SECTIONS - Making Connections
August 29, 2016

Will Amazon, Google, and Apple Beat You to the Smart Machine Future?


Look no further than the latest news to see how cognitive computing is the future of computing. Chatbots and smart machines will increasingly help us search for things we want, communicate with others, and generally make our lives easier. Many of the things you might use a personal assistant for today – or a specialized website or service – will be provided by such bots.

Google Now, Siri, and Alexa are everyday examples of this technology in action.

Speaking of which, Amazon is a company we shouldn’t underestimate. Jeff Bezos has vision and sees the future. He did with ecommerce as well as cloud computing. He now says The Amazon Echo speaker with Alexa could be its fourth pillar. (Amazon Prime is the other.)

HP and Rackspace had to drop out of the public cloud space because Amazon beat them to it. The entire computer server market has been upended by Amazon – likewise for routers and numerous other pieces of equipment. Google and Microsoft are chasing Amazon, but it’s tough to play catch-up.

From cloud we go to cognitive computing or smart machines. Amazon has 1,000 people working on this technology today. In a world filled with consumer electronics, Amazon launched a surprise hit speaker in what we all thought was a saturated market.

Make no mistake – this innovation represents the future of technology. IBM Watson is another solid example of AI in action.

We can expect more companies to leverage each other’s smart machine tech via APIs and present even more new and innovative solutions. A great example is the Google Image API. Here’s how Google explains it:

Powerful Image Analysis
Google Cloud Vision API enables developers to understand the content of an image by encapsulating powerful machine learning models in an easy to use REST API. It quickly classifies images into thousands of categories (e.g., “sailboat”, “lion”, “Eiffel Tower”), detects individual objects and faces within images, and finds and reads printed words contained within images. You can build metadata on your image catalog, moderate offensive content, or enable new marketing scenarios through image sentiment analysis. Analyze images uploaded in the request or integrate with your image storage on Google Cloud Storage.

Insight From Your Images
Easily detect broad sets of objects in your images, from flowers, animals, or transportation to thousands of other object categories commonly found within images. Vision API improves over time as new concepts are introduced and accuracy is improved.

Image Sentiment Analysis
Vision API can analyze emotional facial attributes of people in your images, like joy, sorrow, and anger. Combine this with object detection and product logo detection, so you can assess how people feel about your logo.

You may also recall a recent post where I talked about an app from Josh Newman that uses IBM Watson to listen to a conference call and alert you when you are needed. It basically lets you tune out until you are called – it even chimes in on the conversation, stalling so you can have time to read the speech-to-text of what just happened.

Of course I am not advocating we use AI for such purposes, but the example shows the enormous potential of smart machines to shape our future.

Medical companies will either disrupt or be disrupted by medtech – likewise for financial companies and others. There will be few exceptions if any.

This is our destiny – apps and services leveraging AI from specialized providers like Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft. Other companies will add value or provide specialized AI services in specific areas. In some cases these services may leverage the “big guys” or possibly be built from the ground up.

If you’re looking for the next big thing in tech – in life – in commerce, in our future, it’s smart machines. If you plan to play or participate in this space, now is the time to start brushing up.    




Edited by Ken Briodagh


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