Archive | October 2, 2012

web 3.0 Liquid Internet

The battle to attract consumers and convert them from visitors into buyers is hard. Via recommendation systems and preferences companies try to guide you trough their webpage to the option that is most suitable for you. There is now a new services available to make sure the site visit of your visitor will become even more personalized: Liquid internet by IQnomy.

The idea is that every customer has his or her preferences on how a website should look and what content should be provided. The only thing that needs to be done to install the service is inserting one line of code into the website. IQnomy creates realtime and instant personal profiles of users based on their previous and realtime behaviour on the website. This then triggers  certain content of the site (blocks of content that are prespecified) to be rearranged, highligthed or leftout: the visitor sees a unique, personalized website, which is highly relevant. A testcase with ‘the phone house’ showed that the click through rate increased from 1.3 to 8.4% when IQnomy was used.

The preferences used are created by cookies, but are anonymous, and only related to the website that is using IQnomy, so it is different from retargeting. Because it even works without cookies and DNT (do not track) (however, not as effective), it’s more or less future proof in times of increasing worries about privacy.

Please have a look at the video’s in order to get a better understanding:

Im curious who already experienced websites that use the liquid internet technique? How did you know they were using it? Thanks for your reply!

IT and employment rate: Thinking from self-driving car of Google

The first industrial revolution started in the 18th century dramatically changed people’s life from traditional hands-on-hands agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation to a new era replaced by the introduction of steam powered machine fuelled essentially by coal. The productivity has been tremendously increased, which satisfied the basic social demand of human being at the utmost.

The term IT (information technology) was firstly introduced by two scholars Leavitt and Whisler in their publications in the Harvard Business Review in 1958. They commented that “the new technology does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology (IT).” By connecting the computers together, “internet” accelerates the booming of new economy. This fascinating and amazing creature shorter the distance of people in the planet, encourage the information flow, significantly improve the efficiency of process, and it totally changed the way of thinking and behavior of human beings’ life. Not only sharing the knowledge and skills locally, regionally, in the meanwhile, people stepped into a new stage of “globalization”. Technology enabled people to realize their ideas, and fulfill their dreams from “impossible” to “possible”.

Along with the development of both hardware and software, the computing ability of chips produced today has exponentially powered than its first generation product. Nowadays more and more service, retail, media and manufacturing industry are replaced by machine instead of people. Our clothes are manufactured by machine and robot on the assembling line in the factory; in financial service industry, trading is simulated by well-programmed software and questions are answered by self-serviced machines; and customers obtain the information of merchandize on line rather than querying the clerks. Our live becomes more and more like science fiction described.

In their book of “New Divisions of Labor” published in 2004, two economists Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that, “expert thinking (e.g. car driving or dish creating) and complex communication (e.g. interpretation of information) are the two general skills that computers cannot replicate, because they cannot be solved by rules.” Just 8 years after, on September 27th, 2012, at Google’s Mountain View, California governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that allows driverless cars to operate on the state’s roads. Thus, California becomes the third state to permit vehicles that drive themselves to operate on public roads. In addition, the implement of the voice recognition application “Siri” definitely is another example to overthrow the arguments documented by Frank and Richard.

In their recently published book “Race Against Machine” in January 2012, the director of MIT Center for Digital Business Erik Brynjolfsson and Associate Director Andrew McAfee together described this new phenomena that the AI (Artificial Intelligence) revolution is doing to white collar jobs what robotics did to blue collar jobs. In their research, they found out that “Of all the grim statistics and stories accompanying the recent Great Recession and subsequent recovery, those related to employment were the worst. Recessions always increase joblessness, of course, but between May 2007 and October 2009 unemployment jumped by more than 5.7 percentage points, the largest increase in the postwar period. The grim unemployment statistics puzzled many because other measures of business health rebounded pretty quickly after the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009. And by 2010, investment in equipment and software returned to 95% of its historical peak, the fastest recovery of equipment investment in a generation. Economic history teaches that when companies grow, earn profits, and buy equipment, they also typically hire workers. But American companies didnʼt resume hiring after the Great Recession ended. The volume of layoffs quickly returned to pre-recession levels, so companies stopped shedding workers. But the number of new hires remained severely depressed. Companies brought new machines in, but not new people.”

