Why one London university is now offering degrees in VR — from techrepublic.com by Conner Forrest
London College of Communication, UAL is launching a master’s degree in virtual reality for the 2018-19 academic year.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • London College of Communication, UAL is launching a Master of Arts in VR degree for the 2018-19 academic year.
  • The demand for VR professionals is growing in the film and media industries, where these technologies are being used most frequently.

 

From DSC:
Collaboration/videoconferencing tools like Webex, Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc. are being used in a variety of scenarios. That platform has been well established. It will be interesting to see how VR might play into web-based collaboration, training, and learning.

 

 

Vanguard Projects: Expanding Teaching and Learning Horizons
Authors — from er.educause.edu by Malcolm Brown
Members of the higher education community provided a long list of projects that exemplify the six developments in educational technology from this year’s Horizon Report. A few of the projects are highlighted to convey a sense of the range and direction of current innovations in teaching and learning in higher education.

Excerpt:

This list summarizes the distribution across the six developments (as laid out in the preview):

  • Mixed reality: 31.4%
  • Makerspaces: 28.6%
  • Adaptive learning technology: 16.2%
  • Analytics technologies: 15.2%
  • Artificial intelligence: 4.8%
  • Robotics: 3.8%

 

 

 

Why higher ed should do more with blockchain tech — from by Dian Schaffhauser
Oral Roberts University recently held a conference to persuade higher education institutions that it’s time to get on board the blockchain train. Its recommendations: Learn about the technology’s potential, test it out and collaborate.

Excerpt:

As CIO Michael Mathews, the event’s organizer, explained, blockchain will be as important to transforming education as the internet was. He said he believes those colleges and universities that jump on the secure public ledger concept early enough and begin testing it out will be the ones who could see the biggest benefits.

Mathews believes blockchain will have the “biggest payback” within an organization’s processes where trust is essential as part of a “value chain”: student application processing, transcript evaluations, articulation agreements. Blockchain “templates” that run in the cloud could replace “entire cumbersome processes”…

 

 

From DSC:
It could easily be that blockchain-based technologies and processes feed into cloud/web-based learner profiles in the future. That’s one aspect of the next generation learning platform that I’m pulse checking — I call it Learning from the Living [Class] Room.

 

Blockchain could be involved with cloud/web-based learner profiles in the future

Blockchain -- something to keep on our radars in higher education

 

Also, from a while back…

Oracle to Launch Blockchain Products This Month — from investopedia.com by Shobhit Seth

Excerpt:

Tech corporations are seeing big opportunities in the blockchain space, and are now in a closely contested race to seize them sooner rather than later.

Oracle Corp. has announced that it will unveil its blockchain software later this month, reports Bloomberg. Oracle will launch its platform-as-a-service blockchain product later this month, which will be followed by launch of the decentralized ledger-based applications next month.

The Redwood City, California-based software giant is already having clients on board for its blockchain offerings. Santiago-based Banco de Chile is one of the early clients that Oracle is working with to record inter-bank transactions on a hyperledger. The world’s second-largest software company is also working with the government of Nigeria, which is aiming to document customs and import duties on a blockchain. Oracle is also hopeful of offering solutions to a large number of pharmaceutical companies to efficiently track and locate batches of drugs to help them reduce the number of recalls. Thomas Kurian, president of product development, said that Oracle’s products will be compatible with other platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

How blockbuster MOOCs could shape the future of teaching — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

There isn’t a New York Times bestseller list for online courses, but perhaps there should be. After all, so-called MOOCs, or massive open online courses, were meant to open education to as many learners as possible, and in many ways they are more like books (digital ones, packed with videos and interactive quizzes) than courses.

The colleges and companies offering MOOCs can be pretty guarded these days about releasing specific numbers on how many people enroll or pay for a “verified certificate” or microcredential showing they took the course. But both Coursera and EdX, two of the largest providers, do release lists of their most popular courses. And those lists offer a telling snapshot of how MOOCs are evolving and what their impact is on the instructors and institutions offering them.

Here are the top 10 most popular courses for each provider:

 

Coursera Top 10 Most Popular Courses (over past 12 months)

 

edX Top 10 Most Popular Courses (all time)

 

 

So what are these blockbuster MOOCs, then? Experiential textbooks? Gateways to more rigorous college courses? A new kind of entertainment program?

Maybe the answer is: all of the above.

 

 

 

Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem — from edu2030.agorize.com
How might we empower people to design their own learning journeys so they can lead purposeful and economically stable lives?

Excerpts:

The problem
Technology is rapidly transforming the way we live, learn, and work. Entirely new jobs are emerging as others are lost to automation. People are living longer, yet switching jobs more often. These dramatic shifts call for a reimagining of the way we prepare for work and life—specifically, how we learn new skills and adapt to a changing economic landscape.

The changes ahead are likely to hurt most those who can least afford to manage them: low-income and first generation learners already ill-served by our existing postsecondary education system. Our current system stifles economic mobility and widens income and achievement gaps; we must act now to ensure that we have an educational ecosystem flexible and fair enough to help all people live purposeful and economically stable lives. And if we are to design solutions proportionate to this problem, new technologies must be called on to scale approaches that reach the millions of vulnerable people across the country.

 

The challenge
How might we empower people to design their own learning journeys so they can lead purposeful and economically stable lives?

The Challenge—Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem—seeks bold ideas for how our postsecondary education system could be reimagined to foster equity and encourage learner agency and resilience. We seek specific pilots to move us toward a future in which all learners can achieve economic stability and lead purposeful lives. This Challenge invites participants to articulate a vision and then design pilot projects for a future ecosystem that has the following characteristics:

Expands access: The educational system must ensure that all people—including low-income learners who are disproportionately underserved by the current higher education system—can leverage education to live meaningful and economically stable lives.

Draws on a broad postsecondary ecosystem: While college and universities play a vital role in educating students, there is a much larger ecosystem in which students learn. This ecosystem includes non-traditional “classes” or alternative learning providers, such as MOOCs, bootcamps, and online courses as well as on-the-job training and informal learning. Our future learning system must value the learning that happens in many different environments and enable seamless transitions between learning, work, and life.

 

From DSC:
This is where I could see a vision similar to Learning from the Living [Class] Room come into play. It would provide a highly affordable, accessible platform, that would offer more choice, and more control to learners of all ages. It would be available 24×7 and would be a platform that supports lifelong learning. It would combine a variety of AI-enabled functionalities with human expertise, teaching, training, motivation, and creativity.

It could be that what comes out of this challenge will lay the groundwork for a future, massive new learning platform.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Also see:

 

From DSC:
I just found out about the work going out at LearningScientists.org.

I was very impressed after my initial review of their materials! What I really appreciate about their work is that they are serious in identifying some highly effective means of how we learn best — pouring over a great deal of research in order to do so. But they don’t leave things there. They help translate that research into things that teachers can then try out in the classroom. This type of practical, concrete help is excellent and needed!

  • Daniel Willingham and some of his colleagues take research and help teachers apply it as well
  • Another person who does this quite well is Pooja Agarwal, an Assistant Professor, Cognitive Scientist, & former K-12 Teacher. Pooja is teaming up with Patrice Bain to write a forthcoming book entitled, Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning!  She founded and operates the RetrievalPractice.org site.)

From the LearningScientists.org website (emphasis DSC):

We are cognitive psychological scientists interested in research on education. Our main research focus is on the science of learning. (Hence, “The Learning Scientists”!)

Our Vision is to make scientific research on learning more accessible to students, teachers, and other educators.

Click the button below to learn more about us. You can also check out our social media pages: FacebookTwitterInstagram, & Tumblr.

 

They have a solid blog, podcast, and some valuable downloadable content.

 

 

 

In the downloadable content area, the posters that they’ve created (or ones like them) should be posted at every single facility where learning occurs — K-12 schools, community colleges, colleges, universities, libraries of all kinds, tutoring centers, etc. It may be that such posters — and others like them that encourage the development of metacognitive skills of our students — are out there. I just haven’t run into them.

For example, here’s a poster on learning how to study using spaced practice:

 

 

 

 

Anyway, there’s some great work out there at LearningScientists.org!

 

 


Also relevant here, see:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google’s robot assistant now makes eerily lifelike phone calls for you — from theguardian.com by Olivia Solon
Google Duplex contacts hair salon and restaurant in demo, adding ‘er’ and ‘mmm-hmm’ so listeners think it’s human

Excerpt:

Google’s virtual assistant can now make phone calls on your behalf to schedule appointments, make reservations in restaurants and get holiday hours.

The robotic assistant uses a very natural speech pattern that includes hesitations and affirmations such as “er” and “mmm-hmm” so that it is extremely difficult to distinguish from an actual human phone call.

The unsettling feature, which will be available to the public later this year, is enabled by a technology called Google Duplex, which can carry out “real world” tasks on the phone, without the other person realising they are talking to a machine. The assistant refers to the person’s calendar to find a suitable time slot and then notifies the user when an appointment is scheduled.

 

 

Google employees quit over the company’s military AI project — from thenextweb.com by Tristan Greene

Excerpt:

About a dozen Google employees reportedly left the company over its insistence on developing AI for the US military through a program called Project Maven. Meanwhile 4,000 others signed a petition demanding the company stop.

It looks like there’s some internal confusion over whether the company’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto covers making machine learning systems to aid warfare.

 

 

 

The link between big tech and defense work — from wired.com by Nitasha Tiku

Except:

FOR MONTHS, A growing faction of Google employees has tried to force the company to drop out of a controversial military program called Project Maven. More than 4,000 employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a petition asking Google to cancel the contract. Last week, Gizmodo reported that a dozen employees resigned over the project. “There are a bunch more waiting for job offers (like me) before we do so,” one engineer says. On Friday, employees communicating through an internal mailing list discussed refusing to interview job candidates in order to slow the project’s progress.

Other tech giants have recently secured high-profile contracts to build technology for defense, military, and intelligence agencies. In March, Amazon expanded its newly launched “Secret Region” cloud services supporting top-secret work for the Department of Defense. The same week that news broke of the Google resignations, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft locked down a deal with intelligence agencies. But there’s little sign of the same kind of rebellion among Amazon and Microsoft workers.

 

 

Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police — from wpxi.com by Gene Johnson

Excerpt:

Facebook SEATTLE (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to “easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone.”

The tool, called Rekognition, is already being used by at least one agency – the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon – to check photographs of unidentified suspects against a database of mug shots from the county jail, which is a common use of such technology around the country.

 

 

From DSC:
Google’s C-Suite — as well as the C-Suites at Microsoft, Amazon, and other companies — needs to be very careful these days, as they could end up losing the support/patronage of a lot of people — including more of their own employees. It’s not an easy task to know how best to build and use technologies in order to make the world a better place…to create a dream vs. a nightmare for our future. But just because we can build something, doesn’t mean we should.

 

 

The Complete Guide to Conversational Commerce | Everything you need to know. — from chatbotsmagazine.com by Matt Schlicht

Excerpt:

What is conversational commerce? Why is it such a big opportunity? How does it work? What does the future look like? How can I get started? These are the questions I’m going to answer for you right now.

The guide covers:

  • An introduction to conversational commerce.
  • Why conversational commerce is such a big opportunity.
  • Complete breakdown of how conversational commerce works.
  • Extensive examples of conversational commerce using chatbots and voicebots.
  • How artificial intelligence impacts conversational commerce.
  • What the future of conversational commerce will look like.

 

Definition: Conversational commerce is an automated technology, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that enables online shoppers and brands to interact with one another via chat and voice interfaces.

