The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI — from technologyreview.com by Will Knight
No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.

Excerpt:

The mysterious mind of this vehicle points to a looming issue with artificial intelligence. The car’s underlying AI technology, known as deep learning, has proved very powerful at solving problems in recent years, and it has been widely deployed for tasks like image captioning, voice recognition, and language translation. There is now hope that the same techniques will be able to diagnose deadly diseases, make million-dollar trading decisions, and do countless other things to transform whole industries.

But this won’t happen—or shouldn’t happen—unless we find ways of making techniques like deep learning more understandable to their creators and accountable to their users. Otherwise it will be hard to predict when failures might occur—and it’s inevitable they will. That’s one reason Nvidia’s car is still experimental.

 

“Whether it’s an investment decision, a medical decision, or maybe a military decision, you don’t want to just rely on a ‘black box’ method.”

 


This raises mind-boggling questions. As the technology advances, we might soon cross some threshold beyond which using AI requires a leap of faith. Sure, we humans can’t always truly explain our thought processes either—but we find ways to intuitively trust and gauge people. Will that also be possible with machines that think and make decisions differently from the way a human would? We’ve never before built machines that operate in ways their creators don’t understand. How well can we expect to communicate—and get along with—intelligent machines that could be unpredictable and inscrutable? These questions took me on a journey to the bleeding edge of research on AI algorithms, from Google to Apple and many places in between, including a meeting with one of the great philosophers of our time.

 

 

 

 

[On 4/3/17] the World’s First Live Hologram Phone Call was made between Seoul and New Jersey on a 5G Network — from patentlyapple.com

Excerpt:

[On 4/3/17] a little history was made. Verizon and Korean Telecom (KT) unveiled the world’s first live hologram international call service via the companies’ trial 5G networks established in Seoul and in New Jersey, respectively. Our cover graphic shows Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam (left) and KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu demonstrate a hologram video call on a tablet PC at the KT headquarters in central Seoul Monday.

In the demonstration, a KT employee held a meeting with a Verizon employee in New Jersey who appeared as a hologram image on a monitor in the KT headquarters building.

 

With today’s revelations from South Korea, it’s easy to imagine that we’ll see Apple’s FaceTime offer a holographic experience in the not-too-distant future with added AR experiences as Apple’s CEO has conveyed.

 

 

 

 

Samsung’s personal assistant Bixby will take on Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri — from theaustralian.com.au by Chris Griffith

Excerpt:

Samsung has published details of its Bixby personal assistant, which will debut on its Galaxy S8 smartphone in New York next week.

Bixby will go head-to-head with Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Echo and Apple Siri, in a battle to lure you into their artificial intelligence world.

In future, the personal assistant that you like may not only influence which phone you buy, also the home automation system that you adopt.

This is because these personal assistants cross over into home use, which is why Samsung would bother with one of its own.

Given that the S8 will run Android Nougat, which includes Google Assistant, users will have two personal assistants on their phone, unless somehow one is disabled.

 

 

There are a lot of red flags with Samsung’s AI assistant in the new Galaxy S8 — from businessinsider.com by Steve Kovach

Excerpt:

There’s Siri. And Alexa. And Google Assistant. And Cortana. Now add another one of those digital assistants to the mix: Bixby, the new helper that lives inside Samsung’s latest phone, the Galaxy S8. But out of all the assistants that have launched so far, Bixby is the most curious and the most limited.

Samsung’s goal with Bixby was to create an assistant that can mimic all the functions you’re used to performing by tapping on your screen through voice commands. The theory is that phones are too hard to manage, so simply letting users tell their phone what they want to happen will make things a lot easier.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8: Hands on with the world’s most ambitious phone — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

Excerpt:

The S8 will also feature Bixby, Samsung’s new intelligent assistant. The company says Bixby is a bigger deal than Siri or Google Assistant – as well as simply asking for the weather, it will be deeply integrated with the phone’s everyday functions such as taking photos and sending them to people. Samsung has put a dedicated Bixby button on the S8 on the left hand side, but I wasn’t able to try it out because it won’t launch in the UK until later this year.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 launch: Samsung reveals its long-awaited iPhone killer — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

 

 

 


Also see:


 

Recent years have brought some rapid development in the area of artificially intelligent personal assistants. Future iterations of the technology could fully revamp the way we interact with our devices.

 

 

 

21 bot experts make their predictions for 2017 — from venturebeat.com by Adelyn Zhou

Excerpt:

2016 was a huge year for bots, with major platforms like Facebook launching bots for Messenger, and Amazon and Google heavily pushing their digital assistants. Looking forward to 2017, we asked 21 bot experts, entrepreneurs, and executives to share their predictions for how bots will continue to evolve in the coming year.

From Jordi Torras, founder and CEO, Inbenta:
“Chatbots will get increasingly smarter, thanks to the adoption of sophisticated AI algorithms and machine learning. But also they will specialize more in specific tasks, like online purchases, customer support, or online advice. First attempts of chatbot interoperability will start to appear, with generalist chatbots, like Siri or Alexa, connecting to specialized enterprise chatbots to accomplish specific tasks. Functions traditionally performed by search engines will be increasingly performed by chatbots.”

 

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
For those of us working within higher education, chatbots need to be on our radars. Here are 2 slides from my NGLS 2017 presentation.

 

 

 

 

The Most Innovative Companies of 2017 — from fastcompany.com

Excerpt:

This year marks the 10th edition of the Fast Company World’s Most Innovative Companies ranking. Our reporting team sifts through thousands of enterprises each year, searching for those that tap both heartstrings and purse strings and use the engine of commerce to make a difference in the world. Impact is among our key criteria.

 

 

 

Speaking of innovation, this article is about innovation within the world of  higher education:

Crafting an Innovation Landscape — from er.educause.edu by Shirley Dugdale and Brian Strawn

Key Takeaways

  • As efforts to stimulate innovation spring up across campuses, institutions need a comprehensive planning framework for integrated planning of initiatives to support innovation.
  • Viewing the campus as an Innovation Landscape, settings for collaborative creative activity — both physical and virtual — infuse the campus fabric and become part of the daily experience of their users.
  • The Innovation Landscape Framework proposed here serves as a tool that can help coordinate physical planning with organizational initiatives, engage a wide range of stakeholders, and enable a culture of innovation across campus.

 

 

 

Apple Releases Education Bundle With Video, Audio Editing Tools — from campustechnology.com

Excerpt:

Apple Friday introduced its Pro Apps Bundle for Education, available for K–12 schools and higher ed institutions.

The bundle is a collection of five apps from Apple that deliver industry-level tools for video editors and musicians:

 

Also see:

 

 

 

 

A massive AI partnership is tapping civil rights and economic experts to keep AI safe — from qz.com by Dave Gershgorn

Excerpt:

When the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society was announced in September, it was with the stated goal of educating the public on artificial intelligence, studying AI’s potential impact on the world, and establishing industry best practices. Now, how those goals will actually be achieved is becoming clearer.

This week, the Partnership brought on new members that include representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, the MacArthur Foundation, OpenAI, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Arizona State University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

The organizations themselves are not officially affiliated yet—that process is still underway—but the Partnership’s board selected these candidates based on their expertise in civil rights, economics, and open research, according to interim co-chair Eric Horvitz, who is also director of Microsoft Research. The Partnership also added Apple as a “founding member,” putting the tech giant in good company: Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Facebook are already on board.

 

 


Also relevant/see:

Building Public Policy To Address Artificial Intelligence’s Impact — from blogs.wsj.com by Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence may be at a tipping point, but it’s not immune to backlash from users in the event of system mistakes or a failure to meet heightened expectations. As AI becomes increasingly used for more critical tasks, care needs to be taken by proponents to avoid unfulfilled promises as well as efforts that appear to discriminate against certain segments of society.

Two years ago, Stanford University launched the One Hundred Year Study of AI to address “how the effects of artificial intelligence will ripple through every aspect of how people work, live and play.” One of its key missions is to convene a Study Panel of experts every five years to assess the then current state of the field, as well as to explore both the technical advances and societal challenges over the next 10 to 15 years.

The first such Study Panel recently published Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030, a report that examined the likely impact of AI on a typical North American city by the year 2030.

 

 

Apple iPhone 8 To Get 3D-Sensing Tech For Augmented-Reality Apps — from investors.com by Patrick Seitz

Excerpt:

Apple’s (AAPL) upcoming iPhone 8 smartphone will include a 3D-sensing module to enable augmented-reality applications, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang said Wednesday. Apple has included the 3D-sensing module in all three current prototypes of the iPhone 8, which have screen sizes of 4.7, 5.1 and 5.5 inches, he said. “We believe Apple’s 3D sensing might provide a better user experience with more applications,” Zhang said in a research report. “So far, we think 3D sensing aims to provide an improved smartphone experience with a VR/AR environment.”

Apple's iPhone 8 is expected to have 3D-sensing tech like Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro smartphone. (Lenovo)Apple’s iPhone 8 is expected to have 3D-sensing tech like Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro smartphone. (Lenovo)

 

 

AltspaceVR Education Overview

 

 

 

 

10 Prominent Developers Detail Their 2017 Predictions for The VR/AR Industry — from uploadvr.com by David Jagneaux

Excerpt:

As we look forward to 2017 then, we’ve reached out to a bunch of industry experts and insiders to get their views on where we’re headed over the next 12 months.

