Online curricula helps teachers tackle AI in the classroom — from educationdive.com by Lauren Barack

Dive Brief:

  • Schools may already use some form of artificial intelligence (AI), but hardly any have curricula designed to teach K-12 students how it works and how to use it, wrote EdSurge. However, organizations such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) are developing their own sets of lessons that teachers can take to their classrooms.
  • Members of “AI for K-12” — an initiative co-sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Computer Science Teachers Association — wrote in a paper that an AI curriculum should address five basic ideas:
    • Computers use sensors to understand what goes on around them.
    • Computers can learn from data.
    • With this data, computers can create models for reasoning.
    • While computers are smart, it’s hard for them to understand people’s emotions, intentions and natural languages, making interactions less comfortable.
    • AI can be a beneficial tool, but it can also harm society.
  • These kinds of lessons are already at play among groups including the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, which has been using a program from online AI curriculum site ReadyAI. The education company lent its AI-in-a-Box kit, which normally sells for $3,000, to the group so it could teach these concepts.

 

AI curriculum is coming for K-12 at last. What will it include? — from edsurge.com by Danielle Dreilinger

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence powers Amazon’s recommendations engine, Google Translate and Siri, for example. But few U.S. elementary and secondary schools teach the subject, maybe because there are so few curricula available for students. Members of the “AI for K-12” work group wrote in a recent Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence white paper that “unlike the general subject of computing, when it comes to AI, there is little guidance for teaching at the K-12 level.”

But that’s starting to change. Among other advances, ISTE and AI4All are developing separate curricula with support from General Motors and Google, respectively, according to the white paper. Lead author Dave Touretzky of Carnegie Mellon has developed his own curriculum, Calypso. It’s part of the “AI-in-a-Box” kit, which is being used by more than a dozen community groups and school systems, including Carter’s class.

 

 

 

 

Amazon has 10,000 employees dedicated to Alexa — here are some of the areas they’re working on — from businessinsider.com by Avery Hartmans

Summary (emphasis DSC):

  • Amazon’s vice president of Alexa, Steve Rabuchin, has confirmed that yes, there really are 10,000 Amazon employees working on Alexa and the Echo.
  • Those employees are focused on things like machine learning and making Alexa more knowledgeable.
  • Some employees are working on giving Alexa a personality, too.

 

 

From DSC:
How might this trend impact learning spaces? For example, I am interested in using voice to intuitively “drive” smart classroom control systems:

  • “Alexa, turn on the projector”
  • “Alexa, dim the lights by 50%”
  • “Alexa, open Canvas and launch my Constitutional Law I class”

 

 

 

Big tech may look troubled, but it’s just getting started — from nytimes.com by David Streitfeld

Excerpt:

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Silicon Valley ended 2018 somewhere it had never been: embattled.

Lawmakers across the political spectrum say Big Tech, for so long the exalted embodiment of American genius, has too much power. Once seen as a force for making our lives better and our brains smarter, tech is now accused of inflaming, radicalizing, dumbing down and squeezing the masses. Tech company stocks have been pummeled from their highs. Regulation looms. Even tech executives are calling for it.

The expansion underlines the dizzying truth of Big Tech: It is barely getting started.

 

“For all intents and purposes, we’re only 35 years into a 75- or 80-year process of moving from analog to digital,” said Tim Bajarin, a longtime tech consultant to companies including Apple, IBM and Microsoft. “The image of Silicon Valley as Nirvana has certainly taken a hit, but the reality is that we the consumers are constantly voting for them.”

 

Big Tech needs to be regulated, many are beginning to argue, and yet there are worries about giving that power to the government.

Which leaves regulation up to the companies themselves, always a dubious proposition.

 

 

 

Smart speakers hit critical mass in 2018 — from techcrunch.com by Sarah Perez

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

We already know Alexa had a good Christmas — the app shot to the top of the App Store over the holidays, and the Alexa service even briefly crashed from all the new users. But Alexa, along with other smart speaker devices like Google Home, didn’t just have a good holiday — they had a great year, too. The smart speaker market reached critical mass in 2018, with around 41 percent of U.S. consumers now owning a voice-activated speaker, up from 21.5 percent in 2017.

 

In the U.S., there are now more than 100 million Alexa-enabled devices installed — a key milestone for Alexa to become a “critical mass platform,” the report noted.

 

 

5 influencers predict AI’s impact on business in 2019 — from martechadvisor.com by Christine Crandell

Excerpt:

With Artificial Intelligence (AI) already proving its worth to adopters, it’s not surprising that an increasing number of companies will implement and leverage AI in 2019. Now, it’s no longer a question of whether AI will take off. Instead, it’s a question of which companies will keep up. Here are five predictions from five influencers on the impact AI will have on businesses in 2019, writes Christine Crandell, President, New Business Strategies.

 

 

Should we be worried about computerized facial recognition? — from newyorker.com by David Owen
The technology could revolutionize policing, medicine, even agriculture—but its applications can easily be weaponized.

 

Facial-recognition technology is advancing faster than the people who worry about it have been able to think of ways to manage it. Indeed, in any number of fields the gap between what scientists are up to and what nonscientists understand about it is almost certainly greater now than it has been at any time since the Manhattan Project. 

 

From DSC:
This is why law schools, legislatures, and the federal government need to become much more responsive to emerging technologies. The pace of technological change has changed. But have other important institutions of our society adapted to this new pace of change?

 

 

Andrew Ng sees an eternal springtime for AI — from zdnet.com by Tiernan Ray
Former Google Brain leader and Baidu chief scientist Andrew Ng lays out the steps companies should take to succeed with artificial intelligence, and explains why there’s unlikely to be another “AI winter” like in times past.

 

 

Google Lens now recognizes over 1 billion products — from venturebeat.com by Kyle Wiggers with thanks to Marie Conway for her tweet on this

Excerpt:

Google Lens, Google’s AI-powered analysis tool, can now recognize over 1 billion products from Google’s retail and price comparison portal, Google Shopping. That’s four times the number of objects Lens covered in October 2017, when it made its debut.

Aparna Chennapragada, vice president of Google Lens and augmented reality at Google, revealed the tidbit in a retrospective blog post about Google Lens’ milestones.

 

Amazon Customer Receives 1,700 Audio Files Of A Stranger Who Used Alexa — from npr.org by Sasha Ingber

Excerpt:

When an Amazon customer in Germany contacted the company to review his archived data, he wasn’t expecting to receive recordings of a stranger speaking in the privacy of a home.

The man requested to review his data in August under a European Union data protection law, according to a German trade magazine called c’t. Amazon sent him a download link to tracked searches on the website — and 1,700 audio recordings by Alexa that were generated by another person.

“I was very surprised about that because I don’t use Amazon Alexa, let alone have an Alexa-enabled device,” the customer, who was not named, told the magazine. “So I randomly listened to some of these audio files and could not recognize any of the voices.”

 

 

On one hand XR-related technologies
show some promise and possibilities…

 

The AR Cloud will infuse meaning into every object in the real world — from venturebeat.com by Amir Bozorgzadeh

Excerpt:

Indeed, if you haven’t yet heard of the “AR Cloud”, it’s time to take serious notice. The term was coined by Ori Inbar, an AR entrepreneur and investor who founded AWE. It is, in his words, “a persistent 3D digital copy of the real world to enable sharing of AR experiences across multiple users and devices.”

 

Augmented reality invades the conference room — from zdnet.com by Ross Rubin
Spatial extends the core functionality of video and screen sharing apps to a new frontier.

 

 

The 5 most innovative augmented reality products of 2018 — from next.reality.news by Adario Strange

 

 

Augmented, virtual reality major opens at Shenandoah U. next fall — from edscoop.com by by Betsy Foresman

Excerpt:

“It’s not about how virtual reality functions. It’s about, ‘How does history function in virtual reality? How does biology function in virtual reality? How does psychology function with these new tools?’” he said.

The school hopes to prepare student for careers in a field with a market size projected to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022, according to Statista. Still at its advent, Whelan compared VR technology to the introduction of the personal computer.

 

VR is leading us into the next generation of sports media — from venturebeat.com by Mateusz Przepiorkowski

 

 

Accredited surgery instruction now available in VR — from zdnet.com by Greg Nichols
The medical establishment has embraced VR training as a cost-effective, immersive alternative to classroom time.

 

Toyota is using Microsoft’s HoloLens to build cars faster — from cnn.comby Rachel Metz

From DSC:
But even in that posting the message is mixed…some pros…some cons. Some things going well for XR-related techs…but for other things, things are not going very well.

 

 

…but on the other hand,
some things don’t look so good…

 

Is the Current Generation of VR Already Dead? — from medium.com by Andreas Goeldi

Excerpt:

Four years later, things are starting to look decidedly bleak. Yes, there are about 5 million Gear VR units and 3 million Sony Playstation VR headsets in market, plus probably a few hundred thousand higher-end Oculus and HTC Vive systems. Yes, VR is still being demonstrated at countless conferences and events, and big corporations that want to seem innovative love to invest in a VR app or two. Yes, Facebook just cracked an important low-end price point with its $200 Oculus Go headset, theoretically making VR affordable for mainstream consumers. Plus, there’s even more hype about Augmented Reality, which in a way could be a gateway drug to VR.

But it’s hard to ignore a growing feeling that VR is not developing as the industry hoped it would. So is that it again, we’ve seen this movie before, let’s all wrap it up and wait for the next wave of VR to come along about five years from now?

There are a few signs that are really worrying…

 

 

From DSC:
My take is that it’s too early to tell. We need to give things more time.

 

 

 

From DSC:
How long before voice drives most appliances, thermostats, etc?

Hisense is bringing Android and AI smarts to its 2019 TV range — from techradar.com by Stephen Lambrechts
Some big announcements planned for CES 2019

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Hisense has announced that it will unveil the next evolution of its VIDAA smart TV platform at CES 2019 next month, promising to take full advantage of artificial intelligence with version 3.0.

Each television in Hisense’s 2019 ULED TV lineup will boast the updated VIDAA 3.0 AI platform, with Amazon Alexa functionality fully integrated into the devices, meaning you won’t need an Echo device to use Alexa voice control features.

 

 

 

Google Glass wasn’t a failure. It raised crucial concerns. — from wired.com by Rose Eveleth

Excerpts:

So when Google ultimately retired Glass, it was in reaction to an important act of line drawing. It was an admission of defeat not by design, but by culture.

These kinds of skirmishes on the front lines of surveillance might seem inconsequential — but they can not only change the behavior of tech giants like Google, they can also change how we’re protected under the law. Each time we invite another device into our lives, we open up a legal conversation over how that device’s capabilities change our right to privacy. To understand why, we have to get wonky for a bit, but it’s worth it, I promise.

 

But where many people see Google Glass as a cautionary tale about tech adoption failure, I see a wild success. Not for Google of course, but for the rest of us. Google Glass is a story about human beings setting boundaries and pushing back against surveillance…

 

IN THE UNITED States, the laws that dictate when you can and cannot record someone have a several layers. But most of these laws were written when smartphones and digital home assistants weren’t even a glimmer in Google’s eye. As a result, they are mostly concerned with issues of government surveillance, not individuals surveilling each other or companies surveilling their customers. Which means that as cameras and microphones creep further into our everyday lives, there are more and more legal gray zones.

 

From DSC:
We need to be aware of the emerging technologies around us. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. People need to be aware of — and involved with — which emerging technologies get rolled out (or not) and/or which features are beneficial to roll out (or not).

One of the things that’s beginning to alarm me these days is how the United States has turned over the keys to the Maserati — i.e., think an expensive, powerful thing — to youth who lack the life experiences to know how to handle such power and, often, the proper respect for such power. Many of these youthful members of our society don’t own the responsibility for the positive and negative influences and impacts that such powerful technologies can have.

If you owned the car below, would you turn the keys of this ~$137,000+ car over to your 16-25 year old? Yet that’s what America has been doing for years. And, in some areas, we’re now paying the price.

 

If you owned this $137,000+ car, would you turn the keys of it over to your 16-25 year old?!

 

The corporate world continues to discard the hard-earned experience that age brings…as they shove older people out of the workforce. (I hesitate to use the word wisdom…but in some cases, that’s also relevant/involved here.) Then we, as a society, sit back and wonder how did we get to this place?

Even technologists and programmers in their 20’s and 30’s are beginning to step back and ask…WHY did we develop this application or that feature? Was it — is it — good for society? Is it beneficial? Or should it be tabled or revised into something else?

Below is but one example — though I don’t mean to pick on Microsoft, as they likely have more older workers than the Facebooks, Googles, or Amazons of the world. I fully realize that all of these companies have some older employees. But the youth-oriented culture in American today has almost become an obsession — and not just in the tech world. Turn on the TV, check out the new releases on Netflix, go see a movie in a theater, listen to the radio, cast but a glance at the magazines in the check out lines, etc. and you’ll instantly know what I mean.

In the workplace, there appears to be a bias against older employees as being less innovative or tech-savvy — such a perspective is often completely incorrect. Go check out LinkedIn for items re: age discrimination…it’s a very real thing. But many of us over the age of 30 know this to be true if we’ve lost a job in the last decade or two and have tried to get a job that involves technology.

Microsoft argues facial-recognition tech could violate your rights — from finance.yahoo.com by Rob Pegoraro

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union provided a good reason for us to think carefully about the evolution of facial-recognition technology. In a study, the group used Amazon’s (AMZN) Rekognition service to compare portraits of members of Congress to 25,000 arrest mugshots. The result: 28 members were mistakenly matched with 28 suspects.

The ACLU isn’t the only group raising the alarm about the technology. Earlier this month, Microsoft (MSFT) president Brad Smith posted an unusual plea on the company’s blog asking that the development of facial-recognition systems not be left up to tech companies.

Saying that the tech “raises issues that go to the heart of fundamental human rights protections like privacy and freedom of expression,” Smith called for “a government initiative to regulate the proper use of facial recognition technology, informed first by a bipartisan and expert commission.”

But we may not get new laws anytime soon.

 

just because we can does not mean we should

 

Just because we can…

 

just because we can does not mean we should

 

Addendum on 12/27/18: — also related/see:

‘We’ve hit an inflection point’: Big Tech failed big-time in 2018 — from finance.yahoo.com by JP Mangalindan

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

2018 will be remembered as the year the public’s big soft-hearted love affair with Big Tech came to a screeching halt.

For years, lawmakers and the public let massive companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon run largely unchecked. Billions of people handed them their data — photos, locations, and other status-rich updates — with little scrutiny or question. Then came revelations around several high-profile data breaches from Facebook: a back-to-back series of rude awakenings that taught casual web-surfing, smartphone-toting citizens that uploading their data into the digital ether could have consequences. Google reignited the conversation around sexual harassment, spurring thousands of employees to walk out, while Facebook reminded some corners of the U.S. that racial bias, even in supposedly egalitarian Silicon Valley, remained alive and well. And Amazon courted well over 200 U.S. cities in its gaudy and protracted search for a second headquarters.

“I think 2018 was the year that people really called tech companies on the carpet about the way that they’ve been behaving conducting their business,” explained Susan Etlinger, an analyst at the San Francisco-based Altimeter Group. “We’ve hit an inflection point where people no longer feel comfortable with the ways businesses are conducting themselves. At the same time, we’re also at a point, historically, where there’s just so much more willingness to call out businesses and institutions on bigotry, racism, sexism and other kinds of bias.”

 

The public’s love affair with Facebook hit its first major rough patch in 2016 when Russian trolls attempted to meddle with the 2016 U.S. presidential election using the social media platform. But it was the Cambridge Analytica controversy that may go down in internet history as the start of a series of back-to-back, bruising controversies for the social network, which for years, served as the Silicon Valley poster child of the nouveau American Dream. 

 

 

Hey bot, what’s next in line in chatbot technology? — from blog.engati.com by Imtiaz Bellary

Excerpts:

Scenario 1: Are bots the new apps?
Scenario 2: Bot conversations that make sense
Scenario 3: Can bots increase employee throughput?
Scenario 4: Let voice take over!

 

Voice as an input medium is catching up with an increasing number of folks adopting Amazon Echo and other digital assistants for their daily chores. Can we expect bots to gauge your mood and provide personalised experience as compared to a standard response? In regulated scenarios, voice acts as an authentication mechanism for the bot to pursue actions. Voice as an input adds sophistication and ease to do tasks quickly, thereby increasing user experience.

 

 

AI Now Report 2018 | December 2018  — from ainowinstitute.org

Meredith Whittaker , AI Now Institute, New York University, Google Open Research
Kate Crawford , AI Now Institute, New York University, Microsoft Research
Roel Dobbe , AI Now Institute, New York University
Genevieve Fried , AI Now Institute, New York University
Elizabeth Kaziunas , AI Now Institute, New York University
Varoon Mathur , AI Now Institute, New York University
Sarah Myers West , AI Now Institute, New York University
Rashida Richardson , AI Now Institute, New York University
Jason Schultz , AI Now Institute, New York University School of Law
Oscar Schwartz , AI Now Institute, New York University

With research assistance from Alex Campolo and Gretchen Krueger (AI Now Institute, New York University)

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Building on our 2016 and 2017 reports, the AI Now 2018 Report contends with this central problem, and provides 10 practical recommendations that can help create accountability frameworks capable of governing these powerful technologies.

  1. Governments need to regulate AI by expanding the powers of sector-specific agencies to oversee, audit, and monitor these technologies by domain.
  2. Facial recognition and affect recognition need stringent regulation to protect the public interest.
  3. The AI industry urgently needs new approaches to governance. As this report demonstrates, internal governance structures at most technology companies are failing to ensure accountability for AI systems.
  4. AI companies should waive trade secrecy and other legal claims that stand in the way of accountability in the public sector.
  5. Technology companies should provide protections for conscientious objectors, employee organizing, and ethical whistleblowers.
  6.  Consumer protection agencies should apply “truth-in-advertising” laws to AI products and services.
  7. Technology companies must go beyond the “pipeline model” and commit to addressing the practices of exclusion and discrimination in their workplaces.
  8. Fairness, accountability, and transparency in AI require a detailed account of the “full stack supply chain.”
  9. More funding and support are needed for litigation, labor organizing, and community participation on AI accountability issues.
  10. University AI programs should expand beyond computer science and engineering disciplines. AI began as an interdisciplinary field, but over the decades has narrowed to become a technical discipline. With the increasing application of AI systems to social domains, it needs to expand its disciplinary orientation. That means centering forms of expertise from the social and humanistic disciplines. AI efforts that genuinely wish to address social implications cannot stay solely within computer science and engineering departments, where faculty and students are not trained to research the social world. Expanding the disciplinary orientation of AI research will ensure deeper attention to social contexts, and more focus on potential hazards when these systems are applied to human populations.

 

Also see:

After a Year of Tech Scandals, Our 10 Recommendations for AI — from medium.com by the AI Now Institute
Let’s begin with better regulation, protecting workers, and applying “truth in advertising” rules to AI

 

Also see:

Excerpt:

As we discussed, this technology brings important and even exciting societal benefits but also the potential for abuse. We noted the need for broader study and discussion of these issues. In the ensuing months, we’ve been pursuing these issues further, talking with technologists, companies, civil society groups, academics and public officials around the world. We’ve learned more and tested new ideas. Based on this work, we believe it’s important to move beyond study and discussion. The time for action has arrived.

We believe it’s important for governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate this technology. The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle. Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues. By that time, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle back up.

In particular, we don’t believe that the world will be best served by a commercial race to the bottom, with tech companies forced to choose between social responsibility and market success. We believe that the only way to protect against this race to the bottom is to build a floor of responsibility that supports healthy market competition. And a solid floor requires that we ensure that this technology, and the organizations that develop and use it, are governed by the rule of law.

 

From DSC:
This is a major heads up to the American Bar Association (ABA), law schools, governments, legislatures around the country, the courts, the corporate world, as well as for colleges, universities, and community colleges. The pace of emerging technologies is much faster than society’s ability to deal with them! 

The ABA and law schools need to majorly pick up their pace — for the benefit of all within our society.

 

 

 

Alexa, get me the articles (voice interfaces in academia) — from blog.libux.co by Kelly Dagan

Excerpt:

Credit to Jill O’Neill, who has written an engaging consideration of applications, discussions, and potentials for voice-user interfaces in the scholarly realm. She details a few use case scenarios: finding recent, authoritative biographies of Jane Austen; finding if your closest library has an item on the shelf now (and whether it’s worth the drive based on traffic).

Coming from an undergraduate-focused (and library) perspective, I can think of a few more:

  • asking if there are any group study rooms available at 7 pm and making a booking
  • finding out if [X] is open now (Archives, the Cafe, the Library, etc.)
  • finding three books on the Red Brigades, seeing if they are available, and saving the locations
  • grabbing five research articles on stereotype threat, to read later

 

Also see:

 

 

 
 

Is Amazon’s algorithm cashing in on the Camp Fire by raising the cost of safety equipment? — from wired.co.uk by Matthew Chapman
Sudden and repeated price increases on fire extinguishers, axes and escape ladders sold on Amazon are seemingly linked to increased demand driven by California’s Camp Fire

Excerpt:

Amazon’s algorithm has allegedly been raising the price of fire safety equipment in response to increased demand during the California wildfires. The practice, known as surge pricing, has caused products including fire extinguishers and escape ladders to fluctuate significantly on Amazon, seemingly as a result of the retailer’s pricing system responding to increased demand.

An industry source with knowledge of the firm’s operations claims a similar price surge was triggered by the Grenfell Tower fire. A number of recent price rises coincide directly with the outbreak of the Camp Fire, which has been the deadliest in California’s history and resulted in at least 83 deaths.

 

From DSC:
I’ve been thinking a lot more about Amazon.com and Jeff Bezos in recent months, though I’m not entirely sure why. I think part of it has to do with the goals of capitalism.

If you want to see a winner in the way America trains up students, entrepreneurs, and business people, look no further than Jeff Bezos. He is the year-in-and-year-out champion of capitalism. He is the winner. He is the Michael Jordan of business. He is the top. He gets how the game is played and he’s a master at it. By all worldly standards, Jeff Bezos is the winner.

But historically speaking, he doesn’t come across like someone such as Bill Gates — someone who has used his wealth to literally, significantly, and positively change millions of lives. (Though finally that looks to be changing a bit, with the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund; the first grants of that fund total $97 million and will be given to 24 organizations working to address family homelessness. Source.)

Along those same lines — and expanding the scope a bit — I’m struggling with what the goals of capitalism are for us today…especially in an era of AI, algorithms, robotics, automation and the like. If the goal is simply to make as much profit as possible, we could be in trouble. If what occurs to people and families is much lower down the totem pole…what are the ramifications of that for our society? Yes, it’s a tough, cold world. But does it always have to be that way? What is the best, most excellent goal to pursue? What are we truly seeking to accomplish?

After my Uncle Chan died years ago, my Aunt Gail took over the family’s office supply business and ran it like a family. She cared about her employees and made decisions with an eye towards how things would impact her employees and their families. Yes, she had to make sound business decisions, but there was true caring in the way that she ran her business. I realize that the Amazon’s of the world are in a whole different league, but the values and principles involved here should not be lost just because of size.

 

To whom much is given…much is expected.

 

 

 

Also see:

GM to lay off 15 percent of salaried workers, halt production at five plants in U.S. and Canada — from washingtonpost.com by Taylor Telford

Wall Street applauded the news, with GM’s stock climbing more than 7 percent following the announcement.

 

From DSC:
Well, I bet those on Wall Street aren’t a part of the 15% of the folks being impacted. The applause is not heard at all from those folks who are being impacted today…whose families are being impacted today…and will be feeling the impact of these announcements for quite a while yet.

 

 

Amazon’s new goal: Teach 10 million kids a year to code — from businessinsider.com by Joseph Pisani

Excerpt:

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon wants to get more kids thinking about becoming computer engineers.

The company launched a program Thursday that aims to teach more than 10 million students a year how to code. Amazon said it will pay for summer camps, teacher training and other initiatives to benefit kids and young adults from low-income families who might not have learned to code otherwise. It hopes the programs spur more black, Hispanic and female students to study computer science.

 

From DSC:
It will be interesting to see how artificial intelligence impacts the demand for programmers as the years progress. 

 

 

Virtual digital assistants in the workplace: Still nascent, but developing — from cisco.com by Pat Brans
As workers get overwhelmed with daily tasks, they want virtual digital assistants in the workplace that can alleviate some of the burden.

Excerpts:

As life gets busier, knowledge workers are struggling with information overload.

They’re looking for a way out, and that way, experts say, will eventually involve virtual digital assistants (VDAs). Increasingly, workers need to complete myriad tasks, often seemingly simultaneously. And as the pace of business continues to drive ever faster, hands-free, intelligent technology that can speed administrative tasks holds obvious appeal.

So far, scenarios in which digital assistants in the workplace enhance productivity fall into three categories: scheduling, project management, and improved interfaces to enterprise applications. “Using digital assistants to perform scheduling has clear benefits,” Beccue said.

“Scheduling meetings and managing calendars takes a long time—many early adopters are able to quantify the savings they get when the scheduling is performed by a VDA. Likewise, when VDAs are used to track project status through daily standup meetings, project managers can easily measure the time saved.”

 

Perhaps the most important change we’ll see in future generations of VDA technology for workforce productivity will be the advent of general-purpose VDAs that help users with all tasks. These VDAs will be multi-channel (providing interfaces through mobile apps, messaging, telephone, and so on) and they will be bi-modal (enlisting text and voice).

 

 

 

 

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