Big data, AI, deep learning, data intelligence. If we had a nickel for every buzzword we hear on a daily basis… we’d have a whole lot of nickels. 

The Catalog & Cocktails crew recently played buzzword bingo with Kirk Borne, Chief Science Officer at Dataprime AI. Below are a few questions excerpted and lightly edited from the podcast, as Tim and Juan try to cut through the noise and get to what’s real. 

Juan Sequeda:

Kirk, what’s a buzzword that makes you want to pull your hair out?

Kirk Borne:

Well, (points to head) I don’t have much left. 

Juan:

You’ve gone through a lot of buzz words, then, right?

Kirk:

I’ve thought about it and I guess one of the words that really gets me going is, maybe two words together, “exponential growth.” Because people use that phrase and they have no clue really what they’re talking about. “Exponential growth” doesn’t mean that it’s going up. It means it’s going up at a certain rate. So to tie that back to a data comment, I would often tell people the difference between linear growth, exponential growth, and combinatorial growth. 

So linear growth is two times X, exponential is like two to the X power, and combinatorial is like X factorial which is X to the X power. That’s way faster than two to the X. 

So when people say to me they have exponential growth of data, I would say, “Really? So little?”

 

Juan:

“What the heck is “Industry 4.0” or “Industrial revolution 4.0?” 

Kirk:

I like to talk about it in the context of the first three industrial revolutions. At the dawn of the first Industrial Revolution, 90% of the U.S. workforce was farming. And then a hundred years later the Electricity Revolution started and electricity became the main source of power and industry. And by the time this was underway, as a result of the preceding Industrial Revolution, in that hundred years, the percentage of the U.S. workforce that was farming dropped from 90% to 50%.

Well, in the next eighty years, we got to the Computer Revolution which is the third Industrial Revolution, which really started about fifty years ago. By the time that started the percentage doing farming dropped from 50% the previous revolution now down to 5%. So the key thing during all these Revolutions is not just sort of the power source, but also the way we do work.

So what’s really changed is this era of hyper-connectivity. Everything is connected through our smartphones, through our devices. Even our cars are connected. Our homes are connected. The roads are connected. So it’s really an era of hyper-connectivity. So what powers things is the knowledge that is transported across the computer networks. It’s not just using computer networks to connect to a computer, which is sort of how the computer revolution began. 

 

Tim Gasper:

When you talk about hyper-connectivity, obviously there’s a connectedness and networking aspect to what you’re talking about here. 

What is actionable about this that’s different than maybe the computer revolution and what that enabled?

 

Kirk:

So one thing for sure, you just think about breaking down the silos in business. Businesses have always been, not always, but for many years, have been doing business intelligence. But that business intelligence usually lived in silos so the marketing department, the product department, the sales department, the customer care department, those people didn’t share data with one another. 

 

So maybe people are calling up about some defect in the product and no one’s getting the message in some other part of the business. So the connected intelligence is what’s really making this difference and, of course, there’s so much data it’s hard to do that without something to orchestrate the flow of that information and knowledge, and that’s where the hyper-connectivity and AI come together.

 

Tim:

As we talked about sensors and around Industrial Revolution 4.0, this idea of sensors and getting all this information, it kind of leads to our second buzz phrase here, which is “intelligent edge.” 

What is the intelligent edge?

Kirk:

Well, it has a lot to do with autonomous systems.  Clearly you can collect data, store it in a data warehouse and spend the next six months analyzing it. You don’t want to do that in a self-driving car, right? 

 

So a child walks in front of the car while you’re driving and a camera is watching the front of your car and it sends the data back to the cloud and you analyze the data and fifteen minutes later you say to the car, “Oh, you need to apply your brakes.” Well, it’s kind of late, because the kid was in front of your car fifteen minutes ago. So the intelligent edge is the ability for a system to respond and take an action, take a decision or whatever, at the point of data collection.

 

Juan:

So this intelligent edge … It’s not a buzz word anymore, then. It’s a reality.

 

If not a buzzword, Is “intelligent edge” actually a reality? 

 

Kirk:

Well, what makes it different now is the “internet of things,” because the internet of things has predicted around 25 trillion sensors in the world, so we’re really creating an intelligent edged world. I call it the “internet of context.”

All these sensors in your manufacturing plant, in your car, in your smart home, in your smart city, are giving you contextual information about that environment. All these sensors, by themselves, give you information about whatever it’s sensing, but also gives you contextual information about the environment it’s situated in whether it’s in a manufacturing plant, your home, your car, your city, whatever. So internet of context, to me, is powering the intelligent edge because it’s not just the one’s and zero’s.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Always ask “Why?”
  • We are entering the age of “small data.”
  • Stay a life-long learner.

Visit Catalog & Cocktails to listen to the full episode with Kirk. And check out other episodes you might have missed.