Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras — from nytimes.com by Paul Mozur

Excerpts:

ZHENGZHOU, China — In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a police officer wearing facial recognition glasses spotted a heroin smuggler at a train station.

In Qingdao, a city famous for its German colonial heritage, cameras powered by artificial intelligence helped the police snatch two dozen criminal suspects in the midst of a big annual beer festival.

In Wuhu, a fugitive murder suspect was identified by a camera as he bought food from a street vendor.

With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, China is building a high-tech authoritarian future. Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.

 

In some cities, cameras scan train stations for China’s most wanted. Billboard-size displays show the faces of jaywalkers and list the names of people who don’t pay their debts. Facial recognition scanners guard the entrances to housing complexes. Already, China has an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras — four times as many as the United States.

Such efforts supplement other systems that track internet use and communications, hotel stays, train and plane trips and even car travel in some places.

 

 

A very slippery slope has now been setup in China with facial recognition infrastructures

 

From DSC:
A veeeeery slippery slope here. The usage of this technology starts out as looking for criminals, but then what’s next? Jail time for people who disagree w/ a government official’s perspective on something? Persecution for people seen coming out of a certain place of worship?  

Very troubling stuff here….

 

 

 

Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem — from edu2030.agorize.com
How might we empower people to design their own learning journeys so they can lead purposeful and economically stable lives?

Excerpts:

The problem
Technology is rapidly transforming the way we live, learn, and work. Entirely new jobs are emerging as others are lost to automation. People are living longer, yet switching jobs more often. These dramatic shifts call for a reimagining of the way we prepare for work and life—specifically, how we learn new skills and adapt to a changing economic landscape.

The changes ahead are likely to hurt most those who can least afford to manage them: low-income and first generation learners already ill-served by our existing postsecondary education system. Our current system stifles economic mobility and widens income and achievement gaps; we must act now to ensure that we have an educational ecosystem flexible and fair enough to help all people live purposeful and economically stable lives. And if we are to design solutions proportionate to this problem, new technologies must be called on to scale approaches that reach the millions of vulnerable people across the country.

 

The challenge
How might we empower people to design their own learning journeys so they can lead purposeful and economically stable lives?

The Challenge—Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem—seeks bold ideas for how our postsecondary education system could be reimagined to foster equity and encourage learner agency and resilience. We seek specific pilots to move us toward a future in which all learners can achieve economic stability and lead purposeful lives. This Challenge invites participants to articulate a vision and then design pilot projects for a future ecosystem that has the following characteristics:

Expands access: The educational system must ensure that all people—including low-income learners who are disproportionately underserved by the current higher education system—can leverage education to live meaningful and economically stable lives.

Draws on a broad postsecondary ecosystem: While college and universities play a vital role in educating students, there is a much larger ecosystem in which students learn. This ecosystem includes non-traditional “classes” or alternative learning providers, such as MOOCs, bootcamps, and online courses as well as on-the-job training and informal learning. Our future learning system must value the learning that happens in many different environments and enable seamless transitions between learning, work, and life.

 

From DSC:
This is where I could see a vision similar to Learning from the Living [Class] Room come into play. It would provide a highly affordable, accessible platform, that would offer more choice, and more control to learners of all ages. It would be available 24×7 and would be a platform that supports lifelong learning. It would combine a variety of AI-enabled functionalities with human expertise, teaching, training, motivation, and creativity.

It could be that what comes out of this challenge will lay the groundwork for a future, massive new learning platform.

 

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

 

Also see:

 

 

 

Google’s robot assistant now makes eerily lifelike phone calls for you — from theguardian.com by Olivia Solon
Google Duplex contacts hair salon and restaurant in demo, adding ‘er’ and ‘mmm-hmm’ so listeners think it’s human

Excerpt:

Google’s virtual assistant can now make phone calls on your behalf to schedule appointments, make reservations in restaurants and get holiday hours.

The robotic assistant uses a very natural speech pattern that includes hesitations and affirmations such as “er” and “mmm-hmm” so that it is extremely difficult to distinguish from an actual human phone call.

The unsettling feature, which will be available to the public later this year, is enabled by a technology called Google Duplex, which can carry out “real world” tasks on the phone, without the other person realising they are talking to a machine. The assistant refers to the person’s calendar to find a suitable time slot and then notifies the user when an appointment is scheduled.

 

 

Google employees quit over the company’s military AI project — from thenextweb.com by Tristan Greene

Excerpt:

About a dozen Google employees reportedly left the company over its insistence on developing AI for the US military through a program called Project Maven. Meanwhile 4,000 others signed a petition demanding the company stop.

It looks like there’s some internal confusion over whether the company’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto covers making machine learning systems to aid warfare.

 

 

 

The link between big tech and defense work — from wired.com by Nitasha Tiku

Except:

FOR MONTHS, A growing faction of Google employees has tried to force the company to drop out of a controversial military program called Project Maven. More than 4,000 employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a petition asking Google to cancel the contract. Last week, Gizmodo reported that a dozen employees resigned over the project. “There are a bunch more waiting for job offers (like me) before we do so,” one engineer says. On Friday, employees communicating through an internal mailing list discussed refusing to interview job candidates in order to slow the project’s progress.

Other tech giants have recently secured high-profile contracts to build technology for defense, military, and intelligence agencies. In March, Amazon expanded its newly launched “Secret Region” cloud services supporting top-secret work for the Department of Defense. The same week that news broke of the Google resignations, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft locked down a deal with intelligence agencies. But there’s little sign of the same kind of rebellion among Amazon and Microsoft workers.

 

 

Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police — from wpxi.com by Gene Johnson

Excerpt:

Facebook SEATTLE (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to “easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone.”

The tool, called Rekognition, is already being used by at least one agency – the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon – to check photographs of unidentified suspects against a database of mug shots from the county jail, which is a common use of such technology around the country.

 

 

From DSC:
Google’s C-Suite — as well as the C-Suites at Microsoft, Amazon, and other companies — needs to be very careful these days, as they could end up losing the support/patronage of a lot of people — including more of their own employees. It’s not an easy task to know how best to build and use technologies in order to make the world a better place…to create a dream vs. a nightmare for our future. But just because we can build something, doesn’t mean we should.

 

 

The Complete Guide to Conversational Commerce | Everything you need to know. — from chatbotsmagazine.com by Matt Schlicht

Excerpt:

What is conversational commerce? Why is it such a big opportunity? How does it work? What does the future look like? How can I get started? These are the questions I’m going to answer for you right now.

The guide covers:

  • An introduction to conversational commerce.
  • Why conversational commerce is such a big opportunity.
  • Complete breakdown of how conversational commerce works.
  • Extensive examples of conversational commerce using chatbots and voicebots.
  • How artificial intelligence impacts conversational commerce.
  • What the future of conversational commerce will look like.

 

Definition: Conversational commerce is an automated technology, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that enables online shoppers and brands to interact with one another via chat and voice interfaces.

 

 

 

Notes from the AI frontier: Applications and value of deep learning — from mckinsey.com by Michael Chui, James Manyika, Mehdi Miremadi, Nicolaus Henke, Rita Chung, Pieter Nel, and Sankalp Malhotra

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as a transformational technology of our digital age—and its practical application throughout the economy is growing apace. For this briefing, Notes from the AI frontier: Insights from hundreds of use cases (PDF–446KB), we mapped both traditional analytics and newer “deep learning” techniques and the problems they can solve to more than 400 specific use cases in companies and organizations. Drawing on McKinsey Global Institute research and the applied experience with AI of McKinsey Analytics, we assess both the practical applications and the economic potential of advanced AI techniques across industries and business functions. Our findings highlight the substantial potential of applying deep learning techniques to use cases across the economy, but we also see some continuing limitations and obstacles—along with future opportunities as the technologies continue their advance. Ultimately, the value of AI is not to be found in the models themselves, but in companies’ abilities to harness them.

It is important to highlight that, even as we see economic potential in the use of AI techniques, the use of data must always take into account concerns including data security, privacy, and potential issues of bias.

  1. Mapping AI techniques to problem types
  2. Insights from use cases
  3. Sizing the potential value of AI
  4. The road to impact and value

 

 

 

AI for Good — from re-work.co by Ali Shah, Head of Emerging Technology and Strategic Direction – BBC

 

 

 

Algorithms are making the same mistakes assessing credit scores that humans did a century ago — from qz.com by Rachel O’Dwyer

 

 

 

 

The scary amount that college will cost in the future — from cnbc.com by Annie Nova

Excerpt:

Think college is expensive now? Then new parents will probably want to take a seat for this news.

In 2036, just 18 years from now, four years at a private university will be around $303,000, up from $167,000 today.

To get a degree at a public university you’ll need about $184,000, compared with $101,000 now.

These forecasts were provided by Wealthfront, an automated investment platform that offers college saving options. It uses Department of Education data on the current cost of schools along with expected annual inflation to come up with its projections.

 

Excerpted graphic:

 

From DSC:
We had better be at the end of the line of thinking that says these tuition hikes can continue. It’s not ok. More and more people will be shut out by this kind of societal gatekeeper. The ever-increasing cost of obtaining a degree has become a matter of social justice for me. Other solutions are needed. The 800 pound gorilla of debt that’s already being loaded onto more and more of our graduates will impact them for years…even for decades in many of our graduates’ cases.

It’s my hope that a variety of technologies will make learning more affordable, yet still provide a high quality of education. In fact, I’m hopeful that the personalization/customization of learning will take some major steps forward in the very near future. We will still need and want solid teachers, professors, and trainers, but I’m hopeful that those folks will be aided by the heavy lifting that will be done by some powerful tools/technologies that will be aimed at helping people learn and grow…providing lifelong learners with more choice, more control.

I love the physical campus as much as anyone, and I hope that all students can have that experience if they want it. But I’ve seen and worked with the high costs of building and maintaining physical spaces — maintaining our learning spaces, dorms, libraries, gyms, etc. is very expensive.

I see streams of content becoming more prevalent in the future — especially for lifelong learners who need to reinvent themselves in order to stay marketable. We will be able to subscribe and unsubscribe to curated streams of content that we want to learn more about. For example, today, that could involve RSS feeds and Feedly (to aggregate those feeds). I see us using micro-learning to help us encode information and then practice recalling it (i.e., spaced practice), to help us stop or lessen the forgetting curves we all experience, to help us sort information into things we know and things that we need more assistance on (while providing links to resources that will help us obtain better mastery of the subject(s)).

 

 

From DSC regarding Virtual Reality-based apps:
If one can remotely select/change their seat at a game or change seats/views at a concert…how soon before we can do this with learning-related spaces/scenes/lectures/seminars/Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs)/stage productions (drama) and more?

Talk about getting someone’s attention and engaging them!

 

 

Excerpt:

(MAY 2, 2018) MelodyVR, the world’s first dedicated virtual reality music platform that enables fans to experience music performances in a revolutionary new way, is now available.

The revolutionary MelodyVR app offers music fans an incredible selection of immersive performances from today’s biggest artists. Fans are transported all over the world to sold-out stadium shows, far-flung festivals and exclusive VIP sessions, and experience the music they love.

What MelodyVR delivers is a unique and world-class set of original experiences, created with multiple vantage points, to give fans complete control over what they see and where they stand at a performance. By selecting different Jump Spots, MelodyVR users can choose to be in the front row, deep in the crowd, or up-close-and-personal with the band on stage.

 

See their How it Works page.

 

 

With standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go now available at an extremely accessible price point ($199), the already vibrant VR market is set to grow exponentially over the coming years. Current market forecasts suggest over 350 million users by 2021 and last year saw $3 billion invested in virtual and alternative reality.

 

 

 

 

 

The Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE)

QM and Eduventures have teamed up to conduct a multi-year study to examine the changing landscape of online education, provide results to those who can use them and help those involved with online education place their institution within a broader context and possibly influence strategic decisions and organizational changes. Please complete the form on this page to gain access to the 2018 CHLOE 2 Report.

The third iteration of CHLOE is scheduled for April 2018 and focuses on in-depth coverage of issues such as governance of online programs, blended learning and the influence of subject matter on the design and delivery of online programs. If you are a Chief Online Officer and wish to participate in the next CHLOE Survey, or if you wish to nominate the COO at your institution, please contact QM’s Manager of Research & Development Barbra Burch.

Date Published:  Tue, 03/27/2018

 

Also see:

  • Online Learning’s Complex, Fractured Landscape — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman — references new report from Quality Matters & Eduventures Research entitled “The Changing Landscape of Online Education: A Deeper Dive”
    Survey of chief online officers shows enormous variation in how colleges define and structure digital education, in terms of pricing, program structure and use of instructional design.

Excerpt:

A new survey of those who oversee online learning programs at their institutions reveals significant diversity in the online education landscape, from differences in colleges’ strategic goals in going online to how they structure and price their programs and how much they require/encourage faculty members to work with professional designers to craft their courses.

The report, “The Changing Landscape of Online Education: A Deeper Dive,” is the second such report from Quality Matters and Eduventures Research, leading them to dub it CHLOE2. (Inside Higher Ed and “Inside Digital Learning” covered last year’s report here and here.) One hundred eighty-two senior officials responsible for online education at their institutions responded to the survey (up from 104 last year), drawn roughly equivalently from four-year private, four-year public and two-year public colleges.

The survey explores a wide range of topics and issues, related to the administrative structure of online offerings, the economics of their programs and the role of instructional designers. Among the most interesting findings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

College of Law Announces the Launch of the Nation’s First Live Online J.D. Program — from law.syr.edu

Excerpt:

The American Bar Association has granted the Syracuse University College of Law a variance to offer a fully interactive online juris doctor program. The online J.D. program will be the first in the nation to combine real-time and self-paced online classes, on-campus residential classes, and experiential learning opportunities.


The online J.D. was subject to intense scrutiny and review by legal education experts before the College was granted the variance. Students in the online program will be taught by College of Law faculty, will be held to the same high admission and academic standards as students in the College’s residential program, and will take all courses required by its residential J.D. program.

 

Also see:

 

 

“The JD degree is usually required to practice law in the United States. It is considered the first degree in law. The JD degree is offered by American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law schools, by law schools that are not ABA-approved, and by many Canadian law schools.”

(source)

 

From DSC:
The American Bar Association is finally starting to grant more variances that involve online-based education (or in their terms, “distance education”). I’m sure that they have been facing increasingly intense pressure from a variety of law schools over the last decade or more. It’s good to see the ABA grant these types of variances, as it won’t be long now before online-based learning is as much a part of the offerings from a variety of law schools as it is for institutions offering traditional undergraduate and graduate degrees.

 

 

 

China’s New Frontiers in Dystopian Tech — from theatlantic.com by Rene Chun
Facial-recognition technologies are proliferating, from airports to bathrooms.

Excerpt:

China is rife with face-scanning technology worthy of Black Mirror. Don’t even think about jaywalking in Jinan, the capital of Shandong province. Last year, traffic-management authorities there started using facial recognition to crack down. When a camera mounted above one of 50 of the city’s busiest intersections detects a jaywalker, it snaps several photos and records a video of the violation. The photos appear on an overhead screen so the offender can see that he or she has been busted, then are cross-checked with the images in a regional police database. Within 20 minutes, snippets of the perp’s ID number and home address are displayed on the crosswalk screen. The offender can choose among three options: a 20-yuan fine (about $3), a half-hour course in traffic rules, or 20 minutes spent assisting police in controlling traffic. Police have also been known to post names and photos of jaywalkers on social media.

The technology’s veneer of convenience conceals a dark truth: Quietly and very rapidly, facial recognition has enabled China to become the world’s most advanced surveillance state. A hugely ambitious new government program called the “social credit system” aims to compile unprecedented data sets, including everything from bank-account numbers to court records to internet-search histories, for all Chinese citizens. Based on this information, each person could be assigned a numerical score, to which points might be added for good behavior like winning a community award, and deducted for bad actions like failure to pay a traffic fine. The goal of the program, as stated in government documents, is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

 

 

 

 

2018 Workplace Learning Report — from learning.linkedin.com

Excerpts:

The path to opportunity is changing
The short shelf life of skills and a tightening labor market are giving rise to a multitude of skill gaps. Businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the curve, trying to hold onto their best talent and struggling to fill key positions. Individuals are conscious of staying relevant in the age of automation.

Enter the talent development function.
These organizational leaders create learning opportunities to enable employee growth and achievement. They have the ability to guide their organizations to success in tomorrow’s labor market, but they can’t do it alone.

Our research answers the talent developer’s most pressing questions:
* How are savvy talent development leaders adapting to the pace of change in today’s dynamic world of work?
* Why do employees demand learning and development resources, but don’t make the time to learn?
* How do executives think about learning and development?
* Are managers the missing link to successful learning programs?

 

From DSC:
Even though this piece is a bit of a sales pitch for Lynda.com — a great service I might add — it’s still worth checking out. I say this because it brings up a very real trend that I’m trying to bring more awareness to — i.e., the pace of change has changed. Our society is not ready for this new, exponential pace of change. Technologies are impacting jobs and how we do our jobs, and will likely do so for the next several decades. Skills gaps are real and likely growing larger. Corporations need to do their part in helping higher education revise/develop curriculum and they need to offer funds to create new types of learning labs/environments. They need to offer more internships and opportunities to learn new skills.

 

 

 

The Space Satellite Revolution Could Turn Earth into a Surveillance Nightmare — from scout.ai by Becky Ferreira
Laser communication between satellites is revolutionizing our ability to track climate change, manage resources, and respond to natural disasters. But there are downsides to putting Earth under a giant microscope.

Excerpts:

And while universal broadband has the potential to open up business and education opportunities to hundreds of thousands of people, it’s the real-time satellite feeds of earth that may have both the most immediate and widespread financial upsides — and the most frightening surveillance implications — for the average person here on earth.

Among the industries most likely to benefit from laser communications between these satellites are agriculture and forestry.

Satellite data can also be used to engage the public in humanitarian efforts. In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, DigitalGlobe launched online crowdsourcing campaigns to map damage and help NGOs respond on the ground. And they’ve been identifying vulnerable communities in South Sudan as the nation suffers through unrest and famine.

In an age of intensifying natural disasters, combining these tactics with live satellite video feeds could mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people.

Should a company, for example, be able to use real-time video feeds to track your physical location, perhaps in order to better target advertising? Should they be able to use facial recognition and sentiment analysis algorithms to assess your reactions to those ads in real time?

While these commercially available images aren’t yet sharp enough to pick up intimate details like faces or phone screens, it’s foreseeable that regulations will be eased to accommodate even sharper images. That trend will continue to prompt privacy concerns, especially if a switch to laser-based satellite communication enables near real-time coverage at high resolutions.

A kaleidoscopic swirl of possible futures confronts us, filled with scenarios where law enforcement officials could rewind satellite footage to identify people at a crime scene, or on a more familial level, parents could remotely watch their kids — or keep tabs on each other — from space. In that world, it’s not hard to imagine privacy becoming even more of a commodity, with wealthy enclaves lobbying to be erased from visual satellite feeds, in a geospatial version of “gated communities.”

 

 

From DSC:
The pros and cons of technologies…hmmm…this article nicely captures the pluses and minuses that societies around the globe need to be aware of, struggle with, and discuss with each other. Some exciting things here, but some disturbing things here as well.

 

 

 

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