Issue 184: CognitionX Data Science, AI and Machine Learning

Call centres can suck, there’s no denying that. Thankfully, large enterprise companies such as Telefonica and startups such as Afiniti are already working on AI-based solutions to make the experience of calling a company more pleasant and optimised. Amazon Web Services is now taking a stab at it too with their new cloud-based contact centre solution, Amazon Connect, which was announced yesterday.


Tabitha UntiltheBotsTakeOver Goldstaub


We have added an awesome job portal to our CognitionX website. Have a look and please send me feedback if you have any.

Ethics Question for the Day

WhatsApp encryption and the issues surrounding it

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has criticised
WhatsApp’s use of encryption to protects its users’ communications, in the wake of the Westminster terror attack.

It has emerged that the attacker, Khalid Masood, sent a WhatsApp message moments before launching his assault, and Ms Rudd accused the Facebook-owned app of providing terrorists with a place to “hide”.

In the government’s line of fire is end-to-end encryption, a security technique designed to keep users’ data private, which Ms Rudd described as “completely unacceptable” while speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Tools of the Trade

Alibaba Cloud wants to democratise AI tech

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud-computing arm of Alibaba Group, is making AI technology more accessible to businesses and organizations with the debut of an upgraded machine learning platform.

Alibaba Cloud announced today that it has developed ‘ET Industrial Brain’ and ‘ET Medical Brain’. These tools will help companies adopt centralised data management in manufacturing and ease the workload of medical personnel by using computers to act as virtual assistants for patients and in medical imaging,
drug development and hospital management, respectively.

Prediction of the Day

FAST FOOD CEO: Machines could ‘run the world’ by the mid- to late-2020s

Greg Creed, the CEO of Yum Brands, the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, spoke about how he sees technological innovation developing over the next decade or two, and how his industry has already seen changes.

He disagreed with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s 50-100 year projection. “I believe, having listened to people in the AI area…I think that is way too long. I think it’s going to happen — I don’t think it is going to happen next year or the year after, but I do believe that probably by the mid ’20s to the late ’20s, you’ll start to see a dramatic change in sort of how machines sort of run the world,” he said.


Director of AI Research at Apple talks about the future

On Tuesday, Apple’s director of AI research, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, discussed some of the limitations of AI, such as when it comes to computers remembering things like humans do. However, he steered clear during his talk at an MIT Technology Review conference of how his secretive company incorporates AI into its products like Siri.

He said he is particularly interested in a type of AI known as reinforcement learning, which researchers use to teach computers to repeatedly take different actions to figure out the best possible result. Another area Salakhutdinov wants to explore is teaching AI software to learn more quickly from “few examples and few experiences.” Although he did not mention it, his idea would benefit Apple in its race to create better products in less time.

Business Impact of AI

Introducing Amazon Connect:
Simple to use, cloud-based contact centre

Amazon Connect is a self-service, cloud-based contact centre service that makes it easy for any business to deliver better customer service at lower cost. Amazon Connect is based on the same contact centre technology used by Amazon customer service associates around the world to power millions of customer conversations.

The self-service graphical interface in Amazon Connect makes it easy for non-technical users to design contact flows, manage agents, and track performance metrics – no specialized skills required. There are no up-front payments or long-term commitments and no infrastructure to manage with Amazon Connect; customers pay by the minute for Amazon Connect usage plus any associated telephony services.

Future of Health

Nvidia sees medicine as the next big market for its machine learning hardware

Kimberly Powell, who leads Nvidia’s efforts in health care, says the company is working with medical researchers in a range of areas and will look to expand these efforts in coming years.

“There’s this amazing surge in medical imaging research,” Powell said on Monday. “More and more
we’re visiting providers at hospitals today, and they’re imagining new AI applications.”

Video Killed the Radio Star

How AI has evolved over time

In this video, The Telegraph examines how AI has evolved over time and will continue to grow as technology improves – from computer scientist John McCarthy first making reference to AI in 1956, to virtual assistants on our smartphones emerging in 2011 and more.

From gaming to virtual reality, telephones to wearables, this video series from the Telegraph looks at some of the world’s most renowned consumer technologies and shows how they have developed over the years.

Stats that Impress

The AI misinformation epidemic

Zachary Chase Lipton, PhD candidate in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of California, San Diego, writes about how despite the fact that people are becoming more and more interested in machine learning (searches for ‘machine learning’ on Google have increased 5x in the past 5 years), they are severely misinformed (according to his estimation).

He says, “This pairing of interest with ignorance has created a perfect storm for a misinformation epidemic. The outsize demand for stories about AI has created a tremendous opportunity for impostors to capture some piece of this market.” To read more about people are misinformed, check out the blogpost.

Future of Transportation

Secretive robotaxi startup Zoox prepares for real-world testing

Mark Harris’ (IEEE Spectrum) latest investigation has uncovered patents filed by the company, progress on the development of its technology, and testing details. Zoox’s vision remains on track: to transform transportation by offering a Level 5, or completely driverless, mobility service.

Recently issued patents (filed in late 2015) provide more detail about what Zoox has been working on. The paperwork includes images that match early design sketches of the car. One patent suggests the car may use novel materials, such as a foam insulation frame with a matrix of triangular, circular, and hexagonal shapes that provide structural support and serve as conduits for cables, hoses and wiring.

Dates for Your Diary

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