The People, Businesses and Technology Making AI a Reality

first_imgCan you imagine going under the knife only to find out afterwards you didn’t actually need surgery? I recently heard a story of a woman who had a lump removed from her breast that was benign. I was shocked. But after some research, I discovered it’s not uncommon.Even today, with all the technological advancements, unnecessary surgeries happen. About 90 percent of breast lump removals are discovered to be unnecessary. The good news is that technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) now exist to help solve these problems. Doctors like Manisha Bahl at Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that these unnecessary surgeries could be reduced by nearly one-third by using machine learning.It’s true. AI is real and widespread.AI innovation is happening everywhere, not just in healthcare. Approximately 71 percent of companies said they had already implemented AI or were planning to implement AI in the next 12 months.[1] The chart shows the responses from 2,106 data and analytics technology decision makers at global organizations.Source: Forrester Data Global Technographics Data & Analytics Survey, 2017.We wanted to better understand how AI impacts companies, their lines of business, and the IT department. So, we commissioned Forrester Consulting to help us answer these questions with primary research. The details and findings formed the basis of a Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper on the topic.What’s clear is that the world is no longer waiting for Silicon Valley to develop an all-in-one solution to solve their problems. Individuals and organizations are using new foundational technology to innovate with AI on their own. Foundational technology such as 3D printing is democratizing manufacturing and improving product development. Connected IoT devices are now ubiquitous, and generating lots of raw data. Powerful new 4-socket servers with serial and parallel processing are used to digest massive amounts of data to compute insights in real-time. These technologies are now accessible to everyone, not just the huge research institutions or Fortune 50 companies.Organizations are using AI to better understand their customers and develop better products. In the next 12 months, 54 percent of companies are planning to use AI to deliver a better customer experience.[2] Across the globe, in every vertical, individuals and organizations are innovating with AI and its applications – machine learning and deep learning.HEALTHCARECould AI replace your doctor? Maybe. AI isn’t replacing everything your doctor does. The hospital of the future isn’t going to run itself. Similar to manufacturing, the advancements in healthcare appear to be focused on repetitive tasks and variability reduction. Let’s look at an example.The human eye is fallible. Doctors have human eyes. Even a handful of the best doctors can look at the same medical image and come to different conclusions. The question is how often does this happen? In 1959, a ground-breaking article cited that radiologists missed approximately 30% of positive findings.[3] More than five decades later, numerous studies still confirm the discrepancy of radiologic interpretations.[4]Enter the digital eye powered by AI. The digital eye is already better than the human eye in many areas. In fact, the accuracy of the digital eye is expected to further extend its lead on the human eye.[5] These improvements will continue to advance radiology, pathology, dermatology, and ophthalmology precision.At Stanford University, researchers are using the digital eye. They have created an AI algorithm to identify skin cancer. Human skin is full of lesions that are non-cancerous. Lesions like freckles, moles, and skin tags are very common and benign. It can be difficult to spot the cancerous ones. The Stanford researchers trained their deep learning algorithm with 130,000 images. What they found was that their algorithm’s efficiency at diagnosing skin cancer is similar to a doctor’s.MANUFACTURINGWhen Henry Ford radically changed how cars were built, humans performed almost every task, sometimes with mind-numbing repetition. Today, robots perform many of these sequences in a pre-programmed path. They do it with precision and without complaints. But, there are still problems to solve and efficiencies to gain, leading some to believe the days of the “dumb” factory are numbered.[6] The factory of the future will be smart and run itself with predictive maintenance, yield enhancements, and automated quality testing.The benefits of AI go beyond manufacturing operations. AI used in manufacturing business processes can have dramatic impacts, too. In fact, McKinsey believes there are huge advantages to an AI-enhanced supply chain:Forecasting errors can be reduced by as much as 50 percentLost sales from out-of-stock products can be reduced by up to 65 percentInventory stockpiles can be reduced by 20 percent to 50 percentHOSPITALITYIn 2005, Ritz-Carlton launched a central system to help deliver flawless and memorable customer service. They named it “Mystique” and it made staff observations about guests at one hotel available to all of its properties. Mystique solved a problem of information sharing across its 60 hotel properties. When hotel staff learned something new about a guest (like their preference for Diet Coke), they would enter it into Mystique. The company’s goal was to note five preferences about each guest.[7] When the guest returned to any Ritz-Carlton, the hotel staff would satisfy at least three or more of these preferences.More than a decade after the launch of “Mystique,” today’s traveler demands this across the hospitality industry. They expect hotels to know everything about them – what they like and what they don’t – and to accommodate and tailor messages around it. This goes beyond the size of the bed, preferred floor, and feather or foam pillows. Promotional emails no longer have to offer golf packages to those who don’t play golf. Customers want to see offers that appeal to their tastes, not the one-size-fits-all messages of the past. AI is helping do that by tapping into data sources like social media.Is your company completely ready for AI? Probably not.CIOs must emerge as the leader on AI for the entire business. The AI research we commissioned Forrester to execute revealed that there are numerous uncoordinated AI projects happening across the company. Lines-of-business leaders initiated most AI deployment efforts. Often, they engage IT for support. But, approximately 15% to 20% of time, IT is completely in-the-dark. Why?There is little doubt that IT is best positioned to lead all AI projects across the company. In fact, involving IT has compounding AI benefits. Companies that involve IT are 3x more likely to adopt machine learning platforms and 2x as likely to adopt deep learning platforms. On the other side of the equation, firms with lines of business who go it alone explore and adopt about half the number of AI building blocks.At least part of the reason why lines-of-business are bypassing IT is the lack of a modernized data center. IT owns the technology infrastructure, data, and software applications. IT is best positioned to serve as a hub for all AI initiatives and can connect to outside data sources and interconnect internal data sources across business units. But, the reality is that most data centers are not ready for AI initiatives. Respondents stated that some of their most challenging infrastructure issues for AI strategies were around server automation and security. Plus, 61% said they lacked servers with purpose-built processors like GPUs and FPGAs.How to prepare for AI initiatives in the data centerWe asked Forrester to put together a checklist to help CIOs lead AI in their company. It’s a great place to start because it includes strategic, tactical, and practical guidance backed by data. Some of the recommendations focus on the organization. Some focus on modernizing the infrastructure.Modernized infrastructure to support AI usually starts with new servers. It’s critical that these new servers support GPUs and FPGAs. CPUs are great for serial processing. GPUs and FPGAs are great for parallel processing. When computational tasks can be performed in parallel, the server offloads them to the GPU or FPGA. This frees up the CPU and is the key to cut learning times down from days and weeks to minutes and hours.Just a few short years ago, servers with specialized parallel processing capabilities were limited. These server platforms were expensive and so were the GPUs they needed. Today, things are different. The Dell EMC PowerEdge portfolio is packed with servers that are purpose-built to handle AI and machine learning. Late last year, we rolled out the PowerEdge C4140, which is an ultra-dense, accelerator optimized platform that can support 2 CPUs and 2 GPUs in a 1U space. Today, we further extend our commitment to AI with the announcement of two new 4-socket servers.The PowerEdge R840 is a dense, 2U platform with support for up to 4 Intel CPUs and up to 2 GPUs or up to 2 FPGAs. It’s geared to turbocharge data analytics with its flexible performance and capacity options including a 24 NVMe drive configuration and significant storage space.The PowerEdge R940xa is a 4U platform built for extreme acceleration. It supports a 1:1 CPU to GPU ratio with up to 4 Intel CPUs and up to 4 GPUs or up to 8 FPGAs. Large internal storage (with up to 32 drives) provides an alternative to rising cloud fees and security risks.These servers are only a small portion of the PowerEdge portfolio. You can check out all of them all by visiting and learn more at[1] Forrester Data Global Technographics Data & Analytics Survey, 2017.[2] Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dell EMC, January 2018.[3] Garland LH. Studies on the accuracy of diagnostic procedures.[4] Berlin L. Accuracy of diagnostic procedures: has it improved over the past five decades? AJR 2007; 188:1173–1178.[5] Artificial Intelligence In Healthcare: Separating Reality From Hype, March 13, 2018. Forbes. Accessed April 24, 2018.[6] Teaming humans with robotic AI will remake modern manufacturing, September 11, 2017. Engadget. Accessed April 24, 2018.[7] Technology Invades Hospitality Industry: Hilton Robot, Domino Delivery Droid, Ritz-Carlton Mystique, March 18, 2016. Forbes. Accessed April 24, 2018. read more

