Connect with us

AI

IBM’s Rob Thomas details key AI trends in shift to hybrid cloud

Avatar

Published

on

Join Transform 2021 for the most important themes in enterprise AI & Data. Learn more.


The last year has seen a major spike in the adoption of AI models in production environments, in part driven by the need to drive digital business transformation initiatives. While it’s still early days as far as AI is concerned, it’s also clear AI in the enterprise is entering a new phase.

Rob Thomas, senior vice president for software, cloud, and data platform at IBM, explains to VentureBeat how this next era of AI will evolve as hybrid cloud computing becomes the new norm in the enterprise.

As part of that effort, Thomas reveals IBM has formed a software-defined networking group to extend AI all the way out to edge computing platforms.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

VentureBeat: Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was a concern AI adoption was occurring slowly. How much has that changed in the past year?

Rob Thomas: We’ve certainly got massive acceleration for things like Watson Assistant for customer service. That absolutely exploded. We had nearly 100 customers that started and then went live in the first 90 days after COVID hit. When you broaden it out, there are five big use cases that have come up over the last year. One is customer service. Second is around financial planning and budgeting. Thirdly are things such as data science. There’s such a shortage of data science skills, but that is slowly changing. Fourth is around compliance. Regulatory compliance is only increasing, not decreasing. And then fifth is AI Ops. We launched our first AI ops product last June and that’s exploded as well, which is related to COVID in that everybody was forced remote. How do we better manage our IT systems? It can’t be all through humans because we’re not on site. We’ve got to use software to do that. I think that was 18 months ago, I wouldn’t have given you those five. I would have said “There’s a bunch of experimentations.” Now we see pretty clearly there are five things people are doing that represent 80% of the activity.

VentureBeat: Should organizations be in the business of building AI or should they buy it in one form or another?

Thomas: I hate to be too dramatic, but we’re probably in a permanent and a secular change where people want to build. Trying to fight that is a tough discussion because people really want to build. When we first started with Watson, the idea was this is a big platform. It does everything you need. I think what we’ve discovered along the way is if you componentize to focus where we think we’re really good, people will pick up those pieces and use them. We focused on three areas for AI. One is natural language processing (NLP). I think if you look at things like external benchmarks, we had the best NLP from a business context. In terms of document understanding, semantic parsing of text, we do that really well. The second is automation. We’ve got really good models for how you automate business processes. Third is trust. I don’t really think anybody is going to invest to build a data lineage model, explainability model, or bias detection. Why would a company build that? That’s a component we can provide. If you want them to be regulatory compliant, you want them to have explainability, then we provide a good answer for that.

VentureBeat: Do you think people understand explainability and the importance of the provenance of AI models and the importance of that yet? Are they just kind of blowing by that issue in the wake of the pandemic?

Thomas: We launched the first version of what we built to address that around that two years ago. I would say that for the first year we got a lot of social credit. This changed dramatically in the second half of last year. We won some significant deals that were specifically for model management explainability and lifecycle management of AI because companies have grown to the point where they have thousands of AI models. It’s pretty clear, once you get to that scale, you have no choice but to do this, so I actually think this is about to explode. I think the tipping point is once you get north of a thousandish models in production. At that point, it’s kind of like nobody’s minding the store. Somebody has to be in charge when you have that much machine learning making decisions. I think the second half of last year will prove to be a tipping point.

Above: IBM senior VP of software, cloud, and data Rob Thomas

VentureBeat: Historically, AI models have been trained mainly in the cloud, and then inference engines are employed to push AI out to where it’d be consumed. As edge computing evolves, there will be a need to push the training of AI models out to the edge where data is being analyzed at the point of creation and consumption. Is that the next AI frontier?

Thomas: I think it’s inevitable AI is gonna happen where the data is because it’s not economical to do the opposite, which is to start everything with a Big Data movement. Now, we haven’t really launched this formally, but two months ago I started a unit in IBM software focused on software-defined networking (SDN) and the edge. I think it’s going to be a long-term trend where we need to be able to do analytics, AI, and machine learning (ML) at the edge. We’ve actually created a unit to go after that specifically.

VentureBeat: Didn’t IBM sell an SDN group to Cisco a long time ago now?

Thomas: Everything that we sold in the ’90s was hardware-based networking. My view is everything that’s done in hardware from a networking at the edge perspective is going to be done in software in the next five to seven years. That’s what’s different now.

VentureBeat: What differentiates IBM when it comes to AI most these days?

Thomas: There are three major trends that we see happening in the market. One is around decentralization of IT. We went from mainframes that are centralized to client/server and mobile. The initial chapter of public cloud was very much a return to a centralized architecture that brings everything to one place. We are now riding the trend that says that we will decentralize again in the world that will become much more about multicloud and hybrid cloud.

The second is around automation. How do you automate feature engineering and data science? We’ve done a lot in the realm of automation. The third is just around getting more value out of data. There was this IDC study last year that 90% of the data in businesses is still unutilized or underutilized. Let’s be honest. We haven’t really cracked that problem yet. I’d say those are the three megatrends that we’re investing against. How does that manifest in the IBM strategy? In three ways. One is we are building all of our software on open source. That was not the case two years ago. Now, in conjunction with the Red Hat acquisition, we think there’s room in the market for innovation in and around open source. You see the cloud providers trying to effectively pirate open source rather than contribute. Everything we’re doing from a software perspective is now either open source itself or it’s built on open source.

The second is around ecosystem. For many years we thought we could do it ourselves. One of the biggest changes we’ve made in conjunction with the move to open source is we’re going to do half of our business by making partners successful. That’s a big change. That why you see things like the announcement with Palantir. I think most people were surprised. That’s probably not something we would have done two years ago. It’s kind of an acknowledgment that all the best innovation doesn’t have to come from IBM. If we can work with partners that have a similar philosophy in terms of open source, that’s what we’re doing.

The third is a little bit more tactical. We announced earlier this year that we’ve completely changed our go-to-market strategy, which is to be much more technical. That’s what we’ve heard customers want. They don’t want a salesperson to come in and read them the website. They want somebody to roll up their sleeves and actually build something and co-create.

VentureBeat: How do you size up the competitive landscape?

Thomas: Watson components can run anywhere. The real question is why is nobody else enabling their AI to run anywhere? IBM is the only company doing that. My thesis is that most of the other big AI players have a strategy tax. If your whole strategy is to bring everything to our cloud, the last thing you want to do is enable your AI to run other places because then you’re acknowledging that other places exist. That’s a strategy advantage for us. We’re the only ones that can truly say you can bring the AI to where the data is. I think that’s going to give us a lot of momentum. We don’t have to be the biggest compute provider, but we do have to make it incredibly easy for companies to work across cloud environments. I think that’s a pretty good bet.

VentureBeat. Today there is a lot of talk about MLOps, and we already have DevOps and traditional IT operations. Will all that converge one day or will we continue to need a small army of specialists?

Thomas: That’s a little tough to predict. I think the reason we’ve gotten a lot of momentum with AI Ops is because we took the stuff that was really hard in terms of data virtualization, model management, model creation, and automated 60-70% of that. That’s hard. I think it’s going to be harder than ever to automate 100%. I do think people will get a lot more efficient as they get more models in production. You need to manage those in an automated fashion versus a manual fashion, but I think it’s a little tough to predict that at this stage.

VentureBeat: There’re a lot of different AI engines. IBM has partnered with Salesforce. Will we see more of that type of collaboration? Will the AI experience become more federated?

Thomas: I think that’s right. Let’s look at what we did with Palantir. Most people thought of Palantir as an AI company. Obviously, they associate Watson with AI. Palantir does something really good, which is a low-code, no-code environment so that the data science team doesn’t have to be an expert. What they don’t have is an environment for the data scientist that does want to go build models. They don’t have a data catalog. If you put those two together, suddenly you’ve got an AI system that’s really designed for a business. It’s got low code, no code, it’s got Python, it’s got data virtualization, a data catalog. Customers can use that joint stack from us and will be better off than had they chosen one or the other and then tried to fix the things themselves. I think you’ll probably see more partnerships over time. We’re really looking for partnerships that are complementary to what we’re doing.

VentureBeat: If organizations are each building AI models to optimize specific processes in their favor, will this devolve into competing AI models simply warring with one another?

Thomas: I don’t know if it’ll be that straightforward. Two companies are typically using very different datasets. Now maybe they’re both joining with an external dataset that’s common, but whatever they have is first-party data or third-party data that is probably unique to them. I think you get different flavors, as opposed to two things that are conflicting or head to head. I think there’s a little bit more nuance there.

VentureBeat: Do you think we’ll keep calling it AI? Or will we get to a point where we just kind of realize that it’s a combination of algorithms and statistics and math [but we] don’t have to necessarily call it AI?

Thomas: I think the term will continue for a while because there is a difference between a rules-based system and a true learning machine that gets better over time as you feed it more data. There is a real distinction.

VentureBeat

VentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:

  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more

Become a member

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://venturebeat.com/2021/03/19/ibms-rob-thomas-details-key-ai-trends-in-shift-to-hybrid-cloud/

Artificial Intelligence

Deep Learning vs Machine Learning: How an Emerging Field Influences Traditional Computer Programming

Avatar

Published

on

When two different concepts are greatly intertwined, it can be difficult to separate them as distinct academic topics. That might explain why it’s so difficult to separate deep learning from machine learning as a whole. Considering the current push for both automation as well as instant gratification, a great deal of renewed focus has been heaped on the topic.

Everything from automated manufacturing worfklows to personalized digital medicine could potentially grow to rely on deep learning technology. Defining the exact aspects of this technical discipline that will revolutionize these industries is, however, admittedly much more difficult. Perhaps it’s best to consider deep learning in the context of a greater movement in computer science.

Defining Deep Learning as a Subset of Machine Learning

Machine learning and deep learning are essentially two sides of the same coin. Deep learning techniques are a specific discipline that belong to a much larger field that includes a large variety of trained artificially intelligent agents that can predict the correct response in an equally wide array of situations. What makes deep learning independent of all of these other techniques, however, is the fact that it focuses almost exclusively on teaching agents to accomplish a specific goal by learning the best possible action in a number of virtual environments.

Traditional machine learning algorithms usually teach artificial nodes how to respond to stimuli by rote memorization. This is somewhat similar to human teaching techniques that consist of simple repetition, and therefore might be thought of the computerized equivalent of a student running through times tables until they can recite them. While this is effective in a way, artificially intelligent agents educated in such a manner may not be able to respond to any stimulus outside of the realm of their original design specifications.

That’s why deep learning specialists have developed alternative algorithms that are considered to be somewhat superior to this method, though they are admittedly far more hardware intensive in many ways. Subrountines used by deep learning agents may be based around generative adversarial networks, convolutional neural node structures or a practical form of restricted Boltzmann machine. These stand in sharp contrast to the binary trees and linked lists used by conventional machine learning firmware as well as a majority of modern file systems.

Self-organizing maps have also widely been in deep learning, though their applications in other AI research fields have typically been much less promising. When it comes to defining the deep learning vs machine learning debate, however, it’s highly likely that technicians will be looking more for practical applications than for theoretical academic discussion in the coming months. Suffice it to say that machine learning encompasses everything from the simplest AI to the most sophisticated predictive algorithms while deep learning constitutes a more selective subset of these techniques.

Practical Applications of Deep Learning Technology

Depending on how a particular program is authored, deep learning techniques could be deployed along supervised or semi-supervised neural networks. Theoretically, it’d also be possible to do so via a completely unsupervised node layout, and it’s this technique that has quickly become the most promising. Unsupervised networks may be useful for medical image analysis, since this application often presents unique pieces of graphical information to a computer program that have to be tested against known inputs.

Traditional binary tree or blockchain-based learning systems have struggled to identify the same patterns in dramatically different scenarios, because the information remains hidden in a structure that would have otherwise been designed to present data effectively. It’s essentially a natural form of steganography, and it has confounded computer algorithms in the healthcare industry. However, this new type of unsupervised learning node could virtually educate itself on how to match these patterns even in a data structure that isn’t organized along the normal lines that a computer would expect it to be.

Others have proposed implementing semi-supervised artificially intelligent marketing agents that could eliminate much of the concern over ethics regarding existing deal-closing software. Instead of trying to reach as large a customer base as possible, these tools would calculate the odds of any given individual needing a product at a given time. In order to do so, it would need certain types of information provided by the organization that it works on behalf of, but it would eventually be able to predict all further actions on its own.

While some companies are currently relying on tools that utilize traditional machine learning technology to achieve the same goals, these are often wrought with privacy and ethical concerns. The advent of deep structured learning algorithms have enabled software engineers to come up with new systems that don’t suffer from these drawbacks.

Developing a Private Automated Learning Environment

Conventional machine learning programs often run into serious privacy concerns because of the fact that they need a huge amount of input in order to draw any usable conclusions. Deep learning image recognition software works by processing a smaller subset of inputs, thus ensuring that it doesn’t need as much information to do its job. This is of particular importance for those who are concerned about the possibility of consumer data leaks.

Considering new regulatory stances on many of these issues, it’s also quickly become something that’s become important from a compliance standpoint as well. As toxicology labs begin using bioactivity-focused deep structured learning packages, it’s likely that regulators will express additional concerns in regards to the amount of information needed to perform any given task with this kind of sensitive data. Computer scientists have had to scale back what some have called a veritable fire hose of bytes that tell more of a story than most would be comfortable with.

In a way, these developments hearken back to an earlier time when it was believed that each process in a system should only have the amount of privileges necessary to complete its job. As machine learning engineers embrace this paradigm, it’s highly likely that future developments will be considerably more secure simply because they don’t require the massive amount of data mining necessary to power today’s existing operations.

Image Credit: toptal.io

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://datafloq.com/read/deep-learning-vs-machine-learning-how-emerging-field-influences-traditional-computer-programming/13652

Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence

Extra Crunch roundup: Tonal EC-1, Deliveroo’s rocky IPO, is Substack really worth $650M?

Avatar

Published

on

For this morning’s column, Alex Wilhelm looked back on the last few months, “a busy season for technology exits” that followed a hot Q4 2020.

We’re seeing signs of an IPO market that may be cooling, but even so, “there are sufficient SPACs to take the entire recent Y Combinator class public,” he notes.

Once we factor in private equity firms with pockets full of money, it’s evident that late-stage companies have three solid choices for leveling up.

Seeking more insight into these liquidity options, Alex interviewed:

  • DigitalOcean CEO Yancey Spruill, whose company went public via IPO;
  • Latch CFO Garth Mitchell, who discussed his startup’s merger with real estate SPAC $TSIA;
  • Brian Cruver, founder and CEO of AlertMedia, which recently sold to a private equity firm.

After recapping their deals, each executive explains how their company determined which flashing red “EXIT” sign to follow. As Alex observed, “choosing which option is best from a buffet’s worth of possibilities is an interesting task.”

Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch! Have a great weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist


Full Extra Crunch articles are only available to members
Use discount code ECFriday to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription


The Tonal EC-1

Image Credits: Nigel Sussman

On Tuesday, we published a four-part series on Tonal, a home fitness startup that has raised $200 million since it launched in 2018. The company’s patented hardware combines digital weights, coaching and AI in a wall-mounted system that sells for $2,995.

By any measure, it is poised for success — sales increased 800% between December 2019 and 2020, and by the end of this year, the company will have 60 retail locations. On Wednesday, Tonal reported a $250 million Series E that valued the company at $1.6 billion.

Our deep dive examines Tonal’s origins, product development timeline, its go-to-market strategy and other aspects that combined to spark investor interest and customer delight.

We call this format the “EC-1,” since these stories are as comprehensive and illuminating as the S-1 forms startups must file with the SEC before going public.

Here’s how the Tonal EC-1 breaks down:

We have more EC-1s in the works about other late-stage startups that are doing big things well and making news in the process.

What to make of Deliveroo’s rough IPO debut

Why did Deliveroo struggle when it began to trade? Is it suffering from cultural dissonance between its high-growth model and more conservative European investors?

Let’s peek at the numbers and find out.

Kaltura puts debut on hold. Is the tech IPO window closing?

The Exchange doubts many folks expected the IPO climate to get so chilly without warning. But we could be in for a Q2 pause in the formerly scorching climate for tech debuts.

Is Substack really worth $650M?

A $65 million Series B is remarkable, even by 2021 standards. But the fact that a16z is pouring more capital into the alt-media space is not a surprise.

Substack is a place where publications have bled some well-known talent, shifting the center of gravity in media. Let’s take a look at Substack’s historical growth.

RPA market surges as investors, vendors capitalize on pandemic-driven tech shift

Business process organization and analytics. Business process visualization and representation, automated workflow system concept. Vector concept creative illustration

Image Credits: Visual Generation / Getty Images

Robotic process automation came to the fore during the pandemic as companies took steps to digitally transform. When employees couldn’t be in the same office together, it became crucial to cobble together more automated workflows that required fewer people in the loop.

RPA has enabled executives to provide a level of automation that essentially buys them time to update systems to more modern approaches while reducing the large number of mundane manual tasks that are part of every industry’s workflow.

E-commerce roll-ups are the next wave of disruption in consumer packaged goods

Elevated view of many toilet rolls on blue background

Image Credits: Javier Zayas Photography (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

This year is all about the roll-ups, the aggregation of smaller companies into larger firms, creating a potentially compelling path for equity value. The interest in creating value through e-commerce brands is particularly striking.

Just a year ago, digitally native brands had fallen out of favor with venture capitalists after so many failed to create venture-scale returns. So what’s the roll-up hype about?

Hack takes: A CISO and a hacker detail how they’d respond to the Exchange breach

3d Flat isometric vector concept of data breach, confidential data stealing, cyber attack.

Image Credits: TarikVision (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The cyber world has entered a new era in which attacks are becoming more frequent and happening on a larger scale than ever before. Massive hacks affecting thousands of high-level American companies and agencies have dominated the news recently. Chief among these are the December SolarWinds/FireEye breach and the more recent Microsoft Exchange server breach.

Everyone wants to know: If you’ve been hit with the Exchange breach, what should you do?

5 machine learning essentials nontechnical leaders need to understand

Jumble of multicoloured wires untangling into straight lines over a white background. Cape Town, South Africa. Feb 2019.

Image Credits: David Malan (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Machine learning has become the foundation of business and growth acceleration because of the incredible pace of change and development in this space.

But for engineering and team leaders without an ML background, this can also feel overwhelming and intimidating.

Here are best practices and must-know components broken down into five practical and easily applicable lessons.

Embedded procurement will make every company its own marketplace

Businesswomen using mobile phone analyzing data and economic growth graph chart. Technology digital marketing and network connection.

Image Credits: Busakorn Pongparnit / Getty Images

Embedded procurement is the natural evolution of embedded fintech.

In this next wave, businesses will buy things they need through vertical B2B apps, rather than through sales reps, distributors or an individual merchant’s website.

Knowing when your startup should go all-in on business development

One red line with arrow head breaking out from a business or finance growth chart canvas.

Image Credits: twomeows / Getty Images

There’s a persistent fallacy swirling around that any startup growing pain or scaling problem can be solved with business development.

That’s frankly not true.

Dear Sophie: What should I know about prenups and getting a green card through marriage?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie:

I’m a founder of a startup on an E-2 investor visa and just got engaged! My soon-to-be spouse will sponsor me for a green card.

Are there any minimum salary requirements for her to sponsor me? Is there anything I should keep in mind before starting the green card process?

— Betrothed in Belmont

Startups must curb bureaucracy to ensure agile data governance

Image of a computer, phone and clock on a desk tied in red tape.

Image Credits: RichVintage / Getty Images

Many organizations perceive data management as being akin to data governance, where responsibilities are centered around establishing controls and audit procedures, and things are viewed from a defensive lens.

That defensiveness is admittedly justified, particularly given the potential financial and reputational damages caused by data mismanagement and leakage.

Nonetheless, there’s an element of myopia here, and being excessively cautious can prevent organizations from realizing the benefits of data-driven collaboration, particularly when it comes to software and product development.

Bring CISOs into the C-suite to bake cybersecurity into company culture

Mixed race businesswoman using tablet computer in server room

Image Credits: Jetta Productions Inc (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Cyber strategy and company strategy are inextricably linked. Consequently, chief information security officers in the C-Suite will be just as common and influential as CFOs in maximizing shareholder value.

How is edtech spending its extra capital?

Money tree: an adult hand reaches for dollar bills growing on a leafless tree

Image Credits: Tetra Images (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Edtech unicorns have boatloads of cash to spend following the capital boost to the sector in 2020. As a result, edtech M&A activity has continued to swell.

The idea of a well-capitalized startup buying competitors to complement its core business is nothing new, but exits in this sector are notable because the money used to buy startups can be seen as an effect of the pandemic’s impact on remote education.

But in the past week, the consolidation environment made a clear statement: Pandemic-proven startups are scooping up talent — and fast.

Tech in Mexico: A confluence of Latin America, the US and Asia

Aerial view of crowd connected by lines

Image Credits: Orbon Alija (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

Knowledge transfer is not the only trend flowing in the U.S.-Asia-LatAm nexus. Competition is afoot as well.

Because of similar market conditions, Asian tech giants are directly expanding into Mexico and other LatAm countries.

How we improved net retention by 30+ points in 2 quarters

Sparks coming off US dollar bill attached to jumper cables

Image Credits: Steven Puetzer (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

There’s certainly no shortage of SaaS performance metrics leaders focus on, but NRR (net revenue retention) is without question the most underrated metric out there.

NRR is simply total revenue minus any revenue churn plus any revenue expansion from upgrades, cross-sells or upsells. The greater the NRR, the quicker companies can scale.

5 mistakes creators make building new games on Roblox

BRAZIL - 2021/03/24: In this photo illustration a Roblox logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Image Credits: SOPA Images (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Even the most experienced and talented game designers from the mobile F2P business usually fail to understand what features matter to Robloxians.

For those just starting their journey in Roblox game development, these are the most common mistakes gaming professionals make on Roblox.

CEO Manish Chandra, investor Navin Chaddha explain why Poshmark’s Series A deck sings

CEO Manish Chandra, investor Navin Chaddha explain why Poshmark’s Series A deck sings image

“Lead with love, and the money comes.” It’s one of the cornerstone values at Poshmark. On the latest episode of Extra Crunch Live, Chandra and Chaddha sat down with us and walked us through their original Series A pitch deck.

Will the pandemic spur a smart rebirth for cities?

New versus old - an old brick building reflected in windows of modern new facade

Image Credits: hopsalka (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Cities are bustling hubs where people live, work and play. When the pandemic hit, some people fled major metropolitan markets for smaller towns — raising questions about the future validity of cities.

But those who predicted that COVID-19 would destroy major urban communities might want to stop shorting the resilience of these municipalities and start going long on what the post-pandemic future looks like.

The NFT craze will be a boon for lawyers

3d rendering of pink piggy bank standing on sounding block with gavel lying beside on light-blue background with copy space. Money matters. Lawsuit for money. Auction bids.

Image Credits: Gearstd (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding copyright issues, fraud and adult content, and legal implications are the crux of the NFT trend.

Whether a court would protect the receipt-holder’s ownership over a given file depends on a variety of factors. All of these concerns mean artists may need to lawyer up.

Viewing Cazoo’s proposed SPAC debut through Carvana’s windshield

It’s a reasonable question: Why would anyone pay that much for Cazoo today if Carvana is more profitable and whatnot? Well, growth. That’s the argument anyway.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/02/extra-crunch-roundup-tonal-ec-1-deliveroos-rocky-ipo-is-substack-really-worth-650m/

Continue Reading

AI

What did COVID do to all our models?

Avatar

Published

on

What did COVID do to all our models?

An interview with Dean Abbott and John Elder about change management, complexity, interpretability, and the risk of AI taking over humanity.


By Heather Fyson, KNIME

What did COVID do to all our models?

After the KNIME Fall Summit, the dinosaurs went back home… well, switched off their laptops. Dean Abbott and John Elder, longstanding data science experts, were invited to the Fall Summit by Michael to join him in a discussion of The Future of Data Science: A Fireside Chat with Industry Dinosaurs. The result was a sparkling conversation about data science challenges and new trends. Since switching off the studio lights, Rosaria has distilled and expanded some of the highlights about change management, complexity, interpretability, and more in the data science world. Let’s see where it brought us.

What is your experience with change management in AI, when reality changes and models have to be updated? What did COVID do to all our models?

 
[Dean] Machine Learning (ML) algorithms assume consistency between past and future. When things change, the models fail. COVID has changed our habits, and therefore our data. Pre-COVID models struggle to deal with the new situation.

[John] A simple example would be the Traffic layer on Google Maps. After lockdowns hit country after country in 2020, Google Maps traffic estimates were very inaccurate for a while. It had been built on fairly stable training data but now that system was thrown completely out of whack.

How do you figure out when the world has changed and the models don’t work anymore?

 
[Dean] Here’s a little trick I use: I partition my data by time and label records as “before” and “after”. I then build a classification model to discriminate the “after” vs. the “before” from the same inputs the model uses. If the discrimination is possible, then the “after” is different from the “before”, the world has changed, the data has changed, and the models must be retrained.

How complicated is it to retrain models in projects, especially after years of customization?

 
[John] Training models is usually the easiest step of all! The vast majority of otherwise successful projects die in the implementation phase. The greatest time is spent in the data cleansing and preparation phase. And the most problems are missed or made in the business understanding / project definition phase. So if you understand what the flaw is and can obtain new data and have the implementation framework in place, creating a new model is, by comparison, very straightforward.

Based on your decades-long experience, how complex is it to put together a really functioning Data Science application?

 
[John] It can vary of course, by complexity. Most of our projects get functioning prototypes at least in a few months. But for all, I cannot stress enough the importance of feedback: You have to talk to people much more often than you want to. And listen! We learn new things about the business problem, the data, or constraints, each time. Not all us quantitative people are skilled at speaking with humans, so it often takes a team. But the whole team of stakeholders has to learn to speak the same language.

[Dean] It is important to talk to our business counterpart. People fear change and don’t want to change the current status. One key problem really is psychological. The analysts are often seen as an annoyance. So, we have to build the trust between the business counterpart and the analytics geeks. The start of a project should always include the following step: Sync up domain experts / project managers, the analysts, and the IT and infrastructure (DevOps) team so everyone is clear on the objectives of the project and how it will be executed. Analysts are number 11 on the top 10 list of people they have to see every day! Let’s avoid embodying data scientist arrogance: “The business can’t understand us/our techniques, but we know what works best”. What we don’t understand, however, are the domains experts are actually experts in the domain we are working in! Translation of data science assumptions and approaches into language that is understood by the domain experts is key!

The latest trend now is deep learning, apparently it can solve everything. I got a question from a student lately, asking “why do we need to learn other ML algorithms if deep learning is the state of the art to solve data science problems”?

 
[Dean] Deep learning sucked a lot of the oxygen out of the room. It feels so much like the early 1990s when neural networks ascended with similar optimism! Deep Learning is a set of powerful techniques for sure, but they are hard to implement and optimize. XGBoost, Ensembles of trees, are also powerful but currently more mainstream. The vast majority of problems we need to solve using advanced analytics really don’t require complex solutions, so start simple; deep learning is overkill in these situations. It is best to use the Occam’s razor principle: if two models perform the same, adopt the simplest.

About complexity. The other trend, opposite to deep learning, is ML interpretability. Here, you greatly (excessively?) simplify the model in order to be able to explain it. Is interpretability that important?

 
[John] I often find myself fighting interpretability. It is nice, sure, but often comes at too high a cost of the most important model property: reliable accuracy. But many stakeholders believe interpretability is essential, so it becomes a barrier for acceptance. Thus, it is essential to discover what kind of interpretability is needed. Perhaps it is just knowing what the most important variables are? That’s doable with many nonlinear models. Maybe, as with explaining to credit applicants why they were turned down, one just needs to interpret outputs for one case at a time? We can build a linear approximation for a given point. Or, we can generate data from our black box model and build an “interpretable” model of any complexity to fit that data.

Lastly, research has shown that if users have the chance to play with a model – that is, to poke it with trial values of inputs and see its outputs, and perhaps visualize it – they get the same warm feelings of interpretability. Overall, trust – in the people and technology behind the model – is necessary for acceptance, and this is enhanced by regular communication and by including the eventual users of the model in the build phases and decisions of the modeling process.

[Dean] By the way KNIME Analytics Platform has a great feature to quantify the importance of the input variables in a Random Forest! The Random Forest Learner node outputs the statistics of candidate and splitting variables. Remember that, when you use the Random Forest Learner node.

There is an increase in requests for explanations of what a model does. For example, for some security classes, the European Union is demanding verification that the model doesn’t do what it’s not supposed to do. If we have to explain it all, then maybe Machine Learning is not the way to go. No more Machine Learning?

 
[Dean]  Maybe full explainability is too hard to obtain, but we can achieve progress by performing a grid search on model inputs to create something like a score card describing what the model does. This is something like regression testing in hardware and software QA. If a formal proof what models are doing is not possible, then let’s test and test and test! Input Shuffling and Target Shuffling can help to achieve a rough representation of the model behavior.

[John] Talking about understanding what a model does, I would like to raise the problem of reproducibility in science. A huge proportion of journal articles in all fields — 65 to 90% — is believed to be unreplicable. This is a true crisis in science. Medical papers try to tell you how to reproduce their results. ML papers don’t yet seem to care about reproducibility. A recent study showed that only 15% of AI papers share their code.

Let’s talk about Machine Learning Bias. Is it possible to build models that don’t discriminate?

 
[John] (To be a nerd for a second, that word is unfortunately overloaded. To “discriminate” in the ML world word is your very goal: to make a distinction between two classes.) But to your real question, it depends on the data (and on whether the analyst is clever enough to adjust for weaknesses in the data): The models will pull out of the data the information reflected therein. The computer knows nothing about the world except for what’s in the data in front of it. So the analyst has to curate the data — take responsibility for those cases reflecting reality. If certain types of people, for example, are under-represented then the model will pay less attention to them and won’t be as accurate on them going forward. I ask, “What did the data have to go through to get here?” (to get in this dataset) to think of how other cases might have dropped out along the way through the process (that is survivor bias). A skilled data scientist can look for such problems and think of ways to adjust/correct for them.

[Dean] The bias is not in the algorithms. The bias is in the data. If the data is biased, we’re working with a biased view of the world. Math is just math, it is not biased.

Will AI take over humanity?!

 
[John] I believe AI is just good engineering. Will AI exceed human intelligence? In my experience anyone under 40 believes yes, this is inevitable, and most over 40 (like me, obviously): no! AI models are fast, loyal, and obedient. Like a good German Shepherd dog, an AI model will go and get that ball, but it knows nothing about the world other than the data it has been shown. It has no common sense. It is a great assistant for specific tasks, but actually quite dimwitted.

[Dean] On that note, I would like to report two quotes made by Marvin Minsky in 1961 and 1970, from the dawn of AI, that I think describe well the future of AI.

“Within our lifetime some machines may surpass us in general intelligence” (1961)

“In three to eight years we’ll have a machine with the intelligence of a human being” (1970)

These ideas have been around for a long time. Here is one reason why AI will not solve all the problems: We’re judging its behavior based on one number, one number only! (Model error.) For example, predictions of stock prices over the next five years, predicted by building models using root mean square error as the error metric, cannot possibly paint the full picture of what the data are actually doing and severely hampers the model and its ability to flexibly uncover the patterns. We all know that RMSE is too coarse of a measure. Deep Learning algorithms will continue to get better, but we also need to get better at judging how good a model really is. So, no! I do not think that AI will take over humanity.

We have reached the end of this interview. We would like to thank Dean and John for their time and their pills of knowledge. Let’s hope we meet again soon!

About Dean Abbott and John Elder

What did COVID do to all our models Dean Abbott is Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist at SmarterHQ. He is an internationally recognized expert and innovator in data science and predictive analytics, with three decades of experience solving problems in omnichannel customer analytics, fraud detection, risk modeling, text mining & survey analysis. Included frequently in lists of pioneering data scientists and data scientists, he is a popular keynote speaker and workshop instructor at conferences worldwide, also serving on Advisory Boards for the UC/Irvine Predictive Analytics and UCSD Data Science Certificate programs. He is the author of Applied Predictive Analytics (Wiley, 2014) and co-author of The IBM SPSS Modeler Cookbook (Packt Publishing, 2013).


What did COVID do to all our models John Elder founded Elder Research, America’s largest and most experienced data science consultancy in 1995. With offices in Charlottesville VA, Baltimore MD, Raleigh, NC, Washington DC, and London, they’ve solved hundreds of challenges for commercial and government clients by extracting actionable knowledge from all types of data. Dr. Elder co-authored three books — on practical data mining, ensembles, and text mining — two of which won “book of the year” awards. John has created data mining tools, was a discoverer of ensemble methods, chairs international conferences, and is a popular workshop and keynote speaker.


 
Bio: Heather Fyson is the blog editor at KNIME. Initially on the Event Team, her background is actually in translation & proofreading, so by moving to the blog in 2019 she has returned to her real passion of working with texts. P.S. She is always interested to hear your ideas for new articles.

Original. Reposted with permission.

Related:

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.kdnuggets.com/2021/04/covid-do-all-our-models.html

Continue Reading

AI

The AI Trends Reshaping Health Care

Avatar

Published

on

Click to learn more about author Ben Lorica.

Applications of AI in health care present a number of challenges and considerations that differ substantially from other industries. Despite this, it has also been one of the leaders in putting AI to work, taking advantage of the cutting-edge technology to improve care. The numbers speak for themselves: The global AI in health care market size is expected to grow from $4.9 billion in 2020 to $45.2 billion by 2026. Some major factors driving this growth are the sheer volume of health care data and growing complexities of datasets, the need to reduce mounting health care costs, and evolving patient needs.

Deep learning, for example, has made considerable inroads into the clinical environment over the last few years. Computer vision, in particular, has proven its value in medical imaging to assist in screening and diagnosis. Natural language processing (NLP) has provided significant value in addressing both contractual and regulatory concerns with text mining and data sharing. Increasing adoption of AI technology by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to expedite initiatives like vaccine and drug development, as seen in the wake of COVID-19, only exemplifies AI’s massive potential.

We’re already seeing amazing strides in health care AI, but it’s still the early days, and to truly unlock its value, there’s a lot of work to be done in understanding the challenges, tools, and intended users shaping the industry. New research from John Snow Labs and Gradient Flow, 2021 AI in Healthcare Survey Report, sheds light on just this: where we are, where we’re going, and how to get there. The global survey explores the important considerations for health care organizations in varying stages of AI adoption, geographies, and technical prowess to provide an extensive look into the state of AI in health care today.               

One of the most significant findings is around which technologies are top of mind when it comes to AI implementation. When asked what technologies they plan to have in place by the end of 2021, almost half of respondents cited data integration. About one-third cited natural language processing (NLP) and business intelligence (BI) among the technologies they are currently using or plan to use by the end of the year. Half of those considered technical leaders are using – or soon will be using – technologies for data integration, NLP, business intelligence, and data warehousing. This makes sense, considering these tools have the power to help make sense of huge amounts of data, while also keeping regulatory and responsible AI practices in mind.

When asked about intended users for AI tools and technologies, over half of respondents identified clinicians among their target users. This indicates that AI is being used by people tasked with delivering health care services – not just technologists and data scientists, as in years past. That number climbs even higher when evaluating mature organizations, or those that have had AI models in production for more than two years. Interestingly, nearly 60% of respondents from mature organizations also indicated that patients are also users of their AI technologies. With the advent of chatbots and telehealth, it will be interesting to see how AI proliferates for both patients and providers over the next few years.

In considering software for building AI solutions, open-source software (53%) had a slight edge over public cloud providers (42%). Looking ahead one to two years, respondents indicated openness to also using both commercial software and commercial SaaS. Open-source software gives users a level of autonomy over their data that cloud providers can’t, so it’s not a big surprise that a highly regulated industry like health care would be wary of data sharing. Similarly, the majority of companies with experience deploying AI models to production choose to validate models using their own data and monitoring tools, rather than evaluation from third parties or software vendors. While earlier-stage companies are more receptive to exploring third-party partners, more mature organizations are tending to take a more conservative approach.                      

Generally, attitudes remained the same when asked about key criteria used to evaluate AI solutions, software libraries or SaaS solutions, and consulting companies to work with.Although the answers varied slightly for each category,technical leaders considered no data sharing with software vendors or consulting companies, the ability to train their own models, and state-of-the art accuracy as top priorities. Health care-specific models and expertise in health care data engineering, integration, and compliance topped the list when asked about solutions and potential partners. Privacy, accuracy, and health care experience are the forces driving AI adoption. It’s clear that AI is poised for even more growth, as data continues to grow and technology and security measures improve. Health care, which can sometimes be seen as a laggard for quick adoption, is taking to AI and already seeing its significant impact. While its approach, the top tools and technologies, and applications of AI may differ from other industries, it will be exciting to see what’s in store for next year’s survey results.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.dataversity.net/the-ai-trends-reshaping-health-care/

Continue Reading
Esports2 days ago

chessbae removed as moderator from Chess.com amid drama

Esports4 days ago

Dota 2 Dawnbreaker Hero Guide

Esports3 days ago

Why did Twitch ban the word “obese” from its predictions?

Esports4 days ago

Dallas Empire escape with a win against Minnesota at the Stage 2 Major

Esports4 days ago

A detailed look at Dawnbreaker, Dota 2’s first new carry in four years

Esports1 day ago

DreamHack Online Open Ft. Fortnite April Edition – How To Register, Format, Dates, Prize Pool & More

Esports5 days ago

Dota 2 new hero: A list of possible suspects

Esports1 day ago

Hikaru Nakamura drops chessbae, apologizes for YouTube strike

Esports4 days ago

Dota 2: Patch 7.29 Analysis Of Top Changes

Esports4 days ago

Dota 2 patch 7.29: Impact of Outposts, Water Runes and other major general gameplay changes

Esports3 days ago

Dota 2: Team Nigma Completes Dota 2 Roster With iLTW

Fintech2 days ago

Australia’s Peppermint Innovation signs agreement with the Philippine’s leading micro-financial services provider

Blockchain5 days ago

Krypto-News Roundup 9. April

Esports4 days ago

xQc calls ZULUL supporters racist for wanting Twitch emote back

Esports5 days ago

Apex Legends tier list: the best legends to use in Season 8

Esports4 days ago

Geely Holdings’ LYNK&CO Sponsors LNG Esports’ LPL Team

Esports3 days ago

Fortnite: Blatant Cheater Finishes Second In A Solo Cash Cup

Esports5 days ago

Mission Control, Tripleclix Team with Hollister for Fortnite Event/Product Launch

Blockchain4 days ago

Revolut integriert 11 neue Kryptowährungen

Esports3 days ago

Hikaru Nakamura accused of striking Eric Hansen’s YouTube channel

Trending