How MIT’s Mini Cheetah Can Help Accelerate Robotics Research — from spectrum.ieee.org by Evan Ackerman
Sangbae Kim talks to us about the new Mini Cheetah quadruped and his future plans for the robot

 

 

From DSC:
Sorry, but while the video/robot is incredible, a feeling in the pit of my stomach makes me reflect upon what’s likely happening along these lines in the militaries throughout the globe…I don’t mean to be a fear monger, but rather a realist.

 

 

Police across the US are training crime-predicting AIs on falsified data — from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao
A new report shows how supposedly objective systems can perpetuate corrupt policing practices.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Despite the disturbing findings, the city entered a secret partnership only a year later with data-mining firm Palantir to deploy a predictive policing system. The system used historical data, including arrest records and electronic police reports, to forecast crime and help shape public safety strategies, according to company and city government materials. At no point did those materials suggest any effort to clean or amend the data to address the violations revealed by the DOJ. In all likelihood, the corrupted data was fed directly into the system, reinforcing the department’s discriminatory practices.


But new research suggests it’s not just New Orleans that has trained these systems with “dirty data.” In a paper released today, to be published in the NYU Law Review, researchers at the AI Now Institute, a research center that studies the social impact of artificial intelligence, found the problem to be pervasive among the jurisdictions it studied. This has significant implications for the efficacy of predictive policing and other algorithms used in the criminal justice system.

“Your system is only as good as the data that you use to train it on,” says Kate Crawford, cofounder and co-director of AI Now and an author on the study.

 

How AI is enhancing wearables — from techopedia.com by Claudio Butticev
Takeaway: Wearable devices have been helping people for years now, but the addition of AI to these wearables is giving them capabilities beyond anything seen before.

Excerpt:

Restoring Lost Sight and Hearing – Is That Really Possible?
People with sight or hearing loss must face a lot of challenges every day to perform many basic activities. From crossing the street to ordering food on the phone, even the simplest chore can quickly become a struggle. Things may change for these struggling with sight or hearing loss, however, as some companies have started developing machine learning-based systems to help the blind and visually impaired find their way across cities, and the deaf and hearing impaired enjoy some good music.

German AI company AiServe combined computer vision and wearable hardware (camera, microphone and earphones) with AI and location services to design a system that is able to acquire data over time to help people navigate through neighborhoods and city blocks. Sort of like a car navigation system, but in a much more adaptable form which can “learn how to walk like a human” by identifying all the visual cues needed to avoid common obstacles such as light posts, curbs, benches and parked cars.

 

From DSC:
So once again we see the pluses and minuses of a given emerging technology. In fact, most technologies can be used for good or for ill. But I’m left with asking the following questions:

  • As citizens, what do we do if we don’t like a direction that’s being taken on a given technology or on a given set of technologies? Or on a particular feature, use, process, or development involved with an emerging technology?

One other reflection here…it’s the combination of some of these emerging technologies that will be really interesting to see what happens in the future…again, for good or for ill. 

The question is:
How can we weigh in?

 

Also relevant/see:

AI Now Report 2018 — from ainowinstitute.org, December 2018

Excerpt:

University AI programs should expand beyond computer science and engineering disciplines. AI began as an interdisciplinary field, but over the decades has narrowed to become a technical discipline. With the increasing application of AI systems to social domains, it needs to expand its disciplinary orientation. That means centering forms of expertise from the social and humanistic disciplines. AI efforts that genuinely wish to address social implications cannot stay solely within computer science and engineering departments, where faculty and students are not trained to research the social world. Expanding the disciplinary orientation of AI research will ensure deeper attention to social contexts, and more focus on potential hazards when these systems are applied to human populations.

 

Furthermore, it is long overdue for technology companies to directly address the cultures of exclusion and discrimination in the workplace. The lack of diversity and ongoing tactics of harassment, exclusion, and unequal pay are not only deeply harmful to employees in these companies but also impacts the AI products they release, producing tools that perpetuate bias and discrimination.

The current structure within which AI development and deployment occurs works against meaningfully addressing these pressing issues. Those in a position to profit are incentivized to accelerate the development and application of systems without taking the time to build diverse teams, create safety guardrails, or test for disparate impacts. Those most exposed to harm from 42 these systems commonly lack the financial means and access to accountability mechanisms that would allow for redress or legal appeals. 233 This is why we are arguing for greater funding for public litigation, labor organizing, and community participation as more AI and algorithmic systems shift the balance of power across many institutions and workplaces.

 

Also relevant/see:

 

 

India Just Swore in Its First Robot Police Officer — from futurism.com by Dan Robitzski
RoboCop, meet KP-Bot.

Excerpt:

RoboCop
India just swore in its first robotic police officer, which is named KP-Bot.

The animatronic-looking machine was granted the rank of sub-inspector on Tuesday, and it will operate the front desk of Thiruvananthapuram police headquarters, according to India Today.

 

 

From DSC:
Whoa….hmmm…note to the ABA and to the legal education field — and actually to anyone involved in developing laws — we need to catch up. Quickly.

My thoughts go to the governments and to the militaries around the globe. Are we now on a slippery slope? How far along are the militaries of the world in integrating robotics and AI into their weapons of war? Quite far, I think.

Also, at the higher education level, are Computer Science and Engineering Departments taking their responsibilities seriously in this regard? What kind of teaching is being done (or not done) in terms of the moral responsibilities of their code? Their robots?

 

 

 

LinkedIn 2019 Talent Trends: Soft Skills, Transparency and Trust — from linkedin.com by Josh Bersin

Excerpts:

This week LinkedIn released its 2019 Global Talent Trends research, a study that summarizes job and hiring data across millions of people, and the results are quite interesting. (5,165 talent and managers responded, a big sample.)

In an era when automation, AI, and technology has become more pervasive, important (and frightening) than ever, the big issue companies face is about people: how we find and develop soft skills, how we create fairness and transparency, and how we make the workplace more flexible, humane, and honest.

The most interesting part of this research is a simple fact: in today’s world of software engineering and ever-more technology, it’s soft skills that employers want. 91% of companies cited this as an issue and 80% of companies are struggling to find better soft skills in the market.

What is a “soft skill?” The term goes back twenty years when we had “hard skills” (engineering and science) so we threw everything else into the category of “soft.” In reality soft skills are all the human skills we have in teamwork, leadership, collaboration, communication, creativity, and person to person service. It’s easy to “teach” hard skills, but soft skills must be “learned.”

 

 

Also see:

Employers Want ‘Uniquely Human Skills’ — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

According to 502 hiring managers and 150 HR decision-makers, the top skills they’re hunting for among new hires are:

  • The ability to listen (74 percent);
  • Attention to detail and attentiveness (70 percent);
  • Effective communication (69 percent);
  • Critical thinking (67 percent);
  • Strong interpersonal abilities (65 percent); and
  • Being able to keep learning (65 percent).
 

Training the workforce of the future: Education in America will need to adapt to prepare students for the next generation of jobs – including ‘data trash engineer’ and ‘head of machine personality design’– from dailymail.co.uk by Valerie Bauman

Excerpts:

  • Careers that used to safely dodge the high-tech bullet will soon require at least a basic grasp of things like web design, computer programming and robotics – presenting a new challenge for colleges and universities
  • A projected 85 percent of the jobs that today’s college students will have in 2030 haven’t been invented yet
  • The coming high-tech changes are expected to touch a wider variety of career paths than ever before
  • Many experts say American universities aren’t ready for the change because the high-tech skills most workers will need are currently focused just on people specializing in science, technology, engineering and math

.

 

 

Big tech may look troubled, but it’s just getting started — from nytimes.com by David Streitfeld

Excerpt:

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Silicon Valley ended 2018 somewhere it had never been: embattled.

Lawmakers across the political spectrum say Big Tech, for so long the exalted embodiment of American genius, has too much power. Once seen as a force for making our lives better and our brains smarter, tech is now accused of inflaming, radicalizing, dumbing down and squeezing the masses. Tech company stocks have been pummeled from their highs. Regulation looms. Even tech executives are calling for it.

The expansion underlines the dizzying truth of Big Tech: It is barely getting started.

 

“For all intents and purposes, we’re only 35 years into a 75- or 80-year process of moving from analog to digital,” said Tim Bajarin, a longtime tech consultant to companies including Apple, IBM and Microsoft. “The image of Silicon Valley as Nirvana has certainly taken a hit, but the reality is that we the consumers are constantly voting for them.”

 

Big Tech needs to be regulated, many are beginning to argue, and yet there are worries about giving that power to the government.

Which leaves regulation up to the companies themselves, always a dubious proposition.

 

 

 

The world is changing. Here’s how companies must adapt. — from weforum.org by Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens AG

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Although we have only seen the beginning, one thing is already clear: the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the greatest transformation human civilization has ever known. As far-reaching as the previous industrial revolutions were, they never set free such enormous transformative power.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming practically every human activity...its scope, speed and reach are unprecedented.

Enormous power (Insert from DSC: What I was trying to get at here) entails enormous risk. Yes, the stakes are high. 

 

“And make no mistake about it: we are now writing the code that will shape our collective future.” CEO of Siemens AG

 

 

Contrary to Milton Friedman’s maxim, the business of business should not just be business. Shareholder value alone should not be the yardstick. Instead, we should make stakeholder value, or better yet, social value, the benchmark for a company’s performance.

Today, stakeholders…rightfully expect companies to assume greater social responsibility, for example, by protecting the climate, fighting for social justice, aiding refugees, and training and educating workers. The business of business should be to create value for society.

This seamless integration of the virtual and the physical worlds in so-called cyber-physical systems – that is the giant leap we see today. It eclipses everything that has happened in industry so far. As in previous industrial revolutions but on a much larger scale, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will eliminate millions of jobs and create millions of new jobs.

 

“…because the Fourth Industrial Revolution runs on knowledge, we need a concurrent revolution in training and education.

If the workforce doesn’t keep up with advances in knowledge throughout their lives, how will the millions of new jobs be filled?” 

Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens AG

 

 


From DSC:
At least three critically important things jump out at me here:

  1. We are quickly approaching a time when people will need to be able to reinvent themselves quickly and cost-effectively, especially those with families and who are working in their (still existing) jobs. (Or have we already entered this period of time…?)
  2. There is a need to help people identify which jobs are safe to reinvent themselves to — at least for the next 5-10 years.
  3. Citizens across the globe — and their relevant legislatures, governments, and law schools — need to help close the gap between emerging technologies and whether those technologies should even be rolled out, and if so, how and with which features.

 


 

What freedoms and rights should individuals have in the digital age?

Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens AG

 

 

Robots as a platform: Are you ready? — from dzone.com by Donna Thomas
Robots as a platform are just about to change the world. What are you going to build?

Excerpt:

But unlike those other platforms, robots can independently interact with the physical environment, and that changes everything. As a robot skill developer, you are no longer limited to having your code push pixels around a phone screen.

Instead, your code can push around the phone* itself.

 

From DSC:
* Or a bomb.

Hmmm….it seems to me that this is another area where we need to slow down and first ask some questions about what we want our future to look/be like.  Plus, the legal side of the house needs to catch up as quickly as possible — for society’s benefit.

 

 

5 questions we should be asking about automation and jobs — from hbr.org by Jed Kolko

Excerpts:

  1. Will workers whose jobs are automated be able to transition to new jobs?*
  2. Who will bear the burden of automation?
  3. How will automation affect the supply of labor?
  4. How will automation affect wages, and how will wages affect automation?
  5. How will automation change job searching?

 

From DSC:
For those Economics profs and students out there, I’m posted this with you in mind; also highly applicable and relevant to MBA programs.

* I would add a few follow-up questions to question #1 above:

  • To which jobs should they transition to?
  • Who can help identify the jobs that might be safe for 5-10 years?
  • If you have a family to feed, how are you going to be able to reinvent yourself quickly and as efficiently/flexibly as possible? (Yes…constant, online-based learning comes to my mind as well, as campus-based education is great, but very time-consuming.)

 

Also see:

We Still Don’t Know Much About the Jobs the AI Economy Will Make — or Take — from medium.com by Rachel Metz with MIT Technology Review
Experts think companies need to invest in workers the way they do for other core aspects of their business they’re looking to future-proof

One big problem that could have lasting effects, she thinks, is a mismatch between the skills companies need in new employees and those that employees have or know that they can readily acquire. To fix this, she said, companies need to start investing in their workers the way they do their supply chains.

 

Per LinkedIn:

Putting robots to work is becoming more and more popularparticularly in Europe. According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Slovakian workers face a 62% median probability that their job will be automated “in the near future.” Workers in Eastern Europe face the biggest likelihood of having their jobs overtaken by machines, with the textile, agriculture and manufacturing industries seen as the most vulnerable. • Here’s what people are saying.

 

Robot Ready: Human+ Skills for the Future of Work — from economicmodeling.com

Key Findings

In Robot-Ready, we examine several striking insights:

1. Human skills—like leadership, communication, and problem solving—are among the most in-demand skills in the labor market.

2. Human skills are applied differently across career fields. To be effective, liberal arts grads must adapt their skills to the job at hand.

3. Liberal art grads should add technical skills. There is considerable demand for workers who complement their human skills with basic technical skills like data analysis and digital fluency.

4. Human+ skills are at work in a variety of fields. Human skills help liberal arts grads thrive in many career areas, including marketing, public relations, technology, and sales.

 

 

 

5 things you will see in the future “smart city” — from interestingengineering.com by Taylor Donovan Barnett
The Smart City is on the horizon and here are some of the crucial technologies part of it.

5 Things You Will See in the Future of the Smart City

Excerpt:

A New Framework: The Smart City
So, what exactly is a smart city? A smart city is an urban center that hosts a wide range of digital technology across its ecosystem. However, smart cities go far beyond just this definition.

Smart cities use technology to better population’s living experiences, operating as one big data-driven ecosystem.

The smart city uses that data from the people, vehicles, buildings etc. to not only improve citizens lives but also minimize the environmental impact of the city itself, constantly communicating with itself to maximize efficiency.

So what are some of the crucial components of the future smart city? Here is what you should know.

 

 

 

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