Test Your Nerd Knowledge for Sept. 28, 2022

  1. What technological term is described as “a subset of artificial intelligence involving models that improve in performance when given more data”?
  2.  What former Facebook executive founded Leanin.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals”?
  3. What technology company was sold to Verizon in 2016, in what Forbes magazine described as “the saddest $5 billion deal in tech history”?

And here are the answers:

1. Answer: Machine Learning. As a component of the larger function of artificial intelligence, machine learning has been around, in theory anyway, since 1962. As technology has evolved, machine learning has been applied to more and more breakthrough developments in the relationship between humans and computers. Expert.ai explains it like this: “The robot-depicted world of our not-so-distant future relies heavily on our ability to deploy artificial intelligence successfully. However, transforming machines into thinking devices is not as easy as it may seem. Strong AI can only be achieved with machine learning to help machines understand as humans do.”

2. Answer: Sheryl Sandberg. Born in Washington, D.C., in 1969, Sheryl Sandberg received an MBA from Harvard Business School, and went to work for the fledgling Facebook organization in 2007, after meeting Mark Zuckerberg at a Christmas party. She quickly assumed the role of COO and helped Zuckerberg evolve the company into the tech behemoth it is today. She stepped down as COO in 2022 but remains on the board of directors. In 2013, she started Leanin.org, an offshoot of her book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” which empowers women to strive for “better public policies and a more equitable workplace, because to make lasting change, we need institutional change.”

3. Answer: Yahoo. Yahoo was founded in 1994 by Stanford students Jerry Yang and David Filo, who created a website called “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” Humble beginnings for a venture that eventually made Yahoo the biggest search engine on the web and branched into groundbreaking developments (at the time) like news, messenger features and email, that were all incorporated into its platform. The dot-com bubble in 2000 hit hard, but Yahoo persevered and diversified, building back strong until being overtaken by Google in 2007. Many in the industry say Yahoo’s biggest mistake was not allowing paid search ads to coexist with organic search results. The 2016 sale to Verizon came after numerous restructurings, reinventions and eventual diminishing returns and layoffs. Of course, Yahoo remains a thriving organization under its new ownership, and is currently ranked fourth by popularity in a recent ranking of top search engines – behind Google, Bing and Chinese search engine Baidu.