How AI could help solve some of society’s toughest problems — from MIT Tech Review by Charlotte Jee
Machine learning and game theory help Carnegie Mellon assistant professor Fei Fang predict attacks and protect people.

Excerpt:

At MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference, Fang outlined recent work across academia that applies AI to protect critical national infrastructure, reduce homelessness, and even prevent suicides.

 

 

Google Cloud’s new AI chief is on a task force for AI military uses and believes we could monitor ‘pretty much the whole world’ with drones — from businessinsider.in by Greg Sandoval

  • Andrew Moore, the new chief of Google Cloud AI, co-chairs a task force on AI and national security with deep defense sector ties.
  • Moore leads the task force with Robert Work, the man who reportedly helped to create Project Maven.
  • Moore has given various talks about the role of AI and defense, once noting that it was now possible to deploy drones capable of surveilling “pretty much the whole world.”
  • One former Googler told Business Insider that the hiring of Moore is a “punch in the face” to those employees.

 

 

How AI can be a force for good — from science.sciencemag.org

Excerpt:

The AI revolution is equally significant, and humanity must not make the same mistake again. It is imperative to address new questions about the nature of post-AI societies and the values that should underpin the design, regulation, and use of AI in these societies. This is why initiatives like the abovementioned AI4People and IEEE projects, the European Union (EU) strategy for AI, the EU Declaration of Cooperation on Artificial Intelligence, and the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society are so important (see the supplementary materials for suggested further reading). A coordinated effort by civil society, politics, business, and academia will help to identify and pursue the best strategies to make AI a force for good and unlock its potential to foster human flourishing while respecting human dignity.

 

 

Ethical regulation of the design and use of AI is a complex but necessary task. The alternative may lead to devaluation of individual rights and social values, rejection of AI-based innovation, and ultimately a missed opportunity to use AI to improve individual wellbeing and social welfare.

 

 

Robot wars — from ethicaljournalismnetwork.org by James Ball
How artificial intelligence will define the future of news

Excerpt:

There are two paths ahead in the future of journalism, and both of them are shaped by artificial intelligence.

The first is a future in which newsrooms and their reporters are robust: Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, high-quality reporting has been enhanced. Not only do AI scripts manage the writing of simple day-to-day articles such as companies’ quarterly earnings updates, they also monitor and track masses of data for outliers, flagging these to human reporters to investigate.

Beyond business journalism, comprehensive sports stats AIs keep key figures in the hands of sports journalists, letting them focus on the games and the stories around them. The automated future has worked.

The alternative is very different. In this world, AI reporters have replaced their human counterparts and left accountability journalism hollowed out. Facing financial pressure, news organizations embraced AI to handle much of their day-to-day reporting, first for their financial and sports sections, then bringing in more advanced scripts capable of reshaping wire copy to suit their outlet’s political agenda. A few banner hires remain, but there is virtually no career path for those who would hope to replace them ? and stories that can’t be tackled by AI are generally missed.

 

 

Who’s to blame when a machine botches your surgery? — from qz.com by Robert Hart

Excerpt:

That’s all great, but even if an AI is amazing, it will still fail sometimes. When the mistake is caused by a machine or an algorithm instead of a human, who is to blame?

This is not an abstract discussion. Defining both ethical and legal responsibility in the world of medical care is vital for building patients’ trust in the profession and its standards. It’s also essential in determining how to compensate individuals who fall victim to medical errors, and ensuring high-quality care. “Liability is supposed to discourage people from doing things they shouldn’t do,” says Michael Froomkin, a law professor at the University of Miami.

 

 

Alibaba looks to arm hotels, cities with its AI technology — from zdnet.com by Eileen Yu
Chinese internet giant is touting the use of artificial intelligence technology to arm drivers with real-time data on road conditions as well as robots in the hospitality sector, where they can deliver meals and laundry to guests.

Excerpt:

Alibaba A.I. Labs’ general manager Chen Lijuan said the new robots aimed to “bridge the gap” between guest needs and their expected response time. Describing the robot as the next evolution towards smart hotels, Chen said it tapped AI technology to address painpoints in the hospitality sector, such as improving service efficiencies.

