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Success with automation and AI requires a high ‘RQ’

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Companies know that a high IQ can help drive business value. But the analyst outfit Forrester Research believes that if companies are going to successfully work side by side with artificially intelligent systems, they’re also going to need a high “RQ.”

RQ, or robotics quotient, is a measurement of how competent a company will be at automation and AI implementation. The Forrester assessment is based on three main areas: people, leadership and organizational structures. A fourth area, trust, will influence the three main categories and change depending on the type of technology being deployed.

J.P. Gownder, a Forrester analyst serving CIOs, described RQ as the “human contribution” companies need when deploying automation and AI technologies. “It’s not just about the bots; it’s not just about artificial intelligences,” he said in a July presentation at the New Tech and Innovation 2018 conference in Boston. “It’s about real people, real leaders and real organizational structures that you need to put in place to make sure you’re most likely to succeed.”

Toronto moments

Automation and AI technologies are on a spectrum from more deterministic, where A always leads to B, to more probabilistic, where A could lead to B but could also lead to C or to D.

And these probabilistic systems create a new wrinkle for companies: No matter how swanky the user interface or how cutting-edge the technology, probabilistic systems can produce incorrect — and even illogical — results that can erode the trust humans have in the machine’s abilities.

Gownder pointed to IBM Watson as an example. During its Jeopardy! debut in 2011, Watson answered a final question about U.S. cities with “Toronto,” causing the audience to gasp. When researchers did a post-mortem, it became clear that even Watson doubted the response. Using probabilistic judgement, the machine determined that Toronto had only a 30% chance of being correct, but it was the best answer it could come up with at the time.

These “Toronto moments,” as Forrester now refers to them, “teach us something about the intersection between human beings and AI and the trust that is part of this,” Gownder said.

The more probabilistic a system is, the more human intervention it might need. But designing systems and processes that strike a balance between trust and intervention will be a challenging step for companies. That’s where Forrester believes RQ will come in handy.

What is RQ?

The robotics quotient is a self-assessment that “measures the ability of individuals and organizations to learn and adapt to and collaborate with automated entities,” Gownder said. It’s composed of 39 characteristics that Forrester regards as a collection of automation and AI best practices.

Forrester Research, RQ, robotics quotient, PLOT frameworkJ.P. Gownder

The higher the score, the more prepared a company is to tackle the new challenges that come with automation and AI technologies. But RQ doesn’t just measure readiness, according to Gownder. It also enables CIOs to “identify gaps or areas where you need to prioritize resources before you make a big bet on automation and AI,” he said.

The 39 characteristics fall into one of three categories — people, leadership and organizational structure. People, for example, are measured across different dimensions — such as facilitation, which considers how effective an employee might be at communicating with an automated entity, and perception, which includes things like basic digital literacy and “constructive ambition,” or an eagerness to learn.

For leaders, the RQ highlights vision, adaptability, the ability to inspire trust and influence. The final category refers to IT employees and beyond; CIOs will need to influence the C-suite and even the board of directors to secure the budget, buy-in and support that automation and AI tools can demand. “The CIO is no longer a benign dictator who has all the power,” Gownder said. “This is the creation of an ecosystem across business units with lots of participation from the workers themselves.”

Organizational structures will also need to adapt. Automation and AI may require new titles such as bot manager, new training and mentoring opportunities for humans and machines alike, new processes that encourage human-machine team creation, and new metrics. “After all, we can have all the good intentions, and the well-educated employees and the leaders who are on board,” Gownder said, “but if we do not create structures, processes and budgets — the b word — we’re going to have a hard time getting this through.”

Don’t forget about trust

The categories of people, leadership and the organization are then measured against one final category — trust. Gownder called trust “a multiplier in this model.” Automation and AI technologies exist on a spectrum from transparent to opaque, and where the technology falls on that spectrum will influence employee trust.

“If you’re implementing something that is very transparent, that is very deterministic, your employees will bring a high level of inherent trust to the machine. They’re used to these sorts of systems,” Gownder said. “If you’re using probabilistic systems, where the machine is often uncertain of its results, then you’re going to have a higher burden of RQ investment.”

Forrester’s model breaks down the complexity of trust by providing a numeric value for how deterministic the technology is, how transparent the technology is and how much change the technology could have on the workplace.

The changes that automation and AI will have on the workplace could be a sensitive area for leaders, especially as automation and AI instigate changes in the workforce. “As you might imagine, when employees are losing their jobs as part of a deployment of automation, you magnify the mistrust among remaining employees,” Gownder said. “It raises the bar for the change management.”

But the efforts could be worthwhile. As repetitive tasks become automated, job satisfaction generally goes up, Gownder said. And although AI remains in its early stages, it is poised to transform how companies operate and interact with customers.

Whether companies choose Forrester’s RQ method or not, Gownder argued that an organizational competency in AI and automation is needed.

“If you want to be successful in creating a mixed workforce that incorporates digital workers, human workers, lots of automated processes, lots of probabilities, lots of real-time data and AI, you’re going to have to measure your people, your leaders, your organization and the inherent trust that is associated with technology,” he said.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://searchcio.techtarget.com/feature/Success-with-automation-and-AI-requires-a-high-RQ

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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

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
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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