A bot that watched 70,000 hours of Minecraft could unlock AI’s next big thing — from technologyreview.com by Will Douglas Heaven
Online videos are a vast and untapped source of training data—and OpenAI says it has a new way to use it.

Excerpt:

OpenAI has built the best Minecraft-playing bot yet by making it watch 70,000 hours of video of people playing the popular computer game. It showcases a powerful new technique that could be used to train machines to carry out a wide range of tasks by binging on sites like YouTube, a vast and untapped source of training data.

The Minecraft AI learned to perform complicated sequences of keyboard and mouse clicks to complete tasks in the game, such as chopping down trees and crafting tools. It’s the first bot that can craft so-called diamond tools, a task that typically takes good human players 20 minutes of high-speed clicking—or around 24,000 actions.

The result is a breakthrough for a technique known as imitation learning, in which neural networks are trained to perform tasks by watching humans do them.

The team’s approach, called Video Pre-Training (VPT), gets around the bottleneck in imitation learning by training another neural network to label videos automatically.

Speak lands investment from OpenAI to expand its language learning platform — from techcrunch.com by Kyle Wiggers

Excerpts:

“Most language learning software can help with the beginning part of learning basic vocabulary and grammar, but gaining any degree of fluency requires speaking out loud in an interactive environment,” Zwick told TechCrunch in an email interview. “To date, the only way people can get that sort of practice is through human tutors, which can also be expensive, difficult and intimidating.”

Speak’s solution is a collection of interactive speaking experiences that allow learners to practice conversing in English. Through the platform, users can hold open-ended conversations with an “AI tutor” on a range of topics while receiving feedback on their pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

It’s one of the top education apps in Korea on the iOS App Store, with over 15 million lessons started annually, 100,000 active subscribers and “double-digit million” annual recurring revenue.

 

 

Is AI Generated Art Really Coming for Your Job? — from edugeekjournal.com by Matt Crosslin

Excerpt:

So, is this a cool development that will become a fun tool for many of us to play around with in the future? Sure. Will people use this in their work? Possibly. Will it disrupt artists across the board? Unlikely. There might be a few places where really generic artwork is the norm and the people that were paid very little to crank them out will be paid very little to input prompts. Look, PhotoShop and asset libraries made creating company logos very, very easy a long time ago. But people still don’t want to take the 30 minutes it takes to put one together, because thinking through all the options is not their thing. You still have to think through those options to enter an AI prompt. And people just want to leave that part to the artists. The same thing was true about the printing press. Hundreds of years of innovation has taught us that the hard part of the creation of art is the human coming up with the ideas, not the tools that create the art.

A quick comment from DSC:
Possibly, at least in some cases. But I’ve seen enough home-grown, poorly-designed graphics and logos to make me wonder if that will be the case.

 

How to Teach With Deep Fake Technology — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Despite the scary headlines, deep fake technology can be a powerful teaching tool

Excerpt:

The very concept of teaching with deep fake technology may be unsettling to some. After all, deep fake technology, which utilizes AI and machine learning and can alter videos and animate photographs in a manner that appears realistic, has frequently been covered in a negative light. The technology can be used to violate privacy and create fake videos of real people.

However, while these potential abuses of the technology are real and concerning that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to the technology’s potential when using it responsibly, says Jaime Donally, a well-known immersive learning expert.

From DSC:
I’m still not sure about this one…but I’ll try to be open to the possibilities here.

 

Educators Are Taking Action in AI Education to Make Future-Ready Communities — from edsurge.com by Annie Ning

Excerpt:

AI Explorations and Their Practical Use in School Environments is an ISTE initiative funded by General Motors. The program provides professional learning opportunities for educators, with the goal of preparing all students for careers with AI.

Recently, we spoke with three more participants of the AI Explorations program to learn about its ongoing impact in K-12 classrooms. Here, they share how the program is helping their districts implement AI curriculum with an eye toward equity in the classroom.

 

Stealth Legal AI Startup Harvey Raises $5M in Round Led By OpenAI — from lawnext.com by Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A hitherto stealth legal AI startup emerged from the shadows today with news via TechCrunch that it has raised $5 million in funding led by the startup fund of OpenAI, the company that developed advanced neural network AI systems such as GPT-3 and DALL-E 2.

The startup, called Harvey, will build on the GPT-3 technology to enable lawyers to create legal documents or perform legal research by providing simple instructions using natural language.

The company was founded by Winston Weinberg, formerly an associate at law firm O’Melveny & Myers, and Gabriel Pereyra, formerly a research scientist at DeepMind and most recently a machine learning engineer at Meta AI.

 

Get Ready to Relearn How to Use the Internet — from bloomberg.com by Tyle Cowen; with thanks to Sam DeBrule for this resource
Everyone knows that an AI revolution is coming, but no one seems to realize how profoundly it will change their day-to-day life.

Excerpts:

This year has brought a lot of innovation in artificial intelligence, which I have tried to keep up with, but too many people still do not appreciate the import of what is to come. I commonly hear comments such as, “Those are cool images, graphic designers will work with that,” or, “GPT-3 is cool, it will be easier to cheat on term papers.” And then they end by saying: “But it won’t change my life.”

This view is likely to be proven wrong — and soon, as AI is about to revolutionize our entire information architecture. You will have to learn how to use the internet all over again.

Change is coming. Consider Twitter, which I use each morning to gather information about the world. Less than two years from now, maybe I will speak into my computer, outline my topics of interest, and somebody’s version of AI will spit back to me a kind of Twitter remix, in a readable format and tailored to my needs.

The AI also will be not only responsive but active. Maybe it will tell me, “Today you really do need to read about Russia and changes in the UK government.” Or I might say, “More serendipity today, please,” and that wish would be granted.

Of course all this is just one man’s opinion. If you disagree, in a few years you will be able to ask the new AI engines what they think.

Some other recent items from Sam DeBrule include:

Natural Language Assessment: A New Framework to Promote Education — from ai.googleblog.com by Kedem Snir and Gal Elidan

Excerpt:

In this blog, we introduce an important natural language understanding (NLU) capability called Natural Language Assessment (NLA), and discuss how it can be helpful in the context of education. While typical NLU tasks focus on the user’s intent, NLA allows for the assessment of an answer from multiple perspectives. In situations where a user wants to know how good their answer is, NLA can offer an analysis of how close the answer is to what is expected. In situations where there may not be a “correct” answer, NLA can offer subtle insights that include topicality, relevance, verbosity, and beyond. We formulate the scope of NLA, present a practical model for carrying out topicality NLA, and showcase how NLA has been used to help job seekers practice answering interview questions with Google’s new interview prep tool, Interview Warmup.

How AI could help translate extreme weather alerts — from axios.com by Ayurella Horn-Muller

Excerpt:

A startup that provides AI-powered translation is working with the National Weather Service to improve language translations of extreme weather alerts across the U.S.

Using GPT-3 to augment human intelligence — from escapingflatland.substack.com by Henrik Karlsson

Excerpt:

When I’ve been doing this with GPT-3, a 175 billion parameter language model, it has been uncanny how much it reminds me of blogging. When I’m writing this, from March through August 2022, large language models are not yet as good at responding to my prompts as the readers of my blog. But their capacity is improving fast and the prices are dropping.

Soon everyone can have an alien intelligence in their inbox.

 

HundrED Global Collection 2023 — from hundred.org
Meet the 100 most impactful innovations that are changing the face of education in a post-COVID world.

The HundrED Global Collection 2023

Excerpt:

The year 2022 has been a year to look to the future, as the global education conversation moves again toward themes of education transformation and the futures of education. The 100 innovations selected for this year’s global collection are impacting the lives of over 95 million students worldwide. The collection highlights the important role of teachers in education innovation; the continued need for students to develop 21st century skills, including social and emotional learning; an increasing focus on student wellbeing and mental health; and equity in education.

For more information, download the full Global Collection 2023 report.
You can also browse the innovation pages of the selected innovators here.
.

From DSC:
Here’s an excerpt of the email I received today from EducationHQ out of Australia — though I think it applies here in the United States as well:

.

Amplify and value teachers’ voice in education policymaking: researchers — from educationhq.com
Amplify and value teachers’ voice in education policymaking: researchers

Excerpt:

Monash University’s Teachers’ Perceptions of their Work Survey has revealed teachers’ waning satisfaction in their role and highlighted their…

Also from educationhq.com

Teachers changed my life: Trauma-informed education shows kids they matter — from educationhq.com by Beck Thompson
.

Nonprofit Bringing Businesses to Life in the Classroom — to the Tune of $400,000 — from the74million.org by Tim Newcomb
Making candles out of crayons, building birdhouses, fashioning furniture: Real World Scholars has helped 50,000 students become entrepreneurs

Not much entices a second grader to skip out on recess to get back to schoolwork. But excitement around a classroom-run business can do just that, especially when it means creating candles out of crayons and selling them in the local community.

Students design their ideal urban home in My ArchiSchool exhibition — from dezeen.com

Students were able to bring family members to the exhibition. Architectural model by Ethan Chan

Excerpt:

Promotion: fifty-two students presented digital designs and architectural models of their ideal home as part of Hong Kong-based education institute My ArchiSchool’s latest exhibition. As part of the exhibition, My ArchiSchool students were asked to design their ideal home within an urban environment. The exhibition, which took place on 2 October 2022 at the Sky100 on the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong, showcased photomontages of digital designs presented alongside physical models.

5 Resources that help students become digital citizens — from rdene915.com by Rachelle Dene Poth

Excerpt:

We need to create opportunities for students to become more digitally aware and literate, and to be responsible when using technology. There are many ways to do this, depending on our content area and grade level. We can model best practices for our students, bring in a specific digital citizenship curriculum to guide them through their learning, or use digital tools and resources available to have students explore and create.

Helping students learn to safely navigate what has become a highly digital world is something that we are all responsible for. Students need to be aware of the impact of their posts online, how to create and manage social accounts and protect their information, and how to properly access and use resources they obtain through technology.

3 Reasons School and District Leaders Should Get on Social Media — from edweek.org by Marina Whiteleather

Excerpt:

School and district leaders can—and should—be using social media in their work.

That’s the message shared by Stephanie McConnell, a superintendent in the Hawkins Independent School District in Texas, and Salome Thomas-El, a K-8 principal in Delaware, during an Education Week K-12 Essentials forum on Oct. 13.

At the event, McConnell and Thomas-El provided insights and advice for school leaders who are hesitant to post on certain social platforms or unsure how to use them.

 

This Company Aims to Become the Amazon of Lifelong Learning — from edsurge.com by Daniel Mollenkamp

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The Singapore-based company Genius Group has turned some of its attention to the U.S. edtech market recently.

While some companies have seen layoffs, the Genius Group lifelong learning platform is growing among users at a rate of greater than 50 percent, they claim. Currently, it has 2.7 million students across 200 countries, according to its website.

But we decided that rather than looking to solve the problem for just some, if we could be one of the companies that was looking to solve it for all, that would be a great market opportunity for us. And at the same time, it would be something which would enable us to attract the best educators, and the best content creators from around the world as well.

[The intent was] to really tackle the full, lifelong learning journey that we’re on, and to put in place a pathway, and more importantly, a platform that would enable anyone to be able to come and take their curriculum, bring it on board, and in the same way that YouTube allows anyone to be a creator.


Also from Edsurge.com, see:


 

Women in Tech: A Complete Guide — from techguide.org by Vasilia Niles

Excerpt:

This guide is all about how to get more women in tech. First, we will examine why the gender gap in tech fields exists and what we can do about it. And then, we will take a look at the best way to find opportunities for women interested in science, technology, and engineering — including scholarships, internships, and employment opportunities all geared toward the most cutting edge fields.

Closing the gap in tech is important for many reasons. Firstly, women make up 40 percent of the US workforce. With the tech industry being the fastest growing sector and others rapidly shrinking, there will be a disparity between supply and demand for employees if this continues. This is already the case in some tech sectors like cybersecurity.

Secondly, women-led companies and companies with more female employees historically outperform by 3x ones that are male dominant. In fact, in companies where 50 percent or more of executives are women, there are reported higher job satisfaction, better work culture, equal and higher pay, and less female employee turnover. 

 

I think we’ve run out of time to effectively practice law in the United States of America [Christian]


From DSC:
Given:

  • the accelerating pace of change that’s been occurring over the last decade or more
  • the current setup of the legal field within the U.S. — and who can practice law
  • the number of emerging technologies now on the landscapes out there

…I think we’ve run out of time to effectively practice law in the U.S. — at least in terms of dealing with emerging technologies. Consider the following items/reflections.


Inside one of the nation’s few hybrid J.D. programs — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
Shannon Gardner, Syracuse law school’s associate dean for online education, talks about the program’s inaugural graduates and how it has evolved.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In May, Syracuse University’s law school graduated its first class of students earning a Juris Doctor degree through a hybrid program, called JDinteractive, or JDi. The 45 class members were part of almost 200 Syracuse students who received a J.D. this year, according to a university announcement.

The private nonprofit, located in upstate New York, won approval from the American Bar Association in 2018 to offer the three-year hybrid program.

The ABA strictly limits distance education, requiring a waiver for colleges that wish to offer more than one-third of their credits online. To date, the ABA has only approved distance education J.D. programs at about a dozen schools, including Syracuse.

Many folks realize this is the future of legal education — not that it will replace traditional programs. It is one route to pursue a legal education that is here to stay. I did not see it as pressure, and I think, by all accounts, we have definitely proven that it is and can be a success.

Shannon Gardner, associate dean for online education  


From DSC:
It was March 2018. I just started working as a Director of Instructional Services at a law school. I had been involved with online-based learning since 2001.

I was absolutely shocked at how far behind law schools were in terms of offering 100% online-based programs. I was dismayed to find out that 20+ years after such undergraduate programs were made available — and whose effectiveness had been proven time and again — that there were no 100%-online based Juris Doctor (JD) programs in the U.S. (The JD degree is what you have to have to practice law in the U.S. Some folks go on to take further courses after obtaining that degree — that’s when Masters of Law programs like LLM programs kick in.)

Why was this I asked? Much of the answer lies with the extremely tight control that is exercised by the American Bar Association (ABA). They essentially lay down the rules for how much of a law student’s training can be online (normally not more than a third of one’s credit hours, by the way).

Did I say it’s 2022? And let me say the name of that organization again — the American Bar Association (ABA).

Graphic by Daniel S. Christian

Not to scare you (too much), but this is the organization that is supposed to be in charge of developing lawyers who are already having to deal with issues and legal concerns arising from the following technologies:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) — Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), algorithms, bots, and the like
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) and/or the Internet of Everything (IoE)
  • Extended Reality (XR) — Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Holographic communications
  • Big data
  • High-end robotics
  • The Metaverse
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • NFTs
  • Web3
  • Blockchain
  • …and the like

I don’t think there’s enough time for the ABA — and then law schools — to reinvent themselves. We no longer have that luxury. (And most existing/practicing lawyers don’t have the time to get up the steep learning curves involved here — in addition to their current responsibilities.)

The other option is to use teams of specialists, That’s our best hope. If the use of what’s called nonlawyers* doesn’t increase greatly, the U.S. has little hope of dealing with legal matters that are already arising from such emerging technologies. 

So let’s hope the legal field catches up with the pace of change that’s been accelerating for years now. If not, we’re in trouble.

* Nonlawyers — not a very complimentary term…
I hope they come up with something else.
Some use the term Paralegals.
I’m sure there are other terms as well. 


From DSC:
There is hope though. As Gabe Teninbaum just posted the resource below (out on Twitter). I just think the lack of responsiveness from the ABA has caught up with us. We’ve run out of time for doing “business as usual.”

Law students want more distance education classes, according to ABA findings — from abajournal.com by Stephanie Francis Ward

Excerpt:

A recent survey of 1,394 students in their third year of law school found that 68.65% wanted the ability to earn more distance education credits than what their schools offered.


 


Ways that artificial intelligence is revolutionizing education — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

I was speaking with an aging schoolteacher who believes that AI is destroying education. They challenged me to come up with 26 ways that artificial intelligence (AI) is improving education, and instead, I came up with. They’re right here.


AI Startup Speeds Healthcare Innovations To Save Lives — from by Geri Stengel

Excerpt:

This project was a light-bulb moment for her. The financial industry had Bloomberg to analyze content and data to help investors uncover opportunities and minimize risk, and pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies needed something similar.



 

From DSC:
The following two items make me wonder how Extended Reality (XR)-related techs will impact theatre, gaming, opera, & other forms of entertainment.


AR Opera Glasses Could Change Broadway Forever — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt:

Immersive technology brings the stage to life like never before.

Students from the South Korean Hongik University have developed a pair of reimagined 19th-century opera glasses that utilize AR technology to immerse spectators in Broadway shows in a variety of unique and imaginative ways. The device is compatible with popular shows such as Wicked, Aladdin, Cats, Mamma Mia, and Frozen.

Reddot_Rene from ???/??????? on Vimeo.


What ‘Shakespeare Karaoke’ Teaches About the Virtual Reality Future — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig
Does technology work better as a solo encounter or a group experience?

Excerpt:

To immerse, or not to immerse?

For professors designing virtual reality versions of Shakespeare’s plays, that is the question. The answer(s) may have implications for designing new edtech tools—and VR technology intended to be used beyond the classroom, too.

The Bard’s masterpieces, plays written in the late 1500s and early 1600s, have received all kinds of digital makeovers in the 21st century. Two current efforts designed by academics for use in teaching draw on extended reality tools that invite users to actively participate in scenes from works like “Romeo and Juliet.”

Play the Knave is a video game that helps users design actor-avatars they can direct with their bodies around virtual theater spaces. Shakespeare-VR is a project-in-development that will enable users to don a VR headset, step on to a virtual Elizabethan stage and perform alongside avatars voiced by professional actors.

Play the Knave* is a mixed reality video game that enables virtual design and performance of dramatic scenes from Shakespeare--or any text you choose

 

Will a “Google PhD” become as good as a university-granted PhD? — from rossdawson.com by Ross Dawson

Excerpt:

A fundamental issue now is the degree to which employers care about the piece of paper as against the knowledge and capability. That is rapidly shifting as companies realize they will often miss out on exceptionally talented people if they insist on formal qualifications.

Entrepreneurs of course only care whether they have the knowledge to do what they’re undertaking.

It is a shifting landscape. Traditional advanced degrees have their place and will not disappear.

But “Google PhDs” will in some cases be as good, if they result in an equivalent level of expertise.

 

Coursera’s Global Skills Report

Excerpt from the Executive Summary:

Here are some of our top findings:

  • Digital skills are the shared language of the modern economy.
  • Women’s participation continued to rise.
  • The developing world had the highest rate of learner growth.
  • Lower levels of internet access mean lower levels of skills proficiency.
  • Courses in human skills had more learners from developed countries, while those in digital skills had more from developing ones.
  • The U.S. held steady in its overall skills proficiency ranking—yet it lost meaningful ground in core technology and data science skills.
  • Europe leads the world in skills proficiency.
  • Proficiency in technology and data science skills varies widely across the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Learners used Coursera to understand the pandemic.
 

From DSC:
The items below made me reflect on the need to practice some serious design thinking to rethink/redesign the cradle-to-grave learning ecosystems out there.


Real World Learning in Action — from gettingsmart.com by Shawnee Caruthers

Key Points

  • The Real World Learning initiative was created to address a simple, but equally complex challenge: How do you prepare students for life after high school?
  • The traditional, go to classes, earn some credits, participate in some activities and earn a diploma wasn’t working, at least not equitably.

Creating a new high school experience starts with innovative thinking and advocates willing to say yes. As a result of collaborations, visiting best practice sites and numerous convenings, the Kansas City region is now a hub for pathways, wall-to-wall academies, microschools, innovation academies, student-run businesses, strong client-connected project examples and more. Educational stakeholders can now go across state lines to see future-forward thinking for students.

Also relevant/see:

Framing and Designing the HOW — from gettingsmart.com by Rebecca Midles

Key Points (emphasis DSC):

  • The referenced circle graphic is intended to guide how we talk about our work as a system, internal and externally.
  • It also is about understanding our why on a personal level.
  • Learning systems are specifically designed to get the results they have, and to change results, we have to redesign the system.

Also relevant/see:

Fewer People Are Getting Teacher Degrees. Prep Programs Sound the Alarm — from edweek.org by Madeline Wil

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

As teacher dissatisfaction rates rise and concerns about teacher shortages intensify, colleges of education are sounding the alarm: Enrollment has been steadily declining for the past decade, and the pandemic has likely made things worse.

Smaller and Restructured: How the Pandemic Is Changing the Higher Education IT Workforce — from educause.edu by Jenay Robert

Excerpt:

Several prominent themes emerged from the analysis of these responses and are supported by other recent EDUCAUSE research:

  • Though most respondents reported a reduction in force, some were able to justify adding new positions to their units in 2021, primarily to meet new institutional needs.
  • Budget cuts were the main cause of reductions in force.
  • Work factors such as flexible, remote work options and competitive salaries are playing a central role in attrition and recruitment.
  • Increased workloads and personal stressors related to the pandemic have resulted in widespread burnout among staff.
  • IT units have plans to reorganize in 2022 to become more agile and efficient and to respond to the evolving needs of their organizations.

Allan: With $175G Grants, Accelerate ED Looks to Better Link K-12, College & Work — from the74million.org by Sara Allan

Excerpt:

Today, most states require high school students to complete a set of defined courses, assessments and experiences in order to graduate on a career-ready pathway. However, the number of schools that fully embrace coherent programs of study that connect K-12, higher education and employment remains frustratingly small.

.


What if every high school student had the chance to take an additional year of courses related to their interests and earn enough credits to complete their associate degree one year after high school while gaining valuable experience and career preparation—at little to no cost?

— from Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers

From DSC:
The above quote is the type of “What if…” question/thinking that we need to redesign our cradle-to-grave/lifelong learning ecosystems.


A relevant addendum on 6/1/22:

 

Entrepreneur Education Platform GeniusU Raises $1.5M Seed Funding at $250M Valuation — from edtechreview.in ed by Stephen Soulunii

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Genius Group has recently announced that its EdTech arm, GeniusU Ltd, has raised $1.5 million in a seed round to support the development of its Genius Metaversity virtual learning plans.

With the fresh funding, GeniusU plans to extend its courses and programs to interactive learning environments in the metaverse, with students and faculty connecting and learning in global classrooms and virtual 3D environments. It also plans to integrate each student’s AI-based virtual assistant ‘Genie’ into the metaverse as 3D virtual assistants that accompany each student on their personalized journey and integrate its GEMs (Genius Education Merits) student credits into the metaverse. GEMs are earned by students as they learn and can be spent on products and services within GeniusU and counting towards their certifications.

 

The Future of Work and the Jobs we might have in 2040 — from futurist.com by Nikolas Badminton & Marianne Powers

Excerpt:

So, let’s set our sights on a future horizon of 2040 and we can wonder what the future of work and the future of jobs for our children may be. The world may feel and look the same but underneath we’ll need people to transition to new careers to support the hyper-fast, data-obsessed world. Let’s take a look at the Future of Work and Jobs in 2040

  • Human-centred Designers and Ethicists
  • Artificial Intelligence Psychologists
  • Metaverse Architects
 
 

We need to use more tools — that go beyond screen sharing — where we can collaborate regardless of where we’re at. [Christian]

From DSC:
Seeing the functionality in Freehand — it makes me once again think that we need to use more tools where faculty/staff/students can collaborate with each other REGARDLESS of where they’re coming in to partake in a learning experience (i.e., remotely or physically/locally). This is also true for trainers and employees, teachers and students, as well as in virtual tutoring types of situations. We need tools that offer functionalities that go beyond screen sharing in order to collaborate, design, present, discuss, and create things.  (more…)

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian