Creating Generational Legacies

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Coca Cola using AI to replace its creatives... Artificial Advertising for an Artificial Product!

Another Bob Pritchard Insight

We have been considering the potential for employment loss of up to 60% in just the next few years through the combination of robots, AI and machine learning.  We have discussed how robots are replacing up to 90% of staff at Insurance companies, manufacturing plants and even news stories in the media.

Coca-Cola spends about $5 billion a year on advertising and a lot of advertising agencies and creative directors have created extraordinary campaigns and made countless millions creating messages that have fueled massive sales, generation after generation, despite the rather pathetic attempts of legislators and nutritionists to slow this growth.


As part of a recent restructuring to make Coke a digital business, the brand hired its first chief digital marketing officer.  That digital transformation includes four focus areas: 
  • Customer and consumer experience, 
  • operations, 
  • new businesses and 
  • culture. 

Within the customer and consumer segment, Coke is interested in using artificial intelligence to improve content, media and commerce, particularly when it makes the creative process more effective.

In theory, Coke believes AI could be used for everything from creating music for ads, writing scripts, posting a spot on social media and buying media. It doesn’t need anyone else to do that but a robot, coupled with AI and machine learning.

Coke isn’t alone in envisioning human-less creative. AI is already being used to create commercial music and jingles and publishers like the AP are experimenting with using robots to write copy.  In terms of Coca-Cola’s interest in AI for media buying, Coke already buys ads programmatically but it is currently less than half of its media budget into programmatic. Still, with $4 billion in advertising, that is still a huge chunk of change that advertising agencies are no longer getting.

Coca-Cola is also looking for ways to use programmatic technology to fulfill ecommerce sales through tactics like subscriptions.   Coca-Cola thinks AI could be used for everything from creating music for ads, writing scripts, posting a spot on social media and buying media.

Souped-up vending machines are particularly interesting in countries like Japan, where mobile adoption and vending machine sales are high. Coke has a Japanese app called Coke On that lets consumers pay for drinks. Once the company has that, then they can use beacons so that they know when people are passing by the machines and you can understand habit of consumption, location and time.

At the same time, marketers need to keep in mind privacy concerns with the Internet of Things and need to find the right balance of using consumer data to provide better services that consumers appreciate without crossing the line.

That includes devices like Amazon Echo and also Coke’s own packaging, bottles and trucks. For example, Coke is testing beacons in Belgium in retail stores that pull in live data as shoppers move around the store.  You can follow them in real-time and then they have historical data that helps them predict behavior.
Coca-Cola is now evaluating whether an AI bot can replace these flesh and blood creative teams. Mariano Bosaz, the brand’s global senior digital director, said that he’s evaluating how brands can use artificial intelligence because he’s interested in replacing those creative  people with robots.  Content creation is something that Coke have been doing for a very long time, they brief creative agencies and then the agencies come up with stories that they audio visualize. Coke wants to start experimenting with automated narratives.

How are robots, AI and machine learning going to affect your industry?  No matter what industry you are in, it will, and dramatically.

The Milleniall's Malaise

by Heidi Kaye 

Commuting from inner city to central, strong soy caps in hand.
Fresh salaries filtered through banks.
Inevitably addicted to social media, it helps one stay connected.
In touch. 
Aware and awake.
Scraping for rent in a concrete jungle.

Sometimes distracted by animated bursts of gratitude: Entertained, appeased, inspired.

Liking pages such as “end colonial mentality”, “Our Planet” “Embodied Philosophy” “Healthy Crate” “Magic Nature” “Humanitarian Institute” “Warrior Essence” “Enlightened Society”.

We are grateful Our newsfeeds are inundated with calls for social change, to answer personal calls beyond that of our smart phones, tuning into frequencies other then those omitted from television.

Quotes and images. Articles and videos. Protests to attend. Outcries updated via status.
So much earth on our screens its beautiful.

This newsfeed tastes like a healthy on-the-go snack bar,

flavoured and packaged to be consumed at our convenience.
Temporarily hitting that spot as we satisfy a hunger to connect to something larger then ourselves.
To hear the echo chamber singing ‘good morning you beautiful individual.
You are a conscious consumer.
You are doing the right thing.
You are a compassionate social activist.
You hold the power for change.
You spread light’.

Naturally, such a psychological response is addictive.
Our greatest achievement and irony is our addiction to these snack bars and the righteously sweet taste of alignment of ethics to practice.

Our greatest achievement and irony is our addiction to these snack bars and the righteously sweet taste of alignment of ethics to practice.

Somehow it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and I do not feel satisfied.
It is truly a significant time to bear witness.
The irony, hypocrisies, double standards of our leaders, parents and teachers is louder then ever.
Somehow it feels easier then ever to feel unsatisfied with ourselves as we make informed choices, still reluctantly following their lead. 
As we come of age, commuting to work, values of individualism embedded in our privileged upbringing are starting to beg the question:

Is this ethical?
Can I justify my footprint?
How can social media be a past time and social change my way of life?

Is there a case of actively not advancing towards Artificial Intelligence?

Most epic combination of words conjurabubble. Thank you Sári Komlós 🙏

In this cauldron is our potion. To our flesh we offer the gifts of the Great Mother who, with the help of our blue Father Sky, gave us all we need to thrive. So that our spirits may eternally swim through celestial pools of enchantment. Landing on intricate revelations and gathering in our strong arms the fallen branches of the tree of wisdom. Reassembling these woody limbs in fresh ways, designing our way into the next stage. Every time I sit by a fire an ember is thrown into my numb parts. That which I shy away from feeling, bubbles to the surface. The grief and sadness which can accompany the path of earthly awareness. Seeing the systemic disorder parading as normal. Artificiality worshiped as divinity. Oppression disguised in too many outfits.
Sweet mama Earth, your body is my own. Sweet brothers and sisters, your body is my own. When violence happens to you, my body feels it too. This is the web of particles which lace us together and an irreplaceable energy -empathy. The system would prefer that under these feelings I cripple, visit a doctor, have medication prescribed for a mood disorder. Numb the pain and block out the madness. Believe the demented who cast their spells of complacency, succumb to apathy and retreat. But my mantra is collaborative action and my spirit will not be satisfied 'til the Earth knows peace.
This is how the industrial growth society keeps perpetuating its disease, takes people away from the natural world and conditions them to depend on the artificial creations it produces. All at the cost of the planet we are gifted with to be stewards of, and our fellow people. It's a broken mechanism which supplies weapons, poisons water sources, creates divisions and worships greed. This culture of consumption is making us suffer. The crude oil which runs Australia is creating war torn environments outside our border, in which people can no longer live. Fleeing and hoping to seek refuge in distant countries, often these people are locked away because the nations they turn to are too obsessed with their own economies, in which there is apparently no room for them. But it's ok, there's always room for another coal mine! And that's great for business. Never mind about the sacred land or the smog your great grandchildren will know to be air. And this is civilized behavior?
Ladies and gentleman! Public service announcement – the more we regain our ability to live naturally, simply and self-sufficiently, the less we perpetuate harmful systems. I read an article circling the internet right now which said how conscious consumerism is merely something we do to feel better about our addiction to stuff, and that data showed no great significance in the footprint of an eco-consumer compared with a regular one. It suggested donating money to politicians instead so that legislation favouring nature over technocracy (life over extinction), could come to pass with greater ease. But our responsibility is bigger than that.
It's time to reclaim our own destinies and the collective vision we have for the future of humanity. It's not enough to place the responsibility in the hands of a small group of people and hope that the current environmental catastrophe will be set right by some new laws. Yes, these changes are crucial too and it's important to keep applying pressure onto our local, state and national governments, but I think the most radically constructive thing to do right now is learn how to support and meet your needs in a way which does not cost the environment or other people. We can learn to live in and with nature.
I don't suggest that everyone has to start learning how to build primitive shelters and return to a hunter-gather lifestyle, this would be a disaster and is not the answer. But I am suggesting that everyone has to start simplifying and embarking on the rejuvenating task of living increasingly naturally. Start by edging just a little bit out of your comfort zone. Learn how to plant seeds, compost, invest in natural fibers and produce your own flavored fashion or buy locally from people who make it themselves. Start eating seasonally and only local produce. Make practices and rituals which connect you to the living essence of nature, so you can start to feel the alive Earth as a friend, someone who loves and supports you and wants to have a reciprocal relationship with you. It's a process and it may not happen over night but our creative force and the power of intentions do work miracles. Especially when they are aligned with the love beam that strives to envelop the planet in an enlightened paradigm.
When you are conditioned in a culture that glorifies the accumulation of things, of course you are going to be addicted to buying things. When in school you were taught that you had to give respect to figures of authority based on a system of hierarchy, of course it's going to be harder to question the status quo. When ancient history in the classroom was prioritized over gardening it's not surprising you have no idea how to grow food for yourself and depend on supermarkets to provide it for you. But at least you know who Caesar was! These things sadden me but it's our will to look at these uncomfortable truths and come up with ways to become self-sustaining which is going to save us. Yes, there are myriad other sociopolitical issues that people are focused on right now but what is more potently able to unite us all despite our cultures, religious views, gender and sexual identities than the task ahead – how do we thrive on our planet and link arms, hearts and minds in order to overcome the very real extinction crisis? Leaving the paradigm of separateness behind.
Spiritual beliefs alone are not the answer and we need to back up what we preach about love, mama Earth, peace and unity with practical, grounded steps towards natural sustainability. From this determined space our actions, unified towards the common goal of restoring balance to the ecosystem and our social systems, are significantly more effective. Yes, it takes plenty of behavioral changes and means we have to acknowledge that our modern conveniences are selfish and destructive so that we can realise better alternatives. We've been tricked into thinking it's too hard or even impossible, but to become self-sufficient is to become truly free. We are liberated from the systems of oppression and have done very important work by transforming human civilization into a network which promotes life and expansion.
In the last couple of years, along this path I am dedicated to walk, I've observed that the most powerful, connected, genuinely cool and interesting people are the ones who have a relationship to the natural world. Who sense the spirit in the soil, the wisdom in the seeds, the life force animating the Earth. The people who know what's going on around them in the organic space their bodies inhabit. The natural, tangible environment in which their experience unfolds. Their presence is felt as strong, lively energy as they are connected to a natural, living and real source which is infinitely sustaining. Their engagement with existence and the things which support us (food, air, water, earth, shelter), is deeper. These people often know a lot about their ancestry and how the wise, ancient cultures of the Earth resided in harmonious relationship with the natural world. Giving respect to Gaia, honoring the cycles and observing the deep links between our psyches and the rest of the ecosphere. These modern people who can build their houses with their hands and the materials found locally. Who care more about this than any other superficial measure of success. These people who can support their families from food and resources they have cultivated themselves. Wow, slave labor didn't stitch your clothing, you made it yourself! That's sexy. People who can administer natural remedies and rely on plants for healing. These people who are aware that they are part of the biosphere, the ecosphere and the political and economic spheres of their societies, who are setting good examples which can institutionalize a new set of norms into their systems.
These are the people who I see as dismantling the corporatized global culture which is destroying the earth, in the most effective way. Who are self responsible and aspire towards sustainable goals. These are intelligent and humble people and this is the team I want to be a part of. Team Earth. Team liberated humanity. And everyone is encouraged to join, creating a diverse mosaic of human endeavor and consciousness. We are not separate from each other or the paradigm we gave rise to. As parts of this living system we can do the work and act as catalysts for its self healing. Like the Phoenix reborn from the ashes we rise, with wings outstretched and stronger than ever. Full moon blessings family!

