Surprised by AI: Volume II

Our previous newsletter in the “Surprised by AI” series delved into some of the unexpected fields where AI has been put to work. But applications of Artificial Intelligence are not all work and no play! Even robots are learning new skills these days! This issue of the Dataspace newsletter highlights some of the (maybe) surprising ways that AI is enriching our enrichment activities.

The Great American Pastime – Lawsuits!

Are you bored? Irritated that you’ve already watched every single show available to stream online? Suffering from End-of-Summer Syndrome? It’s probably someone else’s fault, and you can sue them! While the legal field has been one of the slowest to start engaging with advanced analytics, AI is finally making inroads to help lawyers collect and understand the data that they need to succeed. There is certainly a strong case for lawyers to become comfortable enough with the field of technology and analytics in order to be the best advocates for their clients – having access to the use of analytics to support their position, as well as knowing when to be skeptical of statistical/predictive evidence.

Whiskey for my Men, Beer for my… Bots?

People around the world are reporting an increase in their alcohol consumption over the past several months. While I have not uncovered any documentation on robot binge drinking during the pandemic, Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery is using AI to help maximize their production as well as free up space and time for experimenting with crafting new brews. AI assisted brewing is gaining traction across the globe, and there is even an example of AI being able to be trained off of consumer feedback in order to make improvements to the brews it is managing!


Since “Stay at Home” orders and social distancing have made it hard to meet other humans in person, swiping, scrolling, and clicking through online dating apps has become a leisure activity for many. AI has its place in this sphere of our personal lives as well – with dating sites using AI to help improve the experience of their users, and multiple examples of clever programmers who have tested out AI as a means to improve their likelihood of getting matches and starting/maintaining conversations. The trend towards online dating has also prompted researchers to investigate what components make a dating algorithm work (or how it doesn’t work), as well as pondering what “success” means in this particular context.

Finally, An Algorithm To Improve My
Skills of an Artist“!

Not only is AI making a contribution to current popular enrichment activities, but it is also playing a role in unlocking the mysteries of ancient cultures. Google Arts and Culture is developing Fabricius – a machine learning tool to help translate ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics! Their website includes several cool interactive experiences both for work and for play!

Feeling like you want to make your own art but need some direction? AI can help with that too! Introducing BOTOBER (Bot October) by AI Weirdness – an algorithm that has generated some great suggestions for things, concepts, and overall ridiculousness that you can attempt to draw. My interpretation of today’s prompt (“The point of view of a worm”) is included here, with sincere apologies:

“The Point of View of a Worm”
(For the record, those are bird legs..)

Until next time,

Cheers, everyone!



OK, unless you have some time to spend, I recommend not opening Katie’s first Google Fabricius link. It’s super cool! Not sure how she’s managing to do it but we’re getting more and more compliments on her newsletters. Great work, Katie!

This month I wanted to add a few links of my own, these focused on uses of data visualization for tracking coronavirus and Covid 19 spread. The first was sent to me by Mohan Kartha, a buddy here in Ann Arbor and one of the strongest, most well rounded technologists I know. This dashboard, Global Covid-19 Tracker, integrates data sets from around the world and presents that data in a number of interactive presentations. It’s worth looking at, even if just to get some ideas on things you might add into your own dashboards.

The second link is in more of a report format than pure dashboard and was built using a tool called Observable ( This one, put together by Ann Arbor-based data scientist Alex Cao, focuses solely on Michigan data but provides insights in a different format. It also does a really good job of detailing the pandemic’s effect on minorities.

Check ’em both out!

Golden Record – Record Matching & Deduplicating in the Cloud
I’ve demonstrated the POC version of Golden Record six times over the past few weeks and folks seem very excited about it. In fact, a few have asked to be beta testers. Golden Record is a matching engine that can be applied to a variety of business problems and data sets. One thing we’re seeing in our demonstrations is that data scientists and analysts do, in fact, need to integrate data from a variety of places. A few have described how complex that process is and are planning to use GR to test various data matching algorithms. Once they’ve come up with the optimal matching rules, they may leave their data in GR and access it via our UI and API or they may take the rules they’ve built in GR and apply them to their own, internal systems. Either way, the process of developing their matching rules has been made much quicker and easier with GR. If you’d like a demonstration of Golden Record or would like to be added to our beta test program, let me know; I’d love your feedback!

One more point – I’ve been asked to present Golden Record to a local technology investors group called A2 New Tech. The presentation is at 6:30 pm ET on October 20. It’s quick (five minutes of presentation and five of Q&A). I’d love it if you could join me! You can sign up here.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and stay safe!
– Ben


We’ve posted several new articles to our Dataspace Blog since our last newsletter. If you missed them the first time around, here’s your chance to check ’em out!


What do you think? How can we make this blog more useful to you? What topics would you like to see more of? Want to contribute an article? Just want to catch up and chat?

I’d love to hear from you! Email me at


Ben Taub
Thanks for reading!

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