From DSC:
The articles below demonstrate why the need for ethics, morals, policies, & serious reflection about what kind of future we want has never been greater!



 

Ethics-Robots-NYTimes-July2016

What Ethics Should Guide the Use of Robots in Policing? — from nytimes.com

 

 

11 Police Robots Patrolling Around the World — from wired.com

 

 

Police use of robot to kill Dallas shooting suspect is new, but not without precursors — from techcrunch.com

 

 

What skills will human workers need when robots take over? A new algorithm would let the machines decide — from qz.com

 

 

The impact on jobs | Automation and anxiety | Will smarter machines cause mass unemployment? — from economist.com

 

 

 

 

VRTO Spearheads Code of Ethics on Human Augmentation — from vrfocus.com
A code of ethics is being developed for both VR and AR industries.

 

 

 

Google and Microsoft Want Every Company to Scrutinize You with AI — from technologyreview.com by Tom Simonite
The tech giants are eager to rent out their AI breakthroughs to other companies.

 

 

U.S. Public Wary of Biomedical Technologies to ‘Enhance’ Human Abilities — from pewinternet.org by Cary Funk, Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Podrebarac Sciupac
Americans are more worried than enthusiastic about using gene editing, brain chip implants and synthetic blood to change human capabilities

 

 

Human Enhancement — from pewinternet.org by David Masci
The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Striving for Perfection

 

 

Robolliance focuses on autonomous robotics for security and survelliance — from robohub.org by Kassie Perlongo

 

 

Company Unveils Plans to Grow War Drones from Chemicals — from interestingengineering.com

 

 

The Army’s Self-Driving Trucks Hit the Highway to Prepare for Battle — from wired.com

 

 

Russian robots will soon replace human soldiers — from interestingengineering.com

 

 

Unmanned combat robots beginning to appear — from therobotreport.com

 

 

Law-abiding robots? What should the legal status of robots be? — from robohub.org by Anders Sandberg

Excerpt:

News media are reporting that the EU is considering turning robots into electronic persons with rights and apparently industry spokespeople are concerned that Brussels’ overzealousness could hinder innovation.

The report is far more sedate. It is a draft report, not a bill, with a mixed bag of recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics in the European Parliament. It will be years before anything is decided.

Nevertheless, it is interesting reading when considering how society should adapt to increasingly capable autonomous machines: what should the legal and moral status of robots be? How do we distribute responsibility?

A remarkable opening
The report begins its general principles with an eyebrow-raising paragraph:

whereas, until such time, if ever, that robots become or are made self-aware, Asimov’s Laws must be regarded as being directed at the designers, producers and operators of robots, since those laws cannot be converted into machine code;

It is remarkable because first it alludes to self-aware robots, presumably moral agents – a pretty extreme and currently distant possibility – then brings up Isaac Asimov’s famous but fictional laws of robotics and makes a simultaneously insightful and wrong-headed claim.

 

 

Robots are getting a sense of self-doubt — from popsci.com by Dave Gershgorn
Introspection is the key to growth

Excerpt:

That murmur is self-doubt, and its presence helps keep us alive. But robots don’t have this instinct—just look at the DARPA Robotics Challenge. But for robots and drones to exist in the real world, they need to realize their limits. We can’t have a robot flailing around in the darkness, or trying to bust through walls. In a new paper, researchers at Carnegie Mellon are working on giving robots introspection, or a sense of self-doubt. By predicting the likelihood of their own failure through artificial intelligence, robots could become a lot more thoughtful, and safer as well.

 

 

Scientists Create Successful Biohybrid Being Using 3-D Printing and Genetic Engineering — from inc.com by Lisa Calhoun
Scientists genetically engineered and 3-D-printed a biohybrid being, opening the door further for lifelike robots and artificial intelligence

Excerpt:

If you met this lab-created critter over your beach vacation, you’d swear you saw a baby ray. In fact, the tiny, flexible swimmer is the product of a team of diverse scientists. They have built the most successful artificial animal yet. This disruptive technology opens the door much wider for lifelike robots and artificial intelligence.

From DSC:
I don’t think I’d use the term disruptive here — though that may turn out to be the case.  The word disruptive doesn’t come close to carrying/relaying the weight and seriousness of this kind of activity; nor does it point out where this kind of thing could lead to.

 

 

Pokemon Go’s digital popularity is also warping real life — from finance.yahoo.com by Ryan Nakashima and David Hamilton

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Todd Richmond, a director at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California, says a big debate is brewing over who controls digital assets associated with real world property.

“This is the problem with technology adoption — we don’t have time to slowly dip our toe in the water,” he says. “Tenants have had no say, no input, and now they’re part of it.”

 

From DSC:
I greatly appreciate what Pokémon Go has been able to achieve and although I haven’t played it, I think it’s great (great for AR, great for peoples’ health, great for the future of play, etc.)!   So there are many positives to it. But the highlighted portion above is not something we want to have to say occurred with artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, some types of genetic engineering, corporations tracking/using your personal medical information or data, the development of biased algorithms, etc.  

 

 

Right now, artificial intelligence is the only thing that matters: Look around you — from forbes.com by Enrique Dans

Excerpts:

If there’s one thing the world’s most valuable companies agree on, it’s that their future success hinges on artificial intelligence.

In short, CEO Sundar Pichai wants to put artificial intelligence everywhere, and Google is marshaling its army of programmers into the task of remaking itself as a machine learning company from top to bottom.

Microsoft won’t be left behind this time. In a great interview a few days ago, its CEO, Satya Nadella says he intends to overtake Google in the machine learning race, arguing that the company’s future depends on it, and outlining a vision in which human and machine intelligence work together to solve humanity’s problems. In other words, real value is created when robots work for people, not when they replace them.

And Facebook? The vision of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, of the company’s future, is one in which artificial intelligence is all around us, carrying out or helping to carry out just about any task you can think of…

 

The links I have included in this column have been carefully chosen as recommended reading to support my firm conviction that machine learning and artificial intelligence are the keys to just about every aspect of life in the very near future: every sector, every business.

 

 

 

10 jobs that A.I. and chatbots are poised to eventually replace — from venturebeat.com by Felicia Schneiderhan

Excerpt:

If you’re a web designer, you’ve been warned.

Now there is an A.I. that can do your job. Customers can direct exactly how their new website should look. Fancy something more colorful? You got it. Less quirky and more professional? Done. This A.I. is still in a limited beta but it is coming. It’s called The Grid and it came out of nowhere. It makes you feel like you are interacting with a human counterpart. And it works.

Artificial intelligence has arrived. Time to sharpen up those resumes.

 

 

Augmented Humans: Next Great Frontier, or Battleground? — from nextgov.com by John Breeden

Excerpt:

It seems like, in general, technology always races ahead of the moral implications of using it. This seems to be true of everything from atomic power to sequencing genomes. Scientists often create something because they can, because there is a perceived need for it, or even by accident as a result of research. Only then does the public catch up and start to form an opinion on the issue.

Which brings us to the science of augmenting humans with technology, a process that has so far escaped the public scrutiny and opposition found with other radical sciences. Scientists are not taking any chances, with several yearly conferences already in place as a forum for scientists, futurists and others to discuss the process of human augmentation and the moral implications of the new science.

That said, it seems like those who would normally oppose something like this have remained largely silent.

 

 

Google Created Its Own Laws of Robotics — from fastcodesign.com by John Brownlee
Building robots that don’t harm humans is an incredibly complex challenge. Here are the rules guiding design at Google.

 

 

Google identifies five problems with artificial intelligence safety — from which-50.com

 

 

DARPA is giving $2 million to the person who creates an AI hacker — from futurism.com

 

 

 

rollsroyce-july2016

 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the items below, I couldn’t help but wonder…what are the learning-related implications/applications of chatbots?

  • For K-12
  • For higher ed?
  • For corporate training/L&D?

 


 

Nat Geo Kids’ T-Rex chatbot aims to ‘get into the mindset of readers’ — from digiday.com by Lucinda Southern

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

It seems even extinction doesn’t stop you from being on Facebook Messenger.

National Geographic Kids is the latest publisher to try out chatbots on the platform. Tina the T-Rex, naturally, is using Messenger to teach kids about dinosaurs over the summer break, despite a critical lack of opposable thumbs.

Despite being 65 million years old, Tina is pretty limited in her bot capabilities; she can answer from a pre-programmed script, devised by tech company Rehab Studio and tweaked by Chandler, on things like dinosaur diet and way of life.

 

 

Also see:

 

HolographicStorytellingJWT-June2016

HolographicStorytellingJWT-2-June2016

 

Holographic storytelling — from jwtintelligence.com by Jade Perry

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.

New Dimensions in Testimony’ is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.

Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from Conscience Display, viewers were able to ask Gutter’s holographic image questions that triggered relevant responses.

 

 

 

AI chatbot apps to infiltrate businesses sooner than you think — from searchbusinessanalytics.techtarget.com by Bridget Botelho
Artificial intelligence chatbots aren’t the norm yet, but within the next five years, there’s a good chance the sales person emailing you won’t be a person at all.

Excerpt:

In fact, artificial intelligence has come so far so fast in recent years, Gartner predicts it will be pervasive in all new products by 2020, with technologies including natural language capabilities, deep neural networks and conversational capabilities.

Other analysts share that expectation. Technologies that encompass the umbrella term artificial intelligence — including image recognition, machine learning, AI chatbots and speech recognition — will soon be ubiquitous in business applications as developers gain access to it through platforms such as the IBM Watson Conversation API and the Google Cloud Natural Language API.

 

 

3 corporate departments that chatbots will disrupt — from venturebeat.com by Natalie Lambert

Excerpt:

  1. Customer Service
  2. Human Resources
  3. Marketing

 

 

Facebook Messenger’s 11,000 chatbots are much more interactive — from androidcentral.com by Harish Jonnalagadda

Excerpt:

Facebook introduced chatbots on Messenger three months ago, and the search giant has shared today that over 11,000 bots are active on the messaging service. The Messenger Platform has picked up an update that adds a slew of new features to bots, such as a persistent menu that lists a bot’s commands, quick replies, ability to respond with GIFs, audio, video, and other files, and a rating system to provide feedback to bot developers.

