Why technology and content are inseparable at Netflix

Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt spoke with Gigaom about how important data science and cloud computing are to the company’s business, as well as why the internet is the perfect medium to drive adoption of new video formats.

Startup claims it’s revolutionizing personalization with deep learning

A Cambridge, Massachusetts, startup called Nara has released a service the company claims use “deep learning artificial intelligence” to improve online personalization. Essentially, the technology works by scouring customer databases and the web, identifying attributes and connecting the dots between them. Nara’s team has some chops in neuroscience and computer science, but it’s difficult to tell if Nara is actually doing deep learning as it’s usually defined or something based more on mimicking the human brain. Regardless the technology, though, personalization and recommendation systems are currently a major focus of many machine learning efforts both commercial and open source.

IBM invests in e-retail specialist, and Watson user, Fluid

IBM has made another investment out of the $100 million it has set aside to fund companies using the Watson cognitive computing system, this time investing an undisclosed amount of money into a company called Fluid. IBM and Fluid are working on an application, called Expert Shopper, that will let consumers ask complex, natural language questions on retail websites and receive product recommendations in return. Fluid is IBM’s second publicly announced Watson-fund investment, with the first going to a health care startup called Welltok. Both were early partners in IBM’s cloud-based Watson service and API.

Why machine learning is still getting the human touch in retail

Although techniques such as machine learning are taking off in the e-commerce and retail spaces as a way to display better recommendations or optimize product presentation, the smart money is still on humans getting the final say in what customers see.

In an age of instant recommendations, a case for taste

Across all kinds of verticals, it’s never been easier to use apps and services to instantly find things that might match my interests. But what do we lose if we don’t put in the time to actually develop taste?

Opera buys Commendo to create predictive analytics powerhouse

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if the top two teams in the Netflix Prize competition united and put their predictive analytics skills to work together, you’ll soon find out. On Tuesday, big data service provider Opera Solutions acquired Austrian predictive analytics specialist Commendo.

So this is why Google is buying Clever Sense

Google announced it has bought Clever Sense, maker of the smart local recommendations app Alfred. The deal arms Google with another tool to attack the local market, as it seeks to scoop up more ad dollars and be the go-to resource for all things local.

Gruvi.tv: Personalized Film Recommendations for Facebook

A new Facebook app launching in the U.K., called Gruvi.tv, wants to help users find the right movie to see this weekend Gruvi.tv’s personalized recommendation system for movies currently in theaters uses Facebook activity, and that of your friends.