Check out our roundup of important writing from across the web on technology and analytics in retail, consumer goods and manufacturing.
The Self-Driving Supply Chain
Steve Banker explores a self-driving supply chain, one that allows prescriptive suggestions to resolve near real time problems, and also gets better over time with machine learning.
Forbes: Steve Banker – Cognitive Automation For The Self-Driving Supply Chain
“If you can bring together the middleware, supply chain applications with optimization and predictive analytics, and the wide range of decision rules needed for prescriptive analytics, you can create a feedback loop that can take advantage of machine learning. When that happens, the system will get better and better over time. This is just beginning to happen.”
Holiday Mobile Shopping
Lauren Thomas explains many big companies have poured money into improving their mobile apps ahead of this holiday season, because smartphones are expected to drive nearly half of shopper traffic on the web.
“Smartphones will make up 48.3 percent of visits to retailers' websites and apps, compared with 42.9 percent for desktop computers and 8.8 percent for tablets, Adobe said. But smartphones will still just account for 27.2 percent of revenue (up 11.6 percent from a year ago), compared with a whopping 63.1 percent for desktop computers and 9.6 percent for tablets. Although more and more people are browsing retailers' websites during the holidays, not everyone completes a purchase there. Many shoppers say they use it more for browsing deals — at least for now.”
Rachel Metz breaks down a new effort that’s increasingly employed by companies to make customer experiences more convenient, in the hopes of keeping shoppers coming in.
CNN Business: Rachel Metz – In these stores of the future, you grab stuff and leave
“These moves toward eliminating the checkout counter (or at least flirting with ditching it) come as consumers spend more and more money shopping online. This year, e-commerce in the United States alone is estimated to climb 16% to $525.7 billion, according to data from eMarketer, comprising nearly 10% of all retail sales in the country.”
Artifical General Intelligence
James Vincent writes building a machine that’s as smart as a human may happen within our lifetime, but we shouldn’t hold out.
The Verge: James Vincent – This is when AI’s top researchers think artificial general intelligence will be achieved
“Some of the researchers Ford spoke to said we have most of the basic tools we need, and building an AGI will just require time and effort. Others said we’re still missing a great number of the fundamental breakthroughs needed to reach this goal. Notably, says Ford, researchers whose work was grounded in deep learning (the subfield of AI that’s fueled this recent boom) tended to think that future progress would be made using neural networks, the workhorse of contemporary AI. Those with a background in other parts of artificial intelligence felt that additional approaches, like symbolic logic, would be needed to build AGI. Either way, there’s quite a bit of polite disagreement.”
The Amazon Rebellion
Jason Del Rey reveals why some companies are choosing to end their relationship with Amazon.
Recode: Jason Del Rey – An Amazon revolt could be brewing as the tech giant exerts more control over brands
“Over the past few months, Amazon has applied intense pressure to consumer brands across different product categories — seizing more control over what, where and how they can sell their goods on the so-called everything store, these people say.”