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IBM takes the next step with Cloud Pak for Data


Ever since IBM unveiled Cloud Pak for Data as a cloud-native integrated set of analytics and AI platform, we've been wondering when IBM would take the next step and announce a full-blown managed cloud service. It's now starting to happen as IBM is rolling out IBM Cloud Pak for Data as a Service. Roll back the tape to last spring when we reviewed IBM Cloud Satellite; we noted that IBM's primary cloud message has been about multi-cloud, or at least cloud-agnostic. Propelled by Red Hat OpenShift, IBM carved out such a strategy for this managed Kubernetes environment where you could deploy open source software yourself on the hardware or public cloud of your choice or choose IBM to run a managed OpenShift service for you in the IBM Cloud. That is now getting repeated with Cloud Pak for Data.

Congress Is Eyeing Face Recognition, and Companies Want a Say


Microsoft and IBM sent congratulatory public messages to president-elect Joe Biden this month. Both expressed hope that his administration would ease the nation's political divisions, and suggested it consider crafting the first federal rules governing face recognition. "When it comes to issues such as safeguards for facial recognition, we have no national law at all," Microsoft president Brad Smith wrote. "We need new laws fit for the future." IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told Biden his company was "ready to work with you" on prohibiting use of the technology for "mass surveillance, racial profiling, or violations of basic human rights and freedoms."

Build a Voice Agent with Twilio and Watson Assistant


The last time you called a customer service hotline and it asked you about what issues you are facing and was able to give you more information, did you ever wonder about how all that is working? Well, you don't have nothing to worry about at all as Khalil Faraj & I (Fawaz Siddiqi) are here to tell you about how you can make a Voice Agent with Twilio and Watson Assistant. On the 11th of October, Khalil and I conducted a webinar about how a voice activated chatbot is made and how easy are the steps to make it, we covered various technologies such as Watson Assistant, Watson Speech to Text, Watson Text to Speech, Watson Voice Agent and integrated them with Twilio and vice versa. In addition, we also talked about the pipeline of making a chatbot, on the conversational design as well as the steps involved and what things we should take care of when making a conversational design. The webinar was divided into two parts, the first part was conducted by myself (Fawaz), where I talked about what exactly are chatbots, the types of chatbots and how do they fit in as the last step into our AI cycle, and I would say that this is the final step since this is an external facing tool through which your customers/users can actually interact with the AI based capabilities within your solution and have a human-to-human like interaction (with amazing analytical skills) to get answers to their questions.

Top 8 Initiatives By Large Tech Firms To Ensure Fairness in AI


Artificial intelligence is growing at a rapid pace to the point where it is making important decisions for us. While this can be beneficial in some ways, AI algorithms which discriminate or have a bias in the decision-making process can result in unprecedented repercussions for individuals or sections of society. Algorithms are, in the end, developed by human beings, and humans come with biases which can reflect in algorithms. This has happened in the past. As the tech enterprises developing these algorithms come under fire, many are taking initiatives to address the issue.

IBM acquires Instana for its AI-powered app performance monitoring


IBM today acquired Instana, a German-American software firm that specializes in developing application performance management software. The acquisition represents IBM's continued investment in hybrid cloud, big data, and AI capabilities. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. As workflows evolve, organizations are moving away from monolithic apps toward more complex distributed systems. With this evolution, application performance monitoring and system observability have become key areas of investment.

IBM's latest AI predicts Alzheimer's better than standard tests


IBM has developed a new AI model which predicts the onset of Alzheimer's better than standard clinical tests. The AI is designed to be non-invasive and uses a short language sample from a verbal cognitive test given to a patient. Using this sample, the AI model is able to predict the onset of Alzheimer's with around 71 percent accuracy. For comparison, standard clinical tests are correct approximately 59 percent of the time and take much longer to diagnose. Current tests analyse the descriptive abilities of people as they age for potential warning signs.

The tech secret weapon that sent customer-service satisfaction soaring


No matter how graciously good customer service is rendered, online reviews are more likely to cite "bad customer service," than the opposite. Problematic service will dominate reviews. People are more likely to angrily pen a disgruntled review than they are a positive one, and the latter acknowledgement can boost a business' morale and bring more people to their business. The coronavirus pandemic caused stress and anxiety among those who were overwhelmed as they faced unprecedented challenges, and sought help in navigating the technology necessitated by social distancing and isolation. Yet, there's a bright light at the end of the tunnel: Issues have been resolved by the judicious use of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbots and virtual agents, according to a new IBM report, "The value of virtual technology."

Japanese unit of IBM among group to test AI suitcase for guiding blind

The Japan Times

A group of five companies including the Japanese unit of IBM Corp. are currently developing an artificial intelligence suitcase to help visually impaired people travel independently. A pilot test of a prototype was conducted at an airport in Japan on Monday. The small navigation robot, which is able to plan an optimal route to a destination based on the user's location and map data, uses multiple sensors to assess its surroundings and AI functionality to avoid bumping into obstacles, according to the companies. During the pilot experiment held Monday, the AI suitcase was able to successfully navigate itself to an All Nippon Airways departure counter after receiving a command from Chieko Asakawa, a visually impaired IBM fellow overseeing the product's development. As soon as she gave the command via her smartphone, motors connected to the suitcase came to life, with the AI system providing voice guidance as it automatically stopped for doors and swerved to avoid people. The suitcase, which is small enough to be brought onboard flights as carry-on luggage, is also able to indicate the direction of travel through haptic feedback via its handle.

How IBM Is Working Toward a Fairer AI


Humans have many kinds of biases. To name just a few, we suffer from confirmation bias, which means that we tend to focus on information that confirms our preconceptions about a topic; from anchoring bias, where we make decisions mostly relying on the first piece of information we receive on that subject; and from gender bias, where we tend to associate women with certain traits, activities, or professions, and men with others. When we make decisions, these types of biases often creep in unconsciously, resulting in decisions that are ultimately unfair and unobjective. These same types of bias can show up in artificial intelligence (AI), especially when using machine learning techniques to program an AI system. A commonly-used technique called "supervised machine learning" requires that AI systems be trained with a large number of examples of problems and solutions.

Inspiring AI's Future Leaders: A Discussion With Rashida Hodge


It is certainly an understatement to say that Rashida Hodge is an inspiration. A tenacious, 18-year tech exec, Hodge has forged an impressive career centered on exploration, expanding representation, and philanthropy. In her current role at IBM, Hodge leads product integration of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies for key IBM clients in North America. Hodge's story will certainly motivate anyone who has the pleasure of meeting her but may be especially useful to women and people of color looking to begin a career in STEM. After our powerful discussion, it became clear that the natural choice was to let Hodge's story be told in her own, kind and confident voice. We began our conversation by discussing Hodge's childhood and early career, during which she explained how family support propelled her towards a love for and career in engineering.