AIQ by Nick Polson and James Scott

AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together by Nick Polson and James Scott. Imagine you could write a novel knowing for sure that it will be the biggest bestseller. Or that for a record company, there is no need to audition hundreds of bands, because they have devised a method to design a rock band that can rival the success of Pink Floyd or the Rolling Stones. This sounds completely unreal, isn’t?

This book shows how basically that’s what Netflix did with the TV show ‘House of cards’. They didn’t invest millions of dollars in pilots to figure out whether or not the people would like it. What they did was using their user database to extract the personal preferences of their customers and then leverage the power of Machine Learning (Artificial Intelligence) to design a TV show that everybody would love to watch. So, basically conditional probability and modelling missing data are the key tools that transformed Netflix from a distributor into an extraordinarily successful production company, and this happened at lighting speed. Isn’t it cool?

One curious fact that I learned in this book is this. It seems that Isaac Newton was not so smart after all. He failed to notice a simple statistical mistake in his new job at the bank of England. As a consequence of this mistake, the money was literary being pulled out of the country, leaving England suffering a major financial crisis. This is why you should never trust a physicist to do anything but physics XD

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