Tech talk on cognitive applications

I’m giving a tech talk on cognitive application development this coming Tuesday:

“Applied artificial intelligence”: Getting started with cognitive application development

It’s meant to be a part of a set of talks we started last year on artificial intelligence—how do you actually begin to use these cognitive services in web apps, mobile apps—and it’s aimed at beginners and near-beginners.

The pictures below are my effort to frame the demo: Just as we know now that the brain is not a single, thinking organ but a choreographed set of cognitive skills, Watson is not a single “artificial intelligence” but a set of computational services. Which means that now, the way that Watson is presented and interacted with and marketed is more accurate: The cognitive services available in the Watson Developer Cloud are what it always was!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, August 16th, 12 to 1 at tekMountain.com. I’ll post slides here, notes, a video if it’s made.

braincap

watsoncap

TekMountain Mentor

I’m genuinely honored to have been invited on as a Mentor at TekMountain, a forward-looking tech incubator here in Wilmington, NC, where I live. I’ll co-work my first real day there today!

TekMountain has been a fantastic host, thought leader, and citizen in this region since it started up a couple years ago, partnering with Cucalorus on Cucalorus Connect, a new film sub-festival celebrating tech and entrepreneurship, hosting innumerable public forums and meetups on technology and business, taking the lead here in opposition to NC’s loathsome HB2 bill, chartering Cape Fear Women in Tech, tons of stuff.

I imagine I’ve been tapped for my credentials as an IBMer, dilettante technologist, and local gadfly. To earn my keep, I’m proposing to convene, assist or participate in the following projects, many of which we’ve sort of got underway already.

Projects and ideas

  • With John Cornelius at Wide Open Tech, UNCW Psychology chair and brain guy Julian Keith, Watson University IBMer Mike Orr, and Tanner Clayton, we convened a tech talk on artificial intelligence at Tekmountain last year that was really well attended, energetic, and thoughtful–and that only scratched the surface of this topic.Mike and Julian, the two panelists, have already plotted a follow-up and I really want to bring it to TekMountain and enlarge the conversation even more.

     

  • In that context or some other, I’d like to show off some of IBM’s Cognitive Computing APIs, services like Emotion Analysis and others in our Watson Developer Cloud that you can build into cognitive applications on IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform.

     

  • More generally, I think I can demonstrate a bit about Bluemix development, like my man Jeff Sloyer, who works as an evangelist at IBM and at an incubator in Raleigh.

     

  • Blockchain is white-hot right now. I’d love to talk about hyperledgers, blockchain applications, and how this technology works with transactions, security, and business processes. I’d of course have to learn this stuff first.

     

  • In similar fashion (i.e., learn by doing, learn by presenting), I  think we could talk about the Swift programming language, which Apple has open-sourced and IBM is building into the enterprise, Linux, and the server side). Maybe also Whiskwhat it has to do with Swift, “server-less” architectures, Internet of Things, and stuff like that.

     

  • I’m already working on putting Wilmington on the very short list of cities that will host one of Sandy Carter’s tremendous Hackathons

     

  • I’d love of course to write for TekMountain, and more about the area and technology generally.

     

  • I really want to do something with programming for kids at TekMountain. For the last few years, I’ve lead tech club and “code camps” at my son’s elementary and in the summer, using MIT’s  Scratch programming environment to introduce kids to coding and, like, systems thinking type stuff, design.

     

  • I’d also like to connect TekMountain and the Cape Fear Economic Development Council, where I’m a director, in ways beyond the friendly and partner-ish relationship we have now. These two organizations want many of the same things and have great individuals and brain power to combine.

     

  • Just for fun, and since I’m the guy in the area who in the past has organized informal lunches of IBMers in the region, and there are many (Kure Beach, Ogden, Wrightsville, etc.), I thought it’d be fun to have an IBMer mixer at TekMountain, show my colleagues the facility, the co-working, TekMountain’s new brewing powers.

Featherflag

feather_flags

Is there any better sign of our own alienation than the modern residential featherflag, formerly “elegant”, now ubiquitous, cheese-ball, festooning the front lawns of our would-be neighbors, marking our houses and our neighborhoods not as homes but as markets, as fungible goods?

It seems loony to object to them. Residential for-sale signs are harmless, right? Realtors gotta work. Couples need way-finders for their aspirational weekend home tours.

I think if we really saw them for what they were doing, we wouldn’t allow them. They change the neighborhoods they appear in. Flatten them. They diminish the very things they are advertising!: the single, soulful, peaceable, not-for-sale family home, the quiet lane, the natural setting, the refuge from run-away consumerism. Isn’t that what homes are?

Maybe smart phones will replace these blighting outdoor ads with more useful screen-based location-aware real estate apps. Then you can just see the houses, drive by, feel less like a comparison shopper and maybe see residents looking and feeling less like accessories.