(Below emphasis via DSC)

IBM and Ricoh have partnered for a cognitive-enabled interactive whiteboard which uses IBM’s Watson intelligence and voice technologies to support voice commands, taking notes and actions and even translating into other languages.

 

 

The Intelligent Workplace Solution leverages IBM Watson and Ricoh’s interactive whiteboards to allow to access features via using voice. It makes sure that Watson doesn’t just listen, but is an active meeting participant, using real-time analytics to help guide discussions.

Features of the new cognitive-enabled whiteboard solution include:

  • Global voice control of meetings: Once a meeting begins, any employee, whether in-person or located remotely in another country, can easily control what’s on the screen, including advancing slides, all through simple voice commands using Watson’s Natural Language API.
  • Translation of the meeting into another language: The Intelligent Workplace Solution can translate speakers’ words into several other languages and display them on screen or in transcript.
  • Easy-to-join meetings: With the swipe of a badge the Intelligent Workplace Solution can log attendance and track key agenda items to ensure all key topics are discussed.
  • Ability to capture side discussions: During a meeting, team members can also hold side conversations that are displayed on the same whiteboard.

From DSC:

Holy smokes!

If you combine the technologies that Ricoh and IBM are using with their new cognitive-enabled interactive whiteboard with what Bluescape is doing — by providing 160 acres of digital workspace that’s used to foster collaboration (and to do so whether you are working remotely or working with others in the same physical space) — and you have one incredibly powerful platform! 

#NLP  |  #AI  |  #VoiceRecognition |  #CognitiveComputing
#SmartClassrooms  |  #LearningSpaces  |#Collaboration |  #Meetings 


 

 

 

The 10 Best Augmented Reality (AR) App Development Companies in the World

Excerpt:

Finding the best way to position and utilise your business when you’re dealing with future technologies like AR can be a difficult proposition. The skill set required is a relatively new thing, and the mobile developers who can do it, and are good at it, are likely to already be seeing offers from other companies. All of this adds up to mean that finding new talent to drive your AR business forward isn’t easy, and this is compounded if you’re new to the game and haven’t established a foothold. In an attempt to make it easier for you, we’ve already covered the top 10 IoT (Internet of Things) developers – and 3 ways to overcome your app backlog before that – and this week we’re looking at AR developers. Using our number crunching based on Alexa rankings, here’s who came out on top.

 

The example images below were taken from this video clip from eonreality.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What educators can learn about effective teaching from a Harvard prof — from ecampusnews.com by Alan November

Excerpt:

Harvard professor David Malan has managed to pull off a neat trick: His Computer Science 50 course is the most popular course at both Harvard and Yale. By examining his success, we can learn some important lessons about effective teaching.

CS50 assumes no prior knowledge or skill in computer programming, yet it’s extremely demanding. Despite its rigor, CS50 regularly attracts thousands of students each year. While some aspire to become software engineers, others enroll just to experience the course.

Why is Professor Malan’s course so popular, even with students who don’t plan a career in computer science—and even though it requires a lot of work? Here are three keys to Malan’s effective teaching that I think all schools everywhere should apply, from K-12 schools to colleges and universities.

  • Strengthen the social side of learning.
  • Teach students to self-assess.
  • Provide a public audience to inspire students to invent.
 

It’s Here! Get the 2017 NMC Horizon Report

Earlier this week, the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) jointly released the NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Higher Education Edition at the 2017 ELI Annual Meeting. This 14th edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology are placed directly in the context of their likely impact on the core missions of universities and colleges.

 

 

The topics are summarized in the infographic below:

 

 

 

KPMG & Microsoft Announce New “Blockchain Nodes” — from finance.yahoo.com

Excerpt:

NEW YORK, Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — KPMG International and Microsoft Corp. have announced the launch of joint Blockchain Nodes, which are designed to create and demonstrate use cases that apply blockchain technology to business propositions and processes.  The first joint Blockchain Nodes are in Frankfurt and Singapore, with future plans for a location in New York.

The KPMG and Microsoft Blockchain Nodes –innovation workspaces– will expand on a global alliance, which combines Microsoft’s technical expertise with KPMG’s deep industry and blockchain application knowledge, together with strong connections to the start-up and developer communities.

“The Blockchain Nodes will play a critical role in identifying new applications and use cases that blockchain can address,” said Eamonn Maguire, global and US leader for KPMG’s Digital Ledger Services. “They will enable us to work directly with clients to discover and test ideas based on market insights, creating and implementing prototype solutions that use this innovative technology.”

 

 

IBM Brings Machine Learning to the Private Cloud — from finance.yahoo.com
First to automate creation and training of learning analytic models at the source of high value corporate data, starting with IBM z System Mainframe

Excerpt:

ARMONK, N.Y., Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced IBM Machine Learning, the first cognitive platform for continuously creating, training and deploying a high volume of analytic models in the private cloud at the source of vast corporate data stores.  Even using the most advanced techniques, data scientists – in shortest supply among today’s IT skills1 – might spend days or weeks developing, testing and retooling even a single analytic model one step at a time.

IBM has extracted the core machine learning technology from IBM Watson and will initially make it available where much of the world’s enterprise data resides: the z System mainframe, the operational core of global organizations where billions of daily transactions are processed by banks, retailers, insurers, transportation firms and governments.

IBM Machine Learning allows data scientists to automate the creation, training and deployment of operational analytic models that will support…

 

 

Amazon Echo and Google Home may soon be able to make voice calls — from financye.yahoo.com and Business Insider by Jeff Dunn

Excerpt:

The Amazon Echo and Google Home could be used to make and receive phone calls later this year, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal’s Ryan Knutson and Laura Stevens. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the report says that both Amazon and Google are looking to activate the feature, but that their attempts have been slowed by privacy and regulatory concerns. Amazon has reportedly been working on Echo-specific voice calls since 2015, but has been held up by “employee turnover” as well.

 

 

Amazon unveils Chime, looks to reinvent the conference call with new Skype and GoToMeeting competitor — from geekwire.com by John Cook

Excerpt:

Amazon is looking to transform just about every industry.

Now, the Seattle tech juggernaut wants to reinvent how you conduct meetings and conference calls.

Amazon Web Services today unveiled Chime, a new service that it says takes the “frustration out of meetings” by delivering video, voice, chat, and screen sharing. Instead of forcing participants to call one another on a dedicated line, Amazon Chime automatically calls all participants at the start of a meeting, so “joining a meeting is as easy as clicking a button in the app, no PIN required,” the company said in a press release. Chime also shows a visual roster of participants, and allows participants to pinpoint who exactly on the call is creating annoying background noise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IBM to Train 25 Million Africans for Free to Build Workforce — from by Loni Prinsloo
* Tech giant seeking to bring, keep digital jobs in Africa
* Africa to have world’s largest workforce by 2040, IBM projects

Excerpt:

International Business Machines Corp. is ramping up its digital-skills training program to accommodate as many as 25 million Africans in the next five years, looking toward building a future workforce on the continent. The U.S. tech giant plans to make an initial investment of 945 million rand ($70 million) to roll out the training initiative in South Africa…

 

Also see:

IBM Unveils IT Learning Platform for African Youth — from investopedia.com by Tim Brugger

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Responding to concerns that artificial intelligence (A.I.) in the workplace will lead to companies laying off employees and shrinking their work forces, IBM (NYSE: IBM) CEO Ginni Rometty said in an interview with CNBC last month that A.I. wouldn’t replace humans, but rather open the door to “new collar” employment opportunities.

IBM describes new collar jobs as “careers that do not always require a four-year college degree but rather sought-after skills in cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence, cloud, and much more.”

In keeping with IBM’s promise to devote time and resources to preparing tomorrow’s new collar workers for those careers, it has announced a new “Digital-Nation Africa” initiative. IBM has committed $70 million to its cloud-based learning platform that will provide free skills development to as many as 25 million young people in Africa over the next five years.

The platform will include online learning opportunities for everything from basic IT skills to advanced training in social engagement, digital privacy, and cyber protection. IBM added that its A.I. computing wonder Watson will be used to analyze data from the online platform, adapt it, and help direct students to appropriate courses, as well as refine the curriculum to better suit specific needs.

 

 

From DSC:
That last part, about Watson being used to personalize learning and direct students to appropropriate courses, is one of the elements that I see in the Learning from the Living [Class]Room vision that I’ve been pulse-checking for the last several years. AI/cognitive computing will most assuredly be a part of our learning ecosystems in the future.  Amazon is currently building their own platform that adds 100 skills each day — and has 1000 people working on creating skills for Alexa.  This type of thing isn’t going away any time soon. Rather, I’d say that we haven’t seen anything yet!

 

 

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

 

 

And Amazon has doubled down to develop Alexa’s “skills,” which are discrete voice-based applications that allow the system to carry out specific tasks (like ordering pizza for example). At launch, Alexa had just 20 skills, which has reportedly jumped to 5,200 today with the company adding about 100 skills per day.

In fact, Bezos has said, “We’ve been working behind the scenes for the last four years, we have more than 1,000 people working on Alexa and the Echo ecosystem … It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just last week, it launched a new website to help brands and developers create more skills for Alexa.

Source

 

 

Also see:

 

“We are trying to make education more personalised and cognitive through this partnership by creating a technology-driven personalised learning and tutoring,” Lula Mohanty, Vice President, Services at IBM, told ET. IBM will also use its cognitive technology platform, IBM Watson, as part of the partnership.

“We will use the IBM Watson data cloud as part of the deal, and access Watson education insight services, Watson library, student information insights — these are big data sets that have been created through collaboration and inputs with many universities. On top of this, we apply big data analytics,” Mohanty added.

Source

 

 


 

Also see:

  • Most People in Education are Just Looking for Faster Horses, But the Automobile is Coming — from etale.org by Bernard Bull
    Excerpt:
    Most people in education are looking for faster horses. It is too challenging, troubling, or beyond people’s sense of what is possible to really imagine a completely different way in which education happens in the world. That doesn’t mean, however, that the educational equivalent of the automobile is not on its way. I am confident that it is very much on its way. It might even arrive earlier than even the futurists expect. Consider the following prediction.

 


 

 

 

The Periodic Table of AI — from ai.xprize.org by Kris Hammond

Excerpts:

This is an invitation to collaborate.  In particular, it is an invitation to collaborate in framing how we look at and develop machine intelligence. Even more specifically, it is an invitation to collaborate in the construction of a Periodic Table of AI.

Let’s be honest. Thinking about Artificial Intelligence has proven to be difficult for us.  We argue constantly about what is and is not AI.  We certainly cannot agree on how to test for it.  We have difficultly deciding what technologies should be included within it.  And we struggle with how to evaluate it.

Even so, we are looking at a future in which intelligent technologies are becoming commonplace.

With that in mind, we propose an approach to viewing machine intelligence from the perspective of its functional components. Rather than argue about the technologies behind them, the focus should be on the functional elements that make up intelligence.  By stepping away from how these elements are implemented, we can talk about what they are and their roles within larger systems.

 

 

Also see this article, which contains the graphic below:

 

 

 

From DSC:
These graphics are helpful to me, as they increase my understanding of some of the complexities involved within the realm of artificial intelligence.

 

 

 


Also relevant/see:

 

 

 

Robots will take jobs, but not as fast as some fear, new report says — from nytimes.com by Steve Lohr

 

Excerpt:

The robots are coming, but the march of automation will displace jobs more gradually than some alarming forecasts suggest.

A measured pace is likely because what is technically possible is only one factor in determining how quickly new technology is adopted, according to a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute. Other crucial ingredients include economics, labor markets, regulations and social attitudes.

The report, which was released Thursday, breaks jobs down by work tasks — more than 2,000 activities across 800 occupations, from stock clerk to company boss. The institute, the research arm of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, concludes that many tasks can be automated and that most jobs have activities ripe for automation. But the near-term impact, the report says, will be to transform work more than to eliminate jobs.

 

So while further automation is inevitable, McKinsey’s research suggests that it will be a relentless advance rather than an economic tidal wave.

 

 

Harnessing automation for a future that works — from mckinsey.com by James Manyika, Michael Chui, Mehdi Miremadi, Jacques Bughin, Katy George, Paul Willmott, and Martin Dewhurst
Automation is happening, and it will bring substantial benefits to businesses and economies worldwide, but it won’t arrive overnight. A new McKinsey Global Institute report finds realizing automation’s full potential requires people and technology to work hand in hand.

Excerpt:

Recent developments in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have put us on the cusp of a new automation age. Robots and computers can not only perform a range of routine physical work activities better and more cheaply than humans, but they are also increasingly capable of accomplishing activities that include cognitive capabilities once considered too difficult to automate successfully, such as making tacit judgments, sensing emotion, or even driving. Automation will change the daily work activities of everyone, from miners and landscapers to commercial bankers, fashion designers, welders, and CEOs. But how quickly will these automation technologies become a reality in the workplace? And what will their impact be on employment and productivity in the global economy?

The McKinsey Global Institute has been conducting an ongoing research program on automation technologies and their potential effects. A new MGI report, A future that works: Automation, employment, and productivity, highlights several key findings.

 

 



Also related/see:

This Japanese Company Is Replacing Its Staff With Artificial Intelligence — from fortune.com by Kevin Lui

Excerpt:

The year of AI has well and truly begun, it seems. An insurance company in Japan announced that it will lay off more than 30 employees and replace them with an artificial intelligence system.  The technology will be based on IBM’s Watson Explorer, which is described as having “cognitive technology that can think like a human,” reports the Guardian. Japan’s Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance said the new system will take over from its human counterparts by calculating policy payouts. The company said it hopes the AI will be 30% more productive and aims to see investment costs recouped within two years. Fukoku Mutual Life said it expects the $1.73 million smart system—which costs around $129,000 each year to maintain—to save the company about $1.21 million each year. The 34 staff members will officially be replaced in March.

 


Also from “The Internet of Everything” report in 2016 by BI Intelligence:

 

 


 

A Darker Theme in Obama’s Farewell: Automation Can Divide Us — from nytimes.com by Claire Cain Miller

Excerpt:

Underneath the nostalgia and hope in President Obama’s farewell address Tuesday night was a darker theme: the struggle to help the people on the losing end of technological change.

“The next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas,” Mr. Obama said. “It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good, middle-class jobs obsolete.”


Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy — from whitehouse.gov by Kristin Lee

Summary:
[On 12/20/16], the White House released a new report on the ways that artificial intelligence will transform our economy over the coming years and decades.

 Although it is difficult to predict these economic effects precisely, the report suggests that policymakers should prepare for five primary economic effects:

    Positive contributions to aggregate productivity growth;
Changes in the skills demanded by the job market, including greater demand for higher-level technical skills;
Uneven distribution of impact, across sectors, wage levels, education levels, job types, and locations;
Churning of the job market as some jobs disappear while others are created; and
The loss of jobs for some workers in the short-run, and possibly longer depending on policy responses.


 

Equipping people to stay ahead of technological change — from economist.com by
It is easy to say that people need to keep learning throughout their careers. The practicalities are daunting.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling. Later, automation in factories and offices called forth a surge in college graduates. The combination of education and innovation, spread over decades, led to a remarkable flowering of prosperity.

Today robotics and artificial intelligence call for another education revolution. This time, however, working lives are so lengthy and so fast-changing that simply cramming more schooling in at the start is not enough. People must also be able to acquire new skills throughout their careers.

Unfortunately, as our special report in this issue sets out, the lifelong learning that exists today mainly benefits high achievers—and is therefore more likely to exacerbate inequality than diminish it. If 21st-century economies are not to create a massive underclass, policymakers urgently need to work out how to help all their citizens learn while they earn. So far, their ambition has fallen pitifully short.

At the same time on-the-job training is shrinking. In America and Britain it has fallen by roughly half in the past two decades. Self-employment is spreading, leaving more people to take responsibility for their own skills. Taking time out later in life to pursue a formal qualification is an option, but it costs money and most colleges are geared towards youngsters.

 

The classic model of education—a burst at the start and top-ups through company training—is breaking down. One reason is the need for new, and constantly updated, skills.

 

 

 

Lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative — from economist.com
Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment, says Andrew Palmer. The faint outlines of such a system are now emerging

Excerpt:

A college degree at the start of a working career does not answer the need for the continuous acquisition of new skills, especially as career spans are lengthening. Vocational training is good at giving people job-specific skills, but those, too, will need to be updated over and over again during a career lasting decades. “Germany is often lauded for its apprenticeships, but the economy has failed to adapt to the knowledge economy,” says Andreas Schleicher, head of the education directorate of the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. “Vocational training has a role, but training someone early to do one thing all their lives is not the answer to lifelong learning.”

To remain competitive, and to give low- and high-skilled workers alike the best chance of success, economies need to offer training and career-focused education throughout people’s working lives. This special report will chart some of the efforts being made to connect education and employment in new ways, both by smoothing entry into the labour force and by enabling people to learn new skills throughout their careers. Many of these initiatives are still embryonic, but they offer a glimpse into the future and a guide to the problems raised by lifelong reskilling.

 

 

Individuals, too, increasingly seem to accept the need for continuous rebooting.

 

 

 

The freelance economy: Top trends to watch in 2017 — from blog.linkedin.com

Excerpt:

Freelancers now account for nearly 35% of the U.S. workforce and the trend is only picking up speed with more professionals opting to create their own jobs in lieu of more traditional full-time employment.

As we head into the new year, we want to shed a bit more light on this burgeoning sector of the workforce. What kind of location, industry and demographic trends are surfacing among the freelance professionals of 2016? You might not know, for example, that a whopping 40% of our freelancers are concentrated in just four states: California, Texas, Florida and New York. Or that more senior men are most likely to take the leap into freelancing.

The time is ripe to be a freelancer in America so we’re revealing insider insights like these to help you learn more about this trending profession. Check out the report below – gleaned from a survey of more than 9,500 of our ProFinder professionals – to see what we discovered.

 

From DSC:
Besides the workforce moving towards the increased use of freelancers, the pace of change has moved from being more linear in nature to more of an exponential trajectory.

 

 

 

Some important questions, therefore, to ask are: 

  • Are our students ready to enter this type of workplace? 
  • Can they pivot quickly?
  • Do they know how to learn and are they ready to be lifelong learners? (Do they like learning enough to continue to pursue it? Peoples’ overall quality of life would be much higher if they enjoyed learning, rather than be forced to do so in order to keep the bread and butter on their tables.)
  • Are they able to communicate in a variety of ways?
  • How are their customer service skills coming along?
  • How are their problem-solving skills coming along?
  • Do they know how to maintain their businesses’ books and do their taxes?
  • Are they digitally literate and do they have an appreciation for the pluses and minuses of technology?

I sure hope so…but I have my serious doubts. That said, many institutions/organizations representing K-12 and higher education are not doing a great job of innovating either. Though there certainly exists some strong pockets of innovation in some of our institutions out there — and the ability to pivot — taken as a whole, our institutions and organizations haven’t been as responsive, nimble, and innovative as our students need them to be.

After all, we are trying to prepare students for their futures (with the externality effect being that we, too, will also be better prepared for that future).

 

 

 
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