From DSC:
After reading the item below, I wondered:

Should technical communicators, trainers, and help desk personnel get trained on how to design and develop “workbots?”


 

Forget chatbots — you should create a workbot instead — from venturebeat.com by Oren Ariel; with thanks to Thomas Frey for his tweet on this

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

But what about employee-to-company interaction through bots? Chatbots designed for the work environment, or workbots, could become the next step function in work productivity.

Workbots could be the cure for what’s often called “app fatigue.”

They work within the corporate messenger environment (such as Jabber, Skype for Business, Slack, and others) and respond to commands and questions in natural language, whether typed or dictated. They have access to all the corporate information needed to get the job done and can perform complex tasks across multiple systems. The workbot knows what tasks are executed in which back-end system, so the user doesn’t have to know. Because bots rely on natural language processing (NLP) — the ability of humans to interact with computers using free-form language — workbots can help an employee get to the starting point quickly and without any training, in the same way a search engine would, and then help guide the user through the task in a step-by-step fashion.

Chat is no longer just about communication, it’s about bringing the user information.

 

 

 

The future of work: Death of the single skill set in the age of automation — from forbes.com by Jeanne Meister

Excerpt:

The future of work is here today, and the nature of both manufacturing and knowledge jobs will never be the same. According to a McKinsey analysis of 2,000 different work activities across 800 occupations, automation will change virtually every job across all occupations. Specifically, McKinsey found that in about 60% of occupations, 30% of tasks could be handed over to robots and bots. “More occupations will change,” the report concludes, “than will be automated away.”

Other sources have predicted that automation of professional knowledge economy jobs in the United States will be more than 10 times as large as the number of manufacturing jobs automated to date.

 

 

So how does one prepare for this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world of work? I believe by understanding a simple fact: across many jobs there is a “death of a single skill set,” and what has made you employable today will not be enough to ensure you are employable tomorrow.

 

 

According to recent research by MIT,  90% of executives believe their businesses are being disrupted or reinvented by digital business models, and 70% believe they do not have the right skills.

 

 

 

AIG teams with IBM to use blockchain for ‘smart’ insurance policy — from reuters.com by Suzanne Barlyn

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Insurer American International Group Inc has partnered with International Business Machines Corp to develop a “smart” insurance policy that uses blockchain to manage complex international coverage, the companies said on Wednesday.

AIG and IBM completed a pilot of a so-called “smart contract” multi-national policy for Standard Chartered Bank PLC which the companies said is the first of its kind using blockchain’s digital ledger technology.

IBM has been partnering with leading companies in various industries, including Danish transport company Maersk, to create blockchain-based products that can streamline complex international dealings across sectors.

 

Blockchain technology, which powers the digital currency bitcoin, enables data sharing across a network of individual computers. It has gained worldwide popularity due to its usefulness in recording and keeping track of assets or transactions across all industries.

 

 

From DSC:
Why post this item? Because IBM and others are experimenting with and investing millions into blockchain-based technologies; and because the manner in which credentials are stored and recognized will most likely be significantly impacted by blockchain-based technologies. Earlier this year at the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference in San Diego, I mentioned that this topic of blockchain-based technologies is something that should be on our radars within higher education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

3 trends that will disrupt your workplace forever — from gallup.com by Andrew Dugan and Bailey Nelson

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The AI revolution is here, and leaders are unprepared for its impact on employee engagement.

According to Gallup’s analysis, millennials are the generation most vulnerable to the threat of AI and automation, as they are disproportionately more likely to hold positions that Frey and Osborne estimate as having a strong likelihood to one day be replaced by this new technology. Nearly four in 10 millennials (37%) are at high risk of having their job replaced by automation, compared with 32% of those in the two older generations.

To proactively manage employees through the reality of AI integrating into their work environment, leaders need to better understand the nuances of the emotional toll that replacement risk takes on employees. For instance, Gallup finds that 34% of millennials whose jobs are at “medium” or “high” risk for robotic replacement say they are worried about either losing their job or having their job outsourced, compared with 27% of older generations — a statistically significant difference.

 

 

 

AR Menus Are Changing The Way We Order Food — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

 

 

 

Outlook for Augmented & Mixed Reality Remains Favorable — from next.reality.news by Tommy Palladino

Excerpt:

With many of the companies working in augmented and mixed reality focused on the Augmented World Expo, the finance side of the industry has been relatively quiet.

However, a pair of reports today signal that investors should remain happy for the foreseeable future. Both reports are available for purchase by those with the considerable means to do so.

Zion Market Research has compiled a report that projects the augmented reality market will grow to $133.78 billion by 2021.

The report, which we’ll abridge to “Augmented Reality (AR) Market…2015-2021” for brevity’s sake, measures the market’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) at 85.2 percent annually.

The market, which was valued at $3.33 billion in 2015, is comprised of hardware and components, such as sensors and displays, as well as software.

 

 

The Augmented World Expo proves AR isn’t ready for prime time, but it’s still pretty cool — from digitaltrends.com by Christian de Looper

Excerpt:

At the Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara, VR and AR companies showed off their latest and greatest products. Despite the numerous gadgets, and the huge growth we’ve seen from AWE since last year, our major takeaway is unfortunately a little pessimistic. It looks like AR isn’t going to hit mainstream audiences for quite some time. But there are plenty of groundbreaking AR and VR technologies that keep the field exciting, many of which made appearances at the show. Let’s take a look.

ZAPPAR IS DEMOCRATIZING AR
While AR technology is slowly but surely improving, it’s largely still irrelevant to the average consumer. One company, however is hoping to change that by doing for AR what Google Cardboard did for VR. The company is Zappar, and it actually launched on Kickstarter at the end of last year, raking in a hefty $84,356 — far more than its $30,000 funding goal.

ZapBox is an affordable yet effective way to experience AR. The package comes in at $30, and includes a cardboard headset with a slot for your phone’s camera, as well as an attachable lens adapter that basically increases the field-of-view of the camera, which is an important thing to note. It also comes with two controllers built from Cardboard, which the software can recognize as long as the controllers are in the view of the camera.

Augmented reality is a long way off from being consumer-ready, but it’s clear that there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes. Augmented World Expo is bigger every year — and in five years time it could be a totally different show. Until then, well, we’ll just have to settle for these cool-yet-niche advancements.

 

 

HoloKit is like Google Cardboard for augmented reality — from techcrunch.com by Devin Coldewey

Excerpt:

The revelation behind Google Cardboard was that if you put your phone close enough to your eyes, it’s basically a VR headset — but it’s not quite that simple for mixed reality setups like Microsoft’s HoloLens. Or is it? HoloKit is an extremely clever DIY solution for a quick and dirty augmented reality experience with a bare minimum of equipment.

The idea is really quite simple: Instead of a costly projection system, a pair of mirrors reflects the display of a smartphone onto an angled, semi-transparent Fresnel lens — so you see both the image and the world behind it. Meanwhile, the phone is in position to use its camera and sensors to track the world in front of you.

 

 

The Vive Is Finally Complete With This Deluxe Audio Strap — from vrscout.com by Jonathan Nafarrete

Excerpt:

Set to launch on June 6th for the price of $100, the Deluxe Audio Strap doesn’t just add headphones to your Vive headset, but dramatically improves the comfort and experience across the board.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
There are now more than 12,000+ skills on Amazon’s new platform — Alexa.  I continue to wonder…what will this new platform mean/deliver to societies throughout the globe?


 

From this Alexa Skills Kit page:

What Is an Alexa Skill?
Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices including Amazon Echo. Alexa provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to create a more personalized experience. There are now more than 12,000 skills from companies like Starbucks, Uber, and Capital One as well as innovative designers and developers.

What Is the Alexa Skills Kit?
With the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), designers, developers, and brands can build engaging skills and reach millions of customers. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that makes it fast and easy for you to add skills to Alexa. With ASK, you can leverage Amazon’s knowledge and pioneering work in the field of voice design.

You can build and host most skills for free using Amazon Web Services (AWS).

 

 

 


 

 

2017 Best Cities for Summer Internships — from goodcall.com

Excerpt:

Landing an internship is one of the best ways to get a head start on your career. In fact, a recent study from iCIMS showed that 70% of employers and recruiters say an internship is more important than a high GPA on a new grad’s resume.

But some places are definitely better than others when it comes to finding an internship. Students might find cities with more access to public transportation useful. And it’s hard to justify moving for an unpaid or low-pay internship to a city where rent is astronomical.

Those are just two of the metrics GoodCall analysts used to rank the 2017 Best Cities for Summer Internships. These are cities that have a high number of available internships per capita, where cost of living is reasonable and crime isn’t rampant. They’re also generally nice places to live, with abundant restaurants, bars and other amenities.

The top 10 Best Cities for Summer Internships were…

 

 

From DSC:
Though slightly older, this article has some solid advice that I think we in higher education need to heed as well.


 

The Importance of Continuing Education for Digital Leaders — from strategy-business.com by Chris Curran — with thanks to tweets by Cathryn Marsh and G Athanasakopoulos

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Whether you’re a newly minted MBA or an experienced leader, you’re always honing your skills and navigating change. And technology is one discipline in which you really can’t afford to stagnate. With digital transformation so central to strategy for most companies, all executives — especially CEOs — must embrace a learning mind-set. Gone are the days you can delegate the job of keeping up with technology to the IT staff.

Chief information officers (CIOs), of course, should regularly brief the management team and the board on new developments, demoing exciting new technology, bringing in external speakers and vendors, and using other tactics that promote tech learning and engagement. But keeping up on technology trends is also the responsibility of every executive. And while that can be daunting given the vast tech landscape and seemingly limitless avenues for learning, it’s also incredibly exciting.

 

 

Indeed, the art of continuous learning itself may be the most sought-after skill for tomorrow’s workforce as well as the key to solving tomorrow’s problems. 

 

 


From DSC:
Tapping into streams of content (via RSS feeds and/or with tools like Google Alerts) is key here. Developing your personal learning networks and your communities of practice are key here. The article also mentions MOOCs and online learning. which I would also add to the list of helpful tools/avenues to pursue.


 

 

The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training — from by Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson
As robots, automation and artificial intelligence perform more tasks and there is massive disruption of jobs, experts say a wider array of education and skills-building programs will be created to meet new demands. There are two uncertainties: Will well-prepared workers be able to keep up in the race with AI tools? And will market capitalism survive?

Excerpt:

Machines are eating humans’ jobs talents. And it’s not just about jobs that are repetitive and low-skill. Automation, robotics, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) in recent times have shown they can do equal or sometimes even better work than humans who are dermatologists, insurance claims adjusters, lawyers, seismic testers in oil fields, sports journalists and financial reporters, crew members on guided-missile destroyers, hiring managers, psychological testers, retail salespeople, and border patrol agents. Moreover, there is growing anxiety that technology developments on the near horizon will crush the jobs of the millions who drive cars and trucks, analyze medical tests and data, perform middle management chores, dispense medicine, trade stocks and evaluate markets, fight on battlefields, perform government functions, and even replace those who program software – that is, the creators of algorithms.

Several policy and market-based solutions have been promoted to address the loss of employment and wages forecast by technologists and economists. A key idea emerging from many conversations, including one of the lynchpin discussions at the World Economic Forum in 2016, is that changes in educational and learning environments are necessary to help people stay employable in the labor force of the future. Among the six overall findings in a new 184-page report from the National Academies of Sciences, the experts recommended: “The education system will need to adapt to prepare individuals for the changing labor market. At the same time, recent IT advances offer new and potentially more widely accessible ways to access education.”

 

 

In the next 10 years, do you think we will see the emergence of new educational and training programs that can successfully train large numbers of workers in the skills they will need to perform the jobs of the future?

 

 

 

 



From DSC:
The following questions (from the article) might be fodder for initial conversations regarding what changes need to immediately occur within higher education. Those changes might be to establish teams/task forces/etc. charged with answering these kinds of questions.

  • What are the most important skills needed to succeed in the workforce of the future?
  • Which of these skills can be taught effectively via online systems – especially those that are self-directed – and other nontraditional settings?
  • Which skills will be most difficult to teach at scale?
  • Will employers be accepting of applicants who rely on new types of credentialing systems, or will they be viewed as less qualified than those who have attended traditional four-year and graduate programs?

The following section further supports a vision that I’ve been tracking entitled, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” — where I see the “New Amazon.com of Higher Education” unfolding. Blockchain-based technologies will likely be involved here.

A diversifying education and credentialing ecosystem: Most of these experts expect the education marketplace – especially online learning platforms – to continue to change in an effort to accommodate the widespread needs.  Some predict employers will step up their own efforts to train and retrain workers. Many foresee a significant number of self-teaching  efforts by jobholders themselves as they take advantage of proliferating online opportunities.

Respondents see a new education and training ecosystem emerging in which some job preparation functions are performed by formal educational institutions in fairly traditional classroom settings, some elements are offered online, some are created by for-profit firms, some are free, some exploit augmented and virtual reality elements and gaming sensibilities, and a lot of real-time learning takes place in formats that job seekers pursue on their own.

A considerable number of respondents to this canvassing focused on the likelihood that the best education programs will teach people how to be lifelong learners. Accordingly, some say alternative credentialing mechanisms will arise to assess and vouch for the skills people acquire along the way.

 

 

DC: Many societies around the globe are looking at massive change coming at them. What changes should those of us working in higher education begin to make — immediately? In the longer term?

 



 

 

These respondents suggest that workers of the future will learn to deeply cultivate and exploit creativity, collaborative activity, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication, and the ability to thrive in diverse environments.

 

 



 

Addendum on 5/6/17:

  • How to Prepare for an Automated Future — from nytimes.com by Claire Cain Miller
    Excerpt:
    We don’t know how quickly machines will displace people’s jobs, or how many they’ll take, but we know it’s happening — not just to factory workers but also to money managers, dermatologists and retail workers. The logical response seems to be to educate people differently, so they’re prepared to work alongside the robots or do the jobs that machines can’t. But how to do that, and whether training can outpace automation, are open questions.

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems