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Financial technology start-ups are creating new models of lending. They mine streams of digital data with clever software to calculate creditworthiness instead of relying on a person’s credit history, the main ingredient in traditional credit scoring.一些面向金融领域的科技初创公司正在推出新的贷款模式。它们用智能软件挖掘电子数据流来计算信誉,而不是像传统的信用评分那样,以个人的信用记录为基础。So far, the new breed of big data lenders has focused on niche markets — recent college graduates, immigrants and payday borrowers — where people often have scant or inconsistent repayment records, and the conventional math of risk analysis stumbles.目前已经有一帮新生的“大数据放款机构”专注于在利基市场上——刚毕业的大学生、移民和发薪日借款人。这类人的还款记录往往很少,或者不连贯,使用传统的风险分析数学手段效果不佳。ZestFinance, a pioneer in the field, is moving into a huge market where credit histories are scarce: China.ZestFinance是这个领域的先驱之一,目前正步入一个信用记录稀少的庞大市场:中国。ZestFinance and JD.com, a Chinese online retail giant, are announcing a joint venture to provide a consumer credit scoring service in China. The venture, JD-ZestFinance Gaia, will initially be used to assess credit risk and offer installment loans for purchases on JD.com, which has 100 million active customers and generates yearly revenue of billion. The venture intends to eventually offer the credit-analysis service to corporate customers throughout China.ZestFinance和中国网络零售巨头京东宣布成立一家合资公司,在中国市场上提供消费者信贷评分务。京东拥有1亿活跃用户,年营收达200亿美元。这家合资企业名为JD-ZestFinance Gaia,最初将为京东上的分期贷款购物行为评估信贷风险。公司打算最终为中国各地的企业客户提供信用分析务。JD.com is also making a minority investment in ZestFinance, though the companies would not disclose the size of the investment or the valuation of the start-up.京东还对ZestFinance进行了少数股权投资,不过双方没有透露投资规模或是ZestFinance的估值。“This is a great validation that what we’ve built works,” said Douglas C. Merrill, founder and chief executive of ZestFinance.“这是对我们的巨大认可,明我们的方法是行得通的,”ZestFinance的创始人兼首席执行官道格拉斯·C·梅里尔(Douglas C. Merrill)说。There is a lot of enthusiasm for the data science approach to credit analysis, and venture funding is flowing into this emerging field. The promise is that high-tech tools can give greater depth and detail to the basic principle of banking: know your customer. Start-ups in the field, beside ZestFinance, include Affirm, Earnest, Elevate and LendUp.人们对于用数据科学的方法来进行信用分析热情高涨,风险资本也正在流入这个新兴的领域。业的基本原则是了解客户,而高科技工具有望为此提供更深层次的剖析和更多的细节。除了ZestFinance之外,该领域的初创公司还有Affirm、Earnest、Elevate和LendUp。The start-ups’ methods vary, as do the data sources they tap. But their algorithms sift through data that can include a person’s social-network connections, web-browsing habits, how they fill out online forms and their online purchases.这些初创公司的方法各异,利用的数据源也不尽相同。不过,它们用来筛选数据的算法可能会涵盖个人在社交网络上的关系、浏览网页的习惯、填写网上表格的方式,以及网上购物的偏好。The software looks for patterns and correlations: digital signals that help assess an individual’s willingness and ability to repay. The picture that emerges from the data, enthusiasts say, should result in more accurate risk analysis, thus opening the door to extending consumer credit to millions more people at lower cost.这种软件寻找的是模式与相关性,即有助于评估一个人的偿还意愿和能力的数字信号。追捧者认为,数据勾勒出来的面貌,应该可以让风险分析变得更加精准,因此有助于以更低的成本把消费者信贷提供给额外的人,而其中涉及的人数成百上千万。Yet public policy experts say the enthusiasm for the new lending models is outrunning the evidence. The accuracy and fairness of big data credit technology is unproven, said Aaron Rieke, a former lawyer for the Federal Trade Commission and director of technology projects for Upturn, a policy consulting firm. Mr. Rieke was a co-author of a report last year, supported by the Ford Foundation, that cited ZestFinance as a prime example of big data underwriting, which deploys “fringe alternative scoring models.”然而,一些公共政策专家认为,人们对贷款新模式的热情跑在了据的前面。阿隆·里克(Aaron Riek)称,大数据信用技术的准确性和公正性尚未经过实。里克曾在联邦贸易委员会(Federal Trade Commission)任律师,目前是政策咨询公司Upturn的技术项目总监,去年参与撰写了福特基金会(Ford Foundation)赞助的一份报告。该报告将ZestFinance称为大数据贷款审批领域的一个典型,采用“非主流的替代性信用评分模型”。But JD.com sought out ZestFinance, tested its technology and came away impressed. Last fall, Chen Shengqiang, chief executive of the Chinese company’s finance unit, visited the ZestFinance offices in Los Angeles and spoke to Mr. Merrill and members of his team. Soon after, Mr. Merrill traveled to the Chinese company’s headquarters in Beijing to work on setting up a test of ZestFinance’s technology, working with JD.com data.但是京东找到了ZestFinance,测试了它的技术,并对它印象深刻。去年秋天,京东金融集团的首席执行官陈胜强参观了ZestFinance位于洛杉矶的办公室,并与梅里尔及其团队的成员进行交谈。不久后,梅里尔前往北京的京东总部,用该公司的数据对ZestFinance的技术进行了一次测试。ZestFinance, founded in 2009, began making loans itself and underwriting loans made by lending partners in 2010. In the ed States, ZestFinance has focused its risk analysis on installment loans that are a lower-cost alternative to payday loans. Those borrowers are in the subprime market, and typically have experienced a credit setback in the past, like a personal bankruptcy.ZestFinance成立于2009年,从2010年开始自己为客户提供贷款,并审批合作伙伴的贷款。在美国,ZestFinance一直专注在分期贷款的风险分析上。对于发薪日贷款,分期贷款是一个成本较低的选择。其借款人来自次级贷款市场,通常以前都在信用上遭遇过问题,比如个人破产。In China, JD.com had a very different assignment for ZestFinance, using different data sources than in America. Only 20 percent of Chinese adults have a credit score, and they often are given credit through the People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank, and through affiliations with large state-owned corporations.在中国,京东交给ZestFinance的任务则大不相同,而且使用的数据源也有异于美国。在中国成年人中,只有20%拥有信用评分。他们获得信用的途径往往是通过央行中国人民,或是与大型国有企业之间的关系。Across the broader population, lending tends to be more personal and informal — cash loans from networks of friends and relatives.在更多的中国民众那里,贷款往往具有更加个人化的非正式性质——从亲戚朋友那里借钱。But China’s leaders are seeking to stimulate consumer spending to make its economy less dependent on industrial exports. Expanding consumer credit is part of the formula, and the government is allowing private companies, like JD.com, to innovate.但是中国领导层正在努力刺激消费,以使中国经济减轻对工业出口的依赖。扩大消费信贷是整个策略的一部分,政府准许如京东这样的私营企业在这一领域进行创新。Since early 2014, JD.com had been offering its own consumer loans of up to a few thousand dollars for purchases of televisions, smartphones, computers, refrigerators and other merchandise. JD.com’s business model is sometimes compared to a combination of Amazon and UPS.自2014年初开始,京东一直给它的用户提供贷款(最高达几千美元)用以购买电视、智能手机、电脑、冰箱和其他商品。京东的商业模式有时被比作亚马逊(Amazon)加UPS。Like Amazon, the company buys goods from manufacturers and has a national network of distribution centers and warehouses. It also has its own fleet of delivery vans. JD.com handles more than two million orders a day, and offers next-day delivery in much of China. It is a full-service online retailer, unlike its better-known rival, Alibaba, whose marketplace connects buyers and sellers.和亚马逊一样,京东也是从制造商那里进货,并建设了全国性的物流和仓储网络。此外,它还有自己的厢式送货车配送队伍。京东的日均交易处理量达200多万单,在中国大部分地区可实现下单次日送达。与它更为知名的对手阿里巴巴(其业务领域是作为一个平台,在买家和卖家之间搭桥)不同,京东是一个提供全方位务的在线零售商。In its test run for the Chinese company, ZestFinance built risk models using JD.com transaction data: what people buy, when they buy it, what brands they choose, where they live and other nuggets of information in the sales data.在为其中国公司进行测试时,ZestFinance利用京东的交易数据——包括人们买什么、何时买、选什么品牌、住在哪里,及交易数据中其他有价值的信息——建立了风险模型。“There’s signals in there,” Mr. Merrill said. “But what would seem like simple signals can actually be very complex.”“这些数据里有一些信号,”梅里尔说道。“但那些看起来简单的信号,实际上可能非常复杂。”For example, one might expect that a person purchasing a lot of luxury goods online is a good credit risk. But Mr. Merrill said that often is not the case. It could be a sign of reckless overspending or even fraud, he said, when linked with other data.比如,人们可能觉得在网上买很多奢侈品的人信用风险小。但梅里尔表示,情况往往并非如此。他说,跟其他数据联系起来看,这可能意味着不计后果地过度消费,甚至可能是欺诈。If a person is making purchases during the day, that could be a signal that the buyer is unemployed. But, Mr. Merrill said, if the purchases are made during the midday lunchtime, from an office computer, it could well be a sign of a hard-working employee squeezing in time to buy necessities.如果一个人是在白天时间买东西,可能表示这个买家没有工作。但如果交易是在午餐时间发生,而且是在办公电脑上进行,梅里尔说,那就很可能代表这是一个勤奋的员工在挤时间买必需品。In its test, the creditworthiness predictions made by ZestFinance were compared to the results of JD.com’s experience making loans, which was essentially the control group. The ZestFinance algorithms won handily.在测试中,ZestFinance所作的资信预测,与京东自身放贷的结果作了对比,后者实质上就是对照组。ZestFinance的算法轻松胜出。The Chinese online retailer, said Josh Gartner, senior director for international communications for JD.com, hopes to “greatly improve the efficiency of deciding who should be offered credit or not.”京东国际公关高级总监约什·加德纳(Josh Gartner)表示,京东希望能“大大提高其贷款决策的效率”。Data science methods, Mr. Gartner added, can fill a gap “where traditional metrics tend to be less useful, and China would obviously be one of those places.”加德纳补充道,数据科学的方法可以在“传统衡量方法表现欠佳的地方”填补一个空白,“中国显然就是一个这样的地方”。In a statement, Mr. Chen pointed to the potential value of the joint venture beyond JD.com itself. He called the link-up with ZestFinance “a foundational step toward building a reliable system for assessing credit risk that will help meet the huge market need.”陈胜强在一份声明中指出了这一合资公司在京东之外的潜在价值。他将京东和ZestFinance的联合描述为“在建立可靠的信用风险评估系统,从而满足广阔的市场需求方面,是基础性的一步。” /201507/383706

Children love to play with new toys but hate disruption to their routines. These traits persist in adult life: innovation is ily adopted when it is incorporated in new gadgets but innovation that involves doing things differently is resisted.儿童喜欢玩新玩具,但讨厌习惯被打断。这些特性在成年后会一直保持下去:如果把创新融入新玩意中,人们很乐意接受,但涉及改变做事方式的创新,人们就会抵触。Look around a university. At a super#173;ficial level, modern information technology has changed everything. Most activities — communication, scheduling and presentations — are conducted electronically. At a deeper level, nothing at all has changed. The course structures, materials and the methods of pedagogy remain essentially the same.到一所大学四处转转。从表面看,现代信息技术已改变了一切。大多数活动——沟通、排课表和做报告——都是以电子方式完成的。但在更深层次上,一切都没有改变。课程结构、教材和教学法本质上还是老样子。As Richard Nelson, the economist of innovation, has pointed out while American children are much healthier than they once were they are not much better at learning to . Innovation that comes in a pill or injection is easily adopted: innovation that manages a process better is not.正如创新经济学家理查德#8226;纳尔逊(Richard Nelson)所指出的那样,当今的美国儿童比过去的儿童健康得多,但他们学习阅读的能力并不比过去强太多。以药丸或注射形式出现的创新很容易被接受,优化流程的创新则不然。It has always been so. Anaesthetics were developed in the mid-19th century and soon all surgeons were using them. However, when a Viennese physician discovered that the most important thing surgeons could do to keep their patients alive, especially those who were newborn infants, was to wash their hands, the profession resisted the innovation for half a century.情况一直是如此。麻醉剂是19世纪中期开发出来的,不久之后所有外科医生都开始使用麻醉剂。然而,当一位维也纳内科医生发现,要保住病人、尤其是新生儿的性命,外科医生所能做的最重要的事是洗手时,医疗界抵制这项创新的时间长达半个世纪。While doctors would ily experiment with new chemicals, they fought any acknowledgment that their procedures were defective.尽管医生们愿意试验新的化学制剂,但他们竭力拒绝承认自己的治疗程序存在瑕疵。Authors and editors use computers and software to write and compile, and eers are everywhere. Yet any suggestion that these developments imply a different and diminished role for publishers and booksellers is fiercely resisted, both by these businesses and by authors and ers.如今,写手和编辑使用电脑和软件进行写作和编辑,电子阅览器已无处不在。不过,任何人只要提及这些进展意味着出版商和书商的角色被改变和削弱,都会受到这两者以及作者和读者的强烈抵制。Airlines place orders for the latest models but established carriers find it hard to adapt to the market challenges set by low-cost carriers. Their response has been to set up distinct subsidiaries to implement[APE?] the new business model. Yet Delta’s Song was sung only briefly and British Airways’ Go went.航空公司会订购最新型的飞机,但老牌航空公司发现很难针对低价航空公司引发的市场竞争做出调整。它们的对策是设立完全不同的子公司,来执行新的业务模式。不过,达美航空(Delta)的Song只维持了很短时间,而英国航空(British Airways)的Go也已成过去式。Since even babies are more suspicious of new ways of doing things than of new toys, we might seek evolutionary explanations. But why would our ancestors have been more y to hunt new prey, or adopt new tools, than to adapt routines? Perhaps innovations incorporated in physical items are more plainly beneficial than process innovations. It is hard to argue that a smartphone is not an improvement on an instrument with a large rotary dial tethered to a desk.[DO WE FULLY ANSWER THIS QUESTION?]既然就连婴儿对新的做事方式也比对新玩具更怀疑,我们或许可以去寻找进化上的解释。但是,为何相对于调整习惯,我们的祖先更乐于捕捉新猎物或使用新工具呢?或许是,相对于流程创新,融入实物中的创新带来的好处更加一目了然。我们很难主张,相对于被电线固定在桌上、带着很大拨号盘的旧式电话,智能手机不是一种改进。Some gadgets that look like improvements are not: three-dimensional cameras meet a need we do not seem to have, and airships and supersonic passenger jets turned out to be a bust. These blind alleys in product innovation are sufficiently rare that they stand out in business and technological history.有些玩意儿看上去有改进,实际上并无改进:3D立体相机满足的是一项我们似乎并不存在的需求,飞艇和超音速客机后来被明是个失败。这些走进死胡同的产品创新罕见到了能在商业与科技史上占据突出地位。A low-cost airline, however, is not superior to a full-service one but rather the provider of a product better adapted to the needs of modern passengers. Establishing a new routine requires time and practice, and many new routines do not represent improvements; witness the fate of the majority of business re-engineering exercises. While transformational chief executives and management consultants chafe at the resistance they encounter, the problem is not just the lethargy of subordinates and the scale of their personal investment in established processes. It is often well-founded doubt as to whether the “change agents” actually know what they are doing. Political leaders, who seek office by claiming that everything their predecessors are doing is wrong, are even more frequently the advocates of useless process reorganisation.然而,不是说低价航空公司优于全业务航空公司,而是说它们提供了一种更符合现代乘客需求的产品。形成新习惯需要时间和实践,而许多新习惯不代表改进;看一看大多数业务流程改造的命运吧。尽管心向革新的首席执行官和管理顾问对遭遇的抵制感到恼火,但问题不仅仅在于下属们的慵懒懈怠以及他们对既定流程已投入个人努力的大小。人们常常有充分理由怀疑“改革推动者”是否真了解自己在做什么。有些政治领导人宣称前任所做一切都是错的,希望借此上台,他们倡导的流程改革甚至更可能是毫无用处的。So we are right to view such novelties with suspicion. And the behaviour of our children suggests this well-founded scepticism towards those who would re-engineer our routines has become hard wired in human responses.所以,我们以怀疑眼光看待此类奇思异想是正确的。我们的孩子的行为表明,对于那些想要改造我们习惯的人报以正当的怀疑,已经深深地植入了人类的反应心理中了。 /201503/365375

Mark one up for man over the machine. The world champion of the ancient Chinese board game of Go has finally found a way to beat Google’s AlphaGo computer, after losing three straight games last week. 这是人类战胜机器的时刻,世界围棋冠军终于设法打败了谷歌(Google)的AlphaGo计算机,上周他在这种发源于中国的古老棋类游戏的“人机对战”中连输三局。 Lee Se-dol, the South Korean who has been the top Go player for a decade, was delighted at his first victory, although AlphaGo had aly clinched the m prize in the best-of-five series. The money will be donated to charity after the final game is held on Tuesday. 10年来保持着世界排名第一的韩国棋手李世石(Lee Se-Dol)对自己的首场胜利感到高兴,尽管AlphaGo已经稳拿这轮五局对弈的100万美元奖金。在周二举行最后一局比赛后,这笔钱将捐献给慈善机构。 “It’s just one game. I’ve never been congratulated so much just because I won one game,” Mr Lee told reporters after the match on Sunday in Seoul. “这只是一局比赛。我从来没有因为赢得一盘棋而得到这么多祝贺,”李世石在周日赛后对记者们表示。这局比赛是在首尔举行的。 “This win is invaluable and I would not trade it for anything else in the world,” the 33-year-old grandmaster said with a big smile. Mr Lee acknowledged he had underestimated AlphaGo’s skills, but said the software was not perfect. “这场胜利非常宝贵,我不会拿它与世界上其它任何东西交换,”这位33岁的九段棋手满脸笑容地表示。李世石承认,此前他低估了AlphaGo的技能,但他表示,该软件并不完美。 Demis Hassabis, chief executive of Google Deepmind, the developer of the computer program, said the match result would provide a valuable lesson for his team to identify and address AlphaGo’s weakness. 开发AlphaGo的谷歌DeepMind的首席执行官杰米斯#8226;哈萨比斯(Demis Hassabis)表示,这场比赛的结果将带来宝贵收获,让他的团队发现和解决AlphaGo的弱点。 “He was too good for us today and pressured AlphaGo into a mistake that it couldn’t recover from,” Mr Hassabis tweeted. “他今天对我们太强大了,AlphaGo在压力之下出了一个错,之后再也无法恢复局面,”哈萨比斯在Twitter上表示。 /201603/431706


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