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2018-06-18T17:15:25.509Z
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Today's leading minds talk AI with host Byron Reese

In this episode, Byron and Steve discuss the present and future impact of AI on businesses.

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Today's leading minds talk AI with host Byron Reese

In this episode, Byron and Ali discuss AI’s impact on business and jobs.

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The following is an excerpt from GigaOm publisher Byron Reese’s new book, The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity. You can purchase the book here.

The Fourth Age explores the implications of automation and AI on humanity, and has been described by Ethernet inventor and 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe as framing “the deepest questions of our time in clear language that invites the reader to make their own choices. Using 100,000 years of human history as his guide, he explores the issues around artificial general intelligence, robots, consciousness, automation, the end of work, abundance, and immortality.”

One of those deep questions of our time:

Advancements in technology have always increased the destructive power of war. The development of AI will be no different. In this excerpt from The Fourth Age, Byron Reese considers the ethical implications of the development of robots for warfare.


Most of the public discourse about automation relates to employment, which is why we spent so much time examining it. A second area where substantial debate happens is around the use of robots in war.

Technology has changed the face of warfare dozens of times in the past few thousand years. Metallurgy, the horse, the chariot, gunpowder, the stirrup, artillery, planes, atomic weapons, and computers each had a major impact on how we slaughter each other. Robots and AI will change it again.

Should we build weapons that can make autonomous kill decisions based on factors programmed in the robots? Proponents maintain that the robots...

Today's leading minds talk AI with host Byron Reese

In this episode, Byron and David discuss AI, jobs, and human productivity.

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GDPR day has come and gone, and the world is still turning, just about. Some remarked that it was like the Y2K day we never had; whereas the latter’s impact was a somewhat damp squib, the former has caused more of a kerfuffle: however much the authorities might say, “It’s not about you,” it has turned out that it is about just about everyone in a job, for better or worse.

I like the thinking behind GDPR. The notion that your data was something that could be harvested, processed, bought and sold, without you having a say in the matter, was imbalanced to say the least. Data monetisers have been good at following the letter of the law whilst ignoring its spirit, which is why its newly expressed spirit — of non-ambiguous clarity and agreement — that is so powerful.

Meanwhile, I don’t really have a problem with the principle of advertising. A cocktail menu in a bar could be seen as context-driven, targeted marketing, and rightly so as the chances are the people in the bar are going to be on the look-out for a cocktail. The old adage of 50% of advertising being wasted (but nobody knows which 50%) helps no-one so, sure, let’s work together on improving its accuracy.

The challenge, however, comes from the nature of our regulatory processes. GDPR has been created across a long period of time, by a set of international committees with all of our best interests at heart. The...

The following is an excerpt from GigaOm publisher Byron Reese’s new book, The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity. You can purchase the book here.

The Fourth Age explores the implications of automation and AI on humanity, and has been described by Ethernet inventor and 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe as framing “the deepest questions of our time in clear language that invites the reader to make their own choices. Using 100,000 years of human history as his guide, he explores the issues around artificial general intelligence, robots, consciousness, automation, the end of work, abundance, and immortality.”

One of those deep questions of our time:

If a computer is sentient, then it can feel pain. If it is conscious, then it is self-awareness. Just as we have human rights and animal rights, as we explore building conscious computers, must we also consider the concept of robot rights? In this excerpt from The Fourth Age, Byron Reese considers the ethical implications of the development of conscious computers.


A conscious computer would be, by virtually any definition, alive. It is hard to imagine something that is conscious but not living. I can’t conceive that we could consider a blade of grass to be living, and still classify an entity that is self-aware and self-conscious as nonliving. The only exception would be a definition of life that required it to be organic, but this would be somewhat arbitrary in that it has nothing to do with the thing’s innate characteristics,...

Today's leading minds talk AI with host Byron Reese

In this episode, Byron and Ira discuss transfer learning and AI ethics.

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Jay Iorio is a technology strategist for the IEEE Standards Association, specializing in the emerging technologies of virtual worlds and 3D interfaces. In addition to being a machinimatographer, Iorio manages IEEE Island in Second Life and has done extensive building and environment creation in Second Life and OpenSimulator.

What follows is an interview between Jay Iorio and Byron Reese, publisher of GigaOm, and author of the new book The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity. They discuss artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality.


Byron Reese: Synthetic reality, is that a term that you use internally and is that something we’re going to hear more about as a class or concept? Or is that just useful in your line of work?

Jay Iorio: That’s sort of a term that I use internally in my own mind, it doesn’t really come from anywhere. I’m trying to think of a term that includes all of the illusory technologies: virtual reality, augmented reality, everything along the Milgram spectrum and the technologies that also contribute to that. So that it doesn’t just become a playback mechanism; that in fact it becomes a part of the interaction with the physical space and with other people and so forth.

So I would say that specifically what I’m talking about is AR (augmented reality) in the...

Data, data everywhere, but not a drop to drink… I’ve known Shawn Rogers for several years, as an analyst and then as that rare breed of practical thought leader in the vendor community. Meanwhile, Tibco’s job has traditionally been about getting data from where it is situated, to where it is needed. I was keen to find out how providers are keeping up with the explosion of data we are seeing today, not only in terms of products but more importantly, approach.

 

What do you see as the most significant trends driving the market?

At Tibco, we see four drivers to how organizations and people are using information better:

  • New communities of users are emerging, who use insight in new ways
  • This drives new economic advantages – anybody can get value from information
  • Meanwhile, technology creates new data sources, creating opportunities – for example from sensors
  • And finally, access has vastly extended, you can now have access to all the data, not just specific pools

As a result, companies are creating new businesses for themselves – Bigbelly smart waste is a great example, they reinvented what they were doing. Another mobile phone company, Telenor, specialises in emerging countries. The organisation reinvented its process, using mobile data to lend money, using calling records as a way of measuring credit worthiness to help the ‘unbanked’ – people without bank accounts.

 

What does this mean for how enterprises look at the data they can access?

These drivers are causing organisations to look to ‘level up’ in terms of...

The following is an excerpt from GigaOm publisher Byron Reese’s new book, The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity. You can purchase the book here.

The Fourth Age explores the implications of automation and AI on humanity, and has been described by Ethernet inventor and 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe as framing “the deepest questions of our time in clear language that invites the reader to make their own choices. Using 100,000 years of human history as his guide, he explores the issues around artificial general intelligence, robots, consciousness, automation, the end of work, abundance, and immortality.”

In this excerpt from The Fourth Age, Byron Reese explores the concept Moore’s Law and how more space, more speed, and more processor power impacts advancements in technology.


The scientific method supercharged technological development so much that it revealed an innate but mysterious property of all sorts of technology, a consistent and repeated doubling of its capabilities over fixed periods.

Our discovery of this profound and mysterious property of technology began modestly just half a century ago when Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel, noticed something interesting: the number of transistors in an integrated circuit was doubling about every two years. He noticed that this phenomenon had been going on for a while, and he speculated that the trend could continue for another decade. This observation became known as Moore’s law.

Doubling the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles the power of the computer. If that were...

Today's leading minds talk AI with host Byron Reese

In this episode, Byron and Peter discuss AI use in consumer and retail businesses.

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Once data is under management in its best-fit leveragable platform in an organization, it is as prepared as it can be to serve its many callings. It is in position to be used for purposes operationally and analytically and across the spectrum of need. Ideas emerge from business areas no longer encumbered with the burden of managing data, which can be 60% – 70% of the effort to bring the idea to reality. Walls of distrust in data come down and the organization can truly excel with an important barrier to success removed.

An important goal of the information management function in an organization is to get all data under management by this definition, and to keep it under management as systems come and go over time.

Master Data Management (MDM) is one of these key leveragable platforms. It is the elegant place for data with widespread use in the organization. It becomes the system of record for customer, product, store, material, reference and all other non-transactional data. MDM data can be accessed directly from the hub or, more commonly, mapped and distributed widely throughout the organization. This use of MDM data does not even account for the significant MDM benefit of efficiently creating and curating master data to begin with.

MDM benefits are many, including hierarchy management, data quality, data governance/workflow, data curation, and data distribution. One overlooked benefit is just having a database where trusted data can be accessed. Like any data...

The following is an excerpt from GigaOm publisher Byron Reese’s new book, The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity. You can purchase the book here.

The Fourth Age explores the implications of automation and AI on humanity, and has been described by Ethernet inventor and 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe as framing “the deepest questions of our time in clear language that invites the reader to make their own choices. Using 100,000 years of human history as his guide, he explores the issues around artificial general intelligence, robots, consciousness, automation, the end of work, abundance, and immortality.”

One of those deep questions of our time:

Is an artificial general intelligence, or AGI, even possible? Most people working in the field of AI are convinced that an AGI is possible, though they disagree about when it will happen. In this excerpt from The Fourth Age, Byron Reese considers it an open question and explores if it is possible.


The Case for AGI

Those who believe we can build an AGI operate from a single core assumption. While granting that no one understands how the brain works, they firmly believe that it is a machine, and therefore our mind must be a machine as well. Thus, ever more powerful computers eventually will duplicate the capabilities of the brain and yield intelligence. As Stephen Hawking explains:

I believe there is no deep difference between what can be achieved by a biological brain and what can be achieved by a computer. It...

Today's leading minds talk AI with host Byron Reese

In this episode, Byron and Stephen discuss computational intelligence and what’s happening in the brain.

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Christof Koch is an American neuroscientist, best known for his work on the neural basis of consciousness. He is the President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, and from 1986 to 2013 he was a professor at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Koch has published extensively, and his most recent book is Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist.

What follows is an interview between Christof Koch and Byron Reese, publisher of GigaOm, and author of the new book The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity. They discuss artificial intelligence, consciousness and the brain.


Byron Reese: So people often say, “We don’t know what consciousness is,” but that’s not really true. We know exactly what it is. The debate is around how it comes about, correct?

Christof Koch: Correct.

So, what is it?

It’s my experience, it’s the feeling of life itself, it’s my pain my pleasure my hopes, my aspirations, my fears, all of that is consciousness.

And it’s described as the last major scientific question that we know neither how to ask nor what the answer would look like, but I assume you disagree with that?

I disagree with some of that, it’s one of the two or three big questions, being: Why is there anything at all? What’s the origin of life, and yes how does consciousness arrive...

OK, who remembers the word processor wars? Back in the day, the world had a choice of four or more desktop document editing packages, but unless you are a diehard fan of WordStar (these exist, ask George R. R. Martin), chances are you are using Microsoft Word or Open Office on the desktop, despite their respective foibles. Online tools such as Google Docs also exist, but all seem to be built around the needs of office workers rather than writers.

So, is there a place for alternatives, not in terms of “alternative to Microsoft” but “alternative to the default set of office features”? I hadn’t heard of Mellel Word Processor for Mac, which is aimed at authors and academics, so I thought I would catch up with the company and find out what makes them tick. Answers below!

1. Where did Mellel come from, i.e. why was it founded?

Mellel for Mac is the brainchild of 2 brothers: Ori and Eyal Redler. Ori, an editor-in-chief, was fed up with the limited and quirky-behaving word processors developed for Mac. Eyal, a software developer, was tired of hearing his brother’s complaints. So, they developed Mellel together. That was back in 2002. Since then, the academics, writers, and editors who use Mellel have also contributed their wish list to the software’s development.

2. What’s the vision and USP?

Mellel for Mac is developed by long-form writers for long-form writers. Sure, you can pen a letter to Grandma on it, but...

DevOps advocates will no doubt be familiar with the term “Wall of Confusion”, as it goes to the heart of why the best practices arose. As a recap on what DevOps is about, the best practice is offered a solution to a familiar challenge: if you are looking to develop and deliver new software applications and services as quickly as possible, how do you address the fact that operations practices are not always aligned with those of development? As I wrote last week, it’s a laudable goal, for sure.

However, it can be difficult to deliver DevOps beyond the initiative or single-group level, despite the very best intentions of those involved. I can think of two recent scenarios. In the first, a large city institution, those driving DevOps practices saw initial success but then found their sage words and high energy levels being sapped as attempts to engage the broader community of internal developers met with apathy. And in the second, a DevOps-based part of a consumer-facing organisation was being ramped down as it was out of kilter with the practices of other areas, undermining its ability to deliver.

Naturally, I’ve been racking my brains as to why this should be. As a starter for ten, I believe it is down to several elements, each of which is necessary for DevOps to scale beyond the level of an isolated group. Take any away and the effect is to dilute its potential value, and therefore calling into question the...

The following is an excerpt from GigaOm publisher Byron Reese’s new book, The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity. You can purchase the book here.

The Fourth Age explores the implications of automation and AI on humanity, and has been described by Ethernet inventor and 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe as framing “the deepest questions of our time in clear language that invites the reader to make their own choices. Using 100,000 years of human history as his guide, he explores the issues around artificial general intelligence, robots, consciousness, automation, the end of work, abundance, and immortality.”

One of those deep questions of our time:

When the topic of automation and AI comes up, one of the chief concerns is always technology’s potential impact on jobs. Many fear that with the introduction of wide-scale automation, there will be no more jobs left for humans. But is it really that dire? In this excerpt from The Fourth Age, Byron Reese considers if the addition of automation and AI will really do away with jobs, or if it will open up a world of new jobs for humans.


In 1940, only about 25 percent of women in the United States participated in the workforce. Just forty years later, that percentage was up to 50 percent. In that span of time, thirty-three million women entered the workforce. Where did those jobs come from? Of course, at the beginning of that period, many of these positions were wartime jobs, but women...

Today's leading minds talk AI with host Byron Reese

In this episode, Byron and Gaurav discuss machine learning, jobs, and security.

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In a normal master data management (MDM) project, a current state business process flow is built, followed by a future state business process flow that incorporates master data management. The current state is usually ugly as it has been built piecemeal over time and represents something so onerous that the company is finally willing to do something about it and inject master data management into the process. Many obvious improvements to process come out of this exercise and the future state is usually quite streamlined, which is one of the benefits of MDM.

I present today that these future state processes are seldom as optimized as they could be.

Consider the following snippet, supposedly part of an optimized future state.

This leaves in the process four people to manually look at the product, do their (unspecified) thing and (hopefully) pass it along, but possibly send it backwards to an upstream participant based on nothing evident in particular.

The challenge for MDM is to optimize the flow. I suggest that many of the “approval jails” in business process workflow are ripe for reengineering. What criteria is used? It’s probably based on data that will now be in MDM. If training data for machine learning (ML) is available, not only can we...