Today in APIs: IBM and AlchemyAPI Talk AI Democratization and 4 New APIs

Eric Carter, Founder & Corporate Counsel, Dartsand
Mar. 24 2014, 02:03PM EDT

IBM and AlchemyAPI presented together at GigaOm's Structure Data conference on democratizing artificial intelligence (AI) with the use of APIs. Hacker's attack rare diseases at Healthcare's Grand H@ckfest. Plus, the ABCs of APIs and 4 new APIs.

IBM and AlchemyAPI See APIs as the Route to AI Democratization

IBM's Vice President of worldwide marketing and sales operations, Stephen Gold, and AlchemyAPI CEO, Elliot Turner, recently presented together at GigaOm's Structure Data. The pair suggested that APIs stand to democratize the use of AI; and in turn, AI can be used to solve problems across the spectrum of modern society. From medicine to economics, and everything in between, AI is on its way to addressing massive issues and APIs will offer access to the masses.

Gold commented:

"Even though we think about a humanistic aspect of computing, when we look at it, we're very tied to this notion of logic and rules and reason and structure....We're just now starting to experience the idea of a system that is readily approachable that you can navigate through natural language. And better yet, these cognitive systems are systems that learn. So they get progressively smarter."

Turner expanded:

"We're in this new trend—the API economy where you take something complicated and expose it as an API....Cognition is yet another one of those things. So we're seeing companies leverage unstructured data—things like photographs, videos, chat logs, documents—to make better, more informed business decisions to automate processes. They're leveraging humanlike capabilities inside automated workflows. I think these technologies can ultimately augment what's possible in business and humanity, but not necessarily replace that."

Healthcare's Grand H@ckfest Tackles Healthcare's Most Difficult Problems

Recently, hundreds of doctors, designers, engineers, and developers met at the MIT Media Lab for Healthcare's Grand H@ckfest. Their goal was ambitious. Healthcare professionals presented some of the most challenging problems in healthcare today, and the participants aimed to develop innovative breakthroughs for the problems in a single weekend. Teams had 48 hours to solve problems that have troubled the healthcare industry for years. The results were dramatic.

In a single weekend, a wide variety of applications and inventions were constructed that could lead to significant developments in healthcare. A few examples include: shoes that help Parkinson's patients walk more easily, a crank powered defibrillator, a Google Glass application that capture's doctors' notes, and facial recognition software that recognizes rare diseases. MIT PHD student and Hacking Medicine co-leader, Andrea Ippolito, commented:

"At MIT, we think of hacking as a really positive thing....It means getting things done in a really short period of time and making a difference.”

APIs You Shouldn't Miss

4 New APIs

Today we had 4 new APIs added to our API directory including a postcode and zip code distance calculator, a site survey and metrics service and a taco recipe repository. Below are more details on each of these new APIs.

Driving-DistancesDriving-Distances API: This collection of distance calculators, route planners, and other travel-related calculators, uses postcodes and ZIP Codes to make its calculations. Primarily for the United Kingdom, the service also includes some tools for the United States, Canada, Australia, India, and New Zealand.

Interested developers can contact the provider for more details about how to integrate Driving-Distances tools and calculators in websites or applications.

SatisfactionHubSatisfactionHub API: SatisfactionHub is a satisfaction survey and site metrics tool for websites. The service aims to help users grow their customer base by measuring customer satisfaction and encouraging fans to spread the word.

SatisfactionHub offers REST and JavaScript APIs for programmatic access to their survey and metrics resources. Use the API for site visitors, site stat summaries, to schedule email surveys, and more.

TacoFancyTacoFancy API: TacoFancy is a community-driven taco recipe repository. It includes multiple directories that contain tortilla recipes, salsas, full taco descriptions, taco-like foods, etc. People are encouraged to fork and submit their own recipes. The TacoFancy API allows users to retrieve a random taco recipe, get information about a recipe's contributors, and see who made what contribution.

TalkBackTalkBack API: ThingSpeak facilitates the collection of data from sensors and actuators in connected devices, the Internet of Things. Sensors monitor devices or conditions, and actuators allow control over devices to change conditions.

The TalkBack API takes data collection a step further and provides a channel for a user to give a connected device a command, or a series of queued commands.

Eric Carter Eric is the founder of Dartsand and Corporate Counsel for a specialty technology distributor. He is a frequent contributor to technology media outlets and also serves as primary legal counsel for multiple startups in the Real Estate, Virtual Assistant, and Software Development Industries. Follow me on Google+

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