From DSC:
We are hopefully creating the future that we want — i.e., creating the future of our dreams, not nightmares.  The 14 items below show that technology is often waaay out ahead of us…and it takes time for other areas of society to catch up (such as areas that involve making policies, laws, and/or if we should even be doing these things in the first place). 

Such reflections always make me ask:

  • Who should be involved in some of these decisions?
  • Who is currently getting asked to the decision-making tables for such discussions?
  • How does the average citizen participate in such discussions?

Readers of this blog know that I’m generally pro-technology. But with the exponential pace of technological change, we need to slow things down enough to make wise decisions.

 


 

Google AI invents its own cryptographic algorithm; no one knows how it works — from arstechnica.co.uk by Sebastian Anthony
Neural networks seem good at devising crypto methods; less good at codebreaking.

Excerpt:

Google Brain has created two artificial intelligences that evolved their own cryptographic algorithm to protect their messages from a third AI, which was trying to evolve its own method to crack the AI-generated crypto. The study was a success: the first two AIs learnt how to communicate securely from scratch.

 

 

IoT growing faster than the ability to defend it — from scientificamerican.com by Larry Greenemeier
Last week’s use of connected gadgets to attack the Web is a wake-up call for the Internet of Things, which will get a whole lot bigger this holiday season

Excerpt:

With this year’s approaching holiday gift season the rapidly growing “Internet of Things” or IoT—which was exploited to help shut down parts of the Web this past Friday—is about to get a lot bigger, and fast. Christmas and Hanukkah wish lists are sure to be filled with smartwatches, fitness trackers, home-monitoring cameras and other wi-fi–connected gadgets that connect to the internet to upload photos, videos and workout details to the cloud. Unfortunately these devices are also vulnerable to viruses and other malicious software (malware) that can be used to turn them into virtual weapons without their owners’ consent or knowledge.

Last week’s distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks—in which tens of millions of hacked devices were exploited to jam and take down internet computer servers—is an ominous sign for the Internet of Things. A DDoS is a cyber attack in which large numbers of devices are programmed to request access to the same Web site at the same time, creating data traffic bottlenecks that cut off access to the site. In this case the still-unknown attackers used malware known as “Mirai” to hack into devices whose passwords they could guess, because the owners either could not or did not change the devices’ default passwords.

 

 

How to Get Lost in Augmented Reality — from inverse.com by Tanya Basu; with thanks to Woontack Woo for this resource
There are no laws against projecting misinformation. That’s good news for pranksters, criminals, and advertisers.

Excerpt:

Augmented reality offers designers and engineers new tools and artists and new palette, but there’s a dark side to reality-plus. Because A.R. technologies will eventually allow individuals to add flourishes to the environments of others, they will also facilitate the creation of a new type of misinformation and unwanted interactions. There will be advertising (there is always advertising) and there will also be lies perpetrated with optical trickery.

Two computer scientists-turned-ethicists are seriously considering the problematic ramifications of a technology that allows for real-world pop-ups: Keith Miller at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Bo Brinkman at Miami University in Ohio. Both men are dismissive of Pokémon Go because smartphones are actually behind the times when it comes to A.R.

A very important question is who controls these augmentations,” Miller says. “It’s a huge responsibility to take over someone’s world — you could manipulate people. You could nudge them.”

 

 

Can we build AI without losing control over it? — from ted.com by Sam Harris

Description:

Scared of superintelligent AI? You should be, says neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris — and not just in some theoretical way. We’re going to build superhuman machines, says Harris, but we haven’t yet grappled with the problems associated with creating something that may treat us the way we treat ants.

 

 

Do no harm, don’t discriminate: official guidance issued on robot ethics — from theguardian.com
Robot deception, addiction and possibility of AIs exceeding their remits noted as hazards that manufacturers should consider

Excerpt:

Isaac Asimov gave us the basic rules of good robot behaviour: don’t harm humans, obey orders and protect yourself. Now the British Standards Institute has issued a more official version aimed at helping designers create ethically sound robots.

The document, BS8611 Robots and robotic devices, is written in the dry language of a health and safety manual, but the undesirable scenarios it highlights could be taken directly from fiction. Robot deception, robot addiction and the possibility of self-learning systems exceeding their remits are all noted as hazards that manufacturers should consider.

 

 

World’s first baby born with new “3 parent” technique — from newscientist.com by Jessica Hamzelou

Excerpt:

It’s a boy! A five-month-old boy is the first baby to be born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three people, New Scientist can reveal. “This is great news and a huge deal,” says Dusko Ilic at King’s College London, who wasn’t involved in the work. “It’s revolutionary.”

The controversial technique, which allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies, has only been legally approved in the UK. But the birth of the child, whose Jordanian parents were treated by a US-based team in Mexico, should fast-forward progress around the world, say embryologists.

 

 

Scientists Grow Full-Sized, Beating Human Hearts From Stem Cells — from popsci.com by Alexandra Ossola
It’s the closest we’ve come to growing transplantable hearts in the lab

Excerpt:

Of the 4,000 Americans waiting for heart transplants, only 2,500 will receive new hearts in the next year. Even for those lucky enough to get a transplant, the biggest risk is the their bodies will reject the new heart and launch a massive immune reaction against the foreign cells. To combat the problems of organ shortage and decrease the chance that a patient’s body will reject it, researchers have been working to create synthetic organs from patients’ own cells. Now a team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School has gotten one step closer, using adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue, according to a study published recently in the journal Circulation Research.

 

 

 

Achieving trust through data ethics — from sloanreview.mit.edu
Success in the digital age requires a new kind of diligence in how companies gather and use data.

Excerpt:

A few months ago, Danish researchers used data-scraping software to collect the personal information of nearly 70,000 users of a major online dating site as part of a study they were conducting. The researchers then published their results on an open scientific forum. Their report included the usernames, political leanings, drug usage, and other intimate details of each account.

A firestorm ensued. Although the data gathered and subsequently released was already publicly available, many questioned whether collecting, bundling, and broadcasting the data crossed serious ethical and legal boundaries.

In today’s digital age, data is the primary form of currency. Simply put: Data equals information equals insights equals power.

Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate — along with data creation and collection. But where should the line be drawn? Where do basic principles come into play to consider the potential harm from data’s use?

 

 

“Data Science Ethics” course — from the University of Michigan on edX.org
Learn how to think through the ethics surrounding privacy, data sharing, and algorithmic decision-making.

About this course
As patients, we care about the privacy of our medical record; but as patients, we also wish to benefit from the analysis of data in medical records. As citizens, we want a fair trial before being punished for a crime; but as citizens, we want to stop terrorists before they attack us. As decision-makers, we value the advice we get from data-driven algorithms; but as decision-makers, we also worry about unintended bias. Many data scientists learn the tools of the trade and get down to work right away, without appreciating the possible consequences of their work.

This course focused on ethics specifically related to data science will provide you with the framework to analyze these concerns. This framework is based on ethics, which are shared values that help differentiate right from wrong. Ethics are not law, but they are usually the basis for laws.

Everyone, including data scientists, will benefit from this course. No previous knowledge is needed.

 

 

 

Science, Technology, and the Future of Warfare — from mwi.usma.edu by Margaret Kosal

Excerpt:

We know that emerging innovations within cutting-edge science and technology (S&T) areas carry the potential to revolutionize governmental structures, economies, and life as we know it. Yet, others have argued that such technologies could yield doomsday scenarios and that military applications of such technologies have even greater potential than nuclear weapons to radically change the balance of power. These S&T areas include robotics and autonomous unmanned system; artificial intelligence; biotechnology, including synthetic and systems biology; the cognitive neurosciences; nanotechnology, including stealth meta-materials; additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing); and the intersection of each with information and computing technologies, i.e., cyber-everything. These concepts and the underlying strategic importance were articulated at the multi-national level in NATO’s May 2010 New Strategic Concept paper: “Less predictable is the possibility that research breakthroughs will transform the technological battlefield…. The most destructive periods of history tend to be those when the means of aggression have gained the upper hand in the art of waging war.”

 

 

Low-Cost Gene Editing Could Breed a New Form of Bioterrorism — from bigthink.com by Philip Perry

Excerpt:

2012 saw the advent of gene editing technique CRISPR-Cas9. Now, just a few short years later, gene editing is becoming accessible to more of the world than its scientific institutions. This new technique is now being used in public health projects, to undermine the ability of certain mosquitoes to transmit disease, such as the Zika virus. But that initiative has had many in the field wondering whether it could be used for the opposite purpose, with malicious intent.

Back in February, U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper put out a Worldwide Threat Assessment, to alert the intelligence community of the potential risks posed by gene editing. The technology, which holds incredible promise for agriculture and medicine, was added to the list of weapons of mass destruction.

It is thought that amateur terrorists, non-state actors such as ISIS, or rouge states such as North Korea, could get their hands on it, and use this technology to create a bioweapon such as the earth has never seen, causing wanton destruction and chaos without any way to mitigate it.

 

What would happen if gene editing fell into the wrong hands?

 

 

 

Robot nurses will make shortages obsolete — from thedailybeast.com by Joelle Renstrom
By 2022, one million nurse jobs will be unfilled—leaving patients with lower quality care and longer waits. But what if robots could do the job?

Excerpt:

Japan is ahead of the curve when it comes to this trend, given that its elderly population is the highest of any country. Toyohashi University of Technology has developed Terapio, a robotic medical cart that can make hospital rounds, deliver medications and other items, and retrieve records. It follows a specific individual, such as a doctor or nurse, who can use it to record and access patient data. Terapio isn’t humanoid, but it does have expressive eyes that change shape and make it seem responsive. This type of robot will likely be one of the first to be implemented in hospitals because it has fairly minimal patient contact, works with staff, and has a benign appearance.

 

 

 

partnershiponai-sept2016

 

Established to study and formulate best practices on AI technologies, to advance the public’s understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society.

 

GOALS

Support Best Practices
To support research and recommend best practices in areas including ethics, fairness, and inclusivity; transparency and interoperability; privacy; collaboration between people and AI systems; and of the trustworthiness, reliability, and robustness of the technology.

Create an Open Platform for Discussion and Engagement
To provide a regular, structured platform for AI researchers and key stakeholders to communicate directly and openly with each other about relevant issues.

Advance Understanding
To advance public understanding and awareness of AI and its potential benefits and potential costs to act as a trusted and expert point of contact as questions/concerns arise from the public and others in the area of AI and to regularly update key constituents on the current state of AI progress.

 

 

 

IBM Watson’s latest gig: Improving cancer treatment with genomic sequencing — from techrepublic.com by Alison DeNisco
A new partnership between IBM Watson Health and Quest Diagnostics will combine Watson’s cognitive computing with genetic tumor sequencing for more precise, individualized cancer care.

 

 



Addendum on 11/1/16:



An open letter to Microsoft and Google’s Partnership on AI — from wired.com by Gerd Leonhard
In a world where machines may have an IQ of 50,000, what will happen to the values and ethics that underpin privacy and free will?

Excerpt:

Dear Francesca, Eric, Mustafa, Yann, Ralf, Demis and others at IBM, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

The Partnership on AI to benefit people and society is a welcome change from the usual celebration of disruption and magic technological progress. I hope it will also usher in a more holistic discussion about the global ethics of the digital age. Your announcement also coincides with the launch of my book Technology vs. Humanity which dramatises this very same question: How will technology stay beneficial to society?

This open letter is my modest contribution to the unfolding of this new partnership. Data is the new oil – which now makes your companies the most powerful entities on the globe, way beyond oil companies and banks. The rise of ‘AI everywhere’ is certain to only accelerate this trend. Yet unlike the giants of the fossil-fuel era, there is little oversight on what exactly you can and will do with this new data-oil, and what rules you’ll need to follow once you have built that AI-in-the-sky. There appears to be very little public stewardship, while accepting responsibility for the consequences of your inventions is rather slow in surfacing.

 

 

The gigantic list of augmented reality use cases — from uploadvr.com by Sarah Downey

Excerpt:

This gigantic list of future AR use cases should get you reeling with the possibilities. Although most of these are future applications, they’ll arrive within the next 10 to 15 years. Let’s make this a living document: if I missed a major use of AR, comment below and I’ll add it.

Three quick notes before we start. First, let’s clarify the difference between AR and VR.

VR blocks out the real world and immerses the user in a digital experience.

If you’re putting on a headset in your living room and suddenly transported to a zombie attack scenario, that’s VR.

AR adds digital elements on top of the real world.

If you’re walking down the street in real life and a Dragonite pops up on the sidewalk, that’s AR.

AR is more focused on bridging digital and physical spaces. It accompanies you as you move through the world and augments your activities with information, whereas you typically step out of that world to immerse yourself in VR. When we talk about AR headsets, they’re big helmet-like visors now, but they’re heading toward normal-looking glasses and ultimately contact lenses.

Third, AR and VR are converging into the same thing. Our ability to tell what’s “real” and not digital will decrease as graphics get increasingly better. An AR sign outside a building could be as real and as significant as a physical one if everyone is using AR tech, everyone sees it when they walk by, and it is persistent in that location. Ultimately, we’ll have hardware that lets us switch between AR and VR modes, with less and more opacity for the context. We’re discussing AR and VR distinctly for now because they’re developing separately and on different timelines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Augmented Reality: Top 100 Influencers and Brands — from onalytica.com

topbrandsar-2016

 

 

Augmented reality is going from ‘Pokémon Go’ to the factory floor — from businessinsider.com by Matt Weinberger

Excerpt:

That data, readily available from other sources, is just the tip of the iceberg, though, Campbell says. It also overlays a graphic showing how the pieces fit together, how to disassemble it, and what other pieces of the machine that part might connect to. It combines the physical world of the machine part with the digital world of the IoT-gleaned info.

Just being able to look at a machine, and say, yes, this is the one that needs work, and this is the work that needs doing, can vastly improve the speed with which work gets done, and thus operational efficiency of the whole enterprise.

“There’s so much value in visualizing information,” Campbell says.

 

 

 

Virtual Reality Changes Global Engineering Schools — from by Ilana Kowarski
Engineering professors say virtual reality contributes to the student experience.

Excerpt:

At engineering schools throughout the world, professors are turning to virtual reality technology in the classroom.

The technology provides 3-D visuals that help engineering students improve their designs, alerting them to flaws before the building process starts.

Engineering schools are researching technologies that could transform the way people communicate and interact by – for instance – allowing people to visit one another in a virtual space if they can’t meet in person. Engineering schools are also exploring medical applications of virtual reality that could save lives, such as 3-D X-rays that allow doctors to peer inside the bodies of patients.

Some engineering schools are taking virtual reality lessons a step further and challenging students to develop new virtual reality programs.

 

 

 

 

 

Broward Students Learning Through Augmented Reality — from nbcmiami.com by Ari Odzer

Excerpt:

We hear about technology’s impact on education all the time. Usually, that means computers, new apps, or 3D printers. Now there’s a new tool that has the promise of revolution, the potential for creating a new paradigm in how students learn. It’s called augmented reality.

 

 

Augmented Reality And Kinect Create Unique Art Experience At Cleveland Museum — from forbes.com by Jennifer Hicks

 

 

 



Addendum on 11/1/16:

 



 

 

 

 

Some reflections/resources on today’s announcements from Apple

tv-app-apple-10-27-16

 

tv-app2-apple-10-27-16

From DSC:
How long before recommendation engines like this can be filtered/focused down to just display apps, channels, etc. that are educational and/or training related (i.e., a recommendation engine to suggest personalized/customized playlists for learning)?

That is, in the future, will we have personalized/customized playlists for learning on our Apple TVs — as well as on our mobile devices — with the assessment results of our taking the module(s) or course(s) being sent in to:

  • A credentials database on LinkedIn (via blockchain)
    and/or
  • A credentials database at the college(s) or university(ies) that we’re signed up with for lifelong learning (via blockchain)
    and/or
  • To update our cloud-based learning profiles — which can then feed a variety of HR-related systems used to find talent? (via blockchain)

Will participants in MOOCs, virtual K-12 schools, homeschoolers, and more take advantage of learning from home?

Will solid ROI’s from having thousands of participants paying a smaller amount (to take your course virtually) enable higher production values?

Will bots and/or human tutors be instantly accessible from our couches?

Will we be able to meet virtually via our TVs and share our computing devices?

 

bigscreen_rocket_league

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

 


Other items on today’s announcements:


 

 

macbookpro-10-27-16

 

 

All the big announcements from Apple’s Mac event — from amp.imore.com by Joseph Keller

  • MacBook Pro
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Apple TV > new “TV” app
  • Touch Bar

 

Apple is finally unifying the TV streaming experience with new app — from techradar.com by Nick Pino

 

 

How to migrate your old Mac’s data to your new Mac — from amp.imore.com by Lory Gil

 

 

MacBook Pro FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s new laptops — from amp.imore.com by Serenity Caldwell

 

 

Accessibility FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s new accessibility portal — from imore.com by Daniel Bader

 

 

Apple’s New MacBook Pro Has a ‘Touch Bar’ on the Keyboard — from wired.com by Brian Barrett

 

 

Apple’s New TV App Won’t Have Netflix or Amazon Video — from wired.com by Brian Barrett

 

 

 

 

Apple 5th Gen TV To Come With Major Software Updates; Release Date Likely In 2017 — from mobilenapps.com

 

 

 

 

whydeeplearningchangingyourlife-sept2016

 

Why deep learning is suddenly changing your life — from fortune.com by Roger Parloff

Excerpt:

Most obviously, the speech-recognition functions on our smartphones work much better than they used to. When we use a voice command to call our spouses, we reach them now. We aren’t connected to Amtrak or an angry ex.

In fact, we are increasingly interacting with our computers by just talking to them, whether it’s Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or the many voice-responsive features of Google. Chinese search giant Baidu says customers have tripled their use of its speech interfaces in the past 18 months.

Machine translation and other forms of language processing have also become far more convincing, with Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Baidu unveiling new tricks every month. Google Translate now renders spoken sentences in one language into spoken sentences in another for 32 pairs of languages, while offering text translations for 103 tongues, including Cebuano, Igbo, and Zulu. Google’s Inbox app offers three ready-made replies for many incoming emails.

But what most people don’t realize is that all these breakthroughs are, in essence, the same breakthrough. They’ve all been made possible by a family of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques popularly known as deep learning, though most scientists still prefer to call them by their original academic designation: deep neural networks.

 

Even the Internet metaphor doesn’t do justice to what AI with deep learning will mean, in Ng’s view. “AI is the new electricity,” he says. “Just as 100 years ago electricity transformed industry after industry, AI will now do the same.”

 

 

ai-machinelearning-deeplearning-relationship-roger-fall2016

 

 

Graphically speaking:

 

ai-machinelearning-deeplearning-relationship-fall2016

 

 

 

“Our sales teams are using neural nets to recommend which prospects to contact next or what kinds of product offerings to recommend.”

 

 

One way to think of what deep learning does is as “A to B mappings,” says Baidu’s Ng. “You can input an audio clip and output the transcript. That’s speech recognition.” As long as you have data to train the software, the possibilities are endless, he maintains. “You can input email, and the output could be: Is this spam or not?” Input loan applications, he says, and the output might be the likelihood a customer will repay it. Input usage patterns on a fleet of cars, and the output could advise where to send a car next.

 

 

 

 

calvincollege-janseries2017-2

 

The speakers — and the topics that they’ll be discussing — for the 2017 January Series have been announced.  As you can see, very knowledgeable, talented speakers are planning on covering a variety of meaningful topics such as:

  • 500 Years Later: Why the Reformation Still Matters
  • Poverty and Profit in the American City
  • Race, Trauma, and the Doctrine of Discovery
  • Closing the Gender Gap in Technology
  • Tinkering in Today’s Healthcare Factories: Pursuing the Renewal of Medicine
  • Until All Are Free: A Look at Slavery Today and the Church’s Invitation to End It
  • I’ll Push You: A Story of Radical Friendship, Overcoming Challenges and the Power of Community
  • The EU and Global Governance
  • The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right
  • How Did We Get Here? A Historical Perspective on Our Wild 2016 Election
  • How to Find and Live Your Calling: Lessons from the Psychology of Vocation
  • The World is a Scary Place, Love Anyway
  • The Royal Revolution: Fresh Perspectives on the Cross
  • American Violinist in Concert
  • Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World?

You don’t have to physically attend these presentations in order to benefit from them, as the majority of these presentations will be streamed live over the Internet (audio only).  So plan now to attend (physically or virtually) one or more of these excellent talks.

 

 

 

Microsoft just democratized virtual reality with $299 headsets — from pcworld.com by Gordon Mah Ung

Excerpt:

VR just got a lot cheaper.

Microsoft on Wednesday morning said PC OEMs will soon be shipping VR headsets that enable virtual reality and mixed reality starting at $299.

Details of the hardware and how it works were sparse, but Microsoft said HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer will be shipping the headsets timed with its upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update, due in spring 2017.

Despite the relatively low price, the upcoming headsets may have a big advantage over HTC and Valve’s Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift: no need for separate calibration hardware to function. Both Vive and Oculus require multiple emitters on stands to be placed around a room for the positioning to function.

 

microsoft-299-vr-headsets-10-26-16

 

 

 

Introducing the new Surface family — from microsoft.com
To do great things, you need powerful tools that deliver an ideal balance of craftsmanship, performance, and versatility. Every Surface device is engineered with these things in mind, and you at the center. And that’s how the Surface family does more. Just like you.

 

 

microsoftintrossurfacedesktop2-10-26-16

 

Also see the new Surface Dial:

 

mssurfacedial-10-26-16

 

 

 

Microsoft ‘Surface Studio’ and ‘Dial’ Up Close  — from blogs.barrons.com by Tiernan Ray

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Microsoft (MSFT) this morning held an event in downtown Manhattan that included both an update to Windows, the “Creators” edition, and also new versions of the company’s Surface tablet computer, including a revamp of the “Surface Book” laptop and tablet combo device, and a new desktop machine called the “Surface Studio” that has the thinnest display ever made, the company claims.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing at the event was something called “Dial,” a rotating puck device that can function like a wireless mouse with the Studio, but can also be placed right on top of the display itself to bring up a context-specific menu of functions, or to perform actions like cut and paste.

 

 

 

Microsoft announces its first desktop PC, the $3,000 Surface Studio — from businessinsider.com by Steve Kovach

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Microsoft on Wednesday announced its first desktop PC, the Surface Studio.

It’s an all-in-one computer, designed to compete with Apple’s iMac. The PC is geared toward professionals, and it has high-end specs designed for tasks like video or photo editing.

But the real surprises are the adjustable display and a new accessory called the Surface Dial. The display can lie nearly flat on the table, giving graphics artists the ability to draw and work. The Surface Dial can be placed on the screen to bring up color palettes and other options. The Surface Dial will work with other Surface products — the Surface Pro and Surface Book — but you won’t be able to use it on the screens.

 

 

 

Microsoft wants to bring machine learning into the mainstream — from networkworld.com by Steven Max Patterson
Microsoft released the beta of the Cognitive Toolkit with machine learning models, infrastructure and development tools, enabling customers to start building

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Microsoft just released the open-source licensed beta release of the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit on Github. This announcement represents a shift in Microsoft’s customer focus from research to implementation. It is an update to the Computational Network Toolkit (CNTK). The toolkit is a supervised machine learning system in the same category of other open-source projects such as Tensorflow, Caffe and Torch.

Microsoft is one of the leading investors in and contributors to the open machine learning software and research community. A glance at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference reveals that there are just four major technology companies committed to moving the field of neural networks forward: Microsoft, Google, Facebook and IBM.

This announcement signals Microsoft interest to bring machine learning into the mainstream. The open source license reveals Microsoft’s continued collaboration with the machine learning community.

 

 

 

Microsoft just democratized virtual reality with $299 headsets — from pcworld.com by Gordon Mah Ung

Excerpt:

VR just got a lot cheaper.

Microsoft on Wednesday morning said PC OEMs will soon be shipping VR headsets that enable virtual reality and mixed reality starting at $299.

Details of the hardware and how it works were sparse, but Microsoft said HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer will be shipping the headsets timed with its upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update, due in spring 2017.

Despite the relatively low price, the upcoming headsets may have a big advantage over HTC and Valve’s Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift: no need for separate calibration hardware to function. Both Vive and Oculus require multiple emitters on stands to be placed around a room for the positioning to function.

 

microsoft-299-vr-headsets-10-26-16

 

 

The 10 Coolest Features Coming to Windows 10 — from wired.com by Michael Calore

Excerpt:

Microsoft is gearing up for a Windows refresh. The Windows 10 Creators Update will arrive on all Windows 10 devices for free in the spring of 2017. Today, Microsoft showed off all the new features coming to the multi-mode OS. Here’s the best of what will be coming to your Windows PC or Surface device.

 

 

 

 

 

The Surface Studio Story: How Microsoft Reimagined The Desktop PC For Creativity — from fastcompany.com by Mark Sullivan
A 28-inch screen, a very special hinge, and a new type of input device add up to an experience conceived with artists and designers in mind.

 

 

 

IBM Watson Education and Pearson to drive cognitive learning experiences for college students — from prnewswire.com

Excerpt:

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Pearson (FTSE: PSON) the world’s learning company, today announced a new global education alliance intended to make Watson’s cognitive capabilities available to millions of college students and professors.

Combining IBM’s cognitive capabilities with Pearson’s digital learning products will give students a more immersive learning experience with their college courses, an easy way to get help and insights when they need it, all through asking questions in natural language just like they would with another student or professor. Importantly, it provides instructors with insights about how well students are learning, allowing them to better manage the entire course and flag students who need additional help.

For example, a student experiencing difficulty while studying for a biology course can query Watson, which is embedded in the Pearson courseware. Watson has already read the Pearson courseware content and is ready to spot patterns and generate insights.  Serving as a digital resource, Watson will assess the student’s responses to guide them with hints, feedback, explanations and help identify common misconceptions, working with the student at their pace to help them master the topic.

 

 

ibm-watson-2016

 

 

Udacity partners with IBM Watson to launch the AI Nanodegree — from venturebeat.com by Paul Sawers

Excerpt:

Online education platform Udacity has partnered with IBM Watson to launch a new artificial intelligence (AI) Nanodegree program.

Costing $1,600 for the full two-term, 26-week course, the AI Nanodegree covers a myriad of topics including logic and planning, probabilistic inference, game-playing / search, computer vision, cognitive systems, and natural language processing (NLP). It’s worth noting here that Udacity already offers an Intro to Artificial Intelligence (free) course and the Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree, but with the A.I. Nanodegree program IBM Watson is seeking to help give developers a “foundational understanding of artificial intelligence,” while also helping graduates identify job opportunities in the space.

 

 

The Future Cognitive Workforce Part 1: Announcing the AI Nanodegree with Udacity — from ibm.com by Rob High

Excerpt:

As artificial intelligence (AI) begins to power more technology across industries, it’s been truly exciting to see what our community of developers can create with Watson. Developers are inspiring us to advance the technology that is transforming society, and they are the reason why such a wide variety of businesses are bringing cognitive solutions to market.

With AI becoming more ubiquitous in the technology we use every day, developers need to continue to sharpen their cognitive computing skills. They are seeking ways to gain a competitive edge in a workforce that increasingly needs professionals who understand how to build AI solutions.

It is for this reason that today at World of Watson in Las Vegas we announced with Udacity the introduction of a Nanodegree program that incorporates expertise from IBM Watson and covers the basics of artificial intelligence. The “AI Nanodegree” program will be helpful for those looking to establish a foundational understanding of artificial intelligence. IBM will also help aid graduates of this program with identifying job opportunities.

 

 

The Future Cognitive Workforce Part 2: Teaching the Next Generation of Builders — from ibm.com by Steve Abrams

Excerpt:

Announced today at World of Watson, and as Rob High outlined in the first post in this series, IBM has partnered with Udacity to develop a nanodegree in artificial intelligence. Rob discussed IBM’s commitment to empowering developers to learn more about cognitive computing and equipping them with the educational resources they need to build their careers in AI.

To continue on this commitment, I’m excited to announce another new program today geared at college students that we’ve launched with Kivuto Solutions, an academic software distributor. Via Kivuto’s popular digital resource management platform, students and academics around the world will now gain free access to the complete IBM Bluemix Portfolio — and specifically, Watson. This offers students and faculty at any accredited university – as well as community colleges and high schools with STEM programs – an easy way to tap into Watson services. Through this access, teachers will also gain a better means to create curriculum around subjects like AI.

 

 

 

IBM introduces new Watson solutions for professions — from finance.yahoo.com

Excerpt:

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE:IBM) today unveiled a series of new cognitive solutions intended for professionals in marketing, commerce, supply chain and human resources. With these new offerings, IBM is enabling organizations across all industries and of all sizes to integrate new cognitive capabilities into their businesses.

Watson solutions learn in an expert way, which is critical for professionals that want to uncover insights hidden in their massive amounts of data to understand, reason and learn about their customers and important business processes. Helping professionals augment their existing knowledge and experience without needing to engage a data analyst empowers them to make more informed business decisions, spot opportunities and take action with confidence.

“IBM is bringing Watson cognitive capabilities to millions of professionals around the world, putting a trusted advisor and personal analyst at their fingertips,” said Harriet Green, general manager Watson IoT, Cognitive Engagement & Education. “Similar to the value that Watson has brought to the world of healthcare, cognitive capabilities will be extended to professionals in new areas, helping them harness the value of the data being generated in their industries and use it in new ways.”

 

 

 

IBM says new Watson Data Platform will ‘bring machine learning to the masses’ — from techrepublic.com by Hope Reese
On Tuesday, IBM unveiled a cloud-based AI engine to help businesses harness machine learning. It aims to give everyone, from CEOs to developers, a simple platform to interpret and collaborate on data.

Excerpt:

“Insight is the new currency for success,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president at IBM Analytics. “And Watson is the supercharger for the insight economy.”

Picciano, speaking at the World of Watson conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, unveiled IBM’s Watson Data Platform, touted as the “world’s fastest data ingestion engine and machine learning as a service.”

The cloud-based Watson Data Platform, will “illuminate dark data,” said Picciano, and will “change everything—absolutely everything—for everyone.”

 

 

 

See the #IBMWoW hashtag on Twitter for more news/announcements coming from IBM this week:

 

ibm-wow-hashtag-oct2016

 

 

 

 

Previous postings from earlier this month:

 

  • IBM launches industry first Cognitive-IoT ‘Collaboratory’ for clients and partners
    Excerpt:
    IBM have unveiled an €180 million investment in a new global headquarters to house its Watson Internet of Things business.  Located in Munich, the facility will promote new IoT capabilities around Blockchain and security as well as supporting the array of clients that are driving real outcomes by using Watson IoT technologies, drawing insights from billions of sensors embedded in machines, cars, drones, ball bearings, pieces of equipment and even hospitals. As part of a global investment designed to bring Watson cognitive computing to IoT, IBM has allocated more than $200 million USD to its global Watson IoT headquarters in Munich. The investment, one of the company’s largest ever in Europe, is in response to escalating demand from customers who are looking to transform their operations using a combination of IoT and Artificial Intelligence technologies. Currently IBM has 6,000 clients globally who are tapping Watson IoT solutions and services, up from 4,000 just 8 months ago.

 

 

cognitiveapproachhr-oct2016

 

 

 

 

 

nmc-digitalliteracyreport-oct2016

 

The New Media Consortium (NMC) has released Digital Literacy: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief in conjunction with the 2016 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference.

In analyzing the progress and gaps in this area, the NMC’s report has identified a need for higher education leaders and technology companies to prioritize students as makers, learning through the act of content creation rather than mere consumption. Additionally, the publication recommends that colleges and universities establish productive collaborations with industry, government, and libraries to provide students with access to the latest technologies and tools.

Based on the variety and complexity of these results, NMC cannot identify just one model of digital literacy. Instead three different digital literacies are now evident, each with distinct standards, potential curriculum, and implications for creative educators.

 

digitallits-nmc-oct2016

 

 

The aim of this publication is to establish a shared vision of digital literacy for higher education leaders by illuminating key definitions and models along with best practices and recommendations for implementing successful digital literacy initiatives.

 

 

To be digitally literate, you need to be:
fluent at critical thinking,
collaborating,
being creative, and
problem-solving in
digital environments.

 

 

Computer science and digital media classes can instruct on everything from office productivity applications to programming and video editing, for example.  Sociology courses can teach interpersonal actions online, such as the ethics and politics of social network interaction, while psychology and business classes can focus on computer-mediated human interaction. Government and political science classes are clearly well equipped to explore the intersection of digital technology and citizenship mentioned above. Communication, writing, and  literature classes have the capacity to instruct students on producing digital content in the form of stories, arguments, personal expression, posters, and more. 

 

 

 

From DSC:
If faculty members aren’t asking students to create multimedia in their assignments and/or take part in online/digitally-based means of communications and learning, the vast majority of the students won’t (and don’t) care about digital literacy…it’s simply not relevant to them: “Whatever gets me the grade, that’s what I’ll do. But no more.”

This type of situation/perspective is quite costly.  Because once students graduate from college, had they built up some solid digital literacy — especially the “creative literacy” mentioned above — they would be in much better shape to get solid jobs, and prosper at those jobs. They would be much better able to craft powerful communications — and reach a global audience in doing so. They would have honed their creativity, something increasingly important as the onward march of AI, robotics, algorithms, automation, and such continues to eat away at many types of jobs (that don’t really need creative people working in them).

This is an important topic, especially as digitally-based means of communication continue to grow in their usage and impact.

 

 

Part of digital literacy is not just understanding how a tool works but also why it is useful in the real world and when to use it.

 

 

 

 

LinkedIn unveils the top skills that can get you hired in 2017

Excerpt:

Data and cloud reign supreme: I smell a dynasty in the making! Cloud and distributed computing has remained in the #1 spot for the past two years and is the Top Skill on almost every list — including France, Germany, India, Ireland, Singapore, the U.S., and Spain. Following closely on its heels is statistical analysis and data mining, which came in #2 last year, and #1 in 2014. These skills are in such high demand because they’re at the cutting edge of technology. Employers need employees with cloud and distributed computing, statistical analysis and data mining skills to stay competitive.

 

linkedin-topskills2016

 

 

linkedin-topskillsglobal2016

 

From DSC:
The need for people who have “IT”-related skills is consistent across the globe.

 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian