Fun #AI Digest: Burgers, Toothbrush and Pocket

The application of Artificial Intelligence is growing more aggressively than perceived. People are coming up with novel and useful ideas to enable the overall adoption and so the benefit of AI.

In this short edition, I bring to you two interesting use cases and 1 mega use case (combination of multiple such) together.


Flipping burger patties is one of the hazardous activities that happen in the food industry. As per this Washington post article of 2013, the kitchen is the most hazardous room in the house. There is a very high incidence of burn and cut injuries. Imagine the hazard in ever-mushrooming restaurants and eateries. The risks in preparing food are really high and can be fatal at times.

Miso Robotics is determined to make the kitchen safer. It has blended robotics, artificial intelligence, and data science to build products that work as kitchen assistants. Check out their burger flipping robot, Flippy. It makes sure that you don’t have to lean over the hot gas stove to flip burgers. And, it also makes way in the cluttered kitchen for you to move around. Check out their Flippy video.


Kolibree, a CES 2017 awardee, has come up with a low-power processor driven toothbrush called Ara. With Ara, you can brush your teeth in both online and offline mode. The toothbrush is smart enough to know where exactly you need to brush, how many times and what damage can happen if a particular type of brush is used. ¬†It comes with bristles and is truly an innovation that is poised to make some dent in the tooth care industry. It is only to be seen how the data can be used with deep learning to enable people from avoiding next trip to the dentist. Check out more here…

And finally, This infographic from Intel tell you what AI you are carrying in your pocket.

So, enjoy your Flippy Burger ith your shiny teeth, courtesy Ara, while you flip AI from your pocket ūüôā

Fears of #AI Part 2 – Accidental Intelligence

Just as we were recovering from the spat between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, as discussed in last week’s post on Fears of AI, new events in the world are leading to more fears of perils due to Artificial Intelligence.

Fear of AI

Facebook stopped an experiment where it had created two AI Bots to negotiate with each other. The initial idea was for the bots to negotiate with each other, based on bartering. Thus ultimately hitting the common ground for both and close the deal. Instead, this happened –

(Original Transcript of negotiation between the bots)

Bob: i can i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me

Bob: i i can i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me

Bob: i . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i i i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have 0 to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

What is odd in the discussion above is the language that is being used by the two bots to negotiate. Clearly, it’s not English but something scripted in English. What is clear is that the bots have developed a language only they can understand. They are interacting and responding the same way. This is the classic GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) situation. However, Facebook quickly shut the experiment. The whole world has gone berserk with this announcement. Facebook has embraced the greatest fears of AI. Some go to the extent to say this is what has happened in public domain. What has happened in private, no one knows?

There is more noise now that scientists may not know all the solutions, and to be more specific all the problems. There are doomsday scenarios being written by multiple people, but here is a good list that tells all –









More details here – The Clever.

Here is the video of the week –

6 ways to improve listening

In a world filled with cacophony and sounds of multiple types, listening is becoming more and more sparse. The advent of technology and increasing domination of technology gadgets in our daily lives, conversations have fast approached their untimely death. Within homes, people are interacting less with each other and spending more time watching TV or reading social media posts on their personal mobile phones or tablets. This is truly a connected world with disconnected people.


An obvious casualty of this limited one to one interactions is the ability to listen or in other words, listening skills. Lack of listening skills is leading to more and more gaps and distances. These distances are filled with confusion and chaos. We are building a sparsely connected world where opinions and judgments are made with partial listening – so partial information. Compound with the inherent nature of human beings to do stereotyping, we are leading to more angst and more hatred in the society.

The growing number of road rage cases are just one indication of growing angst in the society and how the sense of community if getting lost.

Three separate research articles spanning over 60 years suggest listening has not evolved as much as it should. In the first article dated 1957, the research points to the need for active listening and how it is causing loss of the high amount of business dollars.

Read more about it here.

The second article demonstrates the same problem still persists. There is still significant productivity loss due to lack of active listening.

Read more about it here.

The third article talks about the things that great listeners do and emphasizes the lacks of active listeners.

Read more about it here.

60 years have gone by emphasizing the importance of this significant skill and lack of its adoption in the world, in general. The significant loss underscores the need – especially in the context of being better business owners, managers, and better human beings.

