Google, Amazon Find Not Everyone Is Ready for AI — from wired.com by Tom Simonite

Excerpt:

Yet as Amazon and Google seek greater riches by infusing the world with artificial intelligence, they’ve started their own consulting operations, lending out some of their prized AI talent to customers. The reason: Those other businesses lack the expertise to take advantage of techniques such as machine learning.

The expertise shortage upsets the usual dynamic of the cloud market, where Amazon, Google, and others mostly compete on price and technical features. “If you’re a random manufacturing company in the midwest you may have money, but it’s hard to attract a $250,000-a-year Stanford PhD to work for you,” says Diego Oppenheimer, whose Google-backed startup provides tools that help companies deploy machine-learning software. Companies in that situation may be more swayed by an offer of help building AI, than pricing and performance, he says.

 

 

 

 

The 10 Best AR Apps for Classrooms Using Apple’s New ARKit — from edsurge.com by Jaime Donally

Excerpts:

The ARKit is often mistaken as a single app, but it’s actually a tool for developers to create their own apps. Already, it has opened up the AR floodgates for newer Apple devices, and developers have been showcasing their new apps on social media using the hashtag #ARKit. The latest apps include technology that simulate realistic experiences, making AR more useful than ever in our daily lives.

While testing some apps before the release of iOS 11, I was overwhelmed with the educational potential and benefit for our students contained in this technology. I found some incredible apps that blew the roof off of our classroom walls, as well as some that provided minimal benefit.

Here, I’ve made my list of top 10 recommended ARKit apps (as of today) that can drastically transform our lessons and the interactions with content. While I’ve tried to explain the value of these tools, there are some instances where you simply need to see it to believe it, so I’ve included my experience on video using some of the apps to provide further insights whenever possible.

 

From DSC:
I wonder if teams involved in creating/enhancing learning spaces might benefit from using magicplan (1 of the 10 apps mentioned) for quick floor plans and ideas:

The award winning magicplan app lets you create professional floor plans simply by taking pictures. Use magicplan to generate complete job estimates, view your space in 3D, plan DIY projects, or furnish your home. Create floor plans in minutes and edit them with ease. Add objects, photos, annotations, product price lists, tasks, and taxes in a single tap. Purchase your floor plans to get them in PDF, JPG, DXF, PNG, SVG, and CSV formats. Share them with any magicplan user. View them in 3D. Publish them as interactive floor plans on the web – or store them on the MagicPlan Cloud to view and edit them on multiple devices.

 

 

 

 

 

AI and Internet of Things will drive digital transformation through 2020 — from zdnet.com by Courtney Sato
Research study reveals IoT, AI and synchronous ledger tech (blockchain) priorities.

Excerpt:

Businesses are investing heavily in the Internet of Things (IoT) while remaining cautious about investments in artificial intelligence (AI), reveals the Constellation Research 2017 Digital Transformation Study. However, Constellation expects AI to emerge in 2018 as the predominant area of technological experimentation due to the increasing availability of AI development kits and frameworks.

Nearly half of respondents of the Constellation 2017 Digital Transformation Survey said their organization either had an established IoT strategy with applications in production (19 percent) or have pilot projects underway (28 percent). In contrast, just 25 percent of executives said they were investing in AI.

 

Investmet in AI Digital Transformation
 

 

Highlights:

  • Charging ahead with IoT
  • Cautious about AI for now
  • Blockchain remains enigmatic
  • Appetite for cloud and big data grow to support digital transformation
  • Digital transformation goes mainstream
  • Digital transformation focuses on digital business
  • The war for talent intensifies

 

 

 

From DSC:
I know Quentin Schultze from our years working together at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA). I have come to greatly appreciate Quin as a person of faith, as an innovative/entrepreneurial professor, as a mentor to his former students, and as an excellent communicator. 

Quin has written a very concise, wisdom-packed book that I would like to recommend to those people who are seeking to be better communicators, leaders, and servants. But I would especially like to recommend this book to the leadership at Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Nvidia, the major companies developing robots, and other high-tech companies. Why do I list these organizations? Because given the exponential pace of technological change, these organizations — and their leaders — have an enormous responsibility to make sure that the technologies that they are developing result in positive changes for societies throughout the globe. They need wisdom, especially as they are working on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), personal assistants and bots, algorithms, robotics, the Internet of Things, big data, blockchain and more. These technologies continue to exert an increasingly powerful influence on numerous societies throughout the globe today. And we haven’t seen anything yet! Just because we can develop and implement something, doesn’t mean that we should. Again, we need wisdom here.

But as Quin states, it’s not just about knowledge, the mind and our thoughts. It’s about our hearts as well. That is, we need leaders who care about others, who can listen well to others, who can serve others well while avoiding gimmicks, embracing diversity, building trust, fostering compromise and developing/exhibiting many of the other qualities that Quin writes about in his book. Our societies desperately need leaders who care about others and who seek to serve others well.

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Quin’s book. There are few people who can communicate as much in as few words as Quin can. In fact, I wish that more writing on the web and more articles/research coming out of academia would be as concisely and powerfully written as Quin’s book, Communicate Like a True Leader: 30 Days of Life-Changing Wisdom.

 

 

To lead is to accept responsibility and act responsibly.
Quentin Schultze

 

 

 

AWS and Microsoft announce Gluon, making deep learning accessible to all developers — from news.microsoft.com
New open source deep learning interface allows developers to more easily and quickly build machine learning models without compromising training performance. Jointly developed reference specification makes it possible for Gluon to work with any deep learning engine; support for Apache MXNet available today and support for Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit coming soon.

Excerpt:

SEATTLE and REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 12, 2017 — On Thursday, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced a new deep learning library, called Gluon, that allows developers of all skill levels to prototype, build, train and deploy sophisticated machine learning models for the cloud, devices at the edge and mobile apps. The Gluon interface currently works with Apache MXNet and will support Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK) in an upcoming release. With the Gluon interface, developers can build machine learning models using a simple Python API and a range of prebuilt, optimized neural network components. This makes it easier for developers of all skill levels to build neural networks using simple, concise code, without sacrificing performance. AWS and Microsoft published Gluon’s reference specification so other deep learning engines can be integrated with the interface. To get started with the Gluon interface, visit https://github.com/gluon-api/gluon-api/.

 

 

Microsoft and Amazon struck a brilliant partnership to take on Google in the next big thing for cloud computing  — from finance.yahoo.com Business Insider by Julie Bort

Excerpt:

  • Microsoft and Amazon announced a surprise partnership on Thursday in which they were jointly releasing for free a new software tool for developers called Gluon.
  • Gluon makes it easier for developers to build AI/machine learning systems, aka apps that can learn.
  • But there’s another, more important reason this partnership is interesting: it challenges Google in its one big area of dominance.

 

 

 

 

Faculty Predict Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality Will Be Key to Ed Tech in 10 Years — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
Faculty in our 2017 Teaching with Technology Survey believe tech will play a positive role in the future of higher education — but some technologies will be more important than others.

Excerpt:

What technologies do faculty think will be important in education over the next decade? The most popular answer to that question by far was virtual/augmented/mixed reality, garnering 81 percent of responses (it topped the list last year as well). Mobile devices and apps, 3D modeling/scanning/printing, adaptive/personalized learning and video/streaming all rounded out the top five.

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Great to see several of these items made the list. I would also add:

  • The use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to allow more voice-enabled and voice-driven applications
  • Learning agents/bots (for example, a learning-related bot could go find out the top 50-100 jobs that employers are hiring for and present a list of potential digital playlists from a variety of providers that would help potential employees be able to do the work in those positions)
  • Blockchain and the use of web-based learner profiles
  • Artificial Intelligence / cognitive computing (which could be argued is already mentioned in the item re: adaptive, personalized learning)
  • Moving towards providing up-to-date streams of content (for purposes of lifelong learning and microlearning)

 Finally, it was great to see #9 on the list as I, too, believe that a next gen learning platform is needed:

 

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

 

 

 

Technology Moves to the Head of the 21st Century Classroom — from technologyreview.com

 

Tomorrow’s jobs will demand collaborative workers steeped in hands-on problem solving. To that end, digital learning is leveling the playing field for far-flung disadvantaged students who previously would have had no chance to be part of this new workforce, as well as boosting the skills of students and workers closer to home. Cloud, virtualization, and software-defined networking—along with consumer electronic devices—are among the many advanced technologies enabling this development.

 

Excerpt:

The potent combination of globalization and digital transformation is upending the requirements for tomorrow’s workforce, underscoring the need for programs like the VMware-powered curriculum at the LEAP school. Such digital learning initiatives shift emphasis away from rote book- and lecture-style teaching to interactive experiences focused on collaboration, personalized content, and hands-on problem solving. The ability to leverage core IT infrastructure such as virtualized servers, networking, and storage, in concert with mobile technology, enables students in remote communities from Diepsloot to rural America to participate in digital learning experiences to which they previously had no access.

New learning prototypes are critical as the accelerated pace of change disrupts traditional business models and creates new 21st century jobs that demand different skill sets. According to a World Economic report, 35 percent of core workplace skills will change between 2015 and 2020, with complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration in high demand. At the same time, the report found that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t currently exist, underscoring the need for new skills training using hands-on and exploratory learning techniques.

 

 

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 


Also see:

Chatbots — The Beginners Guide
 — from chatbotsmagazine.com

Excerpt:

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

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

 


 

 

 

 

 

The Business of Artificial Intelligence — from hbr.org by Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The most important general-purpose technology of our era is artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning (ML) — that is, the machine’s ability to keep improving its performance without humans having to explain exactly how to accomplish all the tasks it’s given. Within just the past few years machine learning has become far more effective and widely available. We can now build systems that learn how to perform tasks on their own.

Why is this such a big deal? Two reasons. First, we humans know more than we can tell: We can’t explain exactly how we’re able to do a lot of things — from recognizing a face to making a smart move in the ancient Asian strategy game of Go. Prior to ML, this inability to articulate our own knowledge meant that we couldn’t automate many tasks. Now we can.

Second, ML systems are often excellent learners. They can achieve superhuman performance in a wide range of activities, including detecting fraud and diagnosing disease. Excellent digital learners are being deployed across the economy, and their impact will be profound.

In the sphere of business, AI is poised have a transformational impact, on the scale of earlier general-purpose technologies. Although it is already in use in thousands of companies around the world, most big opportunities have not yet been tapped. The effects of AI will be magnified in the coming decade, as manufacturing, retailing, transportation, finance, health care, law, advertising, insurance, entertainment, education, and virtually every other industry transform their core processes and business models to take advantage of machine learning. The bottleneck now is in management, implementation, and business imagination.

The machine learns from examples, rather than being explicitly programmed for a particular outcome.

 

Let’s start by exploring what AI is already doing and how quickly it is improving. The biggest advances have been in two broad areas: perception and cognition. …For instance, Aptonomy and Sanbot, makers respectively of drones and robots, are using improved vision systems to automate much of the work of security guards. 

 

 

Machine learning is driving changes at three levels: tasks and occupations, business processes, and business models. 

 

 

You may have noticed that Facebook and other apps now recognize many of your friends’ faces in posted photos and prompt you to tag them with their names.

 

 

 

The case for a next generation learning platform [Grush & Christian]

 

The case for a next generation learning platform — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush & Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Grush: Then what are some of the implications you could draw from metrics like that one?

Christian: As we consider all the investment in those emerging technologies, the question many are beginning to ask is, “How will these technologies impact jobs and the makeup of our workforce in the future?”

While there are many thoughts and questions regarding the cumulative impact these technologies will have on our future workforce (e.g., “How many jobs will be displaced?”), the consensus seems to be that there will be massive change.

Whether our jobs are completely displaced or if we will be working alongside robots, chatbots, workbots, or some other forms of AI-backed personal assistants, all of us will need to become lifelong learners — to be constantly reinventing ourselves. This assertion is also made in the aforementioned study from McKinsey: “AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers. The workforce needs to be re-skilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it…”

 

 

A side note from DSC:
I began working on this vision prior to 2010…but I didn’t officially document it until 2012.

 

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
  • A customizable learning environment that will offer up-to-date streams of regularly curated content (i.e., microlearning) as well as engaging learning experiences
  • Along these lines, a lifelong learner can opt to receive an RSS feed on a particular topic until they master that concept; periodic quizzes (i.e., spaced repetition) determines that mastery. Once mastered, the system will ask the learner whether they still want to receive that particular stream of content or not.
  • A Netflix-like interface to peruse and select plugins to extend the functionality of the core product
  • 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)
  • (Potentially) Integration with one-on-one tutoring services

Further details here >>

 

 

 



Addendum from DSC (regarding the resource mentioned below):
Note the voice recognition/control mechanisms on Westinghouse’s new product — also note the integration of Amazon’s Alexa into a “TV.”



 

Westinghouse’s Alexa-equipped Fire TV Edition smart TVs are now available — from theverge.com by Chaim Gartenberg

 

The key selling point, of course, is the built-in Amazon Fire TV, which is controlled with the bundled Voice Remote and features Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

 

 

 

Finally…also see:

  • NASA unveils a skill for Amazon’s Alexa that lets you ask questions about Mars — from geekwire.com by Kevin Lisota
  • Holographic storytelling — from jwtintelligence.com
    The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.
    New Dimensions in Testimony is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.  Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), people are able to ask Gutter’s projected image questions that trigger relevant responses.

 

 

 

 

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