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Gideon Rosenblatt
Works at The Vital Edge
Attended Wharton School
Lives in Seattle
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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About the Vital Edge

Last night, I finished rewriting the "About" page for my website, the Vital Edge. It ended up being a statement about the way I see the connection between technology and humanity, especially within a work context. I thought I would share it with you all here:


The Vital Edge is a place to explore the human experience in the coming era of machine intelligence. We touch on many aspects of that human experience, but our primary focus is the changing nature of work.

When it comes to thinking about the future, I have made the decision not to feed dystopian visions. I am no Pollyanna. I see, and often write about, the dark underbelly of many applications of technology. But I also believe that dystopian visions of the future can act as a kind of siren’s call. Repeat them often enough, and you help bring them into reality.

Instead, I prefer to lean in to optimism, but in a “grounded-futurist” kind of way. I believe we create our future through the choices we make today. If we want a future that guarantees economic opportunity for all, then we need to start designing automation with that eventual goal in mind. If we want artificial intelligence to serve something greater than just maximizing returns for shareholders, then we need to begin baking social and ecological objectives into the outcomes – and code – of the software we write today.

The Vital Edge is a technology-centric publication that appears focused on artificial intelligence, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and other cutting-edge technologies. Lurking beneath that surface, however, are deeper roots in the notion of “humanity at work,” where you will find topics such as mission-driven technology, stakeholder-centric organizational design and ownership, and an emphasis on culture, the real software that connects us all.

In this sense, the Vital Edge is a fusion of the future of technology and the future of work. My goal is to sow seeds for a future where technology serves humanity and the planet, and where the code behind the code of the next intelligence on the planet is deeply infused with what we hold most sacred.

Thank you for visiting, and if this exploration sounds interesting, you can subscribe to the latest posts below.


Actual page is here:
Patrick Schuerfeld's profile photo1st In SEO's profile photoChris Seifert's profile photoAldhuhli Aa's profile photo
happy new year.
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Using machine vision to analyze political ads

This could prove a super helpful means of analyzing political messaging, especially if scaled up to more outlets.

Also, think about this technology becoming more broadly used to analyze media in general. There's something big here, I think.
Algorithms are the future of understanding political ads.
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I've Got My Eyes on You

"The idea that bacteria can see their world in basically the same way that we do is pretty exciting," lead researcher Conrad Mullineaux, a professor of microbiology at Queen Mary University of London, said in a news release.

Mullineaux and his colleagues looked at how cyanobacteria process and respond to light. Cyanobacteria are a type of algae-like bacteria that form thin layers of green slime on seaside rocks.

According to the new research, published in the journal eLife, the bodies of bacterium cells double as a lens -- the world's smallest camera lens. As light passes through the cell body, it is refracted onto a point on the opposite side of the cell.
A team of scientists from England and Germany have shown that slime-forming cyanobacteria see the world much like we do -- with eyes.
Brandon Petaccio's profile photoRon Serina's profile photoPatrick Schuerfeld's profile photo
Then there's the single-celled critter that has an actual eyeball, with a cornea, lens, iris, and retina:
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Another nice piece by +Teodora Petkova​, on semantic technologies.

By attaching additional data to content and linking the resulting data pieces, a publisher creates a rich ecosystem of dynamically interconnected content objects (e.g. text, video, tags, concepts, terms).
Publishing in a world of data
Semantic Technologies and Our Web-like Existence

An excerpt from my new blog post for +Ontotext. Check the entire text here:

"The swelling amounts of data produced every day propel the rise of a new breed of publishers, ones who strive to adapt to the rapid social change and find the most appropriate structures and processes to enable content creation, publishing and distribution in a world of constant connectivity where data never sleeps."

p.s. I love the graphic designer's image for my metaphor (which you will see in the upcoming slides :)) about semantic technologies being the "cutting" of a raw diamond (content).

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Naveen's profile photoBoris Borcic's profile photoRobin Kirkley's profile photoLex David's profile photo
My pleasure, +Teodora Petkova. I'm so glad you're digging into this work. 
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The Changing Role of Ownership

This is an interesting look at how the startup world is addressing issues that have long plagued investors: ensuring an alignment of interests between investors and the management of the firm. This is the question of "agency." 

These are complex issues. The overall sense from this article is of a system where ownership interests and control have become increasingly abstracted in layers of investment management. And it's been a long time coming: 

A result of this democratisation of ownership was its dilution and the loss of one of its components—control. Shareholders lost their grip on ownership and the collective strength to manage their agents, who ran companies. In 1932 Gardiner Means and Adolf Berle argued in “The Modern Corporation and Private Property” that the outcome was that companies became akin to sovereign entities, divorced from the influence of their “owners” by retained earnings that allowed managers to invest as they chose...

