Google Home’s assistant can now recognize different voices — from cnbc.com

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s voice-activated assistant can now recognize who’s talking to it on Google’s Home speaker.

An update released Thursday enables Home’s built-in assistant to learn the different voices of up to six people, although they can’t all be talking to the internet-connected speaker at the same time.

Distinguishing voices will allow Home to be more personal in some of its responses, depending on who triggers the assistant with the phrase, “OK Google” or “Hey Google.”

For instance, once Home is trained to recognize a user named Joe, the assistant will automatically be able to tell him what traffic is like on his commute, list events on his daily calendar or even play his favorite songs. Then another user named Jane could get similar information from Home, but customized for her.

 

 

 

Five things to know about Facebook’s huge augmented reality fantasy — from gizmodo.com by Michael Nunez

Excerpt:

One example of how this might work is at a restaurant. Your friend will be able to leave an augmented reality sticky note on the menu, letting you know which menu item is the best or which one’s the worst when you hold your camera up to it.

Another example is if you’re at a celebration, like New Year’s Eve or a birthday party. Facebook could use an augmented reality filter to fill the scene with confetti or morph the bar into an aquarium or any other setting corresponding with the team’s mascot. The basic examples are similar to Snapchat’s geo-filters—but the more sophisticated uses because it will actually let you leave digital objects behind for your friends to discover. Very cool!

 

“We’re going to make the camera the first mainstream AR platform,” said Zuckerberg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Everything Facebook Announced at F8, From VR to Bots — from wired.com

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Facebook kicked off its annual F8 developer conference with a keynote address. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on his executive team made a bunch of announcements aimed at developers, but the implications for Facebook’s users was pretty clear. The apps that billions of us use daily—Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram—are going to be getting new camera tricks, new augmented reality capabilities, and more bots. So many bots!

 

Facebook’s bold and bizarre VR hangout app is now available for the Oculus Rift — from theverge.com by Nick Statt

Excerpt:

Facebook’s most fascinating virtual reality experiment, a VR hangout session where you can interact with friends as if you were sitting next to one another, is now ready for the public. The company is calling the product Facebook Spaces, and it’s being released today in beta form for the Oculus Rift.

 

 

 

From DSC:

Is this a piece of the future of distance education / online learning-based classrooms?

 

 

 

Facebook Launches Local ‘Developer Circles’ To Help Entrepreneurs Collaborate, Build Skills — from forbes.com by Kathleen  Chaykowski

Excerpt:

In 2014, Facebook launched its FbStart program, which has helped several thousand early stage apps build and grow their apps through a set of free tools and mentorship meetings. On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled a new program to reach a broader range of developers, as well as students interested in technology.

The program, called “Developer Circles,” is intended to bring developers in local communities together offline as well as online in Facebook groups to encourage the sharing of technical know-how, discuss ideas and build new projects. The program is also designed to serve students who may not yet be working on an app, but who are interested in building skills to work in computer science.

 

 

Facebook launches augmented reality Camera Effects developer platform — from techcrunch.com by Josh Constine

Excerpt:

Facebook will rely on an army of outside developers to contribute augmented reality image filters and interactive experiences to its new Camera Effects platform. After today’s Facebook F8 conference, the first effects will become available inside Facebook’s Camera feature on smartphones, but the Camera Effects platform is designed to eventually be compatible with future augmented reality hardware, such as eyeglasses.

While critics thought Facebook was just mindlessly copying Snapchat with its recent Stories and Camera features in Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg tells TechCrunch his company was just laying the groundwork for today’s Camera Effects platform launch.

 

 

Mark Zuckerberg Sees Augmented Reality Ecosystem in Facebook — from nytimes.com by Mike Isaac

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg introduced what he positioned as the first mainstream augmented reality platform, a way for people to view and digitally manipulate the physical world around them through the lens of their smartphone cameras.

 

 

Facebook Launches Social VR App ‘Facebook Spaces’ in Beta for Rift — from virtualrealitypulse.com by Ben Lang

 

 

 


Addendums on 4/20/17:


 

 

 

 
 

The 82 Hottest EdTech Tools of 2017 According to Education Experts — from tutora.co.uk by Giorgio Cassella

Excerpt:

If you work in education, you’ll know there’s a HUGE array of applications, services, products and tools created to serve a multitude of functions in education.

Tools for teaching and learning, parent-teacher communication apps, lesson planning software, home-tutoring websites, revision blogs, SEN education information, professional development qualifications and more.

There are so many companies creating new products for education, though, that it can be difficult to keep up – especially with the massive volumes of planning and marking teachers have to do, never mind finding the time to actually teach!

So how do you know which ones are the best?

Well, as a team of people passionate about education and learning, we decided to do a bit of research to help you out.

We’ve asked some of the best and brightest in education for their opinions on the hottest EdTech of 2017. These guys are the real deal – experts in education, teaching and new tech from all over the world from England to India, to New York and San Francisco.

They’ve given us a list of 82 amazing, tried and tested tools…


From DSC:
The ones that I mentioned that Giorgio included in his excellent article were:

  • AdmitHub – Free, Expert College Admissions Advice
  • Labster – Empowering the Next Generation of Scientists to Change the World
  • Unimersiv – Virtual Reality Educational Experiences
  • Lifeliqe – Interactive 3D Models to Augment Classroom Learning

 


 

 

 

 

Samsung’s personal assistant Bixby will take on Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri — from theaustralian.com.au by Chris Griffith

Excerpt:

Samsung has published details of its Bixby personal assistant, which will debut on its Galaxy S8 smartphone in New York next week.

Bixby will go head-to-head with Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Echo and Apple Siri, in a battle to lure you into their artificial intelligence world.

In future, the personal assistant that you like may not only influence which phone you buy, also the home automation system that you adopt.

This is because these personal assistants cross over into home use, which is why Samsung would bother with one of its own.

Given that the S8 will run Android Nougat, which includes Google Assistant, users will have two personal assistants on their phone, unless somehow one is disabled.

 

 

There are a lot of red flags with Samsung’s AI assistant in the new Galaxy S8 — from businessinsider.com by Steve Kovach

Excerpt:

There’s Siri. And Alexa. And Google Assistant. And Cortana. Now add another one of those digital assistants to the mix: Bixby, the new helper that lives inside Samsung’s latest phone, the Galaxy S8. But out of all the assistants that have launched so far, Bixby is the most curious and the most limited.

Samsung’s goal with Bixby was to create an assistant that can mimic all the functions you’re used to performing by tapping on your screen through voice commands. The theory is that phones are too hard to manage, so simply letting users tell their phone what they want to happen will make things a lot easier.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8: Hands on with the world’s most ambitious phone — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

Excerpt:

The S8 will also feature Bixby, Samsung’s new intelligent assistant. The company says Bixby is a bigger deal than Siri or Google Assistant – as well as simply asking for the weather, it will be deeply integrated with the phone’s everyday functions such as taking photos and sending them to people. Samsung has put a dedicated Bixby button on the S8 on the left hand side, but I wasn’t able to try it out because it won’t launch in the UK until later this year.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 launch: Samsung reveals its long-awaited iPhone killer — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

 

 

 


Also see:


 

Recent years have brought some rapid development in the area of artificially intelligent personal assistants. Future iterations of the technology could fully revamp the way we interact with our devices.

 

 

 

21 bot experts make their predictions for 2017 — from venturebeat.com by Adelyn Zhou

Excerpt:

2016 was a huge year for bots, with major platforms like Facebook launching bots for Messenger, and Amazon and Google heavily pushing their digital assistants. Looking forward to 2017, we asked 21 bot experts, entrepreneurs, and executives to share their predictions for how bots will continue to evolve in the coming year.

From Jordi Torras, founder and CEO, Inbenta:
“Chatbots will get increasingly smarter, thanks to the adoption of sophisticated AI algorithms and machine learning. But also they will specialize more in specific tasks, like online purchases, customer support, or online advice. First attempts of chatbot interoperability will start to appear, with generalist chatbots, like Siri or Alexa, connecting to specialized enterprise chatbots to accomplish specific tasks. Functions traditionally performed by search engines will be increasingly performed by chatbots.”

 

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
For those of us working within higher education, chatbots need to be on our radars. Here are 2 slides from my NGLS 2017 presentation.

 

 

 

 

59 impressive things artificial intelligence can do today — from businessinsider.com by Ed Newton-Rex

Excerpt:

But what can AI do today? How close are we to that all-powerful machine intelligence? I wanted to know, but couldn’t find a list of AI’s achievements to date. So I decided to write one. What follows is an attempt at that list. It’s not comprehensive, but it contains links to some of the most impressive feats of machine intelligence around. Here’s what AI can do…

 

 

 


Recorded Saturday, February 25th, 2017 and published on Mar 16, 2017


Description:

Will progress in Artificial Intelligence provide humanity with a boost of unprecedented strength to realize a better future, or could it present a threat to the very basis of human civilization? The future of artificial intelligence is up for debate, and the Origins Project is bringing together a distinguished panel of experts, intellectuals and public figures to discuss who’s in control. Eric Horvitz, Jaan Tallinn, Kathleen Fisher and Subbarao Kambhampati join Origins Project director Lawrence Krauss.

 

 

 

 

Description:
Elon Musk, Stuart Russell, Ray Kurzweil, Demis Hassabis, Sam Harris, Nick Bostrom, David Chalmers, Bart Selman, and Jaan Tallinn discuss with Max Tegmark (moderator) what likely outcomes might be if we succeed in building human-level AGI, and also what we would like to happen. The Beneficial AI 2017 Conference: In our sequel to the 2015 Puerto Rico AI conference, we brought together an amazing group of AI researchers from academia and industry, and thought leaders in economics, law, ethics, and philosophy for five days dedicated to beneficial AI. We hosted a two-day workshop for our grant recipients and followed that with a 2.5-day conference, in which people from various AI-related fields hashed out opportunities and challenges related to the future of AI and steps we can take to ensure that the technology is beneficial.

 

 


(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 remoting or working with others in the same physical space) — and you have one incredibly powerful platform! 

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

 

 


 

 

 


 

AI Market to Grow 47.5% Over Next Four Years — from campustechnology.com by Richard Chang

Excerpt:

The artificial intelligence (AI) market in the United States education sector is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 47.5 percent during the period 2017-2021, according to a new report by market research firm Research and Markets.

 

 

Amazon deepens university ties in artificial intelligence race — from by Jeffrey Dastin

Excerpt:

Amazon.com Inc has launched a new program to help students build capabilities into its voice-controlled assistant Alexa, the company told Reuters, the latest move by a technology firm to nurture ideas and talent in artificial intelligence research.

Amazon, Alphabet Inc’s Google and others are locked in a race to develop and monetize artificial intelligence. Unlike some rivals, Amazon has made it easy for third-party developers to create skills for Alexa so it can get better faster – a tactic it now is extending to the classroom.

 

 

The WebMD skill for Amazon’s Alexa can answer all your medical questions — from digitaltrends.com by Kyle Wiggers
WebMD is bringing its wealth of medical knowledge to a new form factor: Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.

Excerpt:

Alexa, Amazon’s brilliant voice-activated smart assistant, is a capable little companion. It can order a pizza, summon a car, dictate a text message, and flick on your downstairs living room’s smart bulb. But what it couldn’t do until today was tell you whether that throbbing lump on your forearm was something that required medical attention. Fortunately, that changed on Tuesday with the introduction of a WebMD skill that puts the service’s medical knowledge at your fingertips.

 

 


Addendum:

  • How artificial intelligence is taking Asia by storm — from techwireasia.com by Samantha Cheh
    Excerpt:
    Lately it seems as if everyone is jumping onto the artificial intelligence bandwagon. Everyone, from ride-sharing service Uber to Amazon’s logistics branch, is banking on AI being the next frontier in technological innovation, and are investing heavily in the industry.

    That’s likely truest in Asia, where the manufacturing engine which drove China’s growth is now turning its focus to plumbing the AI mine for gold.

    Despite Asia’s relatively low overall investment in AI, the industry is set to grow. Fifty percent of respondents in KPMG’s AI report said their companies had plans to invest in AI or robotic technology.

    Investment in AI is set to drive venture capital investment in China in 2017. Tak Lo, of Hong Kong’s Zeroth, notes there are more mentions of AI in Chinese research papers than there are in the US.

    China, Korea and Japan collectively account for nearly half the planet’s shipments of articulated robots in the world.

     

 

Artificial Intelligence – Research Areas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blockchain: Letting students own their credentials — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
Very soon this nascent technology could securely enable registrars to help students verify credentials without the hassle of ordering copies of transcripts.

Excerpt:

While truth may seem evasive on many fronts, a joint academic and industry effort is underway to codify it for credentialing. At the core of the effort is blockchain, a trust technology developed for bitcoin and used in solving other forms of validation between individuals and organizations. Still in its nascent stage, the technology could, within just a year or two, provide the core services that would enable schools to stop acting as if they own proof of learning and help students verify their credentials as needed — without waiting on a records office to do it for them.

 

From DSC:
This article reminded me of two of the slides from my NGLS 2017 presentation back from February:

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 

Galvanize will teach students how to use IBM Watson APIs with new machine learning course — from techcrunch.com by John Mannes

Excerpt:

As part of IBM’s annual InterConnect conference in Las Vegas, the company is announcing a new machine learning course in partnership with workspace and education provider Galvanize to familiarize students with IBM’s suite of Watson APIs. These APIs simplify the process of building tools that rely on language, speech and vision analysis.

Going by the admittedly clunky name IBM Cognitive Course, the class will spend four weeks teaching the basics of machine learning and Watson’s capabilities. Students will be able to take the class directly within IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform.

 

 

 

 

A smorgasboard of ideas to put on your organization’s radar! [Christian]

From DSC:
At the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference, held recently in San Diego, CA, I moderated a panel discussion re: AR, VR, and MR.  I started off our panel discussion with some introductory ideas and remarks — meant to make sure that numerous ideas were on the radars at attendees’ organizations. Then Vinay and Carrie did a super job of addressing several topics and questions (Mary was unable to make it that day, as she got stuck in the UK due to transportation-related issues).

That said, I didn’t get a chance to finish the second part of the presentation which I’ve listed below in both 4:3 and 16:9 formats.  So I made a recording of these ideas, and I’m relaying it to you in the hopes that it can help you and your organization.

 


Presentations/recordings:


 

Audio/video recording (187 MB MP4 file)

 

 


Again, I hope you find this information helpful.

Thanks,
Daniel

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems