Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lunchtalk: TED - Why humans run the world

A TED talk by Yuval Harari, the author of The Sapiens. From the talk description:
Seventy thousand years ago, our human ancestors were insignificant animals, just minding their own business in a corner of Africa with all the other animals. But now, few would disagree that humans dominate planet Earth; we've spread to every continent, and our actions determine the fate of other animals (and possibly Earth itself). How did we get from there to here? Historian Yuval Noah Harari suggests a surprising reason for the rise of humanity.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stanford CSP, BUS 152 - Session 5, Quiz 1

Background: A major shift in business and technology strategy (aka pivot) seems to be inevitable during the life time of both startups and large companies. The change requires the team to make critical decisions under conditions of uncertainty.

Please listen to the podcast above and answer the following Questions:

1. Why LoudCloud was too early to the market? What were the key decisions for LoudCloud/Opsware in executing a pivot?

2. Did Lytro develop a new technology? Please describe briefly its pivot in terms of the 4Q diagram covered during our Session 4 (Feb 13, 2017). Using the same terms, describe the team's original mistake.

3. (Optional). Imagine that you are the CEO of Twitter. Your user base and revenues are not growing fast enough to compete with Facebook and Snapchat. You have $1B and 2 years to execute a pivot. Describe your key decisions and reasoning behind them.

tags: bus152, quiz, 4q diagram,

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Stanford CSP, BUS 152 - Innovation Timing. Session 4, Quiz 1


Recently, a number of technology companies introduced Augmented Reality headsets that enable users to overlay images from the real world with information generated by a computer, including text, video, graphics, etc. Microsoft HoloLens  is one of the most advanced projects in the field, backed by a major industry player. For example, in a 2016 TED Talk, Alex Kipman demonstrated a head-mounted 3D hologram computer that lets users interact with "magical objects" directly, which eliminates, among other things, the need for displays, keyboards, joysticks, and other typical computer accessories.

Please read the wikipedia article referenced above, watch the TED video, and answer the following questions:

1. Is HoloLens a new technology? Explain.

2. Imagine that it is year 2040. Do you see HoloLens-like devices dominating specific fields of human-computer interaction, e.g.

a) Education (certainly, highly likely, maybe, absolutely not). Explain.
b) Gaming (certainly, highly likely, maybe, absolutely not). Explain.
c) Construction and Industrial Services (certainly, highly likely, maybe, absolutely not). Explain.
d) Healthcare (certainly, highly likely, maybe, absolutely not). Explain.

3. (Optional) In your opinion, what are the top three bottlenecks that may prevent Augmented Reality devices, like HoloLens, from becoming widely popular among consumers during the next 3-5 years? Explain.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Lunch Talk: Superintelligence

A panel discussion with leading AI experts and business leaders about the challenges and opportunities presented by Superintelligence.

Panelists: Bart Selman (Cornell), David Chalmers (NYU), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Jaan Tallinn (CSER/FLI), Nick Bostrom (FHI), Ray Kurzweil (Google), Stuart Russell (Berkeley), Sam Harris, Demis Hassabis (DeepMind).

00:00. Yes, No, It’s complicated
03:10. Timescale (Elon at 5:45)
07:07. How to slow it down
14:04. Risks and mitigations (Elon at 32:14)
37:00. Upsides (Elon at 51:18)
52:44. Democracy 2.0
54:14. Bad guys
56:43. Democratising AI (Elon)

lunchtalk, intelligence, problem, system,

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Stanford CSP, BUS 152 - Innovation Timing. Session 3, Quiz 1

Background: Over the last decade, AI-based technologies succeeded in solving various problems that before were considered impossible to solve using computational methods. In one recent example, Stanford researchers "have trained an algorithm to diagnose skin cancer." In another example, AI bot easily outplayed humans in poker.

The significance of the latter development is that the algorithm successfully handled a problem with imperfect information:
Poker requires reasoning and intelligence that has proven difficult for machines to imitate. It is fundamentally different from checkers, chess, or Go, because an opponent’s hand remains hidden from view during play. In games of “imperfect information,” it is enormously complicated to figure out the ideal strategy given every possible approach your opponent may be taking.

Given that innovation fundamentally involves decision-making with imperfect information, we may want to consider how AI will impact broader innovation processes in our society.

1. Assume that AI decision-making services are widely available. In your opinion, which segments of the society will start using such services first: consumer or enterprise? Explain your reasoning and give approximate calendar time estimates for each segment.

2. Consider Kahneman's System 1 vs System 2 approach to human decision-making (e.g. as discussed during our Session 2). Will a wide adoption of AI services improve or worsen people's ability to use "System 2 thinking"? Explain.

3. In your opinion, will AI-based decision-making services affect the overall timing of innovation diffusion in social systems (see Session 1 lecture notes), e.g. by making S-curves more gradual, more steep, or leave them unchanged? Explain.