With great tech success, comes even greater responsibility — from techcrunch.com by Ron Miller


As we watch major tech platforms evolve over time, it’s clear that companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon (among others) have created businesses that are having a huge impact on humanity — sometimes positive and other times not so much.

That suggests that these platforms have to understand how people are using them and when they are trying to manipulate them or use them for nefarious purposes — or the companies themselves are. We can apply that same responsibility filter to individual technologies like artificial intelligence and indeed any advanced technologies and the impact they could possibly have on society over time.

We can be sure that Twitter’s creators never imagined a world where bots would be launched to influence an election when they created the company more than a decade ago. Over time though, it becomes crystal clear that Twitter, and indeed all large platforms, can be used for a variety of motivations, and the platforms have to react when they think there are certain parties who are using their networks to manipulate parts of the populace.



But it’s up to the companies who are developing the tech to recognize the responsibility that comes with great economic success or simply the impact of whatever they are creating could have on society.





Why the Public Overlooks and Undervalues Tech’s Power — from morningconsult.com by Joanna Piacenza
Some experts say the tech industry is rapidly nearing a day of reckoning


  • 5% picked tech when asked which industry had the most power and influence, well behind the U.S. government, Wall Street and Hollywood.
  • Respondents were much more likely to say sexual harassment was a major issue in Hollywood (49%) and government (35%) than in Silicon Valley (17%).

It is difficult for Americans to escape the technology industry’s influence in everyday life. Facebook Inc. reports that more than 184 million people in the United States log on to the social network daily, or roughly 56 percent of the population. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of all Americans and 94 percent of Americans ages 18-24 use YouTube. Amazon.com Inc.’s market value is now nearly three times that of Walmart Inc.

But when asked which geographic center holds the most power and influence in America, respondents in a recent Morning Consult survey ranked the tech industry in Silicon Valley far behind politics and government in Washington, finance on Wall Street and the entertainment industry in Hollywood.





Personalized Learning Meets AI With Watson Classroom

Personalized Learning Meets AI With Watson Classroom — from gettingsmart.com by Erin Gohl

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Teaching is truly a Herculean challenge. Even the very best teachers can keep only so many of these insights in their heads and make only so many connections between expectations and circumstances. They can be aware of only a fraction of the research on best practices. They have only so much time to collaborate and communicate with the other adults in a particular student’s life to share information and insights. To be the best of themselves, teachers need to have access to a warehouse of information, a research assistant to mine best practices, note takers to gather and record information on each student, a statistician to gauge effective practices, and someone to collaborate with to distill the next best step with each student. In recent years, a plethora of vendors have developed software solutions that promise to simplify this process and give schools and teachers the answers to understand and address the individual needs of each student. One of the most promising, which I recently had a chance to learn about, is IBM’s Watson Classroom.

IBM is clear about what makes Watson different than existing solutions. First of all, it is a cognitive partner; not a solution. Secondly, it does not require proprietary or additional assessments, curriculum, or content. It uses whatever a district has in place. But it goes beyond the performance of tiering difficulty, pace, and reading level that is now standard fare for the solutions promising individualized, adaptive and personalized learning. Watson takes the stew of data from existing systems (including assessments, attendance records, available accommodations), adds the ability to infer meaning from written reports, and is able to connect the quality of the result to the approach that was taken. And then adjust the next recommendation based on what was learned. It is artificial intelligence (AI) brought to education that goes far beyond the adaptive learning technologies of today.

Watson Classroom is currently being piloted in 12 school districts across the country. In those classrooms, Watson Classroom is utilizing cutting-edge computing power to give teachers a full range of support to be the best versions of themselves. Watson is facilitating the kind of education the great teachers strive for every day–one where learning is truly personalized for each and every student. Bringing the power of big data to the interactions between students and teachers can help assure that every student reaches beyond our expectations to achieve their full potential.




Learn with Google AI: Making ML education available to everyone — from blog.google


To help everyone understand how AI can solve challenging problems, we’ve created a resource called Learn with Google AI. This site provides ways to learn about core ML concepts, develop and hone your ML skills, and apply ML to real-world problems. From deep learning experts looking for advanced tutorials and materials on TensorFlow, to “curious cats” who want to take their first steps with AI, anyone looking for educational content from ML experts at Google can find it here.

Learn with Google AI also features a new, free course called Machine Learning Crash Course (MLCC). The course provides exercises, interactive visualizations, and instructional videos that anyone can use to learn and practice ML concepts.



7 Ways Chatbots and AI are Disrupting HR — from chatbotsmagazine.com
Enterprises are embracing AI for automating human resources


Chatbots and AI have become household names and enterprises are taking notice. According to a recent Forrester survey, roughly “85% of customer interactions within an enterprise will be with software robots in five years’ time” and “87% of CEOs are looking to expand their AI workforce” using AI bots.

In an effort to drive increased labor efficiencies, reduce costs, and deliver better customer/employee experiences enterprises are quickly introducing AI, machine learning, and natural language understanding as core elements of their digital transformation strategy in 2018.

Human resources (HR) is one area ripe for intelligent automation within an enterprise. AI-powered bots for HR are able to streamline and personalize the HR process across seasonal, temporary, part-time, and full-time employees.

There are 7 ways in which enterprises can use HR bots to drive increased labors efficiencies, reduced costs, and better employee experiences:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Onboarding
  3. Company Policy FAQs
  4. Employee Training
  5. Common Questions
  6. Benefits Enrollment
  7. Annual Self-Assessment/Reviews


From DSC:
Again, this article paint a bit too rosy of a picture for me re: the use of AI and HR, especially in regards to recruiting employees.




Implementation of AI into eLearning. Interview with Christopher Pappas — from joomlalms.com by Darya Tarliuk


Every day we hear more and more about the impact that Artificial Intelligence gains in every sphere of our life. In order to discover how AI implementation is going to change the eLearning we decided to ask Christopher Pappas to share his views and find out what he thinks about it. Christopher is an experienced eLearning specialist and the Founder of the eLearning Industry’s Network.

How to get ready preparing course materials now, while considering the future impact of AI?
Christopher: Regardless of whether you plan to adopt an AI system as soon as they’re available to the mass market or you opt to hold off (and let others work out the glitches), infrastructure is key. You can prepare your course materials now by developing course catalogs, microlearning online training repositories, and personalized online training paths that fall into the AI framework. For example, the AI system can easily recommend existing resources based on a learners’ assessment scores or job duties. All of the building blocks are in place, allowing the system to focus on content delivery and data analysis.




Can You Trust Intelligent Virtual Assistants? — from nojitter.com by Gary Audin
From malicious hackers to accidental voice recordings, data processed through virtual assistants may open you to security and privacy risks.


Did you know that with such digital assistants your voice data is sent to the cloud or another remote location for processing? Is it safe to talk in front of your TV remote? Are you putting your business data at risk of being compromised by asking Alexa to start your meeting?





Thanks, Robots! Now These Four Non-Tech Job Skills Are In Demand — from fastcompany.com by Christian Madsbjerg
The more we rely on AI and machine learning, the more work we need social scientists and humanities experts to do.


Automation isn’t a simple struggle between people and technology, with the two sides competing for jobs. The more we rely on robots, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, the clearer it’s become just how much we need social scientists and humanities experts–not the reverse.

These four skills in particular are all unique to us humans, and will arguably rise in value in the coming years, as more and more companies realize they need the best of both worlds to unleash the potential from both humans and machines.






AI plus human intelligence is the future of work — from forbes.com by Jeanne Meister


  • 1 in 5 workers will have AI as their co worker in 2022
  • More job roles will change than will be become totally automated so HR needs to prepare today

As we increase our personal usage of chatbots (defined as software which provides an automated, yet personalized, conversation between itself and human users), employees will soon interact with them in the workplace as well. Forward looking HR leaders are piloting chatbots now to transform HR, and, in the process, re-imagine, re-invent, and re-tool the employee experience.

How does all of this impact HR in your organization? The following ten HR trends will matter most as AI enters the workplace…

The most visible aspect of how HR is being impacted by artificial intelligence is the change in the way companies source and recruit new hires. Most notably, IBM has created a suite of tools that use machine learning to help candidates personalize their job search experience based on the engagement they have with Watson. In addition, Watson is helping recruiters prioritize jobs more efficiently, find talent faster, and match candidates more effectively. According to Amber Grewal, Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, “Recruiters are focusing more on identifying the most critical jobs in the business and on utilizing data to assist in talent sourcing.”


