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AI-enabled enterprise starts with education, not tech

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The AI-enabled enterprise won’t be built in a day. Take it from representatives at companies knee-deep in building…

AI hardware, software and services for their customers and clients, including IBM, Affectiva Inc. and Grant Thornton LLP.

At the recent AI and the Future of Work event hosted by MIT, these representatives provided advice on how CIOs can start to build the AI-enabled enterprise — as quickly as tomorrow morning. One of the first steps they suggested CIOs take? Get caught up on what the AI terrain looks like.

“The number one thing I would say is to invest the time to really understand what is happening in AI,” said Nichole Jordan, managing partner of markets, clients and industry at accounting and advisory firm Grant Thornton.

AI literacy is a must

Jordan pointed to AI Magazine and O’Reilly Media’s artificial intelligence newsletter as two “simple examples” of how CIOs can incorporate AI education into their daily routines and that of their teams. She described this as just “a sprinkling,” but said the reading material can encourage discussions about artificial intelligence and how its resurgence might affect the future of the company.

Reading up on AI could be worthwhile even for the smallest organizations, according to Jordan. “It no longer requires a multimillion-dollar budget to get AI started in your organization,” she said.

AI, Grant ThorntonNichole Jordan

Take mergers and acquisitions, which require advisors to monitor and analyze disparate and often siloed data sources such as patent filings or regulatory findings. Today, AI is doing that kind of work and even collecting metrics on company culture, customer feedback and employee engagement that it scrapes from sites such as Glassdoor.

“Over time, the AI is able to develop and monitor trends, patterns, make recommendations to you for potentially other companies to put into your acquisitions portfolio,” Jordan said. “It is about speed and accuracy and being able to analyze a lot of data that we didn’t historically have the opportunity to bring together into one place.”

Knowledge overhype

Affectiva’s Gabi Zijderveld echoed Jordan’s remarks, saying that education is a must.

“There’s so much hype and fluff around AI because every bit of technology today is [marketed as] AI,” said Zijderveld, chief marketing officer and head of product strategy at the emotion measurement company.

As CIOs familiarize themselves with what’s out there, they also need to get a grip on the appropriate opportunities AI can provide to their companies, according to Zijderveld. In Affectiva’s case, its first customers came from an obvious market segment.

affective, AI, emotion AIGabi Zijderveld

Media and advertising companies began using the emotion AI technology, which can interpret facial expressions in real time, to test their content and assess audience response. These days, customers include educators who use the technology to help children with autism decode facial expressions, as well as medical care workers who can use it to detect Parkinson’s disease or as a benchmark for facial reconstruction surgery.

Zijderveld also suggested CIOs look at industry best practices, talk to their peers, find out what competitors are doing and uncover good examples of applied AI, taking note of their results and the products and technologies that drove those results.

And she provided a note of caution for CIOs: Don’t fall into the over-engineering trap. “If you have an old-fashioned ruler that does the job, maybe you don’t need AI there,” she said. “Use the damn ruler.”

Lifelong learning is key

For Sophie Vandebroek, vice president of emerging technology partnerships at IBM, building the AI-enabled enterprise means developing employee skills.

“At IBM, in fact, we are being measured to make sure we take 40 hours of education every year on these kinds of topics,” she said.

Not only is training important, but hiring and bringing in the right skills is also key, according to Vandebroek. For AI-enabled enterprises to succeed, employees who know how to use AI tools, especially as they become more accessible, easier to use and embedded into workflows, will be critical.

Vandebroek cited IBM’s Project Debater product as an example of how AI could change workflows. The AI system has been trained to take a topic, craft an argument and debate its merits — in minutes. Vandebroek believes a technology like this could help companies work through difficult decisions they need to make, such as with an acquisition.

As part of that education, companies — from the board of directors on down — need to recognize the importance of trust and transparency, according to Vandebroek. She stressed decisions be explainable and that data privacy be made a priority.

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Source: https://searchcio.techtarget.com/news/252452985/AI-enabled-enterprise-starts-with-education-not-tech

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Aeva announces customer deal; shares soar even after results disappoint

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By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Aeva Technologies Inc said on Thursday it signed a deal to develop a sensor for a self-driving car to be made by an “undisclosed large company,” and its shares rose 13% even as it reported that its loss ballooned and sales came in far below forecasts.

Aeva reported first-quarter revenue of $300,000, down from $500,000 a year earlier and far below analysts’ estimate of $1.38 million, according to Refinitiv estimates. Its adjusted operating loss more than doubled to $15.6 million from $6.1 million a year ago.

Founded by two ex-Apple Inc engineers, Aeva makes a sensor that helps self-driving cars navigate through the use lidar technology that uses lasers, much like radar uses radio waves. The company became publicly traded through a reverse merger earlier this year and was one of several lidar firms to do so.

Aeva said on Thursday it had signed a “foundational agreement with an undisclosed large company to develop best-in-class lidar” for the customer’s autonomous driving program.

Aeva’s shares were up 13% at $8 in after-hours trading after the results and customer announcement.

In an interview, Aeva Chief Executive Soroush Salehian said the company could not disclose when it would go into mass production with the undisclosed customer but that “there’s going to be increased activity as we work toward production.

“This has a huge potential,” he said, “and based on what we know, it could be one of the largest programs in the industry.”

Aeva has deals with automotive suppliers Denso Corp and ZF Friedrichshafen AG to mass-manufacture its sensors.

Earlier this week, the company said it added to its advisory board Apple senior executive Steve Zadesky and Volkswagen AG Senior Vice President Alex Hitzinger, who was also once part of Apple’s self-driving car Project Titan. Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Volkswagen’s majority voting shareholder, is also an investor in Aeva.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by David Gregorio and Richard Chang)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/aeva-announces-customer-deal-shares-soar-even-results-disappoint/14656

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Elon Musk on crypto: to the mooooonnn! And back again

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By John McCrank

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bitcoin’s price tumbled after Elon Musk said on Wednesday his electric car maker Tesla Inc would no longer accept the cryptocurrency for purchases, citing environmental concerns for the reversal.

Here are some of Musk’s comments on bitcoin and other cryptocurrenies like Ether and Dogecoin, some of which moved the digital assets’ prices:

Nov. 27, 2017: Musk denies a theory he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin, tweeting https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/935329447594541056, “Not true. A friend sent me part of a BTC a few years, but I don’t know where it is.”

Feb. 22, 2018: Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/966602470431473664?lang=en: “I literally own zero cryptocurrency, apart from .25 BTC that a friend sent me many years ago.”

Oct. 22, 2018: Musk temporarily lost Twitter access after tweeting https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1054520588734058496, “Wanna buy some bitcoin?”

Feb. 19, 2019, Musk called bitcoin’s structure “quite brilliant” on a podcast https://ark-invest.com/podcast/on-the-road-to-full-autonomy-with-elon-musk with ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood. “But, I’m not sure it’s the best use of Tesla’s resources to get involved in crypto. We’re really just trying to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy, and it’s like, quite energy intensive.”

April 2, 2019, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1113009339743100929?lang=en: “Dogecoin might be my fav cryptocurrency. It’s pretty cool.”

April 29, 2019, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1123034747460972545?lang=en: “Ethereum,” and, “jk.”

May 15, 2019, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1261416824459030529, in response to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, “… massive currency issuance by govt central banks is making Bitcoin Internet money look solid by comparison,” and, “I still only own 0.25 Bitcoins btw.”

July 2, 2020, Musk responded to “Star Trek” actor William Shatner with, “I’m not building anything on ethereum. Not for or against it, just don’t use it or own any.”

July 17, 2020, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1284291528328790016?lang=en a meme implying Dogecoin would become the standard of the global financial system, “It’s inevitable.”

Dec. 20, 2020, Dogecoin soared after Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1340590280848908288?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw, “One word: Doge.”

Dec. 20, 2020, in a Twitter https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1340678358456274948?lang=en exchange with MicroStrategy Inc Chief Executive Michael Saylor, Musk asks about converting “large transactions” of Tesla’s balance sheet into bitcoin.

Jan. 29, Bitcoin spikes after Musk adds #bitcoin to his Twitter bio, tweeting https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1355068728128516101?lang=en, “In retrospect, it was inevitable.”

Feb. 1, Musk says on social media app Clubhouse he supports bitcoin, which was “on the verge of getting broad acceptance” and that he was “a little slow on the uptake.”

Feb. 4, Dogecoin surged more than 60% after Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1357241340313141249 “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto.”

March 2, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1366808202701012995?lang=en, “Scammers & crypto should get a room.”

March 12, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1370449101402353669, in reference to his tunneling company, “BTC (Bitcoin) is an anagram of TBC(The Boring Company) What a coincidence!”

March 24, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1374617643446063105: “You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin,” and “… Bitcoin paid to Tesla will be retained as Bitcoin, not converted to fiat currency.”

April 1, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1377567762919292938: “SpaceX is going to put a literal Dogecoin on the literal moon.”

April 15, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1382552587099062272?lang=en: “Doge Barking at the Moon.”

April 28, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1387290679794089986: “The Dogefather SNL May 8,” ahead of hosting Saturday Night Live.

May 7, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1390522866979033092: “Cryptocurrency is promising, but please invest with caution!”

May 9, Dogecoin tanked after Musk called the cryptocurrency “a hustle” on SNL. Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1391523807148527620: “SpaceX launching satellite Doge-1 to the moon next year – Mission paid for in Doge – 1st crypto in space – 1st meme in space To the mooooonnn!!”

May 11, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1392030108274159619: “Do you want Tesla to accept Doge?”

May 12, Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1392602041025843203 Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as a payment, and “Energy usage trend over past few months is insane.”

(Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Richard Chang)

Image Credit: Reuters

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://datafloq.com/read/elon-musk-crypto-mooooonnn-and-back/14655

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Airbnb bookings jump 52% as vaccinations spur vacation rental demand

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By Sanjana Shivdas

(Reuters) – Airbnb Inc beat Wall Street expectations for first-quarter gross bookings and revenue on Thursday, as speedy COVID-19 vaccinations and easing restrictions encouraged more people to check into its vacation rentals.

Gross bookings jumped 52% to $10.29 billion in the quarter, easily beating analysts’ estimates of $6.93 billion.

“For guests aged 60 and above in the U.S., who were amongst the first groups to benefit from vaccine rollouts, searches on our platform for summer travel increased by more than 60% between February and March 2021,” Airbnb said.

The San Francisco-based company expects second-quarter revenue to be similar to 2019 levels, adding that the return of urban and cross-border travel is likely to underpin growth over the coming quarters.

Airbnb is also set to benefit from demand for longer stays and a shift to traveling in groups by business travelers, Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky said on a post-earnings call.

The company has weathered the pandemic better than rivals as people turned to its offering of larger spaces and locations away from major cities in the era of social distancing.

It recorded a surge in bookings in Britain after the government laid down plans in February to exit lockdown, while the easing of travel restrictions in France earlier this month also lifted demand.

Airbnb, however, said it was too early to predict if the recovery momentum would continue at the same pace in the second half of 2021.

Its revenue rose 5.4% to $886.9 million in the first quarter ended March 31, exceeding estimates of $714.4 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization narrowed to $59 million, from $334 million a year earlier, largely due to cost cuts.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/airbnb-bookings-jump-52-vaccinations-spur-vacation-rental-demand/14654

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Disney’s streaming growth slows as pandemic lift fades, shares fall

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By Lisa Richwine and Tiyashi Datta

(Reuters) -Disappointing growth of Walt Disney Co’s namesake streaming service on Thursday overshadowed better-than-expected overall profits, driving down shares of the entertainment company.

Shares of Disney fell 3.7% in after-hours trading.

CEO Robert Chapek said that movie and television shows were resuming normal production and new offerings would help bring in new customers to Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu and Hotstar.

Adjusted earnings-per-share for the fiscal second quarter came in at 79 cents for January through April 3, Disney said. Analysts had expected 27 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Disney is focusing on quickly building its streaming service to challenge Netflix Inc as audiences move away from cable TV. The company’s popular theme parks remain in recovery mode with attendance limits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(Disney+) growth is significantly decelerating as the initial pandemic boost has waned,” eMarketer analyst Eric Haggstrom said. “Given Disney’s content investments, subscriber growth should return strongly once this short-term turbulence ends.”

Upcoming Disney+ series include “Loki” about the Marvel villain and Star Wars series “The Book of Boba Fett.”

A total of 103.6 million customers subscribed to Disney+ as of early April, the company said. Two Marvel superhero series, “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” debuted during the quarter. Analysts had projected 109.3 million, according to FactSet.

The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ decreased from $5.63 to $3.99, the company said, due to the launch of the lower-priced Disney+ Hotstar in overseas markets. Factset estimates showed Wall Street was expecting average revenue of $4.10 per user.

Disney plans to launch Disney+ in Malaysia on June 1 and in Thailand on June 30, executives said on a call with analysts.

Overall revenue fell 13% to $15.61 billion in the second quarter ended April 3, a touch below what analysts estimated, according Refinitiv.

Net income from continuing operations rose to $912 million in the second quarter from $468 million a year earlier.

Operating income at Disney’s media division rose 74% from a year earlier to $2.9 billion as profit rose at domestic and international TV networks. The streaming media unit lost $290 million, less than half of what Wall Street expected, thanks in part to higher advertising revenue at Hulu and ESPN+ income from Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view events.

The theme parks division posted an operating loss of $406 million. The Disneylands in California and Paris were closed for the full quarter. Disneyland in California reopened April 30.

Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said reservations at Disney’s U.S. parks were strong, “demonstrating the strength of our brands as well as growing travel optimism.”

Chapek said Disney will continue to experiment with movie distribution while theaters try to lure audiences back. The company will offer late summer releases “Free Guy” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings” exclusively in theaters for 45 days, a shortened period that has been embraced by other studios to allow for home viewing sooner.

Disney renewed a deal with Major League Baseball with 30 exclusive regular season games through 2028. The deal includes an option to simulcast all live MLB coverage for ESPN networks on ESPN+.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Eva Mathews and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Lisa Shumaker)

Image Credit: Reuters

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://datafloq.com/read/disneys-streaming-growth-slows-pandemic-lift-fades-shares-fall/14653

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