5 things everyone gets wrong about artificial intelligence and what it means for our future

Artificial Intelligence, Technology, Business, Innovation
The humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration by the German research centre for artificial intelligence at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Luis Perez-Brava, MIT Innovation Program

Artificial Intelligence, Luis Perez-Brava, Innovation
Luis Perez-Brava is a Research Scientist at MIT’s School of Engineering. Alex Kingsbury

There are a lot of myths out there about artificial intelligence (AI).

In June, Alibaba founder Jack Ma said AI is not only a massive threat to jobs but could also spark World War III. Because of AI, he told CNBC, in 30 years we’ll work only 4 hours a day, 4 days a week.

Recode founder Kara Swisher told NPR’s “Here and Now” that Ma is “a hundred percent right,” adding that “any job that’s repetitive, that doesn’t include creativity, is finished because it can be digitized” and “it’s not crazy to imagine a society where there’s very little job availability.”

She even suggested only eldercare and childcare jobs will remain because they require “creativity” and “emotion”—something Swisher says AI can’t provide yet.

I actually find that all hard to imagine. I agree it has always been hard to predict new kinds of jobs that’ll follow a technological revolution, largely because they don’t just pop up. We create them. If AI is to become an engine of revolution, it’s up to us to imagine opportunities that will require new jobs. Apocalyptic predictions about the end of the world as we know it are not helpful.

Common confusion

So, what may be the biggest myth—Myth 1: AI is going to kill our jobs—is simply not true.

Ma and Swisher are echoing the rampant hyperbole of business and political commentators and even many technologists—many of whom seem to conflate AI, robotics, machine learning, Big Data, and so on. The most common confusion may be about AI and repetitive tasks. Automation is just computer programming, not AI. When Swisher mentions a future automated Amazon warehouse with only one human, that’s not AI.

We humans excel at systematizing, mechanizing, and automating. We’ve done it for ages. It takes human intelligence to automate something, but the automation that results isn’t itself “intelligence”—which is something altogether different. Intelligence goes beyond most notions of “creativity” as they tend to be applied by those who get AI wrong every time they talk about it. If a job lost to automation is not replaced with another job, it’s lack of human imagination to blame.

In my two decades spent conceiving and making AI systems work for me, I’ve seen people time and again trying to automate basic tasks using computers and over-marketing it as AI. Meanwhile, I’ve made AI work in places it’s not supposed to, solving problems we didn’t even know how to articulate using traditional means.

For instance, several years ago, my colleagues at MIT and I posited that if we could know how a cell’s DNA was being read it would bring us a step closer to designing personalized therapies. Instead of constraining a computer to use only what humans already knew about biology, we instructed an AI to think about DNA as an economic market in which DNA regulators and genes competed—and let the computer build its own model of that, which it learned from data. Then the AI used its own model to simulate genetic behavior in seconds on a laptop, with the same accuracy that took traditional DNA circuit models days of calculations with a supercomputer.

At present, the best AIs are laboriously built and limited to one narrow problem at a time. Competition revolves around research into increasingly sophisticated and general AI toolkits, not yet AIs. The aspiration is to create AIs that partner with humans across multiple domains—like in IBM’s ads for Watson. IBM’s aim is to turn what today’s just a powerful toolkit into an infrastructure for businesses.

The larger objective

The larger objective for AI is to create AIs that partner with us to build new narratives around problems we care to solve and can’t today—new kinds of jobs follow from the ability to solve new problems.

That’s a huge space of opportunity, but it’s difficult to explore with all these myths about AI swirling around. Let’s dispel some more of them.

Myth 2: Robots are AI. Not true.A worker guides the first shipment of an IBM System Z mainframe computer in Poughkeepsie, New York, U.S. March 6, 2015. Picture taken March 6, 2015. Jon Simon/IBM/Handout via REUTERS A worker guides the first shipment of an IBM System Z mainframe computer in PoughkeepsieThomson Reuters

Industrial and other robots, drones, self-organizing shelves in warehouses, and even the machines we’ve sent to Mars are all just machines programmed to move.

Myth 3: Big Data and Analytics are AI. Wrong again. These, along with data mining, pattern recognition, and data science, are all just names for cool things computers do based on human-created models. They may be complex, but they’re not AI. Data are like your senses: just because smells can trigger memories, it doesn’t make smelling itself intelligent, and more smelling is hardly the path to more intelligence.

Myth 4: Machine Learning and Deep Learning are AI. Nope. These are just tools for programming computers to react to complex patterns—like how your email filters out spam by “learning” what millions of users have identified as spam. They’re part of the AI toolkit like an auto mechanic has wrenches. They look smart—sometimes scarily so, like when a computer beats an expert at the game Go—but they’re certainly not AI.

Myth 5: Search engines are AI. They look smart, too, but they’re not AI. You can now search information in ways once impossible, but you—the searcher—contribute the intelligence. All the computer does is spot patterns from what you search and recommend others do the same. It doesn’t actually know any of what it finds; as a system, it’s as dumb as they come.

In my own AI work, I’ve made use of AI whenever a problem we could imagine solving with science became too complex for science’s reductive approaches. That’s because AI allows us to ask questions that are not easy to ask in traditional scientific “terms.” For instance, more than 20 years ago, my colleagues and I used AI to invent a technology to locate cellphones in an emergency faster and more accurately than GPS ever could. Traditional science didn’t help us solve the problem of finding you, so we worked on building an AI that would learn to figure out where you are so emergency services can find you.

By the way, our AI solution actually created jobs.

AI’s most important attribute isn’t processing scores of data or executing programs—all computers do that—but rather learning to fulfill tasks we humans cannot so we can reach further. It’s a partnership: we humans guide AI and learn to ask better questions.

Swisher is right, though: we ought to figure out what the next jobs are, but not by agonizing over how much some current job is creative or repetitive. I would note that the AI toolkit has already created hundreds of thousands of jobs of all kinds—Uber, Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, and so on.

Our choice is continuing the dystopian AI narrative about the future of jobs. or having a different conversation about making the AI we want happen so we can address problems that cannot be solved by traditional means, for which the science we have is inadequate, incomplete, or nonexistent—and imagining and creating some new jobs along the way.

Luis Perez-Brava is the head of MIT’s Innovation Program and a Research Scientist at MIT’s School of Engineering. He recently published ‘Innovating: A Doer’s Manifesto for Starting from a Hunch, Prototyping Problems, Scaling Up, and Learning to Be Productively Wrong.’  

Open Innovation is Alive and Well in the Pet Industry

Pets, Innovation, Business
Image Source: Getty Images

By Stephen Key
Co-founder, InventRight      

 

It is an incredible time to be a product developer. Like solving problems? Enjoy being creative? Today, you do not have to start a business to launch an idea into the market. You can go the licensing route and begin receiving passive income for your creativity instead. That’s the beauty of open innovation, the increasingly widespread practice of companies looking outside their own walls for the best new product ideas. By licensing your idea to a company that has existing distribution and relationships with retailers, you can get to market fast. In that way, as a business model, licensing simply cannot be beat. Innovative companies recognize this — even ones with a long and storied history of research and development like GE.

The pet industry is particularly ripe for open innovation and licensing. According to the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet today. That’s a lot! Last year, Americans spent a record $66.75 billion on their beloved companions. During the recession, the industry barely took a hit. Thanks to the Internet, dogs and cats are more popular than ever. And there’s the well-documented trend occurring worldwide of young people increasingly referring to and treating their pets like surrogate children. There’s a huge opportunity here for people who are creative.

Which is why I traveled to the annual pet trade show SuperZoo in Las Vegas earlier this week to ask companies explicitly: What do you need from us? After licensing many of my own ideas for products, I know what open innovation looks like in practice. But since I’ve made it my mission to help other people license their ideas, I’m committed to going one step further. The show is not as large as the Global Pet Expo in Florida, but it was very well-attended, light-hearted, and a lot of fun. How could it not be, with dogs of different shapes, sizes, and colors running this way and that? Turns out, people who love their pets like to have a good time. The theme this year was “Better Together,” which spoke directly to the inclusive nature of the industry at large.

As is typical, some companies were receptive to open innovation and others weren’t. You can tell which are and which aren’t pretty easily. Companies whose products all share the same beautiful design aesthetic? Not a good fit. These companies aren’t really innovating. Their focus is on designing products that are extremely pretty to look at. Their in-house designers are tasked with creating the look and feel they want their brand to reflect. These companies do not look at outside submissions. They’re more likely to acquire a brand outright or bring in a designer they like to keep working with them.

But I also met CEOs like Tim Blurton of Hyper Pet LLC who embrace open innovation emphatically.

“We love inventors and people with ideas. And we love being able to work with them and take their ideas and make them marketable, so we both benefit,” Blurton said. “Bring us any ideas you’ve got! We’ll listen and see if we can work on them.”

For Dr. Steven Tsengas of OurPets, intellectual property is of paramount importance. His company has something like 170 patents to its name. Electronic pet toys are increasingly popular, he told me, as he pointed out several products of his that make use of Bluetooth technology.

For companies like Ethical Products Inc., which has been in business since 1952 and markets its products under the brand SPOT, working with inventors is a way of life. Ausra Dapkus, the vice-president of purchasing and product development who is in charge of working with product developers and inventors, described her role in the following way.

“I take their ideas and then communicate them to our factories overseas to bring those products to life,” she explained. “I try to translate their vision into something that can actually work in production, which can sometimes be a challenge… but somehow we always manage to work it out.”

At the Ethical Products booth, professional inventor Chuck Lamprey showed off one of his licensed products. (Full disclosure: I know Chuck because he was my student.) Since he began developing pet products seven years ago, Lamprey has since licensed about nine of his ideas, all of which are still selling on the market. At first, he told me he struggled to make a good first impression at trade shows because he’s shy. But in time, as his knowledge of the industry grew, he became much more comfortable approaching booths.

These days, he’s confident because he know he adds value. He walks up to companies he wants to invent for and says something along the lines of: “Hello, my name is Chuck. I have many products in the marketplace. If you have needs in a particular area, I would love to help you out.”

This year, several CEOs explicitly thanked him for stopping by and expressed how much they appreciated that he was paying attention to the industry and actually inventing for them.

“Repeat trade show attendance is very useful in that way. They get to know me and that I’m serious about this,” he explained. “What I want to do is add value. It’s not about me and it’s not even about the company. It’s about the consumer. What can I give to the industry?”

His attitude is spot on. You cannot merely submit your ideas for new products to as many companies as possible and hope for the best. Becoming a professional independent product developer is all about communication and the relationships you build. That’s why attending a trade show can be so effective. You’re able to introduce yourself face-to-face and shake hands.

But some of the companies I interviewed were frank with me. In principle, they loved the idea of open innovation. In practice, they were frustrated. They’d become wary of working with inventors because so many of them failed to do their homework. The ideas these companies had received didn’t take their brand into consideration whatsoever, so they had decided to stop looking at outside ideas altogether.

The benefits of open innovation are enormous, but sifting through submissions takes time. So does getting back to product developers about why their ideas aren’t a perfect fit, which is a crucial part of the process. When companies decide their limited resources are better spent elsewhere, we all lose out.

If you have an apple and the company you show your idea to is selling oranges, that’s not a good fit. Most likely they are not going to be interested. And in that case what you’re sending is basically spam.

There’s a balance to be struck. Licensing is very much a numbers game. You need to contact enough companies about your idea, not just the major one or two players. At the same time, firing your sell sheet off to every single company in an industry isn’t going to get you very far.

So please, check out the websites of each company on your list of potential licensees. What are they all about? Can you tailor your sell sheet to better fit the needs of their consumers in some way? (Sometimes this is as easily accomplished as using a different color.) Remember, there are actual people reviewing your submissions at these companies.

Many people were honest with me about the fact that selling pet products has fundamentally changed. Between Amazon and other online retailers, brick and mortar sales are simply not as important. Savvy Internet retailers like the startup Chewy.com, which was recently acquired by PetSmart, offer better customer service. Before you show your idea to a company, investigate how it sells its products. If you don’t understand the retail landscape, you’re at a disadvantage.

Some companies were very clear with me about letting inventors know they could already be working on something similar, which is why they won’t sign a non-disclosure agreement right away. That’s perfectly reasonable.

Like always, I kept my eyes out for simple products, which are my favorite. I was not disappointed. Catit’s Flower Fountain water bowl is the best-selling cat accessory toy on Amazon, I was told. It’s a compact water fountain with a flower design on top that enables you to adjust the flow of water to your cat’s liking. Simple, very cute, and with smart packaging to boot: By cutting out a few pieces, the shipping box is transformed into a toy. If you own a cat, you know how much they adore playing with boxes.

This is an exciting industry to invent for, truly. Who doesn’t love pets? Open innovation in the pet industry is a win for all of us.

Article source: https://www.inc.com/stephen-key/open-innovation-is-alive-and-well-in-the-pet-indus.html

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: JUL 28, 2017

Don’t Think Outside the Box

InKnowvative Concepts, Outside the Box, Creativity
Image Source: InKnowvative Concepts

Don’t think outside the box, just don’t climb in it! – InKnowvative Concepts

Sometimes we get stalemated and need a pick-me-up. The tired and mundane either need revamping or a total application of disruptive thinking. Shake things up and dare to do something bold and different!

How to Become A 2018 World’s Most Innovative Company

innovation, fast company, business, tech
Image Source: FastCompany.com

 

Innovation is everywhere. So how do we cut through the clutter to name our annual Most Innovative Companies Top 50 and Top 10 industry lists?

Our team of dogged and dedicated reporters and editors spend months culling research on the world’s top companies. But this year—for the first time ever—you can submit your own organizationto become a 2018 Most Innovative Company.

Here’s how you can put together the best possible entry for our team of Most Innovative Companies editors. (And don’t forget to download our MIC special edition and how-to guide here).

  1. Identify Your Innovation Bucket
    Fast Company takes an expansive view of what constitutes innovation: Product innovation: We’re happy to celebrate a successful new entrant in the market that serves a previously unmet need, such as new lifesaving drugs from Gilead Sciences or Casper’s mattresses and bedding. Creative innovation: We gave the nod to the ad agency 72andSunny for breaking through the clutter with great work in a variety of media for clients ranging from Starbucks to Activision to Google. Sometimes, of course, an innovation hits several of these notes or belongs in a category we haven’t mentioned here. Business-model innovation: Warby Parker introduced try-before-you-buy to eyewear and has led the way in marrying real-world retail with e-commerce.
  2. Focus On A Project
    Tell us about a particular initiative. It’s not enough merely to state that your product or strategy is innovative. The key is to isolate the novelty in what you’re doing and delineate how and why it’s different from what’s come before.
  3. Be Concise, Yet Descriptive
    We are not accepting attachments of any kind, including presentation decks or visuals. The more detail you can provide in the space allotted, the greater the case can be made for your innovation. What makes you most excited when you think about what you’ve developed? Which of your features are your customers are buzzing about, either in communicating back to you or among themselves?
  4.  Share Your Completed Work
    If you’re an architecture firm, finished buildings will garner more attention than those in the planning stage. If you’re a pharmaceutical company, an FDA-approved drug matters more than a promising clinical trial. In-progress ideas will certainly be considered, but completing the work counts.
  5. Choose Your Strategic Weapon
    Technology is transforming every aspect of our world. How are you using it to get a leg up on competitors? Or perhaps good design is…Continue reading

Article source: https://www.fastcompany.com/40440722/how-to-become-a-2018-worlds-most-innovative-company

New robotic exosuit could push the limits of human performance

Engineering, Wearable Technology, Innovation
Image Source: http://news.harvard.edu Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University A system of actuation wires attached to the back of the exosuit provides assistive force to the hip joint during running.

 

What if you could improve your average running pace from 9:14 minutes/mile to 8:49 minutes/mile without weeks of training?

Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University have demonstrated that a tethered soft exosuit can reduce the metabolic cost of running on a treadmill by 5.4 percent, bringing those dreams of high performance closer to reality.

