Image from CDC Open Source

The advice given to many who are interested in exploring or mastering data science is to find some data that intrigues you and see what you can learn. When COVID-19 hit Massachusetts pretty hard and the state began posting data for download, it seemed a good place to start. While much of this work could also be done in Excel, I worked in Python to allow for repeatability and potential data growth.

Heads up, for those of you who have read more business-focused Medium articles by me, this one is a bit “codier”. Welcome to the geekier part of AI…

Standardized data from COVID ACT NOW APIs allows for state by state comparison of daily positivity rates

Image by Alison Doucette

In the first episode of our adventure in COVID data, we began to explore using Python basics (functions similar to Excel) to look at COVID-19 data and trends specifically for the state of Massachusetts. This week the challenge was to leverage the APIs published by COVID ACT NOW to explore all states given their standardized data set as well as to play with Plotly for visualizations.

For those of you who would like to follow along, you can find the documentation for the COVID ACT NOW API here. The GitHub repository is useful as it shows how to call the…

Like many of you in Towards Data Science, I am self-taught in machine learning and can remember the day I first left my laptop in model training, fan whirring away, to return hours later and find it still buzzing along. “Hmm”, I thought, “maybe I need a GPU”. Fellow DIY thinkers: it is not a good idea to try and rip apart an old Xbox, but you could build your own. On days even further in the past, energy usage for my family sometimes created a choice between playing video games and air conditioning: rainy summer afternoons with the Xbox…

There are numerous articles and published papers around why AI/Machine Learning/Natural Language Processing projects never make it to “production” or fail to deliver on the value proposed (Gartner predicts that through 2022, 85 percent of AI projects will deliver erroneous outcomes due to bias in data, algorithms or the teams responsible for managing them). The following are a few hypotheses as to why Artificial Intelligence projects fail and some observations on company reactions (technical and organizational) to AI projects lack of delivered value. …

Pondering Product Management Roles, Responsibilities and Risks

Image by Alison Doucette

I have been speaking to people lately about Product Management, how the roles and responsibilities vary from coast to coast and from market to market, things product managers have in common, how the role varies from organization to organization and the risks in the back of the minds of so many Product Managers.

Some things that all product managers have in common:

Good product managers know who their customer is (including inside the company)and can articulate their end-to-end user journey. They think about the entire life cycle of their customers experience with their…

For some, the capstone standalone may be equally as valuable as the course.

Photo by Barna Bartis on Unsplash

In my prior post about the Stamford AI in Healthcare Course, I covered the course components, but held off on the actual Capstone Project. This is a much shorter article about the benefits and potential to take on solely the Capstone project as a review of the challenges of AI on Healthcare.

For the most part the Capstone Project leverages the third course on Fundamentals of AI and Machine Learning for Healthcare and the fourth course on Evaluations of AI Applications in Healthcare. The first two courses…

Put your money where your mouth is and carry a spare.

Hand holding mask
Hand holding mask
Image by Author

Almost everyone by now has likely run into a “mask-shamer”:

  • The woman who when she sees someone who is not wearing a mask walking 20 yards away in an open field in the countryside feels the need to walk close enough to be heard and yell “You should be wearing a mask!” , rather than simply walking by at a distance.
  • The man on a bicycle on one side of the road who slows going downhill to shout at the couple on the other side of the road “Where…

Many women of a certain age have hit a stress or hormone-driven phase of their lives where sleep is uncertain or they wake with their brains spinning like gerbils on a wheel.


Many self-medicate with wine or other alcoholic beverages, while others reach out to their physicians and are told that “many women of a certain age find Prozac or (fill in the blank) helpful” or “let me see if we can try this sleep medication.” This is usually followed by a warning that the medications can be addictive or require gradual tapering on and off to avoid…

Why Implementing AI and Machine Learning in Healthcare Settings is so challenging

Image by Author

A few notes, before we start:

  • While I have been trained as a scientist, I am not a medical doctor. This means I took this course on Coursera for non-AMA points as a certificate.
  • Based on the number of typos and recording blips, etc. I expect was one of the first to try out the course series.
  • The link to the course series can be found here:


The format of the course series is a sequence of videos of people standing in place and reading from a screen. There are two camera angles, but minimal additional visuals, so…

Mainstreaming trends in marijuana. Growing your own cannabis at home.

Teacup and gummies on table.
Teacup and gummies on table.
Image by Author

With legalization, more people over 65 are turning to cannabis (edibles or inhaled) to address sleep issues or because they can no longer tolerate pain or sleep prescription medications. Today, cannabis is completely legal in 14 states for adult use and legal for medical use or decriminalized in all but 6 states. A study earlier this year by the Journal of the American Medical Association noted an increase from .4% to 2.9% in cannabis use among adults over 65. …

Alison Doucette

Love building product with AI smarts and great UX, playing soccer and learning data science

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