 

 

Chatbots are coming to take over the world — from telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Excerpts:

In another example, many businesses use interactive voice response (IVR) telephony systems, which have limited functionalities and often provide a poor user experience. Chatbots can replace these applications in future where the user will interact naturally to get relevant information without following certain steps or waiting for a logical sequence to occur.

Chatbots are a good starting point, but the future lies in more advanced versions of audio and video bots. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google with its voice assistance, are working in the same direction to achieve it. Bot ecosystems will become even more relevant in the phase of IoT mass adoption and improvement of input/output (I/O) technology.

 

 

With big players investing heavily in AI, Chatbots are likely to be an increasing feature of social media and other communications platforms.

 

 

Everything You Wanted to Know About Chatbots But Were Afraid to Ask — from businessinsider.com by Andrew Meola

Excerpt:

Chatbots are software programs that use messaging platforms as the interface to perform a wide variety of tasks—everything from scheduling a meeting to reporting the weather, to helping a customer buy a sweater.

Because texting is the heart of the mobile experience for smartphone users, chatbots are a natural way to turn something users are very familiar with into a rewarding service or marketing opportunity.

And when you consider that the top 4 messaging apps reach over 3 billion global users (MORE than the top 4 social networks), you can see that the opportunity is huge.

 

chatbotecosystem-businsider-sept2016

 

 

 

Sketchfab-June2016

 

 

Paper 53 is the ‘sketch-iPad’ you always wanted — from edtech4beginners.com

Excerpt:

Paper 53 is a brilliant app which combines drawings, notes, photos and sketches. It is available on the Appstore. The app is simple and user-friendly; just use your finger (or a stylus) to draw, paint, select colours, erase and lots more.

 

 

Google’s virtual reality field trips are available to everyone — from engadget.com by Jon Fingas
Students can also use Google Cast to share their screens across the classroom.

 

 

10 very good new educational web tools — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Below is a collection of some new educational web tools and mobile apps to try out in your instruction.  The purpose is to keep you updated about the new releases in the EdTech world and empower you with the necessary technology to take your teaching and learning to the next level.  Some of the things you can do with these applications include: Learn English pronunciation from native speakers, easily save web content to Google, search YouTube without having to stop the video playing, learn basic math skills through challenging games and activities, unshare sent files in Gmail, create interactive and engaging videos by adding polls, short questions and quizzes, create beautiful presentations and animations  using drawn images and stick figures and many more.

 

 

Teaching with digital timelines — from Derek Bruff

Excerpt:

This year the Center for Teaching hosted a few educational technology working groups for faculty, staff, and students interested in exploring ways particular technologies might meet their instructional goals. One of the groups investigated the use of digital timeline tools, like Tiki-Toki and TimelineJS, that facilitate the creation of online, multimedia, interactive, and collaborative timelines. I had used such tools in my own teaching, having asked my 2010 writing seminar students to create a class timeline on the history of cryptography, and I was eager to talk with other instructors about the potential of student-produced timelines.

 

 

Top 5 AI virtual assistants: Now and into the future — from interestingengineering.com

Excerpt:

In Silicon Valley and elsewhere there’s currently an AI arms race going on. The first wave of this race is centered around artificial virtual assistants that are poised to become our new digital best friends in the very near future. While many people are familiar with Apple’s popular AI virtual assistant, Siri, there are four other main players in the AI virtual assistant space.

 

 

From DSC:
Twitter is also a tool that you should consider putting in your toolbox — or in your students’ toolboxes. Consider how it was used here –> This Henry VIII Twitter Account Is The Best Way To Learn About Brexit | @KngHnryVIII tells it like it is (and like how it was in the 1500s).

 

TwitterandKingHenryVIII-June2016

 

 

Heuristic Media is working on 37 apps, 1 for each Shakespeare play — with The Tempest as its pilot app.

 

TheTempest-IanM-Spring2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Addendum on 6/30/16:

 


 

 

 

We can do nothing to change the past, but we have enormous power to shape the future. Once we grasp that essential insight, we recognize our responsibility and capability for building our dreams of tomorrow and avoiding our nightmares.

–Edward Cornish

 


From DSC:
This posting represents Part VI in a series of such postings that illustrate how quickly things are moving (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and to ask:

  • How do we collectively start talking about the future that we want?
  • How do we go about creating our dreams, not our nightmares?
  • Most certainly, governments will be involved….but who else should be involved in these discussions? Shouldn’t each one of us participate in some way, shape, or form?

 

 

AIsWhiteGuyProblem-NYTimes-June2016

 

Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem — from nytimes.com by Kate Crawford

Excerpt:

But this hand-wringing is a distraction from the very real problems with artificial intelligence today, which may already be exacerbating inequality in the workplace, at home and in our legal and judicial systems. Sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination are being built into the machine-learning algorithms that underlie the technology behind many “intelligent” systems that shape how we are categorized and advertised to.

If we look at how systems can be discriminatory now, we will be much better placed to design fairer artificial intelligence. But that requires far more accountability from the tech community. Governments and public institutions can do their part as well: As they invest in predictive technologies, they need to commit to fairness and due process.

 

 

Facebook is using artificial intelligence to categorize everything you write — from futurism.com

Excerpt:

Facebook has just revealed DeepText, a deep learning AI that will analyze everything you post or type and bring you closer to relevant content or Facebook services.

 

 

March of the machines — from economist.com
What history tells us about the future of artificial intelligence—and how society should respond

Excerpt:

EXPERTS warn that “the substitution of machinery for human labour” may “render the population redundant”. They worry that “the discovery of this mighty power” has come “before we knew how to employ it rightly”. Such fears are expressed today by those who worry that advances in artificial intelligence (AI) could destroy millions of jobs and pose a “Terminator”-style threat to humanity. But these are in fact the words of commentators discussing mechanisation and steam power two centuries ago. Back then the controversy over the dangers posed by machines was known as the “machinery question”. Now a very similar debate is under way.

After many false dawns, AI has made extraordinary progress in the past few years, thanks to a versatile technique called “deep learning”. Given enough data, large (or “deep”) neural networks, modelled on the brain’s architecture, can be trained to do all kinds of things. They power Google’s search engine, Facebook’s automatic photo tagging, Apple’s voice assistant, Amazon’s shopping recommendations and Tesla’s self-driving cars. But this rapid progress has also led to concerns about safety and job losses. Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and others wonder whether AI could get out of control, precipitating a sci-fi conflict between people and machines. Others worry that AI will cause widespread unemployment, by automating cognitive tasks that could previously be done only by people. After 200 years, the machinery question is back. It needs to be answered.

 

As technology changes the skills needed for each profession, workers will have to adjust. That will mean making education and training flexible enough to teach new skills quickly and efficiently. It will require a greater emphasis on lifelong learning and on-the-job training, and wider use of online learning and video-game-style simulation. AI may itself help, by personalising computer-based learning and by identifying workers’ skills gaps and opportunities for retraining.

 

 

Backlash-Data-DefendantsFutures-June2016

 

In Wisconsin, a Backlash Against Using Data to Foretell Defendants’ Futures — from nytimes.com by Mitch Smith

Excerpt:

CHICAGO — When Eric L. Loomis was sentenced for eluding the police in La Crosse, Wis., the judge told him he presented a “high risk” to the community and handed down a six-year prison term.

The judge said he had arrived at his sentencing decision in part because of Mr. Loomis’s rating on the Compas assessment, a secret algorithm used in the Wisconsin justice system to calculate the likelihood that someone will commit another crime.

Compas is an algorithm developed by a private company, Northpointe Inc., that calculates the likelihood of someone committing another crime and suggests what kind of supervision a defendant should receive in prison. The results come from a survey of the defendant and information about his or her past conduct. Compas assessments are a data-driven complement to the written presentencing reports long compiled by law enforcement agencies.

 

 

Google Tackles Challenge of How to Build an Honest Robot — from bloomberg.com by

Excerpt:

Researchers at Alphabet Inc. unit Google, along with collaborators at Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, and OpenAI — an artificial intelligence development company backed by Elon Musk — have some ideas about how to design robot minds that won’t lead to undesirable consequences for the people they serve. They published a technical paper Tuesday outlining their thinking.

The motivation for the research is the immense popularity of artificial intelligence, software that can learn about the world and act within it. Today’s AI systems let cars drive themselves, interpret speech spoken into phones, and devise trading strategies for the stock market. In the future, companies plan to use AI as personal assistants, first as software-based services like Apple Inc.’s Siri and the Google Assistant, and later as smart robots that can take actions for themselves.

But before giving smart machines the ability to make decisions, people need to make sure the goals of the robots are aligned with those of their human owners.

 

 

Policy paper | Data Science Ethical Framework — from gov.uk
From: Cabinet Office, Government Digital Service and The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP
First published: 19 May 2016
Part of: Government transparency and accountability

This framework is intended to give civil servants guidance on conducting data science projects, and the confidence to innovate with data.

Detail: Data science provides huge opportunities for government. Harnessing new forms of data with increasingly powerful computer techniques increases operational efficiency, improves public services and provides insight for better policymaking. We want people in government to feel confident using data science techniques to innovate. This guidance is intended to bring together relevant laws and best practice, to give teams robust principles to work with. The publication is a first version that we are asking the public, experts, civil servants and other interested parties to help us perfect and iterate. This will include taking on evidence from a public dialogue on data science ethics. It was published on 19 May by the Minister for Cabinet Office, Matt Hancock. If you would like to help us iterate the framework, find out how to get in touch at the end of this blog.

 

 

 

WhatsNextForAI-June2016

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

We need to update the New Deal for the 21st century and establish a trainee program for the new jobs artificial intelligence will create. We need to retrain truck drivers and office assistants to create data analysts, trip optimizers and other professionals we don’t yet know we need. It would have been impossible for an antebellum farmer to imagine his son becoming an electrician, and it’s impossible to say what new jobs AI will create. But it’s clear that drastic measures are necessary if we want to transition from an industrial society to an age of intelligent machines.

The next step in achieving human-level ai is creating intelligent—but not autonomous—machines. The AI system in your car will get you safely home, but won’t choose another destination once you’ve gone inside. From there, we’ll add basic drives, along with emotions and moral values. If we create machines that learn as well as our brains do, it’s easy to imagine them inheriting human-like qualities—and flaws.

 

 

DARPA to Build “Virtual Data Scientist” Assistants Through A.I. — from inverse.com by William Hoffman
A.I. will make up for the lack of data scientists.

Excerpt:

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced on Friday the launch of Data-Driven Discovery of Models (D3M), which aim to help non-experts bridge what it calls the “data-science expertise gap” by allowing artificial assistants to help people with machine learning. DARPA calls it a “virtual data scientist” assistant.

This software is doubly important because there’s a lack of data scientists right now and a greater demand than ever for more data-driven solutions. DARPA says experts project 2016 deficits of 140,000 to 190,000 data scientists worldwide, and increasing shortfalls in coming years.

 

 

Robot that chooses to inflict pain sparks debate about AI systems — from interestingengineering.com by Maverick Baker

Excerpt:

A robot built by roboticist Alexander Reben from the University of Berkeley, California has the ability to decide using AI whether or not to inflict pain.

The robot aims to spark a debate on if an AI system can get out of control, reminiscent of the terminator. The robot design is incredibly simple, designed to serve only one purpose; to decide whether or not to inflict pain. The robot was engineered by Alexander Reben of the University of Berkeley and was published in a scientific journal aimed to spark a debate on whether or not artificial intelligent robots can get out of hand if given the opportunity.

 

 

The NSA wants to spy on the Internet of Things. Everything from thermostats to pacemakers could be mined for intelligence data. — from engadget.com by Andrew Dalton

Excerpt:

We already know the National Security Agency is all up in our data, but the agency is reportedly looking into how it can gather even more foreign intelligence information from internet-connected devices ranging from thermostats to pacemakers. Speaking at a military technology conference in Washington D.C. on Friday, NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett said the agency is “looking at it sort of theoretically from a research point of view right now.” The Intercept reports Ledgett was quick to point out that there are easier ways to keep track of terrorists and spies than to tap into any medical devices they might have, but did confirm that it was an area of interest.

 

 

The latest tool in the NSA’s toolbox? The Internet of Things — from digitaltrends.com by Lulu Chang

Excerpt:

You may love being able to set your thermostat from your car miles before you reach your house, but be warned — the NSA probably loves it too. On Friday, the National Security Agency — you know, the federal organization known for wiretapping and listening it on U.S. citizens’ conversations — told an audience at Washington’s Newseum that it’s looking into using the Internet of Things and other connected devices to keep tabs on individuals.

 


Addendum on 6/29/16:

 

Addendums on 6/30/16

 

Addendum on 7/1/16

  • Humans are willing to trust chatbots with some of their most sensitive information — from businessinsider.com by Sam Shead
    Excerpt:
    A study has found that people are inclined to trust chatbots with sensitive information and that they are open to receiving advice from these AI services. The “Humanity in the Machine” report —published by media agency Mindshare UK on Thursday — urges brands to engage with customers through chatbots, which can be defined as artificial intelligence programmes that conduct conversations with humans through chat interfaces.

 

 

 

 

How chatbots and deep learning will change the future of organizations — from forbes.com by Daniel Newman

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Don’t let the fun, casual name mislead you. Chatbots—software that you can “chat with”—have serious implications for the business world. Though many businesses have already considered their use for customer service purposes, a chatbot’s internal applications could be invaluable on a larger scale. For instance, chatbots could help employees break down siloes and provide targeted data to fuel every department. This digital transformation is happening, even in organizational structures that face challenges with other formats of real-time communication.

Still unclear on what chatbots are and what they do? Think of a digital assistant—such as iPhone’s Siri or Alexa, the Artificial Intelligence within the Amazon Echo. A chatbot reduces or eliminates the need for many mobile apps, as the answers are stored inside the chatbot. Need to know what the weather’s like in LA? Ask your chatbot. Is your flight running on time? Ask your chatbot. Is the package you ordered going to be delivered while you’re away? You get the gist.

 

From DSC:
How might institutions of higher education as well as K-12 school districts benefit from such internal applications of chatbots? How about external applications of chatbots? If done well, such applications could facilitate solid customer service (i.e., self-service knowledgebases) and aid in communications.

 

 

Hold Tight: The Chatbot Era Has Begun — from chatbotsmagazine.com by
Chatbots: What they are, and why they’re so important for businesses

Excerpt:

Imagine being able to have your own personal assistant at your fingertips, who you can chat with, give instructions and errands to, and handle the majority of your online research — both personally and professionally.

That’s essentially what a chatbot does.

Capable of being installed on any messenger platform, such as Facebook messenger or text messages, a chat bot is a basic artificial intelligence computer software program that does the legwork for you — and communicates in a way that feels like an intelligent conversation over text or voice messaging.

 

 

 

Once-in-a-decade paradigm shift: Messaging — from chatbotsmagazine.com by Beerud Sheth
In the history of the personal computing industry, we have had a paradigm shift about once every decade.

 

Bots-ChatbotMagazine-June2016

 

 

 

 

Smart assistants and chatbots will be top consumer applications for AI over next 5 years, poll says — from venturebeat.com by Blaise Zerega

Excerpt:

Virtual agents and chatbots will be the top consumer applications of artificial intelligence over the next five years, according to a consensus poll released today by TechEmergence, a marketing research firm for AI and machine learning.

The emphasis on virtual agents and chatbots is in many ways not surprising. After all, the tech industry’s 800-pound gorillas have all made big bets: Apple with Siri, Amazon with Alexa, Facebook with M and Messenger, Google with Google Assistant, Microsoft with Cortana and Tay. However, the poll’s data also suggests that chatbots may soon be viewed as a horizontal enabling technology for many industries.

 

From DSC:
Might this eventually affect students’ expectations? Blackboard’s partnership with IBM and Amazon may come into play here.

 

 

Some like it bot: Why chatbots could be the start of something big — from business.sprint.com
Chatbots are on the rise. With Google, Facebook and Microsoft competing to be the caring voice your customers turn to, what does this mean for your enterprise?

Excerpt:

The most prevalent indicator that the artificial intelligence-driven future is rapidly  becoming reality is the rise of the chatbot – an  A.I. software program designed to chat with people. Well, more accurately, the re-emergence of the bot. Basically, robots talking to humans talking to robots is the tech vision for the future.

 

Maybe one of the most obvious uses for this technology would be in service. If you can incorporate your self-service knowledge base into a bot that responds directly to questions and uses customer data to provide the most relevant answers, it’s more convenient for customers…

 

 

Chatbot lawyer overturns 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York — from theguardian.com by Samuel Gibbs
Free service DoNotPay helps appeal over $4m in parking fines in just 21 months, but is just the tip of the legal AI iceberg for its 19-year-old creator

Excerpt:

An artificial-intelligence lawyer chatbot has successfully contested 160,000 parking tickets across London and New York for free, showing that chatbots can actually be useful.

Dubbed as “the world’s first robot lawyer” by its 19-year-old creator, London-born second-year Stanford University student Joshua Browder, DoNotPay helps users contest parking tickets in an easy to use chat-like interface.

 

 

 


 

Addendum on 6/29/16:

A New Chatbot Would Like to Help You With Your Bank Account — from wired.com by Cade Metz

Excerpt:

People in Asia are already using MyKai, and beginning today, you can too. Because it’s focused on banking—and banking alone—it works pretty well. But it’s also flawed. And it’s a bit weird. Unsettling, even. All of which makes it a great way of deconstructing the tech world’s ever growing obsession with “chatbots.”

MyKai is remarkably adept at understanding what I’m asking—and that’s largely because it’s focused solely on banking. When I ask “How much money do I have?” or “How much did I spend on food in May?,” it understands. But when I ask who won the Spain-Italy match at Euro 2016, it suggests I take another tack. The thing to realize about today’s chatbots is that they can be reasonably effective if they’ve honed to a particular task—and that they break down if the scope gets to wide.

 

chatbots-wharton-june2016

The rise of the chatbots: Is it time to embrace them? — from knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu

Excerpt:

The tech world is all agog these days about chatbots. These are automated computer programs that simulate online conversations with people to answer questions or perform tasks. While chatbots have been around in various rudimentary forms for years — think of Clippy, Microsoft’s paper clip virtual assistant — they have been taking off lately as advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence make them more versatile than ever. Among the most well-known chatbots: Apple’s Siri.

In rapid succession over the past few months, Microsoft, Facebook and Google have each unveiled their chatbot strategies, touting the potential for this evolving technology to aid users and corporate America with its customer-service capabilities as well as business utility features like organizing a meeting. Yahoo joined the bandwagon recently, launching its first chatbots on a chat app called Kik Messenger.

 

 

 

Bill Gates says the next big thing in tech can help people learn like he does — from businessinsider.com by Matt Weinberger

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In a new interview with The Verge, Microsoft cofounder and richest man in the world Bill Gates explained the potential for chatbots programs you can text with like they’re human — in education.

Gates lauds the potential for what he calls “dialogue richness,” where an chatbot can really hold a conversation with a student, essentially making it into a tutor that can walk them through even the toughest, most subjective topics. 

It’s actually similar to how Gates himself likes to learn, he tells The Verge…

 

 

The complete beginner’s guide to chatbots — from chatbotsmagazine.com by Matt Schlicht
Everything you need to know.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

What are chatbots? Why are they such a big opportunity? How do they work? How can I build one? How can I meet other people interested in chatbots?

These are the questions we’re going to answer for you right now.

What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface. The service could be any number of things, ranging from functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.).

A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface.

Examples of Chat Bots
Weather bot. Get the weather whenever you ask.
Grocery bot. Help me pick out and order groceries for the week.
News bot. Ask it to tell you when ever something interesting happens.
Life advice bot. I’ll tell it my problems and it helps me think of solutions.
Personal finance bot. It helps me manage my money better.
Scheduling bot. Get me a meeting with someone on the Messenger team at Facebook.
A bot that’s your friend. In China there is a bot called Xiaoice, built by Microsoft, that over 20 million people talk to.

 

 

 

Chatbots explained: Why Facebook and other tech companies think they’re the biggest thing since the iPhone — from businessinsider.com by Biz Carson

Excerpt:

Chatbots are the future, whether we’re ready for them or not.

On Tuesday (April 5, 2016) , Facebook launched Bots for Messenger, a step that could define the next decade in the same way that the Apple App Store launch paved the path for companies like Uber to build a business off your phone. Its new messaging platform will help businesses build intelligent chatbots to let them communicate in Messenger.

“Today could be the beginning of a new era,” said Facebook Messenger chief David Marcus.

So what are these chatbots, and why is everyone obsessed?

 

 

 

Facebook wants to completely revolutionize the way you talk to businesses — from businessinsider.com by Jillian D’Onfro

 

 

 

Bot wars: Why big tech companies want apps to talk back to you — from fastcompany.com by Jared Newman
Can a new wave of chatbots from Facebook and Microsoft upend apps as we know them, or is that just wishful thinking?

Excerpt:

The rise of conversational “chatbots” begins with a claim you might initially dismiss as preposterous. “Bots are the new apps,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella declared during the company’s Build developers conference last month. “People-to-people conversations, people-to-digital assistants, people-to-bots, and even digital assistants-to-bots. That’s the world you’re going to get to see in the years to come.”

 

 

 

Microsoft CEO Nadella: ‘Bots are the new apps’

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella kicked off the company’s Build developers conference with a vision of the future filled with chatbots, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“Bots are the new apps,” said Nadella during a nearly three-hour keynote here that sketched a vision for the way humans will interact with machines. “People-to-people conversations, people-to-digital assistants, people-to-bots and even digital assistants-to-bots. That’s the world you’re going to get to see in the years to come.”

Onstage demos hammered home those ideas. One involved a smartphone conversing with digital assistant Cortana about planning a trip to Ireland, which soon found Cortana bringing in a Westin Hotels chatbot that booked a room based on the contents of the chat.

 

 

 

 


 

Addendums on 6/17/16:

 

GoldmanSachs-Jan2016Report
With thanks to Fred Steube for this resource

 

 

Virtual reality facilitates higher ed research and teaches high-risk skills — from edtechmagazine.com by Jacquelyn Bengfort
From neuroscience to ship navigation, virtual environments deliver real-world learning inside the classroom.

Excerpt:

Simulators are an important part of their education. Stepping into one of three full-mission bridge simulators replicates the experience of standing in an ocean liner’s pilothouse and lets students practice their skills in handling a ship — without risk.

“In the simulator, you can push the limits of the environment: increase the amount of current that’s there, go to the limits of the amount of wind that can be handled by the tugs,” says Capt. Victor Schisler, one of Cal Maritime’s simulator instructors.

 

 

 

 

Oculus Launches Virtual Reality Program in High Schools — from thejournal.com by Sri Ravipati
The new initiative provides students with VR equipment to create short films on social issues.

Excerpt:

Oculus has announced a new pilot program for high school students to use virtual reality as a tool for social change.

As part of the VR for Good initiative, the 360 Filmmaker Challenge will connect nine San Francisco Bay Area high schools with professional filmmakers to create three- to five- minute 360 degree films about their communities. Students will receive a Samsung Gear VR, a Galaxy S6, Ricoh Theta S 360 cameras and access to editing software to make their films, according to Oculus.

 

 

 

 

How Adobe is connecting virtual reality with the world of product placement: 360-degree video mixes atmosphere and ads — from adweek.com by Marty Swant

Excerpt:

Interested in watching the 2015 hit film The Martian from the surface of the moon? Adobe wants you to take you there.

Adobe isn’t entering the latest next-generation space race to compete with SpaceX, Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic anytime soon. But it is for the first time entering the worlds of virtual reality and augmented reality through new Adobe Primetime products.

[On May 17th] Adobe debuted Virtual Cinema, a feature that will allow Primetime clients to develop experiences for users to enter a virtual environment. According to Adobe, users will be able to view traditional video in a custom environment—a cinema, home theater or branded atmosphere—and watch existing TV and motion picture content in a new way. There’s also potential for product placement within the virtual/augmented reality experience.

 

 

 

From Samsung Gear 360 Unboxing and Video Test — from vrscout.com by Jonathan Nafarrete

 

360-degree-camera-comparisons-May2016

 

 

Could HoloLens’ augmented reality change how we study the human body? — from edtechmagazine.com by D. Frank Smith
Case Western Reserve University is helping to revolutionize medical-science studies with a new technology from Microsoft.

Excerpt:

While the technology world’s attention is on virtual reality, a team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is fixated on another way to experience the world — augmented reality (AR).

Microsoft’s forthcoming AR headset, HoloLens, is at the forefront of this technology. The company calls it the first holographic computer. In AR, instead of being surrounded by a virtual world, viewers see virtual objects projected on top of reality through a transparent lens.

CWRU was among the first in higher education to begin working with HoloLens, back in 2014. They’ve since discovered new ways the tech could help transform education. One of their current focuses is changing how students experience medical-science courses.

 

 

 

 

How to make a mixed reality video and livestream from two realities — from uploadvr.com by Ian Hamilton

Excerpt:

Follow these steps to record or stream mixed reality footage with the HTC Vive
A mixed reality video is one of the coolest ways to show people what a virtual environment feels like. A green screen makes it easy for a VR-ready PC to automatically remove everything from a camera’s feed, except for your body movements.  Those movements are then seamlessly combined with a view from another camera in a virtual environment. As long as the two cameras are synced, you can seamlessly combine views of two realities into a single video. In essence, mixed reality capture is doing what Hollywood or your weatherman has been doing for years, except at a fraction of the cost and in real-time. The end result is almost magical.

 

 

 

 

Everything announced at Facebook’s F8 conference.

 

Facebook-10YearRoadmap-AsOfApril2016

 

Facebook-AI-April2016

 

 

Everything Facebook announced at F8 2016 — from thenextweb.com by Natt Garun

Excerpt:

Two days of Facebook’s F8 Conference have come and gone, so here’s a look back at all the things you may have missed from the event. To learn more about each topic, click the links below for full stories.

 

 

 

The 5 Biggest Things Facebook Announced This Week — from time.com by Victor Luckerson
Messaging bots, live video in drones and 360-degree cameras

Excerpt:

In a wide-ranging keynote April 12, CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out the company’s 10-year plan to “Give everyone the power to share anything with anyone.” To do so, Facebook plans to move far beyond its original role as a social network. The firm aims to launch new virtual reality projects, beam Internet across the world using drones and unleash complex artificial-intelligence bots that can fulfill our every digital need.

Before all that can happen, Facebook has to deal with the here and now of improving its current products. On that front, the company made several announcements that will reshape the way people and brands use Facebook and its constellation of apps this year.

Here’s a breakdown of Facebook’s biggest F8 announcements.

 

 

 

How Facebook’s Social VR Could Be The Killer App For Virtual Reality — from fastcompany.com by
It’s going to take time, but Facebook is committed to developing realistic and satisfying social experiences in VR.

Excerpt:

When Facebook bought Oculus VR in 2014 for $2 billion, many observers wondered what the world’s largest social networking company wanted with a virtual reality company whose then-unreleased system was pretty much all about single-user experiences. Today at F8, Facebook’s annual developers conference in San Francisco, the company showed off some of the most fleshed-out examples of how it sees VR as a rich social tool. During his F8 keynote address, CTO Mike Schroepfer talked at length about what Facebook explicitly calls “social VR.”

 

Facebook Shows Us What It Means to Be ‘Social’ in Virtual Reality (Video) — from recode.net by Kurt Wagner

Excerpt:

One of the key knocks on virtual reality, the gamer-heavy industry Facebook is betting big on, is that wearing a headset intended to block out the real world in favor of a virtual one isn’t a very social activity. Facebook, an inherently social company, thinks it can change that.

At its F8 developer conference on Wednesday Facebook demoed what it calls “social VR,” which is exactly what it sounds like: Connecting two or more real people in a virtual world.

 

 

Oculus Demos VR Selfie Sticks and 360 Photo Spheres — from vrscout.com by Jonathan Nafarrete

Excerpt:

During the second day keynote of Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference, Oculus showed off an entirely new way to get social in VR.

On stage, Facebook’s CTO Mike Schroepfer showed how 360-degree photos can instantly be shared with a friend in VR, with 360 photos appearing as handheld spheres. You can virtually grab the floating sphere and smash it against your face, you will then be instantly teleported into the content of the spherical photo.

 

 

 

 

Oculus Social VR Full Demo – Facebook F8 Conference 2016

 

 

 

Has Facebook achieved what AOL could have a generation ago? — from medium.com by Gary Vaynerchuk

Excerpt:

[On 4/12/16], Facebook opened up Instant Articles to all publishers. If you don’t know, Instant Articles are Facebook’s new way to natively load articles within the app using an adapted RSS feed. These native articles, which have a lightning bolt in the top right corner, load in half a second?—?10x faster than if user was to click out to a website. From what I’ve seen so far, they really do load instantaneously and have a great layout and user experience. And if you’re paying attention, you’ll understand that this is their third push for native media consumption: first photos, then videos, and now written content.

However, as of [4/13/16], Instant Articles become available to anybody with a Facebook page and a blog. This is a key opportunity for small blogs and publications to get ahead of the game and really understand how best to use the new product.

Has Facebook been able to achieve what AOL could have a generation ago? By that I mean: Has Facebook become a layer on top of the Internet itself?

 

FacebookInstantArticles-April2016

 

 

 

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