AWS and Microsoft announce Gluon, making deep learning accessible to all developers — from news.microsoft.com
New open source deep learning interface allows developers to more easily and quickly build machine learning models without compromising training performance. Jointly developed reference specification makes it possible for Gluon to work with any deep learning engine; support for Apache MXNet available today and support for Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit coming soon.

Excerpt:

SEATTLE and REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 12, 2017 — On Thursday, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced a new deep learning library, called Gluon, that allows developers of all skill levels to prototype, build, train and deploy sophisticated machine learning models for the cloud, devices at the edge and mobile apps. The Gluon interface currently works with Apache MXNet and will support Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK) in an upcoming release. With the Gluon interface, developers can build machine learning models using a simple Python API and a range of prebuilt, optimized neural network components. This makes it easier for developers of all skill levels to build neural networks using simple, concise code, without sacrificing performance. AWS and Microsoft published Gluon’s reference specification so other deep learning engines can be integrated with the interface. To get started with the Gluon interface, visit https://github.com/gluon-api/gluon-api/.

 

 

Microsoft and Amazon struck a brilliant partnership to take on Google in the next big thing for cloud computing  — from finance.yahoo.com Business Insider by Julie Bort

Excerpt:

  • Microsoft and Amazon announced a surprise partnership on Thursday in which they were jointly releasing for free a new software tool for developers called Gluon.
  • Gluon makes it easier for developers to build AI/machine learning systems, aka apps that can learn.
  • But there’s another, more important reason this partnership is interesting: it challenges Google in its one big area of dominance.

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

The Top 200 Tools for Learning 2017 (11th Annual Survey) has been compiled by Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies from the votes of 2,174 learning professionals worldwide, together with 3 sub-lists

  • Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning (PPL)
  • Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning (WPL)
  • Top 100 Tools for Education (EDU)

 

Excerpt from the Analysis page (emphasis DSC):

Here is a brief analysis of what’s on the list and what it tells us about the current state of personal learning, workplace learning and education.

Some facts

Some observations on what the Top Tools list tells us personal and professional learning
As in previous years, individuals continue to using a wide variety of:

  • networks, services and platforms for professional networking, communication and collaboration
  • web resources and courses for self-improvement and self-development
  • tools for personal productivity

All of which shows that many individuals have become highly independent, continuous modern professional learners – making their own decisions about what they need to learn and how to do it.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Before we get to the announcements in more detail….
can you imagine being a teacher, a professor, or a trainer — with all of the required applications
launched — if you were the presenter in this video at say the 12:45 mark?

If you are at all interesting in emerging technologies and what several pieces
of our future learning ecosystems — and meeting spaces — could easily look like,
you NEED to watch the entire presentation.


Also, they announced

Microsoft’s purchase of AltspaceVR…in virtual reality!
This clip shows them meeting in a virtual space.

 

 



 

The era of Windows Mixed Reality begins October 17 — from blogs.windows.com by Alex Kipman
Samsung unveils Windows Mixed Reality headset, AltSpaceVR joins Microsoft, SteamVR catalog coming to Windows Mixed Reality this holiday.

 

 

At an event in San Francisco we unveiled our vision for Windows Mixed Reality, announced SteamVR and AltSpaceVR are coming to Windows Mixed Reality, introduced the new Samsung Odyssey HMD, and kicked off the holiday shopping season by announcing the availability of pre-orders for Windows Mixed Reality headsets at the Microsoft Store.

 

Also see:

 



 

Inside VR & AR

Oct 4th, 2017

 

Microsoft held its long-awaited launch of Windows 10 Mixed Reality yesterday, and while most of the new devices and products had been leaked earlier, there were still some big takeaways. Here are some of them:

  • Mixed Reality: Microsoft gave a demo of what its new platform will do, covering the AR/VR spectrum with games, apps, and experiences. One such experience is Cliff House, a virtual work space and entertainment room.
  • Altspace VR: When the pioneering social VR app shut down this summer and was rescued by a “third party,” people wondered who that was. Turns out it was Microsoft, which acquired Altspace VR for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was announced yesterday.
  • Steam VR and Halo: Microsoft had previously announced that its new Mixed Reality headsets would support Steam VR titles. Developers can now access that support, and consumers will be able to access it later this year. In addition to the hundreds of VR titles available on Steam, on Oct. 17, Microsoft will offer free downloads of Halo Recruit.
  • Odyssey and other headsets: The new Windows 10 platform is launching alongside a host of new headsets. In addition to the new Odyssey, which was made in partnership with Samsung, there are other headsets forthcoming from Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Asus.
  • 2018 Olympics: This was announced previously in June, but yesterday Microsoft briefed the press that Intel is partnering with the International Olympic Committee to bring Windows Mixed Reality experiences to the 2018 games.

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2021 — from Gartner

From DSC:
I just wanted to include some excerpts (see below) from Gartner’s 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2021 report. I do so to illustrate how technology’s impact continues to expand/grow in influence throughout many societies around the globe, as well as to say that if you want a sure thing job in the next 1-15 years, I would go into studying data science and/or artificial intelligence!

 



Excerpts:

As evidenced by its pervasiveness within our vast array of recently published Predicts 2017 research, it is clear that data and analytics are increasingly critical elements across most industries, business functions and IT disciplines. Most significantly, data and analytics are key to a successful digital business. This collection of more than 100 data-and-analytics-related Strategic Planning Assumptions (SPAs) or predictions through 2021, heralds several transformations and challenges ahead that CIOs and data and analytics leaders should embrace and include in their planning for successful strategies. Common themes across the discipline in general, and within particular business functions and industries, include:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a core business and analytic competency. Beyond yesteryear’s hard-coded algorithms and manual data science activities, machine learning (ML) promises to transform business processes, reconfigure workforces, optimize infrastructure behavior and blend industries through rapidly improved decision making and process optimization.
  • Natural language is beginning to play a dual role in many organizations and applications as a source of input for analytic and other applications, and a variety of output, in addition to traditional analytic visualizations.
  • Information itself is being recognized as a corporate asset (albeit not yet a balance sheet asset), prompting organizations to become more disciplined about monetizing, managing and measuring it as they do with other assets. This includes “spending” it like cash, selling/licensing it to others, participating in emerging data marketplaces, applying asset management principles to improve its quality and availability, and quantifying its value and risks in a variety of ways.
  • Smart devices that both produce and consume Internet of Things (IoT) data will also move intelligent computing to the edge of business functions, enabling devices in almost every industry to operate and interact with humans and each other without a centralized command and control. The resulting opportunities for innovation are unbounded.
  • Trust becomes the watchword for businesses, devices and information, leading to the creation of digital ethics frameworks, accreditation and assessments. Most attempts at leveraging blockchain as a trust mechanism fail until technical limitations, particularly performance, are solved.

Education
Significant changes to the global education landscape have taken shape in 2016, and spotlight new and interesting trends for 2017 and beyond. “Predicts 2017: Education Gets Personal” is focused on several SPAs, each uniquely contributing to the foundation needed to create the digitalized education environments of the future. Organizations and institutions will require new strategies to leverage existing and new technologies to maximize benefits to the organization in fresh and
innovative ways.

  • By 2021, more than 30% of institutions will be forced to execute on a personalization strategy to maintain student enrollment.
  • By 2021, the top 100 higher education institutions will have to adopt AI technologies to stay competitive in research.

Artificial Intelligence
Business and IT leaders are stepping up to a broad range of opportunities enabled by AI, including autonomous vehicles, smart vision systems, virtual customer assistants, smart (personal) agents and natural-language processing. Gartner believes that this new general-purpose technology is just beginning a 75-year technology cycle that will have far-reaching implications for every industry. In “Predicts 2017: Artificial Intelligence,” we reflect on the near-term opportunities, and the potential burdens and risks that organizations face in exploiting AI. AI is changing the way in which organizations innovate and communicate their processes, products and services.

Practical strategies for employing AI and choosing the right vendors are available to data and analytics leaders right now.

  • By 2019, more than 10% of IT hires in customer service will mostly write scripts for bot interactions.
  • Through 2020, organizations using cognitive ergonomics and system design in new AI projects will achieve long-term success four times more often than others.
  • By 2020, 20% of companies will dedicate workers to monitor and guide neural networks.
  • By 2019, startups will overtake Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft in driving the AI economy with disruptive business solutions.
  • By 2019, AI platform services will cannibalize revenues for 30% of market-leading companies. “Predicts 2017: Drones”
  • By 2020, the top seven commercial drone manufacturers will all offer analytical software packages.
    “Predicts 2017: The Reinvention of Buying Behavior in Vertical-Industry Markets”
  • By 2021, 30% of net new revenue growth from industry-specific solutions will include AI technology.

Advanced Analytics and Data Science
Advanced analytics and data science are fast becoming mainstream solutions and competencies in most organizations, even supplanting traditional BI and analytics resources and budgets. They allow more types of knowledge and insights to be extracted from data. To become and remain competitive, enterprises must seek to adopt advanced analytics, and adapt their business models, establish specialist data science teams and rethink their overall strategies to keep pace with the competition. “Predicts 2017: Analytics Strategy and Technology” offers advice on overall strategy, approach and operational transformation to algorithmic business that leadership needs to build to reap the benefits.

  • By 2018, deep learning (deep neural networks [DNNs]) will be a standard component in 80% of data scientists’ tool boxes.
  • By 2020, more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated, resulting in increased productivity and broader usage by citizen data scientists.
  • By 2019, natural-language generation will be a standard feature of 90% of modern BI and analytics platforms.
  • By 2019, 50% of analytics queries will be generated using search, natural-language query or voice, or will be autogenerated.
  • By 2019, citizen data scientists will surpass data scientists in the amount of advanced analysis
    produced.

 

 

By 2020, 95% of video/image content will never be viewed by humans; instead, it will be vetted by machines that provide some degree of automated analysis.

 

 

Through 2020, lack of data science professionals will inhibit 75% of organizations from achieving the full potential of IoT.

 

 

 

 

Google’s jobs AI service hits private beta, now works in 100 languages — from venturebeat.com by Blair Hanley Frank

Excerpt:

Google today announced the beta release of its Cloud Job Discovery service, which uses artificial intelligence to help customers connect job vacancies with the people who can fill them.

Formerly known as the Cloud Jobs API, the system is designed to take information about open positions and help job seekers take better advantage of it. For example, Cloud Job Discovery can take a plain language query and help translate that to the specific jargon employers use to describe their positions, something that can be hard for potential employees to navigate.

As part of this beta release, Google announced that Cloud Job Discovery is now designed to work with applicant-tracking systems and staffing agencies, in addition to job boards and career site providers like CareerBuilder.

It also now works in 100 languages. While the service is still primarily aimed at customers in the U.S., some of Google’s existing clients need support for multiple languages. In the future, the company plans to expand the Cloud Job Discovery service internationally, so investing in language support now makes sense going forward.

 



From DSC:
Now tie this type of job discovery feature into a next generation learning platform, helping people identify which skills they need to get jobs in their local area(s). Provide a list of courses/modules/RSS feeds to get them started. Allow folks to subscribe to constant streams of content and unsubscribe to them at any time as well.

 

 

We MUST move to lifelong, constant learning via means that are highly accessible, available 24×7, and extremely cost effective. Blockchain-based technologies will feed web-based learner profiles, which each of us will determine who can write to our learning profile and who can review it as well.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 



Addendum on 9/29/17:



  • Facebook partners with ZipRecruiter and more aggregators as it ramps up in jobs — from techcrunch.com by Ingrid Lunden
    Excerpt:
    Facebook has made no secret of its wish to do more in the online recruitment market — encroaching on territory today dominated by LinkedIn, the leader in tapping social networking graphs to boost job-hunting. Today, Facebook is taking the next step in that process.
    Facebook will now integrate with ZipRecruiter — an aggregator that allows those looking to fill jobs to post ads to many traditional job boards, as well as sites like LinkedIn, Google and Twitter — to boost the number of job ads available on its platform targeting its 2 billion monthly active users.
    The move follows Facebook launching its first job ads earlier this year, and later appearing to be interested in augmenting that with more career-focused features, such as a platform to connect people looking for mentors with those looking to offer mentorship.

 

 

 

DeepMind, Vodafone, Google & Facebook – Deep Learning & AI Highlights — from re-work.co by Nikita Johnson

Excerpt:

This week, the The Deep Learning Summit and AI Assistant Summit saw over 450 DL and AI experts and enthusiasts come together to learn from each other and explore the most recent research and progressions in the space. Over the past two days we’ve heard from the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Vodafone, as well as Universities such as Cambridge, Warwick, UCL, Imperial, and exciting new startups like Jukedeck and Echobox. Topics have been incredibly diverse covering NLP, space exploration, ML for music composition, and many more.

We’ve collected some of our favourite takeaways from both tracks over the last two days, as well as hearing what our attendees thought.

What did we hear at the AI Assistant Summit?
I’m driving in France and google translate is automatically translating all the french road signs for me and directing me to my location, telling me my time of arrival – this is the future. There is no interface there is no screen.
Adi Chhabra, Evolution of AI & Machine Learning in Customer Experience – Beyond Interfaces, Vodafone

We are at the beginning of the era of assistance. In the future every employee will have an assistant to help him with decision making.
Christophe Bourguignat, Deep Learning for Conversational Intelligence on Analytics Data, Zelros

 

 

Ikea’s New App Flaunts What You’ll Love Most About AR — from wired.com by Arielle Pardes

Excerpt:

Tap through the app’s catalogue of over 2,000 products—nearly the company’s full collection of umlauted sofas, armchairs, coffee tables, and storage units—then hold up your phone and use the camera to place the digital furniture anywhere in a room. Want to see how the Strandmon winged chair looks by the window? Done. Can you really squeeze in that 7-foot-long area rug? Open the app, point your camera at the floor, and watch it appear at scale. You can even place a futon where it would go in the guest room, then see what it looks like when it unfolds into a bed.

Ikea built the app with Apple’s ARKit, a developer toolkit created to usher in the augmented reality revolution on iOS devices. The app is free and available now, as long as your iPhone is updated to iOS 11.

.

 

 

 

Every ARKit app you can install right now — from imore.com by Russell Holly

Excerpt:

One of the biggest features to come to iOS 11 is ARKit, enabling developers to open up your world to a whole new kind of gaming and discovery system. Instead of being limited to the screen, you can play on surfaces big and small and you can play with others. The only thing limiting you right now is not knowing which ARKit apps are out there right now, so you can dive in and see which apps are your new favorite.

Searching Apple’s massive App Store can take a long time, so we’ve compiled a big friendly list for you to pick out the real winners!

 

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About Augmented Reality Now That It’s Invading Your Phone — from fieldguide.gizmodo.com by David Nield

Excerpt:

The majority of these apps are still at the demo stage for now, but it’s not difficult to see the potential. Games can take place in the real world, whether that’s on your living room floor or around your neighborhood, while you’ll be able to imagine anything from a new sofa to a new house extension through your phone’s camera.

Further down the line you’ll be able to point your phone at anything and get information overlaid about what you’re seeing with a whole new level of accuracy—the distance to the pin on a golf course, the current stats for players out on a baseball field, or precise directions to the store you need in the mall you’ve just got lost in. You can measure distances, land a rocket in your backyard, and so much more.

Of course AR (or “mixed reality”) headsets are going to provide a much more immersive experience and are a more natural fit than having to hold your phone or tablet in front of you to see anything in AR land. Until those headsets hit the mainstream though, ARKit and ARCore are about to introduce millions of people to the potential of augmented reality. Instead of looking down at your phone you’re going to be holding it up to access all the information of the internet with a swipe.

 

 

 

Amazon working on Alexa-powered smart glasses, says report — from theverge.com by Sam Byford
And a home security camera

Excerpt:

Amazon’s first wearable device will be a pair of smart glasses with the Alexa voice assistant built in, according to a report in the Financial Times. The device will reportedly look like a regular pair of glasses and use bone-conduction technology so that the user can hear Alexa without the need for earphones or conventional speakers. It won’t, however, likely have a screen or camera, although Google Glass founder Babak Parviz has apparently been working on the project following his hiring by Amazon in 2014.

 

 

 

What does Google want with HTC’s smartphone business? — from theguardian.com by Samuel Gibbs
Google is acquiring a $1bn chunk of HTC’s smartphone arm, including 2,000 employees and access to intellectual property, as it bets big on hardware

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Google has announced it’s acquiring a $1.1bn chunk of HTC’s smartphone business, and with it providing the once leading Taiwanese phone brand a much needed lifeline. But what does Google want with part of a smartphone business?

Google isn’t buying the whole of HTC, just a relatively large part of the Taipei-based company’s smartphone business and not its Vive virtual reality headset business. Google gains half of HTC’s research and development team – about 2,000 people – and a non-exclusive license for HTC’s intellectual property, allowing it to take advantage of some of HTC’s advances in smartphone technology.

HTC gets a cash injection, which will help it survive in some very competitive markets, and Google gets to continue its “big bet on hardware” according to Rick Osterloh, the company’s senior vice president for hardware.

It’s “a business decision to have access to one of the best R&D teams”, said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research. But it’s also “a sort of emotional decision to save its close partners”.

 

 

 

The Washington Post enhances in-app augmented reality experience — from washingtonpost.com

Excerpt:

The Washington Post today announced the launch of its first embedded augmented reality story. The Post built an industry-first embed code that lets users trigger an augmented reality experience with 3D visuals and audio narration.

“We were excited to be the first news publisher to support augmented reality in a news application, but for our second iteration in our iconic building series we needed to make augmented reality even simpler,” said Jeremy Gilbert, director of strategic initiatives at The Post. “We’ve been working to reduce the friction to make augmented reality as easily accessible as a photo gallery or a video—those are played inline and augmented reality should be too.”

 

 

 

After Successful Pilot Testing Ford Is Expanding Its HoloLens Program — from uploadvr.com by Jamie Feltham

 

 

Excerpt:

You can get a sense for what this expansion means in the video below. Ford has already been using HoloLens to help design new cars; bringing 3D models into the real world using the augmented reality headset. Now, however, the company is introducing new processes, like overlaying new features onto existing car models and creating guided tours of cars using voice recording. The company also says it’s developing new apps for better collaboration in AR.

 

 

 

 

Google AR and VR: Get a closer look with Street View in Google Earth VR

Excerpt:

With Google Earth VR, you can go anywhere in virtual reality. Whether you want to stroll along the canals of Venice, stand at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro or soar through the sky faster than a speeding bullet, there’s no shortage of things to do or ways to explore. We love this sense of possibility, so we’re bringing Street View to Earth VR to make it easier for you to see and experience the world.

This update lets you explore Street View imagery from 85 countries right within Earth VR. Just fly down closer to street level, check your controller to see if Street View is available and enter an immersive 360° photo. You’ll find photos from the Street View team and those shared by people all around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Sep 15th, 2017)

It’s that time of year again, and we’re bringing you a special “Back to School” edition of Inside VR & AR. Virtual and Augmented Reality technology is more than just fun and games; there are a lot of apps and tools that are meant to educate and help people learn in an immersive environment. Today’s issue highlights some of the newest educational apps.



 

MyLab

 

Email x1 200w d 3


Addendums on 9/18/17:



 

 

 

 

 

 

Samsung to develop VR mental health diagnosis tools for hospitals — from by Cho Mu-Hyun
Samsung Electronics will work with Gangnam Severance Hospital and content maker FNI to develop mental health diagnosis tools that use virtual reality.

Excerpt:

Cognitive behaviour therapies for suicide prevention and psychological assessment will be the focus, it said.

The companies will make chairs and diagnosis kits as physical products and will develop an application for use in psychological assessments using artificial intelligence (AI).

 

 

 

Augmented reality 101: Top AR use-cases — from wikitude.com by Camila Kohles

Excerpt:

Before we proceed, let’s make one thing clear: AR is not just about dog face filters and Pokémon GO. We kid you not. People are using this technology to bring ease to their lives and many forward-thinking companies are working with augmented reality to improve their workflow and businesses. Let’s see how.

 

 

 

The Top 9 Augmented Reality Companies in Healthcare — from medicalfuturist.com with thanks to Woontack Woo for the resource

Excerpt:

When Pokemon Go conquered the world, everyone could face the huge potential in augmented reality. Although the hype around the virtual animal hunting settled, AR continues to march triumphantly into more and more industries and fields, including healthcare. Here, I listed the most significant companies bringing augmented reality to medicine and healing.


Brain Power
The Massachusetts-based technology company, established in 2013, has been focusing on the application of pioneering neuroscience with the latest in wearable technology, in particular, Google Glass. The start-up builds brain science-driven software to transform wearables into neuro-assistive devices for the educational challenges of autism. Their aim is to teach life skills to children and adults on the autism spectrum. They developed a unique software suite, the “Empowered Brain” aiming to help children with their social skills, language, and positive behaviors. The software contains powerful data collection and analytic tools allowing for customized feedback for the child.

 

 

How VR Can Ease the Transition for First-Time Wheelchair Users — from vrscout.com by Presley West
Designers at innovation and design company, Fjord, have created a VR experience that teaches brand new wheelchair users how to safely maneuver their environment in a safe, empowering way.

 

 

 

How Eye Tracking is Driving the Next Generation of AR and VR — from vrscout.com by Eric Kuerzel

 

 

WebVR: Taking The Path Of Least Resistance To Mainstream VR — from vrscout.com by Vanessa Radd

Excerpt:

Content and Education
In the midst of a dearth of content for VR, WebVR content creators are coming together to create and collaborate. Over a million creators are sharing their 3D models on Sketchfab’s 3D/VR art community platform. Virtuleap also organized the first global WebVR hackathon.

“For application domains such as education and heritage, developing VR scenes and experiences for the Web is highly important,” said Stone. “[This] promotes accessibility by many beneficiaries without the need (necessarily) for expensive and sophisticated computing or human interface hardware.”

This democratized approach opens up possibilities in education far beyond what we’re seeing today.

“I also think that WebVR, as a JavaScript API, also enables a wide range of future students and young developers to ‘dip their toes into the water’ and start to build portfolios demonstrating their capabilities, ultimately to future employers,” said Stone. “I remember the promise of the days of VRML and products such as SGI’s Cosmo and Cortona3D (which still available today, of course). But the ability to be able to open up interactive—and quite impressive—demos of VR experiences that existed in higher quality form on specialised platforms, became an amazing marketing tool in the late 1990s and 2000s.”

 

 

 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian