM faces searching questions about its ability to execute — as the hit-and-miss implementation of Watson demonstrates. Operating seamlessly in the new world of multi-clouds presents a deep engineering challenge.
artificial_intelligence  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  automation  big_bets  cloud_computing  contra-Amazon  cultural_change  data  digital_strategies  early-stage  economies_of_scale  Google  hit-and-miss  IBM  IBM_Watson  internal_systems  randomness  SaaS  standardization  Richard_Waters 
february 2019 by jerryking
Confronting anxiety in the age of fear
Jo Ellison 16 HOURS AGO.

Fear is terribly boring. I suppose in modern jargon it could be called anxiety. But I prefer the old fashioned neurotic. I conjure fear from any source — electric kettles, exploding champagne corks, unattended bags . . . At night I consider unmentionable catastrophes and my preparedness to survive them. (Top tip: talking to a disaster relief engineer as to what to do in the event of Armageddon, she said to fill the bath tub. Safe potable water will be the key to one’s survival.)......Olivia Remes, an American PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, is the glamorous face of anxiety research.....While Remes acknowledges that some degree of anxiety can make us more productive, because it equips us to meet deadlines and complete tasks, she says excessive worry will always be debilitating because it paralyses our progress. We stop going out. We limit our lives.

The first step to recovery, she says, is to “do it badly”. Doing whatever it is that frightens you, she argues, will “catapult” you to action and help you realise that your fear may not be as bad as you think. Whatever else, it will only get better with practice. Anxiety, she adds, is largely the byproduct of perfectionism, whereby people stop doing things because they hold their own personal standards too high....loosen the grip. Because only by letting go of the things over which you have no control can you gain control over the things that really matter — namely, your mental health.
anxiety  fear  sense_of_control  earthquakes  randomness  perfectionism  survival_techniques  letting_go  mental_health  what_really_matters 
april 2018 by jerryking
The Mall of the Future Will Have No Stores - WSJ
By Esther Fung
June 12, 2017

As retailers close bricks-and-mortar stores at an accelerating pace, shopping-center landlords like Starwood Capital are facing a vexing question: What to do with all this empty space?

Their solutions are varied but all have a common element: reducing, or even eliminating, retail from the equation.

Some landlords plug empty spaces with churches, for-profit schools and random enterprises while they figure out a long-term plan. Others see a future in mixed-use real estate, converting malls into streetscapes with restaurants, offices and housing. And some are razing properties altogether and turning them into entertainment or industrial parks......A construction binge in the 1980s and ’90s left the U.S. oversaturated with malls. Growth in online sales and declining demand for full-priced goods are causing retailers to shrink their store fleets and divert resources to e-commerce platforms.....Many mall owners are trying to liven up the experience, bringing more dining and entertainment tenants and eschewing the traditional mix of middling food courts, fashion retailers and department stores.

“The appetite for experimentation is there,...but Sometimes developers conclude that the only way to save a dying mall is to level it and start over.
shopping_malls  landlords  retailers  trends  future  randomness  experiential_marketing  e-commerce  store_closings  experimentation  property_development  physical_space  oversaturation 
june 2017 by jerryking
Beware of linearity: The shortest distance to your future may not be a straight line - The Globe and Mail
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Dec. 09, 2016

linearity – dominates our thinking as we tackle problems. “Western thinkers are so habituated to thinking in terms of linear models that we allow them to inform not just what we think, but the fundamentals of how we think....Linearity is a critical and – apparently – inherent part of our cultural DNA....It’s not easy to forsake’s essential to guard against slavishly following its tantalizing direction. Start by reading trade journals from another industry or studying a topic you have no interest in. Look for the less obvious interconnections around you. Think like a songwriter: Choruses and bridges signal a break with the preceding verse or the patterns that come before. But a true bridge, unlike a chorus, never repeats. They urge you to look for bridge moments rather than assume past is prologue.
Leaders are supposed to tell people the truth rather than what they want to hear. But fact checkers found Mr. Trump consistently at odds with the truth. And his supporters didn’t seem to care, assuming leaders lie anyway. TV host Stephen Colbert used the term “truthiness” to cover believing something that feels true even if it isn’t supported by fact. Says Fowler: “I wonder if truth-telling matters when people are interested in bigger issues?”
One of the highly touted productivity approaches is to tackle your most important thing (MIT) at the start of the day. Get it done before the chaos of the day overwhelms you.

But productivity writer Cal Newport, a Georgetown University computer science professor, feels the approach is insufficient – calling it “amateur ball” while the professionals play a more textured game.

The problem is that it implicitly concedes that most of your day is out of your control. But someone who plans every minute of their day and every day of their week will inevitably accomplish far more high-value work than someone who identifies only a single daily objective. The key, he feels, is to put enough buffers in your day to handle the unplanned stuff that hits you. With those slices of times and a spirit of adaptability you will find your work life not as unpredictable as you assume.
early_risers  linearity  Harvey_Schachter  thinking  humility  Donald_Trump  unplanned  unforeseen  buffering  GTD  productivity  discontinuities  nonlinear_systems  randomness  interconnections  Jim_Collins  truthiness  truth-telling  slack_time  adaptability  overwhelmed  time-management  unexpected  Cal_Newport  straight-lines  bridging  non-obvious 
december 2016 by jerryking
Perimeter Institute's formula for a calculated physics reboot - The Globe and Mail
WATERLOO, ONT. — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015

“We want to reboot physics – globally,” says Neil Turok, Perimeter’s director and the driving force behind Convergence, a four-day physics summit that kicked off here on Sunday. Turok wants to channel the daring originality of the likes of: (a) Albert Einstein’s radical rethinking of gravity that gave us warped space and black holes; and (b), Emmy Noether’s first theorem, a tour de force of abstract reasoning that demonstrates the relationship between forms of symmetry in mathematics and the physical laws that govern the way the universe operates-- to help spark a another revolution.

The meeting’s premise is that theoretical physics has worked itself into the tall weeds, getting more complex and less connected to experiment than it ought to be. To get back out, Dr. Turok says, the field needs ideas as rich and startling as those that came from Einstein, Noether and their peers....The challenge in working with such individuals, says James Forrest, who runs the institute’s academic programs, is “how do you teach physics to the people who are already good at it?” It’s a dilemma universities seldom worry about – but for Perimeter, which aims to optimize the randomness of human brilliance, the question is crucial.

Another way in which the institute has tried to leverage the global talent pool is to bring in more female researchers. Women are conspicuously underrepresented in physics but through a funding stream called the Emmy Noether Circle the institute has significantly boosted its share of young women theorists.
Albert_Einstein  Perimeter_Institute  physics  Colleges_&_Universities  rebuilding  revitalization  reboot  physicists  women  Kitchener-Waterloo  randomness  talent_pools 
june 2015 by jerryking
Desmond Cole’s feature on carding lit a fuse under the city’s elite, but why did it take so long? - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 11, 2015

While Cole is elated with Tory’s change of heart, his feelings are tempered by the way it came about. “It’s very sad, and should concern people. Because not everyone will get a feature in Toronto Life to air their story,” he noted. After all, Cole had been there during a Police Services Board meeting, when John Tory sat and listened impassively to testimony from lower- and middle-income black people who were living in fear of random police stops.

“It’s not a good sign, when you can have that direct contact with leaders and they won’t listen to you. But they will listen to essentially their peers, who might not experience this issue in the same way at all, who might not know a lot about it.”
Desmond_Cole  Simon_Houpt  Toronto  Toronto_Life  writers  randomness  journalists  African_Canadians  John_Tory 
june 2015 by jerryking
Surprise business result? Explore whether it is a hidden opportunity
June 18, 2007 | G&M pg. B8 | George Stalk Jr.

What does it take to capitalize on anomalies systematically?

For starters, you need to have metrics and information systems that are sufficiently refined to identify anomalies in the first place. Knowing the average margins and market share isn’t enough; look at the entire range of outcomes—across customers, geographies, products, and the like. This allows you to surface out-of-the-ordinary results for closer inspection.

The next step is to separate wheat from chaff: those anomalies that signal a potential business opportunity from those that are merely one-time events. The key is to examine the pattern of unusual performance over time. The customer who consistently buys high volumes or the market that outperforms the average year after year are, by definition, not random. Is there an underlying cause that can be identified and then replicated elsewhere?

Finally, you need to understand the precise mechanisms that animate the anomalies you identify. Why is the unusual pattern of performance happening? What specific features of the product or the local environment or the customer experience are bringing it about? Don’t accept the usual first-order explanations. It’s not enough to know that a particular customer has been loyal for years; find out precisely why.

It’s up to senior management to create the forum for asking why and to persist until the question is answered with genuine insight.
metrics  George_Stalk_Jr.  BCG  anomalies  growth  opportunities  customer_insights  surprises  systematic_approaches  quizzes  ratios  pattern_recognition  insights  questions  first-order  second-order  OPMA  Waudware  curiosity  new_businesses  one-time_events  signals  noise  overlooked_opportunities  latent  hidden  averages  information_systems  assessments_&_evaluations  randomness  5_W’s 
january 2013 by jerryking
Why trauma may be just what you need - The Globe and Mail
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Special to The Globe and Mail

Last updated Saturday, Dec. 01 2012

with Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, an expansion of his thinking on risk beyond business and the markets to all sides of life. He begins from the standpoint that the opposite of being vulnerable to random events is not simply to be sturdy or adaptable, but actually to thrive on some degree of calamity and improve by it – “antifragility.” He rails against the “fragilistas” who make things more dangerous by seeking an unrealizable stability, and advocates for a “hormetic” approach (strengthening the system with small doses of toxins) in education, health, politics, careers, finance and many other areas.

In this passage, Mr. Taleb considers the “antifragile” benefits of trauma, redundancy and overcompensation
Nassim_Taleb  books  disorder  antifragility  randomness  toxins  trauma  redundancies  overcompensation 
december 2012 by jerryking
Whatever the weather
Nov. 24, 2012 | The Financial Times News: p10.|Gillian Tett who interviews Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Until now, Taleb says, modern society has generally assumed that people, systems or institutions fell into two camps: either they were fragile (and likely to break when shocks occur) or robust (and thus able to resist shocks without being impacted at all). Taleb insists there is a third category of people, institutions and systems that are resilient in a way we have been unable to articulate: they survive shocks not because they are immovable but precisely because they do change, bending in the face of stress; adapting and learning. This is the quality that he describes as "antifragile". (In the US the book is being published with the rather more explicit subtitle "Things that Gain from Disorder".)

Taleb goes on to explain how this works: while nation-states tend to be fragile (because they are highly dependent on one vision of the nation), city-states tend to be antifragile (because they can adapt and learn from history). Careers that are based on one large employer can be fragile but careers that are flexible and entrepreneurial are antifragile, because they can move with changing times. Similarly, the banking system is fragile, while Silicon Valley is antifragile; governments that are highly indebted are fragile, while those (such as Sweden) which have learnt from past mistakes and refuse to assume too much debt are antifragile. And Switzerland is presented as one of the most antifragile places of all, partly because its decentralised structure allows for plenty of experimentation...Taleb has plenty of advice to offer us on how to become more antifragile. We should embrace unpredictable change, rather than chase after an illusion of stability; refuse to believe anyone who offers advice without taking personal risk; keep institutions and systems small and self-contained to ensure that they can fail without bringing the entire system down; build slack into our lives and systems to accommodate surprises; and, above all, recognise the impossibility of predicting anything with too much precision. Instead of building systems that are excessively "safe", Taleb argues, we should roll with the punches, learn to love the random chances of life and, above all, embrace small pieces of adversity as opportunities for improvement. "Wind extinguishes a candle and energises a fire," he writes. "Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos, you want to use them, not hide from them."
adaptability  adversity  antifragility  books  chaos  city-states  Gillian_Tett  illusions  Nassim_Taleb  overcompensation  personal_risk  randomness  resilience  scheduling  self-contained  skin_in_the_game  slack_time  surprises  trauma  uncertainty  unpredictability 
november 2012 by jerryking
Is This the End? -
Published: November 24, 2012.

History is a series of random events organized in a seemingly sensible order. We experience it as chronology, with ourselves as the end point — not the end point, but as the culmination of events that leads to the very moment in which we happen to live. “Historical events might be unique, and given pattern by an end,” the critic Frank Kermode proposed in “The Sense of an Ending,” his classic work on literary narrative, “yet there are perpetuities which defy both the uniqueness and the end.” What he’s saying (I think) is that there is no pattern. Flux is all.

Last month’s “weather event” should have taught us that. Whether in 50 or 100 or 200 years, there’s a good chance that New York City will sink beneath the sea. But if there are no patterns, it means that nothing is inevitable either. History offers less dire scenarios: the city could move to another island, the way Torcello was moved to Venice, stone by stone, after the lagoon turned into a swamp and its citizens succumbed to a plague of malaria. The city managed to survive, if not where it had begun... Every civilization must go.

Yet each goes in its own way. In “Collapse,” Jared Diamond showed how the disappearance of a civilization has multiple causes. A cascade of events with unforeseen consequences invariably brings it to a close.
New_York_City  Hurricane_Sandy  weather  natural_calamities  history  Jared_Diamond  Venice  unforeseen  chronological  collapse-anxiety  randomness  societal_collapse 
november 2012 by jerryking
Sandy a lesson in the randomness of economic disparity - The Globe and Mail

NEW YORK — Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Nov. 01 2012
Chrystia_Freeland  New_York_City  Hurricane_Sandy  randomness 
november 2012 by jerryking
Odds 'n Ends
January 15, 2001 | E-mail | by Owen Gordon.

I understand if you don‘t think it's worth the effort to Camp out and cold call - even though they seem to be developing enough of a concentration that U.S. VC's are setting up shop - but remotely monitoring Kanata to me would have meant chasing down a couple of locally-based service providers (HH's, lawyers, I-bankers, who operate in the space with their finger on the pulse or Denzil Doyle or a friend of one of your college buddies who works in industry down there or the Ottawa organizer of First Tuesdays or the TVG equivalent or the officer at the tech transfer office of U of O? Carleton? at least a ñfteen minute chat with some of the Ottawa-based correspondents from SVN on who would be a good source, etc. l Know it seems extremely ineftioient to you not to be able pour through a yellow-page listing with your exact criteria but you'd really be surprised at the randomness and uneveness of going through people. You start sniffing around and spreading the word for what you‘re looking for and you never know when you‘re just one introduction, one conversation away from the Sirois', Pacquins and Matthews of the world. After all, Canada ain't that big.
Owen_Gordon  advice  Managing_Your_Career  networking  randomness  Ottawa 
august 2012 by jerryking
Spread Thin by Massive Product Recall, Merkt Cheese Slowly Revives Sales - ProQuest
Jensen, DaveView Profile. The Business Journal10. 3 (Oct 24, 1992): 8
Nothing can turn a company upside down like a product recall. Just ask Thomas Merkt. In a matter of days last spring, his $15 million company, Bristol-based Merkt Cheese Co. Inc., went from being a quiet but profitable firm to a highly visible one facing losses for the next three to six years. Along the roller-coaster ride, Merkt has had a crash course in dealing with the press, and learned how difficult it is to regain retail shelf space once it has been lost. All because of one random test that indicated the presence of a bacteria commonly found in nature. (excerpt)
product_recalls  ProQuest  public_relations  randomness 
june 2012 by jerryking
Why Indian Americans are Best at Bees - India Real Time - WSJ
June 2, 2012 | WSJ | By Visi Tilak.

“It’s stunning… The fact that Indians would ever win is noteworthy. The fact that they would win more than once is impressive,” Pawan Dhingra, a curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Asian Pacific American Program, said in an interview on National Public Radio. “But the fact that they would win at such a dominating level becomes almost a statistical impossibility. It’s phenomenal, really. There is more than randomness going on.”
immigrants  spelling  students  children  Indian-Americans  randomness 
june 2012 by jerryking
Randomized testing is fast and cheap, but few seem interested
Lenore Skenazy. Advertising Age. (Midwest region edition). Chicago: Oct 1, 2007. Vol. 78, Iss. 39; pg. 22, 1 pgs
testing  research_methods  randomness  randomized  trial_&_error  fast  cheap  fast-paced 
august 2009 by jerryking
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives: Leonard Mlodinow
Mlodinow introduces important historical figures such as
Bernoulli, Laplace and Pascal, emphasizing their ideas rather than their
tumultuous private lives. Mlodinow defines such tricky concepts as
regression to the mean and the law of large numbers, which should help
readers as they navigate the daily deluge of election polls and new
studies on how to live to 100. The author also carefully avoids veering
off into the terra incognita of chaos theory aside from a brief mention
of the famous butterfly effect, although he might have spent a little
more time on the equally famous n-body problem that led to chaos theory.
Books on randomness and statistics line library shelves, but Mlodinow
will help readers sort out Mark Twain's damn lies from meaningful
statistics and the choices we face every day.
randomness  book_reviews  mathematics  probabilities  statistics 
may 2009 by jerryking
Shattering the Bell Curve
Tuesday, April 24, 2007 WSJ book review by DAVID A. SHAYWITZ of Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan.

Life isn't fair. Many of the most coveted spoils -- wealth, fame, links on the Web -- are concentrated among the few. If such a distribution doesn't sound like the familiar bell-shaped curve, you're right......Along the hilly slopes of the bell curve, most values -- the data points that track whatever is being measured -- are clustered around the middle. The average value is also the most common value. The points along the far extremes of the curve contribute very little statistically. If 100 random people gather in a room and the world's tallest man walks in, the average height doesn't change much. But if Bill Gates walks in, the average net worth rises dramatically. Height follows the bell curve in its distribution. Wealth does not: It follows an asymmetric, L-shaped pattern known as a "power law," where most values are below average and a few far above. In the realm of the power law, rare and extreme events dominate the action......In "The Black Swan" -- a kind of cri de coeur -- Mr. Taleb struggles to free us from our misguided allegiance to the bell-curve mindset and awaken us to the dominance of the power law......The attractiveness of the bell curve resides in its democratic distribution and its mathematical accessibility. ......The power-law distribution, by contrast, would seem to have little to recommend it. Not only does it disproportionately reward the few, but it also turns out to be notoriously difficult to derive with precision. The most important events may occur so rarely that existing data points can never truly assure us that the future won't look very different from the present.........The problem, insists Mr. Taleb, is that most of the time we are in the land of the power law [jk: does power law = winner-take-all?] and don't know it. .....Mr. Taleb is fascinated by the rare but pivotal events that characterize life in the power-law world. He calls them Black Swans....Taleb discusses the follies of confirmation bias (our tendency to reaffirm our beliefs rather than contradict them), narrative fallacy (our weakness for compelling stories), silent evidence (our failure to account for what we don't see), ludic fallacy (our willingness to oversimplify and take games or models too seriously), and epistemic arrogance (our habit of overestimating our knowledge and underestimating our ignorance).
biases  book_reviews  black_swan  books  confirmation_bias  fallacies_follies  imprecision  ludic_fallacy  income_distribution  narrative_fallacy  Nassim_Taleb  powerlaw  pretense_of_knowledge  silent_evidence  randomness  winner-take-all 
march 2009 by jerryking

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