Google is turning Street View imagery into pro-level landscape photographs using artificial intelligence — from businessinsider.com by Edoardo Maggio

Excerpt:

A new experiment from Google is turning imagery from the company’s Street View service into impressive digital photographs using nothing but artificial intelligence (AI).

Google is using machine learning algorithms to train a deep neural network to roam around places such as Canada’s and California’s national parks, look for potentially suitable landscape images, and then work on them with special post-processing techniques.

The idea is to “mimic the workflow of a professional photographer,” and to do so Google is relying on so-called generative adversarial networks (GAN), which essentially pit two neural networks against one another.

 

See also:

Using Deep Learning to Create Professional-Level Photographs — from research.googleblog.com by Hui Fang, Software Engineer, Machine Perception

 

 

Want to Build a Culture of Learning? You Need to Embrace Failure — from learning.linkedin.com by Paul Petrone

Excerpt:

Six questions that determine how your company really feels about failure
It’s great to say your company welcomes people experimenting and failing. But does that actually happen in practice?

To assess how your company really feels about failure, Andreatta suggests asking yourself these six questions about your culture:

  • Do people admit when they don’t know something or ask for help?
  • What happens when someone makes a mistake or fails? Are they teased or shamed or are they encouraged to look at what happened and try again?
  • When people make mistakes or challenge ideas, do they ultimately get sidelined, demoted or red?
  • Do people admit their mistakes and take responsibility for fixing them or do they blame others?
  • Do managers and leaders share stories of how they took risks or recovered from a failure?

 

“All of the amazing training programs in the world won’t help if people don’t feel safe enough to stretch and grow,” Andreatta said.

 

 

 

Amazon relaunches Inspire after a year of re-tooling — from edscoop.com/ by Emily Tate
The content repository offers tens of thousands of downloadable educational resources. The “upload and share” feature is expected to follow soon.

Excerpts:

More than a year after Amazon debuted — and then suddenly retracted — its free library of open educational resources, Amazon Inspire is back.

The content repository — seen by many as Amazon’s first major attempt to edge into the competitive education technology space that tech giants like Google and Microsoft now comfortably occupy — was quietly reintroduced to educators on Monday [7/17/17] as a way to store and find tens of thousands of downloadable educational materials that teachers can use in their classrooms.

Over the last year, groups across the country have been working with Amazon to vet digital content to ensure it complies with state standards, quality indicators and, perhaps most importantly, intellectual property and copyright laws.

Similarly, if you want to teach a lesson on Romeo and Juliet, for example, you could search Inspire by grade, subject, content format and standards to begin pulling “ingredients,” or resources, off the shelves and putting them in your “grocery cart,” or your collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robots and AI are going to make social inequality even worse, says new report — from theverge.com by
Rich people are going to find it easier to adapt to automation

Excerpt:

Most economists agree that advances in robotics and AI over the next few decades are likely to lead to significant job losses. But what’s less often considered is how these changes could also impact social mobility. A new report from UK charity Sutton Trust explains the danger, noting that unless governments take action, the next wave of automation will dramatically increase inequality within societies, further entrenching the divide between rich and poor.

The are a number of reasons for this, say the report’s authors, including the ability of richer individuals to re-train for new jobs; the rising importance of “soft skills” like communication and confidence; and the reduction in the number of jobs used as “stepping stones” into professional industries.

For example, the demand for paralegals and similar professions is likely to be reduced over the coming years as artificial intelligence is trained to handle more administrative tasks. In the UK more than 350,000 paralegals, payroll managers, and bookkeepers could lose their jobs if automated systems can do the same work.

 

Re-training for new jobs will also become a crucial skill, and it’s individuals from wealthier backgrounds that are more able to do so, says the report. This can already be seen in the disparity in terms of post-graduate education, with individuals in the UK with working class or poorer backgrounds far less likely to re-train after university.

 

 

From DSC:
I can’t emphasize this enough. There are dangerous, tumultuous times ahead if we can’t figure out ways to help ALL people within the workforce reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, and conveniently. Re-skilling/up-skilling ourselves is becoming increasingly important. And I’m not just talking about highly-educated people. I’m talking about people whose jobs are going to be disappearing in the near future — especially people whose stepping stones into brighter futures are going to wake up to a very different world. A very harsh world.

That’s why I’m so passionate about helping to develop a next generation learning platform. Higher education, as an industry, has some time left to figure out their part/contribution out in this new world. But the window of time could be closing, as another window of opportunity / era could be opening up for “the next Amazon.com of higher education.”

It’s up to current, traditional institutions of higher education as to how much they want to be a part of the solution. Some of the questions each institution ought to be asking are:

  1. Given our institutions mission/vision, what landscapes should we be pulse-checking?
  2. Do we have faculty/staff/members of administration looking at those landscapes that are highly applicable to our students and to their futures? How, specifically, are the insights from those employees fed into the strategic plans of our institution?
  3. What are some possible scenarios as a result of these changing landscapes? What would our response(s) be for each scenario?
  4. Are there obstacles from us innovating and being able to respond to the shifting landscapes, especially within the workforce?
  5. How do we remove those obstacles?
  6. On a scale of 0 (we don’t innovate at all) to 10 (highly innovative), where is our culture today? Where do we hope to be 5 years from now? How do we get there?

…and there are many other questions no doubt. But I don’t think we’re looking into the future nearly enough to see the massive needs — and real issues — ahead of us.

 

 

The report, which was carried out by the Boston Consulting Group and published this Wednesday [7/12/17], looks specifically at the UK, where it says some 15 million jobs are at risk of automation. But the Sutton Trust says its findings are also relevant to other developed nations, particularly the US, where social mobility is a major problem.

 

 

 

 

Career Pathways: Five Ways to Connect College and Careers calls for states to help students, their families, and employers unpack the meaning of postsecondary credentials and assess their value in the labor market.

Excerpt:

If students are investing more to go to college, they need to have answers to basic questions about the value of postsecondary education. They need better information to make decisions that have lifelong economic consequences.

Getting a college education is one of the biggest investments people will make in their lives, but the growing complexity of today’s economy makes it difficult for higher education to deliver efficiency and consistent quality. Today’s economy is more intricate than those of decades past.

 

From this press release:

It’s Time to Fix Higher Education’s Tower of Babel, Says Georgetown University Report
The lack of transparency around college and careers leads to costly, uninformed decisions

(Washington, D.C., July 11, 2017) — A new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center), Career Pathways: Five Ways to Connect College and Careers, calls for states to help students, their families, and employers unpack the meaning of postsecondary credentials and assess their value in the labor market.

Back when a high school-educated worker could find a good job with decent wages, the question was simply whether or not to go to college. That is no longer the case in today’s economy, which requires at least some college to enter the middle class. The study finds that:

  • The number of postsecondary programs of study more than quintupled between 1985 and 2010 — from 410 to 2,260;
  • The number of colleges and universities more than doubled from 1,850 to 4,720 between 1950 and 2014; and
  • The number of occupations grew from 270 in 1950 to 840 in 2010.

The variety of postsecondary credentials, providers, and online delivery mechanisms has also multiplied rapidly in recent years, underscoring the need for common, measurable outcomes.

College graduates are also showing buyer’s remorse. While they are generally happy with their decision to attend college, more than half would choose a different major, go to a different college, or pursue a different postsecondary credential if they had a chance.

The Georgetown study points out that the lack of information drives the higher education market toward mediocrity. The report argues that postsecondary education and training needs to be more closely aligned to careers to better equip learners and workers with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy and close the skills gap.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for students to make the right decisions. Since 1980, tuition and fees at public four year colleges and universities have grown 19 times faster than family incomes. Students and families want — and need — to know the value they are getting for their investment.

 

 



Also see:

  • Trumping toward college transparency — from linkedin.com by Anthony Carnevale
    The perfect storm is gathering around the need to increase transparency around college and careers. And in accordance with how public policy generally comes about, it might just happen. 


 

 

 

AI is making it extremely easy for students to cheat — from wired.com by Pippa Biddle

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

For years, students have turned to CliffsNotes for speedy reads of books, SparkNotes to whip up talking points for class discussions, and Wikipedia to pad their papers with historical tidbits. But today’s students have smarter tools at their disposal—namely, Wolfram|Alpha, a program that uses artificial intelligence to perfectly and untraceably solve equations. Wolfram|Alpha uses natural language processing technology, part of the AI family, to provide students with an academic shortcut that is faster than a tutor, more reliable than copying off of friends, and much easier than figuring out a solution yourself.

 

Use of Wolfram|Alpha is difficult to trace, and in the hands of ambitious students, its perfect solutions are having unexpected consequences.

 

 

 

 

McKinsey’s State Of Machine Learning & AI, 2017 — from forbes.com by Louis Columbus

Excerpts:

These and other findings are from the McKinsey Global Institute Study, and discussion paper, Artificial Intelligence, The Next Digital Frontier (80 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in) published last month. McKinsey Global Institute published an article summarizing the findings titled   How Artificial Intelligence Can Deliver Real Value To Companies. McKinsey interviewed more than 3,000 senior executives on the use of AI technologies, their companies’ prospects for further deployment, and AI’s impact on markets, governments, and individuals.  McKinsey Analytics was also utilized in the development of this study and discussion paper.

 

Video: 4 FAQs about Watson as tutor — from er.educause.edu by Satya Nitta

Excerpt:

How is IBM using Watson’s intelligent tutoring system? So we are attempting to mimic the best practices of human tutoring. The gold standard will always remain one on one human to human tutoring. The whole idea here is an intelligent tutoring system as a computing system that works autonomously with learners, so there is no human intervention. It’s basically pretending to be the teacher itself and it’s working with the learner. What we’re attempting to do is we’re attempting to basically put conversational systems, systems that understand human conversation and dialogue, and we’re trying to build a system that, in a very natural way, interacts with people through conversation. The system basically has the ability to ask questions, to answer questions, to know who you are and where you are in your learning journey, what you’re struggling with, what you’re strong on and it will personalize its pedagogy to you.

There’s a natural language understanding system and a machine learning system that’s trying to figure out where you are in your learning journey and what the appropriate intervention is for you. The natural language system enables this interaction that’s very rich and conversation-based, where you can basically have a human-like conversation with it and, to a large extent, it will try to understand and to retrieve the right things for you. Again the most important thing is that we will set the expectations appropriately and we have appropriate exit criteria for when the system doesn’t actually understand what you’re trying to do.

 

 

 

Chatbot lawyer, which contested £7.2M in parking tickets, now offers legal help for 1,000+ topics — from arstechnica.co.uk by Sebastian Anthony
DoNotPay has expanded to cover the UK and all 50 US states. Free legal help for everyone!

Excerpt:

In total, DoNotPay now has over 1,000 separate chatbots that generate formal-sounding documents for a range of basic legal issues, such as seeking remuneration for a delayed flight or train, reporting discrimination, or asking for maternity leave. If you divide that by 51 (US and UK) you get a rough idea of how many different topics are covered. Each bot had to be hand-crafted by the British creator Joshua Browder, with the assistance of part-time and volunteer lawyers to ensure that the the documents are actually fit for purpose.

 

 

British student’s free robot lawyer can fight speeding tickets and rogue landlords — from telegraph.co.uk by Cara McGoogan

Excerpt:

A free “robot lawyer” that has overturned thousands of parking tickets in the UK can now fight rogue landlords, speeding tickets and harassment at work.

Joshua Browder, the 20-year-old British student who created the aide, has upgraded the robot’s abilities so it can fight legal disputes in 1,000 different areas. These include fighting landlords over security deposits and house repairs, and helping people report fraud to their credit card agency.

To get robot advice, users type their problem into the DoNotPay site and it directs them to a chat bot that can solve their particular legal issue. It can draft letters and offer advice on problems from credit card fraud to airline compensation.

 

 

Free robot lawyer helps low-income people tackle more than 1,000 legal issues — from mashable.com by Katie Dupere

Excerpt:

Shady businesses, you’re on notice. This robot lawyer is coming after you if you play dirty.

Noted legal aid chatbot DoNotPay just announced a massive expansion, which will help users tackle issues in 1,000 legal areas entirely for free. The new features, which launched on Wednesday, cover consumer and workplace rights, and will be available in all 50 states and the UK.

While the bot will still help drivers contest parking tickets and refugees apply for asylum, the service will now also help those who want to report harassment in the workplace or who simply want a refund on a busted toaster.

 

 



From DSC:
Whereas this type of bot is meant for external communications/assistance, we should also watch for Work Bots within an organization — dishing up real-time answers to questions that employees have about a variety of topics. I think that’s the next generation of technical communications, technical/help desk support, as well as training and development groups (at least some of the staff in those departments will likely be building these types of bots).



 

Addendum on 7/15/17:

LawGeex: Contract Review Automation

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The LawGeex Contract Review Automation enables anyone in your business to easily submit and receive approvals on contracts without waiting for the legal team. Our A.I. technology reads, reviews and understands your contracts, approving those that meet your legal team’s pre-defined criteria, and escalating those that don’t. Legal can maintain control and mitigate risk while giving other departments the freedom they need to get business moving.

 

 
 

More Than Just Cool? — from insidehighered.com by Nick Roll
Virtual and augmented realities make headway in courses on health care, art history and social work.

Excerpt:

When Glenn Gunhouse visits the Pantheon, you would think that the professor, who teaches art and architecture history, wouldn’t be able to keep his eyes off the Roman temple’s columns, statues or dome. But there’s something else that always catches his eye: the jaws of the tourists visiting the building, and the way they all inevitably drop.

“Wow.”

There’s only one other way that Gunhouse has been able to replicate that feeling of awe for his students short of booking expensive plane tickets to Italy. Photos, videos and even three-dimensional walk-throughs on a computer screen don’t do it: It’s when his students put on virtual reality headsets loaded with images of the Pantheon.

 

…nursing schools are using virtual reality or augmented reality to bring three-dimensional anatomy illustrations off of two-dimensional textbook pages.

 

 

 



 

Also see:

Oculus reportedly planning $200 standalone wireless VR headset for 2018 — from techcrunch.com by Darrell Etherington

Excerpt:

Facebook is set to reveal a standalone Oculus virtual reality headset sometime later this year, Bloomberg reports, with a ship date of sometime in 2018. The headset will work without requiring a tethered PC or smartphone, according to the report, and will be branded with the Oculus name around the world, except in China, where it’ll carry Xiaomi trade dress and run some Xiaomi software as part of a partnership that extends to manufacturing plans for the device.

 



Facebook Inc. is taking another stab at turning its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset into a mass-market phenomenon. Later this year, the company plans to unveil a cheaper, wireless device that the company is betting will popularize VR the way Apple did the smartphone.

Source



 

 

 
 

Intel seen losing to Nvidia amid ‘tectonic shift’ in technology — from marketwatch.com by Jeremy Owens

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Computing is undergoing a massive shift, and the company known for making the brains behind many of the world’s computers and servers has not shifted as fast as competitors.

Jefferies equity analyst Mark Lipacis came to that conclusion Monday, reporting in a note that Intel Corp. stands to take a hit in its data-center business amid a move to a new computing paradigm focused on artificial intelligence and connected devices that he believes represents a “tectonic shift” in technology. Instead, Nvidia Corp. is best-positioned to be the chip leader in the new landscape, Lipacis wrote.

Lipacis’s thesis on the semiconductor industry is that computing paradigms undergo dramatic shifts roughly every 15 years, with mainframe-focused technology giving way to minicomputers and then personal computers, and later to mobile phones and cloud data-center architecture. While Intel was a dominant player in the second and third epochs of the computing era, with its chips finding a home in PCs and data-center servers, Lipacis believes the current shift to parallel processing and the so-called Internet of Things will belong to different chip makers.

“We believe we are at the start of the fourth tectonic shift now, to a parallel processing/IoT model, driven by lower memory costs, free data storage, improvements in parallel processing hardware and software, and improvements in AI technologies like neural networking, that make it easy to monetize all the data that is being stored,” he wrote.

 

 

The case for a next generation learning platform [Grush & Christian]

 

The case for a next generation learning platform — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush & Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Grush: Then what are some of the implications you could draw from metrics like that one?

Christian: As we consider all the investment in those emerging technologies, the question many are beginning to ask is, “How will these technologies impact jobs and the makeup of our workforce in the future?”

While there are many thoughts and questions regarding the cumulative impact these technologies will have on our future workforce (e.g., “How many jobs will be displaced?”), the consensus seems to be that there will be massive change.

Whether our jobs are completely displaced or if we will be working alongside robots, chatbots, workbots, or some other forms of AI-backed personal assistants, all of us will need to become lifelong learners — to be constantly reinventing ourselves. This assertion is also made in the aforementioned study from McKinsey: “AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers. The workforce needs to be re-skilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it…”

 

 

A side note from DSC:
I began working on this vision prior to 2010…but I didn’t officially document it until 2012.

 

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

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:

A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • A customizable learning environment that will offer up-to-date streams of regularly curated content (i.e., microlearning) as well as engaging learning experiences
  • Along these lines, a lifelong learner can opt to receive an RSS feed on a particular topic until they master that concept; periodic quizzes (i.e., spaced repetition) determines that mastery. Once mastered, the system will ask the learner whether they still want to receive that particular stream of content or not.
  • A Netflix-like interface to peruse and select plugins to extend the functionality of the core product
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and streams of content that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)
  • (Potentially) Integration with one-on-one tutoring services

Further details here >>

 

 

 



Addendum from DSC (regarding the resource mentioned below):
Note the voice recognition/control mechanisms on Westinghouse’s new product — also note the integration of Amazon’s Alexa into a “TV.”



 

Westinghouse’s Alexa-equipped Fire TV Edition smart TVs are now available — from theverge.com by Chaim Gartenberg

 

The key selling point, of course, is the built-in Amazon Fire TV, which is controlled with the bundled Voice Remote and features Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

 

 

 

Finally…also see:

  • NASA unveils a skill for Amazon’s Alexa that lets you ask questions about Mars — from geekwire.com by Kevin Lisota
  • Holographic storytelling — from jwtintelligence.com
    The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.
    New Dimensions in Testimony is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.  Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), people are able to ask Gutter’s projected image questions that trigger relevant responses.

 

 

 

 

What is microlearning and what are the most important microlearning features? — from elearningfeeds.com by Ayesha Habeeb Omer
There is a huge shift in the profile of employees in organizations today. They have less time on hand, huge deliverables and responsibilities, and need to keep pace with changing times and business needs. Formal, annual training programs are just not enough to keep pace with the need for constant learning

Excerpt:

For the super busy employees of today, learning must be short, concise, and available at the time of need. Ideally, this learning should be made accessible from anywhere and on any device that employees prefer. These changing demands of learners have given rise to a new trend of learning through small nuggets of online courses: Microlearning.

Microlearning refers to the learning strategy that delivers learning content to learners in short, bite-sized, and easily digestible learning nuggets. A microlearning module is focused on meeting one specific learning outcome, by breaking down a large topic into numerous bite-sized modules and allowing the learner to take them in the order of their choice.

Although the concept of learning in smaller bites has been in existence for a long time, many of us were oblivious to its influence as a potent tool for employee training. Fortunately, it has now gained immense popularity in the fields of corporate training and education.

 

 

From DSC:
It is imperative that all employees have the tools to build their own learning ecosystems.  Along these lines, I’m a firm believer in the power of tapping into streams of content, such as this article on microlearning alludes to. It would be sharp to have a system whereby you could subscribe to a stream of content on a particular topic, and then take periodic assessments on that topic. When you have passed the assessment(s), the system would prompt you as to whether you wanted to continue to receive this particular stream of content, or whether you wanted to subscribe to the next (or other) topic/stream of content. This is one of my ideas for a next generation learning platform.

 

 

 

 



Addendum on 7/11/17:

Excerpt:
Microlearning.

For those who don’t know, microlearning is exactly what it sounds like – small bits of learning someone generally consumes when facing a problem. An example of microlearning would be a professional looking up how to animate a slide in PowerPoint for a presentation later that day.

Microlearning also happens to be the hottest new trend in workplace learning, as learning and development pros are increasingly looking for providers of microlearning content. But is it a fad, or is it something that’s here to stay?

Almost certainly the latter – microlearning isn’t going anywhere. That said, there are some drawbacks to it as well.

Here’s an honest look at what’s good and what’s bad about microlearning.

 



 

 

 

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