Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Michael Jordan on the delusions of big data

Michael Jordan (the one from Berkeley, not the basketball player) gave an interesting interview to IEEE Spectrum.  it is recommended to read his own words. 

Some of the highlights of Jordan's opinions are:

  1. Using brain metaphors for computing is misleading:   computing does not work like the brain, this is also includes one of Jordan's expertise areas - neural nets.
  2. He says that the advances in computer vision lead us to be able to solve some kind of useful problems, but we are very far from giving machine the vision capabilities of a human
  3. "Big Data" is over-promising.  One can prove many false hypotheses using big data methods.  This is similar to building bridges without a theory of how to build bridges,  some may  survive, and some will collapse... 
  4. If he will have $1B to spend on research, he will invest in natural languages processing...

I think that it adds to some other observations about the overhype of "big data" (for example, see my posting on Noam Chomsky's opinion couple of years ago, or Tim Harford's recent article). 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Physical Web - by Google

Google recently revealed the "Physical Web" project.  This project is aimed at "interaction on demand" which will be a standard way that everybody will be able to consume data from devices connected to the Internet (AKA "Internet of Things") without the intervention of applications.   
This idea reminds of the idea of the grand challenge posed by the Event Processing Manifesto that was the result of the Dagstuhl seminar in 2010 and talked about "event fabric".     The "event fabric" challenge went further than get events on demand and also included processing event patterns on demand which I believe will be the next step to create access for everybody.  The ability to compose patterns on demand by everybody is a key to making this real-time data useful and complete the IoT revolution....  I am planned to give a talk related to this idea in early November in a workshop adjacent to the ACM Multimedia conference in Orlando... Will write more on this later...