Why Natural Language Processing is the Future of Business Intelligence — from dzone.com by Gur Tirosh
Until now, we have been interacting with computers in a way that they understand, rather than us. We have learned their language. But now, they’re learning ours.

Excerpt:

Every time you ask Siri for directions, a complex chain of cutting-edge code is activated. It allows “her” to understand your question, find the information you’re looking for, and respond to you in a language that you understand. This has only become possible in the last few years. Until now, we have been interacting with computers in a way that they understand, rather than us. We have learned their language.

But now, they’re learning ours.

The technology underpinning this revolution in human-computer relations is Natural Language Processing (NLP). And it’s already transforming BI, in ways that go far beyond simply making the interface easier. Before long, business transforming, life changing information will be discovered merely by talking with a chatbot.

This future is not far away. In some ways, it’s already here.

What Is Natural Language Processing?
NLP, otherwise known as computational linguistics, is the combination of Machine Learning, AI, and linguistics that allows us to talk to machines as if they were human.

 

 

But NLP aims to eventually render GUIs — even UIs — obsolete, so that interacting with a machine is as easy as talking to a human.

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Ed Tech Trends: The Halfway Point — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
Four higher ed IT leaders weigh in on the current state of education technology and what’s ahead.

This article includes some perspectives shared from the following 4 IT leaders:

  • Susan Aldridge, Senior Vice President for Online Learning, Drexel University (PA); President, Drexel University Online
  • Daniel Christian, Adjunct Faculty Member, Calvin College
  • Marci Powell, CEO/President, Marci Powell & Associates; Chair Emerita and Past President, United States Distance Learning Association
  • Phil Ventimiglia, Chief Innovation Officer, Georgia State University

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

From DSC:
Reviewing the article below made me think of 2 potential additions to the Learning & Development Groups/Departments out there:

  1. Help people build their own learning ecosystems
  2. Design, develop, and implement workbots for self-service

 



 

Chatbots Poised to Revolutionize HR — from by Pratibha Nanduri

Excerpt:

Self-service is becoming an increasingly popular trend where people want to perform their tasks without needing help or input from anyone else. The increasing popularity of this trend is mainly attributed to the increasing use of computers and mobile devices to electronically manage all kinds of tasks.

As employee tolerance for downtime reduces and preferences for mobility increases, the bureaucracy which exists in managing everyday HR related tasks in the workplace will also have to be replaced. A large number of companies have still not automated even their basic HR services such as handling inquiries about holidays and leaves. Employees in such organizations still have to send their query and then wait for HR to respond.

As the number of employees goes up in an organization, the time taken by HR managers to respond to mundane admin tasks also increases. This leaves very little time for the HR manager to focus on strategic HR initiatives.

Chatbots that are powered by AI and machine learning are increasingly being used to automate mundane and repetitive tasks. They can also be leveraged in HR to simulate intelligent SMS-based conversations between employees and HR team members to automate basic HR tasks.

 



 

 

 

The Business of Artificial Intelligence — from hbr.org by Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The most important general-purpose technology of our era is artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning (ML) — that is, the machine’s ability to keep improving its performance without humans having to explain exactly how to accomplish all the tasks it’s given. Within just the past few years machine learning has become far more effective and widely available. We can now build systems that learn how to perform tasks on their own.

Why is this such a big deal? Two reasons. First, we humans know more than we can tell: We can’t explain exactly how we’re able to do a lot of things — from recognizing a face to making a smart move in the ancient Asian strategy game of Go. Prior to ML, this inability to articulate our own knowledge meant that we couldn’t automate many tasks. Now we can.

Second, ML systems are often excellent learners. They can achieve superhuman performance in a wide range of activities, including detecting fraud and diagnosing disease. Excellent digital learners are being deployed across the economy, and their impact will be profound.

In the sphere of business, AI is poised have a transformational impact, on the scale of earlier general-purpose technologies. Although it is already in use in thousands of companies around the world, most big opportunities have not yet been tapped. The effects of AI will be magnified in the coming decade, as manufacturing, retailing, transportation, finance, health care, law, advertising, insurance, entertainment, education, and virtually every other industry transform their core processes and business models to take advantage of machine learning. The bottleneck now is in management, implementation, and business imagination.

The machine learns from examples, rather than being explicitly programmed for a particular outcome.

 

Let’s start by exploring what AI is already doing and how quickly it is improving. The biggest advances have been in two broad areas: perception and cognition. …For instance, Aptonomy and Sanbot, makers respectively of drones and robots, are using improved vision systems to automate much of the work of security guards. 

 

 

Machine learning is driving changes at three levels: tasks and occupations, business processes, and business models. 

 

 

You may have noticed that Facebook and other apps now recognize many of your friends’ faces in posted photos and prompt you to tag them with their names.

 

 

 

AI is making it extremely easy for students to cheat — from wired.com by Pippa Biddle

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

For years, students have turned to CliffsNotes for speedy reads of books, SparkNotes to whip up talking points for class discussions, and Wikipedia to pad their papers with historical tidbits. But today’s students have smarter tools at their disposal—namely, Wolfram|Alpha, a program that uses artificial intelligence to perfectly and untraceably solve equations. Wolfram|Alpha uses natural language processing technology, part of the AI family, to provide students with an academic shortcut that is faster than a tutor, more reliable than copying off of friends, and much easier than figuring out a solution yourself.

 

Use of Wolfram|Alpha is difficult to trace, and in the hands of ambitious students, its perfect solutions are having unexpected consequences.

 

 

 

 

Video: 4 FAQs about Watson as tutor — from er.educause.edu by Satya Nitta

Excerpt:

How is IBM using Watson’s intelligent tutoring system? So we are attempting to mimic the best practices of human tutoring. The gold standard will always remain one on one human to human tutoring. The whole idea here is an intelligent tutoring system as a computing system that works autonomously with learners, so there is no human intervention. It’s basically pretending to be the teacher itself and it’s working with the learner. What we’re attempting to do is we’re attempting to basically put conversational systems, systems that understand human conversation and dialogue, and we’re trying to build a system that, in a very natural way, interacts with people through conversation. The system basically has the ability to ask questions, to answer questions, to know who you are and where you are in your learning journey, what you’re struggling with, what you’re strong on and it will personalize its pedagogy to you.

There’s a natural language understanding system and a machine learning system that’s trying to figure out where you are in your learning journey and what the appropriate intervention is for you. The natural language system enables this interaction that’s very rich and conversation-based, where you can basically have a human-like conversation with it and, to a large extent, it will try to understand and to retrieve the right things for you. Again the most important thing is that we will set the expectations appropriately and we have appropriate exit criteria for when the system doesn’t actually understand what you’re trying to do.

 

 

 

The case for a next generation learning platform [Grush & Christian]

 

The case for a next generation learning platform — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush & Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Grush: Then what are some of the implications you could draw from metrics like that one?

Christian: As we consider all the investment in those emerging technologies, the question many are beginning to ask is, “How will these technologies impact jobs and the makeup of our workforce in the future?”

While there are many thoughts and questions regarding the cumulative impact these technologies will have on our future workforce (e.g., “How many jobs will be displaced?”), the consensus seems to be that there will be massive change.

Whether our jobs are completely displaced or if we will be working alongside robots, chatbots, workbots, or some other forms of AI-backed personal assistants, all of us will need to become lifelong learners — to be constantly reinventing ourselves. This assertion is also made in the aforementioned study from McKinsey: “AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers. The workforce needs to be re-skilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it…”

 

 

A side note from DSC:
I began working on this vision prior to 2010…but I didn’t officially document it until 2012.

 

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

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:

A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • A customizable learning environment that will offer up-to-date streams of regularly curated content (i.e., microlearning) as well as engaging learning experiences
  • Along these lines, a lifelong learner can opt to receive an RSS feed on a particular topic until they master that concept; periodic quizzes (i.e., spaced repetition) determines that mastery. Once mastered, the system will ask the learner whether they still want to receive that particular stream of content or not.
  • A Netflix-like interface to peruse and select plugins to extend the functionality of the core product
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and streams of content that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)
  • (Potentially) Integration with one-on-one tutoring services

Further details here >>

 

 

 



Addendum from DSC (regarding the resource mentioned below):
Note the voice recognition/control mechanisms on Westinghouse’s new product — also note the integration of Amazon’s Alexa into a “TV.”



 

Westinghouse’s Alexa-equipped Fire TV Edition smart TVs are now available — from theverge.com by Chaim Gartenberg

 

The key selling point, of course, is the built-in Amazon Fire TV, which is controlled with the bundled Voice Remote and features Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

 

 

 

Finally…also see:

  • NASA unveils a skill for Amazon’s Alexa that lets you ask questions about Mars — from geekwire.com by Kevin Lisota
  • Holographic storytelling — from jwtintelligence.com
    The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.
    New Dimensions in Testimony is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.  Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), people are able to ask Gutter’s projected image questions that trigger relevant responses.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
With the ever increasing usage of artificial intelligence, algorithms, robotics, and automation, people are going to need to reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, and conveniently. As such, we had better begin working immediately on a next generation learning platform — before the other tidal waves start hitting the beach. “What do you mean by saying ‘other tidal waves’ — what tidal waves are you talking about anyway?” one might ask.

Well….here’s one for you:


 

 

New Report Predicts Over 100,000 Legal Jobs Will Be Lost To Automation — from futurism.com by Jelor Gallego
An extensive new analysis by Deloitte estimates that over 100,000 jobs will be lost to technological automation within the next two decades. Increasing technological advances have helped replace menial roles in the office and do repetitive tasks

 


From DSC:
I realize that not all of this is doom and gloom. There will be jobs lost and there will be jobs gained. A point also made by MIT futurists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson in a recent podcast entitled, “
Want to stay relevant? Then listen up(in which they explain the momentous technological changes coming next–and what you can do to harness them).

But the point is that massive reinvention is going to be necessary. Traditional institutions of higher education — as well as the current methods of accreditation — are woefully inadequate to address the new, exponential pace of change.

 

 

 


 

Here’s my take on what it’s going to take to deliver constantly up-to-date streams of relevant content at an incredibly affordable price.

 


 

 

 

From DSC:
After reading the item below, I wondered:

Should technical communicators, trainers, and help desk personnel get trained on how to design and develop “workbots?”


 

Forget chatbots — you should create a workbot instead — from venturebeat.com by Oren Ariel; with thanks to Thomas Frey for his tweet on this

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

But what about employee-to-company interaction through bots? Chatbots designed for the work environment, or workbots, could become the next step function in work productivity.

Workbots could be the cure for what’s often called “app fatigue.”

They work within the corporate messenger environment (such as Jabber, Skype for Business, Slack, and others) and respond to commands and questions in natural language, whether typed or dictated. They have access to all the corporate information needed to get the job done and can perform complex tasks across multiple systems. The workbot knows what tasks are executed in which back-end system, so the user doesn’t have to know. Because bots rely on natural language processing (NLP) — the ability of humans to interact with computers using free-form language — workbots can help an employee get to the starting point quickly and without any training, in the same way a search engine would, and then help guide the user through the task in a step-by-step fashion.

Chat is no longer just about communication, it’s about bringing the user information.

 

 

 

What a future, powerful, global learning platform will look & act like [Christian]


Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A vision for a global, powerful, next generation learning platform

By Daniel Christian

NOTE: Having recently lost my Senior Instructional Designer position due to a staff reduction program, I am looking to help build such a platform as this. So if you are working on such a platform or know of someone who is, please let me know: danielchristian55@gmail.com.

I want to help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively — while providing more choice, more control to lifelong learners. This will become critically important as artificial intelligence, robotics, algorithms, and automation continue to impact the workplace.


 

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

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and “streams of content” that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)

Further details:
While basic courses will be accessible via mobile devices, the optimal learning experience will leverage two or more displays/devices. So while smaller smartphones, laptops, and/or desktop workstations will be used to communicate synchronously or asynchronously with other learners, the larger displays will deliver an excellent learning environment for times when there is:

  • A Subject Matter Expert (SME) giving a talk or making a presentation on any given topic
  • A need to display multiple things going on at once, such as:
  • The SME(s)
  • An application or multiple applications that the SME(s) are using
  • Content/resources that learners are submitting in real-time (think Bluescape, T1V, Prysm, other)
  • The ability to annotate on top of the application(s) and point to things w/in the app(s)
  • Media being used to support the presentation such as pictures, graphics, graphs, videos, simulations, animations, audio, links to other resources, GPS coordinates for an app such as Google Earth, other
  • Other attendees (think Google Hangouts, Skype, Polycom, or other videoconferencing tools)
  • An (optional) representation of the Personal Assistant (such as today’s Alexa, Siri, M, Google Assistant, etc.) that’s being employed via the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This new learning platform will also feature:

  • Voice-based commands to drive the system (via Natural Language Processing (NLP))
  • Language translation (using techs similar to what’s being used in Translate One2One, an earpiece powered by IBM Watson)
  • Speech-to-text capabilities for use w/ chatbots, messaging, inserting discussion board postings
  • Text-to-speech capabilities as an assistive technology and also for everyone to be able to be mobile while listening to what’s been typed
  • Chatbots
    • For learning how to use the system
    • For asking questions of – and addressing any issues with – the organization owning the system (credentials, payments, obtaining technical support, etc.)
    • For asking questions within a course
  • As many profiles as needed per household
  • (Optional) Machine-to-machine-based communications to automatically launch the correct profile when the system is initiated (from one’s smartphone, laptop, workstation, and/or tablet to a receiver for the system)
  • (Optional) Voice recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Facial recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Upon system launch, to immediately return to where the learner previously left off
  • The capability of the webcam to recognize objects and bring up relevant resources for that object
  • A built in RSS feed aggregator – or a similar technology – to enable learners to tap into the relevant “streams of content” that are constantly flowing by them
  • Social media dashboards/portals – providing quick access to multiple sources of content and whereby learners can contribute their own “streams of content”

In the future, new forms of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) will be integrated into this new learning environment – providing entirely new means of collaborating with one another.

Likely players:

  • Amazon – personal assistance via Alexa
  • Apple – personal assistance via Siri
  • Google – personal assistance via Google Assistant; language translation
  • Facebook — personal assistance via M
  • Microsoft – personal assistance via Cortana; language translation
  • IBM Watson – cognitive computing; language translation
  • Polycom – videoconferencing
  • Blackboard – videoconferencing, application sharing, chat, interactive whiteboard
  • T1V, Prsym, and/or Bluescape – submitting content to a digital canvas/workspace
  • Samsung, Sharp, LCD, and others – for large displays with integrated microphones, speakers, webcams, etc.
  • Feedly – RSS aggregator
  • _________ – for providing backchannels
  • _________ – for tools to create videocasts and interactive videos
  • _________ – for blogs, wikis, podcasts, journals
  • _________ – for quizzes/assessments
  • _________ – for discussion boards/forums
  • _________ – for creating AR, MR, and/or VR-based content

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian