10 really hard decisions coming our way — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Things are about to get interesting. You’ve likely heard that Google’s DeepMind recently beat the world’s best Go player. But in far more practical and pervasive ways, artificial intelligence (AI) is creeping into every aspect of life–every screen you view, every search, every purchase, and every customer service contact.

What’s happening? It’s the confluence of several technologies–Moore’s law made storage, computing, and access devices almost free.

This Venn diagram illustrates how deep learning is a subset of AI and how, when combined with big data, can inform enabling technologies in many sectors. For examples, to AI and big data add:

  • Robotics, and you have industry 4.0.
  • Cameras and sensor package, and you have self-driving cars.
  • Sensors and bioinformatic maps, and you have precision medicine.

While there is lots of good news here–diseases will be eradicated and clean energy will be produced–we have a problem: this stuff is moving faster than civic infrastructure can handle. Innovation is outpacing public policy on all fronts. The following are 10 examples of issues coming at us fast that we (in the US in particular) are not ready to deal with.

  1. Unemployment.
  2. Income inequality.
  3. Privacy
  4. Algorithmic bias.
  5. Access.
  6. Machine ethics. 
  7. Weaponization. 
  8. Humanity. 
  9. Genome editing.
  10. Bad AI.

 


From DSC:
Readers of this blog will know that I’m big on pulse-checking the pace of technological change — because it has enormous ramifications for societies throughout the globe, as well as for individuals, workforces, corporations, jobs, education, training, higher education and more. Readers of this blog will again hear me say that the pace of change has changed. We’re now on an exponential pace/trajectory (vs. a slow, steady, linear path).

“Innovation is outpacing public policy on all fronts.”

How true this is. Our society doesn’t know how to deal with this new pace of change. How shall we tackle this thorny issue?

 


 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Some of the largest waves of change that are hitting the beaches of numerous societies throughout the globe are coming from technological changes such as:

  • Artificial intelligence (which includes things like machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, personal assistants, bots, algorithms, and the like)
  • Big data and analytics
  • Robotics
  • The digital transformation of businesses
  • New forms of human computer interaction such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality
  • Mobile computing
  • Cloud computing
  • The Internet of Things
  • Wearables
  • …and more

But in all of these developments, what is common amongst them is that the pace of change has changed. It’s much faster now. In fact, we are no longer on a linear path of slow, steady, incremental changes. We are now on an exponential trajectory – or pace – of change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This new pace of change is starting to have profound implications for societies, individuals, institutions of higher education, and workforces throughout the globe. Some of these ramifications include:

  • Profound modifications to the existing workforce; in some cases, staff reductions
  • New fields, new positions
  • New skillsets that require highly-educated individuals as well as a massive amount of additional training for existing employees
  • New methods of learning and the requirement for lifelong, constant learning from here on out
  • The need to become more responsive and nimble
  • The need to pulse-check a variety of landscapes to ascertain the best potential strategies to pursue (in light of the potential upcoming scenarios)

Yet the changes aren’t just arising from technological changes. For institutions of higher education, there have been other areas of change that bring with them significant impact, such as:

  • Decreases in state funding
  • The increasing costs of healthcare and benefits for faculty, staff, and administrators
  • Headwinds from demographic-related declines (depending upon one’s geographic location)
  • Aging facilities and infrastructures
  • …and more.

Navigating these rough waters is not easy. But the key questions now are:

  • Is your institution poised to ride the waves of change or is it about to get crushed by these same waves?

 

  • Is someone at your organization looking out for these oncoming waves?
    That is, is someone pulse-checking a variety of landscapes to ascertain the trends that are developing, trends that could significantly impact your institution and/or your students?

 

  • What are some of the ways that your organization could respond to these waves of change to positively impact the following parties?
    • Your organization
      What new programs could be offered at your institution? How is the level of responsiveness at your institution to these changes?
    • Your students
      Many jobs that your students will have in their futures haven’t even been invented yet. How can you best develop them to be ready for the new, exponential pace of change? How are you helping your graduates who (increasingly) need to come back to your institution and reinvent themselves – quickly, conveniently, and cost-effectively?
    • Your employees
      Given all of this change, the professional growth of your own faculty members, staff, and members of your administration is extremely important. How are you looking after their growth?

