IBM’s smart assistant is called…Watson Assistant

You saw this one coming, right? This week at its Think 2018 Conference in Las Vegas, IBM showed off its own take on the growing smart assistant category, aimed firmly at enterprise applications. Naturally, the company’s using the Watson name for the offering, and tacking on “Assistant” for good measure.

Unlike Alexa, Siri and Google’s own offering of the same name, however, Watson Assistant won’t be a chipper, consumer-facing offering loaded up on IBM-branded smart speakers. Rather, the company’s plan here is to operate mostly behind the scenes, white labeling the technology for use by companies.

In fact, the offering is so behind-the-scenes that IBM’s already rolled it out in a bunch of spots, including the Munich Airport and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The big Think read more

Barnes & Noble is killing itself

I’ve been chronicling the slow demise of B&N for years now, watching the company bleed out, drop by drop, until it has become a shell of its former value. B&N was a cultural center in places without cultural centers. It was a stopover on rainy days in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland and it was a place you could go to get your kids’ first books.

That’s mostly over now. On Monday the company laid off 1,800 people. This offered a cost savings of $40 million. But that’s particularly interesting. That means each of those people made an average of $22,000 or so per year and minimum wage workers – hourly folks who are usually hit hardest during post-holiday downturns – would be making $15,000. In fact, what B&N did was fire all full time employees at 781 stores. From a former employee:

On Monday morning, every single Barnes & Noble location told their full-time employees to pack up and leave. The eliminated positions were as follows: the head cashiers (those read more

Machine learning won’t kill lawyers, but blockchain will

I fear for the professions.

Those which have enjoyed a monopoly for so long due to their protection by Royal Societies and Official registries. Those which require accreditation and continued professional development.

I’m not saying they never provided a quality professional service, I’m saying they had Carte Blanche to charge extortionate prices in a protected market.

When your moat is a 6-year degree and a 2-year traineeship it’s incredibly difficult to disrupt.

The problem is, with people living longer and more and more people jockeying to enter service based professions, there are too many people entering almost every one.

But here come the machines and they can read everything you have instantaneously, as well as every other law book every written. They have total recall of any precedent ever set and an insurmountable amount of information at the end of their electrodes, ready to be utilised in response to any query or requirement.

I read more

The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be the biggest overhaul of global privacy rules in over 20 years: EU citizens receive sweeping new powers over how their data can be collected, used and stored, and it will affect laws worldwide by imposing hefty fines for non-compliance via /r/technology

The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be the biggest overhaul of global privacy rules in over 20 years: EU citizens receive sweeping new powers over how their data can be collected, used and stored, and it will affect laws worldwide by imposing hefty fines for non-compliance

Submitted February 02, 2018 at 05:10PM by Hogron555
via reddit

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Elon Musk’s flamethrower is real and yours for just $500

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.

Who could resist?
Boring Company
Some were ready to shoot the idea down in flames.

But it’s often wise, on hearing an apparently loopy concept emerge from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, to assume that he’s deadly serious.

In this case, it was Musk insisting that his Boring Company would release a flamethrower. Which, it strikes me, is a deadly serious implement.

On Friday, there was talk that it sat behind a password-protected product page

On Saturday, it appeared for sale on the company’s website at the bargain price of $500.

Oh, but there was so much fascinating marketing to accompany it.

There was Musk showing off his little friend.

And then he decided to film himself, fully armed and enflamed, attacking a camera.

His employees joined in the fun.

And then Musk took to Twitter to explain the most serious existential use for something that costs, well, half the price of an iPhone read more

Jeff Bezos is the richest person in history

Jeff Bezos in 60 seconds

Jeff Bezos is now the richest person of all time. That should put an Amazon smile on his face.

The Amazon CEO’s net worth reached $105.1 billion Monday, according to Bloomberg’s billionaire tracker. That eclipses the record previously held by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Forbes, the other major tracker of the net worth of the world’s richest, put Bezos’ net worth at a mere $104.4 billion.

The majority of that net worth comes from the 78.9 million shares of Amazon stock he owns. Shares of Amazon (AMZN) climbed 1.4% Monday, adding about $1.4 billion to his net worth.

Shares of Amazon (AMZN) are up nearly 7% so far in this year after rising 56% in 2017.

Bezos’ other holdings include the Washington Post and Blue Origin, a private space travel business that intends to take tourists to space.

Related: Jeff Bezos is the smartest guy in business

Bezos grabbed the title of world’s richest person in July, when he briefly passed Bill Gates. He moved back read more

Ripple’s XRP jumps on unconfirmed report Western Union plans to use its services for money transfers (WU)

Ripple priceMarkets Insider

  • Ripple’s XRP has rallied 20% off its intraday lows following an unconfirmed report Western Union is going to use its technology.
  • Ripple’s official Twitter account said earlier Friday the company has already signed three of the five largest money transfer firms.
  • Western Union finished the day up 5.9%.

Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency is surging off previous intraday low prices, down just 4% Friday afternoon, following an unconfirmed report that said Western Union planned to use its blockchain technology for money transfers., which then briefly went offline, first reported the anonymous tip just before 3 p.m. ET. Shortly after, the price of XRP surged 20% off its intraday lows. Western Union’s stock closed up 5.9% after the report.

A spokesperson for Ripple declined to comment, saying the company “can’t comment on rumor or speculation.” Western Union also declined to comment. The two companies have previously worked together on a pilot program for distributed payment protocols in 2015. 

Ripple’s official Twitter account said earlier Friday that the company had already signed three of the world’s five largest money transfer firms:

Screen Shot 2018 01 05 at 3.46.50 PMTwitter

The tweet appeared to be a response to read more

The State of Artificial Intelligence

Andrew Ng, one of the most prominent Data Scientists in the world who has previously led teams at Google Brain and Baidu, is a Co-Founder of Coursera recently gave a talk at EmTech. As the TMS Lead in Singapore I wanted to distill his words of wisdom on aspects that I have noted are very important in my years working in the Artificial Intelligence space.

Internet vs. Artificial Intelligence Era

The first is how being a company that does artificial intelligence well is completely different from a company that does technology well, which is completely different from a company that makes goods and services well. DHL and FedEx are centuries old logistics companies that have successfully made the jump into the internet age. Conversely, Eastman Kodak and Polaroid were camera companies that could not successfully make the jump into the digital age. The next twenty years will show which companies will make the jump from successfully from digital to AI.

I can’t stress the point of Strategic Data Acquisition enough. read more

The Most Important Skill In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence (AI)


No doubt each of us has come in contact with Artificial Intelligence (AI) — whether it is by shopping online and seeing ‘suggested for you’ products, or ads popping up in your Facebook feed, or at the bank when we are making a check deposit at the ATM. Other industries, ranging from health to fitness to media to dating apps to finance have all adopted AI in some capacity to optimize and automate their processes. Although known in the academic world since the 1990s, AI is only coming to mainstream utilization in recent years. So what exactly is the power of AI and why is it becoming so popular now?

AI is what is known as a forward model in computer science, meaning it is a computer model that makes decisions based on the input into the model, such as data that can be in the form of pictures, numbers, and really anything that is mathematically quantifiable. Thus, this type of model is able to modify its prediction based on the dynamic flow of input. So, the read more

Neurotechnology, Elon Musk and the goal of human enhancement

At the World Government Summit in Dubai in February, Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said that people would need to become cyborgs to be relevant in an artificial intelligence age. He said that a “merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence” would be necessary to ensure we stay economically valuable.

Soon afterwards, the serial entrepreneur created Neuralink, with the intention of connecting computers directly to human brains. He wants to do this using “neural lace” technology – implanting tiny electrodes into the brain for direct computing capabilities.

Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) aren’t a new idea. Various forms of BCI are already available, from ones that sit on top of your head and measure brain signals to devices that are implanted into your brain tissue.

They are mainly one-directional, with the most common uses enabling motor control and communication tools for people with brain injuries. In March, a man who was paralysed from below the neck read more