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Big Data Digest: Rise of the think-bots

Joab Jackson | Oct. 27, 2014
This week in big data news, a bevvy of data-crunching analysis-centered startups came out of stealth.

It turns out that a vital missing ingredient in the long-sought after goal of getting machines to think like humans -- artificial intelligence -- has been lots and lots of data.

Last week, at the O'Reilly Strata + Hadoop World Conference in New York, Salesforce.com's head of artificial intelligence, Beau Cronin, asserted that AI has gotten a shot in the arm from the big data movement. "Deep learning on its own, done in academia, doesn't have the [same] impact as when it is brought into Google, scaled and built into a new product," Cronin said.

In the week since Cronin's talk, we saw a whole slew of companies -- startups mostly -- come out of stealth mode to offer new ways of analyzing big data, using machine learning, natural language recognition and other AI techniques that those researchers have been developing for decades.

One such startup, Cognitive Scale, applies IBM Watson-like learning capabilities to draw insights from vast amount of what it calls "dark data," buried either in the Web -- Yelp reviews, online photos, discussion forums -- or on the company network, such as employee and payroll files, noted KM World.

Cognitive Scale offers a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) that businesses can use to tap into cognitive-based capabilities designed to improve search and analysis jobs running on cloud services such as IBM's Bluemix, detailed the Programmable Web.

Cognitive Scale was founded by Matt Sanchez, who headed up IBM's Watson Labs, helping bring to market some of the first e-commerce applications based on the Jeopardy-winning Watson technology, pointed out CRN.

Sanchez, now chief technology officer for Cognitive Scale, is not the only Watson alumnus who has gone on to commercialize cognitive technologies.

Alert reader Gabrielle Sanchez pointed out that another Watson ex-alum, engineer Pete Bouchard, recently joined the team of another cognitive computing startup Zintera as the chief innovation office. Sanchez, who studied cognitive computing in college, found a demonstration of the company's "deep learning" cognitive computing platform to be "pretty impressive."

AI-based deep learning with big data was certainly on the mind of senior Google executives. This week the company snapped up two Oxford University technology spin-off companies that focus on deep learning, Dark Blue Labs and Vision Factory.

The teams will work on image recognition and natural language understanding, Sharon Gaudin reported in Computerworld.

Sumo Logic has found a way to apply machine learning to large amounts machine data. An update to its analysis platform now allows the software to pinpoint casual relationships within sets of data, Inside Big Data concluded.

A company could, for instance, use the Sumo Logic cloud service to analyze log data to troubleshoot a faulty application, for instance.

 

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