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Wanted: A world where virtual assistants help (without being asked)

Yesterday, 06:58 AM

Posted by Computerworld in Computerworld News

Instead of fearing that artificial intelligence (A.I.) will replace us, we should be excited about how A.I. will help us.

In a perfect future, our A.I. virtual assistant will know what we're doing, where we're going and — most importantly — what we're saying. They'll know lots of other things, too. And when they sense we need help, they'll whisper suggestions, ideas or facts into our ears, essentially giving us real-time knowledge as we go about our day.

As you're walking from a parking garage to your meeting, your virtual assistant should give you turn-by-turn walking directions without you having to ask. As you shake hands before the meeting, your virtual assistant should remind you (without anyone else hearing), that you met the person four years ago at a conference. During the meeting, it should listen for potential questions and supply the answer.

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The Essential phone that’s not that essential

18 Aug 2017

Posted by Computerworld in Computerworld News

Perhaps one of the most poorly named products in recent memory, the new Essential phone arrives just in time to make us wonder why it even exists.

Using a “modular” design, the idea is to add pieces like a 360-degree camera or maybe some sort of connected home gadget to the smartphone, which runs a stock version of Android. It also uses a slick black enclosure, something that might make you think of a recent Blackberry model. And, the screen runs all the way to the edge. Hmm.

Here’s my problem with it. While the modular design seems novel (Motorola does the same thing) and I’m impressed that any company would even try to go up against Apple and Samsung, there’s already some signs that this will be an uphill climb.

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Beginner's guide to R: Introduction

18 Aug 2017

Posted by Computerworld in Computerworld News

R is hot. Whether measured by more than 10,000 add-on packages, the 95,000+ members of LinkedIn's R group or the more than400 R Meetup groups currently in existence, there can be little doubt that interest in the R statistics language, especially for data analysis, is soaring.

Why R? It's free, open source, powerful and highly extensible. "You have a lot of prepackaged stuff that's already available, so you're standing on the shoulders of giants," Google's chief economist told The New York Times back in 2009.

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