AI/ML Roundup — April 1 2019

Four stories today:

  • A new Big Data solution from Cloudera
  • IBM Watson for workforce optimization
  • Concerns about biased AI
  • SAS embraces open source

Let’s get right to it.

Cloudera Announces Big Data Solution

In a keynote speech at Strata Data, Cloudera Chief Strategy Officer Mike Olson introduced DataNV, a product that addresses the needs of CDOs who don’t have enough data to manage.

“We noticed that many of our customers feel sad because they don’t have as much data as other companies. It’s hard to feel good about yourself as a CDO when everyone else has petabytes but you only have terabytes. It makes the networking lunches awkward.”

DataNV solves that problem by generating random numbers at scale and loading them into a Cloudera cluster. Customers simply specify how much data they want to manage. DataNV distributes its computational workload across the cluster and leverages GPU acceleration for low latency manufactured data.

On Sunday, April 7, Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly and GM Hilary Mason will deliver a webinar on The Power of Randomness.

In a related announcement, Cloudera also said that it actually has no plans for a “fusion” distribution. Instead, according to a company spokesperson, the company will simply kill “all of that Hortonworks garbage.”

IBM Watson for Workforce Optimization

As Boomers age, organizations struggle to manage the growing costs of health insurance. IBM thinks it has the answer. IBM Watson Boomer Sniffer, introduced recently at IBM’s Think event, helps companies detect Boomers on the payroll so they can be appropriately targeted for workforce optimization.

Using IBM’s advanced Watson cognitive machine learning, Watson Boomer Sniffer predicts which employees are most likely to be Boomers. The software then recommends a range of actions designed to get the Boomers off the payroll.

Watson Boomer Sniffer is latest in a series of Business Optimization tools based on IBM’s own business experience. Other tools in the series include Tax Credit Finder and Tech Support Minimizer. Tax Credit Finder helps companies maximize state and local tax credits by finding the most desperate jurisdictions, transferring jobs from elsewhere, and pretending they are new jobs. Tech Support Minimizer identifies countries with the lowest standard of living and targets them for call center relocation.

Deadbeats Protest Biased AI

On Saturday, Deadbeats of America held a protest march outside of JP Morgan Chase headquarters on Park Avenue in New York. The raucous crowd blew whistles, banged drums, and carried banners reading “We Deserve Credit,” “JPMC Unfair,” and “Fuck AI.”

In an interview, Trey Atterberry, local organizer for Deadbeats of America, said: “the fatcats at J.P. Morgan Chase use AI to find deadbeats, and that’s unfair. Just because we don’t pay our bills doesn’t mean we don’t deserve credit. This is America.”

Mr. Atterberry currently has a default judgment against him in Texas for failing to pay child support.

Another marcher, Sofia Jilli, says the bank unfairly used AI to detect her unpaid balances on three credit cards. “I’m a good person,” said Mx. Jilli. “So I never paid off those credit cards, so what? They should give me a credit card anyway.”

Dr. Rodya Franziska Comstock of the Wharton School says there is growing concern about biased AI. “If banks use AI to filter out people who don’t pay their bills, that’s really unfair. Under GDPR, these banks can be penalized for behavior like that.”

While researching this article, we attempted to interview non-deadbeats who object to AI but could find none.

SAS Embraces Open Source

In a surprise weekend move, SAS donated its entire software portfolio to the Apache Software Foundation. The software project enters the Apache Incubator as “Apache SAS.”

“SAS’ announcement demonstrates the strength of the open source movement,” said open source guru Matt Asay. “Apache SAS should move quickly to top-level status. Assuming that they can find some Committers not currently on the SAS payroll, of course.”

In a telephone interview, founder Jim Goodnight commented on the move. “This is long overdue. Frankly, I’m just tired of paying people to manage software license keys. There are thousands of people around here who do nothing else. It’s easier to give it all away.”

According to company insiders, SAS will shift its business model from software revenue to services, consulting, and custom development. SAS also plans to sell Halal goat meat from the SAS farm, and admission tickets to its world-famous rock collection. Chief Marketing Officer Randy Guard says that SAS has the biggest rock collection in North Carolina.

A SAS Human Resources spokesperson said that laid-off software license key managers may apply for positions as goat butchers, goat meat packagers, goat meat sales reps, or rock collection ticket takers.

In other SAS news, CBS announced a revival of its popular series Without a Trace. Anthony LaPaglia returns as Special Agent John “Jack” Michael Malone, who leads an FBI unit searching for SAS revenue growth, which disappeared in 2013.


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