Weekend Readings – Nov 21, 2021

  • Microsoft and Metaverse: It’s certainly the question of the season: what is the Metaverse? Here is the punchline: the Metaverse already exists, it just happens to be called the Internet.  For well over a year a huge portion of people’s lives was primarily digital. The primary way to connect with friends and family was via video calls or social networking; the primary means of entertainment was streaming or gaming; for white collar workers their jobs were online as well. This certainly wasn’t ideal: the first thing people want to do as the world opens up is see their friends and family in person, go to a movie or see a football game as a collective, or take a trip. Work, though, has been a bit slower to come back: even if the office is open, many meetings are still online given that some of the team may be working remote — for many companies, permanently.(Stratechery)
  • Even though electric and self-driving cars have yet to saturate the market, dozens of companies are at various stages of launching flying cars in a variety of models. Although the earlier prototypes were not successful, they have paved the way for today’s more advanced models. With the more recent development and popularity of drones, several companies have designed passenger models. These include two Chinese companies, XPeng, which is backed by the e-commerce company Alibaba, and EHang, which is supplying the United Arab Emirates with autonomous taxis. The drones run on electric motors. (Quillette)
  • On the wings of Ada Lovelace.She detailed her ideas for a “flying machine” in the spring of 1828, writing to her mother: “I have got a scheme … which, if ever I effect it … is to make a thing in the form of a horse with a steam engine in the inside so contrived as to move an immense pair of wings, fixed on the outside of the horse, in such a manner as to carry it up into the air while a person sits on its back” (April 7, 1828, excerpted in Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers). (UC Berkeley Blog)
  • How well can an AI mimic human ethics? For a long time, a background assumption in many parts of the AI field was that to build intelligence, researchers would have to explicitly build in reasoning capacity and conceptual frameworks the AI could use to think about the world. Early AI language generators, for example, were hand-programmed with principles of syntax they could use to generate sentences. Now, it’s less obvious that researchers will have to build in reasoning to get reasoning out. It might be that an extremely straightforward approach like training AIs to predict what a person on Mechanical Turk would say in response to a prompt could get you quite powerful systems. (Vox)
  • What Is Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)? A CSAT score is easy to calculate. It’s the sum of all positive responses, divided by the total responses collected, then multiplied by 100. The outcome leaves you with the overall percentage of satisfied customers at your business. A big strength of Customer Satisfaction Score lies in its simplicity: It’s an easy way to close the loop on a customer interaction and determine whether or not it was effective in producing happiness. (Hubspot)

Last Updated on November 21, 2021 by SK

Early Week Readings – Nov 15,2021

  • Apple’s Relentless Strategy, Execution, and Point of View. Apple’s announcement of “Apple Silicon” is important for many reasons. Delivering on such an undertaking is the result of remarkable product engineering.(Learning By Shipping)
  • Qualcomm is researching machine learning at the edge. So far, ML at the edge has only involved inference, the process of running incoming data against an existing model to see if it matches. Training the algorithm still takes place in the cloud. But Qualcomm has been researching ways to make the training of ML algorithms at the edge less energy-intensive, which means it could happen at the edge. (StacyOnIoT)
  • Wi-Fi HaLow is now certified and ready for action. About five and half years ago the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that it was planning a new Wi-Fi standard just for the IoT. It was dubbed Wi-Fi HaLow and the IEEE standard was called 802.11ah. The whole goal of the new standard was to tackle the high power consumption of traditional Wi-Fi and to have the signals stretch over longer ranges.(StacyOnIot)
  • Tableau Pledges to Train 10 Million Data People. With demand for data skills outpacing supply, data skills are no longer exclusively essential for data scientists or technical roles — to build truly data-driven organizations, employees across the entire enterprise must be data literate. This will help companies become data-driven and strengthen the Tableau Economy – a rapidly growing ecosystem of businesses, tech partners and people leading the world’s data transformations. (Tableau Blog)
  • Why We Forgive Humans More Readily Than Machines. Today, much of that moralizing is not aimed at the wrong pair of socks but at AI and at those who create it. Often the outrage is justified. AI has been involved in wrongful arrestsbiased recidivism scores, and multiple scandals involving misclassified photos or gender-stereotypical translations. And for the most part, the AI community has listened. Today, AI researchers are well aware of these problems and are actively working to fix them. (Scientific American)
  • A Half Century Later, the Journey of Apollo 8 Still Inspires. It’s hard to believe Apollo 8’s voyage around the moon had originally been scheduled as a less audacious Earth-orbit mission to test the whole moonship “flotilla”: the monstrous, still problem-prone Saturn 5 booster, along with the recently redesigned, and only once-flown-by-astronauts Apollo command ship, which was fashioned to carry a three-person crew to and from Earth and into moon orbit. For a landing, it was to fly in tandem with a lunar lander that would ferry two astronauts to and from the moon’s surface. (Scientific American)

Last Updated on November 15, 2021 by SK

Weekend Readings

  • The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, and Who Will Build It. Technology frequently produces surprises that nobody predicts. The most common conceptions of the Metaverse stem from science fiction. Here, the Metaverse is typically portrayed as a sort of digital “jacked-in” internet – a manifestation of actual reality, but one based in a virtual (often theme park-like) world, such those portrayed in Ready Player One and The Matrix. And while these sorts of experiences are likely to be an aspect of the Metaverse, this conception is limited in the same way movies like Tron portrayed the Internet as a literal digital “information superhighway” of bits. (Matthewball.vc)
  • GE and the Belief in Management Magic. The breakup of an American colossus reveals an essential corporate truth: No stratgy can erase decades of bad decisions – or counteract irreversible changes in how business is done. In the early 2010s, GE pushed a big-data and analytics platform for the “industrial internet” that it called Predix, reportedly spending some $5 billion on it. That was much too little, much too late. In the meantime, Microsoft Corp. , Amazon.com Inc.  and others had grown into conglomerates for the new age, offering a suite of technology services much the way GE had long filled the basic needs of industry. (WSJ)
  • University of Washington study: Deep learning reveals 3D models of protein machines. Proteins are made up of strings of amino acid building blocks, but they need to fold correctly to work. IPD’s RoseTTAFold and DeepMind’s AlphaFold have been used to predict the shapes of thousands of proteins since their release. Inside cells, proteins often interact with each other in machine-like protein complexes that perform a variety of tasks. Many approved drugs also interfere with protein complexes, such as chemotherapies that hijack machinery involved in DNA replication and cell division. (GeekWire)
  • The Chip That Could Transform Computing. It was Intel’s co-founder Gordon Moore who famously predicted that computer chips would keep getting unimaginably more powerful. And it was Intel’s products, the x86 line of microprocessors at the heart of just about every personal computer, that turned Moore’s prophesy into a governing “law” of tech. The promise that every year, Intel’s new chips would be much faster than its old chips set the rhythm for advances across the entire industry. (NYT)
  • When algorithms go bad: Zillow, Amazon, Facebook and the pitfalls of rampant automation. The downfall of Zillow’s iBuying business is a reminder of the downsides of relying too much on automation and machine learning algorithms at this stage in the evolution of technology. (GeekWire)
  • Managing AI Decision-Making Tools. The nature of micro-decisions requires some level of automation, particularly for real-time and higher-volume decisions. Automation is enabled by algorithms (the rules, predictions, constraints, and logic that determine how a micro-decision is made). And these decision-making algorithms are often described as artificial intelligence (AI). The critical question is, how do human managers manage these types of algorithm-powered systems? (HBR)

Last Updated on November 14, 2021 by SK

Databricks vs Snowflake: Performance blog war!

Healthy and open competition is great for any industry, especially the technology industry that is super conscious of price/performance. Databricks and Snowflake are two great companies duking it out in this price/performance game recently. They’ve published blogs with claims and counter claims. Great insights provided by both blogs and interesting read as well. If you are too rushed to read the entire blog(s), the images below gives you a snapshot of what is said in the blogs. Enjoy!.

Earlier this month, Databricks published a blog claiming “World record” performance for processing 100TB tpc-ds benchmark. It also said corroboration by Barcelona supercomputing center (BCS). And squarely aimed it at Snowflake!https://databricks.com/blog/2021/11/02/databricks-sets-official-data-warehousing-performance-record.html

Chart 1: Elapsed time for test derived from TPC-DS 100TB Power Run, by Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

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Chart 2: Price/Performance for test derived from TPC-DS 100TB Power Run, by Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

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Yesterday, Snowflake published a counter blog (written by the founders benoit and thierry). Basically says, you don’t need a third party, just do it yourself in our cloud platform, it is so simple to verify!!.https://www.snowflake.com/blog/industry-benchmarks-and-competing-with-integrity/

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Last Updated on November 13, 2021 by SK

Late Week Reading

  • Chip Shortage Creates New Power Players.  The shortage has also sharply bolstered the influence of lesser-known chip makers such as Microchip, NXP Semiconductors, STMicroelectronics, Onsemi and Infineon, which design and sell thousands of chip varieties to thousands of customers. These companies, which build many products in their own aging factories, now are increasingly able to choose which customers get how many of their scarce chips. (NYT)
  • The coming battle over electric-trucks. Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity via a chemical reaction between hydrogen, which is stored in tanks just like diesel, and oxygen. The electricity generated by the fuel cell powers the electric motor in the truck. The hydrogen tanks can be refilled, just like cars and trucks fill up at the pump today. (WSJ)
  • Bitcoin For the Open Minded Sceptic. There has been no shortage of writing about Bitcoin over the past 11 years. This paper does not claim any novel insight. Instead, it is a summary of the conversation we often have with investors seeking to understand Bitcoin for the first time. (MattHuang)
  • How Data is Reshaping Real Estate. Tech start-ups are offering new tools to help retailers and entertainment venues be more efficient by counting crowds, tracking foot traffic and following local shopping habits. The growing volume of data on consumer and crowd behavior is having significant implications on real estate design. It’s making even physical space more interactive for marketers (NYT)
  • AI-driven search engine You.com plans to reimagine search in the coming years with a completely new approach to finding information online. We’re constantly searching for answers to our questions, be it at work, when interacting with other people or in our personal lives. This is exactly what You.com is trying to solve. (Medium)
  • How NFTs Create Value. NFTs have fundamentally changed the market for digital assets. Historically there was no way to separate the “owner” of a digital artwork from someone who just saved a copy to their desktop. Markets can’t operate without clear property rights: Before someone can buy a good, it has to be clear who has the right to sell it, and once someone does buy, you need to be able to transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer. NFTs solve this problem by giving parties something they can agree represents ownership. In doing so, they make it possible to build markets around new types of transactions — buying and selling products that could never be sold before, or enabling transactions to happen in innovative ways that are more efficient and valuable. (HBR)

Last Updated on November 12, 2021 by SK

Early Week Reads

  • Evolution of search engines architecture – Algolia New Search Architecture
  • Databricks Sets Official Data Warehousing Performance Record. Databricks SQL delivered 32,941,245 QphDS @ 100TB. This beats the previous world record held by Alibaba’s custom built system, which achieved 14,861,137 QphDS @ 100TB, by 2.2x. (Alibaba had an impressive system supporting the world’s largest e-commerce platform). Not only did Databricks SQL significantly beat the previous record, it did so by lowering the total cost of the system by 10% (based on published listed pricing without any discounts). (Databricks Blog)
  • Is Bitcoin Too Big to Fail? The hand-wringing has been at its fiercest over Bitcoin’s possible exposure to systemic risk, both existential and otherwise. Chief among those concerns is whether a crypto crash, taking place in what is effectively a parallel, decentralized financial universe, might spill over into the traditional financial system. The fact that so many exchanges and crypto intermediaries remain offshore and unregulated continues to fan fears. (Institutional Investor)
  • Why the Chip Shortage Hasn’t Been Fixed Yet. As with any complex supply-chain quagmire, there are a number of different factors that are building on one another, which means there isn’t one simple fix to the semiconductor shortage. Here’s a breakdown of what’s likely to making it so bad—and a clue to when you’ll finally be able to get your hands on a Nintendo Switch. (Slate)
  • Need a New Knee or Hip? A Robot May Help Install It. Today, Mr. Cohen says, models of a bone implant can be superimposed on a 3-D model of a patient’s joint. “This information is imported directly into the robot in the O.R.,” he said, which then “executes the procedure with a level of accuracy and precision that we have never seen.” ( NYT )
  • On the 100th Anniversary of ‘Robot,’ They’re Finally Taking Over. In a century-long dialogue between inventors of fictional and actual robots, engineers have for the most part been forced to play catch-up, either realizing or subverting the vision of robots first expounded in books, movies and television. Now, the reality of robots is in some areas running ahead of fiction, even ahead of what those who study robots for a living are able to keep track of. WSJ


Last Updated on November 9, 2021 by SK

Nikola Motors Fraud

How to Lie Your Way to $34 Billion. If you want to understand what happened to the Tesla’s challenger in the EV trucking industry, this short video is a great start. It is astonishing that even after federal lawsuit and proving that the entire thing is fake, this company is still worth $5B!. Hopefully they’ve something substantial that is not known to general public.


Last Updated on November 8, 2021 by SK