The Problem with Analytics

IBM-Bigdata-AnalyticsThere is a difference between knowledge and understanding. Knowledge typically comes down to knowing facts while understanding is the application of knowledge to the mastery of systems. You can know a lot while understanding very little. Just as an example, IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence system that defeated the TV Jeopardy champs a few years ago knew all there was to know about Jeopardy questions but didn’t really understand anything. Ask Watson to apply to removing your appendix its knowledge of hundreds of medical questions and you’d be disappointed and probably dead. That’s the problem with most analytics, which is why it can be a hard sell.

The answer to this problem, we’re told, […]

Apple and Didi is about foreign cash and the future of motoring

DidiAppApple this week invested $1 billion in Xiaoju Kuaizhi Inc., known as Didi — by far the dominant car-hailing service in China with 300 million customers. While Apple has long admitted being interested in car technology and has deals to put Apple technology into many car lines, this particular investment seems to have been a surprise to most everyone. Analysts and pundits are seeing the investment as a way for Apple to get automotive metadata or even to please the Chinese government. I think it’s more than that. I think it is a potential answer to Apple’s huge problem of foreign cash and a grab for leadership in what may well be […]

Why wind turbines have three blades

bigturbine00:17:12:16

Steve Jobs

… You know throughout the years in business I found something which was I’d always ask why you do things and the answer you invariably get is oh that’s just the way it’s done.  Nobody knows why they do what they do.  Nobody thinks about things very deeply in business.  That’s what I found…

The quote above from just over 17 minutes into Steve Jobs — The Lost Interview is for me the greatest insight and the biggest idea in the whole movie. I find myself applying it to many things. You can, too. Just ask why?

In this column I’ll try […]

Searching for a nanotech self-organizing principle

elevatorOne of the frustrations of nanotechnology is that we generally can’t make nano materials in large quantities or at low cost, much less both. For the last five years a friend of mine has been telling me this story, explaining that there’s a secret manufacturing method and that he’s seen it. I’m beginning to think the guy is right. We may finally be on the threshold of the real nanotech revolution.

Say you want to build a space elevator, which is probably the easiest way to hoist payloads into orbit. Easy yet also impossible, because no material can be manufactured that is strong enough to make an elevator cable to […]

Our $27,500 drone. Do you have one, too?

IMG_0770This is the kind of thing you find on the bedroom floor of a 14 year-old boy. It’s a gift from last Christmas, still sitting in its box, not yet flown for a reason that often comes down to some variation of “but the batteries need to be charged.” I’d forgotten about it totally, which means the little drone missed the FAA’s January 20th registration deadline. Technically, I could be subject to a fine of up to $27,500. If the unregistered drone is used to commit a crime the fine could rise to $250,000 plus three years in prison.

Do you have an unregistered drone sitting in a closet somewhere?

Registration costs $5.00 […]