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Monday, January 27, 2014

Google’s Grand Plan to Make Your Brain Irrelevant


Google is on a shopping spree, buying startup after startup to push its business into the future. But these companies don’t run web services or sell ads or build smartphone software or dabble in other things that Google is best known for. The web’s most powerful company is filling its shopping cart with artificial intelligence algorithms, robots, and smart gadgets for the home. It’s on a mission to build an enormous digital brain that operates as much like the human mind as possible — and, in many ways, even better.
Yesterday, Google confirmed that it has purchased a stealthy artificial intelligence startup called DeepMind. According to reports, the company paid somewhere in the mid-hundreds of millions of dollars for the British outfit. Though Google didn’t discuss the price tag, that enormous figure is in line with the rest of its recent activity.
Lifelike robots, sentient machines, the Jetson’s smart home in the sky. Google is spending billions to make itself the place where these fantasies become facts.
The DeepMind acquisition closely follows Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of smart thermostat and smoke alarm maker Nest, a slew of cutting-edge robotics companies, and another AI startup known as DNNresearch.
Google is looking to spread smart computer hardware into so many parts of our everyday lives — from our homes and our cars to our bodies — but perhaps more importantly, it’s developing a new type of artificial intelligence that can help operate these devices, as well as its many existing web and smartphone services.
Though Google is out in front of this AI arms race, others are moving in the same direction. Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft are doubling down on artificial intelligence too, and are snapping up fresh AI talent. According to The Information, Mark Zuckerberg and company were also trying to acquire DeepMind.

The New AI

Google’s web search engine already uses a powerful type of artificial intelligence to find what you’re looking for in the chaos of the web, and it has built an insanely profitable ad business atop this engine. But recently, the company has been bulking up its roster of geniuses as it seeks to explore a new branch of artificial intelligence known as “deep learning.”
Basically, the idea is to mimic the biological structure of the human brain with software so that it can build machines that learn “organically” — that is, without human involvement.
Google is already working to apply these insights to its familiar consumer products and services. Deep learning can help recognize what’s in your photos without asking you to tag them yourself, and it can help understand human speech, a key tool for its smartphone apps and Google Glass computerized eyewear. But Google also sees the new AI as a better way to target ads — the core of its business.
The DeepMind acquisition is one more step down this road. And though the company has not said as much, you can bet that this new form of AI will also play into things like Nest smart thermostats, the Google self-driving cars, and its big push into robotics.

A Century of Sci-Fi Dreams Come True

At the moment, it seems, no other institution on earth has the concentration of brain power — coupled with the money, technology, and freedom — to chase the dreams that have fueled a century of science-fiction speculation. Lifelike robots, sentient machines, the Jetson’s smart home in the sky. Google is spending billions to make itself the place where these fantasies become facts.
In a profile of deep-learning pioneer and now part-time Googler Geoff Hinton, WIRED’s Daniela Hernandez writes that the key difference between deep learning and other approaches to artificial intelligence is that it aims to free machines from the need for human intervention, to give them a human-like understanding of our environment. By building so-called neural networks that approximate the brain, Hinton and company are trying to make it possible for Google to understand language, speech, and the physical world without having to be told what its machines are seeing, hearing, or touching.
For many of us, Google already functions as an important part of what WIRED columnist Clive Thompson has called our outboard brain. The more Google “knows,” the less we have to remember. We just Google it. Now imagine that same kind of intelligence Google applies to the web set loose on your personal existence, not just online but out in the real world.
If its artificial intelligence dreams come true, Google might end up knowing you better than you know yourself. As we export more and more of our intelligence to Google, the question might become: What are our own brains for?


Google adding DeepMind Technologies



Google adding DeepMind tech

Google is adding to its range of artificial intelligence with the acquisition of DeepMind Technologies Ltd., a London startup founded by former chess prodigy and neuroscientist Demis Hassabis.
DeepMind's expertise will be used to improve search results, Google Translate and other products, said a Google spokesman in London who asked not to be named citing company policy.
"We combine the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms," DeepMind said on its website. The company didn't immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
Google has spent more than $17 billion in the past two years to purchase hardware, software and advertising-technology companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Mountain View Internet company agreed to spend $3.2 billion this month on Nest Labs Inc., a home automation company that makes thermostats and smoke alarms that connect to the Internet.


Samsung agrees to Google deal

Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest maker of smartphones using Android software, signed a global patent-licensing agreement with Google to share their technologies.
The agreement covers existing patents and those filed during the next 10 years, according to an e-mailed statement Monday. The strengthened cooperation between the companies may reduce potential litigation, they said.
While the maker of Galaxy devices has risen to the top of the smartphone market using Android, the South Korean company is also working with others, including Intel Corp., on the Tizen open-source platform.
Samsung said previously it would release its first Tizen phone in February through wireless operators including Japan's NTT Docomo Inc., which this month said it won't bring out a phone using the new system "for the time being."
"It seems like Samsung's strategy over Tizen-powered smartphones is fizzling out," saidLee Seung Woo, an analyst at IBK Securities Co. in Seoul. "Samsung seems to be reworking its strategy and sticking with Android on smartphones and developing Tizen for other applications, including its home appliances and TVs, instead."
Samsung, which released the Galaxy S4 and Note 3 last year, planned a Tizen device as one of three new high-end smartphones to compete with Apple Inc. in the most profitable segment of the smartphone market. A February release would be four months later than the company had initially forecast.


SAP and Atos help EU on data

SAP AG and Atos are accelerating an effort to help European governments protect citizens' data, in the biggest push by the region's software providers to counter spying threats since leaks about the U.S. National Security Agency's data-collection programs.
The German and French technology companies are working with the European Union to define standards for Web-based programs and data-storage services, SAP Co-Chief Executive Officer Jim Hagemann Snabe said.
The goal, backed by European Union Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, is to come up with labels that signal to authorities which services and programs are safe, potentially spurring demand, he said.
SAP and Atos are vying with Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp and IBM Corp. as the market for government cloud contracts - orders to handle services and data accessed over the Web - is forecast to double to more than $100 billion in three years.
Governments are stepping up information- technology investments amid revelations about U.S. spying and increasing frequency of hacking incidents.
"The political side has grown massively aware of the opportunity of cloud but also the risks associated with cloud," Snabe said last week at SAP's headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.
"We're working with the EU Commission, but also the United States and other countries to try and define what we believe are the principals for a trusted cloud."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Facebook vs. Blogging

What is the difference between Facebook and Blogging?  They are vast and very important and knowing the difference is key in terms of marketing. 

Blogs are like a keynote speech where the speaker (blogger) is in control of the discussion, but allows questions and comments from the audience.  Blogs are journals often authored by one individual, and sometimes teams. In the context of business communication, these are often used to talk with the marketplace and to join the conversation that existing external bloggers may be having.

Social Networks are like topic tables at a conference luncheon. Ever been to a conference where different lunch tables had big white signs inviting people to sit and join others of like interest? It’s like that. Social networks allow members to organize around a person’s relationships or interests, rather which just focused on topic. People that know each other (or want to meet each other) will connect by a variety of common interests. These are great tools to get people of like interest to connect to each other and share information.

It’s important to know the many different tools in your tool chest as every type of accessory fulfills a different need. Before you jump to tools, you should first understand who your community is, where they are, how they use social technologies, and most importantly, what they’re talking about.

As marketers, writers and business owners know, finding the right niche and angle to write a Facebook and blog post is tricky.  There are several aspects that should be considered when writing a Facebook marketing post:

  • Will the post just be a link to your blog/website or will it be a unique post created just for Facebook? If it’s a unique post, then throw a really wide marketing net by talking about a wide range of topics
  • If it is a link to your blog post, try to use an uploaded image of your blog. The image will be larger and more eye catching than the Facebook link image and we all know bigger pictures are easy to “read”
  • Along with your blog link (and big image), write a short, creative post to entice your potential readers to click on your post, to get them to your website
Here are three things to keep in mind when writing a blog post:
  • What is the purpose of the post? If it is to update your readers, then a quick informative post is needed. If it is to talk about an important topic, then a more in-depth post is appropriate.
  • Link your blog to support your topic – you’ll lose readers (and possibly money) if you can’t bring credence to your post.
  • Unlike a Facebook post, a blog may be conversational. It is definitely longer and more in depth than a Facebook post and if it is on your website, then you’ll have your readers’ right where you can get them to act on your blog post.
These may seem obvious differences, but it’s tempting to focus on just Facebook posts for online marketing but it is not the end-all of marketing.

Your blog post is what reaches all your customers, supporters and potential future members. Your blog post let’s your readers know that you are still there for them. Besides – believe it or not – not everyone is a member of Facebook.

You don’t have to log off of Facebook just to do some marketing writing, but you may want to give it some special thought as to what you will write about. Don’t forget about your blog post, as this is where you want your readers to be – near and dear to your organization. Treat Facebook and blog writing as apples and oranges – they’re both good for you, but the variety is what keeps it interesting.