Activists urge killer robot ban ‘before it is too late’ — from techxplore.com by Nina Larson

Excerpt:

Countries should quickly agree a treaty banning the use of so-called killer robots “before it is too late”, activists said Monday as talks on the issue resumed at the UN.

They say time is running out before weapons are deployed that use lethal force without a human making the final kill-order and have criticised the UN body hosting the talks—the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)—for moving too slowly.

“Killer robots are no longer the stuff of science fiction,” Rasha Abdul Rahim, Amnesty International’s advisor on artificial intelligence and human rights, said in a statement.

“From artificially intelligent drones to automated guns that can choose their own targets, technological advances in weaponry are far outpacing international law,” she said.

 

Activists urge killer robot ban before it is too late

 

From DSC:
I’ve often considered how much out front many technologies are in our world today. It takes the rest of society some time to catch up with emerging technologies and ask whether we should be implementing technology A, B, or C.  Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. A worn-out statement perhaps, but given the exponential pace of technological change, one that is highly relevant to our world today.

 

 



Addendum on 9/8/18:



 

 

Smart Machines & Human Expertise: Challenges for Higher Education — from er.educause.edu by Diana Oblinger

Excerpts:

What does this mean for higher education? One answer is that AI, robotics, and analytics become disciplines in themselves. They are emerging as majors, minors, areas of emphasis, certificate programs, and courses in many colleges and universities. But smart machines will catalyze even bigger changes in higher education. Consider the implications in three areas: data; the new division of labor; and ethics.

 

Colleges and universities are challenged to move beyond the use of technology to deliver education. Higher education leaders must consider how AI, big data, analytics, robotics, and wide-scale collaboration might change the substance of education.

 

Higher education leaders should ask questions such as the following:

  • What place does data have in our courses?
  • Do students have the appropriate mix of mathematics, statistics, and coding to understand how data is manipulated and how algorithms work?
  • Should students be required to become “data literate” (i.e., able to effectively use and critically evaluate data and its sources)?

Higher education leaders should ask questions such as the following:

  • How might problem-solving and discovery change with AI?
  • How do we optimize the division of labor and best allocate tasks between humans and machines?
  • What role do collaborative platforms and collective intelligence have in how we develop and deploy expertise?


Higher education leaders should ask questions such as the following:

  • Even though something is possible, does that mean it is morally responsible?
  • How do we achieve a balance between technological possibilities and policies that enable—or stifle—their use?
  • An algorithm may represent a “trade secret,” but it might also reinforce dangerous assumptions or result in unconscious bias. What kind of transparency should we strive for in the use of algorithms?

 

 

 

Google’s VR Labs provide STEM students with hands-on experience — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt:

STEM students engaged in scientific disciplines, such as biochemistry and neuroscience, are often required by their respective degrees to spend a certain amount of time engaged in an official laboratory environment. Unfortunately, crowded universities and the rise of online education have made it difficult for these innovators-in-training to access properly equipped labs and log their necessary hours.

Cue Google VR Labs, a series of comprehensive virtual lab experiences available on the Google Daydream platform. Developed as part of partnership between Google and simulation education company Labster, the in-depth program boasts 30 interactive lab experiences in which biology students can engage in a series of hands-on scientific activities in a realistic environment.

These actions can include everything from the use of practical tools, such as DNA sequencers and microscopes, to reality-bending experiences only capable in a virtual environment, like traveling to the surface of the newly discovered Astakos IV exoplanet or examining and altering DNA on a molecular level.

 

Google’s VR Labs Provide STEM Students With Hands-On Experience

 

Also see:

 

 

 

25 skills LinkedIn says are most likely to get you hired in 2018 — and the online courses to get them — from businessinsider.com by Mara Leighton

Excerpt:

With the introduction of far-reaching and robust technology, the job market has experienced its own exponential growth, adaptation, and semi-metamorphosis. So much so that it can be difficult to guess what skills employer’s are looking for and what makes your résumé — and not another — stand out to recruiters.

