IBM unveils new data science platform to accelerate AI adoption

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American tech giant IBM has unveiled a new data science and machine learning app-building platform to help companies tap into the benefits of artificial intelligence.

The system, called Cloud Private for Data, uses an in-memory database that can ingest and analyse a million data points a second, and offers companies access to a range of data science and app-building tools.

With the new platform, organisations can gain previously unobtainable insights from their data, and build and exploit “event-driven applications” that take data from IoT sensors and mobile devices, said the company in an announcement.

The service is part of IBM’s new Cloud Private offering, which the vendor describes as a “transformative private cloud platform that provides the benefits of the public cloud from the safety of your firewall-protected data centre”.

The fully integrated system is built on Kubernetes-based container architecture. Dedicated versions of the platform will be available for sectors such as financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing.

Tapping into AI

Rob Thomas, general Manager of IBM Analytics, said the new system will make it easier for companies to make use of AI technologies.

“Whether they are aware of it or not, every company is on a journey to AI as the ultimate driver of business transformation,” he said.

“But for them to get there, they need to put in place an information architecture for collecting, managing, and analysing their data.

“With today’s announcements, we are planning to bring the AI destination closer and give access to powerful machine learning and data science technologies that can turn data into game-changing insight.”

Other components

The Cloud Private Data solution works with other IBM applications, such as Data Science Experience, Information Analyser, Information Governance Catalogue, Data Stage, DB2 and DB2 Warehouse.

IBM said companies can use these capabilities to “quickly discover insights from their core business data, while keeping that data in a protected, controlled environment”.

To coincide with the platform’s launch, the company has established a dedicated data science team to help companies get the most out of big data analytics.

Driving ROI

Patricia Maqetuka, chief data officer of Nedbank Ltd, said her company is able to make sense of growing data streams via the platform.

“Nedbank has a long tradition of using analytics on internal, structured data. More data is available now than has ever been available before, and analytical tooling has undergone rapid evolution in order to keep up,” she said.

“Nedbank has embarked on a journey to start leveraging both internal and external data, creating new data driven business models and new sources of revenue.”

She added: “Thanks to the first IBM Analytics University Live we were exposed to the guidance and counsel of IBM’s Elite team.

“This team helped us to unlock new paradigms about how we think about our analytics and change the way we look at use cases to unlock business value.”

Internet of Business says

“Every company is on a journey to AI as the ultimate driver of business transformation” could be a description of IBM itself in the 21st Century. Under Virginia Rometty’s leadership, ‘Big Blue’ has reoriented itself around cognitive services, with offerings such as its Watson AI and natural language processing system available in the cloud, along with quantum computing. 

As is the case with similar moves by Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce, the aim is to help organisations apply greater intelligence and analysis to their reams of data.

The post IBM unveils new data science platform to accelerate AI adoption appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

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This Startup Will Literally Kill You for Science

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One new startup promises to kill all of its users. With support from the startup accelerator Y Combinator, Nectome wants to preserve your brain and upload as much of “you” as they can, long after your physical body is gone.  Their website boldly asks: “What if we told you we could back up your mind?”

The main premise behind Nectome is simple, but the execution might be tricky. In theory, the startup will use a specially-designed chemical solution to preserve a body for hundreds of years. They aim to preserve the human brain well enough to keep its memories intact. They operate, however, only on the faith that within this century it will be possible to digitize and download a person’s memories and recreate their consciousness.

They have so far successfully used their solution to preserve the connectome, which encompasses all of the neural connections, in a rabbits’ brain, and they hope that humans may be next.

Cool, right? Actually, there’s a catch. As Robert McIntyre, Nectome’s co-founder, clarified to Technology Review, their technique is “100 percent fatal.” Nectome is excited that their unique work sets them apart, but no matter how groundbreaking your scientific achievements are, you can’t just go around killing people.

To get around this tricky issue, the company is working with lawyers familiar with California’s two-year-old End of Life Option Act which allows terminally ill patients to choose to end their lives with medical assistance. They believe that were they allowed to do so, many of those suffering from terminal illnesses would welcome the chance to take advantage of Nectome’s preservation technique.

Volunteers would be connected to a heart-lung machine and put under general anesthesia. They would then have the company’s chemical solution pumped into large arteries in their necks. They would be alive for the procedure, but not for long.

This procedure might seem terrifying, but the startup already has a waiting list. It is impossible to say whether or not Nectome’s efforts will eventually succeed, as they are working off of the assumption that scientists will figure out how to digitize consciousness at some point in the future. Still, people who signed up for the “service” clearly hope that after death they may one day “wake up” as a version of themselves in a new, digital life.

The post This Startup Will Literally Kill You for Science appeared first on Futurism.


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The physicist who melded the science and fiction of A Wrinkle in Time

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The new Disney film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 book A Wrinkle in Time follows awkward teen Meg Murry (Storm Reid) as she hopscotches through the universe in search of her father, NASA scientist Dr. Alex Murry. Dr. Murry (Chris Pine) had disappeared years earlier, and Meg tracks him down with a combination of science and the supernatural — one that Brown University physicist Stephon Alexander helped shape.

Director Ava DuVernay found Alexander through the National Academy of Science’s Science and Entertainment Exchange, a network that pairs people in the entertainment industry with scientists. Alexander, a theoretical cosmologist, is also a saxophonist who has written about the connections between the universe and music in…

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“Peer-reviewed rap” and more: five sources of music about science

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Last week, I profiled the rapper Dessa ahead of the release of her new album, Chime. Chime, I wrote, is inspired by science but not music “about” science; there are no songs explaining electrodes or brain waves.

So, where is all the music about science that uses science data or teaches some facts? Fear not, there are plenty of examples (in no particular order).

Every song on They Might Be Giants’ Here Comes Science
Okay, so the album is technically for children, but it’s groovy enough that you might not have guessed it if I hadn’t just told you.

The ClimateMusic Project
Artist Stephan Crawford runs a collective — two composers, four climate scientists — that creates music based on climate data. It holds concerts in the San Francisco Bay…

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What’s the science behind tech addiction?

“How to Break Up With Your Phone” author Catherine Price explains on the latest Too Embarrassed to Ask.

Last week on Too Embarrassed to Ask, we heard how the attendees of the Code Media conference were trying to mediate their various tech addictions.

But if you’re trying to use tech less, it might be helpful to consider: Are you really addicted? What is going on in your brain when you find yourself picking up your phone 12 times per hour?

“Our brains really like being distracted,” said Catherine Price, the author of “How to Break Up With Your Phone.” “We do not have a natural tendency to be able to focus on things, which makes sense if you think about it from an evolutionary perspective — there might be something that’s trying to kill you, so you want to notice if there’s movement in the periphery of your vision or whatever.”

Price told Recode’s Kara Swisher, The Verge’s Lauren Goode and — bonus guest! — Kara’s son Louie that she does support using the word “addiction” to describe how a lot of people use their phones. Referring to data about the five million users of the app Moment, provided to her by that app’s developer, she said tech is “triggering the same circuits and chemicals in your brain that typify addiction.”

“The average person is spending four hours a day on their phone, and that does not count phone calls or listening to music — it’s just times when the screen is on,” Price said. “To me, that was a really striking number. That’s a quarter of our waking lives.”

You can listen to the new podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

On the new podcast, Price mediated which Swisher — Kara or Louie — is more addicted to their phone, and offered some habits and tricks that everyone can adopt to develop a healthier relationship with their smartphones. She also explained some of the brain science behind what we commonly call “addiction.”

“In particular, we’re talking about dopamine, which is a ‘salience chemical,’” Price said. “It basically tells you when you’ve encountered something interesting that’s worth remembering and paying attention to. And that could be good or bad — some kind of emotional excitement or relevance.”

“So if you think about what happens when you check your phone, you are nearly guaranteed to always find something, whether it’s a text or an irritating email or a post that makes you mad or something that makes you happy, whatever — there’s going to be a trigger,” she added. “When that happens, your brain releases a little bit of dopamine, and that basically is teaching your brain that it’s important to check your phone, which makes you want to check your phone more.”

And if you’re already using your phone, for example scrolling through the endless waterfall of tweets in the Twitter app, that can be dangerous because there’s no-built in cue for your brain to stop seeking more and more short bursts of dopamine.

“I think of it as like if you’re binging on ice cream,” Price said. “Your spoon will eventually hit the bottom of the pint of ice cream, and that’s called a ‘stopping cue.’ It’s something that makes you stop what you’re doing and decide if you want to continue. You could continue if you got up and got more ice cream, but you’d have to be proactive about it. With social media feeds, there’s nothing like that. It’s deliberately meant to keep us going and going.”

Have questions about tech addiction or anything else that you want us to address in a future episode? Tweet them to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed, or email them to

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