Two thoughts come to mind on this issue of control. The first is that retained earnings could also be a powerful means for ensuring the long-term sustainability of a firm and all the full set of stakeholders who contribute to its success ( In other words, retained earning, when properly managed, may be part of the antidote to the very serious problem of using corporations as wealth extraction machines ( 

And this leads me to the second thought, which relates the tighter legal structures and assignments of responsibilities of the startup world, which this article notes as being novel. It doesn't strike me as being all that new really, but perhaps someone more ensconced in the world of startups will have more to say on that. The point is that this kind of careful, contract-based definition of rights and responsibilities, when combined with "technology to create a secondary market for shares", reminds me quite a bit of Distributed Autonomous Corporations, or DACs. Are today's startups really just a stepping stone that that future?

All in all, this is a worthwhile read.  
America’s startups are changing what it means to own a company
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Wow, that's a lot! Good luck! 
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Understanding Word Embeddings in Natural Language Processing

While not extremely technical, this article isn't for the mildly curious. It's well written though, and does a nice job of explaining word embeddings, a powerful technique for Natural Language Processing (NLP). 

I think, by the way, that it's this kind of toolset that may be behind Microsoft's recent acquisition of mobile typing app-maker, SwiftKey.

We didn’t try to have similar words be close together. We didn’t try to have analogies encoded with difference vectors. All we tried to do was perform a simple task, like predicting whether a sentence was valid. These properties more or less popped out of the optimization process.

This seems to be a great strength of neural networks: they learn better ways to represent data, automatically. Representing data well, in turn, seems to be essential to success at many machine learning problems. Word embeddings are just a particularly striking example of learning a representation.
And the technique also helps map concepts to images: 

Recently, deep learning has begun exploring models that embed images and words in a single representation.

The basic idea is that one classifies images by outputting a vector in a word embedding. Images of dogs are mapped near the “dog” word vector. Images of horses are mapped near the “horse” vector. Images of automobiles near the “automobile” vector. And so on.

#NLP   #wordembedding   #machinevision   #machinelearning  
Introduction. In the last few years, deep neural networks have dominated pattern recognition. They blew the previous state of the art out of the water for many computer vision tasks. Voice recognition is also moving that way. But despite the results, we have to wonder… why do they work so well?
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Ping! +Mani Saint-Victor 
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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The Nuanced, Complex Religious Views of Albert Einstein

Stephen Jay Gould has done us the favor of compiling a rich set of quotes to try to capture the complex, nuanced relationship that Albert Einstein had to God and religion. 

I will highlight this quote, but there are many others that are just as interesting:

“The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man. To know that what is impenetrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties – this knowledge, this feeling … that is the core of the true religious sentiment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself among profoundly religious men.”


Brandon Petaccio's profile photoHenk Hadders's profile photoAndrew Carpenter's profile photoGabriel Pagan's profile photo
+James Griffin If I remember to return to this discussion, I will dig it up for you. But I think the evidence suggests that Einstein would be best described as a deist. His belief in some creative force was not merely an analogy, and it seems to me that he was careful to delineate between religion, to which he had an aversion, and the conclusion of a kind of theism, which he was in fact friendly toward.

At the moment, though, I am writing an article for Darwin Day (not sure I'll finish), so this will have to wait for now.
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Shareholder Value: “the dumbest idea in the world”

That's a quote form General Electric's former CEO, Jack Welch. It's not actually in this article, but that's what this article does is explain why this idea is so dumb. It ends with some solid recommendations, mostly aimed at pulling corporations out of their short-term focus. 

Here are some worthwhile excerpts: 

The most likely explanations for this transformation are two broad structural changes — globalization and deregulation — which together conspired to rob many major American corporations of the outsize profits they had earned during the “golden” decades after World War II. Those profits were so generous that there was enough to satisfy nearly all the corporate stakeholders. But in the 1970s, when increased competition started to squeeze out profits, it was easier for executives to disappoint shareholders than their workers or communities. The result was a lost decade for investors.

No surprise, then, that by the mid-1980s, companies with lagging stock prices found themselves targets for hostile takeovers by rivals or corporate raiders using newfangled “junk” bonds to finance their purchases. Disgruntled shareholders were only too willing to sell. And so it developed that the mere threat of a possible takeover imbued corporate executives and directors with a new focus on profits and share prices, tossing aside old inhibitions against laying off workers, cutting wages, closing plants, spinning off divisions and outsourcing production overseas. Today’s “activist investor” hedge funds, which have amassed war chests of tens of billions of dollars to take on the likes of Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Apple, are the direct descendants of these 1980s corporate raiders.

And the cost of ensuring top executive alignment with shareholder interests (through extra-generous stock-based compensation):

Obviously, a lot of other things happened during those two periods that could have affected returns to shareholders. One thing we know is that less and less of the wealth generated by the corporate sector was going to frontline workers. Another is that more and more of it was going to top executives. According to Martin, the ratio of chief executive compensation to corporate profits increased eight-fold between 1980 and 2000. Almost all of that increase came from stock-based compensation.


HT +Gerald Huff over on Twitter
When businesses focus only on making shareholders richer, the economy is worse off.
Lyne Riopel's profile photoarjen stolk's profile photoClaudia W. Scholz's profile photoMichal Nowak's profile photo
Interesting and refreshing... it's been a mantra in every finance/MBA class I attended :-/
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Uber and Other Platform Businesses: The Next Big Wave of Automation

There is a class of businesses – let’s call them “platform businesses” – that uses technology to engage large pools of new labor in carrying out its work. A “platform” is something on which others can build. Uber’s platform allows amateur drivers to compete with the taxi business. Airbnb’s platform helps people rent their homes in competition with commercial lodging providers. Facebook’s platform enables people to publish pictures, news and other content in ways that have significantly expanded the media landscape.

Like a Lego board in the sky, platform businesses make it easy to plug our work into their work.

Engagement platforms are exciting because they create opportunity. But platform businesses are also starting to raise questions of economic equity and, in some cases, risk automating a great many people out of work.

#technologicalunemployment   #automation   #artificialintelligence  
How platform businesses like Uber use technology to create jobs today that they will automate and eliminate tomorrow.
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Sir will plz give me the idea of app...I konw it can me help to be successful in the near future....
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Previous Hesitations Now Fading in Applying Machine Learning in Google Search

As Bloomberg says, it was Singhal who approved the roll-out of RankBrain. And before that, he and his team may have explored other, simpler forms of machine learning. But for a time, some say, he represented a steadfast resistance to the use of machine learning inside Google Search. In the past, Google relied mostly on algorithms that followed a strict set of rules set by humans. The concern—as described by some former Google employees—was that it was more difficult to understand why neural nets behaved the way it did, and more difficult to tweak their behavior.

HT +Aaron Bradley 
"Artificial intelligence is the future of Google Search, and if it’s the future of Google Search, it’s the future of so much more."

Great +Cade Metz piece in Wired, and the perfect second act to +David Amerland's piece yesterday on machine learning (

Bonus: Metz does a great job of putting RankBrain in context.
As Google's head of artificial intelligence takes charge of search, deep learning is already changing the way Googling works.
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Mike Murphy's profile photoAirNDS Channel's profile photoRobynne Troskie's profile photojocelyn ashuka's profile photo
There has been plenty of recent innovation in neural nets that have led to these breakthroughs. Stochastic gradient descent algorithms for training, dropout techniques for better regularization, LSTM for sequence learning, rectified linear units, max-pooling, understanding of vanishing gradients....  Then there's all the new knowledge surrounding how to put all this together to make it really work well in practice. It's far more than just faster processing power and more data (though that's also very important).   But haters still gonna hate.
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Help - who knows Latin? 

For all you Latin pros out there: how would you translate "Homo Sapiens Mechanica"? 
Bernard Vatant's profile photoBruce Marko's profile photoGideon Rosenblatt's profile photoMargaret K's profile photo
I like Homo Mechanicus better... this could mean replacing thinking with computing ... and it'd translate to "borg" ;-). Any Star Trek fans out there?
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Technology allows us to see things in new ways, and sometimes the results are quite beautiful. 
These are some pretty wild photos...
Turkish photographer Aydın Büyüktaş uses Photoshop to make his city straddle dimensions.
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  • Wharton School
    MBA, 1989 - 1991
  • Lewis and Clark College
    International Relations
Basic Information
Grounded futurist.
I'm a writer with a background in technology, business and social change. 

Most of my writing these days is at The Vital Edge, where I explore how technology affects organizations and the way people work. I am particularly interested in artificial intelligence, automation and networks and what they hold for the future of humanity. 

I believe in the human soul, and I believe it deserves a place in our understanding of organizations and technology. I have no interest in pushing religion or any particular spiritual point of view, but I do believe in exploring technology and human organization on a deeper level than is typical for these topics today. 

When it comes to my presence on Google+, most of my effort here is really aimed at connecting with people who are drawn to the questions I explore through my writing. I am active on Twitter (@gideonro) as well, and share content more frequently there, but my deepest online engagement is still here on Google+. 

My Story
For nine years, I ran Groundwire, a mission-driven technology consulting group, dedicated to building a more sustainable world. Groundwire specialized in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases, websites, social media communications, and engagement strategy as a way to help organizations mobilize people around sustainability causes.

Prior to Groundwire, I worked at Microsoft for ten years (back when it was cool), in various marketing, product development and management positions. While there, I developed CarPoint, one of the world's first large-scale e-commerce websites. I also marketed the world’s first digital encyclopedia and dictionary, and other innovative multimedia works.
I was raised in Utah, lived and worked in Japan and China for several years, and now live in Seattle with my wife, CJ, and two boys. Oh, and I am a proud board member of YES! Magazine.

#AI #automation #organization #technology #GoodBusiness #soul 
I write about the future of the human experience in an era of machine intelligence.
  • The Vital Edge
    Writer, 2013 - present
    The future of the human experience.
  • Alchemy of Change
    Writer, 2010 - 2012
    Executive Director, 2001 - 2010
    Mission-driven technology.
  • Microsoft
    Product Unit Manager, 1991 - 2001
  • US China Business Council
    1985 - 1989
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Beijing - Tokyo - Philadelphia - Washington, DC - Salt Lake City