Thursday, July 28, 2016

Happiness in Business

I will start by making the following statement:
Happiness is the biggest unused revenue making asset in a business organization today
In real life, when we meet socially a person, we have a conversation. After a few meetings and conversations, we unconsciously evaluate each other. We start having fuzzy opinions about what the other person needs, what she likes and what she dislikes.

A character in a hit Israeli TV series, is a young  medical doctor listed number four on a local list of most desirable bachelors. He is attracted by a young woman, Tehila, but he learns she only goes out with poets. This is an essential piece of information, specific, individualized  and can not be extracted easily through classic predictive analysis.

The happiness question in business

How can we create a tool to deliver this more precise information from interactions with millions of people? Could it make us trust each other more and replace the fear of rejection?  This applies equally to the employees of a company and it's prospects and customers.

The banner "we are nice people to do business with" if it gets across, can make tens, hundreds an even thousand more revenues as unprecedented growth

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI)

Ray Kurzweil,  futurist and inventor, now the director of engineering at Google believes human level Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be achieved by 2029

David Gerlerner  disagrees. The encyclopedic computer scientist whom Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems called "one of the most brilliant and visionary computer scientist of our time"  said you can not separate the mind from a body
The human mind is not just a creation of thoughts and data; it is also a product of feelings. The mind emerges from a particular person's experience of sensations, images and ideas. The mind is in a particular body. Engineers can build sophisticated robots, but they can not build human bodies

The Master Algorithm. Machine Learning

 This a revolutionary book by Pedro Domingos,   Tech Insider  makes the introduction
We're in the middle of a historic moment. It used to be the case that you had to program a computer so that it knew how to do things. Now computers can learn from experience.
The breakthrough is called "machine learning." It's unimaginably important for understanding where technology is going, and where society is going with it. 
Pedro Domingos says more:
A self-driving car is not programmed to drive itself. Nobody actually knows how to program a car to drive. We know how to drive, but we can’t even explain it to ourselves. The Google car learned by driving millions of miles, and observing people driving.
This is what happens with every single human driving a car. But we can not experience what millions other people do when driving their cars.
That's the key: machine learning allows algorithms to learn through experience, and do things we don't know how to make programs for. 
 There were two stages to the information age, One stage is where we had to program computers, and the second stage, which is now beginning, is where computers can program themselves by looking at data.
Google's Eric Schmidt says that every big startup over the next five years will have one thing in common: machine learning.

All models are wrong, but some are useful

On page 290, at the end of his book, Pedro Domingos writes
So now you know the secrets of machine learning. The engine that turns data into knowledge is no longer a black box: you know how the magic happens and what it can and can’t do.
 Here is another attempt of finding a spouse using Machine Learning
One hardy geek extracted twenty thousand profiles from OkCupid (dating online) , did his own data mining, found the woman of his dreams on the eighty-eighth date, and told his odyssey to Wired magazine. To succeed with fewer dates and less work, your two main tools are your profile and your responses to suggested matches
We need to produce  a learning algorithm that works. Using the wrong algorithm, it does not work. We have to know what we are doing,  and watch out  that we do not get garbage-in, garbage-out. I dug out the article from Wired on the web How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love. You can read the details, the math. In my view, it is a classical example of garbage-in, garbage out for most people, except mathematician Chris McKinlay.

The goal of ML is never to make “perfect” guesses… The goal is to make guesses that are good enough to be useful. Because, as the British mathematician George E. P. Box  says: "All models are wrong, but some are useful."

Happiness makes the most successful businesses thrive even more

Happiness in Business

In his 2008 book The Geography of Bliss , Eric Weiner says
Happiness is a Number
He visits Rotterdam, Holland, where the World Happiness Database is maintained. Students at Claremont University in California can earn a Ph.D. in positive psychology- in happiness.

Since 2012, we have an annual  World Happiness Report Update  Denmark is the number one happiest country in the world for 2016.

Other countries close to the top are  Switzerland, closely followed by Iceland, Norway and Finland, What strikes me is these are relatively small counties in terms of population where people communicate and know each other best.

The report says:
Happiness is a better measure of human welfare than measuring education, health, poverty, income and good government separately, the report's editors argue.
There are at least seven key ingredients of happiness: People who live in the happiest countries have longer life expectancies, have more social support, have more freedom to make life choices, have lower perceptions of corruption, experience more generosity, experience less inequality of happiness and have a higher gross domestic product per capita, the report shows.
It is now the time to publish The World Happiness Report for business. Multinational companies like Ericsson, Zurich Insurance, Facebook, Microsoft, Shell have customers and do business all over the world. All we have now in use are Fortune lists (500, 2000 global, and the wealthiest people in the world)

The only way to write such reports is to implement using finesse the AI technologies,

Example from Insurance Industries

I will cover this in depth in a future blog. Based on my research, traditional insurance companies, billing worldwide 4.1 trillion dollar a year in premiums, are under attack by third party startups using artificial intelligence. Executive earning as much as 350,000 a year are fearing for their future jobs. Some stats predict 25% of the jobs in financial and insurance will be replaced by machine learning tasks. The insurance customers are millennials gen x people , under 50 year old. Insurance companies sell insurance essentially  the same way as 80 years ago, with few changes.

According to I2C: Insurance2Customer USA to be held September 19-20 in Chicago these are the new goals.
  • The Undisputed Rise of the Insurance Customer  – Manage the shift from product-centric to a customer-centric culture to meet sky-high customer demands
  • Understanding Your Customer to Build Relationships – Actionable insights to engage customers through targeted segmentation and personalized messaging
  • Creating a Memorable Insurance Customer Experience – Create and deliver a streamlined and simple customer experience across all channels
  • The Next Wave of Marketing Strategies – From social media, content marketing, branding and digital advertising, learn new tools to win and retain more customers

Cooldimi

I hope this article touches a sensitive chord in the readers. Cooldimi is a stealth company. It's mission is to help companies, particularly insurance companies to set up meaningful machine learning projects


Reaching the customer insurance goals in 2016 requires machine learning implemented and interpreted with elegance and intelligence. Simply hiring a famous mathematician does not make companies reach the goals.

Because the goal is still to keep the executives employed and create bridges to happier and happier customers. Those companies will have happier employees, who can be promoted, not laid off. Will make easier for them to feel the flow. Robert Frank says in New York Times what the flow is:
The happiness literature has identified one of the most deeply satisfying human psychological states to be one called “flow.” It occurs when you are so immersed in an activity that you lose track of the passage of time. If you can land a job that enables you to experience substantial periods of flow, you will be among the most fortunate people on the planet. What’s more, as the years pass, you will almost surely develop deep expertise at whatever it is you’ve been doing.
A business that goes ten times in revenues has no need of laying off people,. Quite the contrary, it creates more jobs and can be mutually beneficial co-opetition. It will attract young customers and make the existing customers buy more.

Post Script: The test of happiness

The  Hungarian psychologist (with a hard to pronounce name)  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, also one of the founders of positive psychology. He introduced the concept of "flow" in 1975 He started studying creative people. This Pursuit of Happiness  web page has the mission of bringing the science of happiness to life. It took 40 years to bring the relatively dry, academic research in mainstream media. 

You can try to take a very simple happiness test on line.

The next step could be a  breakthrough article in Harvard Business Review (and other business prestigious publications) to make happiness widely adopted as business goal  Now we have the tools and the wisdom to make it practical

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AI and ML for Conversational Economy