Posts Tagged ‘ algorithms ’

Why Tesla owners pay more for insurance

June 6, 2017
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A nice article in Zerohedge about the recent rate hike for Tesla owners (link). Of course, Tesla is crying foul. The gist of the story is that Tesla owners tend to get into more crashes and the repair cost is higher than for other brands. The former is a matter of statistics - but also self-selection: in my limited encounters, the first things Tesla owners tell me about their cars…

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Artificial human intelligence

May 25, 2017
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When we use the words artificial intelligence, we typically mean artificial machine intelligence, training machines to act like human beings. What is actually happening is the opposite - we are developing artificial human intelligence, as in, humans are being trained to think like machines. Example 1: I recently called a cab company and told them I was at Union Square. The despatcher was taking a long time to respond, and…

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The Times agrees on privacy and kind of on fake news business

May 11, 2017
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The New York Times Magazine has been publishing some pieces that directly relate to a couple of my blog posts. In this article, Amanda Hess noticed that "privacy became a commodity for the rich and powerful." This echoes my blog post on "Data is the next frontier of equal rights." Hess discussed the asymmetry and hypocrisy of the situation whereby the same businesses and business executives that are wantonly stripping…

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That fake news business

May 4, 2017
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When Hillary Clinton unexpectedly lost the election in November 2016, it was high time for pundits to espouse their pet theories for the shocking losses suffered by the Democrats at all levels of government. The usual suspects were put on parade, such as “Bernie Bros” who abstained from voting and the “deplorables” who voted against their own interests. For the first time, two unlikely entities faced scrutiny: the social-media giant,…

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Ramp metering magic

May 1, 2017
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Here is a recent article giving some history on the invention of ramp meters, used on highways to mitigate congestion. I discuss this subject in Numbers Rule Your World (link). There is an interesting stochastic phenomenon underlying highway congestion. Ramp meters help by regulating the inflow of vehicles onto the highway, and prolonging the period of time by which the highway runs at full capacity. The key insight is that…

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My pre-existing United boycott, and some musing on randomness and fairness

April 12, 2017
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You probably already saw the video - if not, do yourself a favor, and search for "man forcibly removed from overbooked United flight." Other than the video evidence, which is damning, we don't have many facts, other than assertions made by various parties, repeated endlessly on social media and mainline media. Some facts, such as the United CEO claiming the passenger was "belligerent," is an assault on the meaning of…

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Confused by machines, or spooked by the machine-makers

March 29, 2017
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This New York Times article draws attention to real trends in the financial investments industry but gets completely lost in the smoke around those pushing "machines" and "data". The trend most concerning to the investments industry is the sustained, large-scale outflow of money from "actively-managed" funds, mutual funds being the biggest category of such. The industry makes loads of money from management fees by promoting the idea that investors are…

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Reading Everything is Obvious by Duncan Watts

February 15, 2017
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Reading Everything is Obvious by Duncan Watts

In his book, Everything is Obvious (Once You Know the Answer): Why Common Sense Fails, Duncan Watts, a professor of sociology at Columbia, imparts urgent lessons that are as relevant to his students as to self-proclaimed data scientists. It takes only nominal effort to generate narrative structures that retrace the past, Watts contends, but developing lasting theory that produces valid predictions requires much more effort than common sense. Watts’s is…

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Pre-processing data is not just about correcting errors

January 30, 2017
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Pre-processing data is not just about correcting errors

Exploration of IMDB rating data, by Kaiser Fung, founder of Principal Analytics Prep

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Good models + Bad data = Bad analysis

January 18, 2017
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Good models + Bad data = Bad analysis

Example showing how to diagnose bad data in data science models

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