Why Natural Language Processing is the Future of Business Intelligence — from dzone.com by Gur Tirosh
Until now, we have been interacting with computers in a way that they understand, rather than us. We have learned their language. But now, they’re learning ours.

Excerpt:

Every time you ask Siri for directions, a complex chain of cutting-edge code is activated. It allows “her” to understand your question, find the information you’re looking for, and respond to you in a language that you understand. This has only become possible in the last few years. Until now, we have been interacting with computers in a way that they understand, rather than us. We have learned their language.

But now, they’re learning ours.

The technology underpinning this revolution in human-computer relations is Natural Language Processing (NLP). And it’s already transforming BI, in ways that go far beyond simply making the interface easier. Before long, business transforming, life changing information will be discovered merely by talking with a chatbot.

This future is not far away. In some ways, it’s already here.

What Is Natural Language Processing?
NLP, otherwise known as computational linguistics, is the combination of Machine Learning, AI, and linguistics that allows us to talk to machines as if they were human.

 

 

But NLP aims to eventually render GUIs — even UIs — obsolete, so that interacting with a machine is as easy as talking to a human.

 

 

 

 

Codify Academy Taps IBM Cloud with Watson to Design Cognitive Chatbot — from finance.yahoo.com
Chatbot “Bobbot” has driven thousands of potential leads, 10 percent increase in converting visitors to students

Excerpt:

ARMONK, N.Y., Aug. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Codify Academy, a San Francisco-based developer education startup, tapped into IBM Cloud’s cognitive services to create an interactive cognitive chatbot, Bobbot, that is improving student experiences and increasing enrollment.

Using the IBM Watson Conversation Service, Bobbot fields questions from prospective and current students in natural language via the company’s website. Since implementing the chatbot, Codify Academy has engaged thousands of potential leads through live conversation between the bot and site visitors, leading to a 10 percent increase in converting these visitors into students.

 

 

Bobbot can answer more than 200 common questions about enrollment, course and program details, tuition, and prerequisites, in turn enabling Codify Academy staff to focus on deeper, more meaningful exchanges.

 

 

 


Also see:

Chatbots — The Beginners Guide
 — from chatbotsmagazine.com

Excerpt:

If you search for chatbots on Google, you’ll probably come across hundreds of pages starting from what is a chatbot to how to build one. This is because we’re in 2017, the year of the chatbots revolution.

I’ve been introduced to many people who are new to this space, and who are very interested and motivated in entering it, rather they’re software developers, entrepreneurs, or just tech hobbyists. Entering this space for the first time, has become overwhelming in just a few months, particularly after Facebook announced the release of the messenger API at F8 developer conference. Due to this matter, I’ve decided to simplify the basic steps of entering this fascinating world.

 


 

 

 

 

Digital Ivy: Harvard Business School’s Next Online Program — from edsurge.com by Betsy Corcoran

Excerpts:

A triad of Harvard institutions—its business School, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and the department of statistics—are teaming up with Maryland-based digital education company, 2U, to offer an online executive education certificate in business analytics.

Orchestrating a cross-disciplinary program is no small feat, particularly at Harvard. “This was really hard [for Harvard] to pull off,” Paucek says. “It’s an intense, cross-disciplinary new offering from a school founded in 1636. The field is new, the offering of a complex blended certificate is new, and it’s being done with HBS, SEAS and the faculty, all blessed by the central administration. And it’s powered by an outside company that’s only 10 years old.”

 

The bottom line: HBS, Harvard SEAS and FAS faculty all want to put their imprint on the topic that is mesmerizing nearly every type of organization.

 

 

Also see:

Excerpt:

Andrew Ng a soft-spoken AI researcher whose online postings talk loudly.

A March blog post in which the Stanford professor announced he was leaving Chinese search engine Baidu temporarily wiped more than a billion dollars off the company’s value. A June tweet about a new Ng website, Deeplearning.ai, triggered a wave of industry and media speculation about his next project.

Today that speculation is over. Deeplearning.ai is home to a series of online courses Ng says will help spread the benefits of recent advances in machine learning far beyond big tech companies such as Google and Baidu. The courses offers coders without an AI background training in how to use deep learning, the technique behind the current frenzy of investment in AI.

 


From DSC:
For those of you who shun online learning and think such programs will dilute your face-to-face based brands — whether individual colleges, universities, faculty members, provosts, deans, IT-based personnel, administrators, members of the board of trustees, and/or other leaders and strategists within higher education — you might want to intentionally consider what kind of future you have without a strong, solid online presence. Because if one of the top — arguably thee top — universities in the United States is moving forward forcefully with online learning, what’s your story/excuse?

And if one of the top thinkers in artificial intelligence backs online learning, again…what’s your story/excuse?

If Amazon.com dominates and Sears (and related retail stores who were powerhouses just years ago) are now closing…you are likely heading for major trouble as the world continues down the digital/virtual tracks — and you aren’t sending any (or very few) cars down those tracks. You won’t have any credibility in the future — at least not in the digital/virtual/online-based realms. Oh, and by the way, you might want to set some more funding aside for the mental and physical health of your admissions/enrollment teams in such situations…as their jobs are going to be increasingly stressful and difficult in order to meet their target numbers.


 

Also see:

 


 

 

 

VR Is the Fastest-Growing Skill for Online Freelancers — from bloomberg.com by Isabel Gottlieb
Workers who specialize in artificial intelligence also saw big jumps in demand for their expertise.

Excerpt:

Overall, tech-related skills accounted for nearly two-thirds of Upwork’s list of the 20 fastest-growing skills.

 


 

 


Also see:


How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy — from nytimes.com by Claire Miller and Jess Bidgood

Excerpt

MEDFORD, Mass. — Amory Kahan, 7, wanted to know when it would be snack time. Harvey Borisy, 5, complained about a scrape on his elbow. And Declan Lewis, 8, was wondering why the two-wheeled wooden robot he was programming to do the Hokey Pokey wasn’t working. He sighed, “Forward, backward, and it stops.”

Declan tried it again, and this time the robot shook back and forth on the gray rug. “It did it!” he cried. Amanda Sullivan, a camp coordinator and a postdoctoral researcher in early childhood technology, smiled. “They’ve been debugging their Hokey Pokeys,” she said.

The children, at a summer camp last month run by the Developmental Technologies Research Group at Tufts University, were learning typical kid skills: building with blocks, taking turns, persevering through frustration. They were also, researchers say, learning the skills necessary to succeed in an automated economy.

Technological advances have rendered an increasing number of jobs obsolete in the last decade, and researchers say parts of most jobs will eventually be automated. What the labor market will look like when today’s young children are old enough to work is perhaps harder to predict than at any time in recent history. Jobs are likely to be very different, but we don’t know which will still exist, which will be done by machines and which new ones will be created.

 

 

 

155 chatbots in this brand new landscape. Where does your bot fit? — from venturebeat.com by Carylyne Chan

Excerpt:

Since we started building bots at KeyReply more than two years ago, the industry has seen massive interest and change. This makes it hard for companies and customers to figure out what’s really happening — so we hope to throw some light on this industry by creating a landscape of chatbot-related businesses. There’s no way to put everyone into this landscape, so we have selected examples that give readers an overview of the industry, such as notable or dominant providers and tools widely used to develop bots.

To put everything into a coherent structure, we arranged companies along the axes according to the functions of their bots and how they built them.

On the horizontal axis, the “marketing” function refers to a bot’s ability to drive exposure, reach, and interaction with the brand or product for potential and current customers. The “support” function refers to a bot’s ability to assist current customers with problems and to resolve those problems for them.

On the vertical axis, “managed” refers to companies outsourcing the development of bots to external vendors, whereas “self-serve” refers to them building their bots in-house or with an off-the-shelf tool.

 

 

 

 

 

Report: AI will be in nearly all new software by 2020 — from thejournal.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence will be in nearly all new software products by 2020 and a top five investment priority for more than 30 percent of chief information officers, according to a new report from Gartner.

The company lists three keys to successfully exploiting AI technologies over the next few years:

  • Many vendors are “AI washing” their products, or applying the term artificial intelligence to tools that don’t really merit it. Vendors should use the term wisely and be clear about what differentiates their AI products and what problems they solve;
  • Forego more complicated or cutting-edge AI techniques in favor of simpler, proven approaches; and
  • Organizations do not have the skills to evaluate, build or deploy AI and are looking for embedded or packaged AI rather than custom building their own.

 

 

 

 

How SLAM technology is redrawing augmented reality’s battle lines — from venturebeat.com by Mojtaba Tabatabaie

 

 

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In early June, Apple introduced its first attempt to enter AR/VR space with ARKit. What makes ARKit stand out for Apple is a technology called SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping). Every tech giant — especially Apple, Google, and Facebook — is investing heavily in SLAM technology and whichever takes best advantage of SLAM tech will likely end up on top.

SLAM is a technology used in computer vision technologies which gets the visual data from the physical world in shape of points to make an understanding for the machine. SLAM makes it possible for machines to “have an eye and understand” what’s around them through visual input. What the machine sees with SLAM technology from a simple scene looks like the photo above, for example.

Using these points machines can have an understanding of their surroundings. Using this data also helps AR developers like myself to create much more interactive and realistic experiences. This understanding can be used in different scenarios like robotics, self-driving cars, AI and of course augmented reality.

The simplest form of understanding from this technology is recognizing walls and barriers and also floors. Right now most AR SLAM technologies like ARKit only use floor recognition and position tracking to place AR objects around you, so they don’t actually know what’s going on in your environment to correctly react to it. More advanced SLAM technologies like Google Tango, can create a mesh of our environment so not only the machine can tell you where the floor is, but it can also identify walls and objects in your environment allowing everything around you to be an element to interact with.

 

 

The company with the most complete SLAM database will likely be the winner. This database will allow these giants to have an eye on the world metaphorically, so, for example Facebook can tag and know the location of your photo by just analyzing the image or Google can place ads and virtual billboards around you by analyzing the camera feed from your smart glasses. Your self-driving car can navigate itself with nothing more than visual data.

 

 

 

 

2017 Ed Tech Trends: The Halfway Point — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
Four higher ed IT leaders weigh in on the current state of education technology and what’s ahead.

This article includes some perspectives shared from the following 4 IT leaders:

  • Susan Aldridge, Senior Vice President for Online Learning, Drexel University (PA); President, Drexel University Online
  • Daniel Christian, Adjunct Faculty Member, Calvin College
  • Marci Powell, CEO/President, Marci Powell & Associates; Chair Emerita and Past President, United States Distance Learning Association
  • Phil Ventimiglia, Chief Innovation Officer, Georgia State University

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

From DSC:
Reviewing the article below made me think of 2 potential additions to the Learning & Development Groups/Departments out there:

  1. Help people build their own learning ecosystems
  2. Design, develop, and implement workbots for self-service

 



 

Chatbots Poised to Revolutionize HR — from by Pratibha Nanduri

Excerpt:

Self-service is becoming an increasingly popular trend where people want to perform their tasks without needing help or input from anyone else. The increasing popularity of this trend is mainly attributed to the increasing use of computers and mobile devices to electronically manage all kinds of tasks.

As employee tolerance for downtime reduces and preferences for mobility increases, the bureaucracy which exists in managing everyday HR related tasks in the workplace will also have to be replaced. A large number of companies have still not automated even their basic HR services such as handling inquiries about holidays and leaves. Employees in such organizations still have to send their query and then wait for HR to respond.

As the number of employees goes up in an organization, the time taken by HR managers to respond to mundane admin tasks also increases. This leaves very little time for the HR manager to focus on strategic HR initiatives.

Chatbots that are powered by AI and machine learning are increasingly being used to automate mundane and repetitive tasks. They can also be leveraged in HR to simulate intelligent SMS-based conversations between employees and HR team members to automate basic HR tasks.

 



 

 

Google’s AI Guru Says That Great Artificial Intelligence Must Build on Neuroscience — from technologyreview.com by Jamie Condliffe
Inquisitiveness and imagination will be hard to create any other way.

Excerpt:

Demis Hassabis knows a thing or two about artificial intelligence: he founded the London-based AI startup DeepMind, which was purchased by Google for $650 million back in 2014. Since then, his company has wiped the floor with humans at the complex game of Go and begun making steps towards crafting more general AIs.

But now he’s come out and said that be believes the only way for artificial intelligence to realize its true potential is with a dose of inspiration from human intellect.

Currently, most AI systems are based on layers of mathematics that are only loosely inspired by the way the human brain works. But different types of machine learning, such as speech recognition or identifying objects in an image, require different mathematical structures, and the resulting algorithms are only able to perform very specific tasks.

Building AI that can perform general tasks, rather than niche ones, is a long-held desire in the world of machine learning. But the truth is that expanding those specialized algorithms to something more versatile remains an incredibly difficult problem, in part because human traits like inquisitiveness, imagination, and memory don’t exist or are only in their infancy in the world of AI.

 

First, they say, better understanding of how the brain works will allow us to create new structures and algorithms for electronic intelligence. 

 

From DSC:
Glory to God! I find it very interesting to see how people and organizations — via very significant costs/investments — keep trying to mimic the most amazing thing — the human mind. Turns out, that’s not so easy:

But the truth is that expanding those specialized algorithms to something more versatile remains an incredibly difficult problem…

Therefore, some scripture comes to my own mind here:

Psalm 139:14 New International Version (NIV)

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Job 12:13 (NIV)

13 “To God belong wisdom and power;
    counsel and understanding are his.

Psalm 104:24 (NIV)

24 How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

Revelation 4:11 (NIV)

11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”

Yes, the LORD designed the human mind by His unfathomable and deep wisdom and understanding.

Glory to God!

Thanks be to God!

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian