From DSC:
As some of you may know, I’m now working for the WMU-Thomas M. Cooley Law School. My faith gets involved here, but I believe that the LORD wanted me to get involved with:

  • Using technology to increase access to justice (#A2J)
  • Contributing to leveraging the science of learning for the long-term benefit of our students, faculty, and staff
  • Raising awareness regarding the potential pros and cons of today’s emerging technologies
  • Increase the understanding that the legal realm has a looooong way to go to try to get (even somewhat) caught up with the impacts that such emerging technologies can/might have on us.
  • Contributing and collaborating with others to help develop a positive future, not a negative one.

Along these lines…in regards to what’s been happening with law schools over the last few years, I wanted to share a couple of things:

1) An article from The Chronicle of Higher Education by Benjamin Barton:

The Law School Crash

 

2) A response from our President and Dean, James McGrath:Repositioning a Law School for the New Normal

 

From DSC:
I also wanted to personally say that I arrived at WMU-Cooley Law School in 2018, and have been learning a lot there (which I love about my job!).  Cooley employees are very warm, welcoming, experienced, knowledgeable, and professional. Everyone there is mission-driven. My boss, Chris Church, is multi-talented and excellent. Cooley has a great administrative/management team as well.

There have been many exciting, new things happening there. But that said, it will take time before we see the results of these changes. Perseverance and innovation will be key ingredients to crafting a modern legal education — especially in an industry that is just now beginning to offer online-based courses at the Juris Doctor (J.D.) level (i.e., 20 years behind when this began occurring within undergraduate higher education).

My point in posting this is to say that we should ALL care about what’s happening within the legal realm!  We are all impacted by it, whether we realize it or not. We are all in this together and no one is an island — not as individuals, and not as organizations.

We need:

  • Far more diversity within the legal field
  • More technical expertise within the legal realm — not only with lawyers, but with legislators, senators, representatives, judges, others
  • Greater use of teams of specialists within the legal field
  • To offer more courses regarding emerging technologies — and not only for the legal practices themselves but also for society at large.
  • To be far more vigilant in crafting a positive world to be handed down to our kids and grandkids — a dream, not a nightmare. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Still not convinced that you should care? Here are some things on the CURRENT landscapes:

  • You go to drop something off at your neighbor’s house. They have a camera that gets activated.  What facial recognition database are you now on? Did you give your consent to that? No, you didn’t.
  • Because you posted your photo on Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and/or on millions of other websites, your face could be in ClearView AI’s database. Did you give your consent to that occurring? No, you didn’t.
  • You’re at the airport and facial recognition is used instead of a passport. Whose database was that from and what gets shared? Did you give your consent to that occurring? Probably not, and it’s not easy to opt-out either.
  • Numerous types of drones, delivery bots, and more are already coming onto the scene. What will the sidewalks, streets, and skies look like in your neighborhood in the near future? Is that how you want it? Did you give your consent to that happening? No, you didn’t.
  • …and on and on it goes.

Addendum — speaking of islands!

Palantir CEO: Silicon Valley can’t be on ‘Palo Alto island’ — Big Tech must play by the rules — from cnbc.com by Jessica Bursztynsky

Excerpt:

Palantir Technologies co-founder and CEO Alex Karp said Thursday the core problem in Silicon Valley is the attitude among tech executives that they want to be separate from United States regulation.

“You cannot create an island called Palo Alto Island,” said Karp, who suggested tech leaders would rather govern themselves. “What Silicon Valley really wants is the canton of Palo Alto. We have the United States of America, not the ‘United States of Canton,’ one of which is Palo Alto. That must change.”

“Consumer tech companies, not Apple, but the other ones, have basically decided we’re living on an island and the island is so far removed from what’s called the United States in every way, culturally, linguistically and in normative ways,” Karp added.

 

 

From DSC:
I’ll say it again, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

From the article below…we can see another unintended consequence is developing on society’s landscapes. I really wish the 20 and 30 somethings that are being hired by the big tech companies — especially at Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft — who are developing these things would ask themselves:

  • “Just because we can develop this system/software/application/etc., SHOULD we be developing it?”
  • What might the negative consequences be? 
  • Do the positive contributions outweigh the negative impacts…or not?

To colleges professors and teachers:
Please pass these thoughts onto your students now, so that this internal questioning/conversations begin to take place in K-16.


Report: Colleges Must Teach ‘Algorithm Literacy’ to Help Students Navigate Internet — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

If the Ancient Mariner were sailing on the internet’s open seas, he might conclude there’s information everywhere, but nary a drop to drink.

That’s how many college students feel, anyway. A new report published this week about undergraduates’ impressions of internet algorithms reveals students are skeptical of and unnerved by tools that track their digital travels and serve them personalized content like advertisements and social media posts.

And some students feel like they’ve largely been left to navigate the internet’s murky waters alone, without adequate guidance from teachers and professors.

Researchers set out to learn “how aware students are about their information being manipulated, gathered and interacted with,” said Alison Head, founder and director of Project Information Literacy, in an interview with EdSurge. “Where does that awareness drop off?”

They found that many students not only have personal concerns about how algorithms compromise their own data privacy but also recognize the broader, possibly negative implications of tools that segment and customize search results and news feeds.

 

From DSC:
Very disturbing that citizens had no say in this. Legislators, senators, representatives, lawyers, law schools, politicians, engineers, programmers, professors, teachers, and more…please reflect upon our current situation here. How can we help create the kind of future that we can hand down to our kids and rest well at night…knowing we did all that we could to provide a dream — and not a nightmare — for them?


The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It — from nytimes.com by Kashmir Hill
A little-known start-up helps law enforcement match photos of unknown people to their online images — and “might lead to a dystopian future or something,” a backer says.

His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.

 

Excerpts:

“But without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year…”

Clearview’s app carries extra risks because law enforcement agencies are uploading sensitive photos to the servers of a company whose ability to protect its data is untested.

 

 

 

From DSC:
This report reminds me of a graphic that Yohan Na and I did 10+ years ago…and the student debt now sits at around $1.5 trillion.

 

 

From pizza to transplant organs: What drones will be delivering in the 2020s — from digitaltrends.com by Luke Dormehl

Excerpt:

From drone racing to drone photography, quadcopters and other unmanned aerial vehicles rose to prominence in the 2010s. But in the decade to come they’re going to become an even bigger thing in the next 10 years. Case in point: Deliveries by drone.

Who should you be watching in this space?


From DSC:

While I appreciate Luke’s reporting on this, I am very much against darkening the skies with noisy machines. Again, we adults need to be very careful of the world that we are developing for our kids! If items could be delivered via a system of underground pipes, that would be a different, quieter, not visible, more agreeable approach for me.

Just because we can…

 

The cost of college increased by more than 25% in the last 10 years—here’s why — from cnbc.com by Abigail Hess

Excerpt:

During the 1978 – 1979 school year, it cost the modern equivalent of $17,680 per year to attend a private college and $8,250 per year to attend a public college. By the 2008 – 2009 school year those costs had grown to $38,720 at private colleges and $16,460 at public colleges.

Today, those costs are closer to $48,510 and $21,370, respectively. That means costs increased by roughly 25.3% at private colleges and about 29.8% at public colleges.

Also see:

How affordable are public colleges in your state for low-income students?

Students from low-income backgrounds should be able to attend college without shouldering a debt burden or having to work so many hours that they jeopardize their chances of completing a degree. But that’s just not possible today.

Think students today can work their way through college? Think again.

For millions of college-going students, one of the most urgent concerns is the rising cost of college and how to pay for it — and not just for tuition but other necessities like textbooks, housing, food, and transportation. The idea that one can work one’s way through college with a minimum-wage job is, in most cases, a myth. In the vast majority of states, students at public four-year institutions would have to work an excessive number of hours per week to cover such costs. The same goes for students at many public community and technical colleges. In one of the costliest scenarios, students would have to work 45 hours a week to be exact, leaving nearly no time to focus on academics.

Overall, students from low-income backgrounds, despite access to financial aid, are being asked to pay well beyond their means for a college degree. In the following analysis, we look closely at just how much beyond their means.

Also see:

Also see:

 

Stepping Back from the Cliff: Facing New Realities of Changing Student Demographics — from evoLLLution.com by Jim Shaeffer
Most universities that plan to stick to the status quo and serve exclusively traditional learners are facing a cliff. CE divisions can help their institutions avoid a potential drop, but only if they’re empowered.

Excerpt:

Demographics of students enrolling at colleges and universities are evolving. And students’ expectations are evolving as well. As the numbers of 18-22 year olds fresh out of high school drop, the recruitment of non-traditional students is becoming more important than ever. In this interview, James Shaeffer discusses the role continuing education (CE) departments can play as drivers of innovation and reflects on how CE leaders can help their main campus colleagues embrace transformational change.

Addendum on 1/4/20:

 

Get Smart About Going Online: Choosing the Right Model to Deliver Digital Programming — from evolllution.com by Charles Kilfoye
A veteran online educator looks at the benefits and pitfalls for each of the three main ways to launch an online program.

Excerpt:

Online learning is making headlines again with big players such as University of Massachusetts and California Community College Online launching high profile online initiatives recently. Some would argue that if you haven’t made it in online education already, you’ve missed your opportunity.

However, my sense is it’s never too late. You just have to be smart about it. It all boils down to asking yourself the basic problem-solving questions of Why, What and How to determine if online education is right for your institution. To illustrate my point, I will briefly discuss major considerations you should make when exploring an online strategy and I will examine the pros and cons of the three most common models of delivering online programs in higher education today.

Be aware that differentiated pricing may indicate to prospective students that one format is more valuable or better than another. My personal opinion is that a degree earned online should be considered the same degree as one earned on-ground. It is the same program, same faculty, same admissions requirements, same relevance and rigor, so why not the same cost?

 

From DSC:
Regarding the topic of pricing, it would be my hope that we could offer online-based programs at significantly discounted prices. This is why I think it will be the larger higher education providers that ultimately win out — or a brand new player in the field that uses a next gen learning platform along with a different business model (see below article) — as they can spread their development costs over a great number of students/courses/program offerings.

If the current players in higher ed don’t find a way to do this (and some players have already figured this out and are working on delivering it), powerful alternatives will develop — especially as the public’s perspective on the value of higher education continues to decline.

 

Learning from the living class room

I’d also like to hear Charles’ thoughts about pricing after reading Brandon’s article below:

If it’s more expensive, it must be better. That, of course, has been the prevailing wisdom among parents and students when it comes to college. But that wisdom has now been exposed as an utter myth according to a new study published in The Journal of Consumer Affairs. It turns out the cost of a college does not predict higher alumni ratings about the quality of their education. In fact, the opposite is true: total cost of attendance predicts lower ratings.

Quality matters. Price does not. Quality and price are not the same things. And this all has enormous implications for the industry and its consumers.

 

 

Coming down the pike: A next generation, global learning platform [Christian]

From DSC:
Though we aren’t quite there yet, the pieces continue to come together to build a next generation learning platform that will help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, constantly, and cost-effectively.

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Redefining Norms Critical to Sustained Relevance in the Changing Postsecondary Environment — from evolllution.com by Hunt Lambert
Sticking to the status quo will end in disaster for most postsecondary institutions. To stay relevant, institutions have to rethink all aspects of the higher education product, from programming to student support to organizational models.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Higher education has existed for over a millennium in an effectively unchanged state, but the impetus to transform has arrived. Fast-changing labor demands, evolving learner expectations and transformed market realities are forcing college and university leaders to rethink the traditional postsecondary model and find ways to serve the growing numbers of lifelong learners. This idea has been broadly articulated as the 60-Year Curriculum (60YC), and executing on this vision demands a fundamental change in how higher education institutions must operate to serve students. In this interview, Hunt Lambert expands on the 60YC vision and shares his insights into how the organizational models of postsecondary institutions need to evolve to adapt to this approach.

The 60YC proposes that higher education providers, who happen to be best in the world at knowledge creation and dissemination through well-designed curriculum, expand that curricula concept from the current two-year AA, four-year BA, two-year master’s and seven-year PhD learning models into a 60-year model inclusive of 15- to 75-year-old learners and, most likely, beyond.

 

 

The following information is from Rebecca West, Founder and CEO, Helium Communications

Make School is working to level the playing field for underrepresented groups in tech.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, scarcity of technology talent is an acute point of pain for many organizations. The SF Bay Area has experienced a remarkable 90% growth in tech employment and a 36.5% expansion in STEM jobs in the past decade. California’s tech workforce grew by more than 51,500 jobs in 2018, with well over half of them in the Bay Area. In the current business climate, the biggest barrier to growth for many organizations is their inability to find qualified job candidates, particularly in technical fields such as coding and computer science.

Ironically, many students graduating from US colleges and universities are still having trouble finding work because they don’t possess the skills required in the actual workplace.  According to the most recent Global Information Workforce Study, the skills gap is only going to become more pronounced in coming years, with as many as 1.8 million IT jobs that could be left unfilled by 2022, a 20 percent bump from what the same study revealed two years earlier.

Make School is a college in San Francisco that’s working to level the playing field for underrepresented groups in tech. Make School is changing the higher education landscape with a unique model of deferred tuition that makes it possible for computer science students to gain the skills they need in order to find employment in the technology market without saddling themselves with huge amounts of debt.

Make School serves high school students entering college and transfer students (either from community colleges or from other four-year institutions). Accessibility to diverse populations is a key component of their offering. Make School offers a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Computer Science, teaching students to design, program, and launch software products while providing a foundation of liberal arts to ensure a lasting career. Students who graduate from Make School do not pay tuition until they have secured employment and are earning an annual salary of at least $60K.

With four years of positive student outcomes comparable to schools like Stanford and MIT, Make School has demonstrated the success of its model. Alumni currently work at companies including Facebook, Google, Apple, Zendesk, Y Combinator startups, and other leading technology innovators.

Fall and Spring semester tuition is $15,000. Summer semester tuition is $10,000. Total tuition for the bachelor’s program is $70,000.

 

From DSC:
I’d like to see the tuition come down for this school — especially as they are marketing themselves as a school that aims to help underrepresented groups in tech. Perhaps they’ll need to develop some satellite branches/campuses outside the San Francisco area in order to make that tuition reduction happen. As it stands, this is not much of a discount. That said, I do appreciate that they are trying to address the gorillas of debt on our graduates’ backs. Plus they are pursuing new business models, alternatives to the status quo, and are making efforts to address some of the numerous gaps in our society.

 

Amazon’s Ring planned neighborhood “watch lists” built on facial recognition — from theintercept.com by Sam Biddle

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Ring, Amazon’s crime-fighting surveillance camera division, has crafted plans to use facial recognition software and its ever-expanding network of home security cameras to create AI-enabled neighborhood “watch lists,” according to internal documents reviewed by The Intercept.

Previous reporting by The Intercept and The Information revealed that Ring has at times struggled to make facial recognition work, instead relying on remote workers from Ring’s Ukraine office to manually “tag” people and objects found in customer video feeds.

Legal scholars have long criticized the use of governmental watch lists in the United States for their potential to ensnare innocent people without due process. “When corporations create them,” said Tajsar, “the dangers are even more stark.” As difficult as it can be to obtain answers on the how and why behind a federal blacklist, American tech firms can work with even greater opacity: “Corporations often operate in an environment free from even the most basic regulation, without any transparency, with little oversight into how their products are built and used, and with no regulated mechanism to correct errors,” Tajsar said.

 

From DSC:
Those working or teaching within the legal realm — this one’s for you. But it’s also for the leadership of the C-Suites in our corporate world — as well as for all of those programmers, freelancers, engineers, and/or other employees working on AI within the corporate world.

By the way, and not to get all political here…but who’s to say what happens with our data when it’s being reviewed in Ukraine…?

 

Also see:

  • Opinion: AI for good is often bad — from wired.com by Mark Latonero
    Trying to solve poverty, crime, and disease with (often biased) technology doesn’t address their root causes.
 

Why AI is a threat to democracy – and what we can do to stop it — from asumetech.com by Lawrence Cole

Excerpts:

In the US, however, we also have a tragic lack of foresight. Instead of creating a grand strategy for AI or for our long-term futures, the federal government has removed the financing of scientific and technical research. The money must therefore come from the private sector. But investors also expect a certain return. That is a problem. You cannot plan your R&D breakthroughs when working on fundamental technology and research. It would be great if the big tech companies had the luxury of working very hard without having to organize an annual conference to show off their newest and best whiz bang thing. Instead, we now have countless examples of bad decisions made by someone in the G-MAFIA, probably because they worked quickly. We begin to see the negative effects of the tension between doing research that is in the interest of humanity and making investors happy.

The problem is that our technology has become increasingly sophisticated, but our thinking about what free speech is and what a free market economy looks like has not become that advanced. We tend to resort to very basic interpretations: free speech means that all speech is free, unless it conflicts with defamation laws, and that’s the end of the story. That is not the end of the story. We need to start a more sophisticated and intelligent conversation about our current laws, our emerging technology, and how we can make the two meet halfway.

 

So I absolutely believe that there is a way forward. But we have to come together and bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and DC, so that we can all steer the boat in the same direction.

— Amy Webb, futurist, NYU professor, founder of the Future Today Institute

 

Also see:

“FRONTLINE investigates the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, from fears about work and privacy to rivalry between the U.S. and China. The documentary traces a new industrial revolution that will reshape and disrupt our lives, our jobs and our world, and allow the emergence of the surveillance society.”

The film has five distinct messages about:

1. China’s AI Plan
2. The Promise of AI
3. The Future of Work
4. Surveillance Capitalism
5. The Surveillance State

 

Drones from CVS and Walgreens are finally here—and they’re bringing Band-Aids — from fastcompany.com by Ruth Reader
With UPS and Google sister company Wing as partners, the big pharmacies are starting to deliver pills, Cheez-Its, and first-aid supplies by drone.

From DSC:
Add those drones to the following amassing armies:

 

 

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