Allstate’s Digital Assistant ‘Amelia’ Now Helps Call Center Reps

Allstate’s AI-powered chatbot, Amelia, continues helping the insurance company’s call center employees solve customer service issues efficiently. Since her original deployment in September, she’s already helped these employees with more than 3 million client conversations, answering questions through an instant messaging platform on employee desktops. In January alone, Amelia helped on 250,000 calls. Allstate and other insurance companies are turning to chatbots to stay ahead of insurance-focused startups looking to compete.

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Debate Erupts After Reports of Access to Facebook User Data

Lawmakers in the U.S. and U.K. are demanding answers from Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg after reports surfaced over the weekend that data analytics company Cambridge Analytica was able to exploit the personal data of 50 million Facebook users without their permission — data that was reportedly used in the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the Brexit referendum. Facebook announced that it suspended Cambridge Analytica after learning Facebook policies specifying how third-party developers can deploy user data had been violated. Continue reading Debate Erupts After Reports of Access to Facebook User Data

IBM and Salesforce to Link AI Technologies for Data Analytics

Chief execs Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and Ginni Rometty of IBM announced a new partnership yesterday that will combine the two companies’ artificial intelligence technologies to create new data analytics offerings for helping others target products and services. Available in the second half of 2017, the offerings will introduce “integrated AI services that weave the broad human-like conversation and learning capabilities of IBM’s Watson with Salesforce’s more sales-oriented Einstein,” reports The Wall Street Journal. In an “effort to reinvent itself for the cloud-computing era,” IBM has been tailoring Watson “for a variety of industries including health care, financial services and automobiles.” Continue reading IBM and Salesforce to Link AI Technologies for Data Analytics

Pandora Expands, Adds Questlove as First Artist Ambassador

Pandora took a major step as its service expands to directly compete with Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal: bringing on musician Questlove as its first artist ambassador. Questlove, whose Roots is the house band for NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” originally visited Pandora for non-specific discussions but, when its co-founder Tim Westergren showed him its Music Genome Project for categorizing songs by minute attributes, he was immediately hooked and accepted Westergren’s offer to join as a strategic adviser and ambassador. Continue reading Pandora Expands, Adds Questlove as First Artist Ambassador

NBCUniversal Awarded Patent to Halt Illegal BitTorrent Piracy

NBCUniversal just received a patent to track files, in real-time, shared by groups on peer-to-peer networks, part of an anti-piracy effort. “Early detection of high volume peer-to-peer swarms,” the title of the patent, looks for a popular swarm so that the copyright holders can take action before it is “too late to do much good.” Detection relies on a data feed of peer-to-peer swarm activity, augmented by a data analytics engine that processes the data to identify swarms with parameters exceeding a threshold. Continue reading NBCUniversal Awarded Patent to Halt Illegal BitTorrent Piracy

Silicon Beach Now the Main Tech Hub of Southern California

Silicon Beach has become home to a number of tech startups, publicly traded companies and business incubators. Recent years have seen a wave of talent, innovation and investors that have fostered compelling new companies and, in some cases, acquisitions by larger Silicon Valley tech leaders. However, a number of startups have opted to stay in Los Angeles, while larger companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are building a presence. While still early in its development, the LA tech scene now has the core ingredients that helped launch Silicon Valley. Continue reading Silicon Beach Now the Main Tech Hub of Southern California

IoT: Amazon Acquires Connected Enterprise Startup 2lemetry

Amazon recently confirmed that it has acquired 2lemetry, a startup with a focus on creating real value of data being processed and shared via Internet-connected devices. Under Amazon, Denver-based 2lemetry will continue to service its existing clientele, which includes companies such as Honeywell and First Mile. All other deal details remain undisclosed. Amazon’s acquisition of 2lemetry reflects the company’s early efforts to develop an Internet of Things business strategy. Continue reading IoT: Amazon Acquires Connected Enterprise Startup 2lemetry

Cox Launches Contour Personal TV Experience on the iPad

Cox Communications is introducing a new service that offers a personalized TV experience for its subscribers. With the Contour service, Cox is attempting to offer Netflix-like recommendations. Cox will use Contour to learn what its subscribers enjoy and combine “on-demand” features with live TV. Marketed separately from other Cox services, Contour includes three components: a data-driven TV guide, more powerful DVR and a redesigned app. Continue reading Cox Launches Contour Personal TV Experience on the iPad

BookVibe Makes Recommendations Based on Twitter Feeds

BookVibe, created by startup Parakweet, analyzes the tweets of a user’s Twitter followers, and creates book recommendations based on mentioned books. The company uses artificial intelligence technologies to differentiate between a tweet with genuine regards to a book and a tweet that only mentions it. Parakweet is also developing tools for publishers and media companies for more advanced analysis on social media of books and movies. Continue reading BookVibe Makes Recommendations Based on Twitter Feeds