2016 provided hints of where Facebook, HTC, Sony, Google, and more will take their headsets in the near future, but where does the industry’s best and brightest think we’ll end up this time next year? With CES, the year’s first major event, now in the books, let’s hear from some those that work with VR itself about what happens next.

We asked all of these developers the same four questions:

1) What do you think will happen to the VR/AR market in 2017?
2) What NEEDS to happen to the VR AR market in 2017?
3) What will be the big breakthroughs and innovations of 2017?
4) Will 2017 finally be the “year of VR?”

 

 

MEL Lab’s Virtual Reality Chemistry Class — from thereisonlyr.com by Grant Greene
An immersive learning startup brings novel experiences to science education.

 

 

The MEL app turned my iPhone 6 into a virtual microscope, letting me walk through 360 degree, 3-D representations of the molecules featured in the experiment kits.

 

 

 

 

Labster releases ‘World of Science’ Simulation on Google Daydream — from labster.com by Marian Reed

Excerpt:

Labster is exploring new platforms by which students can access its laboratory simulations and is pleased to announce the release of its first Google Daydream-compatible virtual reality (VR) simulation, ‘Labster: World of Science’. This new simulation, modeled on Labster’s original ‘Lab Safety’ virtual lab, continues to incorporate scientific learning alongside of a specific context, enriched by story-telling elements. The use of the Google VR platform has enabled Labster to fully immerse the student, or science enthusiast, in a wet lab that can easily be navigated with intuitive usage of Daydream’s handheld controller.

 

 

The Inside Story of Google’s Daydream, Where VR Feels Like Home — from wired.com by David Pierce

Excerpt:

Jessica Brillhart, Google’s principle VR filmmaker, has taken to calling people “visitors” rather than “viewers,” as a way of reminding herself that in VR, people aren’t watching what you’ve created. They’re living it. Which changes things.

 

 

Welcoming more devices to the Daydream-ready family — from blog.google.com by Amit Singh

Excerpt:

In November, we launched Daydream with the goal of bringing high quality, mobile VR to everyone. With the Daydream View headset and controller, and a Daydream-ready phone like the Pixel or Moto Z, you can explore new worlds, kick back in your personal VR cinema and play games that put you in the center of the action.

Daydream-ready phones are built for VR with high-resolution displays, ultra smooth graphics, and high-fidelity sensors for precise head tracking. To give you even more choices to enjoy Daydream, today we’re welcoming new devices that will soon join the Daydream-ready family.

 

 

Kessler Foundation awards virtual reality job interview program — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergürel

Excerpt:

Kessler Foundation, one of the largest public charities in the United States, is awarding a virtual reality training project to support high school students with disabilities. The foundation is providing a two-year, $485,000 Signature Employment Grant to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to launch the Virtual Reality Job Interview Training program. Kessler Foundation says, the VR program will allow for highly personalized role-play, with precise feedback and coaching that may be repeated as often as desired without fear or embarrassment.

 

 

Deep-water safety training goes virtual — from shell.com by Soh Chin Ong
How a visit to a shopping centre led to the use of virtual reality safety training for a new oil production project, Malikai, in the deep waters off Sabah in Malaysia.

 

 

 

CES 2017: Key trends — from jwtintelligence.com by Sheperd Laughlin

 

Excerpt:

Fifty years since the inception of CES, “consumer electronics” doesn’t begin to describe the full scope of the event.

“It’s no longer a technology show; it’s a connected life show and an advertising and media show,” said Shawn DuBravac of CTA, the trade organization that organizes CES. And it changes quickly: three years ago, he said, 20% of this year’s exhibitors didn’t exist.

This year, among big tech companies Amazon was the clear winner—though Amazon itself kept a low profile, letting others announce a multitude of new uses for Alexa, its virtual assistant.

Electric and self-driving cars were everywhere. Taking a page from Apple and Microsoft, which pulled out of CES years ago, Tesla sat out the conference as rival auto makers tried to mount convincing challenges to its dominance of the electric car market.

What about exciting new “gadgets”? Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times declared them “gone” in December, killed by the iPhone and cheap knockoffs. Category-changing devices were in short supply at the show, and Alexa, this year’s most talked-about product, was actually an invisible service.

But there were signs that Internet of Things products that had once been isolated were talking to each other in interesting new ways. And devices aimed at specific needs and populations—from new mothers to vacationers to the disabled—showed that gadgets might not be done for just yet.

 

 


Addendum:

  • Tech Stock Roundup: AR/VR and Self Driving Cars Dominate CES — from zacks.com by Sejuti Banerjea
    Excerpt:
    As most of us were expecting, the show was dominated by virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) and self driving cars, two areas where new technology was showcased and important collaborations announced. Some other developments involved Amazon’s Alexa, 5G technology from Intel and Qualcomm and robots from Panasonic and Honda.

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems