Guiding faculty into immersive environments — from campustechnology.com by David Raths
What’s the best way to get faculty to engage with emerging technologies and incorporate new learning spaces into their teaching? Five institutions share their experiences.

Guiding faculty into immersive environments -- by David Raths

Excerpt:

One of the biggest hurdles for universities has been the high cost of VR-enabled computers and headsets, and some executives say prices must continue to drop before we’ll see more widespread usage. But John Bowditch, director of the Game Research and Immersive Design Lab at Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication, is already seeing promising developments on that front as he prepares to open a new 20-seat VR classroom. “Probably the best thing about VR in 2018 is that it is a lot more affordable now and that democratizes it,” he said. “We purchased a VR helmet 13 years ago, and it was $12,000 just for the headset. The machine that ran it cost about $20,000. That would be a nonstarter beyond purchasing just one or two. Today, you can get a VR-enabled laptop and headset for under $2,000. That makes it much easier to think about integrating it into classes.”

 

 

Colleges and universities face several hurdles in getting faculty to incorporate virtual reality or immersive experiences in their courses. For one, instructional designers, instructional technologists and directors of teaching and learning centers may not have access to these tools yet, and the budgets aren’t always there to get the labs off the ground, noted Daniel Christian, instructional services director at Western Michigan University‘s Cooley Law School. “Many faculty members’ job plates are already jam-packed — allowing little time to even look at emerging technologies,” he said. “Even if they wanted to experiment with such technologies and potential learning experiences, they don’t have the time to do so. Tight budgets are impacting this situation even further.”

 

 

 

 

Computing in the Camera — from blog.torch3d.com by Paul Reynolds
Mobile AR, with its ubiquitous camera, is set to transform what and how human experience designers create.

One of the points Allison [Woods, CEO, Camera IQ] made repeatedly on that call (and in this wonderful blog post of the same time period) was that the camera is going to be at the center of computing going forward, an indispensable element. Spatial computing could not exist without it. Simple, obvious, straightforward, but not earth shaking. We all heard what she had to say, but I don’t think any of us really understood just how profound or prophetic that statement turned out to be.

 

“[T]he camera will bring the internet and the real world into a single time and space.”

— Allison Woods, CEO, Camera IQ

 

 

The Camera As Platform — from shift.newco.co by Allison Wood
When the operating system moves to the viewfinder, the world will literally change

“Every day two billion people carry around an optical data input device — the smartphone Camera — connected to supercomputers and informed by massive amounts of data that can have nearly limitless context, position, recognition and direction to accomplish tasks.”

– Jacob Mullins, Shasta Ventures

 

 

 

The State Of The ARt At AWE 18 — from forbes.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpt:

The bigger story, however, is how fast the enterprise segment is growing as applications as straightforward as schematics on a head-mounted monocular microdisplay are transforming manufacturing, assembly, and warehousing. Use cases abounded.

After traveling the country and most recently to Europe, I’ve now experienced almost every major VR/AR/MR/XR related conference out there. AWE’s exhibit area was by far the largest display of VR and AR companies to date (with the exception of CES).

 

AR is being used to identify features and parts within cars

 

 

 

 

Student Learning and Virtual Reality: The Embodied Experience — from er.educause.edu by Jaime Hannans, Jill Leafstedt and Talya Drescher

Excerpts:

Specifically, we explored the potential for how virtual reality can help create a more empathetic nurse, which, we hypothesize, will lead to increased development of nursing students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes. We aim to integrate these virtual experiences into early program coursework, with the intent of changing nursing behavior by providing a deeper understanding of the patient’s perspective during clinical interactions.

In addition to these compelling student reflections and the nearly immediate change in reporting practice, survey findings show that students unanimously felt that this type of patient-perspective VR experience should be integrated and become a staple of the nursing curriculum. Seeing, hearing, and feeling these moments results in significant and memorable learning experiences compared to traditional classroom learning alone. The potential that this type of immersive experience can have in the field of nursing and beyond is only limited by the imagination and creation of other virtual experiences to explore. We look forward to continued exploration of the impact of VR on student learning and to establishing ongoing partnerships with developers.

 

Also see:

 

 

 

Oculus’ VR television hub launches today on Oculus Go — from theverge.com by Adi Robertson

 

Excerpt:

Oculus is officially launching Oculus TV, its dedicated hub for watching flatscreen video in virtual reality, on the standalone Oculus Go headset. Oculus TV was announced at last month’s F8 conference, and it ties together a lot of existing VR video options, highlighting Oculus’ attempts to emphasize non-gaming uses of VR. The free app features a virtual home theater with what Oculus claims is the equivalent of a 180-inch TV screen. It offers access to several streaming video services, including subscription-based platforms like Showtime and free web television services like Pluto TV as well as video from Oculus’ parent company Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

AR & VR — Education’s marvelous revolution — from verizoninternet.com

Excerpt:

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), often used in video games and mobile apps, are transforming the world—and with that, the way we learn. These technologies have the capability to change students’ outlook on the world and the way they engage with it. After all, why would you learn about outer space from a classroom when you could learn about it from the International Space Station?

As AR and VR technology become more widely available and user-friendly, interest and market value have spiked across the world. In 2017, interest in VR hardware such as PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung Gear VR spiked around the globe.2 In China in particular, AR and VR are booming.

With AR and VR, geographical distances are no longer an obstacle. Interactive experiences, tutorial videos, and learning apps work just as well, whether the teacher and student are in the same room, or across the world from each other.

From their site, here are some additional resources:

 

 

Study shows VR increases learning — from Donald Clark

 Excerpt:

I have argued that several conditions for good learning are likely to be enhanced by VR. First there’s increased attention, where the learner is literally held fast within the created environment and cannot be distracted by external stimuli. Second is experiential learning, where one has to ‘do’ something where that active component leads to higher retention. Third is emotion, the affective component in learning, which is better achieved where the power to induce empathy, excitement, calm and so on is easier. Fourth is context, where providing an albeit simulated context aids retention and recall. Fifth is transfer, where all of these conditions lead to greater transfer of knowledge and skills to the real world.

 

 

Example Use Cases of How to Use Virtual Reality (VR) for Training — from instavr.co

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Employee Onboarding (and Cross-Training)
  • Preparing for Rare or Unexpected Events
  • Employee Testing
  • Customer/Client Interaction Practice

 

 

8 of the Wildest Augmented Reality Glasses You Haven’t Seen Yet — from next.reality.news by Adario Strange

 

 

 

 

Computers that never forget a face — from Future Today Institute

Excerpts:

In August, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will roll out new technology that will scan the faces of drivers as they enter and leave the United States. For years, accomplishing that kind of surveillance through a car windshield has been difficult. But technology is quickly advancing. This system, activated by ambient light sensors, range finders and remote speedometers, uses smart cameras and AI-powered facial recognition technology to compare images in government files with people behind the wheel.

Biometric borders are just the beginning. Faceprints are quickly becoming our new fingerprints, and this technology is marching forward with haste. Faceprints are now so advanced that machine learning algorithms can recognize your unique musculatures and bone structures, capillary systems, and expressions using thousands of data points. All the features that make up a unique face are being scanned, captured and analyzed to accurately verify identities. New hairstyle? Plastic surgery? They don’t interfere with the technology’s accuracy.

Why you should care. Faceprints are already being used across China for secure payments. Soon, they will be used to customize and personalize your digital experiences. Our Future Today Institute modeling shows myriad near-future applications, including the ability to unlock your smart TV with your face. Retailers will use your face to personalize your in-store shopping experience. Auto manufacturers will start using faceprints to detect if drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and prevent them from driving. It’s plausible that cars will soon detect if a driver is distracted and take the wheel using an auto-pilot feature. On a diet but live with others? Stash junk food in a drawer and program the lock to restrict your access. Faceprints will soon create opportunities for a wide range of sectors, including military, law enforcement, retail, manufacturing and security. But as with all technology, faceprints could lead to the loss of privacy and widespread surveillance.

It’s possible for both risk and opportunity to coexist. The point here is not alarmist hand-wringing, or pointless calls for cease-and-desist demands on the development and use of faceprint technology. Instead, it’s to acknowledge an important emerging trend––faceprints––and to think about the associated risks and opportunities for you and your organization well in advance. Approach biometric borders and faceprints with your (biometrically unique) eyes wide open.

Near-Futures Scenarios (2018 – 2028):

OptimisticFaceprints make us safer, and they bring us back to physical offices and stores.  

Pragmatic: As faceprint adoption grows, legal challenges mount. 
In April, a U.S. federal judge ruled that Facebook must confront a class-action lawsuit that alleges its faceprint technology violates Illinois state privacy laws. Last year, a U.S. federal judge allowed a class-action suit to go forth against Shutterfly, claiming the company violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which ensures companies receive written releases before collecting biometric data, including faces. Companies and device manufacturers, who are early developers but late to analyzing legal outcomes, are challenged to balance consumer privacy with new security benefits.

CatastrophicFaceprints are used for widespread surveillance and authoritative control.

 

 

 

How AI is helping sports teams scout star play — from nbcnews.com by Edd Gent
Professional baseball, basketball and hockey are among the sports now using AI to supplement traditional coaching and scouting.

 

 

 

Preparing students for workplace of the future  — from educationdive.com by Shalina Chatlani

Excerpt:

The workplace of the future will be marked by unprecedentedly advanced technologies, as well as a focus on incorporating artificial intelligence to drive higher levels of production with fewer resources. Employers and education stakeholders, noting the reality of this trend, are turning a reflective eye toward current students and questioning whether they will be workforce ready in the years to come.

This has become a significant concern for higher education executives, who find their business models could be disrupted as they fail to meet workforce demands. A 2018 Gallup-Northeastern University survey shows that of 3,297 U.S. citizens interviewed, only 22% with a bachelor’s degree said their education left them “well” or “very well prepared” to use AI in their jobs.

In his book “Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence,” Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun argued that for higher education to adapt advanced technologies, it has to focus on life-long learning, which he said says prepares students for the future by fostering purposeful integration of technical literacies, such as coding and data literacy, with human literacies, such as creativity, ethics, cultural agility and entrepreneurship.

“When students combine these literacies with experiential components, they integrate their knowledge with real life settings, leading to deep learning,” Aoun told Forbes.

 

 

Amazon’s A.I. camera could help people with memory loss recognize old friends and family — from cnbc.com by Christina Farr

  • Amazon’s DeepLens is a smart camera that can recognize objects in front of it.
  • One software engineer, Sachin Solkhan, is trying to figure out how to use it to help people with memory loss.
  • Users would carry the camera to help them recognize people they know.

 

 

Microsoft acquired an AI startup that helps it take on Google Duplex — from qz.com by Dave Gershgorn

Excerpt:

We’re going to talk to our technology, and everyone else’s too. Google proved that earlier this month with a demonstration of artificial intelligence that can hop on the phone to book a restaurant reservation or appointment at the hair salon.

Now it’s just a matter of who can build that technology fastest. To reach that goal, Microsoft has acquired conversational AI startup Semantic Machines for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 2014, the startup’s goal was to build AI that can converse with humans through speech or text, with the ability to be trained to converse on any language or subject.

 

 

Researchers developed an AI to detect DeepFakes — from thenextweb.com by Tristan Greene

Excerpt:

A team of researchers from the State University of New York (SUNY) recently developed a method for detecting whether the people in a video are AI-generated. It looks like DeepFakes could meet its match.

What it means: Fear over whether computers will soon be able to generate videos that are indistinguishable from real footage may be much ado about nothing, at least with the currently available methods.

The SUNY team observed that the training method for creating AI that makes fake videos involves feeding it images – not video. This means that certain human physiological quirks – like breathing and blinking – don’t show up in computer-generated videos. So they decided to build an AI that uses computer vision to detect blinking in fake videos.

 

 

Bringing It Down To Earth: Four Ways Pragmatic AI Is Being Used Today — from forbes.com by Carlos Melendez

Excerpt:

Without even knowing it, we are interacting with pragmatic AI day in and day out. It is used in the automated chatbots that answer our calls and questions and the customer service rep that texts with us on a retail site, providing a better and faster customer experience.

Below are four key categories of pragmatic AI and ways they are being applied today.

1. Speech Recognition And Natural Language Processing (NLP)
2. Predictive Analytics
3. Image Recognition And Computer Vision
4. Self-Driving Cars And Robots

 

 

Billable Hour ‘Makes No Sense’ in an AI World — from biglawbusiness.com by Helen Gunnarsson

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the practice of law, and “data is the new oil” of the legal industry, panelist Dennis Garcia said at a recent American Bar Association conference.Garcia is an assistant general counsel for Microsoft in Chicago. Robert Ambrogi, a Massachusetts lawyer and blogger who focuses on media, technology, and employment law, moderated the program.“The next generation of lawyers is going to have to understand how AI works” as part of the duty of competence, panelist Anthony E. Davis told the audience. Davis is a partner with Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in New York.

Davis said AI will result in dramatic changes in law firms’ hiring and billing, among other things. The hourly billing model, he said, “makes no sense in a universe where what clients want is judgment.” Law firms should begin to concern themselves not with the degrees or law schools attended by candidates for employment but with whether they are “capable of developing judgment, have good emotional intelligence, and have a technology background so they can be useful” for long enough to make hiring them worthwhile, he said.

 

 

Deep Learning Tool Tops Dermatologists in Melanoma Detection — from healthitanalytics.com
A deep learning tool achieved greater accuracy than dermatologists when detecting melanoma in dermoscopic images.

 

 

Apple’s plans to bring AI to your phone — from wired.com by Tom Simonite

Excerpt:

HomeCourt is built on tools announced by Federighi last summer, when he launched Apple’s bid to become a preferred playground for AI-curious developers. Known as Core ML, those tools help developers who’ve trained machine learning algorithms deploy them on Apple’s mobile devices and PCs.

At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday, Federighi revealed the next phase of his plan to enliven the app store with AI. It’s a tool called Create ML that’s something like a set of training wheels for building machine learning models in the first place. In a demo, training an image-recognition algorithm to distinguish different flavors of ice cream was as easy as dragging and dropping a folder containing a few dozen images and waiting a few seconds. In a session for developers, Apple engineers suggested Create ML could teach software to detect whether online comments are happy or angry, or predict the quality of wine from characteristics such as acidity and sugar content. Developers can use Create ML now but can’t ship apps using the technology until Apple’s latest operating systems arrive later this year.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Alexa creepily recorded a family’s private conversations, sent them to business associate — from usatoday.com by Elizabeth Weise

Excerpt:

In this instance, a random series of disconnected conversations got interpreted by Alexa as a specific and connected series of commands.

It doesn’t appear that the family members actually heard Alexa asking who it should send a message to, or confirming that it should be sent.

That’s probably a function of how good the Echo’s far field voice recognition is. Each speaker has seven microphones which are arrayed so the cylindrical speaker can pick up voice commands from far away or even in noisy rooms with lots of conversations going on.

Amazon says it is evaluating options to make cases such as happened to the Portland family less likely.

But given that Forrester predicts by 2020 almost 50% of American households will contain a smart speaker, expect more such confusions in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google’s robot assistant now makes eerily lifelike phone calls for you — from theguardian.com by Olivia Solon
Google Duplex contacts hair salon and restaurant in demo, adding ‘er’ and ‘mmm-hmm’ so listeners think it’s human

Excerpt:

Google’s virtual assistant can now make phone calls on your behalf to schedule appointments, make reservations in restaurants and get holiday hours.

The robotic assistant uses a very natural speech pattern that includes hesitations and affirmations such as “er” and “mmm-hmm” so that it is extremely difficult to distinguish from an actual human phone call.

The unsettling feature, which will be available to the public later this year, is enabled by a technology called Google Duplex, which can carry out “real world” tasks on the phone, without the other person realising they are talking to a machine. The assistant refers to the person’s calendar to find a suitable time slot and then notifies the user when an appointment is scheduled.

 

 

Google employees quit over the company’s military AI project — from thenextweb.com by Tristan Greene

Excerpt:

About a dozen Google employees reportedly left the company over its insistence on developing AI for the US military through a program called Project Maven. Meanwhile 4,000 others signed a petition demanding the company stop.

It looks like there’s some internal confusion over whether the company’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto covers making machine learning systems to aid warfare.

 

 

 

The link between big tech and defense work — from wired.com by Nitasha Tiku

Except:

FOR MONTHS, A growing faction of Google employees has tried to force the company to drop out of a controversial military program called Project Maven. More than 4,000 employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a petition asking Google to cancel the contract. Last week, Gizmodo reported that a dozen employees resigned over the project. “There are a bunch more waiting for job offers (like me) before we do so,” one engineer says. On Friday, employees communicating through an internal mailing list discussed refusing to interview job candidates in order to slow the project’s progress.

Other tech giants have recently secured high-profile contracts to build technology for defense, military, and intelligence agencies. In March, Amazon expanded its newly launched “Secret Region” cloud services supporting top-secret work for the Department of Defense. The same week that news broke of the Google resignations, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft locked down a deal with intelligence agencies. But there’s little sign of the same kind of rebellion among Amazon and Microsoft workers.

 

 

Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police — from wpxi.com by Gene Johnson

Excerpt:

Facebook SEATTLE (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to “easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone.”

The tool, called Rekognition, is already being used by at least one agency – the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon – to check photographs of unidentified suspects against a database of mug shots from the county jail, which is a common use of such technology around the country.

 

 

From DSC:
Google’s C-Suite — as well as the C-Suites at Microsoft, Amazon, and other companies — needs to be very careful these days, as they could end up losing the support/patronage of a lot of people — including more of their own employees. It’s not an easy task to know how best to build and use technologies in order to make the world a better place…to create a dream vs. a nightmare for our future. But just because we can build something, doesn’t mean we should.

 

 

The Complete Guide to Conversational Commerce | Everything you need to know. — from chatbotsmagazine.com by Matt Schlicht

Excerpt:

What is conversational commerce? Why is it such a big opportunity? How does it work? What does the future look like? How can I get started? These are the questions I’m going to answer for you right now.

The guide covers:

  • An introduction to conversational commerce.
  • Why conversational commerce is such a big opportunity.
  • Complete breakdown of how conversational commerce works.
  • Extensive examples of conversational commerce using chatbots and voicebots.
  • How artificial intelligence impacts conversational commerce.
  • What the future of conversational commerce will look like.

 

Definition: Conversational commerce is an automated technology, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that enables online shoppers and brands to interact with one another via chat and voice interfaces.

 

 

 

Notes from the AI frontier: Applications and value of deep learning — from mckinsey.com by Michael Chui, James Manyika, Mehdi Miremadi, Nicolaus Henke, Rita Chung, Pieter Nel, and Sankalp Malhotra

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as a transformational technology of our digital age—and its practical application throughout the economy is growing apace. For this briefing, Notes from the AI frontier: Insights from hundreds of use cases (PDF–446KB), we mapped both traditional analytics and newer “deep learning” techniques and the problems they can solve to more than 400 specific use cases in companies and organizations. Drawing on McKinsey Global Institute research and the applied experience with AI of McKinsey Analytics, we assess both the practical applications and the economic potential of advanced AI techniques across industries and business functions. Our findings highlight the substantial potential of applying deep learning techniques to use cases across the economy, but we also see some continuing limitations and obstacles—along with future opportunities as the technologies continue their advance. Ultimately, the value of AI is not to be found in the models themselves, but in companies’ abilities to harness them.

It is important to highlight that, even as we see economic potential in the use of AI techniques, the use of data must always take into account concerns including data security, privacy, and potential issues of bias.

  1. Mapping AI techniques to problem types
  2. Insights from use cases
  3. Sizing the potential value of AI
  4. The road to impact and value

 

 

 

AI for Good — from re-work.co by Ali Shah, Head of Emerging Technology and Strategic Direction – BBC

 

 

 

Algorithms are making the same mistakes assessing credit scores that humans did a century ago — from qz.com by Rachel O’Dwyer

 

 

 

 

Microsoft’s meeting room of the future is wild — from theverge.com by Tom Warren
Transcription, translation, and identification

Excerpts:

Microsoft just demonstrated a meeting room of the future at the company’s Build developer conference.

It all starts with a 360-degree camera and microphone array that can detect anyone in a meeting room, greet them, and even transcribe exactly what they say in a meeting regardless of language.

Microsoft takes the meeting room scenario even further, though. The company is using its artificial intelligence tools to then act on what meeting participants say.

 

 

From DSC:
Whoa! Many things to think about here. Consider the possibilities for global/blended/online-based learning (including MOOCs) with technologies associated with translation, transcription, and identification.

 

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2018 | Daniel Christian