Panelists discuss refugees, far-right in Germany

first_imgIn the late summer of 2015, Germany opened its borders to a large number of Syrian refugees who were fleeing their country for Europe. That policy choice has had many ramifications in the nearly three years since. In recent weeks, the city of Chemnitz in eastern Germany has seen an acute backlash against foreigners after two refugees allegedly stabbed a German man to death.A panelist of six Notre Dame faculty members explored the forces at work in Chemnitz, Germany, and the West in a Tuesday panel discussion entitled “Lessons from Chemnitz: Right-Wing Radicalism in Europe Today.” Annie Smierciak | The Observer Six Notre Dame professors participated in a panel discussion Tuesday titled “Lessons from Chemnitz: Right-Wing Radicalism in Europe Today.” The panel focused on the issues of refugees and the far-right in Germany.Maurizio Albahari, an associate professor of anthropology, noted the trend of illiberalism sweeping Europe. While he said the European far-right, with the help of former White House advisor Steve Bannon, is increasingly effective at campaigning, there are underlying issues that make Europeans susceptible to these arguments.“Concerns about immigration often illuminate issues that predate immigration — regional hierarchies and inequalities, youth emigration, multiple forms of socioeconomic precariousness and nationalism,” Albahari said.To demonstrate his point, Albahari described the situation in Saxony, the state in which Chemnitz is located. Though he said many residents cite the influx of foreigners as society’s biggest problem, most people have not had major interactions with foreign-born individuals. Most Saxony residents are also relatively satisfied with their lives. These facts, he said, point to the “saliency” of racism. However, Albahari expressed hope for the future, as he noted the many active anti-racist and anti-fascist groups in Chemnitz.“If it is at the local and everyday level that national and supranational racism materializes, it is also at that very level that egalitarian integration and anti-racist engagement emerges with equal force,” he said.Rüdiger Bachmann, an economics professor, explored how migration and related issues have affected the German political scene, particularly regarding the electoral ascendancy of the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party.In exploring what kind of people vote for the AfD, Bachmann suggested history could play a role.“Who votes for AfD? Who votes right-wing populist in Germany? That’s actually a bit surprising. A famous, current study … they actually find something super interesting, something that’s also slightly deviating from experience in other countries,” he said. “They actually found that the biggest explanatory variable for AfD vote shares is the vote shares of the Nazi Party in the early 1930s. This is controlling for influx of immigrants and unemployment rates, which sort of approximate local economic conditions, which actually didn’t have much explanatory power. So, this, if you believe these numbers, that shows there’s a deep undercurrent cultural streak of racism, anti-Semitism, in the vote shares of the parties.”In discussing the current state of other major German political parties, Bachmann said longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opened the borders in 2015, is in a weak position. He also said Germany’s two largest parties, the center-right Christian Democratic Union and center-left Social Democratic Party, are both in a precarious position. The AfD, he said, has placed second in recent opinion polls.Bill Donahue, the director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, said overall German attitudes toward immigration have soured in the years since 2015.“When I compare mainstream news reports from a year ago to now, what you see is people who were basically pro-immigration, pro-integration are largely abandoning that stance. They’re abandoning it by taking cover under bureaucratic and logistical arguments,” he said.While at one point many Germans saw the influx of immigrants as an opportunity, that idea has lost much of its popularity, Donahue said.“In 2015-2016 … there was a bit of a honeymoon for German national identity. Contrary to what Fritz Stern argued about unification being Germany’s great second chance, it was really Merkel’s immigration policy that gave Germany its great second chance,” he said. “It revived German popularity, German reputation and essentially erased to some extent the image of Germany of former Nazis. That no longer seems to be paramount in the minds of Merkel’s critics, for all kinds of reasons.”American studies professor Perin Gürel discussed the implications of these current problems for Germany’s Turkish community, which continues to be Germany’s largest ethnic minority. While the Turkish-German community has been vocal in its opposition to the backlash in Chemnitz, Gürel drew parallels between Germany’s experience with refugees and Turkey’s, noting that the latter is home to the largest number of Syrian refugees.“In an online discussion, I was surprised to see — I don’t know why I was surprised — but it was shocking to see Turks express some anti-refugee sentiments that really parallel the German far-right,” Gürel said.Vittorio Hösle, the Paul Kimball Chair of Arts and Letters, expressed a concern that it is becoming more difficult to have a rational conversation about the politics of refugees in Germany, noting there are “objectively” some issues that have been caused by the influx.“What worries me is that it has become very difficult to discuss rationally the pros and cons of different policies,” Hösle said. “On both sides, there are certain stereotypes there. If you are critical of some of the decisions of Merkel, then you are adamantly a neo-Nazi, and on the other hand, if you are for universalist politics you are a traitor to your nation.”Hösle offered some criticisms for how Merkel had handled the refugee situation, noting she did not consult the German parliament before deciding to open the country’s borders. He was also critical of the chancellor’s failure to set an upper limit on how many refugees she was willing to admit at the height of the crisis.Jim McAdams, a political science professor and the director emeritus of the Nanovic Institute, said German political parties need to make changes in how they operate in order to connect with the types of people who vote for the far-right. He cited the example of people living in formerly communist East Germany, whose plight, he argued, is not well understood by those living in former West Germany and has led them to support the far-right.“I think they need to do is begin to redefine themselves,” he said. “The challenge for parties in Germany is how to redefine their relationship with people who no longer trust them.”Tags: far-right, germany, Nanovic Institute, nationalism, Refugeeslast_img read more

Officiating at track meet was horrible

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe officiating at the Feb. 11 Section II Division I Championship at UAlbany was the worst I’ve seen in 2-1/2 years, and I’ve been to most matches.On the first turn, seven seconds into the 4 X 400M relay in Section 1, the Bethlehem runner was tackled from behind and the race wasn’t stopped. That same runner, now bruised and stunned, shouldn’t have to pick up the baton and finish the race.The official, who was supposed to be watching in turn one had his back to the race. When this was pointed out to the officials, who took about 20 minutes looking up the rules, they refused to acknowledge what they were being told by coaches and others.When officials are asleep, the kids who work hard to compete fairly suffer — not the inept officials.Bill CerveraBallston LakeMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesPolice: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Regulator calls review of rail station leases

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