Thankfully, LinkedIn created a 2018 “roadmap”— a list of hard and soft skills that companies need the most.

LinkedIn used data from their 500+ million members to identify the skills companies are currently working the hardest to fill. They grouped the skills members add to their profiles into several dozen categories (for example, “Android” and “iOS” into the “Mobile Development” category). Then, the company looked at all of the hiring and recruiting activity that happened on LinkedIn between January 1 and September 1 (billions of data points) and extrapolated the skill categories that belonged to members who were “more likely to start a new role within a company and receive interest from companies.”

LinkedIn then coupled those specific skills with related jobs and their average US salaries — all of which you can find below, alongside courses you can take (for free or for much less than the cost of a degree) to support claims of aptitude and stay ahead of the curve.

The online-learning options we included — LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Coursera, and edX— are among the most popular and inexpensive.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

15 more companies that no longer require a degree — apply now — from glassdoor.com

Excerpt:

With college tuition soaring nationwide, many Americans don’t have the time or money to earn a college degree. However, that doesn’t mean your job prospects are diminished. Increasingly, there are many companies offering well-paying jobs to those with non-traditional education or a high-school diploma.

Google and Ernest & Young are just two of the champion companies who realize that book smarts don’t necessarily equal strong work ethic, grit and talent. Whether you have your GED and are looking for a new opportunity or charting your own path beyond the traditional four-year college route, here are 15 companies that have said they do not require a college diploma for some of their top jobs.

 

From DSC:
Several years ago when gas prices were sky high, I couldn’t help but think that some industries — though they were able to grab some significant profits in the short term — were actually shooting themselves in the foot for the longer term. Sure enough, as time went by, people started looking for less expensive alternatives. For example, they started buying more hybrid vehicles, more electric cars, and the sales of smaller cars and lighter trucks increased. The average fuel economy of vehicles went up (example). The goal was to reduce or outright eliminate the number of trips to the gas station that people were required to make.  

These days…I wonder if the same kind of thing is happening — or about to happen — with traditional institutions of higher education*? Are we shooting ourselves in the foot?

Traditional institutions of higher education better find ways to adapt, and to change their game (so to speak), before the alternatives to those organizations gain some major steam. There is danger in the status quo. Count on it. The saying, “Adapt or die” has now come to apply to higher ed as well.

Faculty, staff, and administrators within higher ed are beginning to experience what the corporate world has been experiencing for decades.

Faculty can’t just teach what they want to teach. They can’t just develop courses that they are interested in. The demand for courses that aren’t attractive career-wise will likely continue to decrease. Sure, it can be argued that many of those same courses — especially from the liberal arts colleges — are still valuable…and I would agree with some of those arguments. But the burden of proof continues to be shifted to the shoulders of those proposing such curricula.

Also, the costs of obtaining a degree needs to come down or:

  • The gorillas of debt on peoples’ backs will become a negative word of mouth that will be hard to compete against or adequately address as time goes by
  • The angst towards higher ed will continue to build
  • People will bolt for those promising alternatives to traditional higher ed where the graduates (badge earners, or whatever they’re going to be called) of those programs are hired and shown to be effective employees
  • I hope that this isn’t the case and that it’s not too late to change…but history will likely show that higher ed shot itself in the foot. The warning signs were all over the place.

 

 

The current trends are paving the way for a next generation learning platform that will serve someone from cradle to grave.

 

 

* I realize that many in higher ed would immediately dispute that their organizations are out to grab short term profits, that they don’t operate like a business, that they don’t operate under the same motivations as the corporate world, etc.  And I can see some of these folks’ points, no doubt. I may even agree with some of the folks who represent organizations who freely share information with other organizations and have motivations other than making tons of money.  But for those folks who staunchly hold to the belief that higher ed isn’t a business at all — well, for me, that’s taking things way too far. I do not agree with that perspective at all. One has to have their eyes (and minds) closed to cling to that perspective anymore. Just don’t ask those folks to tell you how much their presidents make (along with other higher-level members of their administrations), the salaries of the top football coaches, or how many millions of dollars many universities’ receive for their television contracts and/or their ticket sales, or how much revenue research universities bring in from patents and so on and so forth.

 

 



Addendum on 8/24, per University Ventures e-newsletter

2. Facebook Goes Back to College (emphasis DSC)
TechCrunch report on how digital giants are buying into Last-Mile Training by partnering with Pathstream to deliver necessary digital skills to community college students.
Most good first jobs specifically require one or more technologies like Facebook or Unity — technologies that colleges and universities aren’t teaching. If Pathstream is able to realize its vision of integrating industry-relevant software training into degree programs in a big way, colleges and universities have a shot at maintaining their stranglehold as the sole pathway to successful careers. If Pathstream’s impact is more limited, watch for millions of students to sidestep traditional colleges, and enroll in emerging faster and cheaper alternative pathways to good first jobs — alternative pathways that will almost certainly integrate the kind of last-mile training being pioneered by Pathstream.

 

America’s colleges and universities could learn a thing or two from Leo, because they continue to resist teaching students the practical things they’ll need to know as soon as they graduate; for instance, to get jobs that will allow them to make student loan payments. Digital skills head this list, specifically experience with the high-powered software they’ll be required to use every day in entry-level positions.

But talk to a college president or provost about the importance of Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, Tableau, Adobe and Autodesk for their graduates, and they’re at a loss for how to integrate last-mile training into their degree programs in order prepare students to work on these essential software platforms.

Enter a new company, Pathstream, which just announced a partnership with tech leader Unity and previously partnered with Facebook. Pathstream supports the delivery of career-critical software skill training in VR/AR and digital marketing at colleges and universities.

 



 

Addendum on 8/24, per University Ventures e-newsletter
3. Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College
Inside Higher Education Q&A on upcoming book A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College.
Last-mile training is the inevitable by-product of two crises, one generally understood, the other less so. The crisis everyone understands is affordability and unsustainable levels of student loan debt. The other crisis is employability. Nearly half of all college graduates are underemployed in their first job. And we know that underemployment is pernicious and lasting. According to the recent report from Strada’s Institute for the Future of Work, two-thirds of underemployed graduates remain underemployed five years later, and half remain underemployed a decade later. So today’s students no longer buy that tired college line that “we prepare you for your fifth job, not your first job.” They know that if they don’t get a good first job, they’re probably not going to get a good fifth job. As a result, today’s students are laser-focused on getting a good first job in a growing sector of the economy.

 

 

 

2018 NMC Horizon Report: The trends, challenges, and developments likely to influence ed tech

2018 NMC Horizon Report — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

What is on the five-year horizon for higher education institutions? Which trends and technology developments will drive educational change? What are the critical challenges and how can we strategize solutions? These questions regarding technology adoption and educational change steered the discussions of 71 experts to produce the NMC Horizon Report: 2018 Higher Education Edition brought to you by EDUCAUSE. This Horizon Report series charts the five-year impact of innovative practices and technologies for higher education across the globe. With more than 16 years of research and publications, the Horizon Project can be regarded as one of education’s longest-running explorations of emerging technology trends and uptake.

Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six developments in educational technology profiled in this higher education report are likely to impact teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education. The three sections of this report constitute a reference and technology planning guide for educators, higher education leaders, administrators, policymakers, and technologists.

 

2018 NMC Horizon Report -- a glance at the trends, challenges, and developments likely to influence ed tech -- visual graphic

 

Also see:

 

 

‘The Beginning of a Wave’: A.I. Tiptoes Into the Workplace — from nytimes.com by Steve Lohr

Excerpt:

There is no shortage of predictions about how artificial intelligence is going to reshape where, how and if people work in the future.

But the grand work-changing projects of A.I., like self-driving cars and humanoid robots, are not yet commercial products. A more humble version of the technology, instead, is making its presence felt in a less glamorous place: the back office.

New software is automating mundane office tasks in operations like accounting, billing, payments and customer service. The programs can scan documents, enter numbers into spreadsheets, check the accuracy of customer records and make payments with a few automated computer keystrokes.

The technology is still in its infancy, but it will get better, learning as it goes. So far, often in pilot projects focused on menial tasks, artificial intelligence is freeing workers from drudgery far more often than it is eliminating jobs.

 

 

AI for Virtual Medical Assistants – 4 Current Applications — from techemergence.com by Kumba Sennaar

Excerpt:

In an effort to reduce the administrative burden of medical transcription and clinical documentation, researchers are developing AI-driven virtual assistants for the healthcare industry.

This article will set out to determine the answers to the following questions:

  • What types of AI applications are emerging to improve management of administrative tasks, such as logging medical information and appointment notes, in the medical environment?
  • How is the healthcare market implementing these AI applications?

 

Amazon’s Facial Recognition Wrongly Identifies 28 Lawmakers, A.C.L.U. Says — from nytimes.com by Natasha Singer

Excerpt:

In the test, the Amazon technology incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress with people who had been arrested, amounting to a 5 percent error rate among legislators.

The test disproportionally misidentified African-American and Latino members of Congress as the people in mug shots.

“This test confirms that facial recognition is flawed, biased and dangerous,” said Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Northern California.

On Thursday afternoon, three of the misidentified legislators — Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez of Illinois and Representative Mark DeSaulnier of California, all Democrats — followed up with a letter to Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, saying there are “serious questions regarding whether Amazon should be selling its technology to law enforcement at this time.”

 

Back from January:

 

 

 

Why higher ed should do more with blockchain tech — from by Dian Schaffhauser
Oral Roberts University recently held a conference to persuade higher education institutions that it’s time to get on board the blockchain train. Its recommendations: Learn about the technology’s potential, test it out and collaborate.

Excerpt:

As CIO Michael Mathews, the event’s organizer, explained, blockchain will be as important to transforming education as the internet was. He said he believes those colleges and universities that jump on the secure public ledger concept early enough and begin testing it out will be the ones who could see the biggest benefits.

Mathews believes blockchain will have the “biggest payback” within an organization’s processes where trust is essential as part of a “value chain”: student application processing, transcript evaluations, articulation agreements. Blockchain “templates” that run in the cloud could replace “entire cumbersome processes”…

 

 

From DSC:
It could easily be that blockchain-based technologies and processes feed into cloud/web-based learner profiles in the future. That’s one aspect of the next generation learning platform that I’m pulse checking — I call it Learning from the Living [Class] Room.

 

Blockchain could be involved with cloud/web-based learner profiles in the future

Blockchain -- something to keep on our radars in higher education

 

Also, from a while back…

Oracle to Launch Blockchain Products This Month — from investopedia.com by Shobhit Seth

Excerpt:

Tech corporations are seeing big opportunities in the blockchain space, and are now in a closely contested race to seize them sooner rather than later.

Oracle Corp. has announced that it will unveil its blockchain software later this month, reports Bloomberg. Oracle will launch its platform-as-a-service blockchain product later this month, which will be followed by launch of the decentralized ledger-based applications next month.

The Redwood City, California-based software giant is already having clients on board for its blockchain offerings. Santiago-based Banco de Chile is one of the early clients that Oracle is working with to record inter-bank transactions on a hyperledger. The world’s second-largest software company is also working with the government of Nigeria, which is aiming to document customs and import duties on a blockchain. Oracle is also hopeful of offering solutions to a large number of pharmaceutical companies to efficiently track and locate batches of drugs to help them reduce the number of recalls. Thomas Kurian, president of product development, said that Oracle’s products will be compatible with other platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

What is a learning ecosystem? And how does it support corporate strategy? [Eudy]

What is a learning ecosystem? And how does it support corporate strategy? — from ej4.com by Ryan Eudy

Excerpt:

learning ecosystem is a system of people, content, technology, culture, and strategy, existing both within and outside of an organization, all of which has an impact on both the formal and informal learning that goes on in that organization.

The word “ecosystem” is worth paying attention to here. It’s not just there to make the term sound fancy or scientific. A learning ecosystem is the L&D equivalent of an ecosystem out in the wild. Just as a living ecosystem has many interacting species, environments, and the complex relationships among them, a learning ecosystem has many people and pieces of content, in different roles and learning contexts, and complex relationships.

Just like a living ecosystem, a learning ecosystem can be healthy or sick, nurtured or threatened, self-sustaining or endangered. Achieving your development goals, then, requires an organization to be aware of its own ecosystem, including its parts and the internal and external forces that shape them.

 

From DSC:
Yes, to me, the concept/idea of a learning ecosystem IS important. Very important. So much so, I named this blog after it.

Each of us as individuals have a learning ecosystem, whether we officially recognize it or not. So do the organizations that we work for. And, like an ecosystem out in nature, a learning ecosystem is constantly morphing, constantly changing.

We each have people in our lives that help us learn and grow, and the people that were in our learning ecosystems 10 years ago may or may not still be in our current learning ecosystems. Many of us use technologies and tools to help us learn and grow. Then there are the spaces where we learn — both physical and virtual spaces. Then there are the processes and procedures we follow, formally and/or informally. Any content that helps us learn and grow is a part of that ecosystem. Where we get that content can change, but obtaining up-to-date content is a part of our learning ecosystems. I really appreciate streams of content in this regard — and tapping into blogs/websites, especially via RSS feeds and Feedly (an RSS aggregator that took off when Google Reader left the scene).

The article brings up a good point when it states that a learning ecosystem can be “healthy or sick, nurtured or threatened, self-sustaining or endangered.” That’s why I urge folks to be intentional about maintaining and, better yet, consistently enhancing their learning ecosystems. In this day and age where lifelong learning is now a requirement to remain in the workforce, each of us needs to be intentional in this regard.

 

 

The title of this article being linked to is: Augmented and virtual reality mean business: Everything you need to know

 

Augmented and virtual reality mean business: Everything you need to know — from zdnet by Greg Nichols
An executive guide to the technology and market drivers behind the hype in AR, VR, and MR.

Excerpt:

Overhyped by some, drastically underestimated by others, few emerging technologies have generated the digital ink like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR).  Still lumbering through the novelty phase and roller coaster-like hype cycles, the technologies are only just beginning to show signs of real world usefulness with a new generation of hardware and software applications aimed at the enterprise and at end users like you. On the line is what could grow to be a $108 billion AR/VR industry as soon as 2021. Here’s what you need to know.

 

The reason is that VR environments by nature demand a user’s full attention, which make the technology poorly suited to real-life social interaction outside a digital world. AR, on the other hand, has the potential to act as an on-call co-pilot to everyday life, seamlessly integrating into daily real-world interactions. This will become increasingly true with the development of the AR Cloud.

The AR Cloud
Described by some as the world’s digital twin, the AR Cloud is essentially a digital copy of the real world that can be accessed by any user at any time.

For example, it won’t be long before whatever device I have on me at a given time (a smartphone or wearable, for example) will be equipped to tell me all I need to know about a building just by training a camera at it (GPS is operating as a poor-man’s AR Cloud at the moment).

What the internet is for textual information, the AR Cloud will be for the visible world. Whether it will be open source or controlled by a company like Google is a hotly contested issue.

 

Augmented reality will have a bigger impact on the market and our daily lives than virtual reality — and by a long shot. That’s the consensus of just about every informed commentator on the subject.

 

 

 

Mixed reality will transform learning (and Magic Leap joins act one) — from edsurge.com by Maya Georgieva

Excerpt:

Despite all the hype in recent years about the potential for virtual reality in education, an emerging technology known as mixed reality has far greater promise in and beyond the classroom.

Unlike experiences in virtual reality, mixed reality interacts with the real world that surrounds us. Digital objects become part of the real world. They’re not just digital overlays, but interact with us and the surrounding environment.

If all that sounds like science fiction, a much-hyped device promises some of those features later this year. The device is by a company called Magic Leap, and it uses a pair of goggles to project what the company calls a “lightfield” in front of the user’s face to make it look like digital elements are part of the real world. The expectation is that Magic Leap will bring digital objects in a much more vivid, dynamic and fluid way compared to other mixed-reality devices such as Microsoft’s Hololens.

 

The title of the article being linked to here is Mixed reality will transform learning (and Magic Leap joins act one)

 

Now think about all the other things you wished you had learned this way and imagine a dynamic digital display that transforms your environment and even your living room or classroom into an immersive learning lab. It is learning within a highly dynamic and visual context infused with spatial audio cues reacting to your gaze, gestures, gait, voice and even your heartbeat, all referenced with your geo-location in the world. Unlike what happens with VR, where our brain is tricked into believing the world and the objects in it are real, MR recognizes and builds a map of your actual environment.

 

 

 

Also see:

virtualiteach.com
Exploring The Potential for the Vive Focus in Education

 

virtualiteach.com

 

 

 

Digital Twins Doing Real World Work — from stambol.com

Excerpt:

On the big screen it’s become commonplace to see a 3D rendering or holographic projection of an industrial floor plan or a mechanical schematic. Casual viewers might take for granted that the technology is science fiction and many years away from reality. But today we’re going to outline where these sophisticated virtual replicas – Digital Twins – are found in the real world, here and now. Essentially, we’re talking about a responsive simulated duplicate of a physical object or system. When we first wrote about Digital Twin technology, we mainly covered industrial applications and urban infrastructure like transit and sewers. However, the full scope of their presence is much broader, so now we’re going to break it up into categories.

 

The title of the article being linked to here is Digital twins doing real world work

 

Digital twin — from Wikipedia

Digital twin refers to a digital replica of physical assets (physical twin), processes and systems that can be used for various purposes.[1] The digital representation provides both the elements and the dynamics of how an Internet of Things device operates and lives throughout its life cycle.[2]

Digital twins integrate artificial intelligence, machine learning and software analytics with data to create living digital simulation models that update and change as their physical counterparts change. A digital twin continuously learns and updates itself from multiple sources to represent its near real-time status, working condition or position. This learning system, learns from itself, using sensor data that conveys various aspects of its operating condition; from human experts, such as engineers with deep and relevant industry domain knowledge; from other similar machines; from other similar fleets of machines; and from the larger systems and environment in which it may be a part of. A digital twin also integrates historical data from past machine usage to factor into its digital model.

In various industrial sectors, twins are being used to optimize the operation and maintenance of physical assets, systems and manufacturing processes.[3] They are a formative technology for the Industrial Internet of Things, where physical objects can live and interact with other machines and people virtually.[4]

 

 

Disney to debut its first VR short next month — from techcrunch.com by Sarah Wells

Excerpt:

Walt Disney Animation Studio is set to debut its first VR short film, Cycles, this August in Vancouver, the Association for Computing Machinery announced today. The plan is for it to be a headliner at the ACM’s computer graphics conference (SIGGRAPH), joining other forms of VR, AR and MR entertainment in the conference’s designated Immersive Pavilion.

This film is a first for both Disney and its director, Jeff Gipson, who joined the animation team in 2013 to work as a lighting artist on films like Frozen, Zootopia and Moana. The objective of this film, Gipson said in the statement released by ACM, is to inspire a deep emotional connection with the story.

“We hope more and more people begin to see the emotional weight of VR films, and with Cycles in particular, we hope they will feel the emotions we aimed to convey with our story,” said Gipson.

 

 

 

 

 

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