Amazon is a Bad Neighbor

AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
“The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
~ Mark 12:30-31
Jeff Bezos and Harvey Weinstein

Jeff Bezos and Harvey Weinstein

Loving Your Neighbor is Good for Your Health

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Competing Against Amazon

Shop Small

Applying Artificial Intelligence to Local Retail
A talk and demo given by
Terrance Jackson
Thursday, November 15th @ 7 pm
Larchmont Public Library
121 Larchmont Avenue, Larchmont, NY

Amazon Doesn’t Just Want to Dominate the Market—It Wants to Become the Market
The company is a radically new kind of monopoly with ambitions that dwarf those of earlier empires.
Setting up shop on Amazon’s platform has helped Gazelle Sports stabilize its sales. But it’s also put the company on a treacherous footing. Amazon touts its platform as a place where entrepreneurs can “pursue their dreams.” Yet studies indicate that the relationship is often predatory.

Amazon vs other retailers


As a local retailer, if you think keeping up with Amazon is expensive and time-consuming, consider the alternative: extinction.
Today’s retailers face a number of complex and emerging challenges.
Thanks to lower overhead and higher volume, online behemoths like Amazon can deliver products faster and at a lower price, driving smaller retailers out of business.
In order to compete, retailers need a new approach – and the fresh technologies that go along with it.
Personalized Promotion & Product Recommendation Engines
Delivering real-time recommendations to online shoppers is a proven way to maximize revenue. It improves the customer experience and increases sales. According to McKinsey & Company, 35 percent of what consumers purchase on Amazon and 75 percent of what they watch on Netflix come from product recommendations.
However, shoppers expect finely tuned product recommendations and react poorly to one-size-fits-all or uninformed recommendations (e.g., “I’ve already bought that. Why are they showing it to me again?”). To be effective, recommendations must be personalized based on the individual consumer’s preferences, shopping history, interests and needs – in addition to what’s already in their current shopping cart.

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Who Will Control the Future of AI?

Will it be big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, or Facebook, who will use AI to increase their power or wealth; or will the benefits be more evenly and democratically available?
According to Gartner, the global enterprise value derived from AI will total $1.2 trillion this year, a 70 percent increase from 2017. AI-derived business value is projected to reach up to $3.9 trillion by 2022.

Mark Cuban on AI

I am telling you, the world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of.
~ Mark Cuban

CMU AI chart

Machine learning is really important and it will continue to improve but it is kind of done. The crazy new stuff is living on top of machine learning with decision-making systems which are now able to have models of the world through machine learning.
~ Dr. Andrew Moore
Dean of the School of Computer Science
At Carnegie Mellon University

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Building Truly Intelligent Machines

Can Google Predict the Stock Market

PowerPoint slides from AI presentation
As much as I look into what’s being done with deep learning, I see they’re all stuck there on the level of associations. Curve fitting. That sounds like sacrilege, to say that all the impressive achievements of deep learning amount to just fitting a curve to data. From the point of view of the mathematical hierarchy, no matter how skillfully you manipulate the data and what you read into the data when you manipulate it, it’s still a curve-fitting exercise, albeit complex and nontrivial.
~ Judea Pearl


Noam Chomsky
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The Biggest Value-Creating Business Decision

Applying Artificial Intelligence to the Retail Experience
In retail, many of the most vaunted algorithmic success stories have as much to do with human psychology as with engineering know-how.
The biggest value-creating decision in the history of modern decision: Apple’s crazy decision to forward integrate into stores.
~ Scott Galloway

Apple vs. Amazon

Apple made this crazy irrational decision 20 years ago to forward integrate into the medium that was supposedly going away.
The thing carrying Apple to the largest margins, margins that are somewhere in between Hermès and Ferrari in terms of operating margin, is its brand equity or its halo. Now, what did they do differently to establish this unbelievable resonance as a brand? Samsung, their closest competitor spends double on advertising. They also spend double on online advertising. So where has Apple reinvested that capital?

Apples Hermes

Apple made this crazy irrational decision 20 years ago to forward integrate into the medium that was supposedly going away. Stores. And they have somewhere between five and six billion dollars in store leases now on their balance sheet and have reallocated capital out of traditional broadcast media, which is declining every day in effectiveness, into the store where people still make physical contact if you will. They still consummate the relationship with the brand at the point of purchase.

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Did Frederick Douglass think that slavery was a choice?

“I had reached the point, at which I was not afraid to die. This spirit made me a freeman in fact, while I remained a slave in form.”

Frederick Douglass & Edward Covey

Well, my dear reader, this battle with Mr. Covey—undignified as it was, and as I fear my narration of it is—was the turning point in my “life as a slave.” It rekindled in my breast the smouldering embers of liberty; it brought up my Baltimore dreams, and revived a sense of my own manhood. I was a changed being after that fight. I was nothing before; I WAS A MAN NOW. It recalled to life my crushed self-respect and my self-confidence, and inspired me with a renewed determination to be A FREEMAN. A man, without force, is without the essential dignity of humanity. Human nature is so constituted, that it cannot honor a helpless man, although it can pity him; and even this it cannot do long, if the signs of power do not arise.
He can only understand the effect of this combat on my spirit, who has himself incurred something, hazarded something, in repelling the unjust and cruel aggressions of a tyrant. Covey was a tyrant, and a cowardly one, withal. After resisting him, I felt as I had never felt before. It was a resurrection from the dark and pestiferous tomb of slavery, to the heaven of comparative freedom. I was no longer a servile coward, trembling under the frown of a brother worm of the dust, but, my long-cowed spirit was roused to an attitude of manly independence. I had reached the point, at which I was not afraid to die. This spirit made me a freeman in fact, while I remained a slave in form. When a slave cannot be flogged he is more than half free. He has a domain as broad as his own manly heart to defend, and he is really “a power on earth.” While slaves prefer their lives, with flogging, to instant death, they will always find Christians enough, like unto Covey, to accommodate that preference. From this time, until that of my escape from slavery, I was never fairly whipped. Several attempts were made to whip me, but they were always unsuccessful. Bruises I did get, as I shall hereafter inform the reader; but the case I have been describing, was the end of the brutification to which slavery had subjected me.
~ My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Your life doesn’t just “happen.” Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure. You choose courage. You choose fear. Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.
~ 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Habits chart
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

The R F Smith Card: Good Jobs & Financial Health

The R F Smith Card

It’s a sad truth of American life that the poorer you are the more you pay for banking.
For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, banks and other financial firms in 2016 generated $33 billion in fees related to overdrafts on checking accounts, this is the highest level in seven years. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has compared overdraft fees to a short-term loan with a 17,000% APR!
Mehrsa Baradaran, associate professor of law at the University of Georgia, and author of How the Other Half Banks, writes “As the banks are set up currently, the fees they charge are meant to dissuade small accounts, or accounts by people whose incomes are minimal and very uneven.”
As Baradaran writes in her book’s introduction, the banking industry has stopped serving those who are “too poor to bank”, pushing them into the arms of non-bank service providers to provide the most basic services: to cash pay checks, pay bills or transfer money. In exchange, she calculates that they fork over up to 10% of their income for these services.
In some cases, they don’t have an option: a bank may refuse to open an account for them. And banks have long been trying to “discourage” their smaller customers: fees on accounts where balances dip below a specified level even briefly can look extremely costly to a low-income household.

Financial Health

Financial Health for Everyone using A.I.
Our vision is an audacious one: to increase the number of individuals with positive financial health and well-being. To achieve financial health, people need day-to-day financial systems that build long-term resilience and opportunity. Financial health enables family stability, education, and upward mobility, not just for individuals today but across future generations. Promoting financial health is good for the American economy. Financially healthy consumers drive new opportunities for increased engagement, loyalty, and long-term revenue streams. Lasting financial health also has a positive macroeconomic impact on communities at local, regional, and national levels.
We are developing a financial adviser system with several artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to help achieve this goal. This system learns from historical data to predict the account balances of individuals for a future time period, identify the recurring charges in their spending, determine unexpected large expenses, and analyze the category-wise spending behavior of user groups.

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