 

 

 

Notes from the AI frontier: Applications and value of deep learning — from mckinsey.com by Michael Chui, James Manyika, Mehdi Miremadi, Nicolaus Henke, Rita Chung, Pieter Nel, and Sankalp Malhotra

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as a transformational technology of our digital age—and its practical application throughout the economy is growing apace. For this briefing, Notes from the AI frontier: Insights from hundreds of use cases (PDF–446KB), we mapped both traditional analytics and newer “deep learning” techniques and the problems they can solve to more than 400 specific use cases in companies and organizations. Drawing on McKinsey Global Institute research and the applied experience with AI of McKinsey Analytics, we assess both the practical applications and the economic potential of advanced AI techniques across industries and business functions. Our findings highlight the substantial potential of applying deep learning techniques to use cases across the economy, but we also see some continuing limitations and obstacles—along with future opportunities as the technologies continue their advance. Ultimately, the value of AI is not to be found in the models themselves, but in companies’ abilities to harness them.

It is important to highlight that, even as we see economic potential in the use of AI techniques, the use of data must always take into account concerns including data security, privacy, and potential issues of bias.

  1. Mapping AI techniques to problem types
  2. Insights from use cases
  3. Sizing the potential value of AI
  4. The road to impact and value

 

 

 

AI for Good — from re-work.co by Ali Shah, Head of Emerging Technology and Strategic Direction – BBC

 

 

 

Algorithms are making the same mistakes assessing credit scores that humans did a century ago — from qz.com by Rachel O’Dwyer

 

 

 

 

The Law Firm Disrupted: A Kirkland & Ellis Law School? Crystal Ball Gazing on the Future of Legal Ed — from by Roy Strom
What blue-sky thinking about the future of legal education might tell us about the relationship between Big Law and legal institutions of higher learning.

Excerpt:

The speech, which is worth watching here at the 4 hour and 41 minute mark, was a clear-eyed look at both the current state and the future possibilities of “innovation” in the legal education market. Rodriguez comes to the conclusion that law schools that have focused on tech training or other skills aimed at changing legal services delivery have yet to “move the needle” on demand for their students, rankings for their own schools or their own economic predicament.

That is in large part due to at least 10 “conditions” that currently exist and are limiting legal education innovation. I won’t list them all here, but they include the formal structure of offering only JD and LLM degrees; a university schedule that was created more than 100 years ago; and, of course, accreditation and credentialing requirements.

One solution offered by Rodriguez: “Blue-sky thinking.”

 

 

 

Transforming the Postsecondary Professional Education Experience — from by Mary Grush & Thomas Finholt

Excerpt:

So, among other factors currently influencing change, those are the predominate ones. I’ll sum it up this way: The tried-and-true residential model has worked so far, but a number of factors are forcing transformation: emerging technologies, new expectations about when learning will occur in a student’s lifespan, and the introduction of a whole new population of students that had never been imagined before.

Grush: What are your latest efforts or experiments in new professional education offerings that you see as part of this transformation? When did you make a start and what impacts do you see so far?
Finholt: The biggest transformation for us to date has been our entry into the MOOC space. That movement began with a few small trials, but it’s now rapidly expanding and may include, ultimately, full degree offerings. I would describe our period of experimentation with MOOCs to have started in 2013, gaining especially significant momentum in the past two years. Over the next couple of years, our efforts will expand even more dramatically, if we elect to offer fully online degrees. As a measure of the magnitude of impact of MOOCs so far, one of our MOOC specializations in the Python programming language is among the most popular offerings on Coursera — I believe that it has reached more than a million learners at this point. A significant fraction of those learners have opted to sit for an exam to get a certificate in Python programming.

 

 

One is, as announced at the March 6th Coursera meeting, that we have joined in a partnership with Coursera and the University of Michigan’s Office of Academic Innovation to design and get approved, a brand-new online master’s degree in Applied Data Science. 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Mary and Thomas’ solid article reminds me of a graphic I put together a while back:

 

 

 

 

“The process of obtaining postgraduate credentials is becoming something that one works on over the entire span of one’s career… Working professionals will have an array of punctuated intervals, if you will — periods of time when they work intensively to update their credentials.” (source)

 

 

 

 

AWS unveils ‘Transcribe’ and ‘Translate’ machine learning services — from business-standard.com

Excerpts:

  • Amazon “Transcribe” provides grammatically correct transcriptions of audio files to allow audio data to be analyzed, indexed and searched.
  • Amazon “Translate” provides natural sounding language translation in both real-time and batch scenarios.

 

 

Google’s ‘secret’ smart city on Toronto’s waterfront sparks row — from bbc.com by Robin Levinson-King BBC News, Toronto

Excerpt:

The project was commissioned by the publically funded organisation Waterfront Toronto, who put out calls last spring for proposals to revitalise the 12-acre industrial neighbourhood of Quayside along Toronto’s waterfront.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flew down to announce the agreement with Sidewalk Labs, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, last October, and the project has received international attention for being one of the first smart-cities designed from the ground up.

But five months later, few people have actually seen the full agreement between Sidewalk and Waterfront Toronto.

As council’s representative on Waterfront Toronto’s board, Mr Minnan-Wong is the only elected official to actually see the legal agreement in full. Not even the mayor knows what the city has signed on for.

“We got very little notice. We were essentially told ‘here’s the agreement, the prime minister’s coming to make the announcement,'” he said.

“Very little time to read, very little time to absorb.”

Now, his hands are tied – he is legally not allowed to comment on the contents of the sealed deal, but he has been vocal about his belief it should be made public.

“Do I have concerns about the content of that agreement? Yes,” he said.

“What is it that is being hidden, why does it have to be secret?”

From DSC:
Google needs to be very careful here. Increasingly so these days, our trust in them (and other large tech companies) is at stake.

 

 

Addendum on 4/16/18 with thanks to Uros Kovacevic for this resource:
Human lives saved by robotic replacements — from injuryclaimcoach.com

Excerpt:

For academics and average workers alike, the prospect of automation provokes concern and controversy. As the American workplace continues to mechanize, some experts see harsh implications for employment, including the loss of 73 million jobs by 2030. Others maintain more optimism about the fate of the global economy, contending technological advances could grow worldwide GDP by more than $1.1 trillion in the next 10 to 15 years. Whatever we make of these predictions, there’s no question automation will shape the economic future of the nation – and the world.

But while these fiscal considerations are important, automation may positively affect an even more essential concern: human life. Every day, thousands of Americans risk injury or death simply by going to work in dangerous conditions. If robots replaced them, could hundreds of lives be saved in the years to come?

In this project, we studied how many fatal injuries could be averted if dangerous occupations were automated. To do so, we analyzed which fields are most deadly and the likelihood of their automation according to expert predictions. To see how automation could save Americans’ lives, keep reading.

Also related to this item is :
How AI is improving the landscape of work  — from forbes.com by Laurence Bradford

Excerpts:

There have been a lot of sci-fi stories written about artificial intelligence. But now that it’s actually becoming a reality, how is it really affecting the world? Let’s take a look at the current state of AI and some of the things it’s doing for modern society.

  • Creating New Technology Jobs
  • Using Machine Learning To Eliminate Busywork
  • Preventing Workplace Injuries With Automation
  • Reducing Human Error With Smart Algorithms

From DSC:
This is clearly a pro-AI piece. Not all uses of AI are beneficial, but this article mentions several use cases where AI can make positive contributions to society.

 

 

 

It’s About Augmented Intelligence, not Artificial Intelligence — from informationweek.com
The adoption of AI applications isn’t about replacing workers but helping workers do their jobs better.

 

From DSC:
This article is also a pro-AI piece. But again, not all uses of AI are beneficial. We need to be aware of — and involved in — what is happening with AI.

 

 

 

Investing in an Automated Future — from clomedia.com by Mariel Tishma
Employers recognize that technological advances like AI and automation will require employees with new skills. Why are so few investing in the necessary learning?

 

 

 

 

 

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