SDF podcast 10: Big Data is never a be-all and end-all

Amid congressional hearings and FBI investigations in the US about whether and how Russia interfered with the US Presidential Elections, discussions continue about the efficacy and ethics of micro-targeting voters. In our latest and 10th edition of the SmallDataForum podcast, Neville, Sam and Thomas reflect on the outcome of the recent general elections in the UK. This episode’s show notes were written by Thomas Stoeckle. We agree that, unlike last time, Labour did better than the Conservatives digitally at this election. In combining doorstep campaigning with digital targeting in marginal seats (based on the insights from their proprietary software) and generally being on the ball with issues online, Labour managed to connect the dots more successfully than the Conservatives. This […]

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Is podcasting about to get its tipping point?

Podcasts

There’s been quite a sense of anticipation, if not excitement, among podcasters about Apple’s announcement last week on some significant enhancements the company is making this autumn to its podcast app for iPhones and other iOS devices. The big change in the app is potentially a game-changer for podcasting as it will provide podcasters with basic analytics functionality to offer evidence of listening behaviours by subscribers (where they paused in a podcast, how much of it they listened to, did they listen to all of it, etc) rather than just metrics on downloads (how many downloads, which country are downloaders in, what directory listing did they click, etc). In simple terms, it means podcasters will now be able to answer […]

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The human error of Tay

Microsoft’s public experiment with artificial intelligence in the form of Tay, an AI chatbot, made news headlines everywhere during last week – but not for positive reasons at all. Launched on March 23, Tay was developed by Microsoft’s Technology and Research and Bing teams to experiment with and conduct research on conversational understanding. Microsoft says: Tay is designed to engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation. The more you chat with Tay the smarter she gets, so the experience can be more personalized for you. Tay is targeted at 18 to 24 year old in the US, the dominant users of mobile social chat services in the US. Tay was built […]

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Consider the human side of robots

With all the talk about how robots will take everyone’s jobs and basically bring on the Apocalypse, it’s not hard to get worried. The robots haven’t just landed in the workplace – they’re expanding skills, moving up the corporate ladder, showing awesome productivity and retention rates, and increasingly shoving aside their human counterparts. One multi-tasker bot, from Momentum Machines, can make (and flip) a gourmet hamburger in 10 seconds and could soon replace an entire McDonalds crew. A manufacturing device from Universal Robots doesn’t just solder, paint, screw, glue, and grasp—it builds new parts for itself on the fly when they wear out or bust. And just this week, Google won a patent to start building worker robots with personalities. […]

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Samsung (and Facebook) raise the mobile game

The smartphone market continues to rapidly evolve. Who thinks about a smartphone these days as simply a device to make phone calls and send text messages? I don’t – a smartphone is a powerful computer that also makes phone calls and sends text messages. That thought came to me more than once or twice while I watched and listened to Samsung’s press event via live video stream from the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona on Sunday evening. The company announced their next smartphones in the Galaxy model line – the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge – held aloft by DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, in the photo above. While both devices look pretty similar to […]

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