Microsoft Opens an AI Business School For Non-Tech Execs

Microsoft debuted its AI Business School, offering instructional videos and case studies to help business executives create and implement AI within their companies. The school, which is similar to such guides as Andrew Ng’s AI Transformation Playbook, grew out of three years of conversations with customers already implementing AI, as well as the company’s own experiences. Microsoft vice president of AI marketing and productization Mitra Azizirad said the guide will focus on strategy, culture, technology basics and AI ethics. Continue reading Microsoft Opens an AI Business School For Non-Tech Execs

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.

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

Microsoft Claims Brainwave Pushes Bing’s AI 10 Times Faster

Microsoft’s Brainwave system, which is “specialized hardware for AI computation,” was able to “get more than 10 times faster performance for a machine learning model that powers functionality of its Bing search engine,” reports VentureBeat. Brainwave is designed to run trained neural networks as quickly as possible with minimal latency and with the goal of providing “roughly real-time artificial intelligence predictions for applications like new Bing features.” This news was shared with a handful of Bing updates announced Monday.

Continue reading Microsoft Claims Brainwave Pushes Bing’s AI 10 Times Faster

Spotify Launches New Tool, Enlisting Users to Add Metadata

Spotify has launched Line-In, a music metadata editor, and has begun collecting information from users, who are now able to add descriptions of genres, albums and songs on the platform. The move is an effort by the streaming service to better understand how listeners hear and interpret music — and to continue emphasizing the importance of data to its business. All contributed edits are treated as suggestions and are carefully reviewed before being added to the data that powers the service. The 10-year-old Swedish company is about to go public via a direct listing rather than a traditional IPO.

Continue reading Spotify Launches New Tool, Enlisting Users to Add Metadata

Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

Fifteen months after Pandora acquired Rdio’s key assets, the company is launching its anticipated $10-a-month on-demand music service. Pandora Premium, which begins rolling out in the U.S. today, offers access to tens of millions of songs and the ability to save tracks offline. While it still touts the playlisting engine powered by data and people that made its curation approach famous, the service is aiming to distinguish itself from other offerings such as Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud by focusing on personalization features, a new design and ease-of-use. Continue reading Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

Jam City Invests in Mobile Gaming Future with Two New Hires

Los Angeles-based mobile game company Jam City (formerly SGN Games) has hired AI expert Rami Safadi and experimental psychologist Lisa Spano to lead a new research and development team. Both hires will be focused on consumer insights and leveraging data to create new gaming experiences. Safadi believes artificial intelligence will play an integral role in gaming innovation. Jam City’s hires are part of a new phase of development after its initial success, including six of the highest-grossing games in the U.S. Continue reading Jam City Invests in Mobile Gaming Future with Two New Hires

Amazon Unveils Data Science Used By 2012 Obama Campaign

Civis Analytics, founded by Dan Wagner, the former chief analytics officer for President Obama’s 2012 campaign, has rolled out a set of big data tools through Amazon Web Services. The year-old Chicago-based firm says it can eliminate much of the time and cost associated with marketing campaigns, in particular using cloud computing but without the need for customization. The service will start at about $5,000 a month, which Wagner claims will be “80 percent cheaper in most cases” than competing services. Continue reading Amazon Unveils Data Science Used By 2012 Obama Campaign

Rentrak and ListenFirst Want to Measure TV Show Stickiness

Research firms Rentrak and ListenFirst Media are collaborating on a new data set designed to help advertisers identify TV shows that generate consistent viewing and high social engagement. While these programs may not always have the highest ratings, they may have some of the most impassioned fans and may be a better target for advertisers. The research combines Rentrak’s viewership data from set-top boxes with ListenFirst’s data collected from blogs, social media platforms and other sources. The companies presented the research at an Advertising Research Foundation event in New York. Continue reading Rentrak and ListenFirst Want to Measure TV Show Stickiness