Homo sapiens has evolved to become very good at distance running, but our results show that further improvements to this already extremely efficient system are possible,” says corresponding author Philippe Malcolm, former postdoctoral research fellow at the Wyss Institute and SEAS, and now assistant professor at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, where he continues to collaborate on this work. The study appears today in Science Robotics.

Running is a naturally more costly form of movement than walking, so any attempt to reduce its strain on the body must impose a minimal additional burden. The soft exosuit technology developed in the lab of Wyss core faculty member Conor Walsh represents an ideal platform for assisted running, as its textile-based design is lightweight and moves with the body. A team of scientists in Walsh’s lab, led by Wyss postdoctoral fellow Giuk Lee, performed the study with an exosuit that incorporated flexible wires connecting apparel anchored to the back of the thigh and waist belt to an external actuation unit. As subjects ran on a treadmill wearing the exosuit, the unit pulled on the wires, which acted as a second pair of hip extensor muscles applying force to the legs with each stride. The metabolic cost was measured by analyzing the subjects’ oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production while running.

The team tested two different “assistance profiles,” or patterns of wire-pulling: one based on human biology that applied force starting at the point of maximum hip extension observed in normal running, and one based on a simulation of exoskeleton-assisted running from a group at Stanford University that applied force slightly later in the running stride and suggested that the optimal point to provide assistive force might not be the same as the biological norm. Confirming this suspicion, Lee and colleagues found that the simulation-based profile outperformed the…Continue Reading

Article Source: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/06/new-robotic-exosuit-could-push-the-limits-of-human-performance/

The Modern Cyclist: 14 Bold Bike Ideas & Innovations

Bicycle Innovation, Bicycles, Cycles, Bikes
Image Source: http://weburbanist.com

Article by , filed under Products & Packaging in the Design category

Minimalist frames, technology-equipped accessories, 3D printing and lots of multi-functionality make bikes more convenient, safe, fun and beautiful, as proven by these 14 cycling concepts and innovations. With modular parts, commuter-friendly features and designs that make racing more fun for casual cyclists, bikes get a functional makeover for the modern age.

Archont Electro E-Bike
bikes archont

bikes archont 2

bikes archont 3

Isn’t this bike a beauty? The Archont by Ono features the profile of a vintage motorcycle, but it’s an electric bicycle with a handcrafted stainless steel frame and 29-inch front wheel. The curvaceous cruiser has a 72-volt battery with a range of 99 kilometers and can go up to 80 km/h.

fUCI Bike: Fast Road Bike for Non-Racers
bike fuci

bikef uci 2

bike fuci 3

bike fuci 4

Most racing bikes are designed to the standards of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationle), the governing body of every major bike tour in the world, to keep the races fair. But not everyone who wants a fast bike wants to compete in official races, and there are lots of fun features their bikes could have without these regulations. Designer Robert Egger presents fUCI (eff UCI), which has a larger back wheel, electric motor in the hub, a storage space in the wheel and a smartphone mount.

Recoiling Plume Mudguard
bike plume mudguard

bike plume mudguard 2

bike plume mudguard 3

This mudguard has literally got your back when it starts raining, keeping you from getting splattered. With a rubber mount stretching to fit any standard seat post size, the simple add-on absorbs shock so it won’t automatically fold up when you hit a bump. Resistant to rust and corrosion, it suspends over the real wheel or retracts within seconds.

Sno-Bike
bike snow

bike snow 2

Combining two entirely separate sports, the Sno Bike concept by Venn Industrial Design Consultancy features a Z-shaped tensile frame linking a rear wheel to a single ski controlled by the handlebars. How would it actually handle in real-life conditions? It’s impossible to say, since it’s just a concept, but it looks like fun.

Shibusa Bicycle with Swappable Electric-Assisted Parts
bikes shibusa

bikes shibusa 2

This sleek black modular bike can be boosted with electric components or made back into a regular bicycle just by swapping a few parts. The award-winning Shibusa design eliminates the bulkiness associated with many electric bikes for a “hassle-free commuter” offering plenty of flexibility. Modular components include a stand-alone bike light, battery pack, storage rack and charge monitor.

Continue reading
Article source: http://weburbanist.com/2016/02/10/the-modern-cyclist-14-bold-bike-ideas-innovations/