The trend of future job might be gradually replaced by robot, but the question will be raised in the near coming time about how do we place the extra labor? Or the government should invest more in the education? Maybe the more difficult question would be “how to balance between human intelligence and computer intelligence”.


Brynjolfsson, E. and McAfee, A. (2012), “Racing Against Machine”, The MIT center for Digital Business

Leavitt, H. J. and Whisler, T. L. (1958), “Management in the 1980s”, Harvard Business Review 11

Levy, F. and Murnane, R.J. (2004), “The New Division of Labor: How computers are creating the next job market”, Princeton University Press.

Single-item auction with multiple items

In June 2012 research by MIT has devised a method to nearly optimize single-item auctions with multiple items. While this method is already well known and won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2007 for single-items, the mathematical computations were far too complex for multiple items. In other words auctioneers trying to maximize their revenues over multiple items would have to look at data such as outcomes for other items, comparison of highest and second highest bid, clearing prices, populations of bidders and so on that it is too difficult to extract maximum revenues for all items. To address this issue the researchers algorithm sees the problem as geometric shapes that simplify the auction. A single auction with multiple items is split up in many simple auctions. It also includes ideas from revenue management where different consumer groups are charged different prices. Similarly in this algorithm different groups of bidders have to bid higher than less affluent groups to extract as much consumer surplus as possible. Their approach is not optimal and solutions are randomly generated but the outcomes get very close to the optimal strategy to get the highest bids over all items. So when an auctioneer wants to sell multiple items to many bidders he can get the highest value out of all his items.

You can find a more extensive coverage of this topic at the MIT news if you are interested.

Top IT skills wanted for 2012

Nearly 29 percent of the 353 IT executives who were polled in Computerworld’s annual Forecast survey said they plan to increase IT staffing through next summer. (That’s up from 23% in the 2010 survey and 20% in the 2009 survey.)

Here are the skills that the IT executives say they will be hiring for:

1. Programming and Application Development–61% plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months, up from 44% in the 2010 survey. This covers the gamut from website development to upgrading internal systems and meeting the needs of mobile users.
2. Project Management (but with a twist)– The twist is that they’re not going to just be looking for people who can oversee and monitor projects. They also want people who can identify users’ needs and translate them for the IT staffers-the increasingly popular business analysts.
3. Help Desk/Technical Support–Mobile operating systems have added a new dimension to help desk and tech support.
4. Networking-This demand is being fueled partially by virtualization and cloud computing projects. The survey also revealed that execs will be looking for people with VMware and Citrix experience.
5. Business Intelligence-Computerworld interprets this uptick to a focus shift in many companies, from cost savings to investing in technology. That will be nice if it pans out that way.
6. Data Center-Virtualization and the Cloud could also be behind the increased need for IT professionals with backgrounds in data center operations and systems integration.
7. Web 2.0-Tech skills centered around social media will be in demand, with .Net, AJAX and PHP as key back-end skills, with HTML, XML, CSS, Flash and Javascript, among others, on the front end.
8. Security-Although down from 32 percent in the 2010 survey, security stays a top concern of IT executives.
9. Telecommunications-The survey indicates a demand for people with IP telephony skills, and for those familiar with Cisco IPCC call center systems.

An article by Toni Bowers

How Coolblue is able to deliver the same day, and what about no electricity?

I would like to draw your attention to the following article of Wired. I came across this article just a few days after I read that Coolbue would offer same day delivery, if ordered before 15.00h. This news post is in Dutch, apologies for that, but Google Translate will do the trick for you. Will the human factor be completely robotised in the future? Or will we still be needed to do the most difficult tasks?

Imagine what would happen if all the electricity will be gone, that’d be something right? (yes I know, energy cannot disappear, but work with me here) This brand-new TV show is just about that: