Detecon’s Fast Five from the Valley

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Fast Five from the Valley – December 1st 2017

“Fast 5 from the Valley” is a series of Detecon Innovation Institute to keep you up to date on what’s going on over in the Valley on a regular basis. What you can expect is nothing less than the latest buzz from our encounters in the Valley and an excerpt of what the news, media and the people talking about and what’s going on right now.

The net is becoming less neutral!

…And while the US was gearing up for Thanksgiving, a time for feeling thankful for all that makes America great (freedom etc), The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to kill the party by officially announcing their intention to repeal existing net neutrality rules when they meet for the FCC’s monthly meeting on the 14thof December. Despite the best efforts of Google et al and 22m comments to the FCC, the reform is likely to be approved. What does this mean? Net neutrality is the concept that the little packages of data which contain the information on the webpage etc must be processed by ISPs at the same speed regardless of where it comes from or where it is going to. Repealing this enables the Internet Service Providers to charge more money (both for users using the internet and businesses hosting sites), block/ speed up or slow down access to sites at their discretion and chose what people see. Good news for Telcos, really bad news for everyone else.

Uber is being ubered.

Volvo finally started getting some good press prior to Thanksgiving, agreeing to supply Uber with 24,000 self-driving taxis beginning in 2019. The deal is estimated to be worth more than $1bn. However, the good news was short lived with it being overshadowed by another scandal which engulfed Uber – a massive 57m user and 600k driver data breach. Rather than disclose the breach, Uber paid the hackers a $100k bribe to keep the attack under wraps and hid the attack from the public. Meanwhile Google hasn’t been doing great either with it being discovered that android devices have been covertly sending location data to google even when it is turned off.

Scalable Automatic Machine Learning in H2O.

This week Chinyere went to a meetup hosted by the AI startup H20, one of Detecon’s Partners in the AI Partnering Program. The meetup focused on one of hottest topics at the moment – Automatic Machine Learning. In recent years, the demand for machine learning experts has outpaced the supply, despite the surge of people entering the field. To address this gap, there have been big advances in the development of user-friendly machine learning software, such as H2O, that can be used by non-experts.  H20 presented its new automatic machine learning functionality that provides an easy-to-use interface which automates the process of training a large, comprehensive selection of candidate models and a stacked ensemble model which will be one of the top performing model in the automatic machine learning area.

WeWork buys Meetup to enable people to meetup in a digital age

With a speculated amount of $200m, the coworking startup WeWork will acquire Meetup, a platform that allows people with similar interests to “meetup” in the real world. Even though, Meetup has raised relatively little funding ($18m compared to their reported $200m valuation), Meetup has about 35m members and has hosted more than 300m meetups. That means even if WeWork manages to convert 1% of Meetup members onto their cheapest membership, they set to make about $9.24m off the deal. WeWork has continued to rapidly expand its empire, which includes the purchase of the Lord & Taylor flagship store and a $32 million investment in a women’s coworking space.

You’re Not You When You’re Hungry

The company Mars has created a tool that measures the hunger level of the internet using an algorithm, which is called “Hungerithm”. It works by checking social media posts for mentions, including 3,000 words and phrases to determine sentiment. This algorithm was developed for Snickers’ real-time discount promotion to its ongoing campaign “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” around consumers being “hangry”. As collective online “hanger” levels go up, Snickers will offer increasingly higher discount coupons in real-time at participating U.S. 7-Eleven stores.

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