Alibaba is hoping the robot can ease hotels’ dependence on human labour by fulfilling a range of tasks, including delivering meals and taking the laundry to guests.

 

 

Accenture Introduces Ella and Ethan, AI Bots to Improve a Patient’s Health and Care Using the Accenture Intelligent Patient Platform — from marketwatch.com

Excerpt:

Accenture has enhanced the Accenture Intelligent Patient Platform with the addition of Ella and Ethan, two interactive virtual-assistant bots that use artificial intelligence (AI) to constantly learn and make intelligent recommendations for interactions between life sciences companies, patients, health care providers (HCPs) and caregivers. Designed to help improve a patient’s health and overall experience, the bots are part of Accenture’s Salesforce Fullforce Solutions powered by Salesforce Health Cloud and Einstein AI, as well as Amazon’s Alexa.

 

 

German firm’s 7 commandments for ethical AI — from france24.com

Excerpt:

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) –
German business software giant SAP published Tuesday an ethics code to govern its research into artificial intelligence (AI), aiming to prevent the technology infringing on people’s rights, displacing workers or inheriting biases from its human designers.

 

 

 

 

The future of drug discovery and AI – the role of man and machine — from techemergence.com by  Ayn de Jesus

Excerpt:

Episode Summary: This week on AI in Industry, we speak with Amir Saffari, Senior Vice President of AI at BenevolentAI, a London-based pharmaceutical company that uses machine learning to find new uses for existing drugs and new treatments for diseases.

In speaking with him, we aim to learn two things:

  • How will machine learning play a role in the phases of drug discovery, from generating hypotheses to clinical trials?
  • In the future, what are the roles of man and machine in drug discovery? What processes will machines automate and potentially do better than humans in this field?

 

A few other articles caught my eye as well:

  • This little robot swims through pipes and finds out if they’re leaking — from fastcompany.com by Adele Peters
    Lighthouse, U.S. winner of the James Dyson Award, looks like a badminton birdie and detects the suction of water leaving pipes–which is a lot of water that we could put to better use.
    .
  • Samsung’s New York AI center will focus on robotics — from engadget.com by Saqib Shah
    NYU’s AI Now Institute is close-by and Samsung is keen for academic input.
    Excerpt:
    Samsung now has an artificial intelligence center in New York City — its third in North America and sixth in total — with an eye on robotics; a first for the company. It opened in Chelsea, Manhattan on Friday, walking distance from NYU (home to its own AI lab) boosting Samsung’s hopes for an academic collaboration.
    .
  • Business schools bridge the artificial intelligence skills gap — from swisscognitive.ch
    Excerpt:
    Business schools such as Kellogg, Insead and MIT Sloan have introduced courses on AI over the past two years, but Smith is the first to offer a full programme where students delve deep into machine learning.

    “Technologists can tell you all about the technology but usually not what kind of business problems it can solve,” Carlsson says. With business leaders, he adds, it is the other way round — they have plenty of ideas about how to improve their company but little way of knowing what the new technology can achieve. “The foundational skills businesses need to hack the potential of AI is the understanding of what problems the tech is actually good at solving,” he says.

 

 

 

The Mobile AR Leaders of 2018 — from next.reality.news

Excerpt:

This time last year, we were getting our first taste of what mobile app developers could do in augmented reality with Apple’s ARKit, and most people had never heard of Animojis. Google’s AR platform was still Tango. Snapchat had just introduced its World Lens AR experiences. Most mobile AR experiences existing in the wild were marker-based offerings from the likes of Blippar and Zappar, or generic Pokémon GO knock-offs.

In last year’s NR50, published before the introduction of ARKit, only two of the top 10 professionals worked directly with mobile AR, and Apple CEO Tim Cook was ranked number 26, based primarily on his forward-looking statements about AR.

This year, Cook comes in at number one, with five others categorized under mobile AR in the overall top 10 of the NR30.

What a difference a year makes.

In just 12 months, we’ve seen mobile AR grow at a breakneck pace. Since Apple launched its AR toolkit, users have downloaded more than 13 million ARKit apps from the App Store, not including existing apps updated with ARKit capabilities. Apple has already updated its platform and will introduce even more new features to the public with the release of ARKit 2.0 this fall. Last year’s iPhone X also introduced a depth-sensing camera and AR Animojis that captured the imaginations of its users.

 

 

The Weather Channel forecasts more augmented reality for its live broadcasts with Unreal Engine — from next.reality.news by Tommy Palladino

Excerpt:

Augmented reality made its live broadcast debut for The Weather Channel in 2015. The technology helps on-air talent at the network to explain the science behind weather phenomena and tell more immersive stories. Powered by Unreal Engine, The Future Group’s Frontier platform will enable The Weather Channel to be able to show even more realistic AR content, such as accurately rendered storms and detailed cityscapes, all in real time.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Imagine this type of thing in online-based learning, MOOCs, and/or even in blended learning based learning environments (i.e., in situations where learning materials are designed/created by teams of specialists). If that were the case, who needs to be trained to create these pieces? Will students be creating these types of pieces in the future? Hmmm….

 

 

Winners announced of the 2018 Journalism 360 Challenge — from vrfocus.com
The question of “How might we experiment with immersive storytelling to advance the field of journalism?” looks to be answered by 11 projects.

Excerpt:

The eleven winners were announced on 9/11/18 of a contest being held by the Google News Initiative, Knight Foundation and Online News Association. The 2018 Journalism 360 Challenge asked people the question “How might we experiment with immersive storytelling to advance the field of journalism?” and it generated over 400 responses.

 

 

 

 

 



 

Addendum:

Educause Explores Future of Extended Reality on Campus — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Among the findings:

  • VR makes people feel like they’re really there. The “intellectual and physiological reactions” to constructs and events in VR are the same — “and sometimes identical” — to a person’s reactions in the real world;
  • 3D technologies facilitate active and experiential learning. AR, for example, lets users interact with an object in ways that aren’t possible in the physical world — such as seeing through surfaces or viewing data about underlying objects. And with 3D printing, learners can create “physical objects that might otherwise exist only simulations”; and
  • Simulations allow for scaling up of “high-touch, high-cost learning experiences.” Students may be able to go through virtual lab activities, for instance, even when a physical lab isn’t available.

Common challenges included implementation learning curves, instructional design, data storage of 3D images and effective cross-departmental collaboration.

“One significant result from this research is that it shows that these extended reality technologies are applicable across a wide spectrum of academic disciplines,” said Malcolm Brown, director of learning initiatives at Educause, in a statement. “In addition to the scientific disciplines, students in the humanities, for example, can re-construct cities and structures that no longer exist. I think this study will go a long way in encouraging faculty, instructional designers and educational technologists across higher education to further experiment with these technologies to vivify learning experiences in nearly all courses of study.”

 



 

 

San Diego’s Nanome Inc. releases collaborative VR-STEM software for free — from vrscout.com by Becca Loux

Excerpt:

The first collaborative VR molecular modeling application was released August 29 to encourage hands-on chemistry experimentation.

The open-source tool is free for download now on Oculus and Steam.

Nanome Inc., the San Diego-based start-up that built the intuitive application, comprises UCSD professors and researchers, web developers and top-level pharmaceutical executives.

 

“With our tool, anyone can reach out and experience science at the nanoscale as if it is right in front of them. At Nanome, we are bringing the craftsmanship and natural intuition from interacting with these nanoscale structures at room scale to everyone,” McCloskey said.

 

San Diego’s Nanome Inc. Releases Collaborative VR-STEM Software For Free

 

 

10 ways VR will change life in the near future — from forbes.com

Excerpts:

  1. Virtual shops
  2. Real estate
  3. Dangerous jobs
  4. Health care industry
  5. Training to create VR content
  6. Education
  7. Emergency response
  8. Distraction simulation
  9. New hire training
  10. Exercise

 

From DSC:
While VR will have its place — especially for timeswhen you need to completely immerse yourself into another environment — I think AR and MR will be much larger and have a greater variety of applications. For example, I could see where instructions on how to put something together in the future could use AR and/or MR to assist with that process. The system could highlight the next part that I’m looking for and then highlight the corresponding parts where it goes — and, if requested, can show me a clip on how it fits into what I’m trying to put together.

 

How MR turns firstline workers into change agents — from virtualrealitypop.com by Charlie Finkand
Mixed Reality, a new dimension of work — from Microsoft and Harvard Business Review

Excerpts:

Workers with mixed-reality solutions that enable remote assistance, spatial planning, environmentally contextual data, and much more,” Bardeen told me. With the HoloLens Firstline Workers workers conduct their usual, day-to-day activities with the added benefit of a heads-up, hands-free, display that gives them immediate access to valuable, contextual information. Microsoft says speech services like Cortana will be critical to control along with gesture, according to the unique needs of each situation.

 

Expect new worker roles. What constitutes an “information worker” could change because mixed reality will allow everyone to be involved in the collection and use of information. Many more types of information will become available to any worker in a compelling, easy-to-understand way. 

 

 

Let’s Speak: VR language meetups — from account.altvr.com

 

 

 

 

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….

 

 

 

Seek launches world’s first mobile Augmented Reality (AR) creation studio — from globenewswire.com
All Mobile Phone Users Can Now Create, Publish and Discover AR Experiences

Excerpt:

Lehi, UT, May 29, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, fast-growing augmented reality startup, Seek, is launching Seek Studio, the world’s first mobile augmented reality studio, allowing anybody with a phone and no coding expertise required, to create their own AR experiences and publish them for the world to see. With mobile AR now made more readily available, average consumers are beginning to discover the magic that AR can bring to the palm of their hand, and Seek Studio turns everyone into a creator.

To make the process incredibly easy, Seek provides templates for users to create their first AR experiences. As an example, a user can select a photo on their phone, outline the portion of the image they want turned into a 3D object and then publish it to Seek. They will then be able to share it with their friends through popular social networks or text. A brand could additionally upload a 3D model of their product and publish it to Seek, providing an experience for their customers to easily view that content in their own home. Seek Studio will launch with 6 templates and will release new ones every few days over the coming months to constantly improve the complexity and types of experiences possible to create within the platform.

 

Apple unveils new AR file format and ARKit 2.0 — from enturebeat.com by Stephanie Chan

Excerpt:

Apple unveiled its new augmented reality file format, as well as ARKit 2.0, at its annual WWDC developer conference today. Both will be available to users later this year with iOS 12.

The tech company partnered with Pixar to develop the AR file format Universal Scene Description (USDZ) to streamline the process of sharing and accessing augmented reality files. USDZ will be compatible with tools like Adobe, Autodesk, Sketchfab, PTC, and Quixel. Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis spoke briefly on stage about how the file format will have native Adobe Creative Cloud support, and described it as the first time “you’ll be able to have what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editing” for AR objects.

 

HTC’s New Vive Focus Headset Locker Aims to Put VR at the Forefront of Education in China — from oadtovr.com by Scott Hayden

With a starting focus on University-level education and vocational schools in sectors such as mechanical engineering, VivEdu branched out to K-12 education in 2018, boasting a comprehensive VR approach to learning science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and art for kids.

 

Apple takes augmented-reality gaming to the ‘next level’ with Lego and slingshot apps — from businessinsider.com by Isobel Asher Hamilton

Excerpt:

  • Apple hopes to take augmented-reality gaming to the “next level” with multiplayer apps.
  • The company used its developer’s conference to showcase Lego and slingshot games, built using its new and improved AR building software ARKit 2.
  • The Lego game allows you to create virtual worlds around your real-life Lego builds.

 

Apple Swift Shot hands-on — augmented reality goes multiplayer with ARKit 2.0 — from venturebeat.com by Dean Takahasjo

 

 

Apple’s new AR features are proof that wearables are coming — from wired.com by Peter Rubin

Excerpt:

That roadmap, of course, is just beginning. Which is where the developers—and those arm’s-length iPads—come in. “They’re pushing AR onto phones to make sure they’re a winner when the headsets come around,” Miesnieks says of Apple. “You can’t wait for headsets and then quickly do 10 years’ worth of R&D on the software.”

 

Adobe’s Project Aero will let designers easily create AR content using existing Creative Cloud tools — from 9to5mac.comby Michael Steeber

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

To fully realize the potential will require a broad ecosystem. Adobe is partnering with technology leaders to standardize interaction models and file formats in the rapidly growing AR ecosystem. We’re also working with leading platform vendors, open standards efforts like usdz and glTF as well as media companies and the creative community to deliver a comprehensive AR offering. usdz is now supported by Apple, Adobe, Pixar and many others while glTF is supported by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe and other industry leaders.

 

Create Floor Plans With IStaging VR Maker — from vrfocus.com by Rebecca Hills-Duty
Virtual tour app utilises ARKit technology to easily create floor plans.

Excerpt:

There are a number of professionals who would find the ability to quickly and easily create floor plans to be extremely useful. Estate agents, interior designers and event organisers would all no doubt find such a capability to be extremely valuable. For those users, the new feature added to iStaging’s VR Maker app might be of considerable interest.

The new VR Maker feature utilises Apple’s ARKit toolset to recognise spaces, such as walls and floors and can provide accurate measurements. By scanning each wall of a space, a floor plan can be produced quickly and easily.

 

 

Where is VR headed? Investors share insights on the industry’s trajectory — fromventurebeat.com by Michael Park

Excerpt:

I’ve interviewed nine investors who have provided their insights on where the VR industry has come, as well as the risks and opportunities that exist in 2018 and beyond. We’ve asked them what opportunities are available in the space — and what tips they have for startups.

 

Can this explosion-proof AR headset change how industries do business? — from digitaltrends.com by Christian de Looper

Excerpt:

Augmented reality (AR) hasn’t truly permeated the mainstream consciousness yet, but the technology is swiftly being adopted by global industries. It’ll soon be unsurprising to find a pair of AR glasses strapped to a helmet sitting on the heads of service workers, and RealWear, a company at the forefront on developing these headsets, thinks it’s on the edge of something big.

VOICE ACTIVATION
What’s most impressive about the RealWear HMT-1Z1 is how you control it. There’s no touch-sensitive gestures you need to learn — it’s all managed with voice, and better yet, there’s no need for a hotword like “Hey Google.” The headset listens for certain commands. For example, from the home screen just say “show my files” to see files downloaded to the device, and you can go back to the home screen by saying “navigate home.” When you’re looking at documents — like schematics — you can say “zoom in” or “zoom out” to change focus. It worked almost flawlessly, even in a noisy environment like the AWE show floor.

 

How Augmented and Virtual Reality (AVR) Can Benefit the Aviation Industry — from eonreality.com

Excerpt:

David Scowsill‘s experience in the aviation industry spans over 30 years. He has worked for British Airways, American Airlines, Easy Jet, Manchester Airport, and most recently the World Travel and Tourism Council, giving him a unique perspective on how Augmented and Virtual Reality (AVR) can impact the aviation industry.

These technologies have the power to transform the entire aviation industry, providing benefits to companies and consumers. From check-in, baggage drop, ramp operations and maintenance, to pilots and flight attendants, AVR can accelerate training, improve safety, and increase efficiency.

 

This VR project shows us how animals see the world — from thenextweb.com by Ailsa Sherrington

Excerpt:

London-based design studio Marshmallow Laser Feast is using VR to let us reconnect with nature. With headsets, you can see a forest through the eyes of different animals and experience the sensations they feel. Creative Director Ersinhan Ersin took the stage at TNW Conference last week to show us how and why they created the project, titled In the Eyes of the Animal.

 

The Future of AR/VR Headset Design is Hybrid — from medium.com by Christine Hart

Excerpt:

Have you already taken a side when it comes to XR wearables? Whether you prefer AR glasses or VR headsets likely depends on the application you need. But wouldn’t it be great to have a device that could perform as both? As XR tech advances, we think crossovers will start popping up around the world.

A Beijing startup called AntVR recently rocketed past its Kickstarter goal for an AR/VR visor. Their product, the Mix, uses tinted lenses to toggle between real world overlay and full immersion. It’s an exciting prospect. But rather than digging into the tech (or the controversy surrounding their name, their marketing, and a certain Marvel character) we’re looking at what this means for how XR devices are developed and sold.

 

Google Expeditions app now offers augmented reality tours — from techcrunch.com by Lucas Matney

Excerpt:

Google is bringing AR tech to its Expeditions app with a new update going live today. Last year, the company introduced its GoogleExpeditions AR Pioneer Program, which brought the app into classrooms across the country; with this launch the functionality is available to all.

Expeditions will have more than 100 AR tours in addition to the 800 VR tours already available. Examples include experiences that let users explore Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions and ones that let you interact with the human skeletal system.

 

VR Wave Breaking Outside The Home — from forbes.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpt:

At four recent VR conferences and events there was a palpable sense that despite new home VR devices getting the majority of marketing and media attention this year, the immediate promise and momentum is in the location-based VR (LBVR) attractions industry. The VR Arcade Conference (April 29th and 30th), VRLA (May 4th and 5th), the Digital Entertainment Group’s May meeting (May 1), and FoIL (Future of Immersive Leisure, May 16th and 17th) all highlighted a topic that suddenly no one can stop talking about: location-based VR (LBVR). With hungry landlords giving great deals for empty retail locations, VRcades, which are inexpensive to open (like Internet Cafes), are popping up all over the country. As a result, VRcade royalties for developers are on the rise, so they are shifting their attention accordingly to shorter experiences optimized for LBVR, which is much less expensive than building a VR app for the home.

 

 

 

 

 

Below are some excerpted slides from her presentation…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also see:

  • 20 important takeaways for learning world from Mary Meeker’s brilliant tech trends – from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark
    Excerpt:
    Mary Meeker’s slide deck has a reputation of being the Delphic Oracle of tech. But, at 294 slides it’s a lot to take in. Don’t worry, I’ve been through them all. It has tons on economic stuff that is of marginal interest to education and training but there’s plenty to to get our teeth into. We’re not immune to tech trends, indeed we tend to follow in lock-step, just a bit later than everyone else. Among the data are lots of fascinating insights that point the way forward in terms of what we’re likely to be doing over the next decade. So here’s a really quick, top-end summary for folk in the learning game.

 

“Educational content usage online is ramping fast” with over 1 billion daily educational videos watched. There is evidence that use of the Internet for informal and formal learning is taking off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Big Takeaways From Mary Meeker’s Widely-Read Internet Report — from fortune.com by  Leena Rao

 

 

 

 

World of active learning in higher ed — from universitybusiness.com by Sherrie Negrea
Formal and informal learning spaces transforming campuses internationally

Excerpts:

Active learning spaces are cropping up at campuses on nearly every continent as schools transform lecture halls, classrooms and informal study areas into collaborative technology hubs. While many international campuses have just started to create active learning spaces, others have been developing them for more than a decade.

As the trend in active learning classrooms has accelerated internationally, colleges in the U.S. can learn from the cutting-edge classroom design and technology that countries such as Australia and Hong Kong have built.

“There are good examples that are coming out from all over the world using different kinds of space design and different types of teaching,” says D. Christopher Brooks, director of research at Educause, who has conducted research on active learning spaces in the United States and China.

 

“If the students are engaged and motivated and enjoying their learning, they’re more likely to have improved learning outcomes,” says Neil Morris, director of digital learning at the University of Leeds. “And the evidence suggests that these spaces improve their engagement, motivation and enjoyment.”

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

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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