Google, Amazon Find Not Everyone Is Ready for AI — from wired.com by Tom Simonite

Excerpt:

Yet as Amazon and Google seek greater riches by infusing the world with artificial intelligence, they’ve started their own consulting operations, lending out some of their prized AI talent to customers. The reason: Those other businesses lack the expertise to take advantage of techniques such as machine learning.

The expertise shortage upsets the usual dynamic of the cloud market, where Amazon, Google, and others mostly compete on price and technical features. “If you’re a random manufacturing company in the midwest you may have money, but it’s hard to attract a $250,000-a-year Stanford PhD to work for you,” says Diego Oppenheimer, whose Google-backed startup provides tools that help companies deploy machine-learning software. Companies in that situation may be more swayed by an offer of help building AI, than pricing and performance, he says.

 

 

 

 

The Impact of Alexa and Google Home on Consumer Behavior — from chatbotsmagazine.com by Arte Merritt

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

2017 has turned out to be the year of voice. Amazon Alexa passed over 10 million unit sales earlier in the year and there are over 24,000 Skills in the store. With the addition of new devices like the Echo Show, Echo Plus, improved Echo Dot, and a new form factor for the Echo, there’s an option for everyone’s budget. Google is right there as well with the addition of the Google Mini to go along with the original Google Home. Apple’s efforts with Siri and HomePod, Samsung’s Bixby, and Microsoft’s Cortana round out the major tech firms efforts in this space.

 

 

Also see:

 

Amazon Alexa Store -- has over 24,000 skills as of November 29, 2017

 

 

 

Spotting the 2017 trends that fuel edtech innovation and investments — from edsurge.com by Chian Gong and Jennifer Carolan

Excerpts:

We’re pleased to share this year’s Edtech Outlook, a data-rich dive into the state of education technology with case studies into emerging-frontier innovations.

Education technology spans a broad category of classroom tools, spanning corporate learning, language learning, digital learning content and more. We focus here on Reach Capital’s sweet spot: school-based education technology.

1:1 (one device per student) is at 60% and growing rapidly.
Driven by online testing mandates, along with federal and state policies, we are moving quickly toward one device per child in our K-12 schools. Last year alone 20 million Chromebooks were used by teachers and students weekly. (There are 50 million students in US public schools).

 

From DSC:
Looking at the graphic from the New York Times below, and with an eye on the exponential pace of change that we are now on, note how quickly Google captured major market share in the edtech market.

 

 

 

 

 

Creative voice tech — from jwtintelligence.com by Ella Britton
New programs from Google and the BBC use voice to steer storytelling with digital assistants.

Exceprt:

BBC Radio’s newest program, The Inspection Chamber, uses smart home devices to allow listeners to interact with and control the plot. Amid a rise in choose-your-own-adventure style programming, The Inspection Chamber opens up creative new possibilities for brands hoping to make use of voice assistants.

The Inspection Chamber tells the story of an alien stranded on earth, who is being interrogated by scientists and an AI robot called Dave. In this interactive drama, Amazon Echo and Google Home users play the part of the alien, answering questions and interacting with other characters to determine the story’s course. The experience takes around 20 minutes, with questions like “Cruel or Kind?” and “Do you like puzzles?” that help the scientists categorize a user.

“Voice is going to be a key way we interact with media, search for content, and find what we want,” said BBC director general Tony Hall. As describedin the Innovation Group’s Speak Easy report, the opportunities for brands to connect with consumers via smart speakers are substantial, particularly when it comes to education and entertainment. Brands can also harness these opportunities by creating entertaining and engaging content that consumers can interact with, creating what feels like a two-way dialogue.

 

From DSC:
More and more, our voices will drive the way we interact with computing devices/applications. This item was an especially interesting item to me, as it involves the use of our voice — at home — to steer the storytelling that’s taking place. Talk about a new form of interactivity!

 

 

 

 

WE ARE NOT READY FOR THIS! Per Forrester Research: In US, a net loss of 7% of jobs to automation — *in 2018*!

Forrester predicts that AI-enabled automation will eliminate 9% of US jobs in 2018 — from forbes.com by Gil Press

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A new Forrester Research report, Predictions 2018: Automation Alters The Global Workforce, outlines 10 predictions about the impact of AI and automation on jobs, work processes and tasks, business success and failure, and software development, cybersecurity, and regulatory compliance.

We will see a surge in white-collar automation, half a million new digital workers (bots) in the US, and a shift from manual to automated IT and data management. “Companies that master automation will dominate their industries,” Forrester says. Here’s my summary of what Forrester predicts will be the impact of automation in 2018:

Automation will eliminate 9% of US jobs but will create 2% more.
In 2018, 9% of US jobs will be lost to automation, partly offset by a 2% growth in jobs supporting the “automation economy.” Specifically impacted will be back-office and administrative, sales, and call center employees. A wide range of technologies, from robotic process automation and AI to customer self-service and physical robots will impact hiring and staffing strategies as well as create a need for new skills.

 

Your next entry-level compliance staffer will be a robot.

 

From DSC:

Are we ready for a net loss of 7% of jobs in our workforce due to automation — *next year*? Last I checked, it was November 2017, and 2018 will be here before we know it.

 

***Are we ready for this?! ***

 

AS OF TODAY, can we reinvent ourselves fast enough given our current educational systems, offerings, infrastructures, and methods of learning?

 

My answer: No, we can’t. But we need to be able to — and very soon!

 

 

There are all kinds of major issues and ramifications when people lose their jobs — especially this many people and jobs! The ripple effects will be enormous and very negative unless we introduce new ways for how people can learn new things — and quickly!

That’s why I’m big on trying to establish a next generation learning platform, such as the one that I’ve been tracking and proposing out at Learning from the Living [Class] Room. It’s meant to provide societies around the globe with a powerful, next generation learning platform — one that can help people reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, conveniently, & consistently! It involves providing, relevant, up-to-date streams of content that people can subscribe to — and drop at any time. It involves working in conjunction with subject matter experts who work with teams of specialists, backed up by suites of powerful technologies. It involves learning with others, at any time, from any place, at any pace. It involves more choice, more control. It involves blockchain-based technologies to feed cloud-based learner profiles and more.

But likely, bringing such a vision to fruition will require a significant amount of collaboration. In my mind, some of the organizations that should be at the table here include:

  • Some of the largest players in the tech world, such as Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and/or Facebook
  • Some of the vendors that already operate within the higher ed space — such as Salesforce.com, Ellucian, and/or Blackboard
  • Some of the most innovative institutions of higher education — including their faculty members, instructional technologists, instructional designers, members of administration, librarians, A/V specialists, and more
  • The U.S. Federal Government — for additional funding and the development of policies to make this vision a reality

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

“The 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards” in K-12 — from thejournal.com by David Nagel

 

“Google was the absolute winner overall.”

 

Excerpt:

In an open-ended question asking for educators’ favorite technologies currently in use at their schools, respondents overwhelmingly chose Google’s G Suite for Education as their top overall pick.

The top overall categories were:

  • Mobile devices
  • Interactive whiteboards/displays/projectors
  • eLearning/learning management systems and reading software — Lexia Learning’s Core5 scored big in the reading software area, while Google Classroom, Schoology, Moodle, Canvas, and Blackboard Learn were often mentioned in the LMS area

 

 

 

 

Also, there was an article in there on learning spaces. Some ideas mentioned include:

 

 

 

 

Diminished reality will have as much power as AR for retailers — from by Beck Besecker

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

It’s an exciting time for augmented reality. With new AR platforms launching from the biggest names in tech over the last few months, including Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, retailers like Ikea, Wayfair, and Anthropologie have already released ARKit-powered apps, opening the door to consumer acceptance of AR as viable retail technology.

But across the board, early AR shopping apps still leave much to be desired. Sure, it’s useful to use AR to virtually place a new chair, side table, work of art or sectional into a room. But unless you’re starting with an empty room, physical objects can get in the way of a true sense of presence and satisfying experience.

Enter diminished reality — a different “reality” — that promises to change that. With DR, users will be able to digitally remove unwanted, inanimate objects from their physical surroundings, to get an even more realistic view of how potential purchases will fit within the context of their lives.

So, what exactly is DR, and what does it mean for the future of retail and beyond?

 

 

Also, a somewhat relevant/interesting HCI-related item, see:

 

 

 

Artificial Intelligence in Education: Where It’s At, Where It’s Headed — from gettingsmart.com by Cameron Paterson

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence is predicted to fundamentally alter the nature of society by 2040. Investment in AI start-ups was estimated at $6-$9 billion in 2016, up from US$415 million four years earlier. While futurist Ray Kurzweil argues that AI will help us to address the grand challenges facing humanity, Elon Musk warns us that artificial intelligence will be our “biggest existential threat.” Others argue that artificial intelligence is the future of growth. Everything depends on how we manage the transition to this AI-era.

In 2016 the Obama administration released a national strategic plan for artificial intelligence and, while we do not all suddenly now need a plan for artificial intelligence, we do need to stay up to date on how AI is being implemented. Much of AI’s potential is yet to be realized, but AI is already running our lives, from Siri to Netflix recommendations to automated air traffic control. We all need to become more aware of how we are algorithmically shaped by our tools.

This Australian discussion paper on the implications of AI, automation and 21st-century skills, shows how AI will not just affect blue-collar truck drivers and cleaners, it will also affect white-collar lawyers and doctors. Automated pharmacy systems with robots dispensing medication exist, Domino’s pizza delivery by drone has already occurred, and a fully automated farm is opening in Japan.

 

Education reformers need to plan for our AI-driven future and its implications for education, both in schools and beyond. The never-ending debate about the sorts of skills needed in the future and the role of schools in teaching and assessing them is becoming a whole lot more urgent and intense.

 

 

 

AI Experts Want to End ‘Black Box’ Algorithms in Government — from wired.com by Tom Simonite

Excerpt:

The right to due process was inscribed into the US constitution with a pen. A new report from leading researchers in artificial intelligence cautions it is now being undermined by computer code.

Public agencies responsible for areas such as criminal justice, health, and welfare increasingly use scoring systems and software to steer or make decisions on life-changing events like granting bail, sentencing, enforcement, and prioritizing services. The report from AI Now, a research institute at NYU that studies the social implications of artificial intelligence, says too many of those systems are opaque to the citizens they hold power over.

The AI Now report calls for agencies to refrain from what it calls “black box” systems opaque to outside scrutiny. Kate Crawford, a researcher at Microsoft and cofounder of AI Now, says citizens should be able to know how systems making decisions about them operate and have been tested or validated. Such systems are expected to get more complex as technologies such as machine learning used by tech companies become more widely available.

“We should have equivalent due-process protections for algorithmic decisions as for human decisions,” Crawford says. She says it can be possible to disclose information about systems and their performance without disclosing their code, which is sometimes protected intellectual property.

 

 

UAE appoints first-ever Minister for Artificial Intelligence — from tribune.com.pk

 

“We announce the appointment of a minister for artificial intelligence. The next global wave is artificial intelligence and we want the UAE to be more prepared for it.”

 

 

Tech Giants Are Paying Huge Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent — from nytimes.com by Cade Metz
Nearly all big tech companies have an artificial intelligence project, and they are willing to pay experts millions of dollars to help get it done.

Excerpt:

Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, banking on things ranging from face-scanning smartphones and conversational coffee-table gadgets to computerized health care and autonomous vehicles. As they chase this future, they are doling out salaries that are startling even in an industry that has never been shy about lavishing a fortune on its top talent.

Typical A.I. specialists, including both Ph.D.s fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock, according to nine people who work for major tech companies or have entertained job offers from them. All of them requested anonymity because they did not want to damage their professional prospects.

With so few A.I. specialists available, big tech companies are also hiring the best and brightest of academia. In the process, they are limiting the number of professors who can teach the technology.

 

 

 

Where will AI play? By Mike Quindazzi.

 

 

 

 

Google unveils job training initiative with $1 billion pledge  — from nytimes.com by Daisuke Wakabayashi

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO — Google unveiled an initiative on Thursday to help train Americans for jobs in technology and committed to donating $1 billion over the next five years to nonprofits in education and professional training.

The new program, Grow With Google, will create an online destination for job seekers to get training and professional certificates and for businesses to improve their web services. The company’s goal, executives said, is to allow anyone with an internet connection to become proficient with technology and prepare for a job in areas like information technology support and app development.

Google detailed its job training program as Silicon Valley faces increasing criticism over what some say is an unchecked influence over business and society. Google is also among a number of companies facing scrutiny over the role their internet services played in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, unveiled the initiative during a speech on Thursday in the company’s Pittsburgh office, far from the search giant’s Silicon Valley headquarters. He noted the city’s transformation from an industrial manufacturing center for steel to a hub of robotics and artificial intelligence engineering.

“We understand there’s uncertainty and even concern about the pace of technological change, but we know that technology will be an engine of America’s growth for years to come,” Mr. Pichai said. “The nature of work is fundamentally changing, and that is shifting the link between education, training and opportunity.”

 

 

 

10 really hard decisions coming our way — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Things are about to get interesting. You’ve likely heard that Google’s DeepMind recently beat the world’s best Go player. But in far more practical and pervasive ways, artificial intelligence (AI) is creeping into every aspect of life–every screen you view, every search, every purchase, and every customer service contact.

What’s happening? It’s the confluence of several technologies–Moore’s law made storage, computing, and access devices almost free.

This Venn diagram illustrates how deep learning is a subset of AI and how, when combined with big data, can inform enabling technologies in many sectors. For examples, to AI and big data add:

  • Robotics, and you have industry 4.0.
  • Cameras and sensor package, and you have self-driving cars.
  • Sensors and bioinformatic maps, and you have precision medicine.

While there is lots of good news here–diseases will be eradicated and clean energy will be produced–we have a problem: this stuff is moving faster than civic infrastructure can handle. Innovation is outpacing public policy on all fronts. The following are 10 examples of issues coming at us fast that we (in the US in particular) are not ready to deal with.

  1. Unemployment.
  2. Income inequality.
  3. Privacy
  4. Algorithmic bias.
  5. Access.
  6. Machine ethics. 
  7. Weaponization. 
  8. Humanity. 
  9. Genome editing.
  10. Bad AI.

 


From DSC:
Readers of this blog will know that I’m big on pulse-checking the pace of technological change — because it has enormous ramifications for societies throughout the globe, as well as for individuals, workforces, corporations, jobs, education, training, higher education and more. Readers of this blog will again hear me say that the pace of change has changed. We’re now on an exponential pace/trajectory (vs. a slow, steady, linear path).

“Innovation is outpacing public policy on all fronts.”

How true this is. Our society doesn’t know how to deal with this new pace of change. How shall we tackle this thorny issue?

 


 

 

 

 

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