…as we enter 2018, the next journey for HR leaders will be to leverage artificial intelligence combined with human intelligence and create a more personalized employee experience.



From DSC:
Although I like the possibility of using machine learning to help employees navigate their careers, I have some very real concerns when we talk about using AI for talent acquisition. At this point in time, I would much rather have an experienced human being — one with a solid background in HR — reviewing my resume to see if they believe that there’s a fit for the job and/or determine whether my skills transfer over from a different position/arena or not. I don’t think we’re there yet in terms of developing effective/comprehensive enough algorithms. It may happen, but I’m very skeptical in the meantime. I don’t want to be filtered out just because I didn’t use the right keywords enough times or I used a slightly different keyword than what the algorithm was looking for.

Also, there is definitely age discrimination occurring out in today’s workplace, especially in tech-related positions. Folks who are in tech over the age of 30-35 — don’t lose your job! (Go check out the topic of age discrimination on LinkedIn and similar sites, and you’ll find many postings on this topic — sometimes with 10’s of thousands of older employees adding comments/likes to a posting). Although I doubt that any company would allow applicants or the public to see their internally-used algorithms, how difficult would it be to filter out applicants who graduated college prior to ___ (i.e., some year that gets updated on an annual basis)? Answer? Not difficult at all. In fact, that’s at the level of a Programming 101 course.




Artificial intelligence is going to supercharge surveillance – from theverge.com by James Vincent
What happens when digital eyes get the brains to match?

From DSC:
Persons of interest” comes to mind after reading this article. Persons of interest is a clever, well done show, but still…the idea of combining surveillance w/ a super intelligent is a bit unnerving.




Artificial intelligence | 2018 AI predictions — from thomsonreuters.com


  • AI brings a new set of rules to knowledge work
  • Newsrooms embrace AI
  • Lawyers assess the risks of not using AI
  • Deep learning goes mainstream
  • Smart cars demand even smarter humans
  • Accountants audit forward
  • Wealth managers look to AI to compete and grow




Chatbots and Virtual Assistants in L&D: 4 Use Cases to Pilot in 2018 —  from bottomlineperformance.com by Steven Boller


  1. Use a virtual assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to answer spoken questions from on-the-go learners.
  2. Answer common learner questions in a chat window or via SMS.
  3. Customize a learning path based on learners’ demographic information.
  4. Use a chatbot to assess learner knowledge.




Suncorp looks to augmented reality for insurance claims — from itnews.com.au by Ry Crozier with thanks to Woontack Woo for this resource


Suncorp has revealed it is exploring image recognition and augmented reality-based enhancements for its insurance claims process, adding to the AI systems it deployed last year.

The insurer began testing IBM Watson software last June to automatically determine who is at fault in a vehicle accident.

“We are working on increasing our use of emerging technologies to assist with the insurance claim process, such as using image recognition to assess type and extent of damage, augmented reality that would enable an off-site claims assessor to discuss and assess damage, speech recognition, and obtaining telematic data from increasingly automated vehicles,” the company said.




6 important AI technologies to look out for in 2018 — from itproportal.com by  Olga Egorsheva
Will businesses and individuals finally make AI a part of their daily lives?






“Rise of the machines” — from January 2018 edition of InAVate magazine
AI is generating lots of buzz in other verticals, but what can AV learn from those? Tim Kridel reports.



From DSC:
Learning spaces are relevant as well in the discussion of AI and AV-related items.


Also in their January 2018 edition, see
an incredibly detailed project at the London Business School.


A full-width frosted glass panel sits on the desk surface, above it fixed in the ceiling is a Wolfvision VZ-C12 visualiser. This means the teaching staff can write on the (wipeclean) surface and the text appears directly on two 94-in screens behind them, using Christie short-throw laser 4,000 lumens projectors. When the lecturer is finished or has filled up the screen with text, the image can be saved on the intranet or via USB. Simply wipe with a cloth and start again. Not only is the technology inventive, but it allows the teaching staff to remain in face-to-face contact with the students at all times, instead of students having to stare at the back of the lecturer’s head whilst they write.



Also relevant, see:





18 striking AI Trends to watch in 2018 – Part 1 as well as 18 striking AI Trends to watch in 2018 – Part 2 — from datahub.packtpub.com by Sugandha Lahoti


Artificial Intelligence is the talk of the town. It has evolved past merely being a buzzword in 2016, to be used in a more practical manner in 2017. As 2018 rolls out, we will gradually notice AI transitioning into a necessity. We have prepared a detailed report, on what we can expect from AI in the upcoming year. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride through the future. (Don’t forget to wear your VR headgear! )

Here are 18 things that will happen in 2018 that are either AI driven or driving AI:

  1. Artificial General Intelligence may gain major traction in research.
  2. We will turn to AI enabled solution to solve mission-critical problems.
  3. Machine Learning adoption in business will see rapid growth.
  4. Safety, ethics, and transparency will become an integral part of AI application design conversations.
  5. Mainstream adoption of AI on mobile devices
  6. Major research on data efficient learning methods
  7. AI personal assistants will continue to get smarter
  8. Race to conquer the AI optimized hardware market will heat up further
  9. We will see closer AI integration into our everyday lives.
  10. The cryptocurrency hype will normalize and pave way for AI-powered Blockchain applications.
  11. Advancements in AI and Quantum Computing will share a symbiotic relationship18 striking AI Trends to watch in 2018 – Part 1
  12. Deep learning will continue to play a significant role in AI development progress.
  13. AI will be on both sides of the cybersecurity challenge.
  14. Augmented reality content will be brought to smartphones.
  15. Reinforcement learning will be applied to a large number of real-world situations.
  16. Robotics development will be powered by Deep Reinforcement learning and Meta-learning
  17. Rise in immersive media experiences enabled by AI.
  18. A large number of organizations will use Digital Twin.



Inside AI — from inside.com
The year 2017 has been full of interesting news about Artificial Intelligence, so to close out the year, we’re doing two special retrospective issues covering the highlights.


A Reality Check For IBM’s A.I. Ambitions. MIT Tech Review.
This is a must read piece about the failures, and continued promise, of Watson. Some of the press about Watson has made IBM appear behind some of the main tech leaders, but, keep in mind that Google, Amazon, Facebook, and others don’t do the kinds of customer facing projects IBM is doing with Watson. When you look at how the tech giants are positioned, I think IBM has been vastly underestimated, given that they have the one thing few others do – large scale enterprise A.I. projects. Whether it all works today, or not, doesn’t matter. The experience and expertise they are building is a competitive advantage in a market that is very young where no other companies are doing these types of projects that will soon enough be mainstream.

The Business of Artificial Intelligence. Harvard Business Review.
This cover story for the latest edition of HBR explains why artificial intelligence is the most powerful general purpose technology to come around in a long time. It also looks into some of the key ways to think about applying A.I. at work, and how to expect the next phase of this technology to play out.

The Robot Revolution Is Coming. Just Be Patient. Bloomberg.
We keep hearing that robots and A.I. are about to make us super productive. But when? Sooner than we think, according to this.




An excerpt from A2Apple.com:



Alexa Wants You to Talk to Your Ads — from wired.com by Ricki Harris


There are few electronic devices with which you cannot order a Domino’s pizza. When the craving hits, you can place an order via Twitter, Slack, Facebook Messenger, SMS, your tablet, your smartwatch, your smart TV, and even your app-enabled Ford. This year, the pizza monger added another ordering tool: If your home is one of the 20 million with a voice assistant, you can place a regular order through Alexa or Google Home. Just ask for a large extra-cheese within earshot, and voila—your pizza is in the works.

Amazon’s Alexa offers more than 25,000 skills—the set of actions that serve as applications for voice technology. Yet Domino’s is one of a relatively small number of brands that has seized the opportunity to enter your home by creating a skill of its own. Now that Amazon Echoes and Google Homes are in kitchens and living rooms across the country, they open a window into user behavior that marketers previously only dreamt of. But brands’ efforts to engage consumers directly via voice have been scattershot. The list of those that have tried is sparse: some banks; a couple of fast food chains; a few beauty companies; retailers here and there. Building a marketing plan for Alexa has been a risky venture. That’s because, when it comes to our virtual assistants, no one knows what the *&^& is going on.

But if 2017 was the year that Alexa hit the mainstream, 2018 will be the year that advertisers begin to take her seriously by investing time and money in figuring out how to make use of her.




8 emerging AI jobs for IT pros — from enterprisersproject.com by Kevin Casey
What IT jobs will be hot in the age of AI? Take a sneak peek at roles likely to be in demand


If you’re watching the impact of artificial intelligence on the IT organization, your interest probably starts with your own job. Can robots do what you do? But more importantly, you want to skate where the puck is headed. What emerging IT roles will AI create? We talked to AI and IT career experts to get a look at some emerging roles that will be valuable in the age of AI.




Getting Intelligent About Artificial Intelligence: 6 Ways Executives Can Start — from forbes.comby Davia Temin


This past June, Fortune Magazine asked all the CEOs of the Fortune 500 what they believed the biggest challenge facing their companies was. Their biggest concern for 2017: “The rapid pace of technological change” said 73% of those polled, up from 64% in 2016. Cyber security came in only a far second, at 61%, even after all the mega hacks of the past year.

So, what does “technological change” entail? For almost all Fortune 500 CEOs, it means, in part, artificial intelligence. And, as we wrote in our piece yesterday on Forbes.com, “Forget The Hype: What Every Business Leader Needs To Know About Artificial Intelligence Now,”  AI is on the lips of almost every global CEO and Board of Directors.

But apart from the Big 8 technology companies – Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba – business leaders, especially of earlier generations, may feel they don’t know enough about AI to make informed decisions.




Artificial intelligence is helping astronomers discover new planets — from wired.co.uk
AI could help us discover planet nine, dark matter and more gravitational waves


For the first time, artificial intelligence has been used to discover two new exoplanets. One of the discoveries, made by Nasa’s Kepler mission, brings the Kepler-90 solar system to a total of 8 planets – the first solar system found with the same number as our own.





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



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


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


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.


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.





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!



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.

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



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.





Ginni Rometty on the End of Programming — from bloomberg.com by Megan Murphy
The IBM chief dares to imagine what Watson will be when it grows up, and reaffirms her pledge to hire 25,000 people over the next four years.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Do you feel we’re going to get to a point where AI will displace more jobs than it creates and we’re not doing enough to push forward with the jobs of the future?

I do believe that when it comes to complete job replacement, it will be a very small percentage. When it comes to changing a job and what you do, it will be 100 percent. “Whoa, different skills. Everybody is going to have to have a different skill because it’s going to be a threat in all our jobs.” Let me just park that thought. I want to come back to something I think that’s far more important and is related. The issue of skills is front and center in this country and many countries in the world right now without AI. We already have a world that’s bifurcating between haves and have-nots, and a lot of that is based on education and skills. This country has 5 million to 6 million jobs open. That’s about skill. This is not being caused by AI. We’ve got to revamp education for this era of man and machine. And that means you cannot insist that every person needs to be a university or a Ph.D. graduate to be productive in society. You cannot. It’s not true by the way. We’ve proven that.

You started a six-year high school program. This is a program where they take people through four years of high school, two years of a college equivalent, and then hopefully give them preference in getting into the workforce, again to work with IBM.

In the U.S., in 2015, half of our young people didn’t have an associate’s degree or a college degree. That’s the problem today: the number of people that need to be retrained. I’m far more optimistic that public-private partnerships can solve this dilemma. There will be a hundred pathways to technology becoming viral, driven by governors and states. I always remember when President Obama came to the first one, he goes, “Where are all the computers?” We’re like, “That’s not what we teach these kids.” We’re teaching them a skill about math and problem-solving that’s going to transcend any technology they deal with. The first part is a very simple formula: a curriculum of math, science. The second, give the kids a mentor and then you give them a chance at a job. We will be up to 50,000 kids, and 300 other companies have volunteered. I have a whole bunch of these kids over in Silicon Alley where we have our Watson headquarters.



I do believe that when it comes to complete job replacement, it will be a very small percentage. When it comes to changing a job and what you do, it will be 100 percent.




The new Autonomous SmartDesk 3 has a built-in touchscreen and AI software — from imore.com by Tory Foulk 


Can your desk encourage you to stand, remind you to drink water and order you a pizza? No? Well SmartDesk 3 can.

Autonomous announced the launch of the newest iteration of its SmartDesk in a press release today, and is claiming it’s “the world’s most powerful AI-powered standing desk.”

The embedded tablet has a 7″ display and is powered by Autonomous’ own OS platform, and has both Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities so it can interact with the apps on your phone. It features many of its own shortcuts, too – you can make coffee, order food, check the weather, play Spotify playlists, and even request a ride from Uber. Because the tablet syncs with Google Calendar, it will remind you of any meetings you might have throughout the day. And in addition to all of that, SmartDesk 3 monitors how long you sit or stand and reminds you to either stretch your legs or take a break to relax when it feels you need it. After using the AI for a week or so, it will learn your habits – say, when you usually start getting hungry – and begin to anticipate your needs.


Autonomous' SmartDesk 3 in white






Unity Technologies unveils AI toolkit for training machine learning ‘agents’ — from therobotreport.com by Alex Beall


Unity Technologies released the open beta version of its Unity Machine Learning Agents, an artificial intelligence toolkit developers and researchers can use to virtually train agents —whether video game characters, autonomous vehicles or robots.

“Machine learning is a disruptive technology that is important to all types of developers and researchers to make their games or systems smarter, but complexities and technical barriers make it out of reach for most,” vice president of AI and machine learning Danny Lange said in a press release. “This is an exciting new chapter in AI’s history as we are making an end-to-end machine learning environment widely accessible, and providing the critical tools needed to make more intelligent, beautiful games and applications. Complete with Unity’s physics engine and a 3D photorealistic rendering environment, our AI toolkit also offers a game-changing AI research platform to a rapidly growing community of AI enthusiasts exploring the frontiers of Deep Learning.”





How Chatbot Tech Takes Customer Service to the Next Level — from nojitter.com by Yaniv Reznik
A chatbot’s combination of personalized service and quick, efficient answers perfectly fits the needs of today’s digital consumers.


Rather, today’s connected consumers want a seamless online experience that immediately allows them to self-serve when they have a quick question or choose a hybrid approach when they need that personal touch from a live representative.

Chatbots empower consumers to take charge of their own brand experience and efficiently get the answers they need. Consumers demand accuracy and convenience, and chatbots provide the perfect balance of speed, personalization, and human touch necessary for improved customer experiences.

The key to implementing chatbots that go beyond scripted responses is Natural Language Processing (NLP). Chatbots equipped with this advanced technology can understand situational context and can therefore get to the root of customer questions without putting customers on hold or redirecting them.






Addendum on 9/25/17:

One year later, Microsoft AI and Research grows to 8k people in massive bet on artificial intelligence — from geekwire.com by Todd Bishop


One way to measure Microsoft’s AI bet: In its first year of operation, the AI and Research group has grown by 60 percent — from 5,000 people originally to nearly 8,000 people today — through hiring and acquisitions, and by bringing aboard additional teams from other parts of the company.

The creation of Microsoft AI and Research also underscores the intense competition in artificial intelligence. Microsoft is gearing up to compete against the likes of Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Apple, and countless AI startups and research groups, all of them looking to lead the tech industry in this new era of artificial intelligence.







Teachers can now use IBM’s Watson to search for free lesson plans — from edsurge.com by Stephen Noonoo


IBM’s famous Watson computing system—which defeated Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings in 2011—is coming to education, if not quite the classroom. As part of a new IBM philanthropic initiative, the supercomputer is helping to power a searchable database of open educational math resources designed for teachers in grades K-5.

Today marks the first time the new tool, called Teacher Advisor With Watson 1.0, is open to the public after a lengthy beta testing period that sought input from state education commissioners, teachers unions, school board associations and more than 1,000 teachers.

“We wanted to build and design something for teachers by teachers, with the best information and the best technology available,” says Stan Litow, the President Emeritus of the IBM Foundation and a former deputy chancellor for New York City Department of Education.

The IBM Foundation has been flirting with ideas to apply Watson technology in education for a while, without knowing exactly what it wanted to do with it. The tech giant began last year by pulling in more than 100 top-level education leaders for a daylong event demoing the tech. From that focus group they narrowed the list of potential applications to professional development tools and, eventually, settled on a searchable database exclusively for elementary school math.


Populating the search engine is a collection of more than 1,000 OERs—from sources such as Achieve, UnboundED and statewide orgs like EngageNY—hand-selected by math experts assisting the program.


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