Google Glass wasn’t a failure. It raised crucial concerns. — from wired.com by Rose Eveleth

Excerpts:

So when Google ultimately retired Glass, it was in reaction to an important act of line drawing. It was an admission of defeat not by design, but by culture.

These kinds of skirmishes on the front lines of surveillance might seem inconsequential — but they can not only change the behavior of tech giants like Google, they can also change how we’re protected under the law. Each time we invite another device into our lives, we open up a legal conversation over how that device’s capabilities change our right to privacy. To understand why, we have to get wonky for a bit, but it’s worth it, I promise.

 

But where many people see Google Glass as a cautionary tale about tech adoption failure, I see a wild success. Not for Google of course, but for the rest of us. Google Glass is a story about human beings setting boundaries and pushing back against surveillance…

 

IN THE UNITED States, the laws that dictate when you can and cannot record someone have a several layers. But most of these laws were written when smartphones and digital home assistants weren’t even a glimmer in Google’s eye. As a result, they are mostly concerned with issues of government surveillance, not individuals surveilling each other or companies surveilling their customers. Which means that as cameras and microphones creep further into our everyday lives, there are more and more legal gray zones.

 

From DSC:
We need to be aware of the emerging technologies around us. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. People need to be aware of — and involved with — which emerging technologies get rolled out (or not) and/or which features are beneficial to roll out (or not).

One of the things that’s beginning to alarm me these days is how the United States has turned over the keys to the Maserati — i.e., think an expensive, powerful thing — to youth who lack the life experiences to know how to handle such power and, often, the proper respect for such power. Many of these youthful members of our society don’t own the responsibility for the positive and negative influences and impacts that such powerful technologies can have.

If you owned the car below, would you turn the keys of this ~$137,000+ car over to your 16-25 year old? Yet that’s what American has been doing for years. And, in some areas, we’re now paying the price.

 

If you owned this $137,000+ car, would you turn the keys of it over to your 16-25 year old?!

 

The corporate world continues to discard the hard-earned experience that age brings…as they shove older people out of the workforce. (I hesitate to use the word wisdom…but in some cases, that’s also relevant/involved here.) Then we, as a society, sit back and wonder how did we get to this place?

Even technologists and programmers in their 20’s and 30’s are beginning to step back and ask…WHY did we develop this application or that feature? Was it — is it — good for society? Is it beneficial? Or should it be tabled or revised into something else?

Below is but one example — though I don’t mean to pick on Microsoft, as they likely have more older workers than the Facebooks, Googles, or Amazons of the world. I fully realize that all of these companies have some older employees. But the youth-oriented culture in American today has almost become an obsession — and not just in the tech world. Turn on the TV, check out the new releases on Netflix, go see a movie in a theater, listen to the radio, cast but a glance at the magazines in the check out lines, etc. and you’ll instantly know what I mean.

In the workplace, there appears to be a bias against older employees as being less innovative or tech-savvy — such a perspective is often completely incorrect. Go check out LinkedIn for items re: age discrimination…it’s a very real thing. But many of us over the age of 30 know this to be true if we’ve lost a job in the last decade or two and have tried to get a job that involves technology.

Microsoft argues facial-recognition tech could violate your rights — from finance.yahoo.com by Rob Pegoraro

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union provided a good reason for us to think carefully about the evolution of facial-recognition technology. In a study, the group used Amazon’s (AMZN) Rekognition service to compare portraits of members of Congress to 25,000 arrest mugshots. The result: 28 members were mistakenly matched with 28 suspects.

The ACLU isn’t the only group raising the alarm about the technology. Earlier this month, Microsoft (MSFT) president Brad Smith posted an unusual plea on the company’s blog asking that the development of facial-recognition systems not be left up to tech companies.

Saying that the tech “raises issues that go to the heart of fundamental human rights protections like privacy and freedom of expression,” Smith called for “a government initiative to regulate the proper use of facial recognition technology, informed first by a bipartisan and expert commission.”

But we may not get new laws anytime soon.

 

just because we can does not mean we should

 

Just because we can…

 

just because we can does not mean we should

 

 

Hey bot, what’s next in line in chatbot technology? — from blog.engati.com by Imtiaz Bellary

Excerpts:

Scenario 1: Are bots the new apps?
Scenario 2: Bot conversations that make sense
Scenario 3: Can bots increase employee throughput?
Scenario 4: Let voice take over!

 

Voice as an input medium is catching up with an increasing number of folks adopting Amazon Echo and other digital assistants for their daily chores. Can we expect bots to gauge your mood and provide personalised experience as compared to a standard response? In regulated scenarios, voice acts as an authentication mechanism for the bot to pursue actions. Voice as an input adds sophistication and ease to do tasks quickly, thereby increasing user experience.

 

 

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

Meredith Whittaker , AI Now Institute, New York University, Google Open Research
Kate Crawford , AI Now Institute, New York University, Microsoft Research
Roel Dobbe , AI Now Institute, New York University
Genevieve Fried , AI Now Institute, New York University
Elizabeth Kaziunas , AI Now Institute, New York University
Varoon Mathur , AI Now Institute, New York University
Sarah Myers West , AI Now Institute, New York University
Rashida Richardson , AI Now Institute, New York University
Jason Schultz , AI Now Institute, New York University School of Law
Oscar Schwartz , AI Now Institute, New York University

With research assistance from Alex Campolo and Gretchen Krueger (AI Now Institute, New York University)

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Building on our 2016 and 2017 reports, the AI Now 2018 Report contends with this central problem, and provides 10 practical recommendations that can help create accountability frameworks capable of governing these powerful technologies.

  1. Governments need to regulate AI by expanding the powers of sector-specific agencies to oversee, audit, and monitor these technologies by domain.
  2. Facial recognition and affect recognition need stringent regulation to protect the public interest.
  3. The AI industry urgently needs new approaches to governance. As this report demonstrates, internal governance structures at most technology companies are failing to ensure accountability for AI systems.
  4. AI companies should waive trade secrecy and other legal claims that stand in the way of accountability in the public sector.
  5. Technology companies should provide protections for conscientious objectors, employee organizing, and ethical whistleblowers.
  6.  Consumer protection agencies should apply “truth-in-advertising” laws to AI products and services.
  7. Technology companies must go beyond the “pipeline model” and commit to addressing the practices of exclusion and discrimination in their workplaces.
  8. Fairness, accountability, and transparency in AI require a detailed account of the “full stack supply chain.”
  9. More funding and support are needed for litigation, labor organizing, and community participation on AI accountability issues.
  10. 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.

 

Also see:

After a Year of Tech Scandals, Our 10 Recommendations for AI — from medium.com by the AI Now Institute
Let’s begin with better regulation, protecting workers, and applying “truth in advertising” rules to AI

 

Also see:

Excerpt:

As we discussed, this technology brings important and even exciting societal benefits but also the potential for abuse. We noted the need for broader study and discussion of these issues. In the ensuing months, we’ve been pursuing these issues further, talking with technologists, companies, civil society groups, academics and public officials around the world. We’ve learned more and tested new ideas. Based on this work, we believe it’s important to move beyond study and discussion. The time for action has arrived.

We believe it’s important for governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate this technology. The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle. Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues. By that time, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle back up.

In particular, we don’t believe that the world will be best served by a commercial race to the bottom, with tech companies forced to choose between social responsibility and market success. We believe that the only way to protect against this race to the bottom is to build a floor of responsibility that supports healthy market competition. And a solid floor requires that we ensure that this technology, and the organizations that develop and use it, are governed by the rule of law.

 

From DSC:
This is a major heads up to the American Bar Association (ABA), law schools, governments, legislatures around the country, the courts, the corporate world, as well as for colleges, universities, and community colleges. The pace of emerging technologies is much faster than society’s ability to deal with them! 

The ABA and law schools need to majorly pick up their pace — for the benefit of all within our society.

 

 

 

What Blockchain Could Mean for the Future of Journalism — from mediablog.prnewswire.com by Julian Dossett

 

Excerpt:

The digital era has utterly changed the way readers interact with the news.

Traditional news outlets struggle to remain relevant as the media sector’s influence is refocused online.

Journalism in the U.S. faces a number of challenges that blockchain technology has the potential to address and possibly solve — if the technology actually can achieve what it promises.

2018 itself has seen journalism move into uncharted waters as the industry comes up against issues, stemming from the continued digital migration of news organizations.

 

Because blockchain functions as a platform to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions, there are a few news organizations that believe blockchain technology finally will enable micropayments to be widely adopted in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

logo.

Global installed base of smart speakers to surpass 200 million in 2020, says GlobalData

The global installed base for smart speakers will hit 100 million early next year, before surpassing the 200 million mark at some point in 2020, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s latest report: ‘Smart Speakers – Thematic Research’ states that nearly every leading technology company is either already producing a smart speaker or developing one, with Facebook the latest to enter the fray (launching its Portal device this month). The appetite for smart speakers is also not limited by geography, with China in particular emerging as a major marketplace.

Ed Thomas, Principal Analyst for Technology Thematic Research at GlobalData, comments: “It is only four years since Amazon unveiled the Echo, the first wireless speaker to incorporate a voice-activated virtual assistant. Initial reactions were muted but the device, and the Alexa virtual assistant it contained, quickly became a phenomenon, with the level of demand catching even Amazon by surprise.”

Smart speakers give companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Alibaba access to a vast amount of highly valuable user data. They also allow users to get comfortable interacting with artificial intelligence (AI) tools in general, and virtual assistants in particular, increasing the likelihood that they will use them in other situations, and they lock customers into a broader ecosystem, making it more likely that they will buy complementary products or access other services, such as online stores.

Thomas continues: “Smart speakers, particularly lower-priced models, are gateway devices, in that they give consumers the opportunity to interact with a virtual assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant, in a “safe” environment. For tech companies serious about competing in the virtual assistant sector, a smart speaker is becoming a necessity, hence the recent entry of Apple and Facebook into the market and the expected arrival of Samsung and Microsoft over the next year or so.”

In terms of the competitive landscape for smart speakers, Amazon was the pioneer and is still a dominant force, although its first-mover advantage has been eroded over the last year or so. Its closest challenger is Google, but neither company is present in the fastest-growing geographic market, China. Alibaba is the leading player there, with Xiaomi also performing well.

Thomas concludes: “With big names like Samsung and Microsoft expected to launch smart speakers in the next year or so, the competitive landscape will continue to fluctuate. It is likely that we will see two distinct markets emerge: the cheap, impulse-buy end of the spectrum, used by vendors to boost their ecosystems; and the more expensive, luxury end, where greater focus is placed on sound quality and aesthetics. This is the area of the market at which Apple has aimed the HomePod and early indications are that this is where Samsung’s Galaxy Home will also look to make an impact.”

Information based on GlobalData’s report: Smart Speakers – Thematic Research

 

 

 

 

The 11 coolest announcements Google made at its biggest product event of the year — from businessinsider.com by Dave Smith

Excerpt:

On Tuesday (10/9), Google invited journalists to New York City to debut its newest smartphone, the Pixel 3, among several other hardware goodies.

Google made dozens of announcements in its 75-minute event, but a handful of “wow” moments stole the show.

Here are the 11 coolest announcements Google made at its big hardware event…

 

 

 

Google’s Pixel 3 event in 6 minutes — from businessinsider.com

 

 

Google unveiled its new Home Hub but it might be ‘late to the market’ — from barrons.com by Emily Bary

Excerpt:

Alphabet ’s Google has sold millions of voice-enabled speakers, but it inched toward the future at a Tuesday launch event when it introduced the Home Hub smart screen.

Google isn’t the first company to roll out a screen-enabled home device with voice-assistant technology— Amazon.com released its Echo Show in July 2017. Meanwhile, Lenovo has gotten good reviews for its Smart Display, and Facebook introduced the Portal on Monday.

For the most part, though, consumers have stuck to voice-only devices, and it will be up to Google and its rivals to convince them that an added screen is worth paying for. They’ll also have to reassure consumers that they can trust big tech to maintain their privacy, an admittedly harder task these days after recent security issues at Google and Facebook.

 

Amazon was right to realize early on that consumers aren’t always comfortable buying items they can’t even see pictures of, and that it’s hard to remember directions you’ve heard but not seen.

 

 

Google has announced its first smart speaker with a screen — from businessinsider.com by Brandt Ranj

  • Google has announced the Google Hub, its first smart home speaker with a screen. It’s available for pre-order at Best Buy, Target, and Walmart for $149. The Hub will be released on October 22.
  • The Hub has a 7″ touchscreen and sits on a base with a built-in speaker and microphones, which you can use to play music, watch videos, get directions, and control smart home accessories with your voice.
  • Its biggest advantage is its ability to hook into Google’s first-party services, like YouTube and Google Maps, which none of its competitors can use.
  • If you’re an Android or Chromecast user, trust Google more than Amazon, or want a smaller smart home speaker with a screen, the Google Hub is now your best bet.

 

 

Google is shutting down Google+ for consumers following security lapse — from theverge.com by Ashley Carman

Excerpt:

Google is going to shut down the consumer version of Google+ over the next 10 months, the company writes in a blog post today. The decision follows the revelation of a previously undisclosed security flaw that exposed users’ profile data that was remedied in March 2018.

 

 

Google shutters Google+ after users’ personal data exposed — from cbsnews.com

 

 

Google+ is shutting down, and the site’s few loyal users are mourning – from cnbc.com by Jillian D’Onfro

  • Even though Google had diverted resources away from Google+, there’s a small loyal base of users devastated to see it go away.
  • One fan said the company is using its recently revealed security breach as an excuse to shutter the site.
  • Google said it will be closing Google+ in the coming months.

 

 

 
For museums, augmented reality is the next frontier — from wired.com by Arielle Pardes

Excerpt:

Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to go into space, stood in the center of the room and prepared to become digital. Around her, 106 cameras captured her image in 3-D, which would later render her as a life-sized hologram when viewed through a HoloLens headset.

Jemison was recording what would become the introduction for a new exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, which opens tomorrow as part of the Smithsonian’s annual Museum Day. In the exhibit, visitors will wear HoloLens headsets and watch Jemison materialize before their eyes, taking them on a tour of the Space Shuttle Enterprise—and through space history. They’re invited to explore artifacts both physical (like the Enterprise) and digital (like a galaxy of AR stars) while Jemison introduces women throughout history who have made important contributions to space exploration.

Interactive museum exhibits like this are becoming more common as augmented reality tech becomes cheaper, lighter, and easier to create.

 

 

Oculus will livestream it’s 5th Connect Conference on Oculus venues — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Using either an Oculus Go standalone device or a mobile Gear VR headset, users will be able to login to the Oculus Venues app and join other users for an immersive live stream of various developer keynotes and adrenaline-pumping esports competitions.

 

From DSC:
What are the ramifications of this for the future of webinars, teaching and learning, online learning, MOOCs and more…?

 

 

 

10 new AR features in iOS 12 for iPhone & iPad — from mobile-ar.reality.news by Justin Meyers

Excerpt:

Apple’s iOS 12 has finally landed. The big update appeared for everyone on Monday, Sept. 17, and hiding within are some pretty amazing augmented reality upgrades for iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. We’ve been playing with them ever since the iOS 12 beta launched in June, and here are the things we learned that you’ll want to know about.

For now, here’s everything AR-related that Apple has included in iOS 12. There are some new features aimed to please AR fanatics as well as hook those new to AR into finally getting with the program. But all of the new AR features rely on ARKit 2.0, the latest version of Apple’s augmented reality framework for iOS.

 

 

Berkeley College Faculty Test VR for Learning— from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

In a pilot program at Berkeley College, members of a Virtual Reality Faculty Interest Group tested the use of virtual reality to immerse students in a variety of learning experiences. During winter 2018, seven different instructors in nearly as many disciplines used inexpensive Google Cardboard headsets along with apps on smartphones to virtually place students in North Korea, a taxicab and other environments as part of their classwork.

Participants used free mobile applications such as Within, the New York Times VR, Discovery VR, Jaunt VR and YouTube VR. Their courses included critical writing, international business, business essentials, medical terminology, international banking, public speaking and crisis management.

 

 

 

 

Google’s VR Labs provide STEM students with hands-on experience — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt:

STEM students engaged in scientific disciplines, such as biochemistry and neuroscience, are often required by their respective degrees to spend a certain amount of time engaged in an official laboratory environment. Unfortunately, crowded universities and the rise of online education have made it difficult for these innovators-in-training to access properly equipped labs and log their necessary hours.

Cue Google VR Labs, a series of comprehensive virtual lab experiences available on the Google Daydream platform. Developed as part of partnership between Google and simulation education company Labster, the in-depth program boasts 30 interactive lab experiences in which biology students can engage in a series of hands-on scientific activities in a realistic environment.

These actions can include everything from the use of practical tools, such as DNA sequencers and microscopes, to reality-bending experiences only capable in a virtual environment, like traveling to the surface of the newly discovered Astakos IV exoplanet or examining and altering DNA on a molecular level.

 

Google’s VR Labs Provide STEM Students With Hands-On Experience

 

Also see:

 

 

 

The title of this article being linked to is: Augmented and virtual reality mean business: Everything you need to know

 

Augmented and virtual reality mean business: Everything you need to know — from zdnet by Greg Nichols
An executive guide to the technology and market drivers behind the hype in AR, VR, and MR.

Excerpt:

Overhyped by some, drastically underestimated by others, few emerging technologies have generated the digital ink like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR).  Still lumbering through the novelty phase and roller coaster-like hype cycles, the technologies are only just beginning to show signs of real world usefulness with a new generation of hardware and software applications aimed at the enterprise and at end users like you. On the line is what could grow to be a $108 billion AR/VR industry as soon as 2021. Here’s what you need to know.

 

The reason is that VR environments by nature demand a user’s full attention, which make the technology poorly suited to real-life social interaction outside a digital world. AR, on the other hand, has the potential to act as an on-call co-pilot to everyday life, seamlessly integrating into daily real-world interactions. This will become increasingly true with the development of the AR Cloud.

The AR Cloud
Described by some as the world’s digital twin, the AR Cloud is essentially a digital copy of the real world that can be accessed by any user at any time.

For example, it won’t be long before whatever device I have on me at a given time (a smartphone or wearable, for example) will be equipped to tell me all I need to know about a building just by training a camera at it (GPS is operating as a poor-man’s AR Cloud at the moment).

What the internet is for textual information, the AR Cloud will be for the visible world. Whether it will be open source or controlled by a company like Google is a hotly contested issue.

 

Augmented reality will have a bigger impact on the market and our daily lives than virtual reality — and by a long shot. That’s the consensus of just about every informed commentator on the subject.

 

 

 

Mixed reality will transform learning (and Magic Leap joins act one) — from edsurge.com by Maya Georgieva

Excerpt:

Despite all the hype in recent years about the potential for virtual reality in education, an emerging technology known as mixed reality has far greater promise in and beyond the classroom.

Unlike experiences in virtual reality, mixed reality interacts with the real world that surrounds us. Digital objects become part of the real world. They’re not just digital overlays, but interact with us and the surrounding environment.

If all that sounds like science fiction, a much-hyped device promises some of those features later this year. The device is by a company called Magic Leap, and it uses a pair of goggles to project what the company calls a “lightfield” in front of the user’s face to make it look like digital elements are part of the real world. The expectation is that Magic Leap will bring digital objects in a much more vivid, dynamic and fluid way compared to other mixed-reality devices such as Microsoft’s Hololens.

 

The title of the article being linked to here is Mixed reality will transform learning (and Magic Leap joins act one)

 

Now think about all the other things you wished you had learned this way and imagine a dynamic digital display that transforms your environment and even your living room or classroom into an immersive learning lab. It is learning within a highly dynamic and visual context infused with spatial audio cues reacting to your gaze, gestures, gait, voice and even your heartbeat, all referenced with your geo-location in the world. Unlike what happens with VR, where our brain is tricked into believing the world and the objects in it are real, MR recognizes and builds a map of your actual environment.

 

 

 

Also see:

virtualiteach.com
Exploring The Potential for the Vive Focus in Education

 

virtualiteach.com

 

 

 

Digital Twins Doing Real World Work — from stambol.com

Excerpt:

On the big screen it’s become commonplace to see a 3D rendering or holographic projection of an industrial floor plan or a mechanical schematic. Casual viewers might take for granted that the technology is science fiction and many years away from reality. But today we’re going to outline where these sophisticated virtual replicas – Digital Twins – are found in the real world, here and now. Essentially, we’re talking about a responsive simulated duplicate of a physical object or system. When we first wrote about Digital Twin technology, we mainly covered industrial applications and urban infrastructure like transit and sewers. However, the full scope of their presence is much broader, so now we’re going to break it up into categories.

 

The title of the article being linked to here is Digital twins doing real world work

 

Digital twin — from Wikipedia

Digital twin refers to a digital replica of physical assets (physical twin), processes and systems that can be used for various purposes.[1] The digital representation provides both the elements and the dynamics of how an Internet of Things device operates and lives throughout its life cycle.[2]

Digital twins integrate artificial intelligence, machine learning and software analytics with data to create living digital simulation models that update and change as their physical counterparts change. A digital twin continuously learns and updates itself from multiple sources to represent its near real-time status, working condition or position. This learning system, learns from itself, using sensor data that conveys various aspects of its operating condition; from human experts, such as engineers with deep and relevant industry domain knowledge; from other similar machines; from other similar fleets of machines; and from the larger systems and environment in which it may be a part of. A digital twin also integrates historical data from past machine usage to factor into its digital model.

In various industrial sectors, twins are being used to optimize the operation and maintenance of physical assets, systems and manufacturing processes.[3] They are a formative technology for the Industrial Internet of Things, where physical objects can live and interact with other machines and people virtually.[4]

 

 

Disney to debut its first VR short next month — from techcrunch.com by Sarah Wells

Excerpt:

Walt Disney Animation Studio is set to debut its first VR short film, Cycles, this August in Vancouver, the Association for Computing Machinery announced today. The plan is for it to be a headliner at the ACM’s computer graphics conference (SIGGRAPH), joining other forms of VR, AR and MR entertainment in the conference’s designated Immersive Pavilion.

This film is a first for both Disney and its director, Jeff Gipson, who joined the animation team in 2013 to work as a lighting artist on films like Frozen, Zootopia and Moana. The objective of this film, Gipson said in the statement released by ACM, is to inspire a deep emotional connection with the story.

“We hope more and more people begin to see the emotional weight of VR films, and with Cycles in particular, we hope they will feel the emotions we aimed to convey with our story,” said Gipson.

 

 

 

 

 
 

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