ISNS students embrace learning in a world of virtual reality — from by

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

To give students the skills needed to thrive in an ever more tech-centred world, the International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (ISNS) is one of the world’s first educational facilities now making instruction in virtual reality (VR) and related tools a key part of the curriculum.

Building on a successful pilot programme last summer in Virtual Reality, 3D art and animation, the intention is to let students in various age groups experiment with the latest emerging technologies, while at the same time unleashing their creativity, curiosity and passion for learning.

To this end, the school has set up a special VR innovation lab, conceived as a space for exploration, design and interdisciplinary collaboration involving a number of different subject teachers.

Using relevant software and materials, students learn to create high-quality digital content and to design “experiences” for VR platforms. In this “VR Lab makerspace” – a place offering the necessary tools, resources and support – they get to apply concepts and theories learned in the classroom, develop practical skills, document their progress, and share what they have learned with classmates and other members of the tech education community. 



As a next logical step, she is also looking to develop contacts with a number of the commercial makerspaces which have sprung up in Shenzhen. The hope is that students will then be able to meet engineers working on cutting-edge innovations and understand the latest developments in software, manufacturing, and areas such as laser cutting, and 3D printing, and rapid prototyping.  




Per X Media Lab:

The authoritative CB Insights lists imminent Future Tech Trends: customized babies; personalized foods; robotic companions; 3D printed housing; solar roads; ephemeral retail; enhanced workers; lab-engineered luxury; botroots movements; microbe-made chemicals; neuro-prosthetics; instant expertise; AI ghosts. You can download the whole outstanding report here (125 pgs).


From DSC:
Though I’m generally pro-technology, there are several items in here which support the need for all members of society to be informed and have some input into if and how these technologies should be used. Prime example: Customized babies.  The report discusses the genetic modification of babies: “In the future, we will choose the traits for our babies.” Veeeeery slippery ground here.


Below are some example screenshots:










Also see:

CBInsights — Innovation Summit

  • The New User Interface: The Challenge and Opportunities that Chatbots, Voice Interfaces and Smart Devices Present
  • Fusing the physical, digital and biological: AI’s transformation of healthcare
  • How predictive algorithms and AI will rule financial services
  • Autonomous Everything: How Connected Vehicles Will Change Mobility and Which Companies Will Own this Future
  • The Next Industrial Age: The New Revenue Sources that the Industrial Internet of Things Unlocks
  • The AI-100: 100 Artificial Intelligence Startups That You Better Know
  • Autonomous Everything: How Connected Vehicles Will Change Mobility and Which Companies Will Own this Future




The Periodic Table of AI — from by Kris Hammond


This is an invitation to collaborate.  In particular, it is an invitation to collaborate in framing how we look at and develop machine intelligence. Even more specifically, it is an invitation to collaborate in the construction of a Periodic Table of AI.

Let’s be honest. Thinking about Artificial Intelligence has proven to be difficult for us.  We argue constantly about what is and is not AI.  We certainly cannot agree on how to test for it.  We have difficultly deciding what technologies should be included within it.  And we struggle with how to evaluate it.

Even so, we are looking at a future in which intelligent technologies are becoming commonplace.

With that in mind, we propose an approach to viewing machine intelligence from the perspective of its functional components. Rather than argue about the technologies behind them, the focus should be on the functional elements that make up intelligence.  By stepping away from how these elements are implemented, we can talk about what they are and their roles within larger systems.



Also see this article, which contains the graphic below:




From DSC:
These graphics are helpful to me, as they increase my understanding of some of the complexities involved within the realm of artificial intelligence.




Also relevant/see:




GE’s Sam Murley scopes out the state of AR and what’s next — from

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

AREA: How would you describe the opportunity for Augmented Reality in 2017?
SAM MURLEY: I think it’s huge — almost unprecedented — and I believe the tipping point will happen sometime this year. This tipping point has been primed over the past 12 to 18 months with large investments in new startups, successful pilots in the enterprise, and increasing business opportunities for providers and integrators of Augmented Reality. During this time, we have witnessed examples of proven implementations – small scale pilots, larger scale pilots, and companies rolling out AR in production — and we should expect this to continue to increase in 2017. You can also expect to see continued growth of assisted reality devices, scalable for industrial use cases such as manufacturing, industrial, and services industries as well as new adoption of mixed reality and augmented reality devices, spatially-aware and consumer focused for automotive, consumer, retail, gaming, and education use cases. We’ll see new software providers emerge, existing companies taking the lead, key improvements in smart eyewear optics and usability, and a few strategic partnerships will probably form.

AREA: Do you have visibility into all the different AR pilots or programs that are going on at GE?

At the 2016 GE Minds + Machines conference, our Vice President of GE Software Research, Colin Parris, showed off how the Microsoft HoloLens could help the company “talk” to machines and service malfunctioning equipment. It was a perfect example of how Augmented Reality will change the future of work, giving our customers the ability to talk directly to a Digital Twin — a virtual model of that physical asset — and ask it questions about recent performance, anomalies, potential issues and receive answers back using natural language. We will see Digital Twins of many assets, from jet engines to or compressors. Digital Twins are powerful – they allow tweaking and changing aspects of your asset in order to see how it will perform, prior to deploying in the field. GE’s Predix, the operating system for the industrial Internet, makes this cutting-edge methodology possible. “What you saw was an example of the human mind working with the mind of a machine,” said Parris. With Augmented Reality, we are able to empower the workforce with tools that increase productivity, reduce downtime, and tap into the Digital Thread and Predix. With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Augmented Reality quickly allows language to be the next interface between the Connected Workforce and the Internet of Things (IoT). No keyboard or screen needed.



From DSC:
I also believe that the tipping point will happen sometime this year.  I hadn’t heard of the concept of a Digital Twin — but I sense that we’ll be hearing that more often in the future.




With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Augmented Reality quickly allows language to be the next interface between the Connected Workforce and the Internet of Things (IoT). No keyboard or screen needed.




From DSC:
I then saw the concept of the “Digital Twin” again out at:

  • Breaking through the screen — from by Evan Helda
    Excerpt (emphasis DSC ):
    Within the world of the enterprise, this concept of a simultaneous existence of “things” virtually and physically has been around for a while. It is known as the “digital twin”, or sometimes referred to as the “digital tapestry” (will cover this topic in a later post). Well, thanks to the internet and ubiquity of sensors today, almost every “thing” now has a “digital twin”, if you will. These “things” will embody this co-existence, existing in a sense virtually and physically, and all connected in a myriad of ways. The outcome at maturity is something we’ve yet to fully comprehend.




With Uber Freight, it’s not just truck drivers whose jobs are at risk — from by John McDermott
The bane of taxi drivers everywhere is now taking on logistics

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

At the end of December Uber debuted Uber Freight, its foray into the un-sexy yet lucrative world of logistics. Many saw Uber’s entry into freight as a death knell for trucking companies, as Uber is looking to build a fleet of driverless trucks.

And while the threat to trucking is real, Uber Freight poses a more immediate risk to the thousands of mid-level, white-collar support staff jobs in the industry.

Uber is uniquely positioned to streamline the industry, though. Much like the company’s ride-hailing app cuts out the taxi dispatcher and allows people to hail rides directly from drivers, Uber Freight can create a platform where shippers and truckers broker shipping orders directly with one another, effectively rendering obsolete thousands of 3PL (third party logistics) workers. It replaces people with software, and configures a labor-intensive industry into a SaaS business.

Famed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen is fond of the phrase “software is eating the world,” meaning that it’s replacing many of the post-industrial, pre-internet jobs once thought to be essential. Problem is, one man’s efficiency is another’s unemployment.


Problem is, one man’s efficiency is another’s unemployment.




LinkedIn debuts new desktop version with ‘chatbots’, new search and more — from by Ingrid Lunden


After a short preview in September last year, and the small matter of getting acquired for $26.2 billion by Microsoft, today LinkedIn — the social network for the professional world with close to 470 million users — is finally unveiling its redesign of its desktop site, complete with a simpler, app-like look; a new messaging experience that appears as a pop-up on the homepage; and updated search features. LinkedIn said the new desktop version will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks.

Two of the most notable changes in this new version are how LinkedIn is approaching private messaging, and also how it’s moving to make its public messaging — its feeds — better and more used.

And now, LinkedIn is introducing its own form of ‘chatbots’. To be clear, I’m referring to these as chatbots, but LinkedIn is not — it doesn’t follow you and steer the whole conversation, but it’s a little helper that will suggest things to talk about to “break the ice” with people. It will also suggest people you can chat with at companies if you aren’t even at the ice-breaking point.

The feed itself is going to be filled with significantly more algorithms to suggest content to you — both organic and sponsored, “native” content — a new ad unit that LinkedIn is hoping to expand. Among the organic content, you’ll be seeing more suggestions of people to follow, as well as more content from influencers alongside news curated by LinkedIn itself and its editorial team.





Days pass, years vanish, and we walk sightless among miracles.

An excerpt from a book by Lynne Baab


The 2017 Top 10 IT Issues — a new report from Educause
It’s all about student success.


Colleges and universities are concentrating on student success to address concerns about the costs, value, and outcomes of higher education. Student success initiatives are making use of every available resource and opportunity and involving every relevant stakeholder. Institutional technology is all three: resource, opportunity, and stakeholder.

The 2017 issues list identifies the four focus areas for higher education information technology:

  • Develop the IT foundations
  • Develop the data foundations
  • Ensure effective leadership
  • Enable successful students

These issues and focus areas are not just about today. Higher education information technology is very clearly building foundations for student success to last into the future.





Also see:

Educause Announces Top IT Issues, Trends and Tech Report for 2017 — from by Dian Schaffhauser


Expanding on the preview of its annual ranking of IT issues for higher education released last fall, Educause today announced its full report on the key issues, trends and technologies poised to impact higher ed in 2017. The prevailing themes across the board, according to the higher education technology association with a membership of 2,100 colleges, universities and other education organizations: information security, student success and data-informed decision-making.

The top 10 IT issues for 2017, reiterated in today’s report:

  1. Information security;
  2. Student success and completion;
  3. Data-informed decision-making;
  4. Strategic leadership;
  5. Sustainable funding;
  6. Data management and governance;
  7. Higher education affordability;
  8. Sustainable staffing;
  9. Next-generation enterprise IT; and
  10. Digital transformation of learning.




Chatbots: The next big thing — from

More and more European developers are discovering the potential of chatbots. These mini-programs interact automatically with users and could be particularly useful in areas like online shopping and news delivery. The potential of chatbots is diverse. These tiny programs can do everything from recognizing customers’ tastes to relaying the latest weather forecast. Berlin start-up Spectrm is currently devising bots that deliver customized news. Users can contact the bot via Facebook Messenger, and receive updates on topics that interest them within just a few seconds.



MyPrivateTutor releases chatbot for finding tutors — from
MyPrivateTutor, based in Kolkata, matches tutors to students using proprietary machine learning algorithms


Using artificial intelligence, the chatbot helps us reach a wider segment of users who are still not comfortable navigating websites and apps but are quite savvy with messaging apps”, said Sandip Kar, co-founder & CEO of MyPrivateTutor (, an online marketplace for tutors, has released a chatbot for helping students and parents find tutors, trainers, coaching classes and training institutes near them.



Story idea: Covering the world of chatbots — from by Susan Johnston Taylor


Chatbots, computer programs designed to converse with humans, can perform all sorts of activities. They can help users book a vacation, order a pizza, negotiate with Comcast or even communicate with POTUS. Instead of calling or emailing a representative at the company, consumers chat with a robot that uses artificial intelligence to simulate natural conversation. A growing number of startups and more established companies now use them to interact with users via Facebook Messenger, SMS, chat-specific apps such as Kik or the company’s own site.

To cover this emerging business story, reporters can seek out companies in their area that use chatbots, or find local tech firms that are building them. Local universities may have professors or other experts available who can provide big-picture context, too. (Expertise Finder can help you identify professors and their specific areas of study.)



How chatbots are addressing summer melt for colleges — from


AdmitHub, an edtech startup which builds conversational artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots to guide students on the path to and through college, has raised $2.95 million in seed funding.



Why higher education chatbots will take over university mobile apps — from by Kirk Daulerio

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Chatbots are the new apps and websites combined
Chatbots are simple, easy to use, and present zero friction. They exist on the channels that people are most familiar with like Messenger, Twitter, SMS text message, Kik, and expanding onto other messaging applications. Unlike apps, bots don’t take up space, users don’t have to take time to get familiar with a new user interface, and bots will give you an instant reply. The biggest difference with chatbots compared to apps and websites is that they use language as the main interface. Websites and apps have to be searched and clicked, while bots and people use language, the most natural interface, to communicate and inform.



From DSC:
I think messaging-based chatbots will definitely continue to grow in usage — in numerous industries, including higher education. But I also think that the human voice — working in conjunction with technologies that provide natural language processing (NLP) capabilities — will play an increasingly larger role in how we interface with our devices. Whether it’s via a typed/textual message or whether it’s via a command or a query relayed by the human voice, working with bots needs to be on our radars. These conversational messaging agents are likely to be around for a while.






© 2016 Learning Ecosystems