Category Archives: Semantics

​Don’t laugh: Google’s Parsey McParseface is a serious IQ boost for computers – CNET

Google has a big gift for anyone trying to fulfill the promise of artificial intelligence: software that helps computers understand human speech and text.

The parser software, called SyntaxNet, breaks sentences down into components to better understand the meaning of words — a boon to AI developers trying to get computers to grok natural language. On Thursday, SyntaxNet became open-source software so anyone can use it for free and modify it however they want.

Google did the same in 2015 with another AI technology, TensorFlow, which lets anyone link computers into a neural network that can process data in a way analogous to our own biological brains. Facebook, which also is conducting extensive research into AI, has likewise open-sourced its Torch software for machine learning and computer vision.

Artificial intelligence, the science of making computers think more like humans, has become a major area of interest for technology companies in recent years. While it’s an under-the-hood and often arcane pursuit, AI sometimes bursts into public view. That was the case in March when Google’s DeepMind software scored a decisive victory against a human champ in the complex game of Go, long thought to be one of the most difficult challenges for a computer.

Source: Don’t laugh: Google’s Parsey McParseface is a serious IQ boost for computers – CNET


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Siri creator introduces Viv, the new AI assistant

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — Siri’s cofounder gave the public its first look at Viv, the artificial intelligence-powered digital assistant that aims to lap rivals with its understanding of human conversation.

Dag Kittlaus took the stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference here to demonstrate his latest creation. Viv aims to go beyond — and take on — Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and the voice inside Google.

Kittlaus is CEO of San Jose, Calif.-based Viv Labs and if he can pull off its bold vision, Viv (pronounced Viv as in Vivian) will be a personalized assistant that will be available to you on any device and powered by every service. The idea is that you’ll be able to talk to Viv as naturally as if you were speaking to another person, and you’ll use your voice to order flowers or summon an Uber, which Kittlaus showed off during his demonstration.

The goal is to “open up the ecosystem where this world of assistants that we’re used to today that have several dozen capabilities now has an opportunity to explode to hundreds of thousands and tens of thousands of times the number of capabilities that some of today’s assistants have,” he said in an interview after leaving the TC Disrupt stage.

“We think the key to that is having a third party platform where anyone can add to the experience.”Kittlaus believes that AI today is in a similar stage to where his old employer at Apple was when it first launched the App Store.

Source: Siri creator introduces Viv, the new AI assistant

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A Neural Network Playground

Um, What Is a Neural Network?

Neural Network

It’s a technique for building a computer program that learns from data. It is based very loosely on how we think the human brain works. First, a collection of software “neurons” are created and connected together, allowing them to send messages to each other. Next, the network is asked to solve a problem, which it attempts to do over and over, each time strengthening the connections that lead to success and diminishing those that lead to failure. For a more detailed introduction to neural networks, Michael Nielsen’s Neural Networks and Deep Learning is a good place to start. For more a more technical overview, try Deep Learning by Ian Goodfellow, Yoshua Bengio, and Aaron Courville.

Click here: Interactive learner on how neural networks work

Source: A Neural Network Playground

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Panama Papers graphically demonstrate the power of the graph database | ZDNet

Graph databases have proved their worth with the technology being used to analyse the Panama Papers.

The recent data leak from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has captured the imaginations of the world, and in particular journalists at the Washington-based, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which includes The Guardian and the BBC in its membership list.

The consortium fed the leaked data into a graph database, in this case Neo4j, which crunched the data and then revealed the underlying structure of that data — thus illustrating the relationships between all of the individuals, companies, and customers involved.


A graph database is designed, like any other database, to handle large volumes of data. The difference is that a graph database is designed to show all of the relationships within the data.

Source: Panama Papers graphically demonstrate the power of the graph database | ZDNet

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The complete list of Siri commands – CNET

There’s a lot you can do with Apple’s virtual assistant — and some things you can’t do. For example, while Siri can send texts, search Twitter, and open up your front-facing camera, she can’t adjust your device’s volume (something OK Google can do).

Apple hasn’t published a complete list of Siri commands, though you can find a fairly comprehensive guide to Siri’s abilities inside Siri herself (open up Siri and say “Help” to see what she can do). So here’s our unofficial guide to Siri commands and questions.

Hey Siri

There are a few ways to get Siri’s attention.

  • Press and hold the home button to activate Siri and issue her a command or ask her a question.
  • If you’re using Apple’s Earpods, press and hold the center button to activate Siri and issue her a command or ask her a question.
  • If you have Hey Siri enabled, say “Hey, Siri” when your iPhone is plugged in and charging, followed by a command or question.

The basics

  • Call or FaceTime someone. Ex.: “Call Sarah,” or “FaceTime Mom.”
  • Call an emergency number. Ex.: “Call 911,” or “Call the fire department.”
  • Check voice mail. Ex.: “Do I have any new voice mail?” or “Play the voice mail from Mom.”
  • Text someone. Ex.: “Tell [name] I am on my way,” or “Tell [name] I am going to the store.”
  • Send an email. Ex.: “Send email to [name] about [subject] and say [message].”
  • Hear your messages or emails read aloud. Ex.: “Read my new messages,” or “Check email.”Set a timer. Ex.: “
  • Set the timer for 10 minutes.”
  • Check the weather. Ex.: “What’s the weather like today?” or “Do I need an umbrella?”
  • Check stocks. Ex.: “What’s Apple’s stock price?” or “Where’s the NASDAQ today?”
  • Conversions (of all kinds). Ex.: “How many cups are in a quart?” or “How many dollars are in a Euro?” or “How many pounds are in a stone?”
  • Calculate tips. Ex.: “What is a 20 percent tip on $68?”
  • Solve math problems. Ex.: “What is 234 divided by 6?” or “What is the square root of 16?”

Source: The complete list of Siri commands – CNET

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How big data is changing the way you fly | Gladwin Analytics

As airlines and frequent flyer programs gather more intelligence on your day to day lifestyle, flying and financial position – they begin to build a data profile on your interests, goals, psychometric assessment, your motivations to engage with a brand at any given every point throughout the day, what has driven you to purchase in the past – and most importantly – where your thresholds are.To illustrate how data is playing a growing role in todays flight booking engines I’ve broken down play by play how each individual piece of data collected about you can be used, analysed and overlaid with other data sets to paint a picture of who you are, what motivates and drives you to purchase a specific product.

Every day – trillions of calculations are being number crunched to transform this goldmine of data opportunity into real, tangible high revenue opportunities for the airlines and their frequent flyer programs.When armed with key insights , a holistic overview of yours, and other customers’ detailed profiled information can be applied to direct booking channels which are designed to customize pricing for your personal situation at that very given moment.Here is how it’s done through Individual, customized pricing.

Source: How big data is changing the way you fly | Gladwin Analytics

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The Seven Best Things You Can Do With an Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo offers our first serious glimpse into the future of an intelligent home. It’s not perfect, but whether you’re you’re thinking of getting an Echo, hear people talking about “Alexa,” or not sure what the one you have is capable of, here are some of the best things you can do with it.

Source: The Seven Best Things You Can Do With an Amazon Echo

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What Publishers Need to Know about Google AMP – Publishing Executive

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), an open source initiative with the goal of speeding up the mobile web, officially launched today. The open-source program promises to reduce load times and optimize news articles for mobile reading. “An AMP page is four times faster and 10 times less data,” said Richard Gingras, senior director of news at Google, in an interview with Re/code. “It’s instantaneous. It’s there right away. And that’s really powerful.” Google reports that hundreds of publishers have already incorporated the AMP code into their articles.AMP works like this: when a user launches Google search in a mobile browser, AMP stories appear at the top of the results. They are labeled “AMP” and are designated by a green lightening bolt. Users can scroll horizontally through AMP stories and new articles will generate as they scroll. The pages are simplified, limiting things like embed codes and Flash, which can slow down load time. This could have a huge impact on publishers’ traffic as more consumers are accessing content via mobile as opposed to desktop.

Source: What Publishers Need to Know about Google AMP – Publishing Executive

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Why Data Minimization Is An Important Concept In The Age of Big Data – Forbes

What is data minimization?Data minimization refers to the practice of limiting the collection of personal information to that which is directly relevant and necessary to accomplish a specified purpose.As companies and organizations began to understand the power of data, and as data becomes more ubiquitous and easy to collect, analysts are faced with a “tsunami” of potential data points. For a time, the impulse was to save all of it — indefinitely.

Source: Why Data Minimization Is An Important Concept In The Age of Big Data – Forbes

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Digital Content Discoverability a Publisher’s Dilemma

How discoverability is putting the brakes on tablet publishing

by Doug Drinkwater August 8 2013, 6:33 pm

The rise of tablet newspapers and magazines continues, but there is still one big obstacle standing in publishers’ way.

The various big publishing houses now embrace the tablet form factor, readers seemingly prefer digital reading and there’s even talk of publishers being able to monetize their tablet editions as soon as next year.

Indeed, both readers and publishers have looked to benefit from the rush to tablets. Most  of the newspaper and magazine iPad apps I’ve seen have been enjoyable to read — offering slick gesture-friendly user interfaces and lots of interactive content — while publishers have seen this as an opportunity to offer bundle packages for readers to get both the print and digital edition.

This approach has even catered to different types of reading. For example, I once had a bundled subscription for British tech magazine T3. I read the app in short bursts, but held onto the print magazine for when I had more time. ABC News, meanwhile, even launched an iPad app which had different editions depending on the time of day.

However, there has been one catch to the rise of the tablet edition and that is discoverability.

Put simply, new readers have been left out of the loop. They’re often drawn to frustrating ‘container’ apps — which act like little more than a digital bookshelf — meaning that their only chance to try out a new or unfamiliar title has been by taking a try with Apple’s Newsstand.

This got me asking a few questions — What were publishers doing to attract new tablet readers? Why weren’t publishers viewing tablet readers as another channel altogether and not just an add-on their print business?

(App discoverability will be one of the key issues discussed at the upcoming Tablet Ecosystem conference coming to New York on November 13).

The challenge of finding new readers

I don’t have an answer for that. But in my bid to discover more, I found out that discoverability isn’t just an issue for readers, but for publishers too.

“A year ago I took part in a debate about magazines on tablets at the London College of Communications,” wrote experienced British editor David Hepworth, in a recent piece for The Guardian.

“All the panelists had enough experience of either translating paper magazines into this new format or trying something wholly new to have no stars in their eyes about how demanding it was in terms of magazine craft and how hard it was to find and win new readers on Apple’s Newsstand, where nobody can hear you scream.”

That last point is intriguing because, clearly, the buying process is so different when consumers browse titles digitally and in “real life” bricks-and-mortar stores.

Users don’t trawl the Newsstand they way they would a bookstore. In fact, I would hazard a guess that digital readers are less inclined to gamble on a surprise choice, however respectable the fee or brand, and are more inclined to simply type for a magazine they know and like.

But if discoverability is an issue, perhaps publishers could do more to help themselves.

For instance, faced with a similar dilemma of discoverability on the App Store, developers often adopt a freemium model (you pay for additional content in-app) or discount or make their apps free for a limited time.

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