So what can one do to improve their listening skills?

Julian Treasure has spent a significant amount of his life researching on the skill of listening. He has spent years researching the subject and has identified 5 ways on how we can improve our listening. Here are his 5 popular ways –

  1. 3 MINUTES OF SILENCE РJulian advocates practicing 3 minutes of silence every day.  With this, he says that people can be better at understanding the sounds in the environment they are operating. This helps to become an active practitioner of the art of listening and improves cognitive skills significantly.
  2. Next, he suggests understanding the MIXER. This is basically a habit of trying to identifying the different sounds in a noisy place.
  3. He further encourages people to SAVOUR the sounds in their surroundings and enjoying those sounds while relating to something familiar.
  4. Then one needs to determine the different types of LISTENING POSITIONS that are possible for them to actively participate in a conversation through listening. Following are the filters that he suggests to apply in the sounds –
    • Active Vs. Passive
    • Reductive Vs. Expansive
    • Empathetic Vs. Critical
  5. Finally, he relies on the RASA, meaning juice or essence in Sanskrit. This is expanded as below –
    • RECEIVE – Pay attention others
    • APPRECIATE – via little sounds like mm, hmmm
    • ASK

With these Julian concludes that one can become a much more active listener and be effective in their realm of activity.

You can watch his Ted Video on ‘Listening of Sounds’ here.

The 6th way is to breathe in a rhythm, in tandem with the sound to focus on what is being said. 

It is important for us with the cacophony around us to become active listeners. Let’s start practicing these today itself.

You can listen to the related podcast at Soundcloud.

Weekly #AI Digest: Persona, Personal, Official

The virtual assistants are ‘virtually’ (meaning literally) are rocking the world with the endless possibilities they are opening. From a humble beginning with Apple’s Siri that was a novelty when it was launched, there are plenty of virtual assistants today that have come up in the market.¬†We have spoken about them in the past multiple times. Be it Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Sales Force Einstein (still in works), they have featured here.


So while we see a lot of marketing coming out of these virtual assistants and chat bots, what if we start getting answers from Donald Trump on our phones about his plans for the nuclear war, or Elon Musk to talk about his view on the next big planet to explore after Mars or Justin Beiber on his next chart buster?

MIT Media Labs is working on this to make it a reality. They are working on something called ‘Augmented Eternity’. Its based on an idea of “swappable identities” based on question prompt. With a personality lens, you can swap the identity and then you can ask the relevant question to the persona and get your answer.

This will help in streamlining the overall asymmetry we see in expertise and consultative sharing. Plus, ¬†we will get the right answers faster and that too from the horse’s mouth.

So while this is still in works, these virtual assistants remain dumb. A social comedy experiment by Brent Rose to squeeze a flick on comedy based on stupid answers from Siri, Cortana, Echo and Assistant went horribly wrong. Check out the video here.

Now this makes one scary.

Perhaps this is the reason why Google has found that¬†since humans suck at making good AI so they have built AutoML that is better in building AI than the company engineers. ¬†Through a mesh of neural networks, the controller neural net defines a ‘child’ ¬†model architecture that grows as more data is fed. Catch being the child grows faster than the human child.

While world is still bracing these advances and we are still away from the trade-off of the smart, over smart and dumb version of AI, one CEO has decided to give the dirty of job of on the spot reviews about his team members to a machine over himself.

One new member that has joined the team meetings hosted by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is ‘Einstein Guidance’. Einstein is the company’s AI assistant that assimilates information said by all the team members in the meeting and gives on the spot feedback about a team member who may not be performing so well.

Wait till this comes to our homes and when parents will leave this dirty job to many more Einsteins.

Hope you enjoyed reading this edition.

Weekly #AI Digest: Fun Facts

Lets start with some fun facts in AI

  • Most the Personal Assistants and AI products are Females. Check ‘Siri‘, ‘Cortana‘ , ‘Cognea‘ to name a few. IBM Watson is the big outlier in this. But he recently got married to Cognea.


  • It is predicted that by 2018, more than 3 million workers will be supervised by a ‘Robo Boss’.
  • A whooping 85% of customer interactions will not have human reps handling the requests
  • People will leave their current jobs and become Data Science Instructors
  • Policeman giving you tickets for over speeding may be a robot or a simple machine installed in one hidden corner of the road… you may not even notice.
  • Your McDonald’s burger may have no human serving you end to end
  • Most of the news, sports and markets, that you would read¬†would be created by Natural Language Generators


  • -Spider-ManSpider-Man Bot shall lead you to the closest store where you can buy the comic and enjoy reading it.
  • There are plenty on-field Robots and AI Driven machines in the field and there are plenty of startups funded to control these robots.
  • More jobs? It was said that with ATMs the number of tellers would reduce leading to job cuts. Instead, banks opened more branches and more people got hired. Bots would lead to new jobs – bot controllers, AI friends to name a few.

Besides, your privacy could be at risk. Recently, Google’s DeepMind was found to have ‘legally inappropriate access‘ to a lot of private patient data from leading hospitals in UK.


And here is the video of the week:

April Mid-week AI News Roundup

Last week’s round up on the AI news. Some key announcements:

  1. Jeff Bezos told the investors about Day 1 and how is bracing AI to bring it more closer to the customer every day. Here is a link to his letter to the shareholders.
  2. Infosys announced its plan to further sharpen its focus on automation and machine learning.  Read more here.
  3. There is a growing concern that the AI algorithms can be deflected and influenced by racial and gender biases. In the two articles below, Science Magazine and BBC Tech group explore more.

‘The advent of automation, increasingly powered by machine-learning software, has also prompted clients to ask that their orders be fulfilled with fewer human staff, hitting the IT companies‚Äô revenues based on time spent and number of people employed to fulfil the orders.’ – Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys

Video pick for the week:

Bots can beat the noise

Technology as we know it, was supposed to reduce the stress from our lives and improve the general productivity. As obvious outcome is to deliver more in same or lesser amount of time. People were supposed to focus more on the more productive ideation side while technology was supposed to relieve us.

However what have we got? More noise, more distractions, more non-productive interactions, pervasiveness killing time with meaningless conversations.

Analyse this:

funny whatsapp picture messages desktop

While desktops graduated to laptops, the real killer app came in the form of smart mobile phones. The smartphones broke so many barriers that technology has become a necessity, availability continuous and reach pervasive. Consequently, we are mired with too much of noise than actual work.


Consequently, the noise and distractions have caused somewhat a dip in productivity, or least has not led to the promised gains.

One of the key challenges that one sees in the corporate world today is the need to have more and more meetings – on time, with all the required stakeholders – to make decisions.

Many service and tech product organisations are moving to Agile Methodologies of project execution. Manufacturing units are moving to extreme fast prototyping. Besides, almost all businesses are undergoing the disruption to move faster, fail faster if that be the case.

In such an environment, the noise from technology can be a deterrent to the velocity that the organisation wants to attain. When combined, it can lead to monumental losses of time, resources and employee engagement.

Interestingly, the answer to navigate through this noise could lie in technology itself.

The recently popular chatbots provide an effective way to take care of some of the regular repetitive tasks done by individuals. These tasks should not require human being.

Picture this. Almost everybody is needed to fill the timesheets to provide inputs to the management about the project cost and expended amounts. However, there is always a strike rate of 10% failure in timely submission of timesheets.

Now, you may argue that people get emails. It is fine. However, in the world of automated responses and cluttered mailboxes, these emails can get easily lost. What are you left with? Ping the person who has not submitted the timesheet on time and ask him to submit their timesheets. What did we gain in this transaction? Largely nothing, as the time has already elapsed for the person to fill her timesheet. What did we lose? We lost time of atleast one individual in follow-up.

Lets say we can build a chatbot that can do these automatic pings. Wouldn’t it be easy and convenient and fast with no manual intervention.

This appears to be a strong use case. When you lap it up with the organiser pings, who are patiently waiting for you in the meeting that started 10 minutes back. But since you were so busy in preparation that you just ignored the calendar reminder. Instead of this, if a chatbot pings you and reminds you that you need to attend the important meeting.  Its not only cool but also convenient to all.

With many such use cases, I believe there is a way to improve the managerial productivity in the workplace. These are simple solutions that can take stress out of the system. While I am not very familiar with the chatbots world, it sounds truly intriguing to think about it and build something around them.

Watch this space as I discuss my progress with the chatbot in following days.