When BJ's Wholesale Club on Thursday (May 3) said that it would leverage artificial intelligence machine learning in its mobile app, it joined the crowded club of companies boasting machine-learning capabilities while remaining vague on the details. But the 215-store chain -- operating in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia -- pledged to use machine learning to boost its CRM shopper profiles and to immediately apply it to change mobile responses. "The new discover feature lets shoppers explore new products and easily swipe right to add to a wishlist or left to dismiss a product," the chain said in one of the shortest news releases that retail has ever seen. "Using machine learning, the discover experience will be personalized to each user based on previous selections they've made through the swipe right or left process." Why do I find this so interesting?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward with its plans to accelerate drone testing in the US -- with help from technology companies including Alphabet, FedEx and Intel. The agency announced 10 states that will participate in the the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, an effort that aims to study the potential uses of drones in agriculture, commerce, emergency management, and human transportation. The 10 pilot winners include the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, in Durant, Oklahoma; the City of San Diego, California; the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority, in Herndon, Virginia; the Kansas Department of Transportation; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Fort Meyers, Florida; the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority; the North Carolina Department of Transportation; the North Dakota Department of Transportation; the City of Reno, Nevada; and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. First announced last October, the UAS program aims to partner the FAA with local, state and tribal governments, along with private sector technology companies, to explore the integration of drone operations across industries. The program will also address public safety and security risks that go along with bringing drones into the national airspace.
The US government is making good on its promise to expand the use of drones. The Department of Transportation has named the 10 projects that will participate in its Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, and they represent a wide swath of the country. Most of them are municipal or state government bodies, including the cities of Reno and San Diego, Memphis' County Airport Authority and the Transportation Departments for Kansas, North Carolina and North Dakota. However, the rest are notable: the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will be part of the program, as will the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Virginia Tech. Notably, Virginia Tech is working with Google's Project Wing drone delivery initiative as well as transportation and tech giants like Airbus, AT&T and Intel.
To what extent can your doctor's functions be automated -- replaced or enhanced by intelligent machines? How might such automation improve care and reduce costs? These questions are central to understanding Clover Health -- a California-based company providing Medicare Advantage insurance plans in seven states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia, Arizona, South Carolina and Texas. A while back, I hosted a dinner in New York for a dozen-plus health care innovators -- entrepreneurs, medical school professors, futurists, etc. Someone in the room asked, "How much of today's physician services can be reduced to algorithms?" An algorithm is a set of instructions (like a computer program) leading to unambiguous results.
IBM has laid off approximately 50 and 70 per cent of staff this week in its Watson Health division, according to inside sources. The axe, we're told, is largely falling on IBMers within companies the IT goliath has taken over in the past few years to augment Watson's credentials in the health industry. These include medical data biz Truven, which was acquired in 2016 for $2.6bn, medical imaging firm Merge, bought in 2015 for $1bn, and healthcare management business Phytel, also snapped up in 2015. Yesterday and today, staff were let go at IBM's offices in Dallas, Texas, as well as in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio, and Denver, Colorado, in the US, and elsewhere, it is claimed. A spokesperson for Big Blue was not available for comment.