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IBM Watson, the beginning aware artificial?

ibm watson

IBM’s Watson is a cognitive computing system, one that behaves like our brain, learning through experiences, finding correlations, and remembering — and learning from — the outcomes.

First hitting the spotlight when pitted against two of Jeopardy’s biggest all-time winners Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, IBM’s artificial intelligence machine names Watson threw these two off their throne in quick fashion – showing that artificial intelligence was a real thing and IBM has the technology.

Artificial intelligence is here now. This doesn’t mean that Cylons disguised as humans have infiltrated our societies, or that the processors behind one of the search engines have become sentient and are now making their own plans for world domination. But denying the presence of AI in our society not only takes away from the achievements of science and commerce, but also runs the risk of complacency in a world where more and more of our actions and intentions are being analyzed and influenced by intelligent machines. Not everyone agrees with this way of looking at the issue, though.

First, although Watson includes many forms of text search, it is first and foremost a system capable of responding appropriately in real-time to new inputs. It competed against humans to ring the buzzer first, and Watson couldn’t ring the buzzer until it was confident it had constructed the right sentence. And, in fact, the humans quite often beat Watson to the buzzer even when Watson was on the right track. Watson works by choosing candidate responses, then devoting its processors to several of them at the same time, exploring archived material for further evidence of the quality of the answer. Candidates can be discarded and new ones selected. IBM is currently applying this general question-answering approach to real-world domains like health care and retail.

This is very much how primate brains (like ours) work. Neuroscientists can recognize which brain cells monkeys use to represent different hypotheses about how to solve the current puzzle they are facing. Then, he can watch the different solutions compete for influence in the brain, until the animal finally acts when it is certain enough. If the puzzle has a short time limit, the animals will act for a lower threshold and will be less accurate. Just like us. And it wouldn’t be hard to reprogram Watson to do the same thing—to give its best answer at a fixed time rather than at a fixed level of certainty.

How about understanding? Watson does search text in various Internet sources (like Wikipedia) but didn’t during competition. It had to read the text in advance and remember it in a generalized way so that it could access what it had learned quickly by all different kinds of clues. Jeopardy! questions require understanding jokes and metaphors—what Hofstadter calls “analogical reasoning.” Being able to use the right word in the right context is the definition of understanding language, what linguists call semantics. If someone blind from birth said to you “I’ll look into it” or “See you later,” would you say they didn’t understand what they were saying?

If you’re looking for a thumb in the pie, IBM are now offering up part of Watson – their breakthrough natural language-based cognitive service called Watson Analytics. This analytic service is reported as a powerful predictive and visual analytic tool for businesses and can now be rented through a beta program.

There has already been 22,000 who’ve registered for the beta of this service, with IBM’s official explanation and release reading: “IBM Watson Analytics automates the once time-consuming tasks such as data preparation, predictive analysis, and visual storytelling for business professionals. Offered as a cloud-based freemium service, all business users can now access Watson Analytics from any desktop or mobile device”.

IBM was totally “as been” during the last twenty years (1994 – 2014),  going slowly towards the end of the company. But Watson, IBM could revolutionize the management of semantics which is currently lacking treatment ‘Analytics’ and take the lead on a niche again.

For the moment, it is really artificial intelligence but not more, as we can imagine with aware artificial…, for the moment. But it is probably the beginning. Aware artificial will be probably the next disruptive industrial revolution before the end of the 21 century…

Solar Impulse 2: On the way round the world

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse is the only airplane of perpetual endurance, able to fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel.

The chances of succeeding at the first attempt to build a solar airplane capable of flying around the world were judged to be slim, so a more rudimentary prototype, HB-SIA (Solar Impulse 1), was first constructed. Lessons learned from this prototype are incorporated in Solar Impulse 2, the Round-The-World Solar Airplane.

Whereas the prototype uses existing technologies, Solar Impulse HB-SIB (Solar Impulse 2) requires the development of new materials and new construction methods. Solvay has invented electrolytes that allow the energy density of the batteries to be increased; Bayer MaterialScience is allowing the project to make use of its nanotechnologies; and Décision is using carbon fibers that are lighter in weight than any previously seen.

The first wing spar section was delivered to Dübendorf in March 2012. However, during the final test of this central part, the structure of the wing spar succumbed to the load and broke. The initial shock soon turned out to be an opportunity: the flight around the world had to be postponed which opened the door for going to the United States and completing the epic journey across America.

After the official presentation of Solar Impulse 2 to the public on April 9th, the airplane will be rigorously tested during 2014, and the Round-The-World flight will be attempted between March and July 2015.

Below, the first flight of Solar Impulse 2.

Nigerian scientist wins MIT’s World Top Young Innovators Award


Yemi Adesokan, 35- year based Nigerian born researcher, has put his country’s name on the map of nations of innovation.

Adesokan’s discovery which has potential to change the way mankind responds to disease pathogens, according to experts, may bring an end the era of increased burden of drug resistance in the world particularly, in sub Saharan Africa.

When he moved to United States in 1996, little did the young innovator have realise that he was going to rub shoulders with some of the greatest names in scientific technology.

But today, Adesokan who has been listed by Technology Review, an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT) USA. as one of the TR35 Award of the 2011 World top innovators. Past recipients have included Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Konstantin Novoselev (later a Nobel Laureate in Physics).

Adesokan is being so specially honoured for his work in the application of next generation sequencing to clinical diagnostics. Adesokan, who is also the founder of Pathogenica Inc., was selected as a member of the TR35 class of 2011 by a panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, who evaluated more than 300 nominations.

This work is being carried out by a biotechnology startup that I founded with Prof George Church of Harvard Medical School DNA technology. The Pathogenica’s test kits are able to identify the presence, allowing for physicians to screen for multiple diseases with accurate results and a rapid turnaround.

Sequencing technologies have improved a million – fold in the past seven years, bringing scientists a wealth of individual genomics and the key now is to employ the data to improve clinical practice. The DNA sequence of each individual or organism is unique, and is the most detailed signature for identification.

This year marks one decade since the completion of the Human Genome Project, a three billion-dollar effort to sequence a human genome.

A major issue in Nigeria today, is that some sterilised water may contain harmful pathogens. The technology is useful in screening a range of pathogens in water, livestock (poultry, etc.), and in food manufacturing. The key point for this technology is its high multiple. As it scales up, we actually see a reduction in price.

With the innovation, the cost of DNA sequencing has dropped more than 40,000_fold since that time to just $5,000 today. The price continues to drop. We are applying this fast, inexpensive technology in a unique way to improve routine clinical diagnostics.

Elon Musk: an exceptional innovator

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. In these two companies, products manufactured have never been proposed before. For SpaceX (USA), the company is able to sell a rocket launch for satellites for 12000 dollars / kg as cost for Ariane 5 (Europa) is 23000 dollars / kg and for Proton (Russia), 18000 dollars / kg.

As ILIAD for French Telecommunication, SpaceX is completely redefining the market of space rocket launch. He obliges restructuring Safran (Ariane) into Airbus group in June 2014.

Elon Musk is also the CEO of Telsa, a company selling only electric cars in USA! Elon Musk is a serial creator, as he was the creator of Paypal sold to Ebay in the 2000’s years.

“If a company depends on its patents is that it does not innovate or when it does not innovate fast enough.” It is with these words Elon Musk justifies his last “madness” make patents Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, accessible to all. And therefore its competitors, now free to take the technologies that have made the success of the models of the Californian company.

Elon Musk 2

“Technological leadership is not defined by patents, history has shown repeatedly that they represented only a small protection against rival determined continued Mr. Musk. Rather, it is defined by the ability to company to attract and motivate the most talented engineers. “And therefore the ability to constantly innovate. “You want to innovate much faster than your previous patents lapse,” says Mr. Musk. It is demonstrated by the success of SpaceX, his second company, specializing in space launch and has only a limited number of patents.

Tesla web site:

SpaceX web site:

Connected car: new model building by Google

Google Car 2.0

This is incredible to see how Google progressed within 1 year about their program “Google self-driving car project”. This is now not anymore, a concept with technical tests using a Toyota cars, as it was last year, with Prius or Lexus RX; this is not anymore a technical solution with engineers embedded in these cars, checking the issues of the software developed.

This concept allows Google to propose a completely automatized car without any steering wheel nor any pedals of acceleration or brake nor any engineer embedded in the car.

A new model of usage born

These cars will not be sold by Google; the cost of cars remains too expensive from now; some rumors speaks about a price of 1 million of dollars for the first Google cars, if we integrate manufacturing costs and R&D costs included; and the running costs of these cars is unknown for the moment; for sure, limited people could buy these cars if they would be allowed to buy them.

These cars will be firstly rented by Google to replace your car to go to supermarket, to go to airport or to go some meetings in your town.  This model reinvent the usage of transports.

On one side, this car can be compared to a public transport, completely optimized: the car is able to take you everywhere; and you can go everywhere; this car is a two places car, it doesn’t take a lot of place in the road circulation and you don’t need to park them; the car is able to know the traffic jam and optimize the way to go to the destination.

On the other side, this car can manage all small “travel” corresponding to 80% if car usages. This is a complete revolution for the car manufacturers in the next 10 years; in this case, people will not buy anymore a car; what is the interest if you can “call” a car when you need it?

Of course, it means that there will be enough “automatized” cars available in one place as big towns. This is also a complete revolution for taxi or public transports: this automatized transport can be very competitive in the next 10 years and completely change the model of transports in big town.

Continuous disruptive model as Business model

This revolution is exiting because Google, a “big” company with 50000 employees and 60 billions of turnover, is able to make some disruptive innovations on many different sectors every year!

Generally, companies are able to make one disruptive innovation every 10 years; and when it is more, a big risk of failure of the company can be predicted. In the case of Google, it seems not; their Business model seems to be constructed on their capacity to continuously be able to build some disruptive concepts with a lot of synergies with existing profitable activities they also manage.

A lesson to be learn by many worldwide companies if they would continue to exist in the next decades.

Mittelstand Innovation: focus, frugal and efficient


The medium-sized companies are becoming fashionable. Helping the crisis, their long-term vision has transformed these organizations ideal company. They are called innovative but ultimately knows how badly it is organized in this area. Analysis.

Do you know the “Global Niche players”? These businesses, often family, who managed to impose itself on the world market by cultivating excellence in a very specific area. This category is called the Mittelstand in Germany or ETI  (midsize) in France, all show a system very similar values. They cultivate the art of long-term independence (including financial), love of work well done and are very attached to the mastery of skills (they prefer when it is “homemade”).

These “guidelines” have clearly shaped the culture of innovation in these companies. Several things make it unique compared to large groups. Highly specialized, these companies focus, for example, their efforts in R & D technology and a single. This feature could be deadly but instead stimulates the creativity of the teams. These last are always looking for new uses, new developments to expand the scope of the technology.

Develop performance for the customer

Management “good father” of these companies also impacts the way we consider the return on investment in innovation. Financing capacity is limited, ensure all develop applications more than concepts. SNF, a polymer specialist based in Saint-Étienne (France) providing chemical solutions including hydraulic fracturing, this “constraint” requires chemists to house state of the art scientific literature before making their new polymer and complete the project in six months to prove the concept.

This very applied creativity also requires businesses to include the end user of their product very early in the design. The goal is not to co-develop but to understand what competitive advantages they expect the products they sell them. Rational, a German manufacturer of kitchen equipment group, sells its customers ovens and cooking systems but places great emphasis on saving space that allows for innovation in the kitchen.

How Harrys made ​​fortune with the bread without crust

Harrys 4

Innovation and research have allowed the Barilla Group, owner of Harrys, resist own brands on the shelves.

For the third time in ten years, the Barilla Group (Italy), owner of Harrys brand, expanding its specialized in bread without crust factory located near Lyon (France). Guido Barilla, chairman of the Italian group, came in person to launch the production line on June 4. This investment of € 14 million will enable the brand leader of bread in France, producing 24 million packages per year of what has become the fastest growing segment of the market: “100% crumb” whose sales rose 15% last year. “Whenever we have increased our production capacity we quickly saturated,” says Giovanni Palopoli, director of operations for Barilla Western Europe.

Technical prowess

The story is like a fairy tale business. In 2005, when redeemed Harrys Barilla brand, created in 1960 by a baker from Châteauroux (Indre, France), the idea of ​​bread without crust was like a joke. A bit like Emmental without holes. But the Italian really believed, because “this was already a success in the Spanish market,” says Miloud Benaouda, CEO of Barilla France. Better, it could allow the brand to take advantage of packaged breads sold under white labels and low price, which nibbled the French market.
Remained in control in manufacturing, because this seemingly innocuous innovation required technical prowess. Indeed, once removed the crust, bread, less rigid, it becomes difficult to decide on the production line. Hence the idea – protected by a patent – to reduce sharply the temperature of the bread after it leaves the oven to stiffen, to better decide.

Success was quick, worn by children, used to cut the strip of fat around the ham or remove the rind before eating. The bread seemed designed for them, and television campaigns, putting children on stage, was confirmed. The brand also invests heavily in communication: it generates for 80% of advertising spending in its market.

Harrys did not stay alone for long in this segment is booming. Jacquet (Limagrain Group, France) has released its free crust, called “Bloody Mie”, which uses a different method of manufacture. “This is a unique process, says does one competitor in the Harrys, without removing the crust and thus without waste. Patent of this invention is applied globally. Helps reduce material losses and the first cooking time. ” The challenger uses a steaming which avoids the formation of a brown crust. For connoisseurs, the “Bloody Mie” Jacquet has a white crust well and can not be considered without a crust. Difficult to decide.

Successful segmentation

To keep ahead in the race for innovation, Harrys under-segmented bread without crust market by launching the 100% brioche bread, wholemeal bread, bread pudding, 7-grain, long shelf … A fee activism: industrial holds its competitors and white labels at a distance and keep the consumer preference. While the French market classical sandwich bread rose by only 2.4% and is dominated by white labels (44.5%), that of “no crust” grew 15% in volume in twelve months, and Harrys dominates, with nearly 60% of sales.

SAP and BMW Bring you the Connected Car

connected car

As part of a co-innovation project, SAP AG and BMW Group Research and Technology have developed an innovative technology infrastructure for in-vehicle mobility services. The research prototype is based on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform and will provide personalized services to drivers based on their location and route. This collaboration brings SAP one step closer toward making its vision of the connected car a reality. The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress 2014.

The cloud-based platform from SAP serves as a link between BMW and external partners that provide services such as parking, fuel, beverages and food. Information from the various partners is aggregated in a virtual marketplace that, in the future, could allow BMW to give passengers and drivers contextualized and personalized offerings via the in-car dashboard or mobile device. The SAP back end enables service providers to combine services and create new offerings tailored to particular drivers and passengers’ preferences.

Together with BMW Group Research and Technology, SAP has developed a prototype for parking and retail “couponing” use cases. Based on the driver’s profile and vehicle location, the system provides an appropriate space close to the driver’s destination. Related information such as fees and suitability for particular vehicles are also displayed. Once the parking space has been selected by the driver, the location is transmitted to the navigation system for routing guidance.

In the “couponing” use case, the driver receives information on deals based on his or her current location, selected route and individual preferences. Detailed information on each deal is also available. To help avoid distractions while driving, the driver can control the frequency in which the deals are displayed. Deals can be bookmarked and, as in the parking use case, the store location can be transmitted directly to the navigation system for routing guidance. The selected coupon is sent to the driver’s smartphone and can be redeemed immediately at the point of purchase.

SAP’s vision is to consistently enrich the driver’s experience and provide the convenience consumers expect from a connected and social world — in or out of the vehicle. The SAP HANA Cloud Platform is helping companies across industries accelerate their product delivery and establish new business models and revenue streams. With  a standardized platform, automotive manufacturers will have access to a network of service providers, enabling them to develop once and leverage SAP network of service providers with little additional work. The project is part of a joint research initiative of SAP and BMW Group Research and Technology.

Watch the video about the project:

Molecular Sensor: new connected device from SCIO


An Israeli company has developed a pocket-sized molecular sensor, called Scio, that can be used to identify objects. The data is sent to your smartphone. Scio is currently a Kickstarter project that is well over its $200,000 goal. They have raised $1.6 million.

The device analyzes food, plants, medicine and other objects. Here is a list of some of what the company says Scio can do:

  • Get nutritional facts about different kinds of food.
  • GSee how ripe an Avocado is, through the peel!
  • GFind out the quality of your cooking oil.
  • GKnow the well being of your plants.
  • GAnalyze soil or hydroponic solutions.
  • GAuthenticate medications or supplements.
  • GUpload and tag the spectrum of any material on Earth to our database.

Scio includes a light source that illuminates the sample and an optical sensor called a spectrometer that collects the light reflected from the sample. This data is then used to identify the sample in the cloud and the results are sent to your smartphone. Optimally, the technology in Scio will eventually be available within your smartphone. The company says it designed a tiny spectrometer from ground up for the Scio. The company expects the final shipment for the device will be in December 2014.

Take a look:

Withings: the Health connected


Withings launches the Pulse and O2 Health overhaul its implementation Mate .

The Withings Pulse O2 has a strap that can be worn like a watch. Like its predecessor, the Pulse O2 to track user activity , analyze sleep patterns and heart rate measurements . This improved version offers a vital new function: the blood oxygen level via an optoelectronic sensor LED on the back of the device – a first for the activity trackers . Knowledge of oxygen in the blood may be essential for climbers , athletes and people with respiratory conditions such as asthma or other lung diseases with pulmonary disease (COPD ) problems.

Withings has also released a major update to the application Health Mate at the center of the user experience for all of its products. The Web application and Mobile has been redesigned to provide coaching in real time depending on the health goals of the user. A smart formatting helps to highlight the progress of users, health notifications encourage the adoption of good habits, virtual trophies motivate the user and the “ranking” uses the spirit of competition to promote good health. All items are displayed in real time with a new chronological .


News about Withings: see here