Today at the Frankfurt motor show, one of the biggest and most prestigious motor shows in the world, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, spoke before German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Now what is Facebook and most importantly, Sheryl Sandberg doing at an automotive industry event? The obvious answer that comes to mind when one relates Facebook and the car industry is the billions of advertising dollars the industry spends on marketing and advertising. However, that does not seem to be Facebook's game plan, as highlighted by Sheryl and shown at their pavilion. Facebook seems to have a strategy of leveraging its capabilities in social marketing, AR & VR and interestingly, who would have thought of it, leveraging its advanced AI and deep learning capabilities to support the development of autonomous vehicles.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, we have autonomous cars, chat bots, and speech recognition. Microsoft's CNTK (Cognitive Toolkit) is one among many platforms that trains computers to learn, and it's getting an upgrade. CNTK drives the Microsoft services Cortana and Skype language translation, and it boasts more than 90 percent accuracy in speech recognition tasks. Microsoft will soon release an upgraded CNTK toolkit, and one hardware maker wants to ensure the toolkit works best on its hardware. Nvidia is partnering with Microsoft to optimize its GPU development tools for CNTK.
Did you ever stop to wonder: What is Amazon not doing with technology? These days, you'd be hard-pressed to answer that question, given the company's incessant schedule for announcing updates and new products. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant is seemingly everywhere--whether it's the latest cloud offerings in AWS, new entertainment shows on Prime, automated retail stores, leased fleets of Boeing jets, smart speakers, payment systems, autonomous cars and trucks, freight forwarding companies, or airborne warehouses. Amazon also happens to have warehouses within 20 miles of 44% of the population of the United States, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. In many of the company's recent announcements, Amazon's voice assistant Alexa plays a central role.
Tesla is set to lay off 9% of its 40,000 employees. But Elon Musk doesn't seem to be worried about the 425,000 orders that are currently backlogged. That's because there's an even more ambitious goal he wants to hit. Musk says existing Teslas will begin the transition to full, self-driving vehicles in August. This evolution should not surprise to Musk followers.
Let's be honest, today "big data" is sort of a dirty word in the public consciousness. It is associated closely with profit maximization techniques (such as recommendation lists on e-commerce sites and targeted ads), high-profile data leaks and privacy issues. People do not like being a bundle of unsecured big data tied to a bank account. They want to be unique. Yet somehow, all the personalization and narrow targeting make them feel just the opposite.