From DSC:
Below are but some of the changes to the learning ecosystems out there. Certainly, more are coming.


Ex-Google employees form virtual tech ‘school’ for gap year students amid college closures — from cnbc.com by Jennifer Elias

KEY POINTS
  • Current and former Google employees are forming an online program aimed at preparing students for the workforce if they’re taking time off school due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It comes as many college students defer school as universities shift learning models to mostly online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Google execs past and present have volunteered to mentor college students on topics ranging from career trajectory to how to stand out in virtual Zoom interviews.

Along these lines, see:

  • Google has a plan to disrupt the college degree — from inc.com by Justin Bariso
    Google’s new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college.
    Excerpt:
    Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It’s launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.

From DSC:
Also, to see some more changes to the learning ecosystems out there, set up a Google Alert (or something similar in Feedly or via another tool) for “Learning Pods,” “Pandemic Pods,” and/or the “growth of homeschooling.” Here’s but one recent example:

Zoo Knoxville to start virtual learning pods for students

 


 

Check out the Academic Warriers website

About Academic Warriors:

Life can be very hard for autistic, gifted and special needs learners.  Autistic and gifted learners often times struggle in school because they learn very differently than their peers. These special learners need a personalized approach to their education that allows them to learn in their own way at their own pace.

Many times parents and students feel as if they are the only ones like them in the world. This can often times lead to isolation and frustration. It is important for all autistic, gifted and special needs to unite in order to support one another. We are named Academic Warriors because all our students are superheroes in a world that doesn’t always understand and/or appreciate them. We help our students to become strong, independent and positive learners despite what the world may think of them.

It is the mission of Academic Warriors to help create positive learning experiences and communities throughout the United States for autistic, gifted and special needs learners. We offer online courses, programs, private school and in person events that foster an unique learning environment that promotes unity among all our students and families. We strive to create online and in person learning communities in every state that will provide educational opportunities for all families of autistic, gifted and special needs students. Together we can create a better world for the autistic, gifted and special needs learner.

 


From DSC:
As part of a homeschooling-based situation, my wife received the following item for one of our daughters (who needs additional/personalized assistance to learn). Simultaneously, she and our daughter sent them a Michigan Exchange Box. Very cool.

My wife and one of our daughters received this set of things from a homeschooler in Mississippi! Very cool!

I believe my wife found this out at the following group in Facebook:

 


Some channels out on Youtube that have to do with learning:
(and by the way, according to Jane Hart’s recent Top 200 Tools for Learning, YouTube is in the #1 spot for the 5th year in a row!)

Snake Discovery -- videos out on YouTube

Bondi Vet - videos on YouTube

 


 

From the Off-Trail Learning website, here are some self-directed learning centers

 


The Barn for Equine Learning

“Horse Sense Tutoring Services is a unique resource that combines the power of Equine Assisted Learning with evidence-based reading and math strategies that engage the mind, body, and emotions in learning.  We use the principles of discovery, experience, movement, reflection, and connection in partnership with our horse friends.

Based at The Barn for Equine Learning…my program offers targeted reading, math, and basic horsemanship tutoring for students in grades K – 8. Horses become teaching and learning partners as students experience academics and social-emotional learning in a whole new way.

If you are looking for a unique tutoring and confidence-building experience for your child, PM for more information.  Sessions are held outdoors and/or in an open barn setting.

(Small group field trips with an introduction to basic horsemanship skills are also available).

 


From DSC:
So these are just a few examples of how the learning ecosystems are changing out there! Surely, there will be more changes coming down the pike.


 

 

Just released today! Jane Hart’s Top 200 Tools for Learning

Jane Hart's Top 200 Tools for Learning -- released on 9-1-20

Top 200 Tools for Learning — from toptools4learning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

The Top Tools for Learning 2020 was compiled by Jane Hart from the results of the 14th Annual Learning Tools Survey, and released on 1 September 2020. For general information about the survey and this website, visit the About page. For observations and infographics of this year’s list, see Analysis 2020.

 

 

Facial Recognition Start-Up Mounts a First Amendment Defense — from nytimes.com by Kashmir Hill
Clearview AI has hired Floyd Abrams, a top lawyer, to help fight claims that selling its data to law enforcement agencies violates privacy laws.

Excerpts:

Litigation against the start-up “has the potential of leading to a major decision about the interrelationship between privacy claims and First Amendment defenses in the 21st century,” Mr. Abrams said in a phone interview. He said the underlying legal questions could one day reach the Supreme Court.

Clearview AI has scraped billions of photos from the internet, including from platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram, and sells access to the resulting database to law enforcement agencies. When an officer uploads a photo or a video image containing a person’s face, the app tries to match the likeness and provides other photos of that person that can be found online.

From DSC:
Many, if not all of us, are now required to be lifelong learners in order to stay marketable. I was struck by that when I read the following excerpt from the above article:

“I’m learning the language,” Mr. Abrams said. “I’ve never used the words ‘facial biometric algorithms’ until this phone call.”

 
 

Acts of meaning: How AI-based interviewing will transform career preparation in higher education — from er.educause.edu by Alan Jones, Suzan Harkness and Nathan Mondragon

Excerpt:

Machines parrot and correlate information. They do not comprehend or synthesize information the way humans do. Factors such as accents in pronunciation, word ambiguity (especially if a word has multiple meanings), deeply coded biases, limited association data sets, narrow and limited network layers used in job screening, and static translations will continue to provide valid ground for caution in placing too much weight or attributing too much confidence in AI in its present form. Nonetheless, AI has crept into job candidate screening, the medical field, business analytics, higher education, and social media. What is currently essential is establishing an understanding of how best to harness and shape the use of AI to ensure it is equitable, valid, and reliable and to understand the shifting paradigm that professional career counselors play on campus as AI becomes more ubiquitous.

There appear to be three points worth considering: the AI interview in general, the predominance of word choice, and expressiveness as read by facial coding.

From DSC:
Until there is a lot more diversity within the fields of computer science and data science, I’m not as hopeful that biases can be rooted out. My niece, who worked for Microsoft for many years, finally left the company. She was tired of fighting the culture there. The large tech companies will need to do a lot better if AI is going to make FAIR and JUST inroads.

Plus, consider how many biases there are!

 

Remote collaboration and virtual conferences, the future of work — from forces.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpts:

Ten weeks ago, Jesse Damiani, writing on Forbes.com, told the story of a college professor who turned his course about XR into a research project about remote collaboration and virtual conferences.

He and his students reimagined the course as an eight-week research sprint exploring how XR tools will contribute to the future of remote work—and the final product will be a book, tentatively titled, Remote Collaboration & Virtual Conferences: The End of Distance and the Future of Work.”

This is a chapter of that book. It will be available on June 15.

The thing everyone wants is not a technology, it’s engagement. The same kind of engagement that you would have in real life, but better, faster, cheaper *and safer* than it was before.

Also see:

 

From DSC:
I saw the piece below from Graham Brown-Martin’s solid, thought-provoking posting entitled, “University as a Service (UaaS)” out at medium.com. My question is: What happens if Professor Scott Galloway is right?!”

Excerpt:

Prof Scott Galloway predicts lucrative future partnerships between the FAANG mega-corporations and major higher education brands emerging as a result of current disruptions. Galloway wonders what a partnership between MIT and Apple would look like?

 

The education conveyor belt of the last century that went school to university to work and a job for life just doesn’t work in an era of rapid transformation. Suppose we truly embrace the notion of continuous or lifelong learning and apply that to the university model. It wouldn’t just stop in your twenties would it?

University as a Service (UaaS), where higher education course and degree modules are unbundled and accessed via a monthly subscription, could be a landing spot for the future of higher education and lifelong learners. 

 


Below are some other items
regarding the future of higher education.


Also relevant/see:

https://info.destinysolutions.com/lp-updating-the-higher-education-playbook-to-stay-relevant-in-2020

Also relevant/see:

 

Also relevant/see:

 

Also relevant/see:

  • Fast Forward: Looking to the Future Workforce and Online Learning — from evolllution.com by Joann Kozyrev (VP Design and Development, Western Governors University) and Amrit Ahluwalia
    Excerpt:
    With employers and students looking to close the gap in workforce skills, it’s critical for them to know what skills are in need the most. Postsecondary institutions need to be the resource to provide learners with the education the workforce needs and to make both parties understand the value of the students’ education. With the remote and online shift, it’s a new territory for institutions handle. In this interview, Joann Kozyrev discusses the impact remote learning has on an online institution, concerns about the future of online learning and how to get people back into the workforce fast and efficiently. 

 

 

How to block Facebook and Google from identifying your face — from cnbc.com by Todd Haselton

Excerpt:

  • A New York Times report over the weekend discussed a company named Clearview AI that can easily recognize people’s faces when someone uploads a picture.
  • It scrapes this data from the internet and sites people commonly use, such as Facebook and YouTube, according to the report.
  • You can stop Facebook and Google from recognizing your face in their systems, which is one step toward regaining your privacy.
  • Still, it probably won’t entirely stop companies like Clearview AI from recognizing you, since they’re not using the systems developed by Google or Facebook.
 

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.

 

30 influential AI presentations from 2019 — from re-work.co

Excerpt:

It feels as though 2019 has gone by in a flash, that said, it has been a year in which we have seen great advancement in AI application methods and technical discovery, paving the way for future development. We are incredibly grateful to have had the leading minds in AI & Deep Learning present their latest work at our summits in San Francisco, Boston, Montreal and more, so we thought we would share thirty of our highlight videos with you as we think everybody needs to see them!. (Some are hosted on our Videohub and some on our YouTube, but all are free to view!).

Example presenters:

  • Dawn Song, Professor, UC Berkeley.
  • Doina Precup, Research Team Lead, DeepMind.
  • Natalie Jakomis, Group Director of Data, goCompare.
  • Ian Goodfellow, Director, Apple.
  • Timnit Gebru, Ethical AI Team, Google.
  • Cathy Pearl, Head of Conversation Design Outreach, Google.
  • Zoya Bylinskii, Research Scientist, Adobe Research.
  • …and many others
 

FTI 2020 Trend Report for Entertainment, Media, & Technology [FTI]

 

FTI 2020 Trend Report for Entertainment, Media, & Technology — from futuretodayinstitute.com

Our 3rd annual industry report on emerging entertainment, media and technology trends is now available.

  • 157 trends
  • 28 optimistic, pragmatic and catastrophic scenarios
  • 10 non-technical primers and glossaries
  • Overview of what events to anticipate in 2020
  • Actionable insights to use within your organization

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Synthetic media offers new opportunities and challenges.
  • Authenticating content is becoming more difficult.
  • Regulation is coming.
  • We’ve entered the post-fixed screen era.
  • Voice Search Optimization (VSO) is the new Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Digital subscription models aren’t working.
  • Advancements in AI will mean greater efficiencies.

 

 

Google’s war on deepfakes: As election looms, it shares ton of AI-faked videos — from zdnet.com by Liam Tung
Google has created 3,000 videos using actors and manipulation software to help improve detection.

Excerpt:

Google has released a huge database of deepfake videos that it’s created using paid actors. It hopes the database will bolster systems designed to detect AI-generated fake videos.

With the 2020 US Presidential elections looming, the race is on to build better systems to detect deepfake videos that could be used to manipulate and divide public opinion.

Earlier this month, Facebook and Microsoft announced a $10m project to create deepfake videos to help build systems for detecting them.

 

Someone is always listening — from Future Today Institute

Excerpt:

Very Near-Futures Scenarios (2020 – 2022):

  • OptimisticBig tech and consumer device industries agree to a single set of standards to inform people when they are being listened to. Devices now emit an audible ping and/ or a visible light anytime they are actively recording sound. While they need to store data in order to improve natural language understanding and other important AI systems, consumers now have access to a portal and can see, listen to, and erase their data at any time. In addition, consumers can choose to opt-out of storing their data to help improve AI systems.
  • Pragmatic: Big tech and consumer device industries preserve the status quo, which leads to more cases of machine eavesdropping and erodes public trust. Federal agencies open investigations into eavesdropping practices, which leads to a drop in share prices and a concern that more advanced biometric technologies could face debilitating regulation.
  • CatastrophicBig tech and consumer device industries collect and store our conversations surreptitiously while developing new ways to monetize that data. They anonymize and sell it to developers wanting to create their own voice apps or to research institutions wanting to do studies using real-world conversation. Some platforms develop lucrative fee structures allowing others access to our voice data: business intelligence firms, market research agencies, polling agencies, political parties and individual law enforcement organizations. Consumers have little to no ability to see and understand how their voice data are being used and by whom. Opting out of collection systems is intentionally opaque. Trust erodes. Civil unrest grows.

Action Meter:

 

Watchlist:

  • Google; Apple; Amazon; Microsoft; Salesforce; BioCatch; CrossMatch; ThreatMetrix; Electronic Frontier Foundation; World Privacy Forum; American Civil Liberties Union; IBM; Baidu; Tencent; Alibaba; Facebook; Electronic Frontier Foundation; European Union; government agencies worldwide.

 

 

Microsoft President: Democracy Is At Stake. Regulate Big Tech — from npr.org by Aarti Shahani

Excerpts:

Regulate us. That’s the unexpected message from one of the country’s leading tech executives. Microsoft President Brad Smith argues that governments need to put some “guardrails” around engineers and the tech titans they serve.

If public leaders don’t, he says, the Internet giants will cannibalize the very fabric of this country.

“We need to work together; we need to work with governments to protect, frankly, something that is far more important than technology: democracy. It was here before us. It needs to be here and healthy after us,” Smith says.

“Almost no technology has gone so entirely unregulated, for so long, as digital technology,” Smith says.

 

Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system — from fastcompany.com by Mike Elgan
In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.

In place since 2014, the social credit system is a work in progress that could evolve by next year into a single, nationwide point system for all Chinese citizens, akin to a financial credit score. It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.

IT CAN HAPPEN HERE
Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

 

If current trends hold, it’s possible that in the future a majority of misdemeanors and even some felonies will be punished not by Washington, D.C., but by Silicon Valley. It’s a slippery slope away from democracy and toward corporatocracy.

 

From DSC:
Who’s to say what gains a citizen points and what subtracts from their score? If one believes a certain thing, is that a plus or a minus? And what might be tied to someone’s score? The ability to obtain food? Medicine/healthcare? Clothing? Social Security payments? Other?

We are giving a huge amount of power to a handful of corporations…trust comes into play…at least for me. Even internally, the big tech co’s seem to be struggling as to the ethical ramifications of what they’re working on (in a variety of areas). 

Is the stage being set for a “Person of Interest” Version 2.0?

 

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