Want to learn a new language? With this AR app, just point & tap — from fastcodesign.com by Mark Wilson
A new demo shows how augmented reality could redefine apps as we know them.

Excerpt:

There’s a new app gold rush. After Facebook and Apple both released augmented reality development kits in recent months, developers are demonstrating just what they can do with these new technologies. It’s a race to invent the future first.

To get a taste of how quickly and dramatically our smartphone apps are about to change, just take a look at this little demo by front end engineer Frances Ng, featured on Prosthetic Knowledge. Just by aiming her iPhone at various objects and tapping, she can both identify items like lamps and laptops, and translate their names to a number of different languages. Bye bye, multilingual dictionaries and Google translate. Hello, “what the heck is the Korean word for that?”

 

 

 

Also see:

Apple ARKit & Machine Learning Come Together Making Smarter Augmented Reality — from next.reality.news by Jason Odom

Excerpt:

The world is a massive place, especially when you consider the field of view of your smartglasses or mobile device. To fulfill the potential promise of augmented reality, we must find a way to fill that view with useful and contextual information. Of course, the job of creating contextual, valuable information, to fill the massive space that is the planet earth, is a daunting task to take on. Machine learning seems to be one solution many are moving toward.

Tokyo, Japan based web developer, Frances Ng released a video on Twitter showing off her first experiments with Apple’s ARKit and CoreML, Apple’s machine learning system. As you can see in the gifs below, her mobile device is being used to recognize a few objects around her room, and then display the name of the identified objects.

 

 

 

Microsoft and Intel unite to bring blockchain to businesses with Coco Framework – from digitaltrends.com by Lulu Chang

Excerpt:

You still may not know what bitcoin is, but soon, you could be working with the technology that powers the cryptocurrency. Intel and Microsoft are working together to bring blockchain into the workplace, and it’s all contingent on a new framework they’re calling Coco. Heralded as a first-of-its-kind innovation, the goal is to jumpstart widespread adoption, particularly among businesses, of blockchain technology. After all, blockchain allows for secure and speedy transactions, which are key to many modern businesses.

As Microsoft noted in a news release, the Coco Framework is meant to reduce the complexity currently associated with blockchain protocol technology. As such, the company notes, the framework could pave the way for “more complex, real-world blockchain scenarios across industries — like financial services, supply chain and logistics, healthcare and retail — further proving blockchain’s potential to digitally transform business.”

 

Blockchain technology may seem a bit foreign to most, but Microsoft and Intel are hoping to bring it to businesses around the world.

 

 

 

The Platform Chronicles: 10 Questions with Phil Komarny, Chief Digital Officer at the Institute for Transformational Learning at UTx — from medium.com by Bruce Richardson
On the first blockchain app on Salesforce and the pursuit of lifelong learning

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Welcome to the The Platform Chronicles, a new publication designed to introduce readers to some of the most innovative partners that have developed applications on the Salesforce platform. This issue focuses on Phil Komarny and UTx’s plans to dramatically change Higher Ed.

Question #1
Phil, Can you tell us more about the University of Texas’ Institute for Transformational Learning and its relationship with Salesforce?

At the Institute for Transformational Learning we are charged with developing technologies that will power the delivery of educational experiences for our 215,000 students. Though this work we have created a platform that leverages a persistent profile of each of our learners. The platform, Totelic, also has the potential to integrate with each of our 14 campuses student information and learning management systems.

Thinking deeply about the learner’s lifelong journey, we also created a data model that places the learner at the center of the experience. Using Salesforce as our CRM we are afforded a 360-degree view of each learner. The data that resides in many siloed data stores on every campus today has now been wrapped around each learner to create a digital reflection of their abilities and goals.

 

A quick insert of a graphic from DSC:

 

 

Instead of replacing the ERP systems, we enhance them with our integrations so that each of our campuses has an innovation engine at their disposal. Creating new experiences for learners like modular certificates that stack toward a larger credential over time is now a reality for our campus partners.

(Editor’s note: Totelic was created by the UTX Institute for Transformational Learning, and is a “Learner Relationship Management” (LRM) system?—?that is basically a learning environment-agnostic dashboard that monitors a learner’s progress through any connected learning experience, e.g., a 3-credit course taught in Blackboard or a Salesforce Trailhead module. It normalizes the data stream and feeds a few algorithms that provide motivational guidance and track pace, progress and overall performance. It also has an integrated service model that leverages Salesforce communities to provide connection for everything from mentoring to events.)


Blockchains are being used for many things today. From crypto currency to tracking shipping containers and diamonds, the immutability, security and validity of this distributed data store create a new way to think through our current business process, policies and laws of any enterprise.

At a recent event at MIT, The Business of Blockchain, I was stunned to see each vertical represented with one omission?—?education.

After reading Phillip Schmidt’s Medium post about work they were doing at the MIT Media Lab that would effectively store any fellow’s digital credential to a blockchain, I envisioned how that approach might work for our platform.

While on a hike, I was pondering the application and the ChainScript was born. This application would be able to provide every learner in our system a way to own, manage and share a record of their academic accomplishments by storing their information on a blockchain.

To validate this approach we have created our proof of concept as private blockchain to allow us to focus on the different applications of the technology before we take the solutions to a different fabric.

 

 

Microsoft is working on its own commercial blockchain framework, expected to arrive in 2018 — from geekwire.com by Tom Krazit

Excerpt:

Starting next year, Microsoft plans to release an open-source framework that will allow businesses to implement blockchain technologies as part of their business processes.

The project, known as the Coco Framework, aims to help companies use blockchain ledger technologies to facilitate transactions between customers, suppliers, or anyone with whom they do business. Coco Framework will work with any ledger protocol and can run on any cloud provider’s services or on on-premises servers, Microsoft representatives said. The company plans to release more details on its approach later on Thursday.

Blockchain is the underlying technology behind the Bitcoin digital currency, but it has lots of other potential uses that have technologists and venture capitalists excited. It allows users to keep a record of transactions (or really anything that transpires between different entities) in a secure, decentralized “ledger.” Think of it like a database that isn’t tied to a server or public cloud, but rather a cascade of data points that work together to continuously update and verify a record of activity.

 

 

 

The Truth About Blockchain — from hbr.org by Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani

Excerpt:

The parallels between blockchain and TCP/IP are clear. Just as e-mail enabled bilateral messaging, bitcoin enables bilateral financial transactions. The development and maintenance of blockchain is open, distributed, and shared—just like TCP/IP’s. A team of volunteers around the world maintains the core software. And just like e-mail, bitcoin first caught on with an enthusiastic but relatively small community.

TCP/IP unlocked new economic value by dramatically lowering the cost of connections. Similarly, blockchain could dramatically reduce the cost of transactions. It has the potential to become the system of record for all transactions. If that happens, the economy will once again undergo a radical shift, as new, blockchain-based sources of influence and control emerge.*

* From DSC:
   “What if…?” comes to mind here…

 

In a blockchain system, the ledger is replicated in a large number of identical databases, each hosted and maintained by an interested party. When changes are entered in one copy, all the other copies are simultaneously updated. So as transactions occur, records of the value and assets exchanged are permanently entered in all ledgers. There is no need for third-party intermediaries to verify or transfer ownership. If a stock transaction took place on a blockchain-based system, it would be settled within seconds, securely and verifiably. (The infamous hacks that have hit bitcoin exchanges exposed weaknesses not in the blockchain itself but in separate systems linked to parties using the blockchain.)

 

 

 

Microsoft Is Working to Make Blockchain Faster and More Popular — from finance.yahoo.com and Reuters

Excerpt:

Microsoft is working on technology that it believes can make blockchain-based systems faster and more private, as it looks to speed up use of the distributed database software by enterprises.

The company said on Thursday that it had developed a system called Coco Framework, which connects to different blockchain networks to solve some of the issues that have slowed down their adoption, including speed and privacy concerns.

Coco, whose names stands for Confidential Consortium, will be ready and made open source by 2018, Microsoft said.

It is currently compatible with Ethereum, one of the most popular types of blockchains and can make it roughly 100 times faster, Microsoft said.

 

 

 

 



Addendum on 8/17/17:

 

 

 

 

Learn the skills and resources you need to master virtual reality — from vudream.com by Mark Metry

Excerpt:

[From] Tee Jia Hen, CEO of VRcollab
In my opinion, there are 4 specializations of VR content professional.

  1. VR native app development
  2. Cinematic VR creation
  3. Photogrammetry
  4. VR web development

 

 


Also see:

Getting Started with WebVR – from virtualrealitypop.com by Michael Hazani

Excerpt:

This is not a tutorial or a comprehensive, thorough technical guide?—?many of those already exist?—?but rather a way to think about WebVR and acquaint yourself with what it is, exactly, and how best to approach it from scratch. If you’ve been doing WebVR or 3D programming for a while, this article is most certainly not for you. If you’ve been curious about that stuff and want to know how to join the party— read on!

 


 

 

 

Why Natural Language Processing is the Future of Business Intelligence — from dzone.com by Gur Tirosh
Until now, we have been interacting with computers in a way that they understand, rather than us. We have learned their language. But now, they’re learning ours.

Excerpt:

Every time you ask Siri for directions, a complex chain of cutting-edge code is activated. It allows “her” to understand your question, find the information you’re looking for, and respond to you in a language that you understand. This has only become possible in the last few years. Until now, we have been interacting with computers in a way that they understand, rather than us. We have learned their language.

But now, they’re learning ours.

The technology underpinning this revolution in human-computer relations is Natural Language Processing (NLP). And it’s already transforming BI, in ways that go far beyond simply making the interface easier. Before long, business transforming, life changing information will be discovered merely by talking with a chatbot.

This future is not far away. In some ways, it’s already here.

What Is Natural Language Processing?
NLP, otherwise known as computational linguistics, is the combination of Machine Learning, AI, and linguistics that allows us to talk to machines as if they were human.

 

 

But NLP aims to eventually render GUIs — even UIs — obsolete, so that interacting with a machine is as easy as talking to a human.

 

 

 

 

A leading Silicon Valley engineer explains why every tech worker needs a humanities education — from qz.com by Tracy Chou

Excerpts:

I was no longer operating in a world circumscribed by lesson plans, problem sets and programming assignments, and intended course outcomes. I also wasn’t coding to specs, because there were no specs. As my teammates and I were building the product, we were also simultaneously defining what it should be, whom it would serve, what behaviors we wanted to incentivize amongst our users, what kind of community it would become, and what kind of value we hoped to create in the world.

I still loved immersing myself in code and falling into a state of flow—those hours-long intensive coding sessions where I could put everything else aside and focus solely on the engineering tasks at hand. But I also came to realize that such disengagement from reality and societal context could only be temporary.

At Quora, and later at Pinterest, I also worked on the algorithms powering their respective homefeeds: the streams of content presented to users upon initial login, the default views we pushed to users. It seems simple enough to want to show users “good” content when they open up an app. But what makes for good content? Is the goal to help users to discover new ideas and expand their intellectual and creative horizons? To show them exactly the sort of content that they know they already like? Or, most easily measurable, to show them the content they’re most likely to click on and share, and that will make them spend the most time on the service?

 

Ruefully—and with some embarrassment at my younger self’s condescending attitude toward the humanities—I now wish that I had strived for a proper liberal arts education. That I’d learned how to think critically about the world we live in and how to engage with it. That I’d absorbed lessons about how to identify and interrogate privilege, power structures, structural inequality, and injustice. That I’d had opportunities to debate my peers and develop informed opinions on philosophy and morality. And even more than all of that, I wish I’d even realized that these were worthwhile thoughts to fill my mind with—that all of my engineering work would be contextualized by such subjects.

It worries me that so many of the builders of technology today are people like me; people haven’t spent anywhere near enough time thinking about these larger questions of what it is that we are building, and what the implications are for the world.

 

 


Also see:


 

Why We Need the Liberal Arts in Technology’s Age of Distraction — from time.com by Tim Bajarin

Excerpt:

In a recent Harvard Business Review piece titled “Liberal Arts in the Data Age,” author JM Olejarz writes about the importance of reconnecting a lateral, liberal arts mindset with the sort of rote engineering approach that can lead to myopic creativity. Today’s engineers have been so focused on creating new technologies that their short term goals risk obscuring unintended longterm outcomes. While a few companies, say Intel, are forward-thinking enough to include ethics professionals on staff, they remain exceptions. At this point all tech companies serious about ethical grounding need to be hiring folks with backgrounds in areas like anthropology, psychology and philosophy.

 

 

 

 

VR Is the Fastest-Growing Skill for Online Freelancers — from bloomberg.com by Isabel Gottlieb
Workers who specialize in artificial intelligence also saw big jumps in demand for their expertise.

Excerpt:

Overall, tech-related skills accounted for nearly two-thirds of Upwork’s list of the 20 fastest-growing skills.

 


 

 


Also see:


How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy — from nytimes.com by Claire Miller and Jess Bidgood

Excerpt

MEDFORD, Mass. — Amory Kahan, 7, wanted to know when it would be snack time. Harvey Borisy, 5, complained about a scrape on his elbow. And Declan Lewis, 8, was wondering why the two-wheeled wooden robot he was programming to do the Hokey Pokey wasn’t working. He sighed, “Forward, backward, and it stops.”

Declan tried it again, and this time the robot shook back and forth on the gray rug. “It did it!” he cried. Amanda Sullivan, a camp coordinator and a postdoctoral researcher in early childhood technology, smiled. “They’ve been debugging their Hokey Pokeys,” she said.

The children, at a summer camp last month run by the Developmental Technologies Research Group at Tufts University, were learning typical kid skills: building with blocks, taking turns, persevering through frustration. They were also, researchers say, learning the skills necessary to succeed in an automated economy.

Technological advances have rendered an increasing number of jobs obsolete in the last decade, and researchers say parts of most jobs will eventually be automated. What the labor market will look like when today’s young children are old enough to work is perhaps harder to predict than at any time in recent history. Jobs are likely to be very different, but we don’t know which will still exist, which will be done by machines and which new ones will be created.

 

 

 

Jobs Report: 97 Percent of Flatiron School Graduates Land Jobs — from campustechnology.com by Sri Ravipati

Excerpt:

While two major coding bootcamps shut down earlier [last] week, another released its latest jobs report and says it had the strongest student outcomes to date.

The Flatiron School based in New York, NY has released an independently verified jobs report every year since 2014 — “pioneering the concept of outcomes reporting and setting a standard of transparency in educational outcomes,” the latest report reads. It’s the company’s commitment to accessibility and transparency that have allowed its programs to stay open for five years now, says Adam Enbar, co-founder of the Flatiron School.

 

 

 

Report: AI will be in nearly all new software by 2020 — from thejournal.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence will be in nearly all new software products by 2020 and a top five investment priority for more than 30 percent of chief information officers, according to a new report from Gartner.

The company lists three keys to successfully exploiting AI technologies over the next few years:

  • Many vendors are “AI washing” their products, or applying the term artificial intelligence to tools that don’t really merit it. Vendors should use the term wisely and be clear about what differentiates their AI products and what problems they solve;
  • Forego more complicated or cutting-edge AI techniques in favor of simpler, proven approaches; and
  • Organizations do not have the skills to evaluate, build or deploy AI and are looking for embedded or packaged AI rather than custom building their own.

 

 

 

 

Major Coding Bootcamps Going Out of Business — from campustechnology.com by Sri Ravipati

Excerpt:

In a surprising turn of events, two major coding bootcamps, within the span of about a week, have announced they are shutting down all operations.

Most recently, after a four-year run, South Carolina-based The Iron Yard (TIY) revealed last Friday it would close its 15 campuses, including locations like Atlanta, Austin, Houston and Charleston where other coding bootcamps are flourishing.

Similarly, Dev Bootcamp (DBC) on July 12 announced via Facebook that it would shutdown operations at all six locations — Austin, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and New York — by the end of the summer.

 

From DSC:
I can almost hear the snickering from a variety of people within higher education about this situation. If gloating had an audible sound associated with it, I’d likely have to go find some earplugs. But I have a message for those who are snickering and gloating right now — saying something along the lines of, “Ha! So much for these alternatives to traditional higher education! They’re nothing, and they’ll come to nothing!”

That may be so. Such relatively new alternatives to traditional institutions of higher education may come to nothing. But you know what? At least those organizations are trying to be much more responsive than many institutions of traditional higher education are being! They’ve recognized that there are unmet needs — gaps, if you will — arising from our current systems. Gaps in either the content that we’re providing and/or the manner in which we’re providing it. Gaps that thousands of students have signed up for in a relatively short time. Those gaps should be cause for action within traditional institutions of higher education. They should be cause for realizing that we aren’t responding nearly fast enough to today’s new pace of change.

The pace of change has changed. It is lightning fast these days. Don’t believe me? Go check out some of the descriptions for the hot jobs out there these days. Seriously. Go do it. Go find out which skills you need to get your foot in the door to acquire those types of positions. It’ll blow your mind!

And there are ramifications to this.

If our accreditation systems need to change, than so be it. Let’s identify those necessary changes and make ’em happen!

Because:

  • WE have some serious responsibility for the educations that we are providing to this next generation!!! 
  • WE need to prepare them for what they’ll need to be marketable in the future — so that they can put bread and butter on their tables throughout their careers.
  • WE need to act!
  • WE need to be responsive!

This is not a time for gloating. Rather, this is a time for some serious action.

 

 

 



Addendums on 8/2/17 and 8/3/17:



Jobs Report: 97 Percent of Flatiron School Graduates Land Jobs — from by Sri Ravipati

Excerpt:

While two major coding bootcamps shut down earlier this week, another released its latest jobs report and says it had the strongest student outcomes to date.

The Flatiron School based in New York, NY has released an independently verified jobs report every year since 2014 — “pioneering the concept of outcomes reporting and setting a standard of transparency in educational outcomes,” the latest report reads. It’s the company’s commitment to accessibility and transparency that have allowed its programs to stay open for five years now, says Adam Enbar, co-founder of the Flatiron School.

 

More bootcamps are quietly coming to a university near you — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

In the last two years, a surge of nonprofit, four-year institutions have hopped on the bootcamp bandwagon. These programs, often on skills such as software development or data analytics, have arrived in a number of ways—from universities partnering with local for-profit bootcamps, or colleges creating their own intensive training programs completely in-house.But while bootcamps are often associated with tech skills, it seems that traditional universities trying out the model are interested in more than just coding. An increasing number of traditional higher-ed institutions are now applying bootcamp trainings to other fields, such as healthcare, accounting and even civics and political science.

 

 

 

Mortenson Creates First-of-Its-Kind Augmented Reality App for Construction Visualization — from prnewswire.com
Akin to Pokemon Go, the new mobile app is helping the University of Washington community “experience” a new computer science building 18 months before its doors open to students

Excerpt:

SEATTLEJuly 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — After pioneering the use of virtual design in construction, Mortenson Construction has developed a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) mobile app to help the University of Washington community “see” the future CSE2 computer science building – well before its doors open to students in January of 2019. Similar to the popular Pokémon Go, users can either point their smartphones at the construction site on campus – or at a printed handout if off campus – to experience a life-like digital representation of the future CSE2 building.

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian