A new immersive classroom uses AI and VR to teach Mandarin Chinese — from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao
Students will learn the language by ordering food or haggling with street vendors on a virtual Beijing street.

Excerpt:

Often the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in an environment where people speak it. The constant exposure, along with the pressure to communicate, helps you swiftly pick up and practice new vocabulary. But not everyone gets the opportunity to live or study abroad.

In a new collaboration with IBM Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), a university based in Troy, New York, now offers its students studying Chinese another option: a 360-degree virtual environment that teleports them to the busy streets of Beijing or a crowded Chinese restaurant. Students get to haggle with street vendors or order food, and the environment is equipped with different AI capabilities to respond to them in real time.

 

 

Video: Chatbots’ History and Future — from which-50.com by Joseph Brookes

Excerpt:

What’s Next For Chatbots?
One area where chatbots will have an increasing impact in the future is language, according to Kraeutler. He argues the further integration of language services from the likes of Google will bring down processing times in multilingual scenarios.

“Having a chatbot where a consumer can very easily speak in their native tongue and use services like Google to provide real-time translation — and increasingly very accurate real-time translation. That allows the bot to respond to the consumer, again, very accurately, but also in their native tongue.”

That translation feature, Kraeutler says, will also be vital in assisted conversations — where bots assist human agents to provide next-best actions — allowing the two human parties to converse in near real time in their native languages.

 

From DSC:
This is much more than a Voice Response Unit (VRU) Phase II…the educational realm should watch what happens with chatbots…as they could assist with doing some heavy lifting in the learning world.

 

 

The 10+ best real-world examples of augmented reality — from forbes.com by Bernard Marr

Excerpt:

Augmented reality (AR) can add value, solve problems and enhance the user experience in nearly every industry. Businesses are catching on and increasing investments to drive the growth of augmented reality, which makes it a crucial part of the tech economy.

 

As referenced by Bernard in his above article:

 

 

From DSC:
Along these lines, I really appreciate the “translate” feature within Twitter. It helps open up whole new avenues of learning for me from people across the globe. A very cool, practical, positive, beneficial feature/tool!!!

 

 
 

Google is bringing translation to its Home speakers — from businessinsider.com by Peter Newman

Excerpt:

Google has added real-time translation capabilities to its Google Home smart speakers, the Home Hub screened speaker, as well as other screened devices from third parties, according to Android Police.

 

Also see:

 

 

Rosetta Stone for iPhone adds AI to identify objects for live translations — from venturebeat.com by Jeremy Horwitz

Excerpt:

Today, language teaching developer Rosetta Stone is taking the next step forward by adding augmented reality and machine learning to its iPhone app, enabling users to identify and translate the names of real-world objects…

 

 

 

 

Presentation Translator for PowerPoint — from Microsoft (emphasis below from DSC:)

Presentation Translator breaks down the language barrier by allowing users to offer live, subtitled presentations straight from PowerPoint. As you speak, the add-in powered by the Microsoft Translator live feature, allows you to display subtitles directly on your PowerPoint presentation in any one of more than 60 supported text languages. This feature can also be used for audiences who are deaf or hard of hearing.

 

Additionally, up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along with the presentation in their own language, including the speaker’s language, on their phone, tablet or computer.

 

From DSC:
Up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along with the presentation in their own language! Wow!

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?! If this could also address learners and/or employees outside the room as well, this could be an incredibly powerful piece of a next generation, global learning platform! 

Automatic translation with subtitles — per the learner’s or employee’s primary language setting as established in their cloud-based learner profile. Though this posting is not about blockchain, the idea of a cloud-based learner profile reminds me of the following graphic I created in January 2017.

A couple of relevant quotes here:

A number of players and factors are changing the field. Georgia Institute of Technology calls it “at-scale” learning; others call it the “mega-university” — whatever you call it, this is the advent of the very large, 100,000-plus-student-scale online provider. Coursera, edX, Udacity and FutureLearn (U.K.) are among the largest providers. But individual universities such as Southern New Hampshire, Arizona State and Georgia Tech are approaching the “at-scale” mark as well. One could say that’s evidence of success in online learning. And without question it is.

But, with highly reputable programs at this scale and tuition rates at half or below the going rate for regional and state universities, the impact is rippling through higher ed. Georgia Tech’s top 10-ranked computer science master’s with a total expense of less than $10,000 has drawn more than 10,000 qualified majors. That has an impact on the enrollment at scores of online computer science master’s programs offered elsewhere. The overall online enrollment is up, but it is disproportionately centered in affordable scaled programs, draining students from the more expensive, smaller programs at individual universities. The dominoes fall as more and more high-quality at-scale programs proliferate.

— Ray Schroeder

 

 

Education goes omnichannel. In today’s connected world, consumers expect to have anything they want available at their fingertips, and education is no different. Workers expect to be able to learn on-demand, getting the skills and knowledge they need in that moment, to be able to apply it as soon as possible. Moving fluidly between working and learning, without having to take time off to go to – or back to – school will become non-negotiable.

Anant Agarwal

 

From DSC:
Is there major change/disruption ahead? Could be…for many, it can’t come soon enough.

 

 

The WT2 in-ear translator will be available in January, real-time feedback soon — from wearable-technologies.com by Cathy Russey

Excerpt:

Shenzhen, China & Pasadena, CA-based startup Timekettle wants to solve the language barrier problem. So, the company developed WT2 translator – an in-ear translator for real-time, natural and hands-free communication. The company just announced they’ll be shipping the new translator in January, 2019.

 

 

 

Robots won’t replace instructors, 2 Penn State educators argue. Instead, they’ll help them be ‘more human.’ — from edsurge.com by Tina Nazerian

Excerpt:

Specifically, it will help them prepare for and teach their courses through several phases—ideation, design, assessment, facilitation, reflection and research. The two described a few prototypes they’ve built to show what that might look like.

 

Also see:

The future of education: Online, free, and with AI teachers? — from fool.com by Simon Erickson
Duolingo is using artificial intelligence to teach 300 million people a foreign language for free. Will this be the future of education?

Excerpts:

While it might not get a lot of investor attention, education is actually one of America’s largest markets.

The U.S. has 20 million undergraduates enrolled in colleges and universities right now and another 3 million enrolled in graduate programs. Those undergrads paid an average of $17,237 for tuition, room, and board at public institutions in the 2016-17 school year and $44,551 for private institutions. Graduate education varies widely by area of focus, but the average amount paid for tuition alone was $24,812 last year.

Add all of those up, and America’s students are paying more than half a trillion dollars each year for their education! And that doesn’t even include the interest amassed for student loans, the college-branded merchandise, or all the money spent on beer and coffee.

Keeping the costs down
Several companies are trying to find ways to make college more affordable and accessible.

 

But after we launched, we have so many users that nowadays if the system wants to figure out whether it should teach plurals before adjectives or adjectives before plurals, it just runs a test with about 50,000 people. So for the next 50,000 people that sign up, which takes about six hours for 50,000 new users to come to Duolingo, to half of them it teaches plurals before adjectives. To the other half it teaches adjectives before plurals. And then it measures which ones learn better. And so once and for all it can figure out, ah it turns out for this particular language to teach plurals before adjectives for example.

So every week the system is improving. It’s making itself better at teaching by learning from our learners. So it’s doing that just based on huge amounts of data. And this is why it’s become so successful I think at teaching and why we have so many users.

 

 

From DSC:
I see AI helping learners, instructors, teachers, and trainers. I see AI being a tool to help do some of the heavy lifting, but people still like to learn with other people…with actual human beings. That said, a next generation learning platform could be far more responsive than what today’s traditional institutions of higher education are delivering.

 

 

San Diego’s Nanome Inc. releases collaborative VR-STEM software for free — from vrscout.com by Becca Loux

Excerpt:

The first collaborative VR molecular modeling application was released August 29 to encourage hands-on chemistry experimentation.

The open-source tool is free for download now on Oculus and Steam.

Nanome Inc., the San Diego-based start-up that built the intuitive application, comprises UCSD professors and researchers, web developers and top-level pharmaceutical executives.

 

“With our tool, anyone can reach out and experience science at the nanoscale as if it is right in front of them. At Nanome, we are bringing the craftsmanship and natural intuition from interacting with these nanoscale structures at room scale to everyone,” McCloskey said.

 

San Diego’s Nanome Inc. Releases Collaborative VR-STEM Software For Free

 

 

10 ways VR will change life in the near future — from forbes.com

Excerpts:

  1. Virtual shops
  2. Real estate
  3. Dangerous jobs
  4. Health care industry
  5. Training to create VR content
  6. Education
  7. Emergency response
  8. Distraction simulation
  9. New hire training
  10. Exercise

 

From DSC:
While VR will have its place — especially for timeswhen you need to completely immerse yourself into another environment — I think AR and MR will be much larger and have a greater variety of applications. For example, I could see where instructions on how to put something together in the future could use AR and/or MR to assist with that process. The system could highlight the next part that I’m looking for and then highlight the corresponding parts where it goes — and, if requested, can show me a clip on how it fits into what I’m trying to put together.

 

How MR turns firstline workers into change agents — from virtualrealitypop.com by Charlie Finkand
Mixed Reality, a new dimension of work — from Microsoft and Harvard Business Review

Excerpts:

Workers with mixed-reality solutions that enable remote assistance, spatial planning, environmentally contextual data, and much more,” Bardeen told me. With the HoloLens Firstline Workers workers conduct their usual, day-to-day activities with the added benefit of a heads-up, hands-free, display that gives them immediate access to valuable, contextual information. Microsoft says speech services like Cortana will be critical to control along with gesture, according to the unique needs of each situation.

 

Expect new worker roles. What constitutes an “information worker” could change because mixed reality will allow everyone to be involved in the collection and use of information. Many more types of information will become available to any worker in a compelling, easy-to-understand way. 

 

 

Let’s Speak: VR language meetups — from account.altvr.com

 

 

 

 

Writing Resources from the “State of Writing” — from stateofwriting.com with thanks to Mary Bennett who mentions that this site is an “incredibly useful resource with tips and its own collection of writing and grammar guides.”

Some of the useful sections include resources regarding:

  • Dictionaries and Thesauruses
  • Style Guides
  • Grammar and Punctuation
  • Etymology
  • Quotations
  • Writing various genres
  • Foreign Languages

 

 

Microsoft’s meeting room of the future is wild — from theverge.com by Tom Warren
Transcription, translation, and identification

Excerpts:

Microsoft just demonstrated a meeting room of the future at the company’s Build developer conference.

It all starts with a 360-degree camera and microphone array that can detect anyone in a meeting room, greet them, and even transcribe exactly what they say in a meeting regardless of language.

Microsoft takes the meeting room scenario even further, though. The company is using its artificial intelligence tools to then act on what meeting participants say.

 

 

From DSC:
Whoa! Many things to think about here. Consider the possibilities for global/blended/online-based learning (including MOOCs) with technologies associated with translation, transcription, and identification.

 

 

An AI Bot for the Teacher — with thanks to Karthik Reddy for this resource

Artificial intelligence is the stuff of science fiction – if you are old enough, you will remember those Terminator movies a good few years ago, where mankind was systematically being wiped out by computers.

The truth is that AI, though not quite at Terminator level yet, is already a fact and something that most of us have encountered already. If you have ever used the virtual assistant on your phone or the Ask Google feature, you have used AI.

Some companies are using it as part of their sales and marketing strategies. An interesting example is Lowe’s Home Improvement that, instead of chatbots, uses actual robots into their physical stores. These robots are capable of helping customers locate products that they’re interested in, taking a lot of the guesswork out of the entire shopping experience.

Of course, there are a lot of different potential applications for AI that are very interesting. Imagine an AI teaching assistant, for example. They could help grade papers, fact check and assist with lesson planning, etc., all to make our harassed teachers’ lives a little easier.

Chatbots could be programmed as tutors to help kids better understand core topics if they are struggling with them, ensuring that they don’t hold the rest of the class up. And, for kids who have a real affinity with the subject, help them learn more about what they are interested in.

It could also help enhance long distance training.  Imagine if your students could get instant answers to basic questions through a simple chatbot. Sure, if they were still not getting it, they would come through to you – the chatbot cannot replace a real, live, teacher after all. But it could save you a lot of time and frustration.

Here, of course, we have only skimmed the surface of what artificial intelligence is capable of. Why not look through this infographic to see how different brands have been using this tech, and see what possible applications of it we might expect.

 

Brands that use AI to enhance marketing (infographic) 2018
From 16best.net with thanks to Karthik Reddy for this resource

 

 

 

AWS unveils ‘Transcribe’ and ‘Translate’ machine learning services — from business-standard.com

Excerpts:

  • Amazon “Transcribe” provides grammatically correct transcriptions of audio files to allow audio data to be analyzed, indexed and searched.
  • Amazon “Translate” provides natural sounding language translation in both real-time and batch scenarios.

 

 

Google’s ‘secret’ smart city on Toronto’s waterfront sparks row — from bbc.com by Robin Levinson-King BBC News, Toronto

Excerpt:

The project was commissioned by the publically funded organisation Waterfront Toronto, who put out calls last spring for proposals to revitalise the 12-acre industrial neighbourhood of Quayside along Toronto’s waterfront.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flew down to announce the agreement with Sidewalk Labs, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, last October, and the project has received international attention for being one of the first smart-cities designed from the ground up.

But five months later, few people have actually seen the full agreement between Sidewalk and Waterfront Toronto.

As council’s representative on Waterfront Toronto’s board, Mr Minnan-Wong is the only elected official to actually see the legal agreement in full. Not even the mayor knows what the city has signed on for.

“We got very little notice. We were essentially told ‘here’s the agreement, the prime minister’s coming to make the announcement,'” he said.

“Very little time to read, very little time to absorb.”

Now, his hands are tied – he is legally not allowed to comment on the contents of the sealed deal, but he has been vocal about his belief it should be made public.

“Do I have concerns about the content of that agreement? Yes,” he said.

“What is it that is being hidden, why does it have to be secret?”

From DSC:
Google needs to be very careful here. Increasingly so these days, our trust in them (and other large tech companies) is at stake.

 

 

Addendum on 4/16/18 with thanks to Uros Kovacevic for this resource:
Human lives saved by robotic replacements — from injuryclaimcoach.com

Excerpt:

For academics and average workers alike, the prospect of automation provokes concern and controversy. As the American workplace continues to mechanize, some experts see harsh implications for employment, including the loss of 73 million jobs by 2030. Others maintain more optimism about the fate of the global economy, contending technological advances could grow worldwide GDP by more than $1.1 trillion in the next 10 to 15 years. Whatever we make of these predictions, there’s no question automation will shape the economic future of the nation – and the world.

But while these fiscal considerations are important, automation may positively affect an even more essential concern: human life. Every day, thousands of Americans risk injury or death simply by going to work in dangerous conditions. If robots replaced them, could hundreds of lives be saved in the years to come?

In this project, we studied how many fatal injuries could be averted if dangerous occupations were automated. To do so, we analyzed which fields are most deadly and the likelihood of their automation according to expert predictions. To see how automation could save Americans’ lives, keep reading.

Also related to this item is :
How AI is improving the landscape of work  — from forbes.com by Laurence Bradford

Excerpts:

There have been a lot of sci-fi stories written about artificial intelligence. But now that it’s actually becoming a reality, how is it really affecting the world? Let’s take a look at the current state of AI and some of the things it’s doing for modern society.

  • Creating New Technology Jobs
  • Using Machine Learning To Eliminate Busywork
  • Preventing Workplace Injuries With Automation
  • Reducing Human Error With Smart Algorithms

From DSC:
This is clearly a pro-AI piece. Not all uses of AI are beneficial, but this article mentions several use cases where AI can make positive contributions to society.

 

 

 

It’s About Augmented Intelligence, not Artificial Intelligence — from informationweek.com
The adoption of AI applications isn’t about replacing workers but helping workers do their jobs better.

 

From DSC:
This article is also a pro-AI piece. But again, not all uses of AI are beneficial. We need to be aware of — and involved in — what is happening with AI.

 

 

 

Investing in an Automated Future — from clomedia.com by Mariel Tishma
Employers recognize that technological advances like AI and automation will require employees with new skills. Why are so few investing in the necessary learning?

 

 

 

 

 

Experience Virtual Reality on the web with Chrome — from blog.google

Excerpt:

Virtual reality (VR) lets you tour the Turkish palace featured in “Die Another Day,” learn about life in a Syrian refugee camp firsthand, and walk through your dream home right from your living room. With the latest version of Chrome, we’re bringing VR to the web—making it as easy to step inside Air Force One as it is to access your favorite webpage.

For a fully immersive experience, use Chrome with your Daydream-ready phone and Daydream View—just browse to a VR experience you want to view, choose to enter VR, and put the phone in your Daydream View headset. If you don’t have a headset you can view VR content on any phone or desktop computer and interact using your finger or mouse.

You can already try out some great VR-enabled sites, with more coming soon. For example, explore the intersection of humans, nature and technology in the interactive documentary Bear 71. Questioning how we see the world through the lens of technology, this story blurs the lines between the wild world and the wired one.

 

 

Learn A New Language With Your Mobile Using MondlyAR — from vrfocus.com by
Start learn a new language today on your Android device.

Excerpt:

MondlyAR features an avatar “teacher” who brings virtual objects – planets, animals, musical instruments and more – into the room as teaching tools, engages the user in conversations and gives instant feedback on pronunciation thanks to chatbot technology. By incorporating these lifelike elements in the lessons, students are more likely to understand, process, and retain what they are taught.

Users will have seven languages to chose from, American English, British English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German with the studio expecting to be able to offer no less than 30 languages in AR by the next update in August 2018.

 

 

Augmented Reality takes 3-D printing to next level — from rtoz.org

Excerpt:

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work. To use the Robotic Modeling Assistant (RoMA), a designer wears an AR headset with hand controllers. As soon as a design feature is completed, the robotic arm prints the new feature.

 

 

 

The Legal Hazards of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Apps — from by Tam Harbert
Liability and intellectual property issues are just two areas developers need to know about

Excerpt:

As virtual- and augmented-reality technologies mature, legal questions are emerging that could trip up VR and AR developers. One of the first lawyers to explore these questions is Robyn Chatwood, of the international law firm Dentons. “VR and AR are areas where the law is just not keeping up with [technology] developments,” she says. IEEE Spectrum contributing editor Tam Harbert talked with Chatwood about the legal challenges.

 

 

Why VR has a bright future in the elearning world — elearninglearning.com by Origin Learning

Excerpt:

The Benefits of Using Virtual Reality in eLearning

  • It offers a visual approach – According to numerous studies, people retain what they have read better when they are able to see it or experience it somehow. VR in eLearning makes this possible and creates a completely new visual experience to improve learners’ retention capacity and their understanding of the material.
  • It lowers the risk factor – VR in eLearning can simulate dangerous and risky situations in an environment that is controllable, so that it removes the risk factor usually associated with such situations. This lets learners alleviate their fear of making a mistake.
  • It facilitates complex data – Like the visual approach, when learners can really experience complex situations, they are more likely to handle them with ease. VR simplifies the complexity of those situations, allowing learners to actually experience everything themselves, rather than just reading about it.
  • It offers remote access – VR in eLearning doesn’t require an actual classroom so that learning can be conducted remotely, which can help you save a lot of time and money that would normally have to be spent on planning a complete learning program.
  • It provides real-life scenarios – As mentioned, one of the greatest things about VR in the context of eLearning is that it allows learners to really immerse themselves in various virtual scenarios. For instance, if the learning program involves some real situation that a certain business has faced before, an employee will be able to handle such a situation more efficiently after experiencing it virtually.
  • It is fun and innovative – People love to try out new things. VR offers a completely innovative and interactive approach to learning and makes learning become an entertaining, rather than an everyday dull process.

 

5 reasons to use augmented reality in education — from kitaboo.com

Excerpt:

[AR] is making it possible to add a layer of enhanced reality to a context-sensitive virtual world. This gives educators and trainers numerous possibilities to enhance the learning experience, making it lively, significant and circumstantial to the learner.

According to the investment company, Goldman Sachs, Augmented Reality “has the potential to become a standard tool in education and could revolutionize the way in which students are taught, for both the K-12 segment and higher education.” The company further projects that by 2025, there would be 15 million users of educational AR worldwide, representing a $700 million market.

Let’s have a look at 5 main reasons to use Augmented Reality in education.

 

 

 

The Difference Between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality And Mixed Reality — from forbes.com

 

 

 

 

 

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