The Professional Conversations That Defined 2017


Over the last 12 months, we've seen some incredibly stirring and thoughtful conversations from our members on LinkedIn about hot topics like the opioid crisis, immigration reform, the U.S. tax bill, healthcare coverage and harassment cases. These events sparked hundreds of thousands of insightful comments from professionals on LinkedIn around the world -- and will certainly have lasting consequences for years to come. Amazon has become a kind of corporate obsession in 2017. Companies big and small are watching the retailer: A review of last quarter's earnings calls shows that Amazon's name came up almost four times as often as President Trump's, and six times as often as wages. Amazon's moves this year proved that it's corporate tentacles are expanding, from purchasing Whole Foods to searching for its HQ2, a $5 billion project that promises to bring 50,000 high-paying jobs to the winning locale.

There's an Apple-like acquisition trend in the self-driving car space


Ford's self-driving car subsidiary Argo AI has acquired Princeton Lightwave, a LiDAR producer, in a move to take ownership of its supply chain, which is becoming more common in the autonomous vehicle (AV) development space. LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection And Ranging, are sensors used by AVs to determine how far away objects are in the world around it to create a 3D map of road conditions. The system works by sending out lightwaves from lasers that bounce off objects before returning to the sensor, similar to how more commonly understood tools like radar and sonar function. Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky announced the acquisition in a Medium post, calling the sensor tech "crucial" to the development of Argo's autonomous platform. He wrote that the move to bring Princeton onboard makes Argo "uniquely positioned" to build out its hardware and software systems together, which presumably gives the company more direct control over how the platform works as one, along with cutting costs by owning the means of LiDAR production.

Appvance Launches AI-Driven Test Automation


By modeling human testers, including manual and test automation tasks such as scripting, Appvance has developed algorithms and expert systems to take on those tasks, similar to how driverless vehicle software models what a human driver does. The Appvance AI technology learns from various existing data sources, including learning to map an application fully on its own, various server logs, Splunk or Sumo Logic production data, form input data, valid headers and requests, expected responses, changes in each build and others. The resulting test execution represented real user flows, data driven, with near 100% code coverage. Built from the ground up with DevOps, agile and cloud services in mind, Appvance offers true beginning-to-end data-driven functional, performance, compatibility, security and synthetic APM test automation and execution, enabling dev and QA teams to quickly identify issues in a fraction of the time of other test automation products.

YayPay's momentum going into hyperdrive thanks to $5.3M in funding - YayPay


With modern software powered by machine learning, we're turning finance teams into revenue heroes by giving them workflow tools that finally match in robustness those used by their sales and marketing departments. Vanessa Vreeland Indriolo, head of acquisitions and strategic investments for Fifth Third Capital, said "We've been impressed with the YayPay team's innovative approach to streamlining how small and mid-sized businesses manage accounts receivable and understand their cash flow. With advancements in technologies like robotic process automation, AI and machine learning, this is about to change very quickly. Most of all, I'm excited about the times ahead as we grow our team, advance our capabilities, and turn finance teams into revenue heroes!

Automation Kills Jobs in Retail---and Replaces Them With Better Ones WSJD - Technology

For retailers, the robot apocalypse isn't a science-fiction movie. As digital giants swallow a growing share of shoppers' spending, thousands of stores have closed and tens of thousands of workers have lost their jobs. But, Mr. Bessen found, ATMs made it much cheaper to operate a branch so banks opened more: Total branches rose 43% over that time. As the number of ATMs rose, so did the number of bank branches, so the ranks of tellers expanded.

A Wallflower At The Robotics Orgy?


FANUC has developed an integrated IoT (Internet of Things) system which will gain revenue from software developers using the platform to build applications for robots. Simply put, the use of analytics in manufacturing provides improved machine reliability, product quality, process flexibility and assembly speed by enabling machines to intelligently coordinate and collaborate in a flexible manner in real time. One new analytics system expected to take manufacturing automation to a new level is the Fanuc Intelligent Edge Link and Drive (FIELD), created by Japan-based global robotics specialist Fanuc. Partners in its development include Cisco (digitization), Rockwell Automation (industrial automation) and Preferred Networks (artificial intelligence or AI).

Facebook builds natural language processing into Messenger VentureBeat Bots


Facebook today launched Messenger Platform 2.1 with new features to give developers and brands more ways to reach potential customers, like built-in natural language processing, a payments SDK, and a global beta that makes it easier to switch between automated bots and the humans behind 70 million businesses on Facebook. In a separate post from today, the company announced it will discontinue its Bot Engine for NLP. Also with Messenger Platform 2.1, a new software development kit launches today to enable payments in Messenger webview. Bot discovery was the emphasis for Messenger Platform 2.0, with features like the Discover Tab to allow Messenger staff to pick featured bots; chat extensions to make Messenger bots available in group chats; and M Suggestions to suggest bots based on the words used in a Messenger conversation.

Crushing the old economy: Robotics, artificial intelligence fund has tripled the Dow this year


The Global X Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ) is up 30 percent this year and the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index (ROBO) is up 25 percent. The upward trend in robotics and artificial intelligence stocks is one proponents say, in the long-term, could top the so-called FANG stocks -- Facebook,, Each FANG stock has rallied 20 to 50 percent this year and the companies are increasingly focused on using technologies such as artificial intelligence, or AI, to develop their businesses. That jump in assets under management makes BOTZ the youngest fund in Global X's top 10 largest funds, according to Jay Jacobs, director of research and vice president at Global X Funds. "Google is betting on the right long-term trends (Google, AI, AR, VR)," Munster said in a note from his new firm Loup Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and augmented reality.

Harnessing the power of AI to operate in the 21st century economy - Media Releases - CSO


Any company – large or small – can leverage the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to succeed in the 21st century. This was affecting the whole process of optimizing IT resources and customer experience while leaving large and inefficient data center footprints. A customizable and dynamic web-based user experience for both users and IT staff was generated successfully, leading to reduced average server provisioning time, lower footprints, and data centre consolidation. On a similar strain, a large utilities company was struggling to cope with a complex distribution system, high mean time to resolve (MTTR), and faltering customer experience.

FOMO And The Adoption Of AI In Finance


JP Morgan's recently released 280-page report Big Data and AI Strategies – Machine Learning and Alternative Data Approaches to Investing paints a picture of a future in which alpha is generated from data sources like social media, satellite imagery and machine-classified company filings and news releases. Alpha generation has always been about information advantage: having access either to uncommon insights gained through ingenuity, or common insights acted upon before everyone else. JP Morgan's Contract Intelligence System processes the paperwork for financial deals that previously took tens of thousands of human hours annually. Retiring old systems and moving to integration and data-centricity will require investment and some decent amount of vision, but it will result in future opportunities and cost savings: both from automation and from the ability of such systems to better take advantage of rapidly accelerating advancements in AI, which will require smart data collection, processing and management.