David Smooke

@DavidSmooke

Bots Scale Messaging Apps, & More Tech Weekend Reads

How Messaging Apps Are Pushing Bots into the Mainstream

by our weekly sponsor Discover.bot, an Amazon Registry Services Inc. creation

Voice recognition and deep learning are paving the way for bots to replace humans in customer service. Learn about the challenges facing bot developers today.

Chatbots, or bots, with customer service skills, feel like a thing of the future, but increasingly are things of the present. And voice recognition is making them even better at their jobs.

How many times have you called the bank, pharmacy, or power company and tried to interact with their voice recognition technology? And how many of those times have you given up and used the keypad to repeatedly hit “0” — until you’re eventually put on hold for a human agent?

Progress in voice recognition will make that experience a thing of the past. As of mid-2017, voice recognition platforms Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri report a word error rate of roughly 5 percent. Another advance in voice recognition comes from speech-to-text software, which allows users to dictate documents rather than type them.

As technology works to perfect voice-based personal assistants, an increasing number of companies are trying to provide intelligent service bots that can converse with consumers much as a human agent would. Although one functionality is spoken and the other written, they share technologies — machine learning and natural language processing (NLP). Bots benefit from the developments of voice recognition technologies and the increasing amount of data that voice recognition provides.

READ MORE ABOUT BOTS.

Hacker Noon’s 20 recommended tech reads this weekend:

A Genuine Apology to the Founders I’ve Met in my First Year as an Investor by Christian Jantzen

Being an investor is not an easy job. Sometimes you feel that you’re crushing people’s dreams for a living. However, this is rarely the case and founders are not precious snowflakes. They can handle your bluntness. Fundraising is a battlefield and when you’re out there you’ll inevitably become scarred. Hiding behind your insecurities, however, is the only way to lose the battle for sure. Nobody likes assholes, even the unconscious ones. So, don’t be an asshole.

Bitcoin Market Manipulation Detected by Artificial Intelligence by Kim Adsitt

As it is very clear to see, the social sentiment analysis done by RoninAi showed generally neutral social sentiment for several days, but during this specific two hour time window, it went to over 8.0, indicating an extremely sharp positive upswing in social sentiment that could not be caused by a naturally occurring change in social sentiment.

8 UX Mistakes To Avoid On Your UX Portfolio Website by Sarah Doody

After reviewing over 100 UX portfolios in the past year, I realized that many UX designers struggle to create a portfolio website that has … well, a good UX. It’s ironic. But, I can see how this happens. A portfolio website is a content website. And designing a content website may be new to you if you’ve been working on SaaS products, internal tools, or other products that are not “content sites”.

Ethereum, for Earthlings by Nancy Herriman

In the real world, in order for a group of people to understand each other, they need to communicate using a set of rules; a common language. Similarly, all individual computers in a network need to follow a set of rules; a common (network) protocol. The basis of Ethereum is a network protocol that shares information amongst thousands of computers around the world. That information represents money in the form of computer code.

Everything You Need to Know About Smart Contracts: A Beginner’s Guide by Mayank Pratap

Smart contracts can be termed as the most utilized application of blockchain technology in the current times. The concept of smart contracts was introduced by Nick Szabo, a legal scholar, and cryptographer in the year 1994. He came to a conclusion that any decentralized ledger can be used as self-executable contracts which, later on, were termed as Smart Contracts. These digital contracts could be converted into codes and allowed to be run on a blockchain.

50 popular JavaScript open-source projects on GitHub in 2018 by Kazz Yokomizo

1. VuePress

2. React

3. Vue

4. Prettier

5. Parcel…

How to figure out the best pricing for your SaaS by Ben Sears

By realizing who wants what, you can understand which features all customers should have, and which features can be gated by tiers. If you can figure out that the CFO of a large organization is one of the few that cares about a specific value proposition, you may consider gating that value behind a higher tier because you can expect them to have a larger budget than, say, the bootstrapping startup founder.

Idea to App for Under $15k: Reality or Not? by Sergii Shanin

With the right engineering partner it’s possible to crank out an MVP for under 15k as a non-technical founder, but get ready to be involved with the process and immerse yourself in the business side of things.

Learnings from 4,000+ interviews for hiring remote employees by Nitesh Agrawal

After successfully building a 100% remote working company with 500 members from 40 countries, we know what you need to ask to hire the top talent.

Rare Datasets for Computer Vision Every Machine Learning Expert Must Work With by DataTurks: Data Annotations Made Super Easy

We have listed a collection of high quality datasets that every Machine learning enthusiast should work on to apply and improve their skill. Working on these datasets will make you a better data expert and the amount of learning you will have will be invaluable in your career.

The Evolution Of React by DashMagazine

This wonderful library has made the building of user interfaces much easy for developers and is arguably one of the best frameworks ever. React didn’t just suddenly become famous and useful, it passed through a couple of phases before becoming the powerful library we have today. Let’s look at the evolution of the React library.

The Market Cycle Wears No Clothes by Cole Garner

12 months ago I dove head-first down the crypto educational rabbit hole, after seven years as a forex trader. It’s a steep learning curve. Dozens of market dynamics compete for relevance and attention. What follows is the single most important thing I learned in 12 months of intense study. One market dynamic stands above all others as most important for investors and traders to understand. It’s a pattern — a simple, profound pattern that’s been hiding in plain sight for years.

To Blockchain or Not To Blockchain by Mohammed ElSeidy

In contrast to conventional wisdom, Blockchains are not a solution for all technical problems. In fact, they are more appropriate for a class of applications that satisfy a set of requirements. In particular, those that sacrifice performance in favour of decentralization and tamper-proof consistent state. Nonetheless, many of the “promised” applications are currently still not applicable for the Blockchain, e.g., supply chain management.

Top 3 most popular programming languages in 2018 (and their annual salaries) by Dr. Michael J. Garbade

1. Javascript

2. Java

3. Python

We survived a DDoS attack that peaked at 250k requests-per-second. It cost us $10 by Crypterium

Why self-DDoSing? There might be only one way to check whether your website or app is good to go. Yes, you guessed it right — we are talking about self-inflicted attacks, aka stress tests. Typically, such tests are conducted by outsourcing companies that make DDoS for hire. As opposed to real-life attacks, the attacking “botnet” is simulated from a special cloud platform, any risks are controlled and are far outweighed by their benefits.

What investors should know about opportunities in AI during the Second Machine Age by Lerer Hippeau

Artificial Intelligence (AI), as a concept, is decades old. But, only now are we seeing real-life applications of this science fiction-like technology. Officially coined in 1955, AI has gone through several periods of hype and stagnation over the last half-century. This fluctuation is in part due to false starts in needed infrastructure pieces (data and processing chips) and machine learning (ML) methodologies (how computers learn from that data). But, last year’s record $6 billion in venture capital investment in AI/ML startups, as well as recent breakthroughs in deep learning, point to a single consensus: AI is here for good.

What is a User Persona and how is it relevant to UX? by Himanshu Khanna

I often joke in my Design workshops that drafting a User Persona is like voluntarily creating a social networking profile of a friend known exclusively to you, for saner purposes, of course.

Why Quarterly OKRs? by John Cutler

Does your company use quarterly OKRs? Are they working for you? Why did you pick 90.25 day batch sizes? Do all of your objectives take 90.25 days (or more accurately ~65 business days)? How many days do you spend “resetting” for the next quarter? Here’s a thought… quarterly OKRs are like quarterly “sprints”. Some teams do well with sprints, but other teams prefer continuous flow, just-in-time planning, and conducting retrospectives/recalibrating as needed. Or hybrid models.

Will Autonomous Devices Become our Benevolent Overlords? by Mina Down

Can we manage autonomous devices for the benefit of humanity? For the answer to be yes, we need systems that ensure autonomous smart devices will only act to enhance human quality of life.

You’re Not Paying the True Cost of Software Development, and It’s Killing Your Business by Eric Weiss

Almost every company I consult with suffers from this problem to some degree. A certain amount of technical debt is excusable, but you need to start paying it down, or your productivity will grind to a halt. Sure, it will add overhead, but as your team gains momentum by clearing the roadblocks, you’ll start seeing improvements in every area of your business. This is unavoidable, so you might as well get started now.

Until next time, don’t take the realities of the world for granted.

Kind Regards,

David Smooke

P.S. Voice recognition and deep learning are paving the way for bots in customer service. Learn about the challenges facing bot developers today.

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