Are we ready for the new economy, Australia?

 "There are going to be a massive amount of jobs destroyed" from the digital revolution, says Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of Australia's most successful tech company, Atlassian.

We cannot stick our head in the sand and pretend structural change is not happenning. It is and we need to deal with it.
We need to understand, adapt and be part of the new economy.

 Since the election and the proposed support by Malcolm Turnbull's "idea boom" , the government has been quiet on innovation - and in fact - have been hindering the industry, due to its uncommercial policy direction on the research and development incentive programme. 

The federal government has committed to spending about $1.1 billion in the next four years to promote business-based research, development and innovation, as the economy shifts away from mining-driven growth.

We are a year in - what are we doing? 

Atlassian's Mike Cannon-Brookes said the need to understand, adapt and be part of the new economy was critical. 

Self Driving Cars - a case in point

 2.5 million people drive a car as a significant part of their job.
"Those jobs are all going away whether it takes 10 years, 15 years or 20 years, it doesn't matter," he said.

"Pretending they're not may make people feel better right now, and the irony is the people in those jobs today ... will probably be retired. It's their children that will suffer the pain."

There will be millions of other jobs to be created - what are they? 

Are we ready for those jobs to be created, and are they going to be created here or somewhere else?

Mr Cannon-Brookes believes getting education right is vital and that educating the workforce of the future to be ready for the future is an incredibly real thing.

He said we need to have industry, jobs and companies for those people to arrive into.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Is the advancement of AI a death sentence for humanity?


Response by Lou Sarvas on Microsofts announcement on their JV with Investment firm to advance AI :-

...there's nothing to smile about. Money and billions in investment do not impress me, it's not real, it's a concept, robbery at day light. It needs dumb-down humans willing to exchange their life force for that worthless paper we call money.

The big push by B.Gates and his buddy S. Kurtweil for AI or  synthetic so called intelligence and transmutation of human kind which is trying to turn people into cyborgs is not a good news for humanity. It’s actually a death sentence. People like this dude above, the whole microsoft and apple gangs should be loaded into a rocket and shot as far  into the space as possible and never be let to come back again. Humanity does not need this artificial nonsense! Then again there are many gullible humans who will embrace this nonsense...good luck with your imprisonment, long live the FOOL. 

We are entering a golden age of innovation in computer science

Paul Allen - Philanthopist and Entrepreneur 
Today’s computer science and engineering students have a wonderful opportunity to put their skills and expertise to use solving the world’s biggest problems. The computer programs of today are really only constrained by the user’s imagination.

Today’s announcement that the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering will be elevated to a school and will bear my name is truly an honor.

UW has always felt like home to me for several reasons.

In the university library my father helped lead, as the Associate Director of Libraries from ‘60 to ’82, I spent hours and hours as a kid devouring piles of books so I could follow the latest advances in science. And I spent a lot of time in the graduate computer lab as a high school senior. Of course, I didn’t belong there, but the professors looked the other way—until we wore out our welcome, as you can guess high school students would do eventually.

I still have the letter from the computer lab director, Dr. Hellmut Golde, kicking us out. A couple lines still make me laugh.

“Dear Mr. Allen,” it begins. The letter lists several reasons for kicking us out: One was that we would use all the terminals at once and for such long periods of time that the lab became too busy and noisy. The second was that some of my co-conspirators hadn’t properly checked out equipment. And the third and truly great offense still gets me.

“Earlier this week,” the letter reads, “you removed the acoustic coupler from Dr. Hunt’s office without authorization.” It’s true. Guilty as charged. Since no one was using it, we’d taken it home so we could keep working off campus. And here’s the punch line. He said we’d taken it “without leaving at least a note. Such behavior is intolerable in any environment.” And that was the nail in our coffin, I guess. I’m still embarrassed we didn’t leave a note!

With that stern letter, our free time on UW computers came to an unfortunate end.

Another reason the University of Washington is such a special place to me is that it’s where we built the Traf-O-Data machine. While Bill Gates and I handled the software side of it, the machine itself was built on campus by a UW student named Paul Gilbert, a partner Bill Gates and I recruited into our high school business venture. Paul did an amazing job turning the first 8-bit microprocessor in Seattle into a real computer.

The idea was simple enough.

We wanted to automate the traffic-measuring process, part of which required high school students to count the hole punched into a tape each time a vehicle drove over a black tube laid across the street. We wondered if there was a less expensive solution than a minicomputer to processing the tapes. I had read about the new 8008 chip from Intel and suggested we try to build a machine based on it.

Objectively speaking, Traf-O-Data was a failure as a company. Right as our business started to pick up, states began to provide their own traffic-counting services to local governments for free. As quickly as it started, our business model evaporated.

But while Traf-O-Data was technically a business failure, the understanding of microprocessors we absorbed was crucial to our future success. And the emulator I wrote to program it gave us a huge head start over anyone else writing code at the time.

If it hadn’t been for our Traf-O-Data venture, and if it hadn’t been for all that time spent on UW computers, you could argue that Microsoft might not have happened.

I hope the lesson is that there are few true dead ends in computer science. Sometimes taking a step in one direction positions you to push ahead in another one.

And relentlessly absorbing the latest in technology can help prepare you for that new path toward success.

To think that when we were building the Traf-O-Data machine there wasn’t even a computer science department at all. And now this department is one of the best in the nation, with this next phase of expansion expected to elevate the school into the nation’s Top 5 computer science programs.

If it hadn’t been for our Traf-O-Data venture, and if it hadn’t been for all that time spent on UW computers, you could argue that Microsoft might not have happened. 

This impressive program trains and educates some of the world’s best and brightest. Matter of fact, I was fortunate to be able to convince UW professor Oren Etzioni to lead the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence. He and his team are doing tremendous work in Fremont.

The promise of artificial intelligence and computer science generally vastly outweighs the impact it could have on some jobs. In the same way that while the invention of the airplane negatively affected the railroad industry, it opened a much wider door to human progress. As more intelligent computer assistance comes into being, it will amplify human progress.

I envy today’s young computer science and engineering students. I really do.

They have a wonderful opportunity to put their skills and expertise to use solving the world’s biggest problems. The amount of computing power available for their projects and the facility of the programming tools they can use far exceed anything we had. Today’s smartphone is many thousands of times faster than the CDC6400 students used back in 1972! And today’s computer programs are really only constrained by the user’s imagination—instead of by the small amounts of memory computers had back then.

A few examples of ambitious efforts today’s young innovators could pursue might be:

  • Improving climate modeling in order to help us more deeply understand and simulate what is occurring now and in the future related to human-caused changes.
  • Designing ever-more intelligent vehicles that make our roads safer by preventing accidents, reducing congestion and helping to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Building computer programs that are capable of digesting text and understanding it, in the full sense of that word, to help researchers connect dots more quickly based on the latest published scholarship.
  • Building models of biological systems from cells to the immune system that will give us deep insights into normal and disease states in the body.
  • Advancing the state of robotics to create real helpmates for our aging populations and evolving workplace.
I envy today’s young computer science and engineering students. I really do. 

We truly are entering a golden age of innovation in computer science, with new techniques such as deep learning at our disposal, and collaboration opening up new ways to build innovative projects.

I look forward to watching the new Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering continue to make profound contributions both to the field and to the world. I look ahead with anticipation to the advances that will continue to flow from the school—advances that I hope will drive technology forward and change the world for the better.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The 5 Jobs Robots will take last

Courtesy of Shelly Palmer 

Last week, I compiled a list of the 5 jobs robots will take first. Today, let’s have a go at the 5 jobs robots will take last. For this article only, let’s define “robots” as technologies, such as machine learning algorithms running on purpose-built computer platforms, that have been trained to perform tasks that currently require humans to perform.

Understanding How Humans Work

Almost every human job requires us to perform some combination of the following four basic types of tasks:

  • Manual repetitive (predictable)
  • Manual nonrepetitive (not predictable)
  • Cognitive repetitive (predictable)
  • Cognitive nonrepetitive (not predictable)

For example, an assembly line worker performs mostly manual repetitive tasks which, depending on complexity and a cost/benefit analysis, can be automated. A CEO of a major multinational conglomerate performs mostly cognitive nonrepetitive tasks which are much harder to automate. So, the trucking and taxi industries are in for a big shakeup; c-suite corporate management, not so much.

Thinking About the Future of Work

Make no mistake: at some level, every job can (and will) be done by machine. It is not a question of if; it is just a question of when. You’re going to push back now and tell me how different humans are from machines and how long it will actually take for all of this to happen. Stop. Read Can Machines Really Learn? for a primer in machine learning. Then read AlphaGo vs. You: Not a Fair Fight to understand what is happening and why you should care about it. If you’re still not convinced, have a look at What Will You Do After White-Collar Work?. It will help put all of this in perspective.

That said, there are some jobs that will be exceptionally difficult for AI to do subjectively better than humans. This is not an arbitrary list. Each of the following jobs requires a unique combination of human intuition, reasoning, empathy and emotion, which is why it will be difficult for an AI system to train for them.

As you will see, the last jobs that robots will take share a common thread: humanity.

1. Pre-school and Elementary School Teacher

Unless we are trying to turn our children into little computers, we cannot let computers train our children. (“Singularity” people, I know what you’re going to say. The Kurzweilian future is now estimated to begin in the year 2045. There will have to be a minimum age law associated with human/machine integration.) I can imagine a robot kneeling beside a sobbing five-year-old (who just figured out that his mom packed PB&J instead of a bologna sandwich) and offering comfort and a shoulder to cry on, but the robot is unlikely to provide an emotionally satisfying outcome. We teach our children to be human. If we want them to grow up to be human, they will have to be trained by their own kind.

2. Professional Athlete

Would football be interesting if it were played by robots? Maybe. Would it be fair to put human athletes on the field of play against robots? Probably not. Using today’s regulation clubs and balls, robot golfers would consistently shoot in the high 40s to low 50s. What’s the point? As long as humans strive for athletic excellence, humans will need to play sports. What about surgically enhanced, genetically modified athletes? That’s for another article.

3. Politician

Politics and humanity are inextricably linked. The complex mix of subtlety and nuance required to become a successful politician is not in the current purview of AI. It’s a training set that would require a level of general intelligence that is far beyond the reach of near-term technology. Machines do not need politics; they “live” in a meritocracy. Humans live in anything but. As long as fairness and equality are important topics, humans will be the only ones on the political scene. Some of you will remind me that all politicians have the same goal: to get reelected. And therefore, politicians should be very easy to program. Nope. Sadly, politicians will be among the very last professionals to lose their jobs to AI. (They are also in a unique position to legislate their own job security.)

4. Judge

Judges, adjudicators, arbitrators, and people who judge baking contests or Olympic sports or any type of contests that require both objective and subjective assessments have practically robot-proof jobs. Subjective judgment requires vast general knowledge. It also requires a thorough understanding of the ramifications of your decisions and, most importantly, a precise ability to play “I know, that you know, that I know” with the parties who are directly involved, as well as the public at large. If you can make a living judging baking contests, you’ve got lifetime job security (as long as you don’t eat too many pies).

5. Mental Health Professional

Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals will simply be the last jobs robots can take. Sure, we could do a combination natural language understanding, automatic speech recognition system tied to a competent AI system that would make a fine suicide prevention chatbot. But there’s much more to understanding and treating mental health issues. Again, humans are better equipped to understand other humans. This is not to say that medical professionals won’t leverage AI systems to do a better job, but the ability to create a robot that could take the job of a trusted psychiatrist will be outside of our technical reach until we have functioning WestWorld-style robots. And even then, it will be a reach.

Not on the List: Artist (Dancer, Painter, Musician, Singer)

I have intentionally left artist, writ large, off this list. The artist is a good subject for another article. Suffice it to say, technology has already had a huge impact on the economics of the arts. And, as much as I would like to tell you otherwise, none of these jobs are anywhere near safe.

What’s Next

If you’re wondering where your job sits on the list of “Run for your life, the robots are coming,” you have a simple, singular mission. Learn how your job is going to be automated. Learn everything you can about what your job will evolve into and become the very best man-machine partner you can. It’s the best way to prepare yourself for the advent of AI. Lastly, don’t wait. Everyone will tell you that none of this is happening anytime soon. They are flat wrong. But even if they are right, there’s no harm in being better prepared for an inevitable future.

About Shelly Palmer

Named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in TechnologyShelly Palmer is CEO of The Palmer Group, a strategic advisory, technology solutions and business development practice focused at the nexus of media and marketing with a special emphasis on machine learning and data-driven decision-making. He is Fox 5 New York's on-air tech and digital media expert, writes a weekly column for AdAge, and is a regular commentator on CNBC and CNN. Follow @shellypalmer or visit or subscribe to our daily email

AI still in its infancy

toddler, danger

Last month, Mayo Clinic’s CIO gave the strongest endorsement so far of artificial intelligence technology at the annual HIMSS conference in Orlando, Florida.

Cris Ross along with Tuffia Haddad, a breast cancer oncologist, at Rochester, Minnesota institution, portrayed the tangible benefits of using artificial intelligence, specifically IBM Watson Health’s AI engine.

But make no mistake.

Ross wasn’t donning rose-tinted glasses as he reviewed this emerging technology that’s set to transform myriad industries, including healthcare.

“Artificial intelligence is still pretty dumb,” Ross declared before adding, “And I don’t mean that in a really derogatory way.”

What Ross meant is the current limits of AI.

He described IBM Watson Health “as some of the best computer science on the planet” but noted that AI is heavily dependent on mammoth amounts of data. Here’s how Ross captures the limitations of AI, adding that his view of the technology may result in “fist fights”: (slightly edited)

The best artificial intelligence today is still driven entirely by so-called semantic models, which is understanding language and the relatioship of words to each other and how they build up. So the only way that these things can work is by giving them mountains of data to plow through to try and get to statistically meaningful connections, which then can be leveraged to gain some other understanding.

So, this is like a 2-year-old child just learning to speak and to walk and how they interact with the world. When I put my hand on the stove, that’s not a good outcome. It’s not something immediately clear to a 2-year-old child.

What all this AI is lacking is an ontological model where you can describe a structure abstractly. Watson had no idea what a patient was, what a hospital is, what a doctor is, what a drug is, what the effect is on a patient, what’s the relationship between a doctor, drug, a patient and an outcome.

No clue, because with these technologies you can’t describe an abstract concept and have that abtract concept be applied….

But as long as we are still based on raw horse power semantic engine technology, it means that the only place where this technology is applicable is where there is sufficiently deep and rich data sets with enough narrow variations ….

Those narrow variations allow the technology to look for some correlations and then arrive at some knowledge, Ross explained.

James Rosen, senior managing director, PricewatrehouseCoopers’ analytics group, who was moderating the AI panel at HIMSS, chimed in that as AI is developed and perfected over time, interested stakeholders should keep an eye out for “deep learning.” Deep learning is a subset of machine learning where algorithms try to make sense or model abstract/thought through data. These algorithms are aimed to function as neural networks in the way a human brain does.

The IBM representative on the panel discussion at HIMSS did not resort to “fist fights” as Mayo’s Ross essentially described the best computer science on the planet as a thoughtless toddler.

“The technology isn’t the goal. The goal is the outcome, the health that we are all trying to move towards.” said Sean Hogan, VP, IBM Healthcare. “So, if Watson is still a toddler, a young infant even, glad that we’re choosing good parents or smart parents like Mayo and MD Anderson and some of the top institutions around the world and we are actively trying to learn from that experience.”

Photo: HKPNC, Getty Images

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What are the 3 things you need to do to survive in the future work economy

Written by

85% of your financial success is due to your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate,and lead. Shockingly, only 15% is due to technical knowledge.” -Carnegie Institute of Technology

1. Be an early adopter when it comes to technology. When I created the Building Business Relationshipscourse back in 2013, the boomers who were advising me said, “Don’t do it. And they said don’t do it because the young company, (and now #LinkedInLearning), would own the content into perpetuity. However, when I visited the facility, I saw 500 22-year-old young people running around there, and something in my gut said, “I’ve got to be a part of this.” I threw caution to the wind, said no to traditional advice, and said “yes” to what I felt in my gut. Today, Building Business Relationships has been viewed over 400,000 times by people in 100 countries.

While online learning and teleconferencing has taken over, virtual reality will soon be much more accessible and will again change the way that business is done. For example, a company called Doghead Simulations is racing to be the first to marry Virtual Reality and teleconferencing. Instead of GoToMeeting, you’ll be able to see an entire conference room as if you were really there. Soon, keynote speakers will be piped in using VR. Teachers will give lectures remotely. The way we communicate and build relationships will never be the same.

2. Discernment will be the most important soft skill. So many times, business is done in what I call the unspoken word; the intangibles; the ability to intuitively and instinctively evaluate what to do next. Business is not black and white--it is totally shades of grey.

For this reason, I have to agree with Mark Cuban when he suggests liberal arts degrees will be prioritized over technical degrees in the future work economy. His argument is that these degrees will cultivate the soft skills that cannot be replaced by technology.

The greatest soft skill to cultivate in the future work economy is discernment -- the ability to read a situation or person properly and then react or respond accordingly.

Individuals who have a high level of discernment can understand “big picture” thinking--being able to connect the dots all the way from how the top of the c-suite is thinking about the vision to what execution looks like when you go to market. Employees in the future work economy will be expected to go far above the technical skill they are hired to do and will need to demonstrate that they understand how all the moving pieces connect in order to succeed.

When you practice effect discernment, you are able to build fluid relationships and mobilize networks quickly to get things done. Fluid relationships means understanding that different people think, work, and respond differently. You’ll need to be flexible and adapt on a dime.

So how can you tell if discernment is in your toolbox?

●     Can you go and connect with a person based on where they are, how they think, and how they process?

●     Do you understand how to read and adjust based on different personality types?

●     Do you know how to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish and build a bridge from where you are and where you want to go to what others are trying to do for the greater good of the company, the business, or the cause?

3. Just-in-time learning will also be critically needed. You gotta learn on the fly. You’ve got to be able to say, “I learned this right now. I apply it right now.” It’s like microwave learning. This is a learn-as-you-go society, and it’s moving.

Recently, a construction company brought me in to speak to about 450 of their sales representatives who are not into fluff, but they know that they need to get sharper when it comes to customer experience. These were meat and potatoes guys who weren’t into pixie dust, but they wanted to know how to add soft skills into the construction space.

To understand the needs of my audience, I spent a day with one of their sales representatives in St. Petersburg, Florida. I learned about their industry by spending almost 8 hours learning how they go about doing bids, sitting in on meetings, and riding around in the truck meeting clients. In order to effectively teach to this audience, I had to learn their industry on the fly and turn around and apply that learning to create a product that worked for that company.

The future work economy will be an environment that rewards strategic thinkers who see into the future, are quick to mobilize, and know when and how to change direction. It’s time to quit your job and go to work. 

What are you doing to prepare for the new work economy? Join the conversation. #LinkedInLearning

Friday, March 3, 2017

The importance of play in innovation


Visit any major technology, creative or marketing office around the world right now and you will find something very different from the traditional executive environment of marble tables, wood paneling and immaculately pressed suits. You’re far more likely to find bright coloured furniture, a foosball table, some bean bags, and a slide. For the traditional executive, it may seem like you’ve entered a giant childcare facility or organised chaos, but these office environments have been quite deliberately designed.

You see, these companies recognise the profound importance of play.

The research is in. Play is essential for us all. From young children to adults, play is essential in developing creative thinking, as well as improving reasoning and problem solving skills.

Key in this research is the notion that imagination can help drive innovation. And in an age where innovation is the new competitive advantage, fostering imagination should be seen as a crucial aspect of learning and development. Psychologist, Dr Peter Gray said it best way back in 2008:

One of the main purposes of play in our species, I think, is to promote our use of imagination to solve problems. … Imagination provides the foundation for our inventiveness, our creativity, and our ability to plan for the future. ...When we allow ourselves to take a playful attitude ... we are providing ourselves with a context for solving problems that might otherwise be intractable.

The tools of play have changed, but the purpose of play has not. From collectibles to competitive video games, children can imagine storylines and seek out solutions to problems through the lens of the characters they adopt. This is really important: scenario mapping and imagining new powers or new ways of behaving is the very basis of innovation. So these instruments of play are a form of imagination seeding.

Scenario mapping and imagining new powers or new ways of behaving is the very basis of innovation

There is also growing evidence that play - at any age - is important to our happiness. Those businesses with the brightly coloured furniture and slides in the office also understand that to keep your workforce, you need to keep your team feeling good about their jobs and their workplaces. This seeding of playful environments impacts on both productivity and hcreative thinking, so it helps with staff retention and innovation, simultaneously. And it turns out that children’s happiness is influenced by their play environment, too. As the saying goes, money can’t buy happiness. Instead, for children, happiness comes from the chance to develop relationships, and to exercise imagination.

The media backlash against new forms of play (video games, or immersive experiences such as virtual reality storytelling) is as unwarranted as it has been disproven. There is ample evidence now that these technologies and experiences can have positive effects on children. In fact they are so widely accepted in universities, that they are supported as a sport.

What is useful is to ensure that time spent with these immersive experiences is supplemented by play with physical, tangible toys and equipment

Again, the evidence is that children who can project from their experiences in screen environments onto representative figurines, or into lived environments, are better able to solve problems than those who live entirely in the digital world.

We need to embrace the concept of play as the best chance we have as a society 

As marketers and parents, we need to take a step back from the tendency to assume that all toys and screen time are wasteful or dangerous to social development in children in particular. If these new instruments of play allow kids to think differently, take on a part as a character in a storyline, develop new relationships and find new ways to solve problems, they are actually helping their own social development.

We need to embrace the concept of play as the best chance we have as a society, to solve some of the biggest problems facing the world today. It may seem that a 'construction toy consisting of interlocking plastic building blocks' is a long way from a solution to climate change. But the kids who learn about the world from playing and thinking about how they can save the world, might just one day save our world.


Anthony J James was awarded LinkedIn's 'Agency Publisher of the Year' for Asia Pacific. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post maybe try one of these as well - see other posts.