 

  • Would you use the word “innovative” to describe the culture of your organization? That is, is your institution willing to experiment and take some calculated risks? To take no action or risks in the current environment is likely the biggest risk of all.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
In Part I, I looked at the new, exponential pace of change that colleges, community colleges and universities now need to deal with – observing the enormous changes that are starting to occur throughout numerous societies around the globe. If we were to plot out the rate of change, we would see that we are no longer on a slow, steady, incremental type of linear pathway; but, instead, we would observe that we are now on an exponential trajectory (as the below graphic from sparks & honey very nicely illustrates).

 

 

How should colleges and universities deal with this new, exponential pace of change?

1) I suggest that you ensure that someone in your institution is lifting their gaze and peering out into the horizons, to see what’s coming down the pike. That person – or more ideally, persons – should also be looking around them, noticing what’s going on within the current landscapes of higher education. Regardless of how your institution tackles this task, given that we are currently moving at an incredibly fast pace, this trend analysis is very important. The results from this analysis should immediately be integrated into your strategic plan. Don’t wait 3-5 years to integrate these new findings into your plan. The new, exponential pace of change is going to reward those organizations who are nimble and responsive.

2) I recommend that you look at what programs you are offering and consider if you should be developing additional programs such as those that deal with:

  • Artificial Intelligence (Natural Language Processing, deep learning, machine learning, bots)
  • New forms of Human Computer Interaction such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality
  • User Experience Design, User Interface Design, and/or Interaction Design
  • Big data, data science, working with data
  • The Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications, sensors, beacons, etc.
  • Blockchain-based technologies/systems
  • The digital transformation of business
  • Freelancing / owning your own business / entrepreneurship (see this article for the massive changes happening now!)
  • …and more

3) If you are not already doing so, I recommend that you immediately move to offer a robust lineup of online-based programs. Why do I say this? Because:

  • Without them, your institution may pay a heavy price due to its diminishing credibility. Your enrollments could decline if learners (and their families) don’t think they will get solid jobs coming out of your institution. If the public perceives you as a dinosaur/out of touch with what the workplace requires, your enrollment/admissions groups may find meeting their quotas will get a lot harder as the years go on. You need to be sending some cars down the online/digital/virtual learning tracks. (Don’t get me wrong. We still need the liberal arts. However, even those institutions who offer liberal arts lineups will still need to have a healthy offering of online-based programs.)
  • Online-based learning methods can expand the reach of your faculty members while offering chances for individuals throughout the globe to learn from you, and you from them
  • Online-based learning programs can increase your enrollments, create new revenue streams, and develop/reach new markets
  • Online-based learning programs have been proven to offer the same learning gains – and sometimes better learning results than – what’s being achieved in face-to-face based classrooms
  • The majority of pedagogically-related innovations are occurring within the online/digital/virtual realm, and you will want to have built the prior experience, expertise, and foundations in order to leverage and benefit from them
  • Faculty take their learning/experiences from offering online-based courses back into their face-to-face courses
  • Due to the increasing price of obtaining a degree, students often need to work to help get them (at least part of the way) through school; thus, flexibility is becoming increasingly important and necessary for students
  • An increasing number of individuals within the K-12 world as well as the corporate world are learning via online-based means. This is true within higher education as well, as, according to a recent report from Digital Learning Compass states that “the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 now tops six million, about 30% of all enrollments.”
  • Families are looking very closely at their return on investments being made within the world of higher education. They want to see that their learners are being prepared for the ever-changing future that they will encounter. If people in the workforce often learn online, then current students should be getting practice in that area of their learning ecosystems as well.
  • As the (mostly) online-based Amazon.com is thriving and retail institutions such as Sears continue to close, people are in the process of forming more generalized expectations that could easily cross over into the realm of higher education. By the way, here’s how our local Sears building is looking these days…or what’s left of it.

 

 

 

4) I recommend that you move towards offering more opportunities for lifelong learning, as learners need to constantly add to their skillsets and knowledge base in order to remain marketable in today’s workforce. This is where adults greatly appreciate – and need – the greater flexibility offered by online-based means of learning. I’m not just talking about graduate programs or continuing studies types of programs here. Rather, I’m hoping that we can move towards providing streams of up-to-date content that learners can subscribe to at any time (and can drop their subscription to at any time). As a relevant side note here, keep your eyes on blockchain-based technologies here.

5) Consider the role of consortia and pooling resources. How might that fit into your strategic plan?

6) Consider why bootcamps continue to come onto the landscape.  What are traditional institutions of higher education missing here?

7) And lastly, if one doesn’t already exist, form a small, nimble, innovative group within your organization — what I call a TrimTab Group — to help identify what will and won’t work for your institution.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 — from Gartner Research

Summary

  • The intelligent digital mesh is a foundation for future digital business and its ecosystems. To create competitive advantage, enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders must evaluate these top trends to identify opportunities that their organizations can exploit.

Key Findings

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) delivers value to every industry, enabling new business models. It does so by supporting key initiatives such as customer engagement, digital production, smart cities, self-driving cars, risk management, computer vision and speech recognition.
  • As people, places, processes and “things” become increasingly digitalized, they will be represented by digital twins. This will provide fertile ground for new event-driven business processes and digitally enabled business models and ecosystems.
  • The way we interact with technology will undergo a radical transformation over the next five to 10 years. Conversational platforms, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality will provide more natural and immersive interactions with the digital world.
  • A digital business is event-centric, which means it must be continuously sensing and adapting. The same applies to the security and risk infrastructure that supports it, which must focus on deceiving potential intruders and predicting security events.

Table of Contents

Analysis

Trend No. 1: AI Foundation
Today’s AI Is Narrow AI

Trend No. 2: Intelligent Apps and Analytics
Augmented Analytics Will Enable Users to Spend More Time Acting on Insights

Trend No. 3: Intelligent Things
Swarms of Intelligent Things Will Work Together

Trend No. 4: Digital Twins
Digital Twins Will Be Linked to Other Digital Entities

Trend No. 5: Cloud to the Edge
Edge Computing Brings Distributed Computing Into the Cloud Style

Trend No. 6: Conversational Platforms
Integration With Third-Party Services Will Further Increase Usefulness

Trend No. 7: Immersive Experience
VR and AR Can Help Increase Productivity

Trend No. 8: Blockchain
Blockchain Offers Significant Potential Long-Term Benefits Despite Its Challenges

Trend No. 9: Event-Driven Model
Events Will Become More Important in the Intelligent Digital Mesh

Trend No. 10: Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust
Barriers Must Come Down Between Security and Application Teams

Gartner Recommended Reading

 

 



Also see:

 


 

 

 

 

100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2021 — from Gartner

From DSC:
I just wanted to include some excerpts (see below) from Gartner’s 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2021 report. I do so to illustrate how technology’s impact continues to expand/grow in influence throughout many societies around the globe, as well as to say that if you want a sure thing job in the next 1-15 years, I would go into studying data science and/or artificial intelligence!

 



Excerpts:

As evidenced by its pervasiveness within our vast array of recently published Predicts 2017 research, it is clear that data and analytics are increasingly critical elements across most industries, business functions and IT disciplines. Most significantly, data and analytics are key to a successful digital business. This collection of more than 100 data-and-analytics-related Strategic Planning Assumptions (SPAs) or predictions through 2021, heralds several transformations and challenges ahead that CIOs and data and analytics leaders should embrace and include in their planning for successful strategies. Common themes across the discipline in general, and within particular business functions and industries, include:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a core business and analytic competency. Beyond yesteryear’s hard-coded algorithms and manual data science activities, machine learning (ML) promises to transform business processes, reconfigure workforces, optimize infrastructure behavior and blend industries through rapidly improved decision making and process optimization.
  • Natural language is beginning to play a dual role in many organizations and applications as a source of input for analytic and other applications, and a variety of output, in addition to traditional analytic visualizations.
  • Information itself is being recognized as a corporate asset (albeit not yet a balance sheet asset), prompting organizations to become more disciplined about monetizing, managing and measuring it as they do with other assets. This includes “spending” it like cash, selling/licensing it to others, participating in emerging data marketplaces, applying asset management principles to improve its quality and availability, and quantifying its value and risks in a variety of ways.
  • Smart devices that both produce and consume Internet of Things (IoT) data will also move intelligent computing to the edge of business functions, enabling devices in almost every industry to operate and interact with humans and each other without a centralized command and control. The resulting opportunities for innovation are unbounded.
  • Trust becomes the watchword for businesses, devices and information, leading to the creation of digital ethics frameworks, accreditation and assessments. Most attempts at leveraging blockchain as a trust mechanism fail until technical limitations, particularly performance, are solved.

Education
Significant changes to the global education landscape have taken shape in 2016, and spotlight new and interesting trends for 2017 and beyond. “Predicts 2017: Education Gets Personal” is focused on several SPAs, each uniquely contributing to the foundation needed to create the digitalized education environments of the future. Organizations and institutions will require new strategies to leverage existing and new technologies to maximize benefits to the organization in fresh and
innovative ways.

  • By 2021, more than 30% of institutions will be forced to execute on a personalization strategy to maintain student enrollment.
  • By 2021, the top 100 higher education institutions will have to adopt AI technologies to stay competitive in research.

Artificial Intelligence
Business and IT leaders are stepping up to a broad range of opportunities enabled by AI, including autonomous vehicles, smart vision systems, virtual customer assistants, smart (personal) agents and natural-language processing. Gartner believes that this new general-purpose technology is just beginning a 75-year technology cycle that will have far-reaching implications for every industry. In “Predicts 2017: Artificial Intelligence,” we reflect on the near-term opportunities, and the potential burdens and risks that organizations face in exploiting AI. AI is changing the way in which organizations innovate and communicate their processes, products and services.

Practical strategies for employing AI and choosing the right vendors are available to data and analytics leaders right now.

  • By 2019, more than 10% of IT hires in customer service will mostly write scripts for bot interactions.
  • Through 2020, organizations using cognitive ergonomics and system design in new AI projects will achieve long-term success four times more often than others.
  • By 2020, 20% of companies will dedicate workers to monitor and guide neural networks.
  • By 2019, startups will overtake Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft in driving the AI economy with disruptive business solutions.
  • By 2019, AI platform services will cannibalize revenues for 30% of market-leading companies. “Predicts 2017: Drones”
  • By 2020, the top seven commercial drone manufacturers will all offer analytical software packages.
    “Predicts 2017: The Reinvention of Buying Behavior in Vertical-Industry Markets”
  • By 2021, 30% of net new revenue growth from industry-specific solutions will include AI technology.

Advanced Analytics and Data Science
Advanced analytics and data science are fast becoming mainstream solutions and competencies in most organizations, even supplanting traditional BI and analytics resources and budgets. They allow more types of knowledge and insights to be extracted from data. To become and remain competitive, enterprises must seek to adopt advanced analytics, and adapt their business models, establish specialist data science teams and rethink their overall strategies to keep pace with the competition. “Predicts 2017: Analytics Strategy and Technology” offers advice on overall strategy, approach and operational transformation to algorithmic business that leadership needs to build to reap the benefits.

  • By 2018, deep learning (deep neural networks [DNNs]) will be a standard component in 80% of data scientists’ tool boxes.
  • By 2020, more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated, resulting in increased productivity and broader usage by citizen data scientists.
  • By 2019, natural-language generation will be a standard feature of 90% of modern BI and analytics platforms.
  • By 2019, 50% of analytics queries will be generated using search, natural-language query or voice, or will be autogenerated.
  • By 2019, citizen data scientists will surpass data scientists in the amount of advanced analysis
    produced.

 

 

By 2020, 95% of video/image content will never be viewed by humans; instead, it will be vetted by machines that provide some degree of automated analysis.

 

 

Through 2020, lack of data science professionals will inhibit 75% of organizations from achieving the full potential of IoT.

 

 

 

 

Google’s jobs AI service hits private beta, now works in 100 languages — from venturebeat.com by Blair Hanley Frank

Excerpt:

Google today announced the beta release of its Cloud Job Discovery service, which uses artificial intelligence to help customers connect job vacancies with the people who can fill them.

Formerly known as the Cloud Jobs API, the system is designed to take information about open positions and help job seekers take better advantage of it. For example, Cloud Job Discovery can take a plain language query and help translate that to the specific jargon employers use to describe their positions, something that can be hard for potential employees to navigate.

As part of this beta release, Google announced that Cloud Job Discovery is now designed to work with applicant-tracking systems and staffing agencies, in addition to job boards and career site providers like CareerBuilder.

It also now works in 100 languages. While the service is still primarily aimed at customers in the U.S., some of Google’s existing clients need support for multiple languages. In the future, the company plans to expand the Cloud Job Discovery service internationally, so investing in language support now makes sense going forward.

 



From DSC:
Now tie this type of job discovery feature into a next generation learning platform, helping people identify which skills they need to get jobs in their local area(s). Provide a list of courses/modules/RSS feeds to get them started. Allow folks to subscribe to constant streams of content and unsubscribe to them at any time as well.

 

 

We MUST move to lifelong, constant learning via means that are highly accessible, available 24×7, and extremely cost effective. Blockchain-based technologies will feed web-based learner profiles, which each of us will determine who can write to our learning profile and who can review it as well.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 



Addendum on 9/29/17:



  • Facebook partners with ZipRecruiter and more aggregators as it ramps up in jobs — from techcrunch.com by Ingrid Lunden
    Excerpt:
    Facebook has made no secret of its wish to do more in the online recruitment market — encroaching on territory today dominated by LinkedIn, the leader in tapping social networking graphs to boost job-hunting. Today, Facebook is taking the next step in that process.
    Facebook will now integrate with ZipRecruiter — an aggregator that allows those looking to fill jobs to post ads to many traditional job boards, as well as sites like LinkedIn, Google and Twitter — to boost the number of job ads available on its platform targeting its 2 billion monthly active users.
    The move follows Facebook launching its first job ads earlier this year, and later appearing to be interested in augmenting that with more career-focused features, such as a platform to connect people looking for mentors with those looking to offer mentorship.

 

 

 

These Are the Skills of the Future, According to 39 Industry Experts — from linkedin.com by Paul Petrone

Excerpts:

There’s a misconception out there that the future of work will be robots and artificial intelligence automating all the jobs, leaving nothing for majority of the world’s citizens to do.

History says that’s not the case. Over the past 120 years, there have been incredible technological advancements – cars, personal computers, the internet, smartphones, etc. – that have automated or eliminated aspects of nearly every job. But jobs haven’t gone away; instead, they’ve generally become more complex or changed scope, requiring new skills to complete them.

Hence, over the next five years, with AI and other technologies changing the market, jobs won’t go away. But the skills needed to do most jobs will change (and, in many cases, change drastically).

This sounds scary, but it really isn’t. Preparing for the future merely requires a commitment to learning – one of the most empowering activities a person can engage in. And, with all this change comes great opportunity. So, if you commit to learning and stay ahead of your industry, you’ll put yourself in position to reach your goals – regardless of where you stand now.

And while those answers were all specific to their individual fields, there were three skills we saw again and again that apply to all professionals moving forward. They are:

* A growth mindset
* Strategy
* Employee empowerment

 

 

 

Ginni Rometty on the End of Programming — from bloomberg.com by Megan Murphy
The IBM chief dares to imagine what Watson will be when it grows up, and reaffirms her pledge to hire 25,000 people over the next four years.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Do you feel we’re going to get to a point where AI will displace more jobs than it creates and we’re not doing enough to push forward with the jobs of the future?

I do believe that when it comes to complete job replacement, it will be a very small percentage. When it comes to changing a job and what you do, it will be 100 percent. “Whoa, different skills. Everybody is going to have to have a different skill because it’s going to be a threat in all our jobs.” Let me just park that thought. I want to come back to something I think that’s far more important and is related. The issue of skills is front and center in this country and many countries in the world right now without AI. We already have a world that’s bifurcating between haves and have-nots, and a lot of that is based on education and skills. This country has 5 million to 6 million jobs open. That’s about skill. This is not being caused by AI. We’ve got to revamp education for this era of man and machine. And that means you cannot insist that every person needs to be a university or a Ph.D. graduate to be productive in society. You cannot. It’s not true by the way. We’ve proven that.

You started a six-year high school program. This is a program where they take people through four years of high school, two years of a college equivalent, and then hopefully give them preference in getting into the workforce, again to work with IBM.

In the U.S., in 2015, half of our young people didn’t have an associate’s degree or a college degree. That’s the problem today: the number of people that need to be retrained. I’m far more optimistic that public-private partnerships can solve this dilemma. There will be a hundred pathways to technology becoming viral, driven by governors and states. I always remember when President Obama came to the first one, he goes, “Where are all the computers?” We’re like, “That’s not what we teach these kids.” We’re teaching them a skill about math and problem-solving that’s going to transcend any technology they deal with. The first part is a very simple formula: a curriculum of math, science. The second, give the kids a mentor and then you give them a chance at a job. We will be up to 50,000 kids, and 300 other companies have volunteered. I have a whole bunch of these kids over in Silicon Alley where we have our Watson headquarters.

 

 

I do believe that when it comes to complete job replacement, it will be a very small percentage. When it comes to changing a job and what you do, it will be 100 percent.

 

 

 

The new Autonomous SmartDesk 3 has a built-in touchscreen and AI software — from imore.com by Tory Foulk 

Excerpt:

Can your desk encourage you to stand, remind you to drink water and order you a pizza? No? Well SmartDesk 3 can.

Autonomous announced the launch of the newest iteration of its SmartDesk in a press release today, and is claiming it’s “the world’s most powerful AI-powered standing desk.”

The embedded tablet has a 7″ display and is powered by Autonomous’ own OS platform, and has both Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities so it can interact with the apps on your phone. It features many of its own shortcuts, too – you can make coffee, order food, check the weather, play Spotify playlists, and even request a ride from Uber. Because the tablet syncs with Google Calendar, it will remind you of any meetings you might have throughout the day. And in addition to all of that, SmartDesk 3 monitors how long you sit or stand and reminds you to either stretch your legs or take a break to relax when it feels you need it. After using the AI for a week or so, it will learn your habits – say, when you usually start getting hungry – and begin to anticipate your needs.

 

Autonomous' SmartDesk 3 in white

 

 

 

 

 

Unity Technologies unveils AI toolkit for training machine learning ‘agents’ — from therobotreport.com by Alex Beall

Excerpt:

Unity Technologies released the open beta version of its Unity Machine Learning Agents, an artificial intelligence toolkit developers and researchers can use to virtually train agents —whether video game characters, autonomous vehicles or robots.

“Machine learning is a disruptive technology that is important to all types of developers and researchers to make their games or systems smarter, but complexities and technical barriers make it out of reach for most,” vice president of AI and machine learning Danny Lange said in a press release. “This is an exciting new chapter in AI’s history as we are making an end-to-end machine learning environment widely accessible, and providing the critical tools needed to make more intelligent, beautiful games and applications. Complete with Unity’s physics engine and a 3D photorealistic rendering environment, our AI toolkit also offers a game-changing AI research platform to a rapidly growing community of AI enthusiasts exploring the frontiers of Deep Learning.”

 

 

 

 

How Chatbot Tech Takes Customer Service to the Next Level — from nojitter.com by Yaniv Reznik
A chatbot’s combination of personalized service and quick, efficient answers perfectly fits the needs of today’s digital consumers.

Excerpts:

Rather, today’s connected consumers want a seamless online experience that immediately allows them to self-serve when they have a quick question or choose a hybrid approach when they need that personal touch from a live representative.

Chatbots empower consumers to take charge of their own brand experience and efficiently get the answers they need. Consumers demand accuracy and convenience, and chatbots provide the perfect balance of speed, personalization, and human touch necessary for improved customer experiences.

The key to implementing chatbots that go beyond scripted responses is Natural Language Processing (NLP). Chatbots equipped with this advanced technology can understand situational context and can therefore get to the root of customer questions without putting customers on hold or redirecting them.

 

 

 

 



 

Addendum on 9/25/17:

One year later, Microsoft AI and Research grows to 8k people in massive bet on artificial intelligence — from geekwire.com by Todd Bishop

Excerpt:

One way to measure Microsoft’s AI bet: In its first year of operation, the AI and Research group has grown by 60 percent — from 5,000 people originally to nearly 8,000 people today — through hiring and acquisitions, and by bringing aboard additional teams from other parts of the company.

The creation of Microsoft AI and Research also underscores the intense competition in artificial intelligence. Microsoft is gearing up to compete against the likes of Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Apple, and countless AI startups and research groups, all of them looking to lead the tech industry in this new era of artificial intelligence.

 



 

 

 

 

 

Udacity adds a new ‘Intro to Self-Driving Cars’ Nanodegree — from techcrunch.com by Darrell Etherington

Excerpt:

You likely won’t be surprised when I tell you that building a self-driving car is difficult and complex. Udacity has tried to help address that difficulty with flexible, online education for self-driving engineers through its Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree program, and now it’s expanding its offerings with a new Intro to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree being introduced at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 that’s designed to help funnel more talent into the intermediate-level course, and from there into the workforce, where demand is incredibly strong and growing.

Udacity’s Nanodegrees are designed from the start to help democratize education in areas of tech where there’s a strong appetite from the employer side, and not nearly enough talent to go around. But what the company found with its self-driving material was that it was actually quite advanced compared to the skill level of interested students, so it set out to create a kind of fundamentals introductory program to help make sure more could enter the main course with a better foundation.

Also new to this program, and again in the spirit of increasing access to education for these very high demand skills, Udacity is teaming up with Lyft, which will be providing 400 full scholarships (covering the total $800 value) for the Intro program. Applications for those open today, too.

 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian