Adobe unveils new Microsoft HoloLens and Amazon Alexa integrations — from geekwire.com by Nat Levy

 

 

 

 

Introducing the AR Landscape — from medium.com by Super Ventures
Mapping out the augmented reality ecosystem

 

 

 

 

Alibaba leads $18M investment in car navigation augmented reality outfit WayRay — from siliconangle.com by Kyt Dotson

Excerpt:

WayRay boasts the 2015 launch of Navion, what it calls the “first ever holographic navigator” for cars that uses AR technology to project a Global Positioning System, or GPS, info overlay onto the car’s windshield.

Just like a video game, users of the GPS need only follow green arrows projected as if onto the road in front of the car providing visual directions. More importantly, because the system displays on the windscreen, it does not require a cumbersome headset or eyewear worn by the driver. It integrates directly into the dashboard of the car.

The system also recognizes simple voice and gesture commands from the driver — eschewing turning of knobs or pressing buttons. The objective of the system is to allow the driver to spend more time paying attention to the road, with hands on the wheel. Many modern-day onboard GPS systems also recognize voice commands but require the driver to glance over at a screen.

 

 

Viro Media Is A Tool For Creating Simple Mobile VR Apps For Businesses — from uploadvr.com by Charles Singletary

Excerpt:

Viro Media is supplying a platform of their own and their hope is to be the simplest experience where companies can code once and have their content available on multiple mobile platforms. We chatted with Viro Media CEO Danny Moon about the tool and what creators can expect to accomplish with it.

 

 

Listen to these podcasts to dive into virtual reality — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergürel
We curated some great episodes with our friends at RadioPublic

Excerpt:

Virtual reality can transport us to new places, where we can experience new worlds and people, like no other. It is a whole new medium poised to change the future of gaming, education, health care and enterprise. Today we are starting a new series to help you discover what this new technology promises. With the help of our friends at RadioPublic, we are curating a quick library of podcasts related to virtual reality technology.

 

Psychologists using virtual reality to help treat PTSD in veterans — from kxan.com by Amanda Brandeis

Excerpt:

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Virtual reality is no longer reserved for entertainment and gamers, its helping solve real-world problems. Some of the latest advancements are being demonstrated at South by Southwest.

Dr. Skip Rizzo directs the Medical Virtual Reality Lab at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. He’s helping veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He’s up teamed with Dell to develop and spread the technology to more people.

 

 

 

NVIDIA Jetson Enables Artec 3D, Live Planet to Create VR Content in Real Time — from blogs.nvidia.com
While VR revolutionizes fields across everyday life — entertainment, medicine, architecture, education and product design — creating VR content remains among its biggest challenges.

Excerpt:

At NVIDIA Jetson TX2 launch [on March 7, 2017], in San Francisco, [NVIDIA] showed how the platform not only accelerates AI computing, graphics and computer vision, but also powers the workflows used to create VR content. Artec 3D debuted at the event the first handheld scanner offering real-time 3D capture, fusion, modeling and visualization on its own display or streamed to phones and tablets.

 

 

Project Empathy
A collection of virtual reality experiences that help us see the world through the eyes of another

Excerpt:

Benefit Studio’s virtual reality series, Project Empathy is a collection of thoughtful, evocative and surprising experiences by some of the finest creators in entertainment, technology and journalism.

Each film is designed to create empathy through a first-person experience–from being a child inside the U.S. prison system to being a widow cast away from society in India.  Individually, each of the films in this series presents its filmmaker’s unique vision, portraying an intimate experience through the eyes of someone whose story has been lost or overlooked and yet is integral to the larger story of our global society. Collectively, these creatively distinct films weave together a colorful tapestry of what it means to be human today.

 

 

 

 

Work in a high-risk industry? Virtual reality may soon become part of routine training — from ibtimes.cok.uk by Owen Hughes
Immersive training videos could be used to train workers in construction, mining and nuclear power.

 

 

 

At Syracuse University, more students are getting ahold of virtual reality — from dailyorange.com by Haley Kim

 

 

 

As Instructors Experiment With VR, a Shift From ‘Looking’ to ‘Interacting’ — from edsurge.com by Marguerite McNeal

Excerpt:

Most introductory geology professors teach students about earthquakes by assigning readings and showing diagrams of tectonic plates and fault lines to the class. But Paul Low is not most instructors.

“You guys can go wherever you like,” he tells a group of learners. “I’m going to go over to the epicenter and fly through and just kind of get a feel.”

Low is leading a virtual tour of the Earth’s bowels, directly beneath New Zealand’s south island, where a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck last November. Outfitted with headsets and hand controllers, the students are “flying” around the seismic hotbed and navigating through layers of the Earth’s surface.

Low, who taught undergraduate geology and environmental sciences and is now a research associate at Washington and Lee University, is among a small group of profs-turned-technologists who are experimenting with virtual reality’s applications in higher education.

 

 

 

These University Courses Are Teaching Students the Skills to Work in VR — from uploadvr.com

Excerpt:

“As virtual reality moves more towards the mainstream through the development of new, more affordable consumer technologies, a way needs to be found for students to translate what they learn in academic situations into careers within the industry,” says Frankie Cavanagh, a lecturer at Northumbria University. He founded a company called Somniator last year with the aim not only of developing VR games, but to provide a bridge between higher education and the technology sector. Over 70 students from Newcastle University, Northumbria University and Gateshead College in the UK have been placed so far through the program, working on real games as part of their degrees and getting paid for additional work commissioned.

 

Working with VR already translates into an extraordinarily diverse range of possible career paths, and those options are only going to become even broader as the industry matures in the next few years.

 

 

Scope AR Brings Live, Interactive AR Video Support to Caterpillar Customers — from augmented.reality.news by Tommy Palladino

Excerpt:

Customer service just got a lot more interesting. Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar just announced official availability of what they’re calling the CAT LIVESHARE solution to customer support, which builds augmented reality capabilities into the platform. They’ve partnered with Scope AR, a company who develops technical support and training documentation tools using augmented reality. The CAT LIVESHARE support system uses Scope AR’s Remote AR software as the backbone.

 

 

 

New virtual reality tool helps architects create dementia-friendly environments — from dezzen.com by Jessica Mairs

 

Visual showing appearance of a room without and with the Virtual Reality Empathy Platform headset

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Enterprise Gets Smart
Companies are starting to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to bolster customer experience, improve security and optimize operations.

Excerpt:

Assembling the right talent is another critical component of an AI initiative. While existing enterprise software platforms that add AI capabilities will make the technology accessible to mainstream business users, there will be a need to ramp up expertise in areas like data science, analytics and even nontraditional IT competencies, says Guarini.

“As we start to see the land grab for talent, there are some real gaps in emerging roles, and those that haven’t been as critical in the past,” Guarini  says, citing the need for people with expertise in disciplines like philosophy and linguistics, for example. “CIOs need to get in front of what they need in terms of capabilities and, in some cases, identify potential partners.”

 

 

 

Asilomar AI Principles

These principles were developed in conjunction with the 2017 Asilomar conference (videos here), through the process described here.

 

Artificial intelligence has already provided beneficial tools that are used every day by people around the world. Its continued development, guided by the following principles, will offer amazing opportunities to help and empower people in the decades and centuries ahead.

Research Issues

 

1) Research Goal: The goal of AI research should be to create not undirected intelligence, but beneficial intelligence.

2) Research Funding: Investments in AI should be accompanied by funding for research on ensuring its beneficial use, including thorny questions in computer science, economics, law, ethics, and social studies, such as:

  • How can we make future AI systems highly robust, so that they do what we want without malfunctioning or getting hacked?
  • How can we grow our prosperity through automation while maintaining people’s resources and purpose?
  • How can we update our legal systems to be more fair and efficient, to keep pace with AI, and to manage the risks associated with AI?
  • What set of values should AI be aligned with, and what legal and ethical status should it have?

3) Science-Policy Link: There should be constructive and healthy exchange between AI researchers and policy-makers.

4) Research Culture: A culture of cooperation, trust, and transparency should be fostered among researchers and developers of AI.

5) Race Avoidance: Teams developing AI systems should actively cooperate to avoid corner-cutting on safety standards.

Ethics and Values

 

6) Safety: AI systems should be safe and secure throughout their operational lifetime, and verifiably so where applicable and feasible.

7) Failure Transparency: If an AI system causes harm, it should be possible to ascertain why.

8) Judicial Transparency: Any involvement by an autonomous system in judicial decision-making should provide a satisfactory explanation auditable by a competent human authority.

9) Responsibility: Designers and builders of advanced AI systems are stakeholders in the moral implications of their use, misuse, and actions, with a responsibility and opportunity to shape those implications.

10) Value Alignment: Highly autonomous AI systems should be designed so that their goals and behaviors can be assured to align with human values throughout their operation.

11) Human Values: AI systems should be designed and operated so as to be compatible with ideals of human dignity, rights, freedoms, and cultural diversity.

12) Personal Privacy: People should have the right to access, manage and control the data they generate, given AI systems’ power to analyze and utilize that data.

13) Liberty and Privacy: The application of AI to personal data must not unreasonably curtail people’s real or perceived liberty.

14) Shared Benefit: AI technologies should benefit and empower as many people as possible.

15) Shared Prosperity: The economic prosperity created by AI should be shared broadly, to benefit all of humanity.

16) Human Control: Humans should choose how and whether to delegate decisions to AI systems, to accomplish human-chosen objectives.

17) Non-subversion: The power conferred by control of highly advanced AI systems should respect and improve, rather than subvert, the social and civic processes on which the health of society depends.

18) AI Arms Race: An arms race in lethal autonomous weapons should be avoided.

Longer-term Issues

 

19) Capability Caution: There being no consensus, we should avoid strong assumptions regarding upper limits on future AI capabilities.

20) Importance: Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources.

21) Risks: Risks posed by AI systems, especially catastrophic or existential risks, must be subject to planning and mitigation efforts commensurate with their expected impact.

22) Recursive Self-Improvement: AI systems designed to recursively self-improve or self-replicate in a manner that could lead to rapidly increasing quality or quantity must be subject to strict safety and control measures.

23) Common Good: Superintelligence should only be developed in the service of widely shared ethical ideals, and for the benefit of all humanity rather than one state or organization.

 

 

 

Excerpts:
Creating human-level AI: Will it happen, and if so, when and how? What key remaining obstacles can be identified? How can we make future AI systems more robust than today’s, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked?

  • Talks:
    • Demis Hassabis (DeepMind)
    • Ray Kurzweil (Google) (video)
    • Yann LeCun (Facebook/NYU) (pdf) (video)
  • Panel with Anca Dragan (Berkeley), Demis Hassabis (DeepMind), Guru Banavar (IBM), Oren Etzioni (Allen Institute), Tom Gruber (Apple), Jürgen Schmidhuber (Swiss AI Lab), Yann LeCun (Facebook/NYU), Yoshua Bengio (Montreal) (video)
  • Superintelligence: Science or fiction? If human level general AI is developed, then what are likely outcomes? What can we do now to maximize the probability of a positive outcome? (video)
    • Talks:
      • Shane Legg (DeepMind)
      • Nick Bostrom (Oxford) (pdf) (video)
      • Jaan Tallinn (CSER/FLI) (pdf) (video)
    • Panel with Bart Selman (Cornell), David Chalmers (NYU), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Jaan Tallinn (CSER/FLI), Nick Bostrom (FHI), Ray Kurzweil (Google), Stuart Russell (Berkeley), Sam Harris, Demis Hassabis (DeepMind): If we succeed in building human-level AGI, then what are likely outcomes? What would we like to happen?
    • Panel with Dario Amodei (OpenAI), Nate Soares (MIRI), Shane Legg (DeepMind), Richard Mallah (FLI), Stefano Ermon (Stanford), Viktoriya Krakovna (DeepMind/FLI): Technical research agenda: What can we do now to maximize the chances of a good outcome? (video)
  • Law, policy & ethics: How can we update legal systems, international treaties and algorithms to be more fair, ethical and efficient and to keep pace with AI?
    • Talks:
      • Matt Scherer (pdf) (video)
      • Heather Roff-Perkins (Oxford)
    • Panel with Martin Rees (CSER/Cambridge), Heather Roff-Perkins, Jason Matheny (IARPA), Steve Goose (HRW), Irakli Beridze (UNICRI), Rao Kambhampati (AAAI, ASU), Anthony Romero (ACLU): Policy & Governance (video)
    • Panel with Kate Crawford (Microsoft/MIT), Matt Scherer, Ryan Calo (U. Washington), Kent Walker (Google), Sam Altman (OpenAI): AI & Law (video)
    • Panel with Kay Firth-Butterfield (IEEE, Austin-AI), Wendell Wallach (Yale), Francesca Rossi (IBM/Padova), Huw Price (Cambridge, CFI), Margaret Boden (Sussex): AI & Ethics (video)

 

 

 

From DSC:
In the future, will Microsoft — via data supplied by LinkedIn and Lynda.com — use artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain-related technologies to match employers with employees/freelancers?  If so, how would this impact higher education? Badging? Credentialing?

It’s something to put on our radars.

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

A sneak peak on Recruitment in AI era
With global talent war at its peak, organisations are now looking at harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, to use search optimisation tools, data analytics, and talent mapping to reach out to the right talent for crucial job roles. Technology has been revolutionising the way recruitment works with the entire process being now automated with ATS and other talent management softwares. This saves time and costs involved with recruiting for HR managers, whilst allowing them to do away with third-party service providers for talent sourcing such as employment bureaus and traditional recruitment agencies. With modern talent acquisition technology empowered by AI, the time taken for recruitment is halved and search narrowed to reach out to only the best talent that matches job requirements. There is no need for human intervention and manual personality matching to choose the best candidates for suitable job roles.

Talent mapping, with the help of big data, is definitely the next step in recruitment technology. With talent mapping, recruiters can determine their candidate needs well in advance and develop a strategic plan for hiring long-term. This includes filling any skill gaps, bolstering the team for sudden changes in the workplace, or just simply having suitable talent in mind for the future. All of these, when prepared ahead of time, can save companies the trouble and time in future. Recruiters who are able to understand how AI works, harness the technology to save on time and costs will be rewarded with improved quality of hires, enhanced efficiency, more productive workforce and less turnover.

 

Growth of AI Means We Need To Retrain Workers… Now — from forbes.com by Ryan Wibberley

Excerpt:

On the more positive side, AI could take over mundane, repetitive tasks and enable the workers who perform them to take on more interesting and rewarding work. But that will also mean many workers will need to be retrained. If you’re in a business where AI-based automation could be a potentially significant disruptor, then the time to invest in worker training and skill development is now. One could argue that AI will impact just about every industry. For example, in the financial services industry, we have already seen the creation of the robo advisor. While I don’t believe that the robo advisor will fully replace the human financial advisor because of the emotional aspects of investing, I do believe that it will play a part in the relationship with an advisor and his/her client.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HarvardX rolls out new adaptive learning feature in online course — from edscoop.com by Corinne Lestch
Students in MOOC adaptive learning experiment scored nearly 20 percent better than students using more traditional learning approaches.

Excerpt:

Online courses at Harvard University are adapting on the fly to students’ needs.

Officials at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution announced a new adaptive learning technology that was recently rolled out in a HarvardX online course. The feature offers tailored course material that directly correlates with student performance while the student is taking the class, as well as tailored assessment algorithms.

HarvardX is an independent university initiative that was launched in parallel with edX, the online learning platform that was created by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both HarvardX and edX run massive open online courses. The new feature has never before been used in a HarvardX course, and has only been deployed in a small number of edX courses, according to officials.

 

 

From DSC:
Given the growth of AI, this is certainly radar worthy — something that’s definitely worth pulse-checking to see where opportunities exist to leverage these types of technologies.  What we now know of as adaptive learning will likely take an enormous step forward in the next decade.

IBM’s assertion rings in my mind:

 

 

I’m cautiously hopeful that these types of technologies can extend beyond K-12 and help us deal with the current need to be lifelong learners, and the need to constantly reinvent ourselves — while providing us with more choice, more control over our learning. I’m hopeful that learners will be able to pursue their passions, and enlist the help of other learners and/or the (human) subject matter experts as needed.

I don’t see these types of technologies replacing any teachers, professors, or trainers. That said, these types of technologies should be able to help do some of the heavy teaching and learning lifting in order to help someone learn about a new topic.

Again, this is one piece of the Learning from the Living [Class] Room that we see developing.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Hmmm…how true: “…the digital age rewards change and punishes stasis.” (
source)

Which reminds me of a photo I took just yesterday morning at one of the malls in our area, where a local Sears store is closing.

It made me wonder…if Sears could do it all over again, what would they do differently? If they had a time machine, would they go back in time and work to become the new Amazon.com?

 

 

 

By the way, this picture is for those people who continue to dismiss the need to change and to adapt.  Surveying the relevant landscapes is an increasingly important thing for all of us to do, especially given that we are now on an exponential pace of technological change.

 

 

Companies must be open to radical reinvention to find new, significant, and sustainable sources of revenue. Incremental adjustments or building something new outside of the core business can provide real benefits and, in many cases, are a crucial first step for a digital transformation. But if these initiatives don’t lead to more profound changes to the core business and avoid the real work of rearchitecting how the business makes money, the benefits can be fleeting and too insignificant to avert a steady march to oblivion.

 

 

 



Addendum on 2/10/17

  • Macy’s earnings: Shifts in retail are hurting major players — from marketwatch.com by Tonya Garcia
    Macy’s has assets like real estate and brand identity, but shifts in the sector are putting pressure on earningsExcerpt:
    Even a major player like Macy’s M, +1.51%   isn’t immune to retail’s struggles. The sector is experiencing a dramatic shift to e-commerce and changes in consumer tastes and shopping behavior that have put pressure on department store earnings, and on the industry as a whole. Macy’s has already announced 100 store closures and thousands of job cuts, in addition to a reassessment of its real-estate assets. Now there’s buzz from reports about buyout talks with Hudson’s Bay Co. HBC, parent to Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Innovative Companies of 2017 — from fastcompany.com

Excerpt:

This year marks the 10th edition of the Fast Company World’s Most Innovative Companies ranking. Our reporting team sifts through thousands of enterprises each year, searching for those that tap both heartstrings and purse strings and use the engine of commerce to make a difference in the world. Impact is among our key criteria.

 

 

 

Speaking of innovation, this article is about innovation within the world of  higher education:

Crafting an Innovation Landscape — from er.educause.edu by Shirley Dugdale and Brian Strawn

Key Takeaways

  • As efforts to stimulate innovation spring up across campuses, institutions need a comprehensive planning framework for integrated planning of initiatives to support innovation.
  • Viewing the campus as an Innovation Landscape, settings for collaborative creative activity — both physical and virtual — infuse the campus fabric and become part of the daily experience of their users.
  • The Innovation Landscape Framework proposed here serves as a tool that can help coordinate physical planning with organizational initiatives, engage a wide range of stakeholders, and enable a culture of innovation across campus.

 

 

 

This Mobile VR Crane Simulator Showcases the Future of Industrial Training — from roadtovr.com by Dominic Brennan

 

 

Description from an Inside VR & AR newsletter:

The Mobile Crane Simulator combines an Oculus headset with a modular rig to greatly reduce the cost of training. The system, from Industrial Training International and Serious Labs, Inc, will debut at the ConExpo Event this March in Las Vegas. The designers chose the Oculus for its comfort and portability, but the set-up supports OpenVR, allowing it to potentially also work on the Vive. (The “mobile” in the device’s name refers to a type of crane, rather than to mobile VR.) – ROAD TO VR

 

 
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