Month: March 2016

AI, Modern Gov and the power of Networks

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Amid the recent bombing mayhem in Ankara, an ever escalating refugee crisis, a stagnated global economy and the EU-Turkey Summit of 17-18th, I picked up a few reads that you might find interesting or even intriguing and will probably take your mind off disturbing  headlines (at least for a while).
If you are in a hurry start from the links in BOLD.
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GoToVan, Science World, Flickr

Incredible Science: AI

The latest “Human vs. Machine” game has ended. Read what Google has to say about it, in their latest blog: What we learned in Seoul with AlphaGo by Demis Hassabis, CEO and Co-Founder of DeepMind (a google subsidiary focusing on AI).
  • If this AI thing is new to you, maybe a non technical video from DAVOS 2016 will enlighten you: Key people from academia and industry discuss “The state of Artificial Intelligence“.
  • Not everyone is partying with the prospect of more AI though. Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are not that thrilled. Read here why.

Looking for more?

Modern Government & data

In the era of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, ODI (the Open Data Institute, UK) is making a very important argument on Data Infrastructure. What is it and who owns it? This argument is even more important as UK government is thinking of privatising the Land Registry, as it recently announced in the 2016 Budget.

And if you wonder how local governments can benefit from digital technologies then Nesta  has a very comprehensive report for you: Connected Councils: A digital vision of local government in 2025. (Download the pdf here)

Nesta has also “5 ideas for renovating democracy“. May sound obvious but it’s governments we are talking about.

The power of Networks

Last but not least, a long but very concise presentation on Network effects (think Facebook, Airbnb, What’s App). What they are, why they are important, how they can help you in business. A highly suggested read.

I guess these are enough for the weekend!

So much to read, so little time!

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The abundance of information and news is a fact. The difficulty we now face is how to pick up the ones that matter (for each one of us). Every day I get about 10 news bulletins from various sources including: The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, TIME, DW, BBC (mainly through their excellent tech shows: Click & Tech Tent), TechCrunch and Crunchable and of course many Linkedin groups or twits from people or organisations I respect and follow.

Usually all this stuff is piled up in my inbox and I go through it early in the morning or late at night, trying to identify those reads that actually mean something to me. I’m fascinated from technology and science, entrepreneurship, innovation and of course International relations.

Thomas Hassel: reading, Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart
Thomas Hassel | reading, Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart | Flickr

 

So these are my picks for this week:

Intriguing Science

Deep Learning for Robots: Learning from Large-Scale Interaction; Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2016; by Sergey Levine, Research Scientist on Google’s Reseach Blog. It is a great piece on how interconnected robots can learn and improve their performance through repetition. Neural networks and AI is here.

Now, speaking of AI, I cannot but jump to another company promising amazing change in human computer interaction. Check out Magic Leap and put them on your radar. I think we’ll soon hear more about them.

New kids on the block

Another start up to follow is LightSail. They are developing an adaptive literacy software, and managed to raise $11 million in a Series B round. Among the investor was Scott Cook, the co-founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Intuit (leading the round) and the Bezos Family Foundation.

Open Access

This week the US government, announced a new initiative that gives access to local & federal datasets. The Opportunity Project, will allow developers to access under-utilised data to build new solutions. After Open Data maybe the next evolutionary step is the market of personal data. Although this is not new, Nesta (UK) has conducted some very interesting reports and they share their valuable insights. Read this post by John Davies to find out more.

Another report worth reading (only 26 well designed pages) would be Research Software Sustainability“, Report on a Knowledge Exchange Workshop, by Simon Hettrick, of The Software Sustainability Institute.

Never Stop Learning

If you are looking for an intriguing listening, you can listen to “Blitzscaling” podcasts. This was an entrepreneurship class at Stanford presenting  a strategy in which a company “pursues unusually high rates of growth in a way that’s tactically inefficient in terms of capital and other resources, but strategically essential to capitalizing on a large and attractive market opportunity.” You can find everything you may need here.

With so many examples of disruption in established sectors, we still haven’t seen any real revolution in education. Despite e-learning, MOOCs and so much tools, mainstream education (from K-12 to higher) still follows the same structure (lectures, assignments, exams). A new paper by Nesta discuss “The challenge-driven university: how real-life problems can fuel learning“. Inspiring food for thought.

In memoriam

It’s always good to remember people whose contribution to this world was far beyond their existence. One of them was Ray Tomlinson, who died on Sat March 5th, at the age of 74. He was the inventor of the email and of the @ symbol. He will not be forgotten. Read about how he died, but more importantly how he lived here.