Want to learn a new language? With this AR app, just point & tap — from fastcodesign.com by Mark Wilson
A new demo shows how augmented reality could redefine apps as we know them.

Excerpt:

There’s a new app gold rush. After Facebook and Apple both released augmented reality development kits in recent months, developers are demonstrating just what they can do with these new technologies. It’s a race to invent the future first.

To get a taste of how quickly and dramatically our smartphone apps are about to change, just take a look at this little demo by front end engineer Frances Ng, featured on Prosthetic Knowledge. Just by aiming her iPhone at various objects and tapping, she can both identify items like lamps and laptops, and translate their names to a number of different languages. Bye bye, multilingual dictionaries and Google translate. Hello, “what the heck is the Korean word for that?”

 

 

 

Also see:

Apple ARKit & Machine Learning Come Together Making Smarter Augmented Reality — from next.reality.news by Jason Odom

Excerpt:

The world is a massive place, especially when you consider the field of view of your smartglasses or mobile device. To fulfill the potential promise of augmented reality, we must find a way to fill that view with useful and contextual information. Of course, the job of creating contextual, valuable information, to fill the massive space that is the planet earth, is a daunting task to take on. Machine learning seems to be one solution many are moving toward.

Tokyo, Japan based web developer, Frances Ng released a video on Twitter showing off her first experiments with Apple’s ARKit and CoreML, Apple’s machine learning system. As you can see in the gifs below, her mobile device is being used to recognize a few objects around her room, and then display the name of the identified objects.

 

 

 

Chatbot lawyer, which contested £7.2M in parking tickets, now offers legal help for 1,000+ topics — from arstechnica.co.uk by Sebastian Anthony
DoNotPay has expanded to cover the UK and all 50 US states. Free legal help for everyone!

Excerpt:

In total, DoNotPay now has over 1,000 separate chatbots that generate formal-sounding documents for a range of basic legal issues, such as seeking remuneration for a delayed flight or train, reporting discrimination, or asking for maternity leave. If you divide that by 51 (US and UK) you get a rough idea of how many different topics are covered. Each bot had to be hand-crafted by the British creator Joshua Browder, with the assistance of part-time and volunteer lawyers to ensure that the the documents are actually fit for purpose.

 

 

British student’s free robot lawyer can fight speeding tickets and rogue landlords — from telegraph.co.uk by Cara McGoogan

Excerpt:

A free “robot lawyer” that has overturned thousands of parking tickets in the UK can now fight rogue landlords, speeding tickets and harassment at work.

Joshua Browder, the 20-year-old British student who created the aide, has upgraded the robot’s abilities so it can fight legal disputes in 1,000 different areas. These include fighting landlords over security deposits and house repairs, and helping people report fraud to their credit card agency.

To get robot advice, users type their problem into the DoNotPay site and it directs them to a chat bot that can solve their particular legal issue. It can draft letters and offer advice on problems from credit card fraud to airline compensation.

 

 

Free robot lawyer helps low-income people tackle more than 1,000 legal issues — from mashable.com by Katie Dupere

Excerpt:

Shady businesses, you’re on notice. This robot lawyer is coming after you if you play dirty.

Noted legal aid chatbot DoNotPay just announced a massive expansion, which will help users tackle issues in 1,000 legal areas entirely for free. The new features, which launched on Wednesday, cover consumer and workplace rights, and will be available in all 50 states and the UK.

While the bot will still help drivers contest parking tickets and refugees apply for asylum, the service will now also help those who want to report harassment in the workplace or who simply want a refund on a busted toaster.

 

 



From DSC:
Whereas this type of bot is meant for external communications/assistance, we should also watch for Work Bots within an organization — dishing up real-time answers to questions that employees have about a variety of topics. I think that’s the next generation of technical communications, technical/help desk support, as well as training and development groups (at least some of the staff in those departments will likely be building these types of bots).



 

Addendum on 7/15/17:

LawGeex: Contract Review Automation

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The LawGeex Contract Review Automation enables anyone in your business to easily submit and receive approvals on contracts without waiting for the legal team. Our A.I. technology reads, reviews and understands your contracts, approving those that meet your legal team’s pre-defined criteria, and escalating those that don’t. Legal can maintain control and mitigate risk while giving other departments the freedom they need to get business moving.

 

 

What a future, powerful, global learning platform will look & act like [Christian]


Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A vision for a global, powerful, next generation learning platform

By Daniel Christian

NOTE: Having recently lost my Senior Instructional Designer position due to a staff reduction program, I am looking to help build such a platform as this. So if you are working on such a platform or know of someone who is, please let me know: danielchristian55@gmail.com.

I want to help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively — while providing more choice, more control to lifelong learners. This will become critically important as artificial intelligence, robotics, algorithms, and automation continue to impact the workplace.


 

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

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and “streams of content” that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)

Further details:
While basic courses will be accessible via mobile devices, the optimal learning experience will leverage two or more displays/devices. So while smaller smartphones, laptops, and/or desktop workstations will be used to communicate synchronously or asynchronously with other learners, the larger displays will deliver an excellent learning environment for times when there is:

  • A Subject Matter Expert (SME) giving a talk or making a presentation on any given topic
  • A need to display multiple things going on at once, such as:
  • The SME(s)
  • An application or multiple applications that the SME(s) are using
  • Content/resources that learners are submitting in real-time (think Bluescape, T1V, Prysm, other)
  • The ability to annotate on top of the application(s) and point to things w/in the app(s)
  • Media being used to support the presentation such as pictures, graphics, graphs, videos, simulations, animations, audio, links to other resources, GPS coordinates for an app such as Google Earth, other
  • Other attendees (think Google Hangouts, Skype, Polycom, or other videoconferencing tools)
  • An (optional) representation of the Personal Assistant (such as today’s Alexa, Siri, M, Google Assistant, etc.) that’s being employed via the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This new learning platform will also feature:

  • Voice-based commands to drive the system (via Natural Language Processing (NLP))
  • Language translation (using techs similar to what’s being used in Translate One2One, an earpiece powered by IBM Watson)
  • Speech-to-text capabilities for use w/ chatbots, messaging, inserting discussion board postings
  • Text-to-speech capabilities as an assistive technology and also for everyone to be able to be mobile while listening to what’s been typed
  • Chatbots
    • For learning how to use the system
    • For asking questions of – and addressing any issues with – the organization owning the system (credentials, payments, obtaining technical support, etc.)
    • For asking questions within a course
  • As many profiles as needed per household
  • (Optional) Machine-to-machine-based communications to automatically launch the correct profile when the system is initiated (from one’s smartphone, laptop, workstation, and/or tablet to a receiver for the system)
  • (Optional) Voice recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Facial recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Upon system launch, to immediately return to where the learner previously left off
  • The capability of the webcam to recognize objects and bring up relevant resources for that object
  • A built in RSS feed aggregator – or a similar technology – to enable learners to tap into the relevant “streams of content” that are constantly flowing by them
  • Social media dashboards/portals – providing quick access to multiple sources of content and whereby learners can contribute their own “streams of content”

In the future, new forms of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) will be integrated into this new learning environment – providing entirely new means of collaborating with one another.

Likely players:

  • Amazon – personal assistance via Alexa
  • Apple – personal assistance via Siri
  • Google – personal assistance via Google Assistant; language translation
  • Facebook — personal assistance via M
  • Microsoft – personal assistance via Cortana; language translation
  • IBM Watson – cognitive computing; language translation
  • Polycom – videoconferencing
  • Blackboard – videoconferencing, application sharing, chat, interactive whiteboard
  • T1V, Prsym, and/or Bluescape – submitting content to a digital canvas/workspace
  • Samsung, Sharp, LCD, and others – for large displays with integrated microphones, speakers, webcams, etc.
  • Feedly – RSS aggregator
  • _________ – for providing backchannels
  • _________ – for tools to create videocasts and interactive videos
  • _________ – for blogs, wikis, podcasts, journals
  • _________ – for quizzes/assessments
  • _________ – for discussion boards/forums
  • _________ – for creating AR, MR, and/or VR-based content

 

 

Some applications of VR from vrxone.com

Education
Virtual Reality to teach the skills needed for the future by enabling learners to explore, play, work as a team, compete, and be rewarded for their achievements through interactive lessons.

  • Virtual Field Trips
  • Immersive VRXOne Lab
  • VR for Arts & Design
  • Safe Laboratory Practicals through VR
  • Game based Learning
  • Geography, Marine Life VR Exploration
  • Astronomy & Space Research through VR
  • Architecture & Interiors
  • VR for Sports & Games
  • VR to improve Public Speech

Corporate Training
Virtual reality (VR) enhances traditional training methods through a new, practical and interactive approach. Improve Knowledge Retention by doing things in an immersive Environment.

* VR based Induction/ Onboarding
* Improving Health & Safety through VR
* Increase Knowledge Retention
* Hands-on VR Training Simulations
* Customer interactivity through VR
* VR to improve Marketing Strategy
* Special purpose training in VR
* High Risk Environment VR Simulation
* Critical National Infrastructure brief on VR
* VR for Business Planning

Healthcare
Virtual Reality has proven great results with 34% of Physical Health and 47% of Mental Health Improvements through various applications and learning programs.

* 360° Live streaming of Surgical Procedure
* Medical & Nursing Simulation
* Emergency Drill Scenario
* VR for pain & anxiety relief
* Assistive Technology for Special Education.
* Interactive Anatomy Lessons
* Yoga, Meditation and Recreational Therapy
* Virtual Medical Consultation
* Motivational Therapy for Aged Citizens
* VR for Medical Tourism

 

 

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs [Meghan Bogardus Cortez at edtechmagazine.com]

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
These administrative all-stars, IT gurus, teachers and community experts understand how the latest technology is changing the nature of education.

Excerpt:

With summer break almost here, we’ve got an idea for how you can use some of your spare time. Take a look at the Dean’s List, our compilation of the must-read blogs that seek to make sense of higher education in today’s digital world.

Follow these education trailblazers for not-to-be-missed analyses of the trends, challenges and opportunities that technology can provide.

If you’d like to check out the Must-Read IT blogs from previous years, view our lists from 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

 

 



From DSC:
I would like to thank Tara Buck, Meghan Bogardus Cortez, D. Frank Smith, Meg Conlan, and Jimmy Daly and the rest of the staff at EdTech Magazine for their support of this Learning Ecosystems blog through the years — I really appreciate it. 

Thanks all for your encouragement through the years!



 

 

 

 

From DSC:
This type of technology could be good, or it could be bad…or, like many technologies, it could be both — depends upon how it’s used. The resources below mention some positive applications, but also some troubling applications.


 

Lyrebird claims it can recreate any voice using just one minute of sample audio — from theverge.com by James Vincent
The results aren’t 100 percent convincing, but it’s a sign of things to come

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence is making human speech as malleable and replicable as pixels. Today, a Canadian AI startup named Lyrebird unveiled its first product: a set of algorithms the company claims can clone anyone’s voice by listening to just a single minute of sample audio.

 

 

 

 

 

Also see:

 

Imitating people’s speech patterns precisely could bring trouble — from economist.com by
You took the words right out of my mouth

Excerpt:

UTTER 160 or so French or English phrases into a phone app developed by CandyVoice, a new Parisian company, and the app’s software will reassemble tiny slices of those sounds to enunciate, in a plausible simulacrum of your own dulcet tones, whatever typed words it is subsequently fed. In effect, the app has cloned your voice. The result still sounds a little synthetic but CandyVoice’s boss, Jean-Luc Crébouw, reckons advances in the firm’s algorithms will render it increasingly natural. Similar software for English and four widely spoken Indian languages, developed under the name of Festvox, by Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute, is also available. And Baidu, a Chinese internet giant, says it has software that needs only 50 sentences to simulate a person’s voice.

Until recently, voice cloning—or voice banking, as it was then known—was a bespoke industry which served those at risk of losing the power of speech to cancer or surgery.

More troubling, any voice—including that of a stranger—can be cloned if decent recordings are available on YouTube or elsewhere. Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, led by Nitesh Saxena, were able to use Festvox to clone voices based on only five minutes of speech retrieved online. When tested against voice-biometrics software like that used by many banks to block unauthorised access to accounts, more than 80% of the fake voices tricked the computer.

 

 

Per Candyvoice.com:

Expert in digital voice processing, CandyVoice offers software to facilitate and improve vocal communication between people and communicating objects. With applications in:

Health
Customize your devices of augmentative and alternative vocal communication by integrating in them your users’ personal vocal model

Robots & Communicating objects
Improve communication with robots through voice conversion, customized TTS, and noise filtering

Video games
Enhance the gaming experience by integrating vocal conversion of character’s voice in real time, and the TTS customizing

 

 

Also related:

 

 

From DSC:
Given this type of technology, what’s to keep someone from cloning a voice, putting together whatever you wanted that person to say, and then making it appear that Alexa recorded that other person’s voice?

 

 

 

 

 

You can be sitting ‘courtside’ at NBA games with virtual reality — from mercurynews.com by Bill Oram

Excerpt:

“The result is a really strong sense of presence,” said David Cole, who helped found NextVR as a 3D company in 2009. “A vivid sense.”

 

 

“In some ways, we could still be at a point in time where a lot of people don’t yet know that they want this in VR,” said David Cramer, NextVR’s chief operating officer. “The thing that we’ve seen is that when people do see it, it just blows away their expectations.”

 

 

From DSC:
Hmm…the above piece from The Mercury News on #VR speaks of presence.  A vivid sense of presence.

If they can do this with an NBA game, why cant’ we do this with remote learners & bring them into face-to-face classrooms? How might VR be used in online learning and distance education? Could be an interesting new revenue stream for colleges and universities…and help serve more people who want to learn but might not be able to move to certain locations and/or not be able to attend face-to-face classrooms. Applications could exist within the corporate training/L&D world as well.

 

Also related/see:

 

 

Per X Media Lab:

The authoritative CB Insights lists imminent Future Tech Trends: customized babies; personalized foods; robotic companions; 3D printed housing; solar roads; ephemeral retail; enhanced workers; lab-engineered luxury; botroots movements; microbe-made chemicals; neuro-prosthetics; instant expertise; AI ghosts. You can download the whole outstanding report here (125 pgs).

 

From DSC:
Though I’m generally pro-technology, there are several items in here which support the need for all members of society to be informed and have some input into if and how these technologies should be used. Prime example: Customized babies.  The report discusses the genetic modification of babies: “In the future, we will choose the traits for our babies.” Veeeeery slippery ground here.

 

Below are some example screenshots:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also see:

CBInsights — Innovation Summit

  • The New User Interface: The Challenge and Opportunities that Chatbots, Voice Interfaces and Smart Devices Present
  • Fusing the physical, digital and biological: AI’s transformation of healthcare
  • How predictive algorithms and AI will rule financial services
  • Autonomous Everything: How Connected Vehicles Will Change Mobility and Which Companies Will Own this Future
  • The Next Industrial Age: The New Revenue Sources that the Industrial Internet of Things Unlocks
  • The AI-100: 100 Artificial Intelligence Startups That You Better Know
  • Autonomous Everything: How Connected Vehicles Will Change Mobility and Which Companies Will Own this Future

 

 

 

From DSC:
When I saw the article below, I couldn’t help but wonder…what are the teaching & learning-related ramifications when new “skills” are constantly being added to devices like Amazon’s Alexa?

What does it mean for:

  • Students / learners
  • Faculty members
  • Teachers
  • Trainers
  • Instructional Designers
  • Interaction Designers
  • User Experience Designers
  • Curriculum Developers
  • …and others?

Will the capabilities found in Alexa simply come bundled as a part of the “connected/smart TV’s” of the future? Hmm….

 

 

NASA unveils a skill for Amazon’s Alexa that lets you ask questions about Mars — from geekwire.com by Kevin Lisota

Excerpt:

Amazon’s Alexa has gained many skills over the past year, such as being able to read tweets or deliver election results and fantasy football scores. Starting on Wednesday, you’ll be able to ask Alexa about Mars.

The new skill for the voice-controlled speaker comes courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It’s the first Alexa app from the space agency.

Tom Soderstrom, the chief technology officer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was on hand at the AWS re:invent conference in Las Vegas tonight to make the announcement.

 

 

nasa-alexa-11-29-16

 

 


Also see:


 

What Is Alexa? What Is the Amazon Echo, and Should You Get One? — from thewirecutter.com by Grant Clauser

 

side-by-side2

 

 

Amazon launches new artificial intelligence services for developers: Image recognition, text-to-speech, Alexa NLP — from geekwire.com by Taylor Soper

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Amazon today announced three new artificial intelligence-related toolkits for developers building apps on Amazon Web Services

At the company’s AWS re:invent conference in Las Vegas, Amazon showed how developers can use three new services — Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, Amazon Rekognition — to build artificial intelligence features into apps for platforms like Slack, Facebook Messenger, ZenDesk, and others.

The idea is to let developers utilize the machine learning algorithms and technology that Amazon has already created for its own processes and services like Alexa. Instead of developing their own AI software, AWS customers can simply use an API call or the AWS Management Console to incorporate AI features into their own apps.

 

 

Amazon announces three new AI services, including a text-to-voice service, Amazon Polly  — from by D.B. Hebbard

 

 

AWS Announces Three New Amazon AI Services
Amazon Lex, the technology that powers Amazon Alexa, enables any developer to build rich, conversational user experiences for web, mobile, and connected device apps; preview starts today

Amazon Polly transforms text into lifelike speech, enabling apps to talk with 47 lifelike voices in 24 languages

Amazon Rekognition makes it easy to add image analysis to applications, using powerful deep learning-based image and face recognition

Capital One, Motorola Solutions, SmugMug, American Heart Association, NASA, HubSpot, Redfin, Ohio Health, DuoLingo, Royal National Institute of Blind People, LingApps, GoAnimate, and Coursera are among the many customers using these Amazon AI Services

Excerpt:

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 30, 2016– Today at AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced three Artificial Intelligence (AI) services that make it easy for any developer to build apps that can understand natural language, turn text into lifelike speech, have conversations using voice or text, analyze images, and recognize faces, objects, and scenes. Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, and Amazon Rekognition are based on the same proven, highly scalable Amazon technology built by the thousands of deep learning and machine learning experts across the company. Amazon AI services all provide high-quality, high-accuracy AI capabilities that are scalable and cost-effective. Amazon AI services are fully managed services so there are no deep learning algorithms to build, no machine learning models to train, and no up-front commitments or infrastructure investments required. This frees developers to focus on defining and building an entirely new generation of apps that can see, hear, speak, understand, and interact with the world around them.

To learn more about Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, or Amazon Rekognition, visit:
https://aws.amazon.com/amazon-ai

 

 

 

 

 

Coppell ISD becomes first district to use IBM, Apple format — from bizjournals.com by Shawn Shinneman

Excerpt:

Teachers at Coppell Independent School District have become the first to use a new IBM and Apple technology platform built to aid personalized learning.

IBM Watson Element for Educators pairs IBM analytics and data tools such as cognitive computing with Apple design. It integrates student grades, interests, participation, and trends to help educators determine how a student learns best, the company says.

It also recommends learning content personalized to each student. The platform might suggest a reading assignment on astronomy for a young student who has shown an interest in space.

 

From DSC:
Technologies involved with systems like IBM’s Watson will likely bring some serious impact to the worlds of education and training & development. Such systems — and the affordances that they should be able to offer us — should not be underestimated.  The potential for powerful, customized, personalized learning could easily become a reality in K-20 as well as in the corporate training space. This is an area to keep an eye on for sure, especially with the growing influence of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence.

These kinds of technology should prove helpful in suggesting modules and courses (i.e., digital learning playlists), but I think the more powerful systems will be able to drill down far more minutely than that. I think these types of systems will be able to assist with all kinds of math problems and equations as well as analyze writing examples, correct language mispronunciations, and more (perhaps this is already here…apologies if so). In other words, the systems will “learn” where students can go wrong doing a certain kind of math equation…and then suggest steps to correct things when the system spots a mistake (or provide hints at how to correct mistakes).

This road takes us down to places where we have:

  • Web-based learner profiles — including learner’s preferences, passions, interests, skills
  • Microlearning/badging/credentialing — likely using blockchain
  • Learning agents/bots to “contact” for assistance
  • Guidance for lifelong learning
  • More choice, more control

 

ibmwatson-oct2016

 

 

Also see:

  • First IBM Watson Education App for iPad Delivers Personalized Learning for K-12 Teachers and Students — from prnewswire.com
    Educators at Coppell Independent School District in Texas first to use new iPad app to tailor learning experiences to student’s interests and aptitudes
    Excerpts:
    With increasing demands on educators, teachers need tools that will enable them to better identify the individual needs of all students while designing learning experiences that engage and hold the students’ interest as they master the content. This is especially critical given that approximately one third of American students require remedial education when they enter college today, and current college attainment rates are not keeping pace with the country’s projected workforce needs1.  A view of academic and day-to-day updates in real time can help teachers provide personalized support when students need it.

    IBM Watson Element provides teachers with a holistic view of each student through a fun, easy-to-use and intuitive mobile experience that is a natural extension of their work. Teachers can get to know their students beyond their academic performance, including information about personal interests and important milestones students choose to share.  For example, teachers can input notes when a student’s highly anticipated soccer match is scheduled, when another has just been named president for the school’s World Affairs club, and when another has recently excelled following a science project that sparked a renewed interest in chemistry.The unique “spotlight” feature in Watson Element provides advanced analytics that enables deeper levels of communication between teachers about their students’ accomplishments and progress. For example, if a student is excelling academically, teachers can spotlight that student, praising their accomplishments across the school district. Or, if a student received a top award in the district art show, a teacher can spotlight the student so their other teachers know about it.
 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian