Microsoft to tackle AI skills shortage with two new training programs — from zdnet.com by Nick Heath
The tech giant reveals two new training programs to boost AI-related skills in business and in universities.

Excerpts:

The first of the two programs, Microsoft AI Academy, will run face-to-face and online training sessions for business and public-sector leaders, IT professionals, developers, and startups.

Microsoft is also funding a program to help train the next generation of data scientists and machine-learning engineers. Professor Chris Bishop, director of Microsoft’s Research Lab in Cambridge, said the Microsoft Research-Cambridge University Machine Learning Initiative is designed to address the stream of leading machine-learning researchers moving from universities to the private sector.

 

 

 

Affordable and at-scale — from insidehighered.com by Ray Schroeder
Affordable degrees at scale have arrived. The momentum behind this movement is undeniable, and its impact will be significant, Ray Schroeder writes.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

How many times have we been told that major change in our field is on the near horizon? Too many times, indeed.

The promises of technologies and practices have fallen short more often than not. Just seven years ago, I was part of the early MOOC movement and felt the pulsating potential of teaching thousands of students around the world in a single class. The “year of the MOOC” was declared in 2012. Three years later, skeptics declared that the MOOC had died an ignominious death with high “failure” rates and relatively little recognition by employers.

However, the skeptics were too impatient, misunderstood the nature of MOOCs and lacked the vision of those at Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois, Arizona State University, Coursera, edX and scores of other institutions that have persevered in building upon MOOCs’ premises to develop high-quality, affordable courses, certificates and now, degrees at scale.

No, these degrees are not free, but they are less than half the cost of on-campus versions. No, they are not massive in the hundreds of thousands, but they are certainly at large scale with many thousands enrolled. In computer science, the success is felt across the country.

 

Georgia Tech alone has enrolled 10,000 students over all in its online master’s program and is adding thousands of new students each semester in a top 10-ranked degree program costing less than $7,000. Georgia Tech broke the new ground through building collaborations among several partners. Yet, that was just the beginning, and many leading universities have followed.

 

 

Also see:

Trends for the future of education with Jeff Selingo — from steelcase.com
How the future of work and new technology will make place more important than ever.

Excerpt:

Selingo sees artificial intelligence and big data as game changers for higher education. He says AI can free up professors and advisors to spend more time with students by answering some more frequently-asked questions and handling some of the grading. He also says data can help us track and predict student performance to help them create better outcomes. “When they come in as a first-year student, we can say ‘People who came in like you that had similar high school grades and took similar classes ended up here. So, if you want to get out of here in four years and have a successful career, here are the different pathways you should follow.’”

 

 

 

Should self-driving cars have ethics? — from npr.org by Laurel Wamsley

Excerpt:

In the not-too-distant future, fully autonomous vehicles will drive our streets. These cars will need to make split-second decisions to avoid endangering human lives — both inside and outside of the vehicles.

To determine attitudes toward these decisions a group of researchers created a variation on the classic philosophical exercise known as “the Trolley problem.” They posed a series of moral dilemmas involving a self-driving car with brakes that suddenly give out…

 

 

 

Reflections on “Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future?” [Johnston]

Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future? — from campustechnology.com by Julie Johnston
Indiana University explores that question by bringing together tech partners and university leaders to share ideas on how to design classrooms that make better use of faculty and student time.

Excerpt:

To achieve these goals, we are investigating smart solutions that will:

  • Untether instructors from the room’s podium, allowing them control from anywhere in the room;
  • Streamline the start of class, including biometric login to the room’s technology, behind-the-scenes routing of course content to room displays, control of lights and automatic attendance taking;
  • Offer whiteboards that can be captured, routed to different displays in the room and saved for future viewing and editing;
  • Provide small-group collaboration displays and the ability to easily route content to and from these displays; and
  • Deliver these features through a simple, user-friendly and reliable room/technology interface.

Activities included collaborative brainstorming focusing on these questions:

  • What else can we do to create the classroom of the future?
  • What current technology exists to solve these problems?
  • What could be developed that doesn’t yet exist?
  • What’s next?

 

 

 

From DSC:
Though many peoples’ — including faculty members’ — eyes gloss over when we start talking about learning spaces and smart classrooms, it’s still an important topic. Personally, I’d rather be learning in an engaging, exciting learning environment that’s outfitted with a variety of tools (physically as well as digitally and virtually-based) that make sense for that community of learners. Also, faculty members have very limited time to get across campus and into the classroom and get things setup…the more things that can be automated in those setup situations the better!

I’ve long posted items re: machine-to-machine communications, voice recognition/voice-enabled interfaces, artificial intelligence, bots, algorithms, a variety of vendors and their products including Amazon’s Alexa / Apple’s Siri / Microsoft’s Cortana / and Google’s Home or Google Assistant, learning spaces, and smart classrooms, as I do think those things are components of our future learning ecosystems.

 

 

 

Teaching technology today: One law school’s innovative offerings — from abovethelaw.com by David Lat
Lawyers of the future, regardless of practice area, need to be proficient in legal technology.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Technology is transforming the practice and profession of law — and legal education must evolve accordingly. Across the country, law schools are launching and expanding research centers, clinics, and course offerings focused on legal technology.

Earlier this month, I spoke with Judge Prudenti again, to check in on her efforts. I asked her: Why is legal-tech proficiency so important today?

“I’m a true believer,” Judge Prudenti told me. “I have seen, up close and personal, how technology has changed the legal marketplace and the practice of law — in the private sector, in the public sector, and in the courtroom.”

In private law firms, large or small, lawyers are engaged in e-discovery, e-filing, and e-billing — as a necessity. In the public sector, technology is being used to bridge the justice gap, helping to deliver legal services to the unrepresented. And in the courtroom, Judge Prudenti’s former domain, technology has been revolutionary, with touch-screen monitors, iPads, and video screens being used to present and review evidence.

“Lawyers of the future, regardless of practice area, need to be proficient in legal technology,” Judge Prudenti said — which is why Hofstra Law has been focusing so intensely on its technology offerings.

 

Addendum on 10/31/18:

 

 

AI can’t replace doctors. But it can make them better. — from technologyreview.com by Rahul Parikh; via Maree Conway
A machine can collate environmental data, genetic data, and patient history way better than I can.

Excerpts:

But for physicians like me in primary care, managing 1,500 to 2,000 patients, AI presents an opportunity. I went to medical school to connect with people and make a difference. Today I often feel like an overpaid bookkeeper instead, taking in information and spitting it back to patients, prescribing drugs and adjusting doses, ordering tests. But AI in the exam room opens up the chance to recapture the art of medicine. It could let me get to know my patients better, learn how a disease uniquely affects them, and give me time to coach them toward a better outcome.

AI might also help to manage asthma flares. For many patients, asthma gets worse as air pollution levels rise, as happened this past summer when brush fires swept through Northern California. AI could let us take environmental information and respond proactively.

Not long ago, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, I saw a colorful picture drawn by a child in crayon. It portrayed her pediatrician, eyes glued to the computer, while she sat on the exam table, looking wide-eyed. I hope that AI will soon allow me to turn my attention back to that little girl.

Rahul Parikh is a pediatrician in the San Francisco Bay area.

 

 

“Confluence” by Artist Courtney Mattison — from booooooom.com

 

 

“Border Crossing” by Lisa Ericson — from booooooom.com

 

 

“Li’l Baja’s Last Ride” by Artist Seth Armstrong — from booooooom.com

 

 

 

2018 Students and Technology Research Study — from library.educause.edu

Topics Covered

  • Device access, use, and importance to academic success
  • Campus Wi-Fi experiences
  • Learning management system use and satisfaction
  • Student learning environment preferences
  • Experiences with instructors and technology
  • Commuter students and internet access
  • Student online activities
  • Institutional awareness of student disability and accessibility
  • Student use and assessment of success tools

 

Can a culture of change improve innovation? — from washingtonpost.com by Jim Whitehurst, president and chief executive officer, Red Hat

Excerpts:

Plenty of executives lay awake at night wondering how they can keep up with the waves of digital disruption that continue to shake every industry out there. Everyone wants to know how they can get their organization to innovate better and faster.

But this is more than a technology problem. Businesses can’t simply buy a solution off the shelf. Instead, leaders need to encourage people to think and act differently. And to do that, they need to rethink the way they organize to get work done.

But the pace of digital transformation today has made Industrial Era thinking and planning obsolete when it comes to overcoming the challenges an organization faces.

 

Automation requires processes to change; digital transformation requires people to change.

We’re talking about building an organizational culture that embraces innovative thinking and behaviors. But you can’t change culture overnight, because it’s an output, not an input.

 

1. Planning must be replaced by configuring for constant change…

2. Prescription must be replaced by enablement…

3. Execution must be replaced by engagement…

 

Organizations today need to spend less time charting long-term courses and more time fostering teams configured to respond effectively to constant change.

 

From DSC:
That last quote reminds me of the need for more TrimTab Groups within higher education:

 

 

 

 

 

logo.

Global installed base of smart speakers to surpass 200 million in 2020, says GlobalData

The global installed base for smart speakers will hit 100 million early next year, before surpassing the 200 million mark at some point in 2020, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s latest report: ‘Smart Speakers – Thematic Research’ states that nearly every leading technology company is either already producing a smart speaker or developing one, with Facebook the latest to enter the fray (launching its Portal device this month). The appetite for smart speakers is also not limited by geography, with China in particular emerging as a major marketplace.

Ed Thomas, Principal Analyst for Technology Thematic Research at GlobalData, comments: “It is only four years since Amazon unveiled the Echo, the first wireless speaker to incorporate a voice-activated virtual assistant. Initial reactions were muted but the device, and the Alexa virtual assistant it contained, quickly became a phenomenon, with the level of demand catching even Amazon by surprise.”

Smart speakers give companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Alibaba access to a vast amount of highly valuable user data. They also allow users to get comfortable interacting with artificial intelligence (AI) tools in general, and virtual assistants in particular, increasing the likelihood that they will use them in other situations, and they lock customers into a broader ecosystem, making it more likely that they will buy complementary products or access other services, such as online stores.

Thomas continues: “Smart speakers, particularly lower-priced models, are gateway devices, in that they give consumers the opportunity to interact with a virtual assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant, in a “safe” environment. For tech companies serious about competing in the virtual assistant sector, a smart speaker is becoming a necessity, hence the recent entry of Apple and Facebook into the market and the expected arrival of Samsung and Microsoft over the next year or so.”

In terms of the competitive landscape for smart speakers, Amazon was the pioneer and is still a dominant force, although its first-mover advantage has been eroded over the last year or so. Its closest challenger is Google, but neither company is present in the fastest-growing geographic market, China. Alibaba is the leading player there, with Xiaomi also performing well.

Thomas concludes: “With big names like Samsung and Microsoft expected to launch smart speakers in the next year or so, the competitive landscape will continue to fluctuate. It is likely that we will see two distinct markets emerge: the cheap, impulse-buy end of the spectrum, used by vendors to boost their ecosystems; and the more expensive, luxury end, where greater focus is placed on sound quality and aesthetics. This is the area of the market at which Apple has aimed the HomePod and early indications are that this is where Samsung’s Galaxy Home will also look to make an impact.”

Information based on GlobalData’s report: Smart Speakers – Thematic Research

 

 

 

 

Academics Propose a ‘Blockchain University,’ Where Faculty (and Algorithms) Rule — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

A group of academics affiliated with Oxford University have proposed a new model of higher education that replaces traditional administrators with “smart contracts” on the blockchain, the same technology that drives Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“Our aim is to create a university in which the bulk of administrative tasks are either eliminated or progressively automated,” said the effort’s founders in a white paper released earlier this year. Those proposing the idea added the university would be “a decentralised, non-profit, democratic community in which the use of blockchain technology will provide the contractual stability needed to pursue a full course of study.”

Experiments with blockchain in higher education are underway at multiple campuses around the country, and many of researchers are looking into how to use the technology to verify and deliver credentials. Massachusetts Institute for Technology, for example, began issuing diplomas via blockchain last year.

The plan by Oxford researchers goes beyond digital diplomas—and beyond many typical proposals to disrupt education in general. It argues for a completely new framework for how college is organized, how professors are paid, and how students connect with learning. In other words, it’s a long shot.

But even if the proposed platform never emerges, it is likely to spur debates about whether blockchain technology could one day allow professors to reclaim greater control of how higher education operates through digital contracts.

 

The platform would essentially allow professors to organize their own colleges, and teach and take payments from students directly. “

 

 

 

From DSC:
Ever notice how effective Ted Talks begin? They seek to instantly grab your attention with a zinger question, a somewhat shocking statement, an interesting story, a joke, an important problem or an issue, a personal anecdote or experience, a powerful image/photo/graphic, a brief demonstration, and the like.

Grabbing someone’s attention is a key first step in getting a piece of information into someone’s short-term memory — what I call getting through “the gate.” If we can’t get through the gate into someone’s short-term memory, we have zero (0) chance of having them actually process that information and to think about and engage with that piece of content. If we can’t make it into someone’s short-term memory, we can’t get that piece of information into their long-term memory for later retrieval/recall. There won’t be any return on investment (ROI) in that case.

 

 

So why not try starting up one of your classes this week with a zinger question, a powerful image/photo/video, or a story from your own work experience? I’ll bet you’ll grab your students’ attentions instantly! Then you can move on into the material for a greater ROI. From there, offering frequent, low-stakes quizzes will hopefully help your students slow down their forgetting curves and help them practice recalling/retrieving that information. By the way, that’s why stories are quite powerful. We often remember them better. So if you can weave an illustrative story into your next class, your students might really benefit from it come final test time!

Also relevant/see:

Ready, set, speak: 5 strong ways to start your next presentation — from abovethelaw.com by Olga Mack, with thanks to Mr. Otto Stockmeyer for this resource
No matter which of these five ways you decide to launch your presentation, ensure that you make it count, and make it memorable.

Excerpts:

  1. Tell a captivating story
  2. Ask thought-provoking questions to the audience
  3. State a shocking headline or statistic
  4. Use a powerful quote
  5. Use silence
    When delivering a speech, a pause of about three or even as many as 10 seconds will allow your audience to sit and quiet down. Because most people always expect the speaker to start immediately, this silence will thus catch the attention of the audience. They will be instinctively more interested in what you had to say, and why you took your time to say it. This time will also help you gather your nerves and prepare to speak.

 

 

 

Gartner: Immersive experiences among top tech trends for 2019 — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

IT analyst firm Gartner has named its top 10 trends for 2019, and the “immersive user experience” is on the list, alongside blockchain, quantum computing and seven other drivers influencing how we interact with the world. The annual trend list covers breakout tech with broad impact and tech that could reach a tipping point in the near future.

 

 

 

Reflections on “Inside Amazon’s artificial intelligence flywheel” [Levy]

Inside Amazon’s artificial intelligence flywheel — from wired.com by Steven Levy
How deep learning came to power Alexa, Amazon Web Services, and nearly every other division of the company.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Amazon loves to use the word flywheel to describe how various parts of its massive business work as a single perpetual motion machine. It now has a powerful AI flywheel, where machine-learning innovations in one part of the company fuel the efforts of other teams, who in turn can build products or offer services to affect other groups, or even the company at large. Offering its machine-learning platforms to outsiders as a paid service makes the effort itself profitable—and in certain cases scoops up yet more data to level up the technology even more.

It took a lot of six-pagers to transform Amazon from a deep-learning wannabe into a formidable power. The results of this transformation can be seen throughout the company—including in a recommendations system that now runs on a totally new machine-learning infrastructure. Amazon is smarter in suggesting what you should read next, what items you should add to your shopping list, and what movie you might want to watch tonight. And this year Thirumalai started a new job, heading Amazon search, where he intends to use deep learning in every aspect of the service.

“If you asked me seven or eight years ago how big a force Amazon was in AI, I would have said, ‘They aren’t,’” says Pedro Domingos, a top computer science professor at the University of Washington. “But they have really come on aggressively. Now they are becoming a force.”

Maybe the force.

 

 

From DSC:
When will we begin to see more mainstream recommendation engines for learning-based materials? With the demand for people to reinvent themselves, such a next generation learning platform can’t come soon enough!

  • Turning over control to learners to create/enhance their own web-based learner profiles; and allowing people to say who can access their learning profiles.
  • AI-based recommendation engines to help people identify curated, effective digital playlists for what they want to learn about.
  • Voice-driven interfaces.
  • Matching employees to employers.
  • Matching one’s learning preferences (not styles) with the content being presented as one piece of a personalized learning experience.
  • From cradle to grave. Lifelong learning.
  • Multimedia-based, interactive content.
  • Asynchronously and synchronously connecting with others learning about the same content.
  • Online-based tutoring/assistance; remote assistance.
  • Reinvent. Staying relevant. Surviving.
  • Competency-based learning.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re about to embark on a period in American history where career reinvention will be critical, perhaps more so than it’s ever been before. In the next decade, as many as 50 million American workers—a third of the total—will need to change careers, according to McKinsey Global Institute. Automation, in the form of AI (artificial intelligence) and RPA (robotic process automation), is the primary driver. McKinsey observes: “There are few precedents in which societies have successfully retrained such large numbers of people.”

Bill Triant and Ryan Craig

 

 

 

Also relevant/see:

Online education’s expansion continues in higher ed with a focus on tech skills — from educationdive.com by James Paterson

Dive Brief:

  • Online learning continues to expand in higher ed with the addition of several online master’s degrees and a new for-profit college that offers a hybrid of vocational training and liberal arts curriculum online.
  • Inside Higher Ed reported the nonprofit learning provider edX is offering nine master’s degrees through five U.S. universities — the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, Arizona State University and the University of California, San Diego. The programs include cybersecurity, data science, analytics, computer science and marketing, and they cost from around $10,000 to $22,000. Most offer stackable certificates, helping students who change their educational trajectory.
  • Former Harvard University Dean of Social Science Stephen Kosslyn, meanwhile, will open Foundry College in January. The for-profit, two-year program targets adult learners who want to upskill, and it includes training in soft skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. Students will pay about $1,000 per course, though the college is waiving tuition for its first cohort.

 

 

 

A cyber-skills shortage means students are being recruited to fight off hackers — from technologyreview.com by Erin Winick
Students with little or no cybersecurity knowledge are being paired with easy-to-use AI software that lets them protect their campus from attack.

Excerpt:

There aren’t enough cybersecurity workers out there—and things are getting worse. According to one estimate, by 2021 an estimated 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will be unfilled. And of the candidates who apply, fewer than one in four are even qualified.

That’s why many large corporations are investing in longer-term solutions like mobile training trucks and apprenticeship programs. But Texas A&M University has found a way to solve its labor shortage in the short term. It’s pairing student security beginners with AI software.

The college’s Security Operations Center deals with about a million attempts to hack the university system each month. While the center does have some full-time employees, the majority of its security force is made up of students. Ten students currently work alongside AI softwareto detect, monitor, and remediate the threats.

 

 

 

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