Skype chats are coming to Alexa devices — from engadget.com by Richard Lawlor
Voice controlled internet calls to or from any device with Amazon’s system in it.

Excerpt:

Aside from all of the Alexa-connected hardware, there’s one more big development coming for Amazon’s technology: integration with Skype. Microsoft and Amazon said that voice and video calls via the service will come to Alexa devices (including Microsoft’s Xbox One) with calls that you can start and control just by voice.

 

 

Amazon Hardware Event 2018
From techcrunch.com

 

Echo HomePod? Amazon wants you to build your own — by Brian Heater
One of the bigger surprises at today’s big Amazon event was something the company didn’t announce. After a couple of years of speculation that the company was working on its own version of the Home…

 

 

The long list of new Alexa devices Amazon announced at its hardware event — by Everyone’s favorite trillion-dollar retailer hosted a private event today where they continued to…

 

Amazon introduces APL, a new design language for building Alexa skills for devices with screensAlong with the launch of the all-new Echo Show, the Alexa-powered device with a screen, Amazon also introduced a new design language for developers who want to build voice skills that include multimedia…

Excerpt:

Called Alexa Presentation Language, or APL, developers will be able to build voice-based apps that also include things like images, graphics, slideshows and video, and easily customize them for different device types – including not only the Echo Show, but other Alexa-enabled devices like Fire TV, Fire Tablet, and the small screen of the Alexa alarm clock, the Echo Spot.

 

From DSC:
This is a great move by Amazon — as NLP and our voices become increasingly important in how we “drive” and utilize our computing devices.

 

 

Amazon launches an Echo Wall Clock, because Alexa is gonna be everywhere — by Sarah Perez

 

 

Amazon’s new Echo lineup targets Google, Apple and Sonos — from engadget.com by Nicole Lee
Alexa, dominate the industry.

The business plan from here is clear: Companies pay a premium to be activated when users pose questions related to their products and services. “How do you cook an egg?” could pull up a Food Network tutorial; “How far is Morocco?” could enable the Expedia app.
Also see how Alexa might be a key piece of smart classrooms in the future:
 

 

 

Below are some excerpted slides from her presentation…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also see:

  • 20 important takeaways for learning world from Mary Meeker’s brilliant tech trends – from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark
    Excerpt:
    Mary Meeker’s slide deck has a reputation of being the Delphic Oracle of tech. But, at 294 slides it’s a lot to take in. Don’t worry, I’ve been through them all. It has tons on economic stuff that is of marginal interest to education and training but there’s plenty to to get our teeth into. We’re not immune to tech trends, indeed we tend to follow in lock-step, just a bit later than everyone else. Among the data are lots of fascinating insights that point the way forward in terms of what we’re likely to be doing over the next decade. So here’s a really quick, top-end summary for folk in the learning game.

 

“Educational content usage online is ramping fast” with over 1 billion daily educational videos watched. There is evidence that use of the Internet for informal and formal learning is taking off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Big Takeaways From Mary Meeker’s Widely-Read Internet Report — from fortune.com by  Leena Rao

 

 

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

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

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

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

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

 

 

 

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

Except:

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

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

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

The guide covers:

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

Excerpts:

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

From DSC regarding Virtual Reality-based apps:
If one can remotely select/change their seat at a game or change seats/views at a concert…how soon before we can do this with learning-related spaces/scenes/lectures/seminars/Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs)/stage productions (drama) and more?

Talk about getting someone’s attention and engaging them!

 

 

Excerpt:

(MAY 2, 2018) MelodyVR, the world’s first dedicated virtual reality music platform that enables fans to experience music performances in a revolutionary new way, is now available.

The revolutionary MelodyVR app offers music fans an incredible selection of immersive performances from today’s biggest artists. Fans are transported all over the world to sold-out stadium shows, far-flung festivals and exclusive VIP sessions, and experience the music they love.

What MelodyVR delivers is a unique and world-class set of original experiences, created with multiple vantage points, to give fans complete control over what they see and where they stand at a performance. By selecting different Jump Spots, MelodyVR users can choose to be in the front row, deep in the crowd, or up-close-and-personal with the band on stage.

 

See their How it Works page.

 

 

With standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go now available at an extremely accessible price point ($199), the already vibrant VR market is set to grow exponentially over the coming years. Current market forecasts suggest over 350 million users by 2021 and last year saw $3 billion invested in virtual and alternative reality.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Law2020: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession — from abovethelaw.com by David Lat and Brian Dalton
What do AI, machine learning, and other cutting-edge technologies mean for lawyers and the legal world?

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence has been declared “[t]he most important general-purpose technology of our era.” It should come as no surprise to learn that AI is transforming the legal profession, just as it is changing so many other fields of endeavor.

What do AI, machine learning, and other cutting-edge technologies mean for lawyers and the legal world? Will AI automate the work of attorneys — or will it instead augment, helping lawyers to work more efficiently, effectively, and ethically?

 

 

 

 

How artificial intelligence is transforming the world — from brookings.edu by Darrell M. West and John R. Allen

Summary

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a wide-ranging tool that enables people to rethink how we integrate information, analyze data, and use the resulting insights to improve decision making—and already it is transforming every walk of life. In this report, Darrell West and John Allen discuss AI’s application across a variety of sectors, address issues in its development, and offer recommendations for getting the most out of AI while still protecting important human values.

Table of Contents

I. Qualities of artificial intelligence
II. Applications in diverse sectors
III. Policy, regulatory, and ethical issues
IV. Recommendations
V. Conclusion


In order to maximize AI benefits, we recommend nine steps for going forward:

  • Encourage greater data access for researchers without compromising users’ personal privacy,
  • invest more government funding in unclassified AI research,
  • promote new models of digital education and AI workforce development so employees have the skills needed in the 21st-century economy,
  • create a federal AI advisory committee to make policy recommendations,
  • engage with state and local officials so they enact effective policies,
  • regulate broad AI principles rather than specific algorithms,
  • take bias complaints seriously so AI does not replicate historic injustice, unfairness, or discrimination in data or algorithms,
  • maintain mechanisms for human oversight and control, and
  • penalize malicious AI behavior and promote cybersecurity.

 

 

Seven Artificial Intelligence Advances Expected This Year  — from forbes.com

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (AI) has had a variety of targeted uses in the past several years, including self-driving cars. Recently, California changed the law that required driverless cars to have a safety driver. Now that AI is getting better and able to work more independently, what’s next?

 

 

Google Cofounder Sergey Brin Warns of AI’s Dark Side — from wired.com by Tom Simonite

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

When Google was founded in 1998, Brin writes, the machine learning technique known as artificial neural networks, invented in the 1940s and loosely inspired by studies of the brain, was “a forgotten footnote in computer science.” Today the method is the engine of the recent surge in excitement and investment around artificial intelligence. The letter unspools a partial list of where Alphabet uses neural networks, for tasks such as enabling self-driving cars to recognize objects, translating languages, adding captions to YouTube videos, diagnosing eye disease, and even creating better neural networks.

As you might expect, Brin expects Alphabet and others to find more uses for AI. But he also acknowledges that the technology brings possible downsides. “Such powerful tools also bring with them new questions and responsibilities,” he writes. AI tools might change the nature and number of jobs, or be used to manipulate people, Brin says—a line that may prompt readers to think of concerns around political manipulation on Facebook. Safety worries range from “fears of sci-fi style sentience to the more near-term questions such as validating the performance of self-driving cars,” Brin writes.

 

“The new spring in artificial intelligence is the most significant development in computing in my lifetime,” Brin writes—no small statement from a man whose company has already wrought great changes in how people and businesses use computers.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
As important as being able to effectively communicate with others is, I think we could do a better job throughout the entire learning continuum of proving more coaching in this regard. We should provide far more courses, and/or e-learning based modules, and/or examples where someone is being coached on how best to communicate in a variety of situations. 

Some examples/scenarios along the continuum (i.e, pre-K-12, higher ed and/or vocational work, and the workplace) might include:

  • For children communicating with each other
    • How to ask if someone wants to play (and how best to find an activity everyone wants to do; or how to handle getting a no each time)
    • How to handle a situation where one’s friend is really angry about something or is being extra quiet about something
    • How to listen
  • For children communicating with adults (and vice versa)
    • How to show respect
    • How to listen
    • Not being shy but feeling free to say what’s on their mind with a known/respected adult
  • For highschoolers
    • Wondering how best to interview for that new job
    • For communicating with parents
    • How to handle issues surrounding diversity and showing respect for differences
    • How to listen
  • For college students
    • Wondering how best to interview for that new job
    • Encouraging them to use their professors’ office hours — and to practice communication-related skills therein as well
    • For communicating with parents, and vice versa
    • How to listen
  • For those entering the workplace
    • How to communicate with co-workers
    • For dealing with customers who are irate about something that happened (or didn’t happen) to them
    • How to listen
  • For managers and their communications with their employees
    • How to encourage
    • How to handle disciplinary issues or change behaviors
    • How to listen
  • For leaders and their communications with their departments, staffs, companies, organizations
    • How to inspire, guide, lead
    • How to listen

I intentionally inserted the word listen many times in the above scenarios, as I don’t think we do enough about — or even think about — actively developing that skill.

The manner in which we deliver and engage learners here could vary:

  • One possible way would be to use interactive videos that pause at critical points within conversations and ask the listeners how they would respond at these points in the scenarios. They might have 2-3 choices per decision point. When the video continues, based upon which selection they went with, the learner could see how things panned out when they pursued that route.
  • Or perhaps we could host some seminars or workshops with students on how to use web-based collaboration tools (videoconferencing and/or audio only based meetings) and/or social media related tools.
  • Or perhaps such training could occur in more face-to-face environments with 2 or more learners reading a scene-setting script, then pausing at critical points in the conversation for students to discuss the best possible responses
  • ….and I’m sure there are other methods that could be employed as well.

But for all the talk of the importance of communications, are we doing enough to provide effective examples/coaching here?

 


Some thoughts on this topic from scripture


James 1:19-20 (NIV)
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

 

Proverbs 21:23 (NIV)
23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.

 

Proverbs 18:20-21 (NIV)
20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. 21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 

Proverbs 12:18-19 (NIV)
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

 


 

 

 

 

Click on the image to get a larger image in a PDF file format.

 


From DSC:
So regardless of what was being displayed up on any given screen at the time, once a learner was invited to use their devices to share information, a graphical layer would appear on the learner’s mobile device — as well as up on the image of the screens (but the actual images being projected on the screens would be shown in the background in a muted/pulled back/25% opacity layer so the code would “pop” visually-speaking) — letting him or her know what code to enter in order to wirelessly share their content up to a particular screen. This could be extra helpful when you have multiple screens in a room.

For folks at Microsoft: I could have said Mixed Reality here as well.


 

#ActiveLearning #AR #MR #IoT #AV #EdTech #M2M #MobileApps
#Sensors #Crestron #Extron #Projection #Epson #SharingContent #Wireless

 

 

What online teachers have learned from teaching online — from insidehighered.com by Mark Lieberman
Online instructors offer wisdom they’ve gathered — what to do and what not to do — from years of experience teaching in the modality.

Excerpts:

When I first began teaching online, I noticed a disconnect between students and the course content. While I worked to make it relevant to their lives, I often saw students doing the work simply for the grade. Clearly something was not translating. In the last year, I’ve become more focused on helping students connect their passions to the course content. My courses still have objectives. However, I ask students when the semester starts to identify one to three goals and create a short video about what they want to achieve in the course. They reflect on these goals and can modify them at the midpoint and the end. During the semester, I ask students to consider what they are doing during the week to help them meet their goals. They don’t always need to share this information, but having this as a thread in the course helps them stay connected to the content and each other. Students are aware of what their colleagues’ goals are and often reach out and share ideas and resources in support. [Hall]


I also began to see that teaching online could support learner variability better than teaching in a classroom. I observed one student with dyslexia express herself eloquently in video, while her written expressions were fragmented. These experiences illuminated the value of Universal Design for Learning, opening a new world of opportunities for teaching online. [Brock]

I’ve been teaching online since 2008 and entirely online since 2013. When I first started teaching online, I was afraid to create new content or change the course in any way once the course launched. I thought the course curriculum and online environment had to stay “frozen” and intact or I would risk confusing students. Now, I create additional tutorials as needed, using screen-casting tools, videos and podcasts to add additional content to assist students. I have also since learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to online teaching and learning. Some students prefer basic content and straightforward assignments. Other students like to interact with the instructor through instant messaging, email and discussion boards. I started doing optional webinars for students who wanted more interaction and personalized learning, but I don’t require them. I find that the same group of online students in each course (who enjoy interaction) usually attend the webinars. The webinars are recorded for students who couldn’t attend or prefer the recording format.

Over all, I’ve learned to be more laid-back, multimodal (e.g., webinars, podcasts, etc.), proactive and flexible for my students.

Semingson

 

 

There need to be more active learning activities in an online course.

Greenlaw

 


In a typical class, students talk only to the instructor and each other. Resources, questions and information that are created and shared rarely transition to the next course. In true community, all students and instructors within a program could regularly access information and ideas in a shared space regardless of the content they are currently learning. [Hall]

There are numerous tools and strategies for interacting with students, like web-conferencing platforms, course audio and video tools, and collaborative tools that allow for synchronous or asynchronous interaction. There are simply more ways to communicate, to collaborate and to create. [Hobgood]

Insert from DSC:
Re: this last quote from Hobgood, I love this idea of creating an online-based community of practice — or community of inquiry — that spans across classes and semesters. Great call!

 

Efforts to improve student access to online courses are key, but we also know that equity gaps get worse when minority students learn online. We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Relationships are at the core of meaningful college experiences and they’re particularly important to underserved students who are more likely to doubt their academic abilities. Underserved online students need the presence of an engaged instructor. If you teach online, your human presence matters. This has been my greatest takeaway from 15 years of teaching online and, perhaps, more striking is that this point still seems revolutionary to so many.

Pacansky-Brock

 

 

 

Addendum:
7 Steps to Better Online Teaching — from chronicle.com by Esther C. Kim

Excerpt:

Provide suggestions for a strong classroom climate. At the start of the semester, I offer ways for students to stay engaged in an online classroom environment, and I explain the importance of remaining on camera and on audio. Without a proper explanation, students mistakenly think that they can multitask during live class sessions. Among the tips I offer them:

  • Refrain from opening email, texting, or browsing the web.
  • Choose a space where you don’t encounter distractions, which could include family members, laundry, dirty dishes, or a busy street outside your window.
  • Avoid sitting on a comfortable couch or bed.
  • Pay close attention to peers’ comments and ask yourself if you agree or disagree, and why. Add to the dialogue by sharing your thoughts.
  • Avoid taking class from coffee shops or other public spaces. The background noise can create a distraction both for you and for the entire class. Also, internet connections may be inconsistent in public spaces.

Don’t use the chat box when you can speak instead. On my university’s platform, there’s a chat box in which students can type messages in real time. This could be a useful tool if used properly. But I often find it difficult to simultaneously read the chat box while listening to a student who’s speaking. The same goes for when I am speaking and someone is typing comments or questions in the chat box. If there’s a robust dialogue happening among a few of the students and others want to interject, they can place their comments in the chat box. Otherwise, I ask that they take advantage of the face-to-face online time by verbalizing their questions or comments.

From DSC:
Esther’s point on how difficult it is to both read/respond to the chat area while also trying to listen to someone else speaking is a great example of cognitive load — and it being overwhelmed with too much information to process at one time.

 

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

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

